Jump to content

Kenesky R Series Set Review in 3 parts


Recommended Posts

I was asked by @TheGoalNet to write up a review for my experience with Kenesky.  I figured I would do it in three parts, and three separate posts:

  1. Decision, commitment, and ordering
  2. First impressions
  3. 30 day review.

So let's get down to business - this post will cover my decision process, why I decided to go with Kenesky, and how the ordering and dreaded wait time has gone.


I started playing again about 4 months ago after a 2 year layoff.  Balancing family time (newborn daughter), a demanding work schedule (50+ hour work weeks), along with my other commitments became too much of a challenge and I had to decide what to cut.  I got the itch one day, found a game I could sub for, and have been playing ever since.  We have since added another kid (son) and a change in line of work has reduced my work week to about 30 hours.  Along with a better home life balance, my new role also allows me a bit of play money.  I've also committed to a Pro's Choice mask(961 clone) with Cipra paint (on the way to him now!) and a pair of True skates (about 2-4 weeks out at this point) in around the same time frame. 

I am currently playing in CCM Eflex 1s.  They are a nice pad, but slightly too big.  I went with a 34"+3 but really I should be in a 33"+2.  I've since cut these down to about a +2.

I am lucky to live near GoalieMonkey in Southern California, so I demoed a couple sets that I was interested in:

  • Eflex 3
    • I liked the addition of the D30 in the palm of the catch and the finger in the index finger on the blocker.
    • Did not like the pads.  The balance point on these felt off.  Marginal improvement with slides.
    • I've also noticed a lot of these on the secondary market - raised a red flag for me.
  • Bauer 1X
    • The skin on the set I demoed was cut and torn in various places.  Not impressive for an $1800 pad.

I've traditionally been a Koho/Reebok/CCM kind of guy.  I've tried Vaughn and Bauer, along with smaller manufacturers like Vortek and Smith (before he went to Warrior) but have always gone back to this kind of pad.  I called up Rob Laurie at CustomGoalieOutlet to get his opinion, as he helped me with my last two gear purchases - Koho 588RPMs and Eflex 1s.  He dropped the Kenesky name.  I was a little shocked at first as I had never heard the name, but started doing some research.  He sent me some pictures of Curtis McElhinney's Kenesky set.  I've never met Curtis, but if you look at his history with gear in the show, he's a bit of a gearhead like many of us on here (just with tons more talent and athletic ability).  When a guy like that who has basically has unfettered access to pro reps and gear samples, you know the stuff has gotta be good!

Here are some shots of Curtis' gear that he tried at Leafs camp.

  • Notice the set on the left has a CCM style blocker with a 5500 style glove.  I think this is the set he was using in camp.
  • The set on the right is the Kenesky design blocker with a 590 style glove. 


Obligatory "strapping pic"

  • Notice the Scrivens style strap below the knee, but also notice how Kenesky does the elastic paracord at the toe.
  • Bonus content: Lefevre will do a Scrivens strap by pro request as well.

The gear looks amazingly well built - I zoomed in on the stitching a couple times and everything looks solid.

There are some sets floating around the KHL and I think some NCAA goalies wearing the stuff as well.

Pricing wise, the set ran $1800 give or take with the exchange rate and shipping cost.

Rob and I spent a couple hours on the phone across a few weeks to nail down the specs. 

There was an initial phone call to review options available and I paid my deposit.

We had a second phone call a couple weeks later a few weeks before production date to nail down specs and colorways. 

This is what I ordered.  There's a dizzying array of things he can do and I will list my buildout below the pics.
For basically every part of the pad, you can specify what you want; it looks like I went mod-crazy, but it's just more Kenesky wanting to build you what you want.
It would take basically an entirely new post to outline everything available (and that is probably just a short list of the things Mike at Kensky can do) so I won't do that.



  • 7.5" boot, 11" shin, 7" knee rolls, 8.5" thigh rise, roughly equivalent to a 33+2"
  • flat knee rolls outside, single break outside, double break pad
  • medium knee stiffness, soft boot break
  • Scrivens strap at knee
  • nash knee block with CCM style strap though knee block with bump, CCM/Price style gutted knee cradle with elastic run to outside of shin wrap
  • wide set calf wraps with velcro elastic for knee block and across back of calf, nash lined shin
  • weave on all sliding surfaces
  • stock bungie toe and inset removable HD foam bridge with inset drilled lace holes (I've been insetting my toe ties since 2010)
  • 4 leather straps, mushroom style removable: 1 at knee block to top of outside calf; 2 at shin, 1 boot strap with elastic strip sewn in middle



  • one piece front cuff
  • internal finger ridges
  • waxed skate lace pocket
  • reinforced edge to combat finger curl
  • leather wrist strap across back of wrist



  • Hand position moved up a smidge

Closing.  The ordering process has been pretty pleasant.  As always, the toughest part is the wait.  I happened to order during peak time when everyone is getting their gear. I was told this week we should be going into production this week or next and they will be finished about a week after that.

In the meantime, please feel free to ask any questions. I'm going to block off the first two replies in this thread so I can update later with a first impressions write up and a 30 day review.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First Impressions

UPS guy came at 10 today (11/10) while I was in the middle of my sales calls (half days on Friday).

Came home at 11, ripped open the box and scared the shit out of my son (he was napping)


  • much cleaner 5500 break, it feels like the break angle is much more defined than an off the shelf 5500.
  • I opted for a +1 split T, this thing is massive.
  • cuff is a true one piece
  • glad I went with the leather strap across the back of the wrist.  Feels much more locked in.
  • huge opening in the cuff; the flare is much more aggressive than the back of a 5500.  It sits almost 90 degrees upwards.
    • initially I was thinking of requesting a floating backhand cuff like the CCM.  Won't need it.


  • is the best piece by far.  That's not to take away from anything else as I feel the fit and finish of this stuff is better than what you'd find in stores.
  • palm is appropriately sized, even though I didn't send in a tracing.  I think he makes his own M/L palms.  I believe most retail stock is L/XL
  • nice, big and flexible cuff opening
  • super light, well balanced.  based on feel, it has displaced the CCM/Reebok/Koho style blockers as my favorite. We'll see how it performs.


  • very light, well balanced.  They would probably compete with a Brian's or Warrior for lightest in weight if I got rid of the leather straps and knee rolls.
  • one neat thing I noticed which is not apparent in any gear pics shared on line so far is that the knee block is velcroed in against the pad and held in place by a "velcro sandwich" and the strap.
    • this allows the goalie to move it along an X and Y axis to make micro adjustments on where it sits and how the knee lands.
    • I had some initial concerns when I noticed this, but it will be fine - the block is held in place by the knee wing and knee cradle and by the strap running through the knee block.
    • see pic below
  • boot break is medium soft, I'd say somewhere between a broken in traditional Koho pad (like a 580/588/590) and a brand new Vaughn Velocity.
  • Sizing is dead center solid.  This is where Rob really has his process nailed down.  We measured my pads on the face and compared my measurements to his (we are the same ATK) - found that my 34 CCM Eflex 1s were the same as his 33 Eflex 3s, and we both wanted the shin an inch shorter.  We agreed on numbers, shot Mike the measurements and let him work his magic. End result is a 7.5" boot to boot break (NHL minimum, not that I'm ever playing for money), 11" shin, 7" knee roll and 9.5" from top knee roll seam to top of pad.  Comes out to 35" of glorious pad-ness, I'd estimate it's a 33+2.


I'm scheduled to skate tonight so I'll update after that or tomorrow morning.


1st Skate

Took these out to a slower skate here on Friday night.  Here are some impressions..I've bolded some key parts to make it easier to skim.


  • History: Koho 560, Koho 590, Bauer Vapor, Vaughn V2, Vaughn V4, Smith 6000, Koho 588, CCM EFlex 1, CCM Eflex 3 (1 week demo)
    • Out of these, I miss the 560s the most, but I also had frosted tips back then so I don't seriously value my own opinion here.
  • Slide really well; better than an Eflex3 with Speed Skin.
  • Currently wearing them Price style with the knee elastic running down to the calf wrap and no outer knee wing.
  • Hard to say on how the pads handle rebounds, the session wasn't too skilled.
    • A couple weak shots along the ice did go a bit farther than I was expecting them to.
  • Seatbelt style Scrivens strap was too short.  Trying elastic tomorrow.
  • The shock cord toe tie is the truth.  Weird to adjust to the cords after playing the last 20 years with 2" of skate lace slack.
  • The pad is just super responsive with all of my movements.  I'll try to explain:
    • The lighter weight of the pads translated to a split second less "pad lag" when readjusting. 
      • Pads feel "snappier" when I'm getting set - probably a combination of the shock cord and light weight.
    • The pads have a shallow boot channel which kept the pad well off the ice surface - zero pad drag with any of my movements.
      • this in combination with the responsiveness of the shock cord meant I was engaging my edges sooner and much cleaner.
      • very apparent in both my creasework and recoveries.
  • Knee blocks aren't as thick as the CCM.  Came home and measured them - could use about another 1/4" but I'll give them another shot tomorrow before seeing what can be done
    • landings weren't exactly clean but I was adventurous tonight and took a new pair of knee pads for a spin.  I'll try tomorrow with the set I'm used to.


  • History: Koho 560, Koho 580, Koho 590, Reebok P1 580, Vaughn 5500, Vortek VK7, Koho 588, CCM Eflex1, CCM Eflex 3 (1 week demo)
    • Out of these, my favorites were the 5500 and a Nick Boucher pro return P1 580
  • I don't miss any of those gloves anymore.
  • Very natural break.  Easy to catch with.
  • My initial concerns about wrist mobility were addressed with the stock cuff.
    • great flex at the wrist and getting the glove to "present" fully to the shooter was easy
  • internal finger ridges felt great, helped get solid closure on the glove
  • leather strap across the wrist is a good fit, i'm a "set it and forget it" kind of guy
  • Reinforced T top felt great, I was getting good power transfer on passes and shots, and the glove's not even fully broken in yet


  • History: Koho 560, Koho 580, Koho 590, Vaughn Epic, Bauer Vapor XXX, Vaughn V2, Vortek VK7, Koho 588, CCM Eflex1, CCM Eflex 3 (1 week demo)
  • Best blocker I've ever worn. 
  • Fantastic wrist mobility.
  • Rebounds come off it fast.
  • I typically hate breaking in blockers more than other pieces of gear (except for C/A) because of the way it interfaces with your stick.
    • all the foams pieces get in the way when I play the puck and make it difficult to angle my stick when I get set for a shot.
    • blocker felt good about an hour and half in.
  • I was ripping shots from the slot and pinging bars pretty consistently for 10 minutes after the skate until I got kicked off by the zam guy.
    • I asked one of the skaters if he wanted to play a game of horse - he declined
  • Can't scoop it yet, should be able to once everything's broken in.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[Slightly over] 30-Day Review

Well I'm 30 days in with this gear so I wanted to drop a final update to this thread.  The challenge is I don't really know what to write as I feel I have covered a lot in depth already.

The pad feels like a mix between a Vaughn Velocity and the CCM Eflex line. You get the flex and mobility off the Vaughn and the consistency drop-to-drop, move-to-move of a CCM without any of the weird offset balance issues that the CCM provides.

Weight wise, I had them next to a pair of Optiks and Warriors.  Didn't have a scale, but they felt similar in weight to a 34+1 Optik and Warrior.
I'm sure someone could shave some weight by going away from the knee rolls and leather straps.

My next set, I would probably do away with the knee rolls to get a fully flat faced pad and have the knee block sewn in.
For the glove, I would go with a regular length tee. The +1 seems a bit too big (visually) but hasn't caused any problems.
Blocker is absolutely perfect.

I'm playing on two teams right now and have yet to give up more than 1 goal in a game for one, and maxed out at 2 on the other.  Seven games so far this season total.  Hard to say if the gear is giving me a large competitive advantage as there is really no empirical way to measure this.  I can tell you what I feel: my movements feel faster, cleaner, and more efficient.  I feel like I am getting to some pucks and shots that I would not have been able to in the past with my Eflex 1s. 

While we're at it, let's abolish the idea that white based pads are visually confusing for the shooter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, TheGoalNet said:

@Chenner29 - Can't wait for more info 

Funny you post this, I talked to Mike early this morning as he wanted to clarify some things on my spec sheet; he wanted to check if I wanted navy or sport gold nylon on the back of the glove, what color skate lace to use in the pocket, and some other small things.

From our conversation, I could tell this is a guy who has a great eye for detail and wants to get it right.  Super nice guy.

We ended up talking about a different type of Scrivens strap than what McElhinney was using as he had some ideas he wanted to bounce off me. 

  • He proposed a D-ring with either an elastic strap or seat belt strap set up (he will send both straps) that velcros back on itself.
  • I will also be getting a little pad to stick on the back of my leg, kind of like the SLR strap.

He's also developing a chest protector; I am now actively working on petitioning him to try it.

He then surprised me with some pics of my blocker.

  • Check out the mesh on the finger stalls - colored to match the gear (attention to detail!)
  • clean binding at the top.  From my limited knowledge of making gear, getting a clean finish on a bindingless blocker is tough to do.  This looks fantastic.
  • If one is playing in a league that doesn't enforce IIHF/NHL regulation rules, I could see a little bump being placed on the jenpro block where the "R Series" logo is on the sidewall. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/3/2017 at 2:57 PM, GoalieCustomizer said:

Beautiful!  That colored finger mesh is a really nice touch, can't wait to see more pics of this set!

Hey, meant to drop you a line on FB.  That gel install looks solid.

Mike says I'll have my gear this coming Friday!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More from Mike today...

Screen cap of a video Mike sent me today showing a new version of the Scrivens strap.  Made of seatbelt strap (he's also including an elastic strap)


Catcher - note in the second pic, you can see what looks like my pad face in the background




And the "Step Brothers"...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Doobiesnax said:

Damn!  These are sexy, what break on that glove?

I'm told it's similar to a 5500.  Will let you know tomorrow ;)

For anyone else checking this thread out, if you have some questions on any of the pieces please post them.  I will keep an eye out while I'm obsessively going over my gear tomorrow when I receive them. 

Caveat: I don't have a scale at home so I can't weigh them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Updated post 2 with initial impressions.  Will get some time in them tonight and let you all know how it goes. 
TLDR; very impressed so far.  Give Kenesky a serious look as the price point is very aggressive, mods are built into the price, Mike and Rob are absolute gems to deal with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I wanted to drop an update in this thread as well.

I'm super stoked on this gear. 

I never really thought about how much a lighter pad would translate to improved performance until I realized that fatigue factor is a thing.  Then again, I'm also one of those "never use a wheel bag" kind of guys as well. 

The slide in these pads is pretty solid.  Better than Eflex 3s with Speedskin; not sure how it compares to the 1S/1X platform.  There were a couple jam plays today where I slid pretty efficiently/effortlessly into an RVH against the post and was able to seal everything off. 

For those wondering on the "torsional flex" of the pad, here is a shot that my brother got when we skated for a bit at Honda Center.  You can see the right pad is twisting laterally a bit - for those who want this kind of flex in a pad (older school tendies), this is a good thing.



They also curve pretty nicely around the top over the knee.  The pads actually sit square in the butterfly, I think I'm shifting my weight to push to my right in this picture:



The rises are kind of big, if I were more flexible in the hips I would probably go down an inch or an inch and a half; but the pads are so thin at the rise I haven't had any mobility issues. 
Since changing to the cowlingless skate, I've been able to get a bit wider in my stance so I haven't had an issue with the height.


For the toes, I have settled on a bridge and bungee cord for now. 

Mike's stock configuration of the toes is a bungee cord that runs along the inside toe of the boot, connecting to a hook just outside the ankle.
I was having difficulty getting the pad to face forward on VH plays against the post, but there is a high probability that this is user error/me not tweaking the original method enough. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very cool review. I have a set on the way from Kenesky that I should have in about a week. Mike helped me draw up a beautiful combination of an older 90's pad with a lot more modern bells and whistles. My first pair of new pads in oh, 13 years or so. I'll likely post a review and a bunch of pictures once I've got them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 9 months later...


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...