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  1. Item Reviewed: Easton Synergy EQ50 Elite Gloves Main use: recreational hockey non-contact, shinny Review period: 3 months @ 1-2 ice times/week Item Details: Size: 14" Outer Material: Nylon Weave Palm Material: Nash with leather overlays Features (no rating, for info only): The EQ50 Elite gloves are almost identical to the regular EQ50 except for the following differences: Outer shell material - Elite: all nylon, Regular: nylon/synthetic leather combo Gussets - Elite: nash, Regular: stretch fabric Plastic Inserts - Elite: yes, Regular: no (not that I'm aware of) The Elite palm and gussets are an "average" thickness nash material with similar thickness leather overlays that cover the palm and extend over the inside edges of the index and pinky fingers for the seamless finger design. It's worth mentioning that the palm overlay adds another layer of material on the palms, but not at the fingers. There are small holes on the palm of the nash fingers for breatheability. The cuffs are adjustable in length (velcro). The cuff is about 1.5" wide and does not protrude much. Fit [9/10]: The overall fit of the EQ50 is slightly to somewhat narrow side and somewhat snug on the back of the hand. The fingers are triple-segmented (except the pinky), taper towards the fingertips which are rounded off. The EQ50 has a slightly shorter pinky finger and while this fits my hand it might not be for everybody. I found no rough spots inside the glove, the liner feels comfortable. The seamless finger design is comfortable and makes for a more natural grip since my index finger tends to grip where the palm to gusset seams would have been. One must-have for me in a glove is how easy it is to open the hand with (i.e. wider separation between index finger and thumb) so I can go from 1 to 2 hands on the stick quickly. At first I didn't find the EQ50 to be all the way there, but after 6-8 uses and some stretching of the palm I can open my hand more with ease. Coming from Eagles with the thinner palms and gussets, I found the double-layered palms felt thicker but I got eventually used to it. I didn't use the adjustable cuff feature leaving it as low as possible for mobility, It only extends a 3-4 inch wide section above the cuff up by about 2 inches which felt a bit obstructive. Mobility is quite good as well, the cuff opening is large enough for unobstructive range of movement. I would have liked the thumb part of the palm to be 1/4 to 1/2 inch longer though. Also I found the thumb to point slightly "too straight" where I want it angled slightly inwards towards the fingers (or a wider thumb area might have worked too). Overall I am very pleased with the fit and comfort level. Protection [7/10]*: *I haven't taken many shots on the hands from sticks or pucks but I haven't felt anything yet, I can't offer an expert's opinion on this section. The plastic inserts on the Elite is present throughout most of the glove. The inserts are small in the finger blocks so I question their effectiveness though I'd rather have them there than not. The finger foam blocks aren't as big or wide as say on my old Eagle gloves. The cuff is narrow and doesn't protrude much as previously mentioned. This is different than more traditional gloves with bigger cuffs though that doesn't necessarily mean more protection. For rec. hockey the EQ50 should be sufficient for most people (but don't blame me if you get injured!). Weight [8/10]: One of the heaviest gloves I've ever worn was the old Mission Warp series from back in '01, and one of the lightest being the Eagle Fusion. The EQ50 is similar to my old Eagles in weight maybe a bit heavier but I don't notice it. Durability [8/10]*: I'm reluctant to rate durability after only 3 months of light to moderate use, everything seems perfectly intact. I should note that I play with an Easton grip shaft because some grip finishes wear out palms faster (another "your mileage may vary" thing). Stitching hasn't come apart except a loose thread on the bottom of the hand between the pinky knuckle and wrist area. The nash palm and gussets seem thick enough that they won't tear easily. The synthetic leather fingers are also holding up with no obvious signs of wear. The nylon shell also doesn't have any rips or tears. The stitching in the palms and gussets are reasonably thick as well. The palms have withstood the butt end of the stick grinding into it. I'll try providing an update in the future. Intangibles [9/10]: Attention to detail is where I think the EQ50 Elite shines. The nice touches are the seamless gussets where it matters, offering nash gussets over stretch fabric, basically all the features the regular EQ50 doesn't have. One thing not previously mentioned was how well the leather palm overlays work with a grip shaft (Easton's grip shafts specifically): I get a much more solid grip on the lower hand with the leather palm overlays compared to a glove without, my lower hand is not my strong hand so for me this added grip helps a lot. I find my wrist shots are more solid as a result and it's nice knowing that my hand isn't slipping when I shoot. Also, the leather doesn't grip so much that I can't move my lower hand up and down the shaft freely. Aesthetically, the EQ50 Elite is understated but that's what I like about it. If there's anything further I'd change, it would be to remove the material between the back rolls, they push the back rolls apart which curves the whole back of the glove to the point where it limits the fingers from opening wider without some break-in. I personally did not find the adjustable length cuffs to be useful because I like lots of mobility but as a product I like that the option is there for people to explore. Conclusion [9/10] (this score is not an average): I am quite fussy about gloves so I am quite happy that the Easton Synergy EQ50 Elite gloves have worked out very well for me so far. It's a glove designed to be compact and for a snugger fit. Its design, features, choice of materials and how they're used shows a high level of refinement. I can't comment on whether this glove is protective enough for competitive level of play but there does seem to be less foam than what I've seen on most gloves, it would be interesting to see how these gloves fare in competitive use. I would recommend the Elite over the Regular based on features but if you are in the market for this glove I suggest trying both variants on and see which one better suits you.
  2. Is the difference between the 2005/2004 Pitch 3 holder only in the screws and adjustment tool? i.e. can '04 Pitch holders be retro-fitted with '05 nuts/bolts, or is the new holder slightly different in that respect?
  3. Will Jofa still be making equipment without the RBK/Reebok tag? I'm wondering if their helmets, the 690 in particular, is going to get phased out. I'm hoping not since that's the only helmet I've found to fit me well.
  4. Eagle Fusion Glove Review Details of Reviewed Product retail, portofino/carbon shell w/checkerboard weave, split fingers, micro-suede palm and gussets Fit: The Fusion is roughly 13.5" to 14" in size. The cuff is fairly wide, roomy with good wrist mobility. The fit is slightly narrower than the X70 model from which the Fusion is based. The fingers are also slightly narrower than on some gloves, however they don't feel loose or restricting to my fairly skinny fingers. The lower backhand feels snug around the knuckles and liner. The liner doesn't contact my backhand from about half way up. The index and pinky fingers are somewhat short compared to more evenly spaced finger gloves. The shorter index finger length is good for dexterity, though the pinky is on the shorter side and could be lengthened by 2-4 mm to accomodate more people. Comfort: The Fusions feel broken in off the shelf. The medium thickness micro-suede palms and gussets feel soft and supple. The knuckles don't dig into the backhand when the grip is closed. They Fusions didn't feel like they were going to fall or slip off my hands either. Personally, I found the slightly snug fit very comfortable. The portofino shell is also fairly pliable with good flexibility. There were also no irritating seams inside the glove that I could feel. Function: Very light weight. The Glacier Cool liner wicks moisture well, yet the glove remains light. The liner doesn't stink (much) for me even after several hours of continued use. The split fingers and knuckle backroll make for excellent finger mobility and range. The hand opens and closes very easily, making for easy transitions for one to two hands on the stick. The shorter index finger also stays out of the way during one-to-two hand transitions, and it helps give a closer grip on the stick. Less excess space in the gloves with the soft micro-suede palms make for good feel of the stick. The micro-suede palms don't grip like leather or goatskin, but more like nash, which isn't grippy at all. Protection: I fought off a few stick checks and light slashes without feeling anything. The Fusions haven't been hit by pucks so far. Decent overall protection if it isn't a high priority. Durability: With about a month or more of irregular use 2-4 hours a time, no problems. I don't use any grip on my sticks/shafts currently. More to be determined later. Intangibles: Eagle offers many options and variants on retail gloves, plus their split finger design is unlike anyone else's. While their split fingers are nice, it's not always easy to find, and you don't necessarily know which variants your store will stock at the retail level. Conclusion: - snug fit around knuckles/lower hand yet has good wrist and finger mobility - shorter index finger good for frequent one-two hand transitions and gripping the stick more naturally - broken in feel off the shelf, very comfortable - good for thinner hands or for those who like a slightly snug to tight fit (hand size depending) - seems suited to finesse style players Overall Rating: 9.5/10
  5. It is most definitely good to see that the Drury continues to be alive and well, even if it is only available on the higher end OPS and blades.
  6. Gloves: now using Eagle Fusion w/split fingers Shins: Itech SG695 as it turns out
  7. Helmet: Jofa 690 - rounder fit fits my rounder head like no other, plastic shell a little thin compared to other companies Face: Jofa 480 Chrome - lightweight, good visibility, except the one bar that's right in my line of sight (have to flip the hinge clips upside down) Mouthguard: Shock Doctor - does the trick, hard to talk Shoulder: Bauer 3000 - decent (maybe overkill) protection for pickup, maybe a tad bulkier than what I really need but no biggie, velcro straps tend to stick to jersey Elbow: Jofa 3505 - lasts a long time, great fit, soft elbow caps are nice, velcro straps tends to stick to jersey Gloves: Mission Warp Zeros - fits snug, hand opens easy, no break-in time, index finger never gets in the way, needs ventilation, stinks up real bad real fast Pants: CCM Supra (circa 2001) - cheap and light weight, tail bone plastic shifts/rotates inside the padded material, buttons rusted Jock: Itech Lycra - I like the compression short and velcro convenience, cup could cover more Shins: Itech (forget model) - removable liner is nice, not wide or bulky, lower strap could be placed slightly higher up Skates: Graf 609 - fits my lower foot exceptionally well, nothing else compares so far, a bit big around my ankles (see my review) Shaft: Easton Synthesis 85 - I like the lower connection point of tapered shafts, flex is pefect for me, lacking in feel compared to other shafts (see my review) Blade: Easton Synthesis Composite - lasts long for me (5 mo.), light weight, good performance, Drury pattern hard to find
  8. Graf Supra 609 Skates Review Player Specific --------------- Skate Size: 7 Regular (Graf sizing) Shoe Size: 8 - 8.5 US Player Background: 5'8", 145 lb. rec./pickup player, 2-3 times a week Foot Shape: duck-shaped w/true flat feet (not fallen arches), narrow heel, regular width forefoot Other: skinny ankles Product Details: stock Cobra NT-3000 holders and steel (263 mm) Usage Period: 3 months @ 3-5 hours per week Skate Adjustments: 9' radius, neutral lie, added cork heel lifts Intro: I never had anywhere near the optimum fit from my previous skates, it was always a compromise. They were at least a half size too big, had heel lift, or squeezed my forefoot uncomfortably when trying to fit snuggly. This is because of my unusual foot shape and skinny ankles no doubt. When my last skates wore out, I decided that I finally wanted to find a skate to solve all these problems. Break-in: About 8-10 outtings was required for the skates to adjust to my feet and skating. It was not a painful period at all as I only experienced one small blister and no foot pains. (8/10) Fit: I finally have proper sized skates. The 609 fits my lower foot very well. My narrow heel fits the boot without any lateral shifting. After tightly lacing up, my forefoot doesn't shift and was well supported without compression pains. For me, the absense of arch pain is awesome. The good fit is a pleasant surprise for a boot that normally fits a high arch and wider overall foot. The heel pockets do a great job of keeping the heels from lifting, even though I added thin cork inserts to fine-tune it. My skinny ankles required the addition of foam inserts behind the upper tongue to fill up excess boot volume. Ankle support improved with good lateral and forward stability without sacrificing forward flex. I would like a bit more lateral ankle support even though what I have now isn't bad. Not perfect, but the best compromise I've had in a skate so far. (9/10) A note about the heel pocket: designed to keep the heel from lifting, the pocket has been known to cause some discomfort that might lead to bone bumps developing. I had one bump develop on the left heel to the left of the achilles tendon, but thankfully the store was able to adjust the skate to alleviate the pain while retaining the heel lock. Blades/Holders: The Cobra NT-3000 holders and stainless steel seem fine to me. Feel of the ice is adequate. The steel holds its edge about as long as other steel I've used on other skates. The big screw that holds the blade into the holder could use a narrower gap for better screwdriver fit (it's rather wide for its diameter). There is occassional clicking in one skate caused by gap holding the blade being a hair too wide. (7/10) Weight: The 609 is an upper-mid range skate and the weight of the skate seems appropriately average in its class and above average overall. The Cobra's non-perforated steel undoubtedly adds to the weight. It's not in the same weight class as the new generation of lightweight skates however. I find the overall medium feeling weight satisfactory for my skating technique. (7/10) Skating/Performance: A reasonable amount of forward flex and support that works well for my medium skating posture. I would have liked more toe snap that the stiff back seems to limit. The 609's give me the right amount of ankle support and flex during push-offs. I feel very stable during stops and tight turns, especially when stopping on only the inside foot thanks to the firmly planted heel and ankle support. My crossovers are more symmetrical as well with the weaker foot about as good as the stronger foot. Even with a limited toe snap, my overall skating has still improved in the little yet important areas where it matters most to me. (8.5/10) Quality/Construction: The materials used look to be of good quality. I'm surprised to have found my the inside liner doesn't get very wet after a game (indoors in Canadian winter). The Cobra holders seemed to be aligned well. The double stitching is even and fairly consistent where it matters most. The plastic outter sole attaches to the boot cleanly for the most part. Now for the nitpicking... Attention to detail could be improved for the stitching precision as well as the sole-to-boot gluing and eyelet pressing. The stitching runs to the edge of the second "leather" layering in spots on the boot near the outter forefoot. There are gaps in the gluing at the heel on one skate and outter forefoot on the other. A few eyelets on both boots came with sharp edges that cut the laces a bit each time I laced up. A file easily rounded the edges, but I expected better. The general construction is still good. The small oversights generally don't concern me with respect to longevity except for maybe the gluing gaps in the sole to boot. Time will tell. 1-yr. update: Even after playing summer hockey regularly, the boot has not come unglued from the outsole. I would have prefered the 7 series tongue with the reinforced plastic add-ons to prevent the laces from digging into the front of my ankles though. (8/10) Protection: I have been fortunate enough to not have taken any pucks off the skate so far. The material seems fairly pliable and not very thick or stiff. I can only guess the protection isn't very good, but time will tell. 1-yr. update: I have taken maybe a couple pucks off the foot, one near the back that stung a little on a not-so hard shot/pass. I have taken one or two pucks off the toe without feeling it. Fortunately I haven't taken too hard of shots off my skates, so I can't fairly rate the 609's protection. (inconclusive) Durability: The boots and holders looks barely used (I do play only pickup hockey after all). More to be discovered as time goes on. 1-yr. update: The boots show almost no signs of wear or damage after playing winter and summer pickup. The holder and outsole have the normal markings of regular wear and tear through play, nothing unusual. The inside liner is fine as well. Intangibles: Being allowed to choose between several different fitting foot shapes for each level of skate is something that only Graf offers. This alone makes it easier for strange-footed people like myself to choose a skate to fit. (9/10) Conclusion: The Graf Supra 609 is an upper-mid range skate with medium stiffness/support and is designed for a wider, high arched foot. Despite the boot shape, they still comfortably fit my unusually shaped, flat feet very well with no arch pains or heel lift. The 609's provide me with the perfect platform from which to make minor fit adjustments as needed. They offer me the a comfortable amount of support as I am not a heavyweight or a very powerful skater and do not want/need the stiffest skates available. The 609's also took a relatively short time to break in, nor was it painful to do so. The skate quality is decent though the construction could use some more attention to detail. Unless one is preferential, the Cobra holders and steel are of sufficient quality and performance. Also, toe snap could be improved. Overall, the 609's are a very good skate that have allowed me to further refine and improve my skating ability. Overall:(9/10, not an average)
  9. Product Reviewed: '03 Easton Synthesis Shaft, Senior 85 Flex (retail) Reviewer Details: 5'8" @ 145 lbs., non-contact rec. player Test blade(s): Easton Synthesis Composite (primary), Easton Synthesis Hybrid, Innovative Composite Usage Period: 6 months, 2-3 times/week Other notes: shaft was cut down to 49" Shaft/Flex: The shaft grip is a standard rectangular shape. The size of the grip is not large or small, and for me gives the right balance of comfort and control. Having never tried the Synthesis prior to purchase, I was pleasantly surprised to find it had more apparent whip on the ice than its Synergy OPS counterpart for the same flex rating (of 85). Perhaps the high-load flex is the same for both, but the Synthesis seems to have more give under light to medium flexing than the Synergy while still maintaining a good deal of springiness. I suspect this feel is attributed to the connection point being lower on the Synthesis than on the Synergy. Anyone making the switch from Synergy to Synthesis might or might not like this difference depending on your tastes and preferences. (9/10, Personal Pref.) Weight and balance: First, I consider a well-balanced shaft/stick to be blade-light. By itself, the Synthesis shaft feels light and evenly balanced: not too bottom-end heavy at all. Pairing with the Composite Synthesis blade yielded the blade-lightest combination of the test blades listed above. The full Composite Synthesis combo is slightly more blade heavy than the Synergy OPS (fused) though it was never apparent to me during practice or game play. Also, this combo feels better balanced than a few fused OPS on the current market. (8.5/10) Feel: Dampened and uncrisp is the feel of the puck on the blade thanks to the Synthesis shaft (i.e. test blades had more overall feel in other tapered shafts, therefore it's the shaft). Feel is not completely absent though as the weight of the shifting puck can be sensed during stickhandling. I have some sense of whether the puck is on the heel of my blade or near the toe though. The lessened feedback can take some time to adjust to, or a very quick time to reject. (6/10) Stickhandling/receiving passes: When paired with the Comp. Synthesis blade, the 85 flex is thankfully stiff enough to allow for quick stickhandling without having the shaft flex too much from the weight of a moving puck. It would be nice to have more puck feel even though it doesn't hinder my stickhandling abilities or confidence. The heavier Inno blade was noticably more difficult to stickhandle with due to the higher blade weight and/or balance. Pass receiving was more challenging because of the harsh vibrations felt while receiving hard passes. Slow to medium speed passes felt fine. I did experience some puck bounce with the Comp. Synthesis blade from time to time. The softer 85 flex might have helped limit some of the puck bounces. The heavier Inno blade wanted to bounce more and felt more unstable than the Comp. Synthesis. (7/10) Shooting: The Synthesis loads up well for my slap shots and snap shots, as well as decent shot speed and a fairly quick release. Wrist shots felt easier to pull off as well because the shaft doesn't require alot of force to load up. All this after I cut the shaft down several inches to suit my height and playing style. I didn't find the shaft to open up probably because I don't weigh alot for the 85 flex, so no issues with accuracy in that respect. (9.5/10) Durability: After about half a year of regular use in light pickup games and hockey clinics, the Synthesis shaft has shown the appropriate wear and tear. Structurally the shaft is perfectly intact with some superficial nicks and scrapes that come with incidental contact. Even after many slap shots the shaft has not softened on me. While non-contact pickup is not the best indicator of a shaft's breakage threshhold, most rec. players want their shaft to last at least 6 months if not longer. Note: my score for this area reflects the type of hockey that I play. (9/10) Construction/Quality: I found it a bit odd and disappointing that Easton's own Synthesis blades do not perfectly fit their own (Synthesis) shafts, or at least not in the particular shaft and blade that I have. I had to pad the tenon with hockey tape after my blade came loose after a few months of use. The shaft itself seemed well made otherwise with consistent wall thicknesses and a blemish-free finish. (7/10) Intangibles: The Synthesis has the right combination of handle shape, flex, and blade-light balance for me. It's surprising how sometimes the slightest subtleties can affect one's comfort with using a product repeatedly. Crisper feel would have been nice. (9/10) Conclusion: The Synthesis 85 flex shaft is a light weight, well balanced shaft that's good for smaller players who like to stickhandle and also shoot the puck. A handful of bigger players might also like the 85 flex if they want extra whip to their shot. The Synthesis does not have a crisp feel but still transmits harsh vibrations on receiving hard passes. Also, the shaft tenon seems slightly too wide to properly accept blades without some minor tweaking. Regarding blades, I recommend nothing heavier than the hybrid Synthesis blade for this shaft & flex to keep the bouncy feel to a minimum. Personally, I have found the positive attributes of the Synthesis to outweigh the negatives in a way that does not limit my playing ability, but rather improves it. Reviewer Overall Rating (not an average): 8/10 Edit: correct typo in Shooting: should be 9.5 instead of 8.5
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