First Impressions of the WILSON nCode Six-One Tour 90

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Craig Clark, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    After many restless days of anticipation, my first of two (matched pair) Wilson nCode Six-One Tours arrived via Fed Ex yesterday. Of course, I was immediately off to the courts for extended demos both last night and this afternoon! Here are my initial impressions after a total of approximately five and a half hours of drilling and competitive point play against a very capable 5.5 player. Owing to nasty weather w/ scattered showers and thunderstorms, the tests took place indoors, on medium speed hard courts.

    The tester: 42yo male. 6'2", 181#. 5.0-5.5 aggressive all courter.

    Frame of Reference: Wilson PS 6.0 95 Tour, Euro version, strung at 63# w/ the same Hybrid (VS Touch 17 guage natural gut/Lux BB ALU 16 Rough) listed below.

    Aesthetics, and 'Subjective Feel': The nCode frame has a quality feel and is very nicely made, w/ consistent paint and a great 'pick up' weight. In comparison to the Tour 90 (also on hand for side by side assessment, and strung identically) the first thing one notices, even before a ball is struck, is the difference in weight distribution. The nCode frame feels equally substantial but is easier to swing. My guess would be that the SW will fall in the low 320's, maybe even slightly less. The head size looks VERY similiar to my Euro 6.0 95's. In fact they are nearly identical,even though the two frames are listed at 90si and 95si respectively. Go figure. And oh, yes I do love those Wilson leather grips, and the shape of the underlying handle!

    Specifications of tested frame: 12.4 oz strung; 9 points HL w/ the Wilson Pro Overgrip installed. No dampener, thank you. Strung w/ a hybrid: VS Touch natural gut 17 guage on the mains at 60#, Luxilon BB ALU Rough 16 on the crosses at 58#.

    Groundstrokes:

    FH-I LOVE this frame on the forehand, just like I did the Tour 90 when I first played it, and just like I remember my love affair w/ the old PS 6.0 85. Since I began playing the Euro 6.0 95 Tour last summer my forehand has become my second best shot (after my serve). Take note: the nCode is truly a superior weapon on the forehand groundstroke. Why? Well, with the nCode I was able to generate more racquet head speed AND spin. This spells greater velocity and enhanced control. The result was the ability to rip forehands w/ tremendous 'weight' and 'bite', driving my opponent backward, deeper in the court and opening angles for easy winners. I found myself swinging away, without fear of the ball 'flying' or a loss of control. My opponent commented on more than one occasion about the 'heaviness' of my FH groundstroke when using the nCode SixOne Tour.

    BH-For a long time my one handed topspin backhand had been my stronger, more reliable groundstroke. This changed last summer (see above) with my move to the Euro Tour 95. Enter the nCode SixOne and voila the BH is back baby, neck and neck w/ the forehand again! Indeed, all the same comments noted above concerning the FH apply to the backhand. Namely, more racquet head speed and RPM's on the ball translate to the ability to pick a target and let 'er rip! One shot I struggled with when using both the 6.0 85 and the T90 was the down the line topspin drive (to occasionally break open a rally or keep my opponent off guard). I found myself hitting it late with these frames. Not so w/ the nCode SixOne. Put simply, it was easier to get the racquet back early and then strike THROUGH the contact point. In my opinion, one of the hallmarks of all great 'players' frames is the 'plow through' factor. Think hot Ginsu meets Parkay here. And speaking of slice, I've never had the pleasure of playing any frame better for my OHBH slice approach shot. I never had to measure it-just lean in, strike it firmly, and get ready to volley!

    Transition/Touch Shots: Slice approaches (see above) were produced as well as I am capable of hitting them. The racquet is heavy enough but still feels very nimble, allowing half volleys and 'pick ups' to flow naturally, and with excellent control. Low approach volleys felt crisp and were easily directed as I pleased. I threw in a few drop or intentionally short approach shots just for fun and was suprised by the amount of back/side-spin I was getting. However if I have a major fuss w/ this frame it is in the ephemeral area of touch-there is a 'muted' quality to the nCode SixOne-not in a 'Volkl-like' way-but definitely noticeable, especially in comparison to my reference Euro Tour 95 and the the PS 6.0 85. I didn't always get the 'feedback' from the frame some other player's sticks provide.

    Volleys: The 6.0 85 and T90 were each highly regarded by s/v players, and for good reason. I liked, but did not love, serving and volleying with my Euro 6.0 95. Truth be known (at least MY truth) the Tour 90 could feel a little 'clunky' at net, esp in fast paced exchanges. The nCode SixOne on the other hand seems to preserve the best features of its predeccesors (heft and reasonable maneuverabiity) while adding a certain 'firmness' and stability not found in its forerunners (IMHO) when hitting volleys. It is also CLEARLY more agile. I found myself getting to more difficult volleys and controlling them. Again, Wilson seems to have found a balance between weight/stability and maneurverability that's hard to describe, but certainly in evidence when a guy fires a 90MPH groundie right at your privates. Set the racquet, firm your wrist, and let the frame do the rest! ACCURACY on the volley was another forte of the nCode. This frame can also offer plenty of 'pop' but you have to have good technique and use your feet to transfer body weight into the volley. This became evident toward the end of our nearly three hour hit today, when I began to tire a bit at net. (Read: my tongue was hanging out and I was a bit deyhdrated, but wanted to keep hitting)

    Serves/Overheads: Here's the best part-I can really serve with this thing! I know, I know......the PS 6.0 85 is a great frame for serving. I didn't say it wasn't/isn't. Just not that great FOR ME. I can blast the flat first serve w/ the 6.0 85, and get DECENT kick on the second. Same with the T90 and Euro Tour 95. Honestly I've always felt my serve suffered a bit when I changed to the Euro 95 last year-this was one area where I found the PS 6.0 95 Original superior. With the n Code I was absolutely launching the first serve, and hitting the kick and slice serves to the outer limits of my ability. I was able to both pound and place overheads better as well-again I think this was related to the more maneuverable feel of the frame. It just felt a bit easier to get the racquet prepared early. Initially I was (pleasantly) suprised by the serving performance of the nCode SixOne. But maybe I shouldn't have been! After all, more racquet head speed and greater 'bite' on the ball to produce more vigorous spin would certainly only help the serve, yes? And these qualities were in fact the very first things I noticed when hitting groundies in 'drill' format with the nCode.

    Conclusion: The nCode SixOne Tour 90 is one heck of a fine player's frame. I can't speak to the role of 'nano-technology' in determining the observed end results, but this stick DOES in fact feel more stable AND more maneuverable in play. I'd say it also possesses a most unique and (to me at least) truly fascinating quality-somehow both power AND control seem enhanced in comparison to it's 'lineage' frames, the 6.0 85 and T90. To get picky, it does NOT offer the last word in 'feel'-Volkl and Head probably still hold those trophies. But for a balance of virtues, and for serving peformance, the nCode will be tough to better. I'll be buying two more (sorry Fabrice).

    P.S. In the interest of fairness, given my 'gushing' over this frame, I had a similiarly favorable initial impression of the Tour 90, but found it ultimately NOT my cup of tea over time, primarily owing to it's aforementioned percieved occasional 'clunkiness' at net. I will keep you posted!
     
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  2. Coda

    Coda Semi-Pro

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    you said the frame size was almost identical to a 95 square inch frame, did you happen to compare the frame size to a tour 90? Was the sweetspot easier or harder to find than the tour 90? What general comparisons can you make with the ncode tour with the tour 90? Thanks...all answers appreciated!
     
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  3. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Thanks for the great write-up, Craig!!

    I was wondering if you have any further comparisons between the nSix-One Tour and the PS 6.0 95 Original (my current stick)? I've had a short demo of the nTour but did not find it as powerful on serves as the PS 6.0 85 nor 95. I agree about the "muted" feel of the nTour. I think, for me, it takes away too much feel for flat and spin serves. I also found the weight distribution of the nTour to be similar to that of the Tour 90, i.e, very different from that of either the PS 6.0 85 or 95, both of which have a more headlight feel. I felt both the nTour and the Tour 90 had more weight around the throat area.

    If I had to describe the feel of the nTour in one word, it'll probably be "smooth", whereas, for the PS 6.0 85 and 95, the feel is more "crisp".
     
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  4. Jim Hendricks

    Jim Hendricks Rookie

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    Thanks Craig, I wasn't going to try the n-code Tour 90, but it is going to be hard not to after reading your post.
     
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  5. Kevin T

    Kevin T Professional

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    Excellent review, Craig. My interest is peaked. By the way, if you have noticed his "for sale" racquets in the classifieds, you know Dr. Clark has tried every players frame known to man, so his opinion is definitely valued.
     
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  6. WilsonPSSurgeX

    WilsonPSSurgeX New User

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    thanks for the review man, i cant wait to demo one.
     
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  7. finchy

    finchy Professional

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    great review craig. how do u think this racquet would affect a player of 3.5-4.0 rating? i really need to step up my game and work on my strokes more, but would you consider this a racquet to help improve on form? how is the sweetspot? is it more forgiving than most racquets?

    i currently use a surge 5.1 and i would really like something with less power and less vibrations, but certainly more control. I thought that the six-one 95 sounded perfect for me, but i might need a racquet that would help me improve on my game and would boost my performance and form.
     
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  8. Coda

    Coda Semi-Pro

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    finchy- I haven't demoed this racket yet, but if you have the muscle to swing a 12.4 oz stick, go for it!
     
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  9. CliffH

    CliffH Rookie

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    Played all day with the demo:
    This racquet swings pretty light. Amazing control. Very comfortable.
    Really rewards good technique, classic Wilson style. Fun to play with. Better racquet than my classic 6.1 and that is saying a lot :x :!:
    The better you play, the better it feels. More pop than expected, at mid tension, so tighter with a soft string is probably necessary. Forehand great. Slice OHBH great. Volleys great.
    Couldn't play with the 95 because it is going to be a dissapointment :(
    For you ps 85 users: there probably will never be another racquet to touch it for all of it's virtues: This racquet doesn't, but it is a good compromise, as it plays like a 95" :) :)
    We played about 6 hours and the racquet felt soft and not cumbersome. The tour90 felt heavy, others harsh.
    Will try the 95 and make a decision.
     
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  10. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    Day three: the demo process continues.....

    Hello Fellas,

    First and foremost, thanks for the kind words on the review.

    I headed back out today for a 90 min hit in the blistering heat and soul sapping humidity. As I sit here rehydrating and typing, I find that the basic impression perists: the nCode SixOne 90 is a hefty, medium stiff, head-light players frame with a somewhat 'muted' feel and more power than you would expect. Most importantly, it possesses the kind of multi-shot versatility all courters dream about at night. While not the last word in 'feel', and maybe a bit over-powered if strung too loosely (what frame isn't?) it will be hard to find something that combines so many virtues in one package.

    Now I'll try to address some of the issues raised in your replies:

    1. Size of the head: I put the nCode SixOne directly beside the T90 and saw some very minor variations. It does appear the 'PWS' humps are ever so SLIGHTLY (and I do mean slightly-this could simply be an optical illusion) lower in the hoop on the nCode in comparison to the T90. This might explain the perceived differences in 'pick up weight' and weight distribution, as well as what I'm guessing is a substantially lower SW for the nCode. This idea is supported by the observation that others who have demo'd the frame apparently agree w/ my impression concerning a perceived lower SW and enhanced mobility at net. This would of course be consistent w/ a downward migration of the mass in the PWS system. Remember, moving the mass even fractionally closer to the hand (ie toward the butt end of the frame) can change the feel of a racquet dramatically, and would most likely lower the SW while increasing mobility.

    2. Sweet spot: I always felt the T90 had 'hot spots', that is to say that the stringbed was not 100% consistent. Since poor string jobs can cause this problem I never really made a big deal of it in previous posts. However, the sweet spot of the nCode SixOne 90 is VERY consistent. I found it to be as large, if not larger, than my Euro 6.0 95 Tours. It also seems to be a bit lower in the stringbed, something I like. In direct comparison to a freshly strung PS 6.0 85 (70# w/ TNT2 18 guage) the nCode has a much bigger sweetspot.

    3. Comparison to the Wilson PS 6.0 95: I don't have one on hand to hit side by side, so this will be based on memory alone. Take it for what it's worth! VERY SIMILIAR in character, but the nCode is more 'muted' or damped w/ less vibration to the arm. The 6.0 95 feels more 'crisp', esp on returns and serves, as does the PS 6.0 85. It's not that the nCode SixOne lacks 'pop' or 'power' on these shots-in fact I agree with another poster that it may have a bit too much of both! I didn't notice this at all on thurs or friday's hits, but by this morning I think the strings may have loosened up a bit and I was having some shots sail long. Next time around I'd string the nCode w/ BB Ace 18 at 65-70#. The gut hybrid may be a bit too much in this frame.

    4. Using the nCode SixOne 90 at the 3.5-4.0 level: Choice of a frame probably has more to do with your biomechanics (themselves a function of body mass index (a meaure of mass relative to height), length of your arms, muscular strength, flexibilty, and of course ability to time the ball than w/ your level of play per se. I'm 6'2" and 180# w/ very long arms (I'm 6'4" in my arm span/reach-one reason I like to serve and volley so much! :D ). My pal Tim (who I'll hit with tomorrow morning) is about 5'8" and maybe 155#, but very flexible and muscular. He and I are pretty closely matched in terms of ability, but we couldn't possible prefer more dissimiliar frames. Tim can hit the felt off the ball with an old Wilson 4.3 HH that weighs like 8 or 9oz. I can't keep a ball on the court with that frame. So why can Tim play so well with that granny stick (no offense, Tim) and I blast it out of the park?. The answer is two-fold. He uses a semi-western grip to my eastern, and has a MUCH shorter arm span. So, since his 'lever' is not nearly so long as mine, he can generate CONTROLLABLE racquet head speed w/ that 27.5" 9oz frame. I on the other hand can knock the you know what out of a serve with it, but forget the rest! :wink: So, that's a long winded way of saying, 'why not try it'. But remember, NO frame is going to improve your footwork/technique.

    Hope this helps! Keep the feedback coming. I'm off work tomorrow AND Monday, w/ lot's tennis to come!!

    CC
     
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  11. Coda

    Coda Semi-Pro

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    Craig, I thought the Tim story was hilarious, thanks for the feedback. I have the same build as you and I can't use anything far from pure player's sticks either...I S&V as well, noone can shoot clean winners past me when I'm at the net.
     
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  12. Kirko

    Kirko Hall of Fame

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    Craig that was great & dead on review ! I hit with breifly & had similar reactions . I thought it was practically vibration free.
     
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  13. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    'Vibration free vs. lack of feel'....

    Kirko correctly points out the remarkable absence of vibration with the nCode SixOne Tour 90.......I played for hours consecutively with the frame against hard hitting opposition and felt NO arm, wrist, elbow, or shoulder pain. Some will call this a 'lack of feedback', others will value it as 'excellent damping' or 'vibration control' b/c they are prone to vibration-induced injury......

    More to come in the review-I am off to the courts to hit w/ Tim!!!!

    CC
     
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  14. AznAntho

    AznAntho New User

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    can anybody also compare the ncode to prestige classic? thanks
     
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  15. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    nCode vs. the Head Prestige series?

    It's interesting, because it seems so many of us gravitate to the same frames. Gives creedence to my 'biomechanics makes the choice' argument. I know personally that no matter what frame I might try, the ones that 'feel best' are always heavy (12oz+), moderately stiff, head light frames of standard length.

    I've been alternating between the Wilson PS 6.0 European Tour 95 and the I Prestige Standard Mid over the last few months. It's been a while since I hit the Prestige Classic, but I have extensively demo'd the frame.

    To compare the nCode SixOne 90 and the Prestige Classic: The nCode is MUCH more stable off the ground in 'stock' configuration. I added a substantial amount of weight at 3 and 9 o'clock to my Prestige Classics (just like I do with the I Prestige mid) to reduce twisting on off center hits. The nCode is also more powerful on groundstrokes.

    For volleying, I found the nCode easier to maneuver at net, with more 'pop'. The Prestige offered more feel on touch and drop volleys.

    I could serve more accurately with the PC, but there's no disputing the superior fire power of the nCode when it comes to sheer pace. I also think the nCode makes generating heavy topson and 'kick' serves easier.

    In the return department, there's a clear winner-the nCode. Just more stable. This is also where the unique combination of power and control lets itself be known-with good technique you can just coil and explode into the return and KNOW it's going in, thanks to the remarkable spin the nCode allows you to generate you can 'bend' the ball back down and into the court.

    Hope this helps-

    CC
     
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  16. ian mercier

    ian mercier Rookie

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    Craig,

    I (too) appreciate this post. I currently play with the HPS 6.0 Tour 95 and have really come to like it a lot. I switched to it after having been unsuccessful with the Tour 90. I thought the power levels were about the same, but I too found the Tour 90 was much harder to bring around. The HPS 6.0 Tour seems to be a very head-light racquet; I would say it swings easier than the 6.0 original. That said, would you say that the NCode 90 swings about the same as the HPS 6.0? Also, I felt that one of the Tour 90's strong suits was the slice backhand - of which I lost a little when going with the HPS 6.0. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    thanks much,
    Ian
     
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  17. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    nCode vs. Tour 90, continued.......

    Hi Ian,

    Good to hear from you again.

    I too initially fell hard for the Tour 90, but eventually shyed away (to the Euro HPS 6.0 Tour 95) because of problems w/ maneuverability. I found it difficult to 'get around' on my OHBH, especially when going down the line, and a bit 'clunky' at net.

    I agree the HPS 6.0 Tour 95 plays VERY headlight and is similiar in power to the Tour 90. In stock configuration I think the HPS 6.0 is something like 10 pts HL. I use some lead tape at 3 and 9 on mine, upping the overall weight a bit and moving the balance point closer to the head. Mine measures 7-8 points HL. I find it easy to 'get around' off both wings, and it volleys very well w/ a nice crisp feeling and great stability. No 'clunkiness'!! :lol: The slice backhand doesn't 'bite' quite as well with the HPS 6.0, but I think I actually have better control than w/ the T90.

    The nCode SixOne 90 is closer in 'feel' to the HPS 6.0 Tour 95 than to the 'Original' Tour 90. I'd say the nCode is equally maneuverable, but with a little better stability than the HPS 6.0. Power is very similiar. The main difference lies in the more 'muted' quality offered by the nCode SixOne in comparison to the HPS 6.0, and in the nCode's unique ability to allow one to generate tremendous racquet head speed w/ tons of spin, thereby enhancing BOTH power, 'bite' and control.

    CC
     
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  18. AznAntho

    AznAntho New User

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    thanks for the reply craig
     
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  19. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    N Code Review: Day 4-The Saga Continues

    Hello again fellow tennis addicts,

    Today marks the last day of the 'long weekend' before I return to work tomorrow. Of course I'll be hitting the court at 7am BEFORE work, but that's another story... :lol:

    Psychologically steadying myself in preparation to do battle with stifling heat and humidity, I awakened eager to hit the courts, my affection for the nCode having only grown as the days and demos pass. Despite a tough practice set loss to Tim yesterday (5-7 after having lead 4-3 up a break...ouch...told you he was good, despite the feather-weight build and granny stick, he-he!!) I was gaining a growing comfort w/ how best to utilize the new wand.

    Perhaps it was fate, or perhaps it was my new-found conficence with the nCode to truly hit out, but it was at most 10 mins into today's practice session that 'pop' went my nCode demo! Yes, one of the gut mains let go as I unloaded on an overhead in the warm up. Recall that I've received only one of the matched pair I purchased last week. Never daunted, I said to myself, 'self, what a great time to break out that freshly strung PS 6.0 85 for comparison.' And so I did!

    The PS 6.0 85 in question is new, part of a pact w/ the devil I made (and still intend to honor) w/ our fellow message board poster, Fabrice Leroy. It is strung w/ VS gut at 70#, and otherwise stock.

    Hitting w/ the PS 6.0 85 reminded me of why so many people, myself included, absolutely fell in love with it 20+ years ago. There is a buttery smoothness to the frame off the ground and a sense of ABSOLUTE control. Yes, a big, well timed cut is needed to generate pace, but I take one, and so do many of you. As good as it feels on the groundies (and it feels SO pure on well struck balls) it is at net and on serves/overheads that this frame comes to life. I've always felt heavy, smaller headed, thinner beamed frames w/ a HL balance serve better than just about any other racquet. The 6.0 85 is a great example. There is KILLER pop on flat first serves, and VERY good spin on kicks/slices. There's also remarkable precision on overheads, w/ plenty of power. Volleys just seem to happen w/ less effort, that is getting the racquet prepared early seems easier to accomplish, even in comparison to the nCode. There is feedback from the frame galore, w/ lots of 'feel'.

    In comparing the two, I'd have to say I'll still take the nCode in most aspects. Off the ground the nCode is more forgiving, and provides WAY more power w/ the same swing effort. The 6.0 85 is just a tad easier to position at net, but doesn't offer as much 'pop' on volleys. Slight mis-hits on both volleys and overheads were better controlled w/ the nCode. When serving, the nCode clearly gives more pace and spin to all varieties of serves. As you might guess, the 6.0 85 is better for 'touch' shots.

    I'm having the nCode restrung, this time w/ BB Ace 18 at 70#. More to follow.......

    CC
     
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  20. Coda

    Coda Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for that, I too fell in love with the 6.0 85, but had to switch because I found out I selected the racket for it's feel and control rather than the results I got from playing with it (a little to hard to play with for me). How does the control/touch of the n6-1 Tour compare with the Prostaff original, I know it will be less, but how much so??[/quote]
     
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  21. ian mercier

    ian mercier Rookie

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    Craig,

    again, thanks for taking the time to post your responses. I wish all the best for you.

    Ian
     
    #21
  22. Craig, these reviews of yours are killer. After playing with the Tour 90 for the last 11 months or so, I went back to the Prestige Classic. I couldn't get used to the weight distribution. On the Tour 90 I even put a total of 6g lead tape at the sides to make the weight distribution more even. Of course, the racket was stable enough stock, so all that did was change the balance point and try to rip my shoulder out even faster. But the nCode 90 sounds great, more like a "6.0 90." I love the better stability of Wilson's stiffness and head shapes, where I can better hit back opponents' deep shots that all-too-often come screaming into my body.

    Is the string pattern the same as on the Tour 90, where the center mains/crosses are more dense than on the 6.0 85?
     
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  23. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    Coda:

    The difference in feel between the nCode SixOne and PS 6.0 85 is not subtle. Again, these issues are to some (large?) degree matters of preference.

    Experience (and reading these boards) has taught me that what some might call a 'muted' quality or 'lack of feedback' from the nCode, while in turn praising the 6.0 85's 'liveliness' or 'responsivenes' will in others evoke a response to the effect that the nCode is 'wonderfully damped' or possesses 'excellent vibration control' while the 6.0 85 is 'prone to transmit shock'.

    To some degree I am personally deciding this issue based on how I play. I play my best when I serve big, look to get in at the first opportunity, and end points w/ two volley combinations or overheads. I am not a 'touch' player.

    But of course your health, and arm safety, is a MAJOR consideration for all players. I can say this-while I am not prone to tennis elbow to begin with, after 4 days of HEAVY tennis I've not felt even a TWINGE w/ the nCode.

    Prestige Classic:

    I love the Head frames. But the fact is they are more narrow across the width of the head in comparison to the Wilsons, and the more narrow the head, the greater the tendency to 'torque' or twist on impact. This reduces control and percieved stability, and logically can't be good for your arm. I too load up w/ lead tape, but find myself then having diminished mobility at the net. If you like the Head PC, i Prestige/LM Prestige lineage, but encounter similiar problems, you owe it to yourself to playtest the nCode SixOne 90.

    Best regards,

    CC
     
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  24. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    I just spent about an hour this morning practicing my serve w/ the new nCode SixOne 90. I had a freshly strung 6.0 85 alongside for comparison, b/c I've made a deal w/ Fabrice Leroy to play the 6.0 85 exclusively for one month and then compare notes. Now that my last tourney for a while is behind me I can honor that commitment! :D

    Wilson nCode SixOne 90 (stock): 12.7 oz w/ white Wilson overgrip, 10 pts HL, strung w/ 17 guage VS natural gut at 70#

    Wilson PS 6.0 85 (stock): 12.6 oz w/ white Wilson overgrip, 12 points HL, strung w/ VS natural gut at 70#.

    I weighed the frames on my own scales, and checked balance on an Alpha "Viper" beam.

    I practice the serve by setting out four targets in each service box: 1. down the 'T' 2. 'body serve' target, 3. wide or 'slice' target, 4. a target WAY up the side service line for the 'off-speed breaking slice' serve. Thus there are 8 target total, four in the deuce and four in the ad court. I hit ten to fifteen serves to each target, in 'first serve, second serve' sequence. That is if I make a first serve, I hit another first serve, but to the next target in the array. If I miss, I hit a second serve, also to the NEXT target. Really helps your serve variety in terms of placement, speed, spin, etc.

    I used an inexpensive radar device to time my serves. It's fairly accurate, but b/c it has to be placed behind the net, it typically clocks 'em about 7-10 mph slower than a 'true gun'. I've compared it to the very accurate Bushnell sold on the net, which measures speed off the racquet face, just like the ones on the ATP tour are designed to do, and established this to be the case.

    I've already commented on the 'muted'quality of the nCode in comparison to the PS original, and offered my opinion that both the nCode AND 6.0 85 are amongst the best serving frames ever made. I continue to feel this way after this mornings practice. Here are the details:

    Flat first serves were better struck (by me) with the PS 6.0 85. I use 'better' here to mean in the sense of nearly equal pace but more accurate placement. While I could get just a smidge more pace w/ the nCode (top speed about 109 mph w/ the 6.0, 114 mph w/ the nCode), my accuracy suffered a bit.

    Slice serves were more successful w/ the nCode. I didn't 'feel' them on the stringbed the way I can w/ the 6.0 85, but there is no doubt in my mind they were spinning and 'breaking' more after the bounce. I've found this to be generally true w/ 'softer' frames, and the nCode feels softer to me. Don't get me wrong, the 6.0 85 is also a champ here. The differences were small, but noticeable if you are looking for them.

    Kick serves, when equally well struck, seemed to have more 'bite' and 'action' with the 6.0 85, but were more difficult to generate. I hit MORE successful kicks with the nCode, but when I REALLY caught one, the 'jump' factor was greater with the PS 6.0 85.

    Finally, it is well known that good servers get in a 'rhythm'. It's hard to describe, but it's not cognitive at all....it's about 'feel' or 'timing'. You quit thinking about it and just start throwing the ball up and hitting it. This 'rhythm' was MUCH easier to establish and maintain w/ the 6.0 85. This MIGHT be familiarity. After all, I've had the nCodes in hand all of about 10 days, and have used the 85's off and on for twenty YEARS.

    It may boil down to how you use your serve to help you set up and win points. If you rely on the bomb, it will be the 6.0 85. If spins and variety are your bag, baby....well than it's easier to CONSISTENTLY accomplish w/ the nCode.

    As always, your thoughts are a welcome thing!!

    CC
     
    #24
  25. Coda

    Coda Semi-Pro

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    thanks craig, I demoed the 95 version and hated it although I could possibly learn to love it in the future. I now have a 90 version in my hands and I was getting scared because people had said it wasn't a good serving racket...my faith is restored for the time being. Overall did you believe the consistancy, the extra power and the extra spin of the nCode is a better asset than the accuracy of the Original for a S&Ver?
     
    #25
  26. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    Brass Tacks.....nCode or 6.0 85 for the serve?

    I don't mean to avoid your question or 'ride the fence' w/ this answer, but I'd have to say it's a personal choice based on how you use your serve.

    For me personally, given my advancing age and decreased stamina/mobility, I think it may be more important (and better serve my overall game plan) to win some easy points by using the serve to set up the volley, as opposed to going for outright aces or service winners too often. That's why I think I will favor the nCode overall. The slower paced spin serves give me more time to close to the net, and the kicker in particular tends to produce higher replies that can be aggressively volleyed.

    For the next one month I'll be hitting exclusively w/the 6.0 85. More to follow as the experience unfolds.

    Fabrice, are you ready?

    CC
     
    #26
  27. jings

    jings Professional

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    863
    Craig, really useful post, thanks for the input. One question, would you say the n90 is a "forgiving" frame? For reference I have been loving my Tour 90s but increasingly, like you, find them a bit clunky when I need to get into position quickly on 1HBH or volley, but revel elsewhere in their power. Increasingly I'm also finding the sweet spot on the T90 too demanding on serve. Previously I have hit with the 0riginal 6.0 95s and would go back to them but miss the extra oomph I've come to enjoy from the T90s. Off specs, it would seem the n90 is a happy compromise in between T90 and 6.0 95 ... IF it's more forgiving than the T90s - in other words lets you hit off centre a little more and is more manoeuvrable. Any help would be great.
     
    #27
  28. Coda

    Coda Semi-Pro

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    thanks craig, I tend to go for easy replies rather than outright aces too...but I guess I can get aces with work. Thanks again craig!
     
    #28
  29. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    Yes, I'd say the nCode Tour IS a bit more forgiving than the Tour 90, especially off the ground. It is certainly more maneuverable and 'nimble' at the net. On the other hand, the comparison between the serving peformance of the Tour 90 vs. the nCode SixOne 90 is not as fresh in my mind, but I THINK they felt pretty similiarly.

    CC
     
    #29
  30. jings

    jings Professional

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    Thanks Craig. Perhaps it might jog your memory but I find with the T90 if I catch the serve a little higher on the strings (towards top of the hoop) it is very dead, plus I tend to have a little trouble getting the same sort of snap into the serve as I can with the 6.0 95. Do you find the hitting area on the n90 big enough to get away with the odd serve and are you able to get the raquet head through and "around" the serve as you'd like?
     
    #30
  31. ian mercier

    ian mercier Rookie

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    jings,

    I'll throw in my two cents on this one (until you get Craig's opinion)...I too have played with the Tour 90 and felt that it was a good serving racquet. I did notice (as you have) that if the ball didn't find the sweetspot on the serve, you would get a very poor result (typically a serve into the net) - regardless of how fast or hard you swung. I did not have this experience with the NCode (which I've used for about 8 sets). The maneuverability of this racquet makes serving a snap. It swings so light but still has the plow-through component based on its sheer weight. I think you should give the Code a try. It's similar to the Tour in some ways, but plays more solid and consistent (in my opinion). No dead spots to speak of.

    Ian
     
    #31
  32. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    My recollection is that the Tour 90 and nCode serve similiarly. I do think the nCode is the more stable of the two, and perhaps it is stability that best correlates w/ the perception of 'forgiveness' on off center hits of all types. Keep in mind that my serve is still probably my best shot, whereas my groundstrokes are likely the weakest part of my game. So, I'm more likley to notice 'enhanced forgiveness' on the groundstrokes, rather than the serve, b/c I hit fewer balls off center to begin with when serving! :wink:
     
    #32
  33. jings

    jings Professional

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    Ian & Craig, thanks for the feedback - this has been one of the more constructive posts on the boards for a bit.

    Off spec n90 looks great and would appear to be an easier playing T90 based on what you're saying. That's just what I'm looking for .... Ian you must have been watching my matches, that's just what happens on the wrong serves!
     
    #33
  34. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    If I were to sum up the nCode SixOne Tour, I would call it a 'user-friendly' players frame with many of the same virtues so valued in both the PS 6.0 85 and the Tour 90. It is far more similiar to these racquets than to the PS 6.0 95, HPS 6.0 95 (Euro), Tour 95, or HPS 6.1. Where it differs most from these two classics is in its more 'forgiving' nature (ie enhanced stability) and 'muted' or 'damped' feel. The latter may not suit everyone's taste-especially if you highly value 'touch' and feedback from a frame. CC
     
    #34
  35. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Craig,

    Have you ever tried the Wilson ROK (probably a dumb question)? If so, how would you compare the ROK with the PS 6.0 85 and 95, the nSix-One Tour, Tour 90, and HPS 6.0 95?

    Your experienced feedback is appreciated. Thanks.
     
    #35
  36. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    I did BRIEFLY try the ROK, but never warmed up to it all. It felt too head heavy and flexy for my tastes. Additionally I found it very unstable off the ground, and lacking 'pop' on the serve. Overall, a way mushy frame, IMHO. Can you tell I didn't care for it?! :roll:
     
    #36
  37. asf

    asf New User

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    craig,

    can i ask you to measure the length of your n90 (and tour 90 if you have on available)?
     
    #37
  38. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    Posted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 7:59 am Post subject:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    craig,

    can i ask you to measure the length of your n90 (and tour 90 if you have on available)?


    Will do!

    BTW, I find the i Prestige mid to be just a smidge longer than the 'standard' 27" Wilson frames but not as wide across the head!

    CC
     
    #38
  39. CliffH

    CliffH Rookie

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    May 28, 2004
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    Craig, thanks for the help. I sold all 6 of my classic6.1s and I pick up my ncode90s tomorrow. I decided that the added control and comfort of the ncode90 made up for any lack of pace and the confidence I gained to hit out should help my game. I think the pace wil come, maybe with good strings.

    During my demo time with the ncode90, I lost some pace on my hard flat serves but I spin most of mine and was supprised to see my opponents having more trouble with them than usual : they feel the same but they have more spin with the ncode90. :)

    I wonder how the tighter strings felt on your frame?

    Don't get too used to that ps6.0 85: it is addictive! :)
     
    #39
  40. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    My nCode SixOne 90 and Tour 90 measure identically with regard to length. CC
     
    #40
  41. asf

    asf New User

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    which is how long?

    i measured another 4 ncode tours at a local store - 2 were 26 7/8", the others 26 15/16"
    both my tour 90's are 27 1/8"
    i'm wondering why this is

    yes, it's been raining for days
     
    #41
  42. ian mercier

    ian mercier Rookie

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    asf,

    I measured my NCode at it was EXACTLY 27 in.
     
    #42
  43. ian mercier

    ian mercier Rookie

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    Here's my take on string tensions with the NCode and also with the Tour 90. When I demo'ed the NCode, I tried two frames - one was strung at 62lbs and the other at 58. When I bought it, I went with the 58lbs. When I played with the Tour 90, I originally strung the frames with Babolat XCel Premium (16g) at 60 lbs. No power...period - on groundstrokes. Serving seemed fine as I believe the Tour 90 to be a pretty good serving stick. I also took the leather grips off and tried some with a little more cushion, which worked pretty well (I think, psychologically, not feeling the vibration made me feel that I wasn't missing the sweetspot as often). Ultimately, though, as much as I loved having these frames, I switched to the HPS 6.0 Tour.

    When I switched to the Hyper Pro Staff 6.0 95, I started using Polys and kept the tension pretty high (62-63 lbs). The open string pattern had a lot to do with the string selection (as I hate straightening strings constantly), but I also liked the control (I was switching between Lux BB ALU and Pro Hurricane). This worked well for me up until testing the NCode. I think it was Craig's review that prompted me to try the Code, since he'd played with some of the same frames. The first demo was strung at 62lbs and felt really good. Of course I noticed the maneuverability of the frame right off (as it swung so well), but the softness left an impression. When playing with the 58lbs. tension, the frame felt even better. The slight increase in power helped me just enough.

    This racquet is quite an enigma. It's heavy, swings light, has some power, but isn't too powerful. Like Craig said, it plays more like a 95 - and it's true (in my opinion). I've decided to keep the same string type that was found in the demos - Wilson Enduro Pro. It's fairly soft for a poly, and plays pretty well. I might try the Pro Hurricane in it (I don't think I'll be switching back to Lux...just too hard).

    I apologize for jumping from subject to subject (after reading my post, I don't quite stay on the same thought for long)...hope this helps in some way.

    Ian
     
    #43
  44. CliffH

    CliffH Rookie

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    May 28, 2004
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    hey you guys, got my n90s too. Wow.

    I put 16g gut bow brand pro mains, 17g gosen crosses @58#. Next time a touch tighter as it seems a little springy.We'll see, It's pretty hot here now.

    First thing I noticed is how much better it served than the demo
    with stamina @55#. Stiff string, kinda dead, too loose.

    Grip was bigger than expected. Both weighed and balanced really close.

    Heavy groundies, lots of spin on serves, tons of touch. Cool.

    This frame plays much bigger than a 90. Head to head even looks bigger than head93". Glad I didn't do the n95.

    Thanks Craig & Ian & everybody.
     
    #44
  45. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    I broke strings in both my PS 6.0 85's last night during a match so played the last set w/ the n90s. Mine are now strung w/ VS gut 17 guage at 60#. I was amazed at the spin and control on the serve, and never volleyed better! Craig
     
    #45
  46. Cfidave

    Cfidave Professional

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    Expect my Ncode tour any day now. Going to finally try something other then my (OLDER) Babolat PC's. I have been using a Lux Alu Power/Technifibre Ematrix hybrid in the PC's. Any comments on this type combination in the Ncode? It plays very well in the PC, tempted to continue with this hybrid in the Wilson.
     
    #46
  47. touchytennis

    touchytennis Rookie

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    my impression for the ncodes are... they are awesome! first few strokes was kind of clumbsy, but once i got use to it, it felt great. no problems really...
     
    #47
  48. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New User

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    I've now had three string jobs in my nCode 90 and I've clearly preferred the most recent: Luxilon BB Ace 18 at 70#. CC
     
    #48
  49. CliffH

    CliffH Rookie

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    Thanks, Craig.

    Interesting how you take the tension up from 60# for a 16g to 70#
    on the 18g. Is this due to stretch, or to tame the power?

    Maybe I could play as well with the finer gauge stuff if I increased the tension. I am not a string breaker & I love the fine gauge gut for spin & feel but it can fly, especially with a heavy racquet

    Will try bbace18 when my other two racquets arrive.

    cliff
     
    #49
  50. mattlikovich

    mattlikovich Rookie

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    Feb 22, 2004
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    185
    Craig,

    Thanks for the awesome reviews. I use the Fischer Pro Extreme FT and I'm looking for something with a bit more power. I love the Pro Extremes open pattern, and from all the talk here it seems like the ncode 90 is more like a 95. What do you think the ncode90 would do, or should I try the ncode 95? I am willing to try both.

    Thanks,

    Matt
     
    #50

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