IPv6Freely Posted November 8, 2017 Share Posted November 8, 2017 Let me start off this review with a huge thank you to @GoalieTimmy33 for helping me through the ordering process, being extremely patient with me, and being accommodating even when I was upset. In addition, I appreciate the opportunity I was given, regardless of how it ended up going (I'll get into that later). I want to be clear though: This was a very unique situation in that I was invited to participate in a closed R&D program. This experience is NOT what I would expect from Passau for other customers. Background I had just started playing goal in November 2014. I had a set of Brian's S-Series pads, 33+1, in white/black/silver (LA Kings colors). I was happy enough with them and they were a fantastic entry-level pad, but I wanted to move up to a higher level pad after getting a few stingers in the glove. I joined my first non-rookie league team in fall of 2015 I designed uniforms for them based on the Chicago Blackhawks colors and logo. I used red pad wrap to cover the silver on my Brian's pads. At the time I had already been wearing a Passau chest protector for a few months (in black/white/silver) and knee pads, so I already had been in contact with Tim on GGSU. With the exchange rate, I calculated that I could basically get a full set for the same price as just a pair of Brian's pro-level leg pads, making the glove and blocker basically free. I decided to pull the trigger on Passau. Design After having been on a new team pretty much every year for the past 6-7 years I didn't want to go all out with the color on my new pads. I wanted to stay pretty neutral with something that would be easy to cover up if I changed teams. I ended up coming up with a simple design that followed a simple idea: all black, with a white face, and red accent. If I had any idea that I'd still be on this team a couple years later I would have definitely gone with something a bit more flashy. Likely a lot more red, or a sock graphic, etc. My wife STILL gives me crap for my design. "You look at all these cool designs on line, and THAT'S what you came up with? Why wouldn't you just go retro if you wanted something to match any team?" LOL. For the glove, I chose the newer 60° model because I loved the look of the ventilation on the glove and everyone was raving about how great the break was. Here is my glove specs list: Glove Angle - 60° Hand - Regular Graphic - Axiom Pocket - Red skate lace Palm - Maltese ($50) Pre-Breakin - Yes ($25) Palm Internals - Intermediate Nash Palm - No Pocket - Double Name - "JONES" Here is my leg pads and blocker specs list: Size - 33+2 Graphic - Axiom Top - Bindingless Knee Cradle - Hybrid (Wide strap, can be attached behind knee or below knee). Removable outer flap. Knee Block - Add Maltese spacers Leg Channel - closed Strapping - Smart Strap, elastic boot strap w/ velcro (can be replaced w/ leather/nylon) Knee Protection - None Toe Brides - Elastic (smart toe strap clone) Boot Angle - Normal Flex - Soft boot, then stiffen the pad from medium-soft to stiff as we move up through the 3 flex points in the knee Outer Rolls - Triangle Breaks - None Curve - Aggressive Name - "JONES" I ended up changing a couple things later. Specifically I added a break at the knee, and changed the Maltese spacers to be Maltese inside the landing stack. You can see the color scheme in the image. Note that I requested that the sliding surface be made out of weave. I also requested that the toe of the boot be weave in an effort to reduce premature wear. Ordering Once I had the design finalized I placed the order on December 10, 2015. The ordering process was easy and straight forward. I paid $2340 CAD for my set on 12/10/2015 via PayPal. That included $270 worth of customizations, plus $60 for shipping. It was soon after ordering, I don't recall the specific date, that Tim called me. He mentioned that they were working on some design changes and asked if I'd be interested in being one of the first with the new specs. The caveat was that I'd be waiting longer. I thought it was really cool that they'd offer this, so I went for it. I didn't mind waiting longer if the changes were going to be worth it. Tim assured me they would be. Waiting! With this set being made as a "customer prototype" as I call it, there were a number of revisions to the gear that kept pushing back the dates. I definitely got frustrated by it, but I was given multiple chances to back out. I wanted to push forward. Now, if I had known it was going to take nine months, I would have backed out immediately, but when you're talking about a prototype design process you just have to accept that you really have no idea how long its going to be. Tim gave me a couple ETAs during the process that came and went, but each time it was in the name of additional design tweaks that they felt would be beneficial. In March 2016 I asked if the glove was being re-designed, thinking if it wasn't that it would be nice to have ahead of the pads so I could work on breaking it in. Tim said it was not and agreed to get production started. In early May, the glove arrived! Here are some photos. Note the odd lack of a cuff and the pull strap for getting your hand in. I'll get into the design a bit more later in the review portion. After a bunch more delays, the blocker and leg pads showed up in early August. However, they were not made correctly. There were a few issues, the biggest being that they didn't do the same black stitching as on the glove. They had also given me Maltese knee spacers rather than having it built right into the knee blocks. That was fair, since it was a change I made later on and it's likely the person building the pads never saw the change order. The other issue were that logos were the wrong color. White logos on white jenpro in places, and on the blocker the PASSAU logo was black on black jenpro. There was also no weave on the toe bindings. There was some back and forth and they were clearly not happy about the idea of having to re-make the blocker and pads again, but I just didn't see any other way to fix it. They finally agreed and I shipped the blocker and leg pads back to Passau. Re-making the pads Tim sends me a mockup to make "10000% sure" they get it right. I really appreciated that. It didn't show the weave specifically so I sent them back an image to make it REALLY obvious where the weave should be. He indicated that he did already have that down, but better safe than sorry. In mid-september, Tim sent me this image asking me to confirm that it looks right. Pretty cool to see a pad mid-production! Tim sent me a photo of the pads after they were re-made and unfortunately they had made a mistake on the blocker. They went ahead and re-made the blocker again and we confirmed everything looked good. At the end of September, the final pads arrived! As it turned out, I actually played my first game after an ankle injury (broken ankle and the resulting blood clot) the week before - a full week before I had planned to come back. So they didn't arrive in time for my first game, but were back in time for the second game. Full photo: And here's a shot side-by-side with my old Brians S-Series: As it turned out, I found the boot strap to be about 3" too long, and the calf smart straps to be about 3" too short. Passau sent out replacements at no charge. Thoughts on the Process I want to be clear ... this was a very unique situation and aside from the production mistakes (which can and do happen with any company) this is NOT what I would expect from Passau on a typical order. I'm sure this was a learning experience for both me and Passau because this was probably the first time they opened up a prototype process to an outsider (and unfortunately, it may be the last - I hope not, though. If some things were done differently, it would continue to be a really good idea). I actually have some suggestions for them if they ever decided to run a customer through the process again and would be happy to share with Tim and Hugo if they were interested. The communication was the real problem. Not the timelines, or the keeping the changes a secret, or even the production mistakes. I FELT (right or wrong) like every time I'd ask for an update, the answer I'd get would be (paraphrasing) "we decided last week to make some more changes, new ETA is x". In my opinion if they decided last week to make a change, I should have been told about it last week. Tim would always respond pretty quickly, I just think I shouldn't have had to ask for updates. To be honest I probably should have just told Tim this instead of allowing it to continue as long as it did, so that's really on me as well. Again, there were definitely ways to alleviate this for the next time if they decide to do it again. Maybe an email thread with the prototype customers, Tim, and Hugo could have been started for discussion, suggestions, updates, etc. I don't want to turn people off Passau, and I really hope Passau isn't turned off the customer prototype idea because I think it's a good one, with some tweaks. It was rocky, but I learned from it and I'm sure they did as well. They even changed their QA and testing processes in response, which is huge for me. I have always said I don't care about mistakes... I just care about what the company does to fix them. Passau fixed the production issues, fixed the QA/Process issues, and perhaps learned that the initial prototyping process might not be good for a customer to be exposed to. Perhaps something more like an alpha/beta/release candidate approach would have been better. I would absolutely not hesitate to order from Passau, and have actually done so multiple times in the last year. Tim has been extremely helpful (though I've joked that he needs an assistant!) and has always been courteous. Hugo is an absolute craftsman and he and Tim have gone out of their way to try to involve an outsider in their prototype process, and regardless of the outcome it was completely in my control to pull out of it. Stay tuned for part 2 where I go over the pads themselves, their functionality, their performance and what I liked and disliked about them! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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