PERSONALITY TEST.
Bauer’s dominance reigns with 3 exciting personalities.
By Jacob Pratt
January 2014
TESTERS: Larson | Markus | Sennott | Van Damme

One of the many joys of working for one of the nation’s largest hockey retailers is the first-hand access we score on the latest state-of-the-art equipment. We see trendsetting innovations sometimes months before anyone else. As “insiders,” we’re both loathed and loved by our hockey playing brethren. We get the perspective they want on the products they need and though our ‘mates might be slightly envious of our position in the industry, at least they keep us around (it doesn’t hurt that we’re all ridiculously good looking either).

Watching new product dance its way from desk to desk as it’s unveiled for the first time is one of the most exciting spectacles to witness. This is, after all, product that’s been planned and prodded over for months or years by professional developers. It’s the end result of countless hours of effort and we’re privileged to be a part of it.

It’s safe to say we’re witnessing one of the greatest eras in equipment innovation to date.

Innovations span the spectrum from successful (one-piece sticks anyone?) to failed (we’re looking at you T-Blade) but it’s easy to see patterns. Some brands just excel at it more than others. And that’s why we’re so enamored with how Bauer goes about their business. As the market leader, they’re pushing the performance envelope at an impressive clip. And it’s not just gimmicks; we’re talking legitimate advances in design, materials or both. Year after year. It’s a good time to be a hockey player.

With three powerhouse personalities in the Vapor, Supreme, and recently minted Nexus lines, Bauer is once again fielding an impressively diverse selection. There’s something for everyone. From power forwards to crafty wingers to traditionalists, each line has its own personality in how power is translated to the ice – which is key when determining your best fit.

Let’s get this out of the way up front: these are all high performing sticks. We’d take any one of them, no questions asked. Our aim is not to crown winners or losers, but rather to recognize performance. It’s an attempt to quantify manufacturer performance claims in real world scenarios. Clarity is the name of the game. This caveat placed, we put these beauties through the ringer.

Bauer Nexus 1000
POINTS
90.34 / 100

    Player Profile: Two way player looking for natural power and a quick release

  • True mid kick delivers traditional feel with smooth delivery
  • Weight: 417 Grams
  • Retail: $249.99

It’s the newest member of the Bauer family and aims to be the go-to option for players wanting a natural feeling power delivery with a quick release. The Nexus line exists to bring a traditional feel back to today’s high-tech offerings.

For the Nexus 1000 hockey stick, the equation is straight forward: keep it simple and the performance will follow. It’s hinted at throughout. From the subtlety of its blacked out graphics to the traditional construction of its True Mid Kick design, there’s something refreshing about a stick that just goes about its business.

Built on the same framework as its high-tech siblings, the Nexus 1000 may be late-ish to the scene, but it’s every bit as advanced. Construction comes by way of the same lightweight TexTreme ® carbon fiber found on the revered Vapor APX 2, while its PowerCore 4 blade is adopted straight from the equally boss Supreme NXG. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, but do borrow it.

Its personality shines brightest perhaps in one crucial area – the flex point. A true mid kick, the flex profile offers a more natural release when compared to its siblings. Under load, it flexes right in the middle where you’d expect it to and quickly releases. This stands in contrast to other modern offerings which are generally engineered to flex much lower in the shaft. This setup offers a nod to tradition, while also working seamlessly as the shaft flexes much easier at the top and bottom while remaining extra stiff in the middle. In the real world it means you can expect a consistent, natural and quick release during use.

Our testers liked how easily the shaft loaded and released, giving it high marks for power and feel. It did take a bit of getting used to, more so in the passing department, where the easier-to-flex lower portion gave way to a slightly spongy feel, but once we acclimated, its beauty shown through. We could see how this setup might be a welcomed option for players fitting its profile and it, again, goes back to the stick’s overall personality: natural flex with a quick release. Keep it simple. Savvy, but simple.

The Nexus 1000 trumped both the Supreme and the Vapor in the looks department with our testers gravitating towards its blacked out demeanor. And though it placed 3rd overall in our comparison, it finished mere fractions behind the NXG. Not bad for the youngest member of the family. We’re sure with some fine tuning the Nexus will continue to be improved.

Shop the Bauer Nexus 1000 Composite Hockey Stick >
Supreme TotalOne NXG
POINTS
90.63 / 100

    Player Profile: Power player looking to deliver booming slapshots or one timers

  • Amplified mid kick provides easy strength and power
  • Weight: 419 Grams
  • Retail: $259.99

The Supreme NXG comes to the table with a focus on power players hustling every shift and a personality engineered to deliver heavy shot after heavy shot. Its persona is one of confidence and power and if first impressions matter, the NXG is a winner.

It’s black, white and gold color theme sets the standard for how to pull off sharp looks without over doing it and we dare say the Supreme NXG’s look is stately. It’s certainly eye catching and that’s always a good place to start.

With easy power as the most desired personality trait, Bauer engineers went to work packing the NXG with technologies to make it happen. The double concave sidewalls and square shaft edges dubbed Power Shaft technology provide both a stronger feel in your hands and more control of the puck. When coupled with the thicker .520 diameter Power Taper, found on both the Supreme and Nexus lines, you’re looking at a setup primed for controlled power.

The Supreme NXG lays its power down through the use of Bauer’s Amplified MidKick technology, which moves the kick point down the shaft from where a traditional mid kick would be, and positions it slightly closer to the blade. The shaft is engineered to be stiffer, just below the flex point and softer just above it, creating a mid-low axis point where the shaft flexes. The reward is a stick that easily loads under pressure and recoils into every shot with ample power.

The message is clear – the NXG is all about easy power – and it was heard loudly by our testing team. With the luxury of back-to-back hands on time, the ability to judge each stick against the other becomes ever more apparent. And in that light the Supreme NXG clearly holds true to its calling. It felt like it took just a hair longer to release when compared to the Vapor APX2 and about the same time as the Nexus, which makes sense since they share a more common flex point. The flip side of that short wait is more power with less effort.

In an age of instant gratification, having to wait for something is nearly unheard of but we’re not complaining when we’re getting more power for less effort.

Shop the Bauer Supreme TotalOne NXG Composite Hockey Stick >
Bauer Vapor APX2
POINTS
92.13 / 100

    Player Profile: Agile player or power forward that needs a quick release with superb puck

  • Stick Profile: Adjustable flex profile thrives in many situations
  • True mid kick delivers traditional feel with smooth delivery
  • Weight: 420 Grams
  • Retail: $259.99

Garnering the largest portion of our praise is the agile Vapor APX 2. With a personality best summarized as athletic, the Vapor APX 2 is at its best when game pressure is at its highest. If your game hinges on quick reactions and puck deception, the Vapor APX2 is a perfect match. This is a goal scorer’s stick.

The Vapor APX 2 is a venerable powerhouse of technology. Where the Supreme and Nexus sticks both roll with thicker sidewalls and squared shaft corners, the APX 2 hits the ice with Bauer’s Micro Feel II Shaft dimensions which gives it thinner, double concave sidewalls with rounded corners for a smaller, more natural shape when gripping.

Likewise, the Vapor APX 2 uses Bauer’s longer, more pronounced Vapor Premium Dual Taper which focuses energy deep into the shaft for a quick and powerful release when loaded. These technologies offer a noticeable shift from the other two models – one that we’re inclined to appreciate.

Perhaps the most significant technology the Vapor APX 2 brings is its approach to power delivery as a two-for-one proposition. Its dual kick point, IntelliSense Shot Technology, adjusts the flex point of the shaft depending on hand position. If a slap shot is what the moment calls for, the flex profile adjusts for it. If your moment needs a perfectly timed quick release for the game winner, the APX 2 is up for that challenge as well. This is a stick that values versatility, quickness, and control above all else.

Looks aren’t everything, but it doesn’t hurt that it’s gorgeous to boot. Bauer gave the Vapor APX 2 one of its best color treatments to date. The deep ruby red graphics with bright white piping accent the gunmetal grey shaft all in an effort to conjure up some serious visions of performance. This stick seems to be moving even when it’s standing still.

Not that is was still for very long. Each tester was impressed by the quick release and accurate nature the Vapor APX 2 offered; even if their specific playing style may have been more suited to one of the other stick profiles, each recognized the performance and potential inherent here. In test after test, our team found comfort in the control and quick release found therein. The APX 2 scored its highest marks in puck handling, passing, and wrist/snap shots. While all sticks performed at premium levels, the confidence that the APX 2 inspired, along with the versatility of the dual flex points and the premium look, all added up to a slight victory for Vapor APX 2

PARTING THOUGHTS.

As the test wound down, a moment of reflection was upon us. Here we were putting on a full fledged stick test that some may have argued didn’t need to happen – after all, aren’t all sticks the same at this price point?

But rather than it be in vein, we were rewarded with 3 distinct sticks with 3 distinct (unique) characteristics. Our test was a success. And while we picked a “winner”; none was a loser. We encourage you to think about your personal profile and pick your own winner. If you have a different opinion, please share it in the comments below.

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