In September, the brand new Bauer Nexus 1N hockey stick hit the market. While the Nexus sticks generally haven’t elicited quite the same level of buzz that its Vapor or Supreme siblings tend to, the 1N launch bucked that trend. The much-anticipated stick builds on the popularity of the Nexus 1000 & Nexus 8000 lines from the past few seasons.
Nexus is Bauer’s ‘Mid-Kick Point’ stick, designed for an effortless, natural energy load & release with the best accuracy possible. Nexus is meant to load easily, but still generate a lot of power, great for players who like to shoot on the move.
The most notable changes to the 1N from the Nexus 8000 were the fine-tuning of their ‘Sweet Spot Technology’ and the addition of the Power Sense 2 blade. The ‘Sweet Spot’ is designed to optimize the stick’s efficiency when shooting – Easy loading with less energy lost resulting in more power behind shots. It also helps to give players more room for error when shooting, meaning if you don’t have lots of time to setup or to perfectly position your lower hand – which is usually the case – you can still get off a great shot.
The Power Sense 2 blade is more cohesive than the original but still shares the goal of balancing power generation and transfer with great puck feel. The ‘sense layer’ materials are integrated into the TeXtreme carbon fiber of the blade. This creates a stick that is lighter and better balanced overall while still maintaining the key attributes of the blade.
Several of our key store employees and myself were lucky enough to get our hands on some Nexus 1N’s a few months ago. This wasn’t an hour on the ice goofing around with the stick, each tester had their own and got to go use it on their own playing men’s league, coaching or whatever other real game situation they had coming up.
My first impression of the stick was exactly what I think Bauer was going for – I noticed as soon as I picked it up how light and extremely well balanced it felt. When we weighed the stick, I was surprised by the fact that it was only a couple grams lighter than other similar, recent Bauer top models, coming in at just under 420 grams. I was surprised because from holding the stick, I would have guessed the 1N would have been a bit lighter than the others. This speaks to the improved balance of the stick, even though its only a couple grams lighter, in your hands it feels much lighter.
On the ice, I’ll be honest, it took me a little bit to get used to the puck feel but after a few minutes I really liked it. It only took a couple shifts I got to know the feedback I was getting from the blade as to where the puck was on the face. Considering the rocks I have in my gloves, the fact that it only took a couple shifts to figure it out shows just how impressive the feel on the 1N is.
I have always been a fan of the Nexus line, the mid-kick point is well suited to the way I shoot and I was a huge fan of the Nexus 1000 from the first time I used it (For proof check out the Nexus 1000 hockey stick review from Sept of 2011). The Nexus 1000 was my go-to stick for over a year. The Nexus 8000 was a good stick, but I didn’t like it quite as much as the 1000. I didn’t think the puck feel was quite the same; the 1000 had a great combo of soft feel when stickhandling and blade stiffness to shoot. I felt the 8000 was a bit stiffer when stickhandling and didn’t give me quite the same feel.
As tell you that to say this… I thought the 1N was actually an improvement on the original and was back to being great for both shooting and stickhandling. Soft feel on the puck while still having enough stiffness to be responsive and accurate when shooting.
The blade gives a ton of feedback so I felt that I could really tell exactly where the puck was on the face. Getting that quick, accurate feedback is a huge benefit in my game as it allows me to consistently keep my head up and on the play. Whether I am moving the puck towards to toe as I prepare to shoot, getting it towards the heel to throw a saucer pass or just to protect it from a defenseman, I don’t need to look down as much to position it exactly where I need to on the blade.
As much as I liked the feel of the stick, shooting was equally impressive. The first time I used the 1N, I was able to get out on the ice a few minutes before everyone else, so I dumped the bucket of pucks out in the slot and started testing it out. It took almost no time to get used to the way the stick flexed on the release, which was nice. Pucks jumped off the blade, but the accuracy was what really caught my attention. I felt like it was going exactly where I wanted it and that I could really hit my spots. I didn’t feel any need to adjust my follow-through or aim to compensate for the stick.
It was great that I could shoot hard and accurately when standing still in the middle of the slot, but when was the last time anybody got the chance to do that in a game? Pretty rare I’d guess, so I wanted to see if the 1N performed the same way when I was on the move, shooting quickly and when I didn’t have time to set up. I tested it out that day, moving around and shooting, trying to snap the puck off quickly off the stick handle and saw the same results I saw standing still – hard, accurate shots.
As I used the 1N stick in games and while coaching over the following few months, it quickly became my go-to stick. The things I had noticed that first day continued to stand out. It does exactly what Bauer designed it to – Load energy easily to generate power for a hard shot and be very accurate.
Coming off the stick handle, the 1N is still easy to load and get a shot off. The Nexus line has always been easy to load, which is something I have personally always liked. The way I play, I value the ability to quickly lean into the stick and get a lot of energy loaded into it without much effort and without blatantly tipping off the goalie that a shot was coming. That’s the reason I generally prefer a softer (75-80) flex stick.
The 1N took that to the next level by making the stick easy to load and giving you an equally great shot in any situation.
The last thing I like to look at with sticks is the durability. As mentioned, I’ve been lucky enough to use the stick for a few months now and I have seen no deterioration in performance with the 1N. I have been using the 1N pretty regularly for about 5 months, using it in games and then coaching with it. While coaching, I do a lot of work with my goalies and I’m usually taking about 75-100 shots during an hour-long practice, so the stick has gotten plenty of use. The stick is still holding up and shooting the same as the first few times I use it.
That is the true key to the ‘durability’ of a stick. A lot of people think of a durable stick as one that wont break in 2. The strongest, most durable sticks can break in half if they happen to get hit the right way and others can hold up for years.
What I look for in terms of durability is how the stick performs over the entire life. Does the stick still shoot and handle the same the day it breaks as the day I got it? Whether it breaks on day 30, week 30 or month 30. The 1N does hold up. After 5 months of continued use, its still performing well and if it happened to snap tomorrow, I would have no complaints about its performance or durability.
Overall, I would rank the Bauer Nexus 1N as the best all-around ice hockey stick that is available right now. I think the 1N has the best combination of puck feel and shootability. For my game, there are a couple sticks that may have the 1N beat slightly in one of those areas, but nothing that is better in both. Any of the sticks that are better for either shooting or puck handling, trail the 1N significantly in the other.
That is what I personally thought of the 1N, but here is what a few members of our staff thought about the 1N after using theirs…