Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Comparison: Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 vs. nSix-One.

I've been playing with the Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 (H61) for over 5 years now, so most of my frames are pretty beaten up. So, for Christmas, I asked for the new version of my racket, the nSix-One (N61), which is essentially the same racket with updated "nanotechnology," whatever that means. I'm not here to dissect the technology, but to comment on the difference in feel I noticed.

I have both rackets with 16x18 string patterns, 4 1/2 grips (with one Tournagrip on top), Prince Polygut 17 mains and Wilson Extreme Synthetic Gut 16 crosses strung at about 64 lbs (damn inaccurate drop-weight stringer!).

The shape, weight, and balance between the rackets are indistinguishable, regardless of what the specs say. The grip on the N61 is slightly larger in circumference than the H61 although both are 4 1/2s; that is most likely attributed to the N61 having a slightly fatter, updated grip that comes with the racket. The most important part, the swing feel, is better with the N61. Sweet-spot hits are rewarded with a more solid "thock" with the N61 than the H61. This gives the perception that the N61 is a slightly more powerful racket, although that probably does not translate to reality. Off-center hits are slightly more forgiving with the N61.

All-in the N61 is what I expected as an "evolution" of the H61. The racket is improved and different enough that I'll have to replace all my H61 frames eventually, but the H61 is still similar enough to keep as an emergency backup-backup-backup racket.

In case you're looking for N61s, Sports Authority currently has them for $160, and I've never seen them cheaper than $180 anywhere else. That pesky Roger Federer has become pretty famous over the last few years, so the recreational racket most closely associated with him never goes on sale any more (you can buy the nTour in stores, but that racket isn't a very wise choice for anyone but The Fed).

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