Bauer Vapor APX Hockey Glove Review

The APX glove is this years model in Bauer’s Vapor line. Bauer’s strategy in recent years has been to build 3 totally different glove fits. There is the 4-Roll, a more traditional, looser fit. Then the Supreme line, which is a full anatomically designed fit, made to tightly fit and closely mimic the shape of a players’ hand. In the middle of those two relatively extreme fits falls the Vapor line, a “Taper Fit” glove. This fit is looser than a supreme, but more snug than the 4-roll, allowing a tight fit with unmatched range of motion.

Having worn 4-Roll type traditional fitting gloves for as long as I can remember, it took me a little while to get used to the snugness of the APX. The great part was, I took the tags off of them and was able to jump on the ice in a game without any real issue. They are truly a game-ready glove right off the shelf.

The fit was a bit weird for me at first, tighter than anything I’ve used, but it is an extremely mobile glove. My biggest thing with a glove is wrist manuverability -I usually cut out the inner cuff as soon as I bring home a new pair of gloves- The APX is designed with Bauer’s Free Flex Cuff, to allow for maximum mobility. Even with the snug fit around my hand, I felt very able to move my wrists freely. Along with being angled to open up and align with a players’ natural hand position, the cuff is attached by a stretch mesh type material, preventing any restriction of movement.

Another aspect of the glove that I was a bit worried about was the palm. The APX features the second generation of Bauers TECHNI-FLEX palm, which to the naked eye, appears to have a lot going on. Being used to normal plain nash palmed gloves, the APX palm felt a little bit thick to me. I didn’t feel that it hurt the performance, I just didn’t love it. However, I will say that though I haven’t used the gloves long enough to truly test out the long-term durability, I think the reinforcementsat key locations on the palm will drastically improve the palms’ life in high-wear areas.

The APX glove is really light to wear as well. That was one of the things I liked the most about them. Being used to a bigger glove that are usually a bit heavier, they felt very light to me. Bauer made this possible through the use of AERO Foam, which reduced the overall weight by 20% without sacraficing impact protection.

Overall, even though it was a pretty new style of glove to me, I have enjoyed wearing the Bauer Vapor APX Glove, another solid product by Bauer Hockey. Available Here at Purehockey.com and all Pure hockey Locations.

Check out the video review here…


Bauer Re-Akt Hockey Helmet Review

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

 

Having worn a Bauer 4500 for the better part of the past decade, I recently got to try out a few high end helmets that I likely would not have tried otherwise. I’ve had the opportunity to test out a couple top-of-the-line bike helmet style- foam helmets, the EPP foam Easton E700 and the slightly different Vertex Foam of the Bauer Re-Akt helmets. I have always valued comfort more than protection in all my equipment, helmets included, and because of this, I have usually leaned towards the softer, more comfortable dual-density VN foams like the 4500.

I have never found a higher end, EPP foam helmet that was very comfortable to wear. I always ended up with pressure points, or having my hair caught between the pieces of foam. The Re-Akt helmet doesn’t fit that mold. After getting to try out the Re-Akt I can tell you, this helmet has everything going for it.

Lets go one by one through the normal high end helmet complaints that the Re’Akt solves…

High end EPP foam helmets are uncomfortable…

-Bauer took This EPP hard foam helmet and made it extremely comfortable. The SUSPEND-TECH liner is protective, but it also adds a nice bit of soft padding. Memory foam pads in the temple contour to each individuals head shape for a snug but comfortable fit. I really felt it mold to my head as I wore it. This helmet is also very well ventilatedto keep your head cooler in game. I usually take my helmet off between shifts to cool down, and it wasn’t as needed with the Re-Akt.

More protective helmets are bulkier looking

- One of my biggest personal problems with top of the line helmets is there utter lack of style – Look good, Feel good, Play good – Bauer finally listened to players who desired a bucket with top-end protection, and good looks. Designed with the timeless look of the Bauer 4500 in mind, Bauer came up with a sleak, low profile, good looking helmet.

Protection isn’t as top notch as advertised

- There was a big push a few years back of companies claiming “Concussion-proof Helmets”. Well no such thing existed. Still doesn’t. There are two types of concussions, those caused by a direct blow or impact. which can be prevented by the correct impact absorbant helmet/material, and rotational concussions. Rotational concussions are essentially caused by a whiplash type motion, causing your brain to rattle in your head. Bauer worked hard to create something to fight this second type of concussion, introducing the free floating SUSPEND-TECH. this moves independently from the rest of the helmet, protecting the brain from excessive movement within your head. So on top of being comfortable, this is really one of, if not the most, technologically advanced, and safest helmets ever made. The third generation occipital lock does a great job of extending underneath the back of your head to really hold the helmet in place on impacts.

Some other benefits of the helmet that I really liked include the new sizing system. It is really simple to fit, even to adjust in game. It adjusts from one clip, in the back center of the helmet, no tools, just open it, put the helmet on, move it in until its snug and snap it back into place. I am not a huge fan of ear flaps, I take them off as soon as I get a new helmet home, I still did for this the Re-Akt, but when I had the helmet on when I first received it, they were not very noticeable in comparison to a lot of others.

 

I have really enjoyed the Bauer Re-Akt helmet. Feels good, looked really good on the ice, and is very protective. Although I didn’t skate into the boards to test it, having read about the technology, seen the tests that were run, I truly trust that if I needed that type of protection on the ice, I would be all set with the Bauer Re-Akt helmet.

The Bauer Re-Akt is available at all Pure Hockey locations, and here at Purehockey.com


Easton Mako Hockey Stick Review

 

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

So the Easton Mako stick officially comes out this Saturday, April 7th, but I got to use it a little bit early to review it. See all I do for you guys!!?? Okay, perhaps, just maybe, a little bit for myself, too. Ahem. Those of you who are excited about its release, you should be!! Hell, people who have never played hockey should be excited about this stick. Easton has done it again.

As I’ve implied in past reviews, I am a pretty loyal Easton guy – gloves, skates, bucket, sticks – but the last Easton stick I used that wasn’t a part of the Stealth family was a Si-Core, circa 2007. Picking up the Mako, it has a different feel to the shaft than the RS, but I actually liked the way it felt in my hands.
Cut to the ice. The Mako made its debut in our Men’s league championship game last week. First thing I did was grab a puck and just stick handle around a bit, it has great feel to the blade. I really could tell where on the blade the puck was and I liked that a lot. I’m honestly not sure how much the Z-Tac coating  helped (that sandpaper like finish on the blade that people are buzzing about), but I definitely like the way the blade felt. I felt that Easton tried to walk a fine line with this feature; it was not smooth, but also not as rough as you see on a lot of pro stock sticks. Not a bad move by Easton, as it could turn some players off, but I’d prefer to see it all the way or not at all. I will say that passes came off extremely smooth and I felt I had a LOT of control of the puck.

 

The stick is weighted extremely well; Easton’s focus on quickness has definitely paid off. I hate for a stick to be light for the sake of light and I also hate when there’s nothing to the lower end of the stick – it just makes handling the puck a nightmare and it just doesn’t allow the player the needed feel. Those kind of sticks make me feel that there’s just a shaft with no blade in my hands. The Mako was a bit weird in this sense –in the best way possible – handling the puck, it felt very light and I could move the blade very quickly, but it wasn’t so light that I was over-handling or that it felt too light. A true accomplishment by Easton.

 

The next thing I noticed about the Mako with my gloves on was the grip. I loved it. I mentioned in my review of the RS that I felt the grip was way too grippy, and the clear was too slippery. The clear version on the Mako – my normal preference – was not so slick that the stick spun in my hands. A very happy medium.

 

Shooting with the Mako was the real treat. I had a bit of trouble getting used the curve, my demo was Easton’s Cammalleri pattern that I haven’t used in a few years. But I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, want me to try out an unreleased stick? Don’t have my curve? No problem. When I started using it, it wasn’t going where I expected it to, but I could tell it was going where I aimed it. The puck absolutely jumps off the face off the blade. Once I got used to having less of a hook, I was placing the puck a lot better. The stick feels so stable. Super-smooth release and as I tweeted to Easton, the one word to describe the stick is “pop,” — and a lot of it. The puck comes off the blade very true – and very hard. It is a different feel on the release from the RS, the kick point is clearly higher, but I felt that I could really lean into it and release. I could really feel the energy transfer through the stick from my hand to release.

 

Overall I have to say I really have enjoyed using the Mako, smooth passes, a blade that is light but still has great feel to it and shots that feel like they are jumping off the stick. Start getting excited folks.

You can order the Mako right here.


Cascade M11 Hockey Helmet Review

By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce

Last week the kind folks at Cascade sent me the spec sheet and some photos of the brand new Cascade “M11 Pro” hockey helmet, which is due out this spring and will be the successor to the M11. As you probably know, the M11 was born from The Messier Project, which is a collaboration between NHL Hall-of-Famer Mark Messier and a collection of other NHL players – and also players of all ages from the AHL down to regional youth hockey players. The aim is simple – to make a helmet that provides the best possible technology and protection possible.

While NO helmet will prevent concussions, the original M11′s core mission was to minimize the risk of concussions as much as humanly possible through technology. I won’t go through the technology here because that’s not the point of the post today – and you can find plenty of information out there on the technology behind it, especially at The Messier Project’s page. Suffice it to say, about a year-and-a-half ago when I was in need of a new helmet, I did relatively extensive research into the technology behind helmets. I say “relatively” because I’m a men’s league player who usually plays twice a week, sometimes three, so the hitting is minimal. I am at far less risk than the high school or college player who plays the hitting game, but nonetheless, one still has to be mindful of such things, even in men’s league play. If you’re in the hitting game, this is potentially one of the most important purchases you’ll make. Your parents probably feel even more strongly about that one.

OK, so what’s my point then? Well, I want to give you a little detail about how my 1.5 year old M11 has held up and if it is standing the test of time well enough. We call this our “long-term reviews” here on the blog. In doing some quick math, I’ve had the helmet for about 72 weeks now and since I’m playing twice a week, let’s just say that I’ve used it around 150 times (the total is probably more, but I’ll stay conservative). I chose the black M11 with some red trim; it’s a combo and I left the stock M11 cage on there. Some people are picky about cages, I am not, though after watching Daniel Paille of the Bruins on Pure Hockey’s Gear Tips from the Pros series, I now love the idea of either getting a cage or painting the inside of one white for slightly better sight.

What really sold me on the helmet (moreso than the technology) was the comfort. For me, there was nothing even close. I tried the Bauer 9900 series, the 4500 series and I also tried the Easton S19′s and threw on a Reebok 9K for good measure. Nothing even approached the comfort I had in the M11. So with the relative lack of contact in men’s leagues, it wasn’t much of a decision. As soon as I put on the M11, I knew I was buying it. Negatives? Well, it doesn’t look too much like a traditional hockey helmet and Cascade has taken their lumps for this. For me personally, looks take a distant back seat to comfort and protection anyway, so I don’t care. I know a lot of you do very much care about  how it looks and that is certainly fine. I think if you look at the M11 Pro pics from the link above, you’ll see that Cascade is going down the road towards a more trad-looking helmet anyway.

So, the helmet itself has held up incredibly well. There are absolutely NO cracks anywhere. The straps and snaps are all original and have held up perfect, the interior pad inserts have the expected minor wear-and-tear associated with 150+ uses and have not dislodged once. The chin-piece is original and as you can see, in pretty amazing shape. The cage-stops (J-clips) and its screws are also still original and have not moved one iota, unlike a lot of my past helmets, where the screws always seemed to loosen and needed frequent tightening and/or entire J-clip replacement. The cage itself, somehow, has virtually no rusting or discoloration on it, something I have never experienced in a helmet. Granted, everyone cares for their gear in different ways, I always air mine out on a rack after playing, so cage condition, much like most of your other gear, is entirely based on your care for it. The one thing I have had to replace is one of the top screws which holds the cage to the helmet.

I like to keep my helmet ever-so-slightly on the loose side. Too tight and I just get headaches, so I get as close to tight as I can without casuing that to happen. Even though I do play non-hit men’s league, hits still occasionally happen – as do accidents and collisions – and I can tell you I’ve taken my fair share of whacks on the helmet from pucks, errant sticks, collisions, etc. The thing has held up like a champ. As far as comfort, it’s still there. Insanely comfortable.

All of this obviously bodes well for the M11 Pro that’s coming out soon. But if you’re thinking about the orignal M11, from my perspective you cannot go wrong. This is a really solid, comfortable hockey helmet and well-worth the price. You have a vast amount of colors and styles to pick from right here. You can also build your own custom M11.  Pics below, ask us if you have any questions!