Bauer APX 2 vs. CCM RBZ Skate Side-By-Side Comparison

 Bauer APX2 Comparison  CCM RBZ Skate Comparison

Bauer and CCM both made some big improvements for their respective skate launches this year. CCM has made more improvements to their RBZ skates, but in fairness to Bauer, CCM had a longer road to travel down in terms of quality. The good news – CCM is now right there and has built a skate that matches up with the very best of them.

Both companies focused on a few features to improve upon, releasing a new holder with their respective launches, an upgraded lacing system, a new tongue and an improved quarter construction material.

Boot Construction: Both CCM and Bauer used a material new to their respective lines for this season. Bauer crosses over the CURV composite material (previously seen on the Supreme line) to the APX2 skates. Combined with their X-Rib pattern, the Bauer boot provides your foot with maximum structural support and stability. This allows for the best energy transfer, leading to quicker turns and faster acceleration.

The RBZ, on the other hand, is built from the CCM SpeedCore Technology. This provides pro level stiffness to maximize your foot reaction speed and explosiveness. The boot is 24% stiffer than CCM’s last pro-level skate, the U+CL. CCM also overhauled the actual inner fit of the boot, giving it a wider fit than most boots and giving it much greater contour. This makes for a true heel lock and helps to secure your heel in the boot. Less movement inside the boot leads to more control on the ice. The Action Form Foam core is still highly moldable, but this skate has CCM’s best out of the box feel ever – and far better overall fit than previous models.

 Bauer APX2 Comparison  CCM RBZ Skate Comparison

 

Tongue: Both tongues are new for this year. Both companies took the hint from their pro and college players by putting in tongues that are most requested at the very highest levels. CCM put in a pro-style felt tongue with injected foam to help prevent lace bite as well as give you a little bit of protection from impact. Bauer’s APX2 also went over to a more traditional felt tongue, with an abrasion guard on the front to help stop lace bite.

Lacing: The new lacing system on the APX2 from Bauer is quite innovative. They put in place a one-piece injected lacing system. This maximizes the energy return and transfer in every stride. On top of that it helps retain its consistency throughout the life of the skate, preventing individual eyelets from failing and strengthening the durability of the skate. This feature gives Bauer a large advantage over competitors, as it’s unique and useful.

The CCM RBZ has a lacing pattern which attacks fit and flex issues that many players have voiced. In the fore foot of the skate, the eyelets have a little more give and are closer together, allowing for a better wrap in the lower foot where it is needed. The upper section of eyelets are stiffer and face straight out to give players forward flex as needed.

Holders: Last but certainly not least, both companies released new holders this year, both of which are taller than their predecessors. CCM’s SpeedBlade 4.0 is 4 mm taller and Bauer’s TUUK LightSpeed Edge is 3 mm taller. This is done so that you can get lower to the ice in turns, producing quicker turns and more power exiting turns.

 Bauer APX2 Comparison  rbz-blade

The CCM holder is strengthened using their Speed Ribs, creating less torsion and less deflection. This leads to better control and less energy loss in stride. The SB 4.0 also features industry standard holes for mounting, allowing the holder to be easily mounted on other manufacturers’ skates. The steel itself is the SB HyperGlide, a polished steel runner, designed for less friction and better glide. It is also made from a harder steel, allowing it to hold its edges longer than many other models on the market.

The APX2 features the TUUK LightSpeed Edge holder, revolutionary for allowing players to change their steel in a matter of seconds. The trigger on the holder allows you to change your steel in case of breakage or a lost edge – without even taking off your skates. The steel runner is an updated version of the LS Fusion runner. It is made from elite stainless steel fused with high-grade aluminum, to reduce weight by 27% compared to standard steel runners. Fused aluminum lightens the runner without lowering the sharpening life.

A very nice final addition to the RBZ skate comes in the footbed, as included in the box is CCM’s new custom support insoles. This insole system is designed to be fit to your foot, falling into the category of low, mid, or high arches. The increased support maximizes contact between and connection from your foot to the sole of your skate. This increased connection gives you better control of the skate and an increased foot reaction speed.

In summary, Bauer basically continues on their path of making excellent skates. With each release of their pro-level skates, Bauer consistently finds elements to improve. The two biggest things in our eyes with the APX2 skates are the new lacing system and the ability to swap out your steel and not miss a shift.

CCM has completely revamped their skate line and is now right there with Bauer (or anyone) in terms of fit, quality and comfort. If you’ve previously been averse to CCM skates, now is the time to put them on your feet and give them a try, because the RBZ skate is legit. In a big way. As always, we won’t really recommend one over the other – everyone’s foot is different and it’s ALL about what feels best to you.
 

 


Western Conference Finals – The Pure Hockey Equipment Breakdown

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

 

Earlier this week we went over the gear battle between the Bruins and the Penguins in the Eastern conference final. Your feedback was awesome, so we were inspired to head over to the Western Conference to match-up the Kings and Blackhawks. We could give you our thoughts on the actual games, but for that you’re way better  off heading to some actual hockey experts – we’ll stick to what we know, which is hockey equipment.

We took a look at some major categories (gloves, sticks, skates, helmets and goalie gear) to see what all the players are wearing. Just like in the East, Bauer Hockey pretty much dominates the landscape, again coming in with 47% of the total gear worn by both teams. CCM/Reebok comes in a close second with 38%, split evenly at 19% per brand. Easton fell behind, carrying only 9% of the total gear in the Western Conference Final. Rounding out the rest was Warrior Hockey with 6%, while Winnwell and Graf represented 1% each.

Sticks: CCM took their first team lead in a category, tying Bauer hockey, who has Patrick Kane using the new APX2, as the leading stick used by the Chicago Blackhawks, with 26% per brand. That’s what happens when you release a stick as hot as the RBZ has been this season. Bauer dominated the Kings roster however, capturing 42% of the team and nearly doubling the total put up by 2nd place Easton at 23%. Reebok finished as the middle manufacturer on both teams, managing high teen percentages on each. Warrior Hockey came in last on both teams, their Covert DT1 being slightly more popular with the Hawks. Worth noting is the spread of stick makers on either team, the Kings with a leader of 42% and last place at 4%. The Blackhawks had the same leader with Bauer, but at only 26%, with Warrior carrying the smallest share – but not terrible – behind at 13%.

Gloves: Bauer takes a dominant lead in the Kings locker room with 58%, more than tripling 2nd place Reebok at 19%. For the Hawks however, Bauer came in 3rd with 22% even with Jonathan Toews rocking the new Supreme TotalOne NXG gloves. Coming in first was Reebok at 30%, followed by Warrior with 26%. Unfortunately for CCM and Easton, they came in 4th and 5th respectively, on both teams with under 15%.

Skates: Not surprisingly, Bauer with their three top model skates – the Vapor APX2, Supreme TotalOne NXG and the Nexus 1000 – came out way ahead. Bauer came away with a staggering 85% of the Kings in their boots, and 65% of the Blackhawks. Reebok came in second on both sides of the ice, with 8% of the Kings, and 17% of the Hawks. On the Hawks side, CCM matched its sibling Reebok and the 20K skate at 17%, while only managing one Kings player wearing skates. Graf also made an appearance, with one Kings player donning the distinctive neon yellow. Easton and their new Mako skate will not be making any appearances in the Western Conference Finals this season, even though they have some great technology to offer.

Helmets: Buckets was a very interesting category in the WCF. In the Kings room, Bauer represents half of the lids with CCM and Reebok tying for second, capturing 23% each. This is undoubtedly due to the popularity, comfort and protection of the Re-Akt and the IMS 9.0. On the other side of it, 48% of the Blackhawks are wearing CCM. The CCM V10 and V08 have one of the best looking shell designs on the market, a big selling point for NHL Pros. Reebok has 17% of the Blackhawks between their 11K and 7K helmets. Easton came in 4th with both teams, protecting 9% of the Hawks heads, and one single King. Warrior had one player on the Hawks and, ironically, zero actual Kings wearing their Krown 360 Helmet (cue the drum — ba-dum-bum…tshh). Get it? Kings? Krown?

Goalies: On the Kings side, starter Jonathon Quick wearing Vaughn can only boost them into second place with 25% behind Back-up Jonathon Bernier’s full CCM set-up putting them at 38%. In a tie at the bottom with 13% each came Warrior, Bauer and Reebok. In the Hawks crease, Reebok dominates with 75%, blowing away the other two brands. Brian’s makes their only appearance in either conference, Ray Emery’s full set up giving them a respectable 17% showing. Warrior is the only other brand represented between the Hawks pipes with 8% of the total gear.

How we compiled this: We grabbed the rosters from each team’s respective websites and then we went hunting for recent pictures. Most of the images we compiled this data from are pictures from the last week or so. If it was a player who hasn’t seen playoff action, we grabbed a picture from their last NHL game or AHL game if they haven’t seen any NHL action yet (reserve callups, for example). It was a good excercise and very interesting!

You can download the full size graphic right here and see it in a much larger, clearer size. Study it and share it all you want! We’d love to hear your thoughts. What surprised you? What didn’t? What SHOULD players be wearing?