Just over two years ago on June 25th 2012, Bauer made serious waves throughout the hockey market when they released the Bauer RE-AKT Helmet. It was the first of its kind, strategically designed to better protect players from the lesser known and less researched rotational energy impacts. Public opinion and feedback reassured them it was a huge success, so they immediately went back to the drawing board wanting to continue elevating the level of protection Bauer helmets can offer. Fast forward 24 months and the second generation of Bauer RE-AKT Helmets are here with a big statement to make.
Enter the Bauer RE-AKT 100 Hockey Helmet. It features an updated Suspend-Tech 2 System, an improved VTX Foam base liner, Seven+ Technology in the rear (from Cascade helmets) and a new Moisture-Management System that helps to keep sweat out of a player’s eyes. All in all, it’s quite a big design renovation on the previously most protective helmet Bauer had in their line-up.
Background: Rotational vs. Linear Impacts
Before we get into why the revolutionary Supsend-Tech 2 System is so great, let’s take a look at the two different types of impacts that can occur during a game: rotational and linear impacts. Helmets throughout history have done a solid job protecting players from linear or direct impacts to the head. A quick example of a simple linear impact is to think of two players skating in a straight line directly at each other, colliding and both falling directly back.
As more research is done, studies are finding that players need to be better protected from rotational impacts, which can be much more serious in terms of injuries. Rotational impacts occur when a player is hit at an angle or from the side, causing the head rotate or spin. This is much more traumatic for the player’s brain because not only is it accelerating in a forward and backward motion (like a linear impact) but it also causes the brain to twist and spin. The spinning and twisting motion is much more likely to lead to tearing or stretching of brain tissue compared to linear impacts. The new general consensus in the industry to prevent these types of injuries from happening is to diminish how hard or how fast the helmet spins the head when these impacts occur
Suspend-Tech 2 System: Free-floating Suspension Liner
Bauer’s answer to rotational impacts is their Suspend-Tech and Suspend-Tech 2 Liners. The original RE-AKT debuted this technology and the RE-AKT 100 Helmet features an updated and improved version of this.
The RE-AKT 100’s Suspend-Tech 2 is designed to minimize the aggressive spin a helmet imposes on the head during rotational impacts. When an angular hit is received, the outer liner and shell will spin slightly free from the Suspend-Tech 2, diminishing the amount of initial rotational energy that would of otherwise been transferred to the head and brain. In easier terms, it decreases how hard a player’s head is spun when they’re hit from the side. Bauer achieved this by constructing it with a 4-way stretch material that uses FleXorb and Poron XRD Technology. This creates a “liner-in-liner”, free-floating effect that compresses and stretches throughout the game, always ensuring a proper fit for proper protection.
To some, Seven+ Technology may ring a bell, especially if you’ve ever owned a Cascade M11 or M11 Pro Helmet. For those who may not know, Cascade partnered with the legendary Mark Messier to design a helmet that can protect players as best as possible from concussions and to raise public awareness on such an issue. Well, back in July 2012, Bauer acquired Cascade and their exclusive Seven Technology that manages high-energy significantly better than traditional foam construction. Because of these great protective qualities, it only seemed right for Bauer to include it into their most protective helmet yet.
The RE-AKT 100 is not the first Bauer helmet to showcase this technology, the IMS 7.0 and the IMS 11.0 both utilize Seven+ Technology as their core protective foundation. The RE-AKT 100 helmet integrates it in a much different fashion though. The new RE-AKT 100 has a VTX Foam Base Liner, which is an evolution of the Vertex Liner seen in the original RE-AKT. This VTX Foam does an excellent job of managing both high and low energy impacts but Bauer recognized the Seven+ Technology could really elevate protection for the big, traumatic blows to the back of the head. An example of this happening is when a player gets checked directly onto their back, slamming the rear of the head against the ice or boards. The (4) integrated Seven+ Technology Pods absorb the brunt of the impact energy after it travels through the helmet’s shell, with the rest dissipating into the VTX Foam and Suspend-Tech 2 Liner. It can be thought of as quadruple-level protection for a common hit and impact in the game hockey.