Luxilon Big Banger Original is a true pioneer of its kind. Famously leading the way for polyester strings in the 80s, Big Banger original is still tremendously popular today; showcased by professionals such as David Ferrer, Richard Gasquet and Nicolas Almagro.
Not for the faint hearted – Big Banger Original is a firm, round polyester string that offers supreme control and durability for big hitters and baseline grinders. Tennis players who rely exclusively on touch and feel may want to steer clear of this one, but for those who love to swing for the fences, keep reading… and start getting excited! Your balls are about to find the court this time, rather than the back fence!
Aside from investigating the media hype, we were excited to test out Luxilon Big Banger Original as we were so impressed by its younger cousin, Luxilon Alu Power. In fact, it turned out to be fascinating to compare a more modern string to its classic headline predecessor.
Control – 9/10
If you’re familiar with any of my (Tom’s) reviews, then you will be aware that I usually like to open my article with the power category as a first sub-heading. However, Luxilon Big Banger Original has been specifically designed for LOW Power. Therefore, I thought it best to start off with the string’s greatest attribute, control, and start getting you in the mood for tennis right from the beginning!
I decided not to complete the playtest with my usual racket – the Wilson RF 97, as this is already a relatively control orientated racket and wouldn’t complement the string well in a full bed. Instead, I opted for David Ferrer’s racket of choice from 2017, the Babolat Pure Drive Plus! Since David also uses this string, this couldn’t be a more perfect playtest!
Compared to my Wilson racket, the extended length Babolat racket felt like a sledgehammer in my hand! You can imagine how I felt in my ready position behind the baseline when we were about to start our first rally during the playtest… I was just hoping the fence was strong enough to protect the people walking behind the court! Okay, not quite to that extreme! But I was certainly getting ready to see my balls sail way long.
My initial ideas couldn’t have been further from the truth. It was tough to believe, but I felt like I couldn’t hit a ball long with this string. I’ve experienced a similar sensation with strings such as RPM Blast and Alu Power, but this was in a different league regarding that aspect. I also found it particularly interesting that once I ramped up my swing speed, the feeling of unbelievable control still remained.
With a polyester string like RPM Blast (a string I recently reviewed), producing more racket head speed had a noticeable correlation to mph output. However, I felt this was to a significantly lesser extent with Luxilon Big Banger Original. That’s not to say that I wasn’t getting more or even enough power from the string, I just found that the power didn’t come as easily “on demand” as with other polyester strings.
For an (excuse the phrase) older or less physically able player, this would be a real issue. However, for those with a live arm (think Alexander Dolgopolov) then Big Banger Original opens up a new realm of possibilities and a dimension that can only be perceived by those with a complimentary game style. Of course, I’m talking about either an extremely big hitting player (Dolgopolov), or those who base their game around percentage play (Ferrer). Both types of players place extreme value on control, but in different ways.
Power – 3/10
As I have previously mentioned during the “control” section, Luxilon Big Banger Original offers an extremely low powered response.
When discussing power, it’s really important to consider your game style, your racket of choice, and also, how much natural power you possess, physically speaking. Only when you have evaluated these factors can you truly appreciate what a particular string can offer you. Some players may be requiring extra power from a string and some may actually crave less power from a string.
During the playtest, I was left craving just a little bit more pop after stringing Luxilon Big Banger Original in the Pure Drive Tour Plus. Although this is a very suitable racket and string combo, I do like a little bit more jump out of my string bed and easier access to power. Using this racket and Alu Power would have felt an ideal combination for me personally.
I gave this string 3/10 for power, not in the sense of a rating of value, but instead that it offers 30% of the power that the most powerful string of all time could have (although that doesn’t exist yet!).
Players who have a lot of their own strength and power already will love Big Banger Original, but those of you who love a lively feel off the string bed should probably look elsewhere.
Touch – 4/10
There was a word that formed in my mind immediately during the playtest. Boardy. I’ve spoken to lots of other tennis friends about this and we sometimes laugh about it feeling like an “absolute board”!
If you’re an old school net rusher like John McEnroe without the power of a John Isner, then I imagine alarm bells are screaming in your mind! If that’s you, maybe check out our selection of natural gut reviews! However, if you’re a player who grinds from the back of the court with big swings and doesn’t spend a lot of time at the net, this string could be the one for you.
Imagine a flat wall made only from wood.
Now imagine a tennis ball hitting that wall.
The ball’s response from the wall is always going to be the same. As you strike the ball into the wall, it comes back to you in a predictable way.
Now imagine changing the material of this wall. This time we’re going to go with a soft, elastic rubber material.
The ball is now going to fly off the wall with more mph, but it’s also going to be more variable.
This is a pretty rudimentary example but think of Big Banger Original as a wooden board on your racket’s strings. It won’t offer you superb touch like other strings could, but it will allow you to pinpoint exactly where you want to send the ball and offer you this response every time you take a shot.
This type of “wooden board” analogy is clear to see in the game of a Spanish clay-courter. We’ve talked about Ferrer a lot – so imagine someone different this time! Their game is quite predictable, but they hardly ever miss.
Spin – 7/10
As with all polyester strings, spin is a most desirable aspect. Big Banger Original delivered well in that regard and allowed me to hit a very heavy ball indeed. Due to the dead response of the string bed, I was able to really accelerate through the ball and find extra topspin that I wouldn’t have been able to with a lesser amount of racket head speed.
Although Big Banger Original offers quite a good amount of spin, it wasn’t an enviable amount. Perhaps I’ve been a little spoiled, as I’ve had the chance to hit with some exceptionally spin friendly strings in the past, like Babolat’s RPM Blast. But I just wasn’t bowled over with Big Banger Original’s bite on the ball. It definitely offers you enough spin to get the job done, but there are probably better alternatives if you love to produce an insanely kicking ball flight! However, as far as round, unshaped polyester strings go, this one offers very good spin and gets a 7 out of 10.
Durability – 9/10
I would go as far as saying that Big Banger Original is probably the most durable string on the market. If there is, in fact, a string out there that is more durable, then I would probably steer clear of it as it would be too stiff to offer any kind of playability.
For frequent string breakers who don’t have the budget to restring every few days, then we would recommend Big Banger Original as it offers ultimate durability and also good levels of playability, in terms of touch, for such a stiff string.
Normally I’ll expect to break my own strings within a week of using them. However, I was able to continue for a few weeks with this string, before it broke. For me, that would only happen if a string offered true durability, which Big Banger Original does, in spades.
In terms of tension loss, I would say this string is middle of the road. I noticed some tension loss after the play test, but I didn’t experience much of the classic trampoline effect as tension loss occurred, in the same way I normally do. I think this must have been due to the string being so muted to begin with.
Obviously, Big Banger Original doesn’t offer superb touch when freshly strung, so it will come as no surprise that this dropped even further as it grew older and lost elasticity in the racket.
Comfort – 3/10
If you are seeking a string loaded with comfort that feels like heaven on your joints, then you are probably looking at the wrong article. If that is you, I do quite wonder how you ended up in the Luxilon section of the site! However, if you’re physically able and have sound technique, then comfort probably isn’t something you’re too worried about. Big Banger Original doesn’t feel “uncomfortable”, there are just far better options out there if you exclusively seek comfort.
Overall Playability – 7/10
For the right player, this could be an unbelievable string. There’s a reason David Ferrer and David Nalbandian amongst others used it for their whole careers. There aren’t many products in the sporting world that survive the test of time, but Luxilon Big Banger Original has been going strong since the 80s. This truly speaks volumes about the product.
If you’re a big swinger or aggressive baseline who doesn’t require any additional power from a string, then Luxilon Big Banger Original is certainly worth trying out! It will help you harness your power and project it into the court with pinpoint precision.
We gave a 7/10 overall rating for this string. In our opinion, the Luxilon products have definitely progressed a little since Big Banger original was first released, but those who favour the original style of polyester strings that led the way out of the natural gut era have no need to look elsewhere.
Review by: Tom