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Bauer Ultrasonic Set - Long Term Review


ZeroGravitas
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Bauer Ultrasonic.

Better late than never.

I received my setup on November 24, 2020. Since then, I’ve skated approximately between 1 to 3 times a week, Armageddon be damned.  At this point, I feel that I’ve skated in these long enough to give a good long-term review.

My opinion of this set has changed radically from my very first skate with these pads. Mentally, I was having a little bit of buyer’s remorse. I was coming from a CCM Extreme Flex 4, and my pad history prior to that was on the softer side. These pads seemed insanely stiff to me. Movements that I could normally execute well felt clumsy. Each push while down resulted in me oversliding my target and required me to stop myself with my opposite leg. That got old real quick. But I stuck with it. Eventually, I adapted to the pads. Movements and pushes returned to being second nature, though if I’m not mindful a strong push on fresh ice will result in me being far out of position.

It’s funny – I’ve never worn Bauer leg pads, gloves or blockers in approximately 20 years of goalie. I’ve gone through a lot of different gear – four different sets (including these Ultrasonics) in the last three years.  Now, I cannot imagine switching away from Bauer. CCM’s upcoming Axis gear and DRS system is pretty exciting, though.

Each piece of this set feels great and the performance is, in my opinion, out of this world. Apologies in advance if I sound like a Bauer Hype Man, but I really love this product.

Full disclosure: I am employed at a hockey store and paid less than retail for this equipment. All thoughts are my own and not my employer’s.

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Bauer Ultrasonic Leg Pads

 

Description of specs are below. I listed the stock retail options that you would find in an Ultrasonic pad at your local store, along with changes that I made. These leg pads were Pro Custom, so they had some additional options that are not available with the standard Custom option. Also, please note that the Pro Custom options have changed in a number of ways since the Ultrasonic pad originally launched:

1.      You can no longer get a Vapor 2X graphic on the pad, but now you have the option of the Hyperlite graphic.

2      You now have knee block options. With the Ultrasonic launch, you were limited to the Stabilislide knee only. Now you can select between Stabilislide, Stabiliflex, Square w/ Pro Bump and Angled w/ Pro Bump.

3     Bauer has changed the names of the flex options. Previously they were descriptors with numbers with 1 as Extra Soft, 2 as Soft, 3 as Mid, 4 as Stiff and 5 as Extra Stiff. These have been adjusted to 1 as Hyperlite, 2 as Soft, 3 as Ultrasonic, 4 as Stiff and 5 as Extra Stiff.

Category

 

Retail/Stock Option

 

My Specs

 

Notes

 

Skin Option

Ultrasonic

Vapor 2X

Pro custom only.

Knee Wing

Adjustable

None

Pro custom only.

Boot Flex

Supreme/Soft/125 Degree

Vapor/Soft/100 Degree

Pro custom only.

Toe Attachment

Bungee

Bungee

 

 

Boot Strapping

None

None

 

 

Size

XS/S/M/L/XL

S

 

 

Thigh Flex

Mid/Ultrasonic

Mid/Ultrasonic

 

 

Toe Alignment

Offset

Offset

Pro custom only.

Other Strapping

None

None

Pro custom only.

Tune Fit Connect

Unassembled, in box

Assembled

 

 

I made some changes to the pad over the stock option – I opted for the flatter Vapor boot as I was coming from a CCM EF4 and had grown to like the feel of a flat boot. I like having the pad sit on top of my skate boot with a connected feeling. Secondly, I chose not to have a knee wing as I always strap the Velcro down to the calf. Finally, I chose to have the pads skinned as a Vapor 2X since I didn’t like the Ultrasonic graphic. There was a little bit more freedom with the Vapor graphic.

Having worn CCMs in a 33+1.5 previously, these are size Small, which is Bauer's equivalent to a 33. The fit is pretty much exactly the same, albeit maybe slightly shorter in the thighrise.

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The pads are easy to strap up – Bauer has lifted the strapping system from the Vapor line.  I’m very happy they got rid of the CRS system they used with the previous Supremes. One knee strap, one calf strap and another outer calf strap, plus the bungee Velcro toe system and you’re all set.

The molded calf material looks and feels very nice. With the segmentation, you can contort it in various ways and the pad will still move and protect you.

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Rebounds off these pads are hot. If you’re playing low level beer league, you might not see much of an improvement, but if you’re playing higher level hockey against people with serious shots, these rebounds will zoom away from you. One of the first shots I took in the first skate had the rebound go off the pad, along the wall to the other side of the rink.

The biggest feature with the Ultrasonic release is the Stabilislide knee block. And yes, it is as big a deal as it is made out to be. Stabilislide is essentially a very rigid L-shaped component that is built into the pad core and the knee block, resulting into a very stable, excellently sealing butterfly. The pads seem to rotate and land perfectly every time, it feels like I’m cheating.

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That’s not to say these pads are perfect.

The knee landing does feel very dense and heavy, which makes the pad feel a little top heavy. It seems Bauer is/was aware of this as they were able to reduce weight on the Stabiliflex design. There is little cushion on the knee landing itself, so if you like the squishy materials used on recent CCM pads, you may want to wait for Axis 2.

These pads are rigid. If you’re coming from a soft pad as I was, these will feel like boards on your legs. It will take time to get used to. Some people won’t be able to get past the rigidity as there is next to no torsional flex on these pads either.

The TuneFit Connect strap, aka the professor strap, is not very well implemented. Installation and removal is very easy, but I would leave the Velcro loose and rely on the nylon buckle to dial in the fit. But the nylon often loosened up and my inability to find that consistent fit in the strapping was a deal breaker to me.

The bungee system isn’t the most robust, in my opinion. Coming from Pro Laces / CCM’s implementation, those felt much more durable and better made than Bauer’s (Monster Hockey’s?) version. The gauge of the bungee is quite a bit thinner than Pro Lace’s and the Velcro tabs themselves are a bit more flimsy. They work just fine, but seem like a corner that was cut on the S-class Mercedes Benz that this pad is.

Some people have had some horror stories with CorTech, but I haven’t had any issues. Actually, almost all the wear I’m seeing on these pads are limited to the jenpro and nylon areas, particularly the toe and thighrise binding. No rips or cuts in the CorTech yet, knock on wood. The thigh wear started showing relatively early on – maybe within 20 skates. It was disappointing to see, but I went into these pads with an expectation of seeing wear. Toe binding wear came later, but that has definitely progressed more than then thigh wear. Pics below.

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Bauer Ultrasonic Catch Glove

 

 

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After the leg pads, the glove is the next most customizable piece. I believe most of these options have stayed the same even with the Hyperlite launch. Perhaps the only difference is the inability to get a Vapor 2X graphic. I went with a pro palm and additional Poron in the base of the palm for additional protection. I was feeling some shots in the CCM EF4s with the game ready palm and didn’t want to go through that again. I also reinforced the tee because I want a stiff tee that won’t lose its shape or collapse. You can sort of see where they reinforced the tee in the picture below. Physically, you can feel the stiff plastic reinforcement there too. I also added additional Poron in the base of the palm because I don’t always catch pucks cleanly. This is one place I could really feel the pucks with my EF4.

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Category

 

Retail/Stock Option

 

My Specs

 

Notes

 

Palm Stiffness

Game Ready

Pro Palm

 

 

Tee Pocket

Double Tee

Double Tee – Reinforced

Pro custom only

Palm Material

Quattro Nash

Quattro Nash

 

 

Pocket Lacing

Skate Lace

Nylon

 

 

Tee Lacing

Skate Lace

Nylon

 

 

Break

Ultrasonic (600)

Ultrasonic (600)

Pro custom only

Size

Senior

Senior

 

 

Poron Padding

Palm only

Add 3mm Poron to Palm Base

Pro custom only

Hand

Regular/Full Right

Regular

 

 

Closure out of the box was surprisingly good, despite going with the pro palm and reinforced tee. After almost a full year’s use, it still feels very solid and very protective. Closure has gotten even better. My old favorite was the CCM EFlex 1 catcher and this may very well beat it. It closes cleanly and has a large pocket.

Not much wear on these except for the laces around the perimeter, which is pretty normal. Cuff still feels solid and in one piece.

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Bauer Ultrasonic Blocker

 

 

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Last up, the blocker. Not much customization to be had here. I added a thumb pillow because I take a fair amount of shots off the sidewall.

These Bauer blockers of the last few generations have been something that I really wanted to try. They all felt pretty good and appear to have a lot more wrist mobility versus the CCMs I was wearing before. The new Quattro Nash palm they use on the Ultrasonic is insanely supple and comfortable.

Like the pads, the rebounds off the blocker are pretty hot. I have had zero issues with wear or with protection on it.

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Conclusion

 

The pads are game changers. I think Bauer made a bit of mis-step not to bring Stabilislide – or a cheaper version of it – down to the 3S SR/INT pad. But they remedied that with Hyperlite and 3X SR/INT. These one-piece knees are the future. Look to upcoming releases from CCM and Vaughn for their interpretations.

TL;DR – Great set of equipment. Ultrasonic 2 will be an insta-buy for me.

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Edited by ZeroGravitas
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Nice review.  I think I'd have a really tough time transitioning from something with some twist to a brick of a pad like the Ultrasonic, but if I were in the market right now it would be tough not to have the Hyperlites at the top of my list.  I love my V9s from my little bit of time on the ice with them, but if I could identify one area for improvement, it's in that knee stack.  I'd asked if they could do something to improve that connection between the knee block and the back of the pad and wasn't offered any solutions back in January.  I don't feel like it's really hindering the performance of the pad, but I also haven't experienced the Bauer solutions.  

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8 hours ago, Puckstopper said:

I thought you were doing Hyperlite?    Doing US2 as well (eventually)?

Hyperlite on the way...eventually! I'm sitting at about 7 weeks right now.

I suspect I will like US2 more simply because of the 600 break glove. I went stock with the Hyperlite, so it'll be a 590.

The other day, I warned my wife that I am intending to get US2 and Axis 2 in 2022. She DGAF, thankfully.

9 hours ago, coopaloop1234 said:

Great review.

What made you make a large transition into super stiff pads? 

Lack of trust in my defensemen? Was looking for a pad with a stiff face because I would get victimized off rebounds. I do feel like I'm playing better than ever, but I did get True custom skates at around the same time I got these pads so it's hard to say.

I'm interested in how Hyperlite's Rebound Boost Core will perform. I ordered stock stiffness on Hyperlite so it should be a bit softer than US.

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17 hours ago, ZeroGravitas said:

Hyperlite on the way...eventually! I'm sitting at about 7 weeks right now.

I suspect I will like US2 more simply because of the 600 break glove. I went stock with the Hyperlite, so it'll be a 590.

The other day, I warned my wife that I am intending to get US2 and Axis 2 in 2022. She DGAF, thankfully.

I'm interested in how Hyperlite's Rebound Boost Core will perform. I ordered stock stiffness on Hyperlite so it should be a bit softer than US.

Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the two.   I went with the stiffness between US and HL for my set.  It seemed to be working out well until my knee self destructed.  Now I've got to wait until at least November to get back on the ice and then have to find a team in a new city once I can...   

The other downside to moving is losing my hook-up on gear, unless I'm willing to make a 90 minute drive for weekend shifts. Haven't decided on that yet, but I may try to gut it out through Axis 2 release time, 'cause those look SICK!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/20/2021 at 11:56 AM, Puckstopper said:

Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the two.   I went with the stiffness between US and HL for my set.  It seemed to be working out well until my knee self destructed.  Now I've got to wait until at least November to get back on the ice and then have to find a team in a new city once I can...   

The other downside to moving is losing my hook-up on gear, unless I'm willing to make a 90 minute drive for weekend shifts. Haven't decided on that yet, but I may try to gut it out through Axis 2 release time, 'cause those look SICK!

8 weeks in.... hopefully soon.

Skated in some Trues yesterday day. Hated it. Sliding was worse, rotation was poor and I got victimized several times on rebounds that Ultrasonics would have put out of harm's way - or at least give me a extra couple seconds to reset. Ultrasonics honestly feel like goalie cheat codes in regards to rotation and sliding.

No hockey shops in the new town?

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On 9/30/2021 at 11:46 PM, ZeroGravitas said:

8 weeks in.... hopefully soon.

Skated in some Trues yesterday day. Hated it. Sliding was worse, rotation was poor and I got victimized several times on rebounds that Ultrasonics would have put out of harm's way - or at least give me a extra couple seconds to reset. Ultrasonics honestly feel like goalie cheat codes in regards to rotation and sliding.

No hockey shops in the new town?

Not really.  Dayton is a small city between Columbus and Cincy, but the wife and I are looking to either buy a house on some acreage or buy a lot and build, so between that and building a new market from the ground up my time for a fun job to pay for gear-whoring is close to zero.  :(  Oh well, it's a good problem to have...

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