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.
 

 


CCM RBZ Hockey Skate Preview

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

 

For the second time in under a year, CCM is making a huge splash with the launch of a new product.  Last year it was the RBZ stick, this year it is the RBZ skates.

One of CCM’s goals with the RBZ skate was to leave a lasting first impression by creating a skate with the best out of the box comfort available. With the RBZ, CCM added a true ankle lock and heel counter, this allows your foot to sit more comfortably and stably in the skate from the start. In previous models – U+ Pro and U+CL – neither of these features existed, relying on the skate’s highly moldable foam to create a snug fit. For some players it worked great, for others it didn’t. The new build ensures that all players will sit correctly in the back of the skate, and then still be highly moldable for an even better fit.

 

The quarter package is called CCM’s Speed Core and is made from their Action form foam. It is extremely moldable for a truly customized fit while still providing pro level stiffness. The skate inner liner is a pro comfort Clarino leather. The material is comfortable, dries quickly and is non-abrasive while skating. The liner is also constructed to overlap at seams to create smooth edges and not leave any potential spots for discomfort.

The RBZ also includes the new CCM custom support insoles. These are designed with 3 different arch heights – low, medium, high – to create the perfect support for each individual player. CCM created a device that can determine the arch height needs of each player, based on their foot. The purpose of these is to create full contact between the foot and the skate. This improves speed on the ice through improved foot reaction speed. It also helps to properly align the body, reducing the risk of injury and increasing performance.

CCM also did some creative things with the lacing system. First the top eyelets are made of brass; this makes them stronger and more durable to reduce the risk of failure. The eyelet pattern itself is closer in the forefoot, allowing for a better foot wrap and more snug fit. In the top half of the skate, the eyelets are a bit stiffer and wider, providing adequate space for forward flex in stride. The RBZ tongue is made from pro-style white felt with injected foam. This helps to prevent lace-bite and the tongue will actually mold to your foot through heat molding and during the break-in period.

One of the biggest moves from CCM this year is the introduction of the Speed Blade 4.0 holder.  The holder features industry standard holes, so no re-drilling if you ever want to put the Speed Blade 4.0 on another manufacturer’s boot. The SB 4.0 is 4MM higher off the ice compared to CCM’s previous holder. This added height increases turning radius by 10%, giving you the ability to be more aggressive when turning without the risk of “bottoming out” the holder. The Hyperglide steel runner is a polished steel runner. It is designed to increase glide on the ice and reduce friction. Less friction combined with the harder steel provides longer edge life, meaning less lost edges.

The CCM RBZ Skates are up for pre-sale now on PureHockey.com and will be available in store on July 19th

 


CCM RBZ Hockey Stick with TaylorMade Tech Preview

By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce

Way back around late February, we started hearing some rumblings that CCM had plans to release a “revolutionary” stick in the fall and the hockey discussion boards and forums started to buzz with anticipation. Truth be told, we at Pure Hockey sort of shrugged our shoulders with a collective “eh.” Why? Because we see this every year. All the vendors start giving us sneak peeks of sticks or whatnot and start telling us about how it’s ALL going to change the game. It usually doesn’t. Oh, don’t let my words lead you to believe that we are non-plussed by everything that comes our way. In fact, getting to look at all the new gear each year still makes us all feel like it’s Christmas morning. But the noise the vendors make around each release must be taken with a grain of salt. And we have plenty of grains around here. The proof for us is a) getting to use the stuff and of course b)…..does it sell?

So when CCM planted some of the RBZ sticks in the NHL in March (Landeskog and Nugent-Hopkins were the first to use it) and also brought it, encased in glass and sticking up from a TaylorMade golf bag,  to the Let’s Play Hockey show in Minnesota, once again I felt like it was just another marketing gimmick, albeit a clever one. If nobody can touch it, I thought, it must mean there’s something wrong with it!

It wasn’t until we went over to Canton, MA to Reebok’s headquarters in the late spring to finally get a detailed product overview and actually hold one that I started feeling like this could be an interesting stick.

If you play golf at all, you know that TaylorMade has a pretty intense passion for manufacturing high performing golf equipment. It was obviously no secret that they were working with CCM, but we found out to what degree at our meeting in Canton. It turns out that CCM has entered into a multi-year collaboration with Taylor-Made, aimed at “redefining the hockey stick category with game changing technologies.” The RBZ is the first of a series and with this stick, the focus is on what they believe to be the revolutionary SpeedBlade Technology,™ whose purpose is to give you a pronounced increase in velocity with your shot.

In addition to the SpeedBlade tech, CCM & Taylor-Made promise a better weight distribution, which should produce a faster swing for a faster puck speed. There’s also what they call a “constant stiffness profile” all the way through the shaft, which will give you a customized kick point for maximum shot loading. This is something we are very interested in seeing when it comes to actual performance. If it’s true that there’s a customized kick-point and a blade that will increase velocity in the ways CCM is talking about, then we indeed do have something revolutionary here.

The blade is ceertainly the most interesting part here: CCM & TaylorMade are using some of the same principles that power TaylorMade’s Rocketballz golf drivers. So what they’ve done here is completely eliminate the foam from inside the blade, claiming that foam absorbs some of the energy from the puck, which  reduces your velocity.  During our meeting in Canton, they passed around a “standard” blade, cut in half and then the RBZ SpeedBlade, where the foam is basically replaced with hollow chambers. First thing I thought was “how will the puck FEEL on the blade though? Will I be sacrificing a ton of puck feel for some added velocity that I may or may not even notice? Because it’s effectively hollow, will it break easier?” The jury is out until we test. CCM assures control and durability will be the same, if not better, than other sticks. See below for CCM’s comments on it.

So here’s what CCM & TaylorMade have to say about the SpeedBlade: it is a “trampoline effect, which is the measurement used to determine the amount of energy return at the point of impact. This is a new concept to hockey but one that has been used in golf for several years now in order to assess how to maximize the performance of a driver to increase ball speed. The exclusive Speed Channels inside the CCM RBZ SpeedBladeTM are specifically engineered to help enhance the C.O.R to minimize energy loss for a rocket of a shot.

They then provided this Q & A to us, for more information:

What was the involvement of TaylorMade in developing this stick? 

Our relationship with TaylorMade began a few years ago when we started exchanging ideas on shaft technologies. This evolved into joint research on mutually beneficial materials and concepts for hockey sticks and golf drivers. Over the last couple of years, we’ve looked more closely at how we could use some of TaylorMade’s technologies to help improve the performance of our hockey sticks. That’s when we started working with TaylorMade on new technologies such as SpeedBladeTM.

What does RBZ stand for? 

In golf, RBZ stands for RocketBallzTM, the innovative new TaylorMade golf club that is also the inspiration for the CCM RBZ hockey stick. In hockey, RBZ is the product name.

Without foam inside the blade, will it be more fragile? 

No. On the contrary. We’ve conducted extensive durability testing on the blade. The three bridges inside the blade actually make it more durable than our normal composite blades.

Without foam inside the blade, will I feel vibrations? 

No. The speed channels inside the blade are specifically tuned to help provide an insane shot while at the same time providing feel and control.

Will I shoot harder with this stick?

The CCM RBZ stick, powered by TaylorMade has been engineered to provide insane velocity. NHL rookie sensations Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins both noted that the revolutionary SpeedBlade Technology™ was giving them more pop off the blade. Try one to feel the difference.

Is the kick point low, mid or high?

The CCM RBZ features an all new constant flex profile in the shaft. Essentially that means that wherever you place your lower hand is where it will bend. As such, you’re able to maximize the loading since everything below your lower hand will bend. In a typical stick, the kick point is predetermined in the construction for a specific type of benefit such as a quick release. With the RBZ, you determine the kick-point.

So there you have it. We have a couple of testers on the way and we will most definitely be bringing it out on the ice very soon – we will provide another Game Time Review and a video very soon on what our initial impressions are of the stick from the place where it’s most important – the ice. If you think you have enough info and want to pre-order it, be our guest! Just click right here to pre-order yours now or read more on the patterns below.