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Bauer IMS 9.0

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Background: I’m in my 6th year playing hockey and am currently averaging 2 times a week summer and 3-4 times a week in the winter for ice time.

Previous helmets: I started with the Nike Bauer 1500 and CCM V04 and then used the M11 in large and medium for a couple of years (I still have the M11 as backup) and have used a Nike-Bauer 5500 in medium the past three+ years as my primary helmet. The gel pads have stiffened up on the NB 5500 and I wanted something more comfortable.

Current Helmet: Bauer IMS 9 purchased mid-April 2013 giving about 8 weeks of use with about 30 ice times in total. The helmet is size medium with a large Reakt helmet.

Fit: I like my helmet to be snug without any wiggle or random movement and this helmet provides this for me. The fit feels the narrowest of all the helmets I have had when I am putting it on and I have to pull the sides of the helmet outwards to fit it on easily. Once on, the helmet is very snug against the sides of my head but without any significant pressure points and one minor pressure point in a random spot. The PoronXRD pads in the side are soft, feel nice and along with the layer of VN foam covering the rest of the helmet provide for a comfortable wearing experience. Rank of 8.5 out of 10

On a separate note, the large Reakt cage is minimally acceptable with respect to sizing. The cage sits closer to the chin than I like in, combination with this helmet. If you have a “long(er)” face consider the need to try different cages for sizing. The cage did mount easily with standard hardware and has a bit more room to spare when mounted to my NB 5500.

Protection: The helmet seems as protective as any. I haven’t had any significant collisions, falls or knocks that I recall and could comment on. My general thought on the protection is that the IMS9 would offer at least as good as protection from the M11 or my other Bauer helmet, the 5500.

The helmet does have the benefit from having a base layer of higher density EPP like foam. I've had a good experience with the EPP foams in my NB 5500. Also the helmet has softer VN foam and the PoronXRD foam to supplement or augment the base foams.

Weight: The helmet is combined with a large Reakt cage. Based on subjective observation I think the helmet combo is about the lightest I’ve had with a decided weight savings over the M11 (using the same cage) and a slight weight savings over the NB5500 (once again with same cage). I can say that with the combo does not come anywhere near the newer and lighter helmets coming from Easton such as the E700. Rank 7.5 out of 10

Durability: It is too early to tell if my on major concern is valid or not. The adjustment mechanism seems to be “flimsy” when I have it open or am trying to close it. Once closed it has held steady and having adjusted it a number of times to get the fit I want I have not touched the sizing in weeks. The adjustment mechanism should last as long as it’s not used a lot or not impaired by a direct hit.

Auxiliary items like straps, hardware for mounting cages and j-clips and other buckles etc are as good quality as any I’ve seen from Bauer.

Of a minor concern the softer foam on the occipital lock is fraying, or “piling” some from abrasion but I think it should last a good while and not be a problem and also how long the VN foam will stay in place against the harder, EPP-like foam underneath.

If durability is the same as my previous Bauer helmet the IMS 9 should warrant a 8 out of 10 and be good for 2-3 years of use before glues and padding wear out and make the helmet uncomfortable rather than having a single particular problem that stops me from using the helmet.

Intangibles / Other Items of Note

Venting: With this helmet I always have some sweat that drips down the first few minutes of skating / warming up. As the game goes on I've never had any issues and don’t notice the sweat as much. In general I find this helmet vents well enough to skate through some of the warm and humid ice conditions we've been having with hot, humid and rainy weather these past weeks.

white chin strap: The strap discolors quickly. It is a minor item and one I'll replace shortly.

Intangibles are an 8 out of 10

Conclusion: I really just wanted to get the comfort of my old helmet and was looking to a Bauer 7500 for a direct replacement of my 5500. I tried the new IMS 9 on for curiosity and was very impressed with fit and comfort and found myself spending the extra cash for it without blinking an eye or having a second thought. It has performed well for now and if it continues to perform as well for a couple of years I’ll be more than delighted with balance of value to cost.

The ranking above is 32/40 or 8/10 which would reflect, in my mind, a strong score for the positive aspects and slightly lower score for the fact that there are now lighter helmets out there on the market.

For me personally it’s the best helmet I’ve had yet and subjectively I think the helmet rates higher at a 9; the sum being greater than the parts and needing to be only slightly wider in fit. For me the helmet falls short only in price.


Edited by Hermans
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