TheGoalNet Posted September 22, 2017 Share Posted September 22, 2017 GNetik Long Term Review so let’s start with a question… What does 1/15/13 have to do with anything? It’s not the date the website was started or when our social media accounts were launched, that was last February. It’s probably pretty insignificant to most of you, but hopefully when it’s put into context, it will add quantifiable value to this review. It’s the date that I initially ordered my OG Brian’s GNetik pads and I am still using them as of 9/20/17! The backstory on my pads is pretty simple; I went out of my way to do my homework. The pads were initially launched in late 2012 and I got early demo sets from Hockey Giant, now Pure Hockey, and Perani’s. I spent some extra cash on shipping to get 2 different sets because I had the illusion this would be the last set of pads I ever ordered and I wanted to order the perfect set (SPOILER ALERT: I like gear too much to stop buying stuff). It was also the first set of pads I was ordering without much of a budget or delivery constraint. In high school, I was a loyal Heaton guy and had a couple different sets of the IVs. In college, I got on the Lefebvre express and had 580s and then P1s. I didn’t have many complaints about the Reeboks, they held up well and lasted like 6 years or so? However, the manufacturing industry pays my bills and I was very disappointed by their decision to offshore all of the retail gear. No matter what I am told, I will always be skeptical a decision like that is 80% driven by maximizing profits and only 20% done to help maintain consumer prices. Out of principal, I decided not to invest the money I earn promoting North American manufacturing with a company producing goods offshore. I quickly narrowed down my prospects to Vaughn and Brian’s. I had always had a soft spot in my heart for Brian’s. I owned Brian’s gear on and off as a kid and always drooled over their custom graphics. With the launch of the solid core E Foam, I noticed a major shift and realized that Brian’s was re-establishing themselves as a technology leader after the reboot. Although I have slowed down my tendencies in recent years, marketing people would classify me as boarding on an early adaptor. I love the highest level of technology possible in the products I buy and Brian’s meets that criteria for me. During my demo period, the first thing I came to love was the lightweight and how well the pad squared up for a “hybrid” style pad. After skating in the pads 8-10 times, I was pretty sold and ordered via Hockey Giant , now Pure Hockey. My only question mark for the pads during the demo period was the Smart Strap. I think I had it in my head going into the demo sessions that elastic straps were a gimmick and I didn’t give the Smart Strap enough of an open mind. I ended up ordering my pads with a custom leather strapping set up modeled after Price’s OG EFlex pads. If I had to do it again, I’d get the Smart Straps (Note: I’ll discuss this in a follow up article). At the risk of speculating what you want to read, there’s enough GNetik data out there for you to know it’s a really great goalie pad and has been a successful line for Brian’s. The latest iteration, The GNetik 3, won The Hockey News’ best goalie pad award in the 2017 Gear Guide. I am not sure my personal experience with this older model is as important to today’s readers as to how the durability was. Brian’s pads follow a fairly traditional release cycle with a new model releasing every 12 months and each line being updated every 24 months, but the difference is that they put a higher emphasis on craftsmanship than others. As I mentioned earlier, their gear is still made in Canada and a large portion of the gear is custom made for the actual goalie ordering it. It’s how they earned their moniker “The Kings of Custom”. I am happy to report that their gear holds up to the level of expectation one might have from such a custom and craftsmen like product. My pads are almost 5. Until recently, when I started this site and had to start demoing more gear (tough life, I know!), this set of pads saw the ice 1-3 times a week. They were used for pick up, stick and puck, and games. There’s not much to say other than they flat out hold up! Out of the box, the pads very stiff and came basically straight. From memory, there was little to no pre-curve in the pad’s core. I used tie down straps a couple times overnight to build a subtle S cruve into my pads and I love the shape. Once the pads broke in, they continued to hold that shape very well. As to be expected, there’s some minor wear on the toe and top of the thigh rise, but that is it. It’s pretty crazy when you compare that some of the more recent releases from other OEMs. Their gear can wear out, tear, or rip within 12 months of use and average amounts of ice time. By contrast, there is plenty of life left in my Brian’s and I expect to sell them pretty shortly. The next owner will probably be thrilled with the amount of future use he is able to get out of them. Besides the wear of the skin itself, the internal foams seem to have held up nicely as well. Believe or not, if you remember back to 5 years ago, many pads still used shredded foams in the core and shrinking was a major issue. The GNetik has not had any shifting, flexing, lose of shape, shrinking, etc with the core of the pad. A solid E Foam core might be overlooked these days, but it was cutting technology at the time and it’s great to see the material has held up. Another unique design of the early GNetik’s was the internal reverse knee rolls. Those really give the pads a great amount of vertical flex in the knee area. I am happy to report that section of the pad has not warped, twisted, or shrunk either. So this article has been mostly positive and that’s because there is really not much bad I can say about my gear. My only complaints have to be classified as user errors and pertain to how I ordered my gear. I should have gone with the Smart Strap and I should have trusted my gut when ordering the stiffness profile. At the recommendation of the sales manager at the store, I ordered these pads with a softer thigh rise than I was used to. Although that section of the pad has held up well and seals well, I still think I would happier with a stiffer thigh rise. Again, that’s a personal preference issue though and nothing to fault Brian’s with. If anything the amount of options available to people can almost be a pitfall of order custom. . . If it wasn’t apparent in reading this, I strongly recommend Brian’s gear to anyone looking to keep their equipment for the long haul. It flat out holds up. I can also say that my 5 year old gear is in better shape than some other gear I have owned for less than 1 year, so in context, it probably can’t be beat. My only caution is that if you go custom, don’t order custom options for the sake of custom options. If you want to tweak some specs, work with a store that does a lot of custom or ask members of this board. I know the #GoalieCrowd or @Brians_Jozwould be happy to provide some insight and make sure you love your gear, because you should be able to own it for the long run. Photo Note: 5.2 lb pad weight on a 2012 pad with leather straps is insane Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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