The launch of the new flagship HyperLite helmet was a big surprise to me personally. It seemed like not long ago that Bauer introduced their safest helmet, the Re-Akt 200, but it turns out that it’s been four seasons (the 200 appeared in the 2017 catalog), and this update looks very appropriate in terms of timing.
As I think, partly this reaction is because on the background of skates, hockey sticks, and protective equipment – the category “helmets” do not cause such interest and there is no such expectation of a new product. Nevertheless, in the new season, the line of Bauer helmets will remain the same, but the flagship model will be the HyperLite.
If we talk about the current Bauer models, it includes seven helmets of different levels (in terms of the degree of technology of the product). It is very important to understand that they all have different shapes, provide a different fit and, as a result, are suitable for different head shapes.
Often there is a situation when you like your helmet, but it just does not fit, and there is nothing you can do about it. At the same time, we must admit that Bauer offers several models at once quite advanced level, and, most likely, everyone can find a helmet with an optimal fit. Further, I will tell you about some models from personal experience that can be used as a very rough guide in the choice. The final decision should be made only after a careful fitting.
Quick overview of other models
The two entry-level models are the 4500 and the IMS 5.0. Both helmets are simple in design but have a slightly different fit. The 4500 is quite narrow (more for the oval head shape), but the IMS 5.0 uses the larger plastic shell from the Re-Akt 100 (suitable for a more round head in relation to the 4500).
In the middle segment, there is a model 5100. More often it fits a more round head shape.
Then there are three advanced level models with an excellent level of equipment and price: Re-Akt 75, Re-Akt 95, and Re-Akt 150. In my personal opinion, these three helmets are the best choice if you want modern and technologically advanced head protection but are not ready to pay for flagship solutions (which often make no sense at all).
All three models offer a different head fit to reach more potential customers. The Re-Akt 75 and Re-Akt 95 helmets are simpler versions of the Re-Akt 100 and Re-Akt 200, respectively. They use the same plastic shell but differ in the filling inside. In terms of shape, the Re-Akt 75/100 models were narrower than the later Re-Akt 95/200 models.
The later Re-Akt 150 is a stand-alone model created from scratch with the idea of ensuring the most versatile fit on a player’s head. For the first time, this helmet features the new FreeForm fitting system, which has a very wide range of adjustments.
The Re-Akt 200 was Bauer’s response to the Virginia Polytechnic University’s safety rating, which resulted in many models being unreasonably under-rated. I do not want to go into the reasons, but, most likely, they come down to a different testing methodology.
Reebok engineers said very right words:
“Reliable protection begins with a secure fit”
If the helmet does not fit well on the head, then its mechanisms simply will not work properly. But, as expected, the Re-Akt 200 with a high protective potential received large dimensions and significant weight.
New Bauer Helmet
Bauer decided to develop a completely new model that will meet all current requirements (the bulkiest and heaviest model should be replaced by its exact opposite – the lightest and compact). When creating the HyperLite they relied on the increased speed of hockey, and the new helmet must meet the modern style of play. To do this, they focused on two key aspects: weight and size.
For many hockey players, weight will be an important factor that draws attention to HyperLite. It is the lightest helmet in Bauer’s history and one of the lightest models on the market. Only two Easton models were lighter: Stealth S19 Z-Shock (325g in M size) and E700 (354g in M size).
The new HyperLite is available in two sizes, and its weight is 425 grams (size S/M – data from Bauer) and 447 grams (size M/L – my measurements of the test helmet). The difference may seem big, but you should remember two things:
- the helmet from Bauer is larger (more material) and overlaps the size grid only two sizes (Easton produced in sizes S, M, and L);
- Easton can be said to have no adjustment system (both helmets monolithic), and its fit was at a low level.
|Helmet Size||Head Circumference|
|SM/M||21.2 – 23.2″||54 – 59 cm|
|M/L||22.4 – 24.6″||57 – 62.5 cm|
Weights of other helmets for comparison:
- HyperLite – 425g (size S/M)
- HyperLite – 447g (size M/L
- Re-Akt 200 – 625g (size M)
- Re-Akt 150 – 521g (size M)
- Re-Akt 95 – 536g (size M)
- CCM Super Tacks X – 608g (size M)
- CCM Tacks 910 – 619g (size L)
- Warrior Alpha One Pro – 536g (size L)
The 20% weight reduction relative to the Re-Akt 150 was made possible by serious optimization work.
Bauer’s attention to the smallest details resulted in a 20% weight reduction compared to the Re-Akt 150, while maintaining the same level of protection.
It’s no secret that the appearance of a helmet can play a key role in the choice. Many people associate speed with the aerodynamic and aggressive profile of a sports car. Bauer decided to use this association and tried to make the helmet as low profile as possible, so it looks very compact on the head. Then everyone will decide whether he likes the result of the team Bauer or not because everyone has different tastes.
The helmet has all the necessary facial protection attachments, but I liked that HyperLite used the ear protection design taken from Easton. The plastic element is removable without the use of tools: it is mounted on the rails, and at the end of the stroke it snaps into place. A very convenient and compact design that also saved some weight.
The FreeForm helmet adjustment system deserves special attention. It was first used in the Re-Akt 150, and I think many have already seen its effectiveness. The manufacturer claims a 250% gain over the classic longitudinal adjustment.
Of course, someone may have a much better fit with a helmet that only has a longitudinal adjustment, and that’s fine. And no one is saying that FreeForm models will fit everyone (although the chances are high). In this case, it’s about the capabilities of the fitting system itself, how much of a wide range it can adapt to the shape of your head. That’s why the HyperLite only comes in two sizes – S/M and M/L.
The helmet has three points where the locks are located, the activation of which allows you to adjust the helmet in both the longitudinal and transverse directions. To some extent, I even agree that the adjustment is independent: when adjusting, you can achieve an insignificant influence of the width on the length and vice versa. That said, I like that the adjustment is smooth, with no fixed steps, and allows for the most precise fit of the helmet.
The front part of the helmet must initially fit well. It is primarily the forehead and temporal area. Adjusting the helmet allows the helmet to fit tighter on the player’s head. Although the system is very advanced, it is, as I said above, a very complex task to make a helmet that fits everyone. Some may be upset by the absence of an active nape rest. I think this was done to reduce the weight of the helmet, but the roller itself is made very thick and of comfortable foam, which significantly increases its ability to adapt to the shape of the head.
Inside the helmet, we see the foam colored in bright lettuce (see picture above). It’s is the new ShockLite foam, which is a development of the premium VTX foam used in all Re-Akt premium helmets. It is very lightweight and effective at absorbing impact energy. Like the VTX, it feels like high-quality foam and supples under pressure. It makes it feel much more comfortable. XRD foam has been added to key areas for added protection, while comfort foam pads provide added comfort. Their surface has a pleasant velvety texture for added grip and a more secure fit.
Personally, I was disappointed that Bauer decided not to update the Re-Akt mask (see picture below) along with the launch of such a lightweight helmet. I agree, it has not had any serious competitors for years, but the release of an even more progressive HyperLite mask would have been a beautiful story.
The category “helmets” does not often indulge us with some interesting releases, but recently brands have become a little more active and are trying to bring something new to the market. HyperLite’s strengths are its low weight, compact low-profile silhouette, very advanced FreeForm adjustment system, and cute design. The price remains at the Re-Akt 200 level, which means that this is a very expensive solution (although in comparison with CCM Super Tacks X it no longer looks like that).
Personally, I will stick to my opinion. When choosing a helmet, you should first of all decide on the price and look within it for a helmet with an optimal fit. Go beyond the desired price only if the more expensive model fits better on the head. It is better to look at models of average and slightly above average level: there is an optimal ratio of technology and price. If we’re talking about Bauer, these are the already mentioned models Re-Akt 75, 95 and 150. If we want to buy a helmet above the level, we must clearly understand what we are overpaying for. So for example, by choosing the HyperLite, we get significantly less weight relative to the Re-Akt 150 without sacrificing protection and a more modern, dynamic design.
Of the current offerings, I like the Re-Akt 95. It fits well on my head, has advanced stuffing and I am quite happy with its appearance. Price? Yes, it is high, but much lower than many offers on the market. In general, it’s worth to be as balanced as possible when choosing a helmet, because the price in this segment today varies in a very wide range and you need to clearly understand what you pay for.