Triad 6.0 Midplus Racquet Review
"OK, I'm hanging up my ProStaff 6.0 85 once again. I've retired it twice before; once for the Prince Precision 690 Longbody back when longer racquets were just hitting the scene. It had a somewhat similar feel to the 6.0 85 but it was longer and back then longer was better - right? Then I switched to the Dunlop Tour Pro + 1.0. Similar build as the 690 but a lot lighter and not nearly as sluggish, and back then lighter was better - right? But then when TW was play testing the 6.0 85 I realized it's still one of the sweetest racquets ever made so I switched back. However, the ProStaff 6.0 85 is a hard racquet to play with. The groundies are great but it's tough to serve with and tough to volley with. Maybe not for Pete but I'm not Pete - I love the feel but I need some help. When I warmed up with the Triad 6.0 for the first time, it occurred to me that 20 years and who knows how many "technologies" later, Wilson has finally come full circle. The more I hit with the Triad 6.0 the clearer it became that this racquet captures the solid feeling of the 6.0 85 yet is a lot easier to play with. I felt at home with this racquet right away. I'll always cherish the time I spent with my ProStaff 6.0 85 but it's time to move on...again."
Sincerely, Playtester #1
There is always a certain amount of skepticism that any new racquet technology must overcome when it's first introduced. Wilson's Triad technology was no exception, especially when they put it on a racquet with the heritage of the ProStaff 6.0, one of the most popular racquets in the history of the game. The biggest concern we had was that too much vibration would be eliminated from the frame. Player's racquets already have less shock than the stiffer game improvement racquets so you don't need, or want, as much dampening on them. Also, some low amplitude vibration is needed if a racquet is going to have any feel. We were afraid that if Wilson put the same Triad technology they used on the Triad 2.0 on the Triad 6.0 they would eliminate all the feel from the racquet.
Fortunately, Wilson's anticipated this problem and modified the Triad technology to match the needs of each of their Triad racquets. Wilson uses different materials to produce various amounts of shock and vibration dampening in different Triad racquets. According to Wilson, Triad technology reduces shock and vibration by 25% in the Triad 6.0 compared to a 60% reduction in the Triad 2.0 and 52% reduction in the Triad 4.0, thus retaining some of the traditional feedback and feel that is important to advanced players.
As you can see from the opening paragraph at least one of our platyesters was won over by the new Triad 6.0. Here's what the rest of our playtesters had to say.
As expected, the Triad 6.0 offers more control than power on groundstrokes. Drew begins, "My groundstrokes were consistent with good power and control from both sides. I had no problems keeping the ball deep or producing angles. Topspin or slice was there if I wanted it or I could flatten out my stokes for extra pace. There was no shot that felt uncomfortable or that I lost confidence in. The predictability of groundstrokes is one of this racquet's greatest strengths - it's nice not to worry about spraying balls around the court. Mark offers, "I only had to hit a couple of balls with the Triad 6.0 to know I was going to play well with it. The weight, power level and feel were excellent. I could hit topspin or slice shots with minimal effort. The moderate power level gave me enough power to hit winners and enough control to sustain a rally. I could also hit flat or with spin with equal ease. The only problem I found with the Triad 6.0 was with balls that I hit in the lower half of the string bed. The power seemed to really drop on these shots and most of them ended up in the net." Dan adds, "this was one of the most comfortable, arm-friendly player's racquets I've tested. Although I could detect a defined sweetspot I found a somewhat muted, quiet feel, even on balls hit off-center. Unlike the other Triads the 6.0 is provided good touch (despite the muted feel) and a high level of spin control off both sides."
Granville says, "OK, OK, I'm convinced! I didn't think there would be a Triad racquet that I could play with. Having had this mindset going into the playtest, and then to be solidly convinced otherwise is a testament to this technology. There is no other racquet or technology, before or since Triad, that feels the same. It is unique and is something I refer to as the 'Triad touch'. From the first few groundies I noticed the Triad 6.0 was different than all the other Triads. First, I could hit out on the forehand side with a solid and stable response. I got good depth on my shots without having to adjust my strokes. The same was true for my backhand. Additionally, targeting was ver precise on passing shots, both down the line and cross-court. Although previous Triads had too much vibration dampening the 6.0 was more suited to me and my all-court game." Don comments, "I liked the dampened, muted feel of the Triad 6.0 and the overall weight/balance/swingweight. It's not a true player's racquet, which is probably why it worked well for me. It's hefty enough for stability and a solid feel, yet still maneuverable enough for my game. I could take a full swing without concern of the ball flying, and apply good topspin and slice. If there was anything that was lacking it was the racquet 'feedback' and crisp feel found in many player's racquets. However, I like a dampened feel so this was a minor concern." Chad was our lone dissenter, adding, "Every shot that I hit felt dead. Perhaps it is just my style of play, as I like to hit the ball hard, but it seemed like my groundies had nothing on them; no zest or pop. Since I wasn't able to punish the ball every shot I hit landed inside the court, only without anything on them."
There were few surprises when using the Triad 6.0 at net. Dan offers, "I found the same great comfortable and muted feel up at the net. Mobility was excellent for a head-light player's racquet. However, I found some issues regarding the balance of this racquet when volleying. I found myself trying to punch volleys for added depth. I adjusted with a quicker blocking pace which helped. I would probably add some weight at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions to help facilitate a weightier feel. With any luck I'd be working a little less hard for my volley depth while feeling a little less torque off-center." Chad continues, "The placement and power of my volleys enabled me to capitalize favorably on many easy put-away shots. Maneuverability was improved, compared to groundstrokes, but still not to my liking. I found that I had difficulty reacting quickly enough to hard-hit shots with the result generally leading to an easy passing shot for my opponent, an error by myself, or just getting plain lucky and hitting the tip of the net." Granville adds, "the Triad 6..0 is a solid performer at the net. For some reason it plays more even-balanced than its reported 6 points head-light balance. I had no problems punching the ball down the line or cross-court for the winner. Perhaps my most anticipated shot in the playtest was the touch volley and drop shot. If you recall in earlier Triad playtests I noted that the response (feel) was so drastically reduced I could barely feel the ball on the strings, and as a result the touch shots suffered greatly. Not so with the 6.0. I could feel the ball on the strings and drop the ball in the target area with good accuracy and consistency." Drew comments, "volleys were solid and predictable with a good power level. I could block volleys for control or punch them away for winners. It's a heck of a lot easier to volley with the Triad 6.0 than the ProStaff 6.0." Don says, "I liked the maneuverability at net. There wasn't abundant power but if my technique was correct I could hit effective aggressive and touch volleys. Same good comfort and solid feel as with groundstrokes." Mark adds, "I had good control volleying hard-hit balls and plenty of touch on the softer shots. It was also remarkably maneuverable for a racquet that weighs almost twelve ounces."
Most, but not all, of our playtesters enjoyed the Triad 6.0's maneuverability and comfortable feel on serves. Granville says, "the serve is another shot where the Triad 6.0 really showed the benefit of Triad touch. Comfort is one word that comes to mind when reflecting on the serve. In addition, I was getting some good pop on the serve (and some cheap points in the match Ð love that!). The racquet afforded excellent spin on wide serves from the deuce court and good kick on wide serves from the ad side. As with earlier Triad playtests, I did notice that my serves out wide were travelling just a bit wider than targeted." Mark counters, "I had some problems serving with the Triad 6.0. It wasn't until the 4th time I played with it that I was able to serve constistenly well. The first three times I used it I couldn't generate any power. The racquet head is very light and it was easy to generate racquet head speed but it was hard to get my timing down. In the end I was able to hit some quick serves with good control, but I was never able to hit the real big bomber. There just wasn't enough weight in the head."
Dan offers, "In my opinion, the Triad 6.0 sports the perfect specs to serve with. It's light enough to create some high-end racquet head speed, yet provides a soft, forgiving feel even on the hardest hit serves. Combined with solid slice potential and nice kick on second serves, this was an ideal serving racquet for me." Drew comments, "Ample power, good control and no problems producing a wide variety of serves.Ó Don concludes, "The Triad 6.0 was one of those racquets I could swing fast on serves and had to swing fast for good pace. It requires the server generate most, if not all, of the power. Good slice and kick serves though, and the dampened feel was a plus for me."
For a "player's racquet" the Triad 6.0 allows most users choices on serve returns thanks to its combination of traditional weight and head-light balance. Dan explains, "the Triad 6.0 is heavy and powerful enough to block back hard-hit serves with a small to medium backswing. It's also mobile enough to get out in front with quickly when 'into-the-body' benders catch you by surprise. A nice feature I found useful on occasion. I did find slice returns off the backhand sitting up a bit if a major forward weight transfer wasn't there. A bit of added weight would remedy this though, in my opinion." Mark says, "returning serves with the Triad 6.0 was a timing game. I'd take a full swing and if I timed it right I'd hit a good return. Once I got used to the balance of the racquet it was easy to tee off on the ball. If I did miss a return it was usually because I eased up on my swing and the ball ended up in the net. As long as I was aggressive I was successful." Drew comments, "returns really stood out for me. I had excellent control and good consistency. The power level is ideal for me. I could take a controlled swing against first serves and be more aggressive on second serves and still maintain good placement and consistency. I could hit a variety of passing shots; cross court angles with topspin, down the line, topspin lobs or soft slices. Granville adds, "after the initial warm-up I was hitting serve returns with confidence. Granted, I was tentative early in the playtest when I was focusing on stroke production and wanting to get in the groove. I was quickly rewarded with good response from the racquet and consistent targeting on returns from both sides. This is another shot where the comfort of Triad is evident. An added benefit was good power, both on the defensive block return or when driving the returns for offensive winners." Don says, "I had more success when I took a medium to long backswing on serve returns. My attempts to block the ball back were less successful; the shots didn't have enough oomph. With a little practice though, I believe I could work out the timing of taking a short backswing against these bombs and still catch up with the ball. That's the benefit of this racquet's maneuverability."
Our playtest staff was skeptical about the Triad 6.0 at first but most found it to be a solid performing racquet that combines comfort technology with traditional player's racquet features. It's not a typical ProStaff, but then it's not supposed to be. Players who want a softer feel without sacrificing control may find a lot to like about the Triad 6.0. It won't be for everyone, but the only way you'll know if it's for you is to take it for a test drive. Demos are available through our mail-order demo program.