trad climbing to me means placing gear for protection on lead, end of discussion, for me at least. some routes are bolted and are sport climbs. some routes have bolts and gear, those are bolts and gear climbs.
traditional style, in my opinion would involve a frighteningly skinny rack by today's standards, no helmet, a 50m rope and some big wool mittens.
They would lead pitches that are way bellow their lead ability without TRing them, but if it gets to their limit, they never try to lead without working it first.
People do first ascents that turn out to be at their limit quite frequently. (Indeed some look for situations that might be at their limit.) In either case since it has never been done you can't know.
Let's look at a specific case of a route with little protection. I'll ask a question. What portion of the people trying the Bachar Yerian top rope it first? My guess is the answer is as diverse as are the people who try it.
The preemptive quote above seems too strong.
Since it is related I will repeat a practical observation I posted elsewhere. Top roping as a percentage of the total climbing being done today is quite apparently far higher than I have seen over the past forty five years. Top roping to the extent that leading is entirely excluded. This makes a great deal of sense. With our health care system a serious fall can, in minutes, convert a home owning wino into a homeless wino. Based upon this, assuming Obamacare is not reversed, one needs to get their hard climbing finished by the age of twenty six. If it is reversed, I expect the cost of cams will drop substantially.
The purest trad is onsight in the dark.
Testimony from one of William Shockley's climbing partners. After extended bouts at the Brauhouse, the two would solo climb routes in the dark. It is perhaps only by pure chance that you have that keyboard in front of you. I say "perhaps" for a good reason. Bardeen with his two Nobels, was no slouch.
When you on-sight a trad climb, no matter how far below your level, you'll understand. If you don't then, you never will. I'll never climb as hard as 95% of the pos(t)ers here, but on-sighting any trad climb is, for me, infinitely more satisfying than any hangdog pinkpoint redpoint. On the other hand, it's all climbing, and all fun.