TheGoalNet Posted October 27, 2017 Share Posted October 27, 2017 Brian's Optik Full Set Getting early access to Optik has been the coolest success story of TheGoalNet.com to date. It validates that we are becoming known as a credible base for equipment knowledge. Thanks to all the members and Brian’s for your support thus far. One of the reasons I think our Optik content will shine the brightest is that I paid for this gear and intend to keep it. Anyone else who orders Optik and adds their opinions will be honest owners. No one else can match that level honestly or neutrality. And onto the initial impressions… Believe it or not, the piece of gear that first caught my attention during the unboxing was the blocker. It is noticeably lighter than my GNetik or 1S. I don’t subscribe to the “blocker is a blocker” philosophy, but this one will get anyone’s attention. It’s like comparing a 1S stick to any other one on the rack. You will feel a difference instantly. The next most noticeable thing about the blocker is the new palm. If you ever worn a Brian’s blocker for the last 4-5 years, you’ve probably noticed the palm was sized for Shrek. Reo, who has been designing the pads for the last 5ish years, took over the gloves this year. He resized the blocker palm and it’s a huge improvement for the average person. I am 6’2” and it fits me perfectly. The materials inside the blocker are plush and comfortable. If you’ve never worn Brian’s gear before, it will probably be one of the first things you notice. They put a considerable amount more effort into the feel and texture of their gear compared with pretty much anyone else. The new BOA is on the blocker has been fine so far. I don’t want to adjust the blocker for every skate, but I have played around with the BOA to see what’s up. The BOA is dialed in a bit tighter than I would do an elastic or Nylon strap. It holds my hand very snug in the blocker and yet I can still get it out. I don’t know that I could achieve the current setting with a traditional strap. In terms of performance, rebounds and balance are what I am most focused on with the blocker. In regards to rebounds, I had my GNetik modded to make it hotter and the 1S has the Curv insert. With how light the Optik is, I was initially concerned they sacrificed the harder and/or heavier materials required to give the rebounds some zip. I am happy to report there’s no issue and that the rebounds are hot. With balance, the weight has a noticeable positive impact and the blocker feels great. The palm is centered on this board, the edges are beveled, and the overall balance is great. I barely notice that I am wearing anything and that is my metric for gear being a winner. It’s a bit early to commit to the title, but this could definitely end up being my favorite blocker of all time. Moving to our left, let’s look at the glove next. This is where the BOA will have the most impact on your game. BOA is not new. They are their own company that developed a sporting goods strapping system. They are very popular with golf shoes, cycling shoes, and hiking boots. Brian’s is the company to pioneer it in goalie equipment. The BOA takes like 3-5 seconds to secure and will not loosen during the game. It also alleviates the need for having 2’ of strapping hanging off your glove. However, my biggest benefit to date has been the new level of customization it offers. I am wearing the BOA on the backhand snug and the wrist BOA looser than I would wear a nylon strap. This feels more natural to me and helps me really snap the glove closed. Speaking of closure, the Optik has the best game ready break I have seen to date. It rivals what Factory Mad does as a mod to people’s existing gloves. The BOA on your backhand forces your palm closer to glove’s palm which aids in closure too. Combining the BOA with the game ready break is a lethal combo. In the past year, I've used GNetik, Factory Mad, 9800, and 1S. Before that I was in both 580 and 590 for many years. The Optik is pretty unique in the way it breaks and closes. When I was working with Brians on my initial order, I grazed over the double hinge feature and just focused on the fact the glove specs were the darling shape, SZ break, and GNetik thumb angle. With the different gloves I have worn lately, I find that some glove’s break close more naturally to me and with others I'll get more pucks cleanly in the pocket. After I had the glove for a few days and messed about with it, I commented to Brian's how natural it felt and I was surprised. They inquired back and asked which way I was closing it. The double hinge was then more clearly absorbed by me and the light bulb went off. This glove will allow you to close it on break on with an overlap. I naturally use my fingers more in closing a glove and was closing this one overlapped. If you want to use more finger to thumb style closure, you will close this glove on seem. It's pretty incredible how versatile this design is and I predict that it becomes a wide spread trend. For on ice performance, literally zero complaints to date. Initially, I was hoping to customize this with a floating T or the Thief Double T but went with the stock single T for review purposes. Although the doubt T will be a popular custom option, I don't really see the need for it. I've yet to have any issues with bad pop outs and the glove has a nice snapping feeling when the puck hits the T. It’s really a good design. I also find this T a bit of a throwback. At the risk of dating myself, I remember every time I got a new glove or saw one in mids 90s and early 2000s, I was always amazed to see how deep the new Ts were. In my opinion, this has somewhat faded. Many of the new single Ts are somewhat shallow. This is not true with the Optik and this is the deepest single T I've seen in a while. Again, on the ice so far, this thing has been great. There's no glaring weaknesses that I'd want to change or order differently in custom. And to the biggest ticket item last, the pads. If you've followed any of my Optik thread posts or social media, you’ll know that that I've been hyping Optislide. That's because it works. Based on the reviews from this site, it's clear that CORtech slides better than Speed Skin. After using both 1S and Optik, I can safely say that Optik slides as well as or better than 1S. You are definitely not losing any speed going with the Optik. After using GNetik and 1S in close proximity, I opted for the FLY core pad which will have a stiffer thigh rise, less torsional flex, flatter boot angle, and harder foams. I like a stiffer pad and am happy with the choice. I wear my pads very snugly and currently have all the strapping below my knee. My philosophy is that the elastic should give and allow the pad to rotate while the stiff pad seals the ice and stays stable during slides. These pads perform how I would expect so far. I have experimented with the thin elastic strap in an X pattern across the knee or down the calf like a prof strap. I have not noticed a huge difference so far either either way. This means I will default to comfort zone. I will remove the knee flap and use the thin strap like a professor strap. All elastic will be below my knee The long length of the smart straps and loops make them the most tunable elastic straps on the market. The first time I skated, I winged the strapping. Fixed the strapping a couple times during the skate and got my pads close. After figuring out I liked the left pad better than the right, I measured how much slack I had in the left smart strap and then replicated on the right. For anyone following the Instagram account, that's why I brought a tape measure to the rink. That little trick made a big difference and I had the straps perfectly dialed in by the second skate. As I started to elude to above, the pads slide amazing. They have that same sort of “enhanced” feel during sliding that I have come to rely on with 1S. The pads do not feel like a Jenpro when sliding and you can literally feel how the Primo has less friction than a traditional material. If you are using a traditional pad and switch to Optik, you will be a step faster for sure. The harder foams of the OptiSlide landing area are also a welcome addition. The pads literally snap down when you hit the ice. It makes a nice deep sound. If you have closed the door of a luxury car and then an early 90s Civic, you can appreciate how a sound can sometimes show off the heavy duty build quality of an item. In terms of surprises or things I will change moving forward? Boot strap - I haven't worn one in years and don't really see the point anymore. As my pads shipped with the smart boot, I figured I'd give it a whirl. It's not bad, but I also don't notice it enough positively. So I can't rationalize the point in keeping it. Little tip? If you do find yourself using the Lundy loop. Thread the strap through with the Velcro closed. It fits through just fine and keeps the Velcro from catching the nylon loop Velcro in knee pads - Protection aside, I love how the knee guards velcroed to the pad create a new level of connected feeling. I am going to continue to use them moving forward and mess with the smart strap tightness. I have a feeling that I can dial in my strapping to a whole new level and not continue to be an idiot leaving my knees exposed. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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