Bauer has struck again. With the release of the Vapor APX 2 stick, Bauer has outdone their previous top-of-the-line stick. When the original APX Stick replaced the Vapor X:60 in 2011, it revolutionized the game with the Intelli-sense technology, a true dual flex-point system based on a player’s hand positioning. This meant that for the first time, a stick would change the way it flexed between a slap shot, wrist shot, and snap shot. There is an abundance of new technology to go along with some improved features from last year’s model.
The Bauer APX 2 Flex Point Diagram
The innovative Intelli-sense technology makes its highly favorable return in the Vapor APX 2. With a player’s hand higher on the shaft, the stick would flex lower on the shaft for a quick, accurate release during a wrist or snap shot. Conversely, when a player takes a slap shot with hands lower on the shaft, the stick flexes higher for a greater load of energy and more power behind the puck. Without having to adjust the hands to a “sweet spot” shooting position, a player can fire quickly and accurately.
TeXtreme technology carbon fiber was also used in the new design. This extremely lightweight but durable carbon fiber features thinner weaving and less material overall, making it 20% lighter than other carbon fiber used on the market. It is certainly a noticeable difference in weight as well as overall balance across the length of the stick.
The new Bauer APX 2 Shaft Design
Also making a return in the new APX 2 is the Micro Feel II Shaft. The rounded edges and double concave sidewalls make the shaft fit well in a player’s hands, improving comfort and puck feel throughout the stick. This feature gives the stick a soft feel on the puck, whereas most sticks have sharp edges and rectangular sidewalls. The rounded edge also makes taking slap shots less painful on the palms.
Another change featured in this year’s top Vapor stick comes from the new internal blade construction. The Aero-Sense blade core with the new Aero Foam 3 core technology is a large improvement over the previous APX. With the new Aero Foam 3 core, Bauer was able to lighten the blade without any loss of durability or strength, while also providing a higher balance point on the shaft and creating a more even weight distribution. Without strength in the blade, it would flex and open up on heavy shots, causing a loss of potential energy and decreasing overall power and accuracy.
The new Bauer APX 2's new blade has been improved from last year's APX model
The original APX was a huge success for maintaining a durable blade that could withstand repeated use and retain a rigid “pop” feel. The new blade builds on this with improved vibration absorption when stickhandling and catching passes, making the sense of the puck incredible. Improving the foam also results in less internal cracking over time, radically increasing the life of the blade.
Another new feature is a rubberized coating throughout the core to reduce impact. The sense layer adds to increased feel when controlling the puck, keeping it on the blade when stickhandling. This stick is far better at receiving passes without the puck bouncing off.
When shooting, the APX 2 is designed to load not only when it contacts the ice, but also when it comes into contact with the puck, quickly helping to get the puck to maximum velocity. The Vapor lines boast the quickest release of all Bauer’s sticks.
Bauer uses a molding process unlike any other in the industry. The Monocomp technology eliminates a fusion point between the shaft and the blade, doing away with the need for any excess materials like glue or foam. The stick therefore has a lighter overall weight and a more balanced feel. Bauer’s eLASTech is a design which uses carbon nanotubes to help stop cracks from forming or spreading throughout the stick, increasing the lifespan of the stick.
The APX 2 is now the most versatile stick Bauer makes. It is an ideal choice for a range of players looking for a lightweight, high-end stick. The dual-flex makes this stick a shooter’s favorite weapon, able to switch from quick snap shots to powerful one-timers seamlessly. Its lightweight and incredible puck feel makes this an excellent option for the dirty danglers out there as well, making quick hands even quicker. For players looking to improve their game, this stick will greatly increase the quality of shots taken from any position on the ice. This is a perfect stick for anyone from advanced players with a lot of experience using high-performance sticks, to players looking to step into the top-end market. The APX 2 offers something for everyone.
I got the chance to take the new APX 2 out on the ice and my thoughts are as follows. Immediately, I could tell how light the stick was, but it was very evenly distributed weight. Typically, when the overall weight of the stick is reduced, a player might find it to be light in the shaft but blade-heavy; this is not true of the APX 2. After picking up a puck I noticed the stick had a very soft feel to it. I knew exactly where the puck was on the blade and it didn’t have a rigid or hard puck feel. The stick has a very nice feel up the shaft’s length, being neither so hollow nor so solid that the sensitivity is lost.
Stickhandling is very fluid and didn’t take any adjustment time. The responsiveness was evident when going through deke drills; the puck didn’t want to leave my stick. Shooting was by far the best part of using the APX 2. Beginning with my first shot taken, the puck went exactly where I intended for it to go. I went through various shot types. When taking controlled wrist shots, the release was smooth and quick. Slap shots were powerful, and I could feel the fluid energy transfer through the shaft with very little recoil in my hands. The stick does a great job of absorbing pass impact, keeping the puck from bouncing away or over the blade on those long cross ice passes.
Overall, the APX 2 is a very enjoyable stick. Stickhandling was crisper, and shots were harder and more accurate with less effort required to load the stick. I will definitely be picking one up for myself.
There are lots of Pro players using the APX 2. Last season, players like Nicklas Backstrom, Patrick Kane, and Claude Giroux were all spotted premiering the new Vapor twig. This is certainly a goal scorer’s stick. Evander Kane and Tyler Seguin netted plenty of goals while wielding this new instrument. You can expect the list of players using this stick in the show to increase during the next season. Keep a lookout and see if your favorite player decides to take up the new top Vapor stick.
“It’s very important to feel the puck on the blade, it’s a big part of your game and you have to have the right feeling. You want the puck stuck to your blade when receiving a pass.” Nicklas Backstrom, #19
“It’s very light, it feels good in your hands. Whether its controlling the puck, making a pass, taking a shot, or making a deke on the goalie you feel comfortable with it.” Patrick Kane, #88
“Whether I'm taking a slap shot, a snapshot or a quick wrister, it definitely reacts the way I need it to on the ice.” - Evander Kane, #9
The Vapor Family
The rest of the Bauer Vapor line includes the X100, X90, X80 and X70 sticks. These sticks offer similar features to the APX 2 for hockey players of all levels.
The X100 stick is a top-end stick with a higher level of durability. The X100 still features the Intelli-Sense Flex system and Aero Foam 3 Blade as well as the Pure Shot Blade Profile found in the APX 2.
The X90 is built with high quality 12k carbon fiber throughout the shaft and 3k carbon weave throughout the blade for a balanced, durable stick. The X90 is perfect for the player who wants a great stick without paying top dollar.
The X80 is a great middle-of-the-road stick and offers a great value in features for the cost. The like the sticks above it, the X80 includes the Aero Foam 3, the Intelli-Sense flex system and the Pure Shot Blade profile.
The X70 is the entry-level vapor line stick. It’s a perfect fit for a player who wants a good, durable stick at the lowest price. The X70 has a low kick point, perfect for quick wrist and snap shots.
The entire Vapor line is out now and available at Discount Hockey, in store and online.
Will you be settling the score?