If you’re looking for a low powered, durable string then you’ve come to the right place. Head Hawk string offers the classic combination of control and spin that poly string users will be familiar with. However, if it’s power you’re after, you certainly won’t find it here.
You might think that a string that offers you very low power is pretty useless, but the thing with string is, there’s always a trade off. In order to get the high levels of control a string like Head Hawk offers, there are tons of people who are willing to sacrifice power.
For players with advanced, full strokes, who can produce a lot of power naturally, the big thing is being able to control those strokes, and that’s why poly strings like Head Hawk have helped change the game in the last couple of decades.
All three of us at the Tennis Bros use poly strings, with Larry and I both using Babolat RPM Blast, and Tom using a mix of natural gut in the Babolat VS Team and RPM. The full bed of poly is not for everyone though, as there are some significant drawbacks when it comes to feel and comfort.
For players that are used to poly strings, they will certainly have no problems with the Head Hawk, but for people who are new to polys, they might want to look at mixing Head Hawk with something a bit more comfortable, a little like Tom does. There are so many ways to get your racket playing how you want it, and Head Hawk is certainly a good option for players looking to add some control to their game.
I took this playtest with my Babolat Pure Strike 18 x 20s, one strung at my normal 52lbs and the other at 42lbs. This would allow me to find out how the Head Hawk performed at different tensions.
There are a lot of good poly strings out there, so I was interested to see what the Head Hawk could do for me!
Power – 5.5/10
Head Hawk String is a pretty underpower string even by the standards of polys. This will have some people licking their lips, but I would say it makes it inaccessible for beginner players. You’ve got to be able to generate a good amount of power through your strokes if your using Head Hawk, otherwise it’s not going to offer you much assistance at all.
For players like me, who love to swing for the fences this is a great quality though. I’m always saying this, but I want to feel like all the power comes from me, not the strings, and the Head Hawk gives you that feeling.
I’d say of the strings I’ve player with recently, (Pacific Poly Power Pro, Luxilon LXN Smart String, and my Babolat RPM Blast) the Head Hawk is actually the least powerful. Some people are going to enjoy this, but I’d say it’s a little too underpowered for the majority of players.
We gave the Head Hawk a 5.5 out of 10 for power.
Control – 8.5/10
The flip side of a low powered sting is plenty of control, and that’s what you get with Head Hawk string. At the end of the day, this is the reason people play with poly strings – they offer unrivalled control.
With the Head Hawk strung at 52lbs I found I was getting exactly the kind of control I like. I was able to attack the ball, aiming for the corners, and playing with great confidence. With the lower string tension of 42lbs I was a little bit more out of my comfort zone, but there was still good control on offer.
If you’re someone who is switching from a multifilament or natural gut string, then I would certainly recommend you start off nearer the 42lbs mark than the 52lbs. You get a little bit more power and feel, and you’re already going to get more control than you’re used to with the multifilament.
There’s not too much to say here, other than Head Hawk offered great levels of control. We gave it an 8.5 out of 10.
Touch – 5/10
This is another area where poly string doesn’t give you the greatest performance. I personally really like the feel of these strings, but most people prefer a softer, more cushioned feel. If you’re someone who is used to playing with polys though, you will know what to expect and Head Hawk does a decent job in this area.
While the Head Hawk’s touch wasn’t quite as good as I found the Luxilon LXN Smart string to be, I found it to be roughly equal to my RPM Blast. This may not suit some people, but, it allows me to do what I need to do on court, which is all you need.
Again, I found that the lower tension performed a little better in this area, so if you’re looking to switch to this string, but are worried about the lack of touch, I would recommend going for the lower string tension.
Touch is rarely a strong suit of poly strings and the Head Hawk’s touch is about average for a poly. This led us to give it a 5/10 for touch.
Spin – 8/10
If control is the number one strength of the poly strings then spin is not far behind. This is another contribution of the poly strings to the modern game, allowing players to play with the heavy topspin strokes that are prevalent today.
Again, the Head Hawk String does extremely well in this area and offers access to a lot of spin. I don’t think it offered quite the same levels of spin as the Babolat RPM Blast that I currently use, but in some ways I quite liked that. It’s about finding the balance that suits your game and the Head Hawk’s spin levels were good enough without being too much for me.
This was the one area where I much preferred the 52lbs weight to the 42lbs. With the 42lbs setup, the strings had that little bit more movement giving easy spin, but I felt with the 52lbs setups, the strings stayed in place more to give a bit of extra grip on the ball and a more controlled spin.
Whatever your style of play, you’re bound to find the Head Hawk String offers more than enough spin for you.
Durability – 7/10
Head Hawk String offers some very good durability. Not only does it keep its tension well, but it also lasts for a long time. It gets pretty tiresome when you’re constantly breaking strings (even if you feel like a badass), so a string like this Head Hawk can save you a lot of hassle.
The Head Hawk offers about the same level of durability as the Babolat RPM Blast I use, which is long! When I’m not doing string tests I seem to go forever without changing strings, so you can rest easy you’re not going to be spending too much money getting your racket strung every week.
Along with power and spin, durability is one of the big strong points for Head Hawk. It will give you consistent performance over a long period of time and we gave it a 7 out of 10 for durability.
Comfort – 5.5/10
Comfort is not a strong point for poly strings, and unfortunately, you have to sacrifice a bit in this area. Even for a poly I didn’t find the Head Hawk to be particularly comfortable, and I certainly noticed a difference between this and a more comfortable poly like Solinco Hyper G.
It’s difficult to say you can ignore this category if the performance is good enough because there are plenty of people who suffer from arm, wrist, elbow, and shoulder injuries who should probably look for something more comfortable than the Head Hawk String. Everything is about your personal preference, but I think the Head Hawk might just be a little bit too stiff for many people.
If you like how it plays, but aren’t happy with the feel and comfort levels then you could always have this string in your mains and something a little bit softer in the crosses. This might get you a better blend, but it’s something you’ll have to play around with.
Overall – 7/10
Overall, the Head Hawk didn’t do quite enough in its strong areas to overcome its negatives and so, wouldn’t feature in my top 10 poly strings. For such a low powered string, I did think it would offer a little bit more comfort and feel, but it was still middle of the road in those categories.
I do think finding the perfect string is quite a personal thing, but certainly the Head Hawk didn’t do anywhere near enough to convince me to change from my Babolat RPM Blast. It doesn’t have as much control or spin, and does no better when it comes to comfort and feel.
While the Head Hawk String does offer a nice middle ground between power and spin with a strong emphasis on control, the whole package didn’t do quite enough for me. Again it’s not a bad string, but I think there are better options out there.
We gave the Head Hawk 17 String a 7 out of 10 overall.
Review by: Will