By Tyler Roy, Pure Hockey Customer Service
With 2012 wrapped up for stick releases, I was thinking it’s probably high time that I talk about what should be on your “must-have” list. How does the Reebok 20k stack up? Is it a must-have or just another good stick? Let’s take a look!
There’s a new blade system here called the “accuBlade,” which is made to reduce blade deflection and give you better accuracy for getting shots ON net and not NEAR it! Reebok’s new and exclusive stick blade is made to get stiffer from the heel to the toe. Interesting. Also, this blade is also Reebok’s lightest to date and they moved the balance point up a few centimeters, creating a much more balanced stick. Personally, I love a stiff blade at the toe as I’m more prone to shoot from that area anyway. I did get a chip on the toe in the first few weeks of using it but nothing has happened since, so it appears to be run-of-the-mill wear and tear that you see with all sticks. Bottom-line: this blade out performs any other Reebok blade and it has some real life and good snap.
The good thing about the Reebok 20k hockey stick is that it’s a true one piece stick, defined by Reebok as “pure fiber technology.” In English, this means the same fibers that are in the top of the stick run all the way to the toe of the blade. Being a true one-piece also removes all the overlapping materials and glues that often times create an unbalanced stick. Reebok also used a new weaving system in the shaft where the fibers on the backhand are angled on a 45 degree and 90 on the forehand. This is designed to create tension when the stick flexes during a shot. That, plus the lowest kickpoint in hockey, equals a slingshot effect when shooting. This stick shoots all types of shots very well, the low kick really snaps the pucks off quick and fast. I find it easy to snap off a quick shot right under the bar and have the ability to fire off a hard slapper too.
My favorite innovation might have to be the new grip Reebok has used on the 20k. The new “duel grip” features a smooth matte grip on the bottom half of the shaft for hand movement and a sticky grip on the top half to lock your hand in when your ready to shoot. Quite interesting feel and still hasn’t worn out after a month or two of use.
All this stuff put together makes a really solid performing stick, much better than the 11k from my perspective. Only chip on the stick is right on the toe, as mentioned, but that’s quite minor. The balance on the stick is really good as is the response you get with snap shots and slap shots. Should you get this stick? Well that’s for you to choose, but I like it quite a bit. You can buy it right here and try it out for yourself.
You can also see a video here from my co-worker Kyle Stevenson, where he gives his thoughts on it:
Reebok 20k Skate Review Video
In the past few years, there are few companies who have made bigger improvements to a product line than Reebok has made to their hockey skates. Arguably inferior in skates for a while as recently as 5 years ago, Reebok has improved their skate line so dramatically and now has one of the lighter, most popular skates available with the 20K.
I have been skating in the 20K’s for a few weeks now and I must say that they out performed my expectations. They were much lighter on the ice than I had anticipated. I also was a big fan of the stiffness that the 20K provided – they had a lot of support on strides as well as on quick cuts. They were not quite as responsive as some of the other skates that have come out recently, in things like recoil on strides, but the support was definitely there. In that aspect, they are not the best skate on the market, but by no means will they put any player at a disadvantage.
The first time I used them, they definitely took some adjustments because the cut and fit are a bit different from what I am accustomed to. I had a bit of a squeeze in my forefoot, but one of the great features of Reebok skates is the lacelock, which allowed me to keep the lower section slightly looser, and tighten the upper section. It was a bit uncomfortable the first few skates (often normal with a new boot), not so much when on the ice, but in between shifts there was some soreness. Next came using the pump. The Pump eliminates the negative space in the heel and makes it so that my heel sits very snug and prevented heel lift or sliding. I think the customized fit of the pump is an underrated feature and really does prevent heel movement. Unlike most skate molding techniques, it doesn’t become less formed every time you put on or take off your skates.
The Pro-style felt tongue is comfortable, but not overly thick, and does a great job to prevent lace bite. The biggest issue I had was actually with the tendon guard. It scraped against my calf, through my sock and skate sock. I couldn’t quite figure out why, but it was just rubbing up the wrong way against the back of my leg as I skated.
Overall I was impressed with the 20K and liked them a lot more than I can honestly say I expected to. It performed well, it wasn’t a perfect fit for my particular foot, but I can definitely see its advantages and even with it not being a perfect fit, it was still a great skate. The Reebok 20K is available now online and at all Pure Hockey locations.
By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing
I have the opportunity to try out a ton of great equipment through my job. I have to say, it’s a great perk for a gear head like myself! The trouble sometimes – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – is that occasionally there is too much to try and not enough ice. Often I don’t have enough time with a certain pair of skates, gloves or stick – you know how it is – a lot of the time you need several sessions before you can really pass judgement on something. The thing that should say a lot about the Bauer Nexus 1000 stick is that I made sure that didn’t happen. Why? Because it was too good.
I got the Nexus 1000 stick pretty early – I have been lucky enough to have been using it now for around three months. To be honest with you, I have never been much of a Bauer stick fan, but I will tell you here and now that they have seriously won me over with this one. After three months skating at least a couple times per week in game situations, I have seen almost no signs of the stick breaking down. A little bit of normal wear on the toe and bottom of the blade, but that’s about it.
The stick still has great pop to it and the blade is retaining its stiffness well – that’s usually my number one reason to move on from a stick: blade slop. I like that term! Blade slop! I shoot mostly off the toe of my blade, so if my blade starts to soften, than my shots go everywhere – more everywhere than usual, anyway. So the moment I feel the blade softening, the stick is retired.
I haven’t had that problem with the Nexus. I honestly feel it is performing as we’ll now as the first shot I took with it. It doesn’t have the unbelievable pop on a release like some sticks do (Easton’s Mako
or CCM’s new RBZ
come to mind), but it still has provided great all-around performance.
A lot of sticks today are designed to do one thing phenomenally, perhaps a quick release or best energy loading. I feel that the Nexus does everything exceptionally. Taking on the performance aspect and going head to head with other sticks, the Nexus may not be #1 in many or any categories, but it would be ranked very highly in the widest number of categories. For a player like myself who likes to be able to do a lot of things and take an array of shots, it’s a huge advantage.
It’s rare nowadays that I go out and buy a stick, because I have a lot of demos coming through of things I need to try, but I just ordered a second Nexus and it has been the only stick I have used in games for the past three months. I have found other ice slots to try other sticks out, but I keep coming back to the Nexus 1000. All around, I highly highly recommend the Bauer Nexus 1000, without question one of the best I have used in recent memory. You can see more pictures, video and order one right here.
By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing
Having fallen in love with my S-17 skates over the past few years, I get excited whenever Easton is releasing a new skate model. I got to demo the EQ50’s just prior to their release a couple seasons back and I was pretty let down. They were real bulky and not particularly comfortable. This doesn’t mean EQ50 skates are bad for you, they just didn’t work for me. So when the RS hockey skates were coming out, I tried to keep my expectations in check a little bit. Having said that, I can tell you that after a couple of game in them, they are my next pair of skates. I knew it after wearing them for about an hour.
The RS skate impressed me right out of the box. It is a real sleek, sharp looking skate. They were really comfortable as soon as I put them on – and yes, I caught some crap for wearing them around the office the rest of the day, but hey, I was excited and they were that comfortable.
When I first laced them up for a game, I didn’t tie the top eyelet, mostly out of habit. I do this to allow myself some more forward flex, as I don’t like when a skate is so stiff that it restricts my stride going forward. Within minutes of hitting the ice, I could tell there was too much play in the ankle for this. The RS has a lower profile and once I tied it to the top, it was perfect – a great amount of forward flex, combined with excellent lateral stiffness and response. I love a stiff skate and the RS is stiff and responds great on strides.
I’ve been getting high ankle cuts on my last couple pairs of skates from abrasion on tight/hard turns, so Easton’s new comfort edge feature really interests me. I like the idea of that type of protection and it has been a great addition to skates like the TotalOne and TotalOne NXG, even though I haven’t truly been able to test how effective the feature is.
On the back end of the skate, Easton put in a new injected tendon guard that is very strong and helps your foot to recoil on strides. You can really feel the extra support. On the inside of the skate, Easton added extra foam padding inside the tendon guard for a little extra comfort. Although I am used to a much thicker felt tongue, the RS’s felt tongue is really comfortable and has no signs of lace bite. There is also a little extra padding in the front, in case you take a slapshot off the laces.
New to the RS skate is Easton’s Giro SuperNatural Fit footbed system. This comes with three sizes of adjustable arch inserts. This is a good idea, but in practice is a little gimmicky, there doesn’t feel like there is a big difference between the smallest and largest inserts.
My main issue with the skates is the Razor Bladz elite runner. The holder itself is great, it is very stiff, responsive and extremely light. The Elite steel runner is the issue, it’s just too weak for me. I can feel it give and bow as I make tight turns or hard stops. Remember, though, issues with blades are very personal and subjective – the Elite runners may be just fine for you, this is really a personal thing with me.
Overall the RS skate really really impressed me – I really love it. Barring some ridiculous new unannounced skate being released, the RS will be my next skate.
Have a look and order yourself some right here.
…..and here’s my video review: