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Bauer S190 vs 1S pads: One-year durability review

Abraham Simpson

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As a gear purchaser for a growing goalie, I inadvertently performed a long-term experiment on the durability of high-end and low-end Bauer gear, with a lot of variables being kept constant in each experiment. This allows us to see exactly where durability problems exist, and whether Bauer addressed them in the 2S and 2X pads.

Here's the background:

--- Both sets are SR L

-- Gear gets spread-out to dry at the end of each day, but often is still moist before the next ice session.

-- S190 pads were used for about 250 ice sessions from July 2017 to July 2018. 

-- 1S pads were used for about 250 ice sessions from July 2018 to July 2019 (got them at 40% liquidation discount last summer).

-- Shooters were mostly 14 to 17-year-olds

Performance-wise, the 1S pads are lighter, slide better, and send rebounds farther; however, in terms of overall durability, the S190 dominates.

The three problem areas on the 1S pads are: (1) pad face; (2) binding; and (3) stitching. I think (1) and (2) should have been addressed on the 2S and 2X gear thanks to the new Coretech ST skin and lack of binding on the sliding surface, but (3) might still be an issue based on the similar pad designs.

(1) Pad Face 

Puck marks are nicely visible on both sets, although 1S looks "dirtier". Some yellowing on the S190 is unexplained, although I've heard of other goalies having a similar issue.


The first cut in the 1S pad face occurred after about one month of use, and was joined by three other serious cuts over the next 12 months. Cut locations suggest that they can't all be blamed on wayward skate blades. Bauer kindly sent us a free pad repair kit (see below), but unfortunately the first two sets they sent us had no white patches -- they finally got it right by the third set of patches. You just cut the patches to size and stick them on, and they've held up pretty well. However, the patches look like the same synthetic leather you get on the lower-end pads, so repeated patching of the 1S pads slowly turns them into S190s.


No cuts are found on the face of the S190 pads.

Hopefully the Coretech ST skin used on the 2S and 2X pads is more cut-resistant. 

On the positive side, the 1S pad face is still as responsive as it was one year ago, with rebounds being nice and lively. 


(2) Binding

The binding on the sliding surface of the 1S pads is deteriorating, and there's no easy fix for these pads. On the 2S and 2X the binding is no longer present on the sliding surface, so this should no longer be an issue.


Interestingly, the binding on the S190 shows no sign of wear:


(3) Stitching

Thank goodness my wife is handy with needle and thread, since she's had to repair a lot of the stitching on the pads and blockers. The picture below is the kneestack on the 1S, with the blue stitching showing my wife's repair work. All the stitching came apart here, with the result that snow was getting lodged under the Coretech skin. The stitching on this area of the S190 remains intact.


The lacing in the toe of the pads is also prone to wearing-out (or getting cut by skates). You can see this issue on both the 1S and S190 pads, and will likely also be an issue on the 2S and 2X pads due to the similar design.





Bottom-line: A a general rule, upper-end gear should deliver better performance AND durability, but in the case of the 1S line it clearly only delivered on the performance side. This is already pretty well-known, but our experience shows exactly where the durability flaws on the 1S pads exist. By all accounts the 2S and 2X pads have addressed SOME of the durability issues, but I still expect that my wife will need to break-out her needle and thread on the kid's 2X gear, which should arrive in a few weeks ...

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I had heard gear repair people who also build gear talk about some of the durability and repair issues of that original 1S gear, likening them to nearly disposable. It sounds like this gear has has plenty of action over the last year. 

I kinda suspected that the S190 was the clear winner over the 1S for those who had to have that tech. With so much new technology, the first generation is definitely the field R&D for a manufacturer. Yes, pro athletes do a fair bit of field testing (as when I made bike parts, I used pros to test my stuff), but the end user keeps their gear and uses it through the lifecycle of the product, unlike pros.

I would hope that the later versions of these pads with this tech improve the end user’s experience. I certainly would not pay full freight for a disposable goal pad.  

Thanks for the review.

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