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JR Boucicaut

Easton S19 Z-Shock Helmet

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Easton S19 Z-Shock helmet long-term review

Initial impressions:

This is a “WOW” product. You can hear all about how lightweight this helmet is but until you have it in your hands it’s all just words. I have brought my usual helmet, a NBH 4500 helmet and toss someone that helmet and they take a look at it. I then toss over the S19, the looks on their faces are priceless.

Design aesthetics:

I didn’t like the look at first, mainly the front logo placement but it has won me over. Again, Easton/Bell have taken the “Stealth” name seriously, sharp angles and a slim profile really meet the look we should expect from a helmet called the “Stealth.”

Fit:

The helmet width is a little wider than the S9 but front to back it’s about the same. Depth-wise, it’s a bit deeper to the crown of the head. I like the adjustment system, it’s simple.

Design features:

The size adjustment is a baseball cap style adjustment in the back. It’s simple to use and doesn’t ruin the Stealth-look by adding adjustment pieces on the outside. The ear guards are well thought out and easy to remove with no hardware needed. The hardware seems to work well but I can see where others have found faults with it, I had no issues attaching (then removing) a half shield but your results may vary.

Protection:

I will try to go head first into the boards later.

Weight:

The weight on my size Large S19 is 315ish grams. That’s less than most hockey gloves!

Durability/Build quality:

Very nice quality, I have yet to have a hair pulling issue. That is a first in non-VN helmets, past experience includes the 8K, 9500.

First usage(s): It's comfortable for a non-VN helmet but so was the 9500, unfortunately the 9500 was booted off the island because of sweat issues, hair pulling and overall just feeling too hot. Well sadly the S19 shares a few of those issues:

Sweat issues: Sweat has been pouring into my eyes but I feel as though that's natural with a non-VN type of helmet until they integrate a sweat band.

Hair pulling: So far, this initial report has had me on the ice for about 10-12 hours and not one gel pad has come up or have I had a hair pull out. This is a first for this kind of helmet, the 8K and 9500 pulled out my hair constantly.

Heat index: So far, it’s felt hot, very hot. Here's where it differs; I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t had a haircut in a couple months or whether it’s the rink itself feeling a little warmer as of the recent rainy weather or whether it’s the actual helmet. I'm thinking it's NOT the helmet itself, I can feel a good amount of airflow just putting the helmet on in a room with a ceiling fan. I've also asked a few fellow players and they agree that the rink has been a bit warmer the past couple of weeks, great timing! Ugh. Next up, haircut and hopefully a better idea of the helmet's heat index. Expect an update within the next 36 hours.

I'd like to thanks Easton, MSH and JR personally for giving me the opportunity to test the helmet, it's an honor and a pleasure. I hope that many users and potential customers find my review helpful and informative any feedback/questions are welcome through PM.

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I had another 2.5 hours on the ice since the last post. I finally had a hair cut and as I expected the helmet felt MUCH cooler. There was still an issue with sweat but it was less drastic than before. I was still thinking that it felt a little warm in comparison to my other helmets when a buddy next to me makes the comment; "Damn, it's really hot in here tonight." So far, I'm liking the helmet. I'm not sure if it will be a permanent replacement for my beloved VN helmets but this is truly the first time I've thought that I may have found an EPP helmet that I actually like.

To give you an idea with commonly used EPP helmets I've used:

NBH 8500 - tried a friend's for a few minutes, absolutely hated it. It was uncomfortable, hot and it pulled my hair.

Mission Intake(original) - Same deal as 8500, borrowed. Uncomfortable, too shallow, pretty cool. Pulled my hair.

NBH 9500 - Bought one. Comfortable, hot, pulled my hair. Wore it maybe 8 hours total and sold it on MSH.

RBK 8K - Bought one mainly because I liked how it looked. Worst helmet I've ever owned, sold it locally. I used it once to play, all other times was to coach. It was HOT, pulled my hair, gel pads moved around, width adjustment broke.

Truthfully, I expected to hate this helmet and expected me to throw it under the bus because of the price. I expected to go into rants about how much better VN is than EPP... but Easton has surprised me, I'm still wearing it and that in itself says something considering how unreasonably picky I am about my gear.

There will be more to come by this time next week. I will be doing a direct helmet comparison: S9(VN) vs S19(EPP).

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Ok, change of plans. Originally I was going to do a direct comparison but I decided to solve the only real issue I had with the helmet, sweat. This is the first EPP helmet that hasn't had numerous faults so it's the first one that I've used enough to make this modification, which I assumed would work.

Velcro tabs and 1" sweat band, in this case an UA wrist band.

IMG_3748.jpg

Installation of velcro(the male side), simply stick them to the foam. I did add a center velcro piece later.

IMG_3750.jpg

Sweat band sticks to velcro. I did cut the band so I sewed up the ends.

IMG_3751.jpg

So I used this setup... It was brilliant. The helmet felt more comfortable because, personally, I don't like the feel of those gel pads on my forehead. To me those gel pads kind of feel like getting your arm stuck to a vinyl sofa on a warm, humid(sweaty) day. No sweat issues whatsoever with the sweat band installed. The rink was also more cool than it has been because it was raining at the time I was skating as opposed to skating after an afternoon rain, which makes the rink warm and humid. This helmet felt the coolest it ever has and I can't recall a helmet feeling cooler than what I experienced last night. It will be interesting to see if this helmets continues to shine, I said I was never going to convert to an EPP helmet and I may be eating those words.

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I had another three hours of ice time with the helmet a few days ago. The rink was a bit warmer and the helmet also felt a bit warmer but it's still a cool helmet. Still no sweat issues after installing the sweat band, the band stays put and I have yet to have an issue with it. I'm not sure I would have dished out the $170 for the helmet but that being said, after using it for over a month my beloved VN helmets don't look soo good anymore. I'm not sure this helmet is THAT much better that it justifies the price but if you believe in the protection of high-end EPP helmets and you want the best EPP helmet... I recommend looking at Easton, if it fits you.

Even though that may have sounded like a conclusion to the review, it's not, there will be further updates.

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Used it a few times since my last post. Still loving the helmet, it's cool and comfortable but the dreaded hair pull has started. The hair pulling isn't bad, it's only a light tug when I remove the helmet. The gel pads are staying in place, it's on the edges of a couple gel pads where the glue gets exposed and pulls the hair, nothing major but worth sharing.

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There's not a whole lot to update but I'm going to update you anyway. I'm still wearing the S19, this is the best helmet I've ever used after the sweatband installation. I average from one to six hours of icetime a week and after all this time the helmet looks and feels new; it doesn't smell, the gel pads are still where they should be, no wear and tear showing. This is a phenomenal product from Easton, the price might be high but so is the quality.

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It's been a long time since I've logged into MSH but I wanted my first post back to be about this helmet. Literally, there's nothing to update! I've been using this helmet every icetime since I recieved it and it still looks/feels new(other than some external scratches from contact). The helmet doesn't even smell, no issue with the pads moving around and the sweat band I installed is still working great. It's incredible, I've had this helmet for over two years and it still gives that "wow factor" when someone holds it. As much of a Bauer guy as I have become; I don't think I could be swayed from Easton helmets at this point, the durability in itself speaks volume.

I never would have thought that I'd still be using this 2+ years later! I'd like to once again thank MSH for the opprotunity to LTR this helmet for you, it's been a pleasure.

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