Author Archives: Brooks

Bauer Vapor Stick Comparison: 2015 1X vs. 2016 1X vs. 2018 1X Lite

With the much-anticipated arrival of the Bauer Vapor 1X Lite Stick this past October, we decided to look back and compare all three of the Vapor 1X models and how they stack up against each other.

 

The original Bauer Vapor 1X stick made a big splash as it was the first Vapor stick to veer away from the long-standing Intelli-Sense dual-flex profile that players had come to know and love. Bauer introduced their new Quick Release Taper Technology that utilized a much more aggressive lower shaft geometry that drastically lowered the kick point for a quicker shot release. In fact, the 2015 Bauer 1X could load 20% quicker and recoil 28% quicker than the APX2. This was not all mumbo jumbo either, we took both sticks out to compare and it was a night and day difference. Bauer struck gold with the QRT Taper in terms of a deadly quick shot release but it seemed to lack the same level of durability as its predecessor and consumers let that be known. The QRT Taper also caused some controversy in the hockey market since it has a similar shape to Dagger Taper that Warrior had been using on their successful Covert QR1 stick line.

  • Launch Date:  February 2015
  • Price: $269.99 (senior)
  • Weight: 429 grams (senior)
  • Upgrades: 20% quicker loading and 28% quicker recoiling via QRT Taper (vs. APX2)

Sequels can be tough, especially when it is priced $30 more (in senior) than the previous generation but Bauer wanted consumers to know that it was worth it. They took the resounding feedback from the hockey community that the QRT had an amazing release but it had to be stronger and last longer. They did just that but it is not as flashy as introducing a visual change to the stick. Bauer’s R&D department took a look inside the stick, well inside the layers of the 1X, to see how different fiber orientations affect not just durability but responsiveness too. Still today in 2017, fiber layering is the hot topic as most of the major innovations in sticks have been well played through. Bauer found that with a new fiber layup pattern, they were able to increase the QRT’s durability by 30% while removing 10 grams of weight, compared to the 2015 model. Just like with any stick, no matter how durable, there will be times that circumstances will break a stick regardless of how strong it just might be. With that said, Bauer went after and handled the only real glaring weakness of the first-generation 1X while reducing weight simultaneously, the $30 price hike did kill some of the hype around one of the quickest releasing sticks that got a big boost in the durability department.

  • Launch Date:  July 2016
  • Price: $299.99 (senior)
  • Weight: 419 grams (senior)
  • Upgrades: 30% more durable taper, slightly quicker release and a 10g weight reduction via new carbon fiber orientation

 

The third time is a charm, right? This 1X Lite is a significant and noticeable step up from the 2nd-generation 1X and adding “Lite” to the name of this sub-400 gram stick just feels right. The two key technologies we will focus on is the Advanced Carbon Layering technology and the improved QRT+ Taper. The ACL (Advanced Carbon Layering) Tech utilizes 13% thinner carbon fiber layers with optimized fiber placement that sped up the shot release by 11% while removing around 7 grams of weight from the blade. Blade weight is the biggest driving factor for stick balance so while 7 grams doesn’t sound like a whole lot, the perceived weight saving makes this 397-gram stick feel even lighter than it already is.

One of the more common complaints about the first two Vapor 1X sticks was that the hosel wasn’t stable or torsionally-stiff enough. This problem would surface when you go to take a heavy shot or attempt a long stretch pass and the blade would feel like it would twist or torque. This immediately affects accuracy which is why Bauer set their sights on eliminating this issue once and for all. The QRT+ Taper now boasts reinforcing layers of asymmetrical carbon fiber throughout that make it 20% more stable than the 2nd-gen 1X. This has a ripple effect that improves its overall versatility; the 1X Lite will no longer need to sacrifice shot power for its quick shot release. As we all know, Vapor has always been geared for the quick shot release and quick-motion shots, but this year its been upgraded to have more hard pop for the one-timers or big slap shots.

  • Launch Date:  October 2017
  • Price: $299.99 (senior)
  • Weight: 397 grams (senior)
  • Upgrades: 11% quicker release and a 20g weight reduction via ACL (Advanced Carbon Layering), 20% more hosel stability and better versatility via QRT+ Taper

 

CCM RibCor 46Ks and the SB Black Upgrade @ IW

At the end of last season, my old faithful Reebok 12K skates finally bit the dust, and with Reebok no longer producing skates, I was forced to look in other directions. Although I originally wanted to go with a RibCor skate in order to keep the SkateLock™ and pump system that I love so much, I had tried on the 50Ks and was disappointed to feel that they fit differently than my old Reeboks, so I reluctantly moved on to try other models and other brands.

First, I tried CCM’s Jetspeeds which were fairly new at the time. They fit pretty well on my feet but there was one odd pressure point that definitely wasn’t going to work out. Next, I tried out the Bauer Supreme MX3s, and they were also a decently similar fit, but weren’t quite right. After a solid couple months of finding nothing that I liked perfectly, I decided to go back and try on RibCors again because hey, why not?

Naturally, I started with the 50K model, and after finding – once again – that they were not going to work, I tried on the 48Ks. Finding them to fit in much the same way, I was about ready to give up. Before I could do that however, IW began the awesome Free Steel Upgrade, so I decided to keep going and try on the 46Ks. To my near-amazement, the 46Ks were perfect. I bought them, switched out the steels to the SpeedBlade Black runners, put in some low-arch (yep, it’s easy to catch me “flat-footed”) CCM Custom Support Insoles, baked them, and got them sharpened.

ccm-46k1

Finally, I was ready to rock and roll once again. The new season began, and I took to the ice on my fresh new skates and man, they have been awesome. As a defender, I have already taken a good deal of various shots off my feet, and although it stills hurts (as you know, a shot to the top of your foot or side of your ankle or toe will always hurt like the dickens for a few minutes), the skates hold up like champs. At first I was slightly nervous; worried that I was “settling” for a lower price-point skate and losing out on some specs (although as I’ve always known it to be true, fit is absolutely the most important aspect of finding the right skates for you) but again, these skates perform extremely well for their price-point, and I am perfectly happy with having gone for the “performance” skate tier.

SB +4.0 Holders & SB Black Steel

SB +4.0 Holders & SB Black Steel

Skating out there, I can consciously tell how much CCM’s SpeedBlade 4.0 holders are of a definite improvement over their (and Reebok’s) previous E-Pro holders. My turning radius is legitimately tighter, and I don’t have to consciously think about limiting my turns in order to keep myself from bottoming out on the holder and sliding out and into the boards like a bender. Yeah, definite improvement there. Another thing: the time between needing to sharpen my skates has been cut in half or more with the SB Black runners. At first I was skeptical that the steel could actually hold an edge that much longer than normal blades and was just stoked on their appearance, but dang, I was wrong. I am thoroughly impressed with how well they hold their edge.

ccm-46k3

All in all, these skates are awesome, the SB Black runners add a rad touch, and at the end of the day, I got to stay in skates with the SkateLock™ and pump. I am stoked on them, and I would definitely recommend them to a friend. Go check out CCM’s RibCor skate family and IW’s sick Free Steel Upgrade now to get yours!