Ashaway's UltraNick® Multifilament Zyex® Strings
Special Advertising Feature
Early in 2010, Ashaway introduced UltraNick® 18, a new Zyex-based squash string, built on "a new Zyex multifilament core." Later that year, Ashaway introduced another Zyex product, the heavier gauge UltraNick 17, also boasting "a new Zyex multifilament core." Both strings have garnered excellent reviews in the marketplace, and the company reports strong sales for each. But a number of readers have asked what the real differences are between these two strings, aside from the obvious difference in gauge, and why they should choose one over the other.
So we put the question to Ashaway's Steve Crandall. Here's his reply:
"String choice is a very subjective thing. Ultimately, the only real way to choose is to try a number of different strings and see which feels and performs best for your game. Strings are made for players, and as a manufacturer, our job is to take the materials available to us and offer as many choices as possible. That's what we've done with the UltraNick line.
Both strings utilize the latest advance in Zyex material technology, which allows the production of very fine, very strong multifilaments. This allowed us to respond to increased market demand for thinner, stronger strings. By experimenting in our R&D lab, we were able to develop core packages for squash string which contain as many as 500 multifilaments, and which have high linear density and cross-sectional strength. We encapsulated these in a high tenacity monofilament nylon jacket with a textured surface, and the result was a line of thinner, stronger, lighter-weight strings that provide superior feel, more power, and improved ball control, but which still offer the well-known "gut-like feel" of Zyex, as well as its tension holding properties.
We find that UltraNick strings appeal to two groups. One is top competitive players who find that thinner strings increase 'bite' on the ball, and give them better overall control and an ability to 'cut' and work the ball and increase spin. The other group is the increasingly savvy recreational set, players who don't have the skill or power of the pros, nor the conditioning to allow their bodies to shrug off the rigors of the game. These players, too, are looking for an extra edge, but they also want a string that plays softer and is more forgiving to tender joints and muscles.
Choosing between them is a question of nuance. Of the two, UltraNick 18 offers a slightly softer feel, while the 17 gauge version offers a bit more power. But the real difference is in durability. While neither UltraNick gauge is recommended for really hard hitters that cut the ball (PowerNick 18 is the recommended string for these chronic string breakers), the 17 gauge version provides much more durability and string life than UltraNick 18.
But the final choice comes down to you and your game. If you like the feel of UltraNick 18 but find it doesn't hold up to your liking, try the 17 gauge. Conversely, if you have no breakage problems with UltraNick 17, you might like the added bite and control of 18 even more. It's up to you."