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Hey guys, Trav4oilers here, so today I’m sharing my experience with the Brian’s Sub Zero 3 leg pads and blocker. So incase you haven’t seen this story floating around the internet then here it is. Also, the video review is right below this for those of you who are more visual learners.
A lot of drama and problems came of a simple custom order from Brian’s Custom sports and in this written review I’m going to give you the full breakdown. Before I start I want to clarify why I am titling this the G-Netik 3/Sub Zero 3 review meanwhile I have not owned a pair of G Netik 3 gear yet. Simple put, I would never recommend ordering a Brian’s product to anybody based on customer service and principle issues that I had with Brian’s. I feel that it is important for people looking into Brian’s in the future to see this and this experience should be taken into consideration because 95% of the “goalie gear reviews” online are retail companies or even worse, the production company themselves reviewing there own gear talking about how great it is going to be and all there innovations but nobody ever hears about the negative experiences.
Why I Ordered Brians
So to start, The Brian’s Sub Zero line has been around since 2011 and are specifically a butterfly style of pad. the Sub Zero Pro 3 leg pad features a more gradual “S-Curve” shape than the Sub Zero 2. The boot break uses Brian’s Hyper-Flex 4 boot construction which allows the goalie to deeply flex the pad at the ankle area for lateral movements, rebound control, etc. The shape of the boot itself has also been redesigned to be square so that it seals much better to ice. The pads are also insanely light, the boot of the pad look pretty standard but as you start looking up closer to the knee and thigh rise the pads get razor thin and it’s clear that’s where most of the weight reductions occur. These are naturally designed to be a flat faced butterfly style of pad but as you can tell I have knee rolls on this set and that is a custom mod so lets get into those.
The Self Proclaimed Custom “Kings”
So Brian’s called themselves the custom goal company and this is the coolest thing they offer by far. They operate out of Kingsville, Ontario, Canada and have the ability to do any custom mod or spec whether it’s graphically or a physical mod. Whatever it is they advertise that they can do it. Obviously being a product tester, I love to dial my gear in and play around with things. So these are custom pads and this is what makes this set so unique. Some of the custom mods I got on these pads are about as far away from the stock set as you could get BUT do keep in mind the base construction of this pad is Sub Zero 3.
Custom Mods I Ordered
- Knee Rolls: The first thing you will notice is how these pads have knee rolls and I added the knee rolls because I wanted to go for a classic look on this set. Now don’t be fooled by the look of the knee rolls, they are unlike traditional knee rolls, they are almost perfectly flat and are insanely stiff which generates long and harder rebounds to keep with the whole Sub Zero theme. Traditionally knee rolls are very round and deaden rebounds but I’m happen to report that wasn’t the case here. Here is a screen grab showing off the knee rolls on the mid point of the pad.
- Knee Flaps: I also added knee flaps here and the knee flaps are the navy blue strokes in between the knee rolls. Knee flaps don’t add any physical advantage or disadvantages, it just adds to the classic look that I was going for.
- Angled Outer Roll: Now if you look to the outer roll, I got the outer roll angled and that is going to help improve rebound control by redirecting pucks lower to the ice instead of popping straight back out with the stock vertical roll.
- Flex: The pads have a single external break at the knee but the boot and thigh rise have no breaks internally or externally so they are as stiff as they could be. My reasoning for that is that I love a rock hard pad that generates longer rebounds and in turn will last longer because there are less breaks.
- Jonathan Quick V2 Narrow Leg Channel: Now to the back of the pad, right away you’ll notice the absence of the smart strap system and how different the leg channel looks. I got the leg channel extra tight, similar to the Vaughn v2 style leg channel that Jonathan Quick, Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid use (to name a few). I loved the tight leg channel on my Reebok premier 4 set and I wanted to keep that feel. Here is a picture of Jonathan Quick’s V2 leg channel. Pic of Quick belongs to the NHL.
- Strapping: The strapping system I got was an Andrej Vasilevskiy style strapping system with 2 leather straps at the calf and one leather strap below the knee as well as a standard boot strap and standard toe lacing, which is different from the Brian’s smart strap toe and boot strapping
- Aesthetics: Finally I had custom logos put on the face, I dropped the stock “b-star” logo from the thigh rise to the mid roll and on the side gusset, I added a classic brains logo and removed the Sub zero logos. As far as custom colours go, I was going for a look that was similar to Carey Price’s from 2011 so I added the knee rolls and coloured knee flaps. I also took off all the stock graphics on the front of the pad and on the side nylons so its just a solid colour leg channel and gusset.
So hopefully if you’re hearing about all of these cool things Brian’s was able to offer and commit to executing on my set, you’re as excited as I was. Being honest (call it what is was) I was so excited I was posting all over the @Trav4oilers social media pages about how excited I was and that Brian’s makes the best and coolest gear out there because I had seen so many great reviews, meanwhile I had never use a Brian’s product before in my life. Looking back I regret posting that because I knew nothing about the brand and was getting excited over hype and as we all know in an online driven world, you can’t believe everything you hear online.
Below are 2 pictures of the Strapping and a screen grab from the video review of showing you how tight the V2 leg channel should look like
Where the Drama Begins
So I ordered the gear mid November 2015 and it arrived the last couple days of January 2016. Sadly, this January day was right where the problems began right off the bat. I opened the box and the most beautiful set of gear I had ever seen was there. Then I looked closer and specs where missing, spelling errors on my last name on the boot, straps missing or avoided. Hear is just a small list of the things they missed.
- Tight Leg Channel | I asked for a V2 style tight leg channel and this wasn’t even close. The leg channel calf wrap piece was almost at the edge of binding on the side of the pads which would be an open leg channel (this is a huge difference)
- Strapping | I specifically asked for Smart straps and 2 leather calf straps and 1 knee strap dropping below the knee. I got all the smart straps mixed with 2 leather and no knee strap. I had asked that the calf straps tuck ontop of the calf wrap the same way it would on a V2 leg channel. That didn’t happen either
- Custom Name | So this one I actually got a really good laugh at. I asked for them to put “Ridgen” in white on the outer gusset section of the boot (which was navy blue) the same way you would on a P4 set. Well they spelt it “Rigden” and put in navy on the white roll on the side. NAILED IT!!!
These are all custom mods that I can think of and name off the top of my head here in March 2017, over a year later. There were plenty more but if I listed them all you’d be reading for days on end. Anyway.
When I’m paying over $2000 for a set of pads I expect my gear to be exactly what I want with no questions asked. Brian’s did make up for the mistake and paid for my pads to be picked up and fixed right away but the after the first ice time that I used them after getting them back, the backside leg channel lacing broke. So again, Brian’s had to pay for them to be picked up, shipped back to their warehouse and fixed. So from the moment I got them for the first time to the moment when I finally got them back and they were not done properly, it had been 5 weeks extra which I was not impressed with and I will touch on that later on in the video. Because they had to schedule for 2 more pickups believe it or not to fix the blocker finger protection because I almost broke my finger on it, then again finally when they gave up on my gear, wouldn’t stand behind their product and give me a full refund but I’ll get to all that info in a bit.
Lets talk about performance now, Brian’s has made these the 2nd lightest pad on the market, coming in behind the Bauer OD1N pads (which is actually the set that I’ve been using for almost a year and I am absolutely in love with my 1S OD1N gear). I felt more stable with the inside landing pad on these Sub 3’s than on any of the previous pads I’ve used (P4 Pro, Supreme One80, etc). That inside area is critical because it can either promote or hinder fluent movements from the butterfly and the Sub Zero 3’s excel in this area. The boot area of the landing strip is made of Brian’s primo material which is used in higher wear areas and I feel this plays a big role in the improvement of these movements. I dropped the knee velcro tab from the knee down to the calf wrap and I felt that standard knee velcro was extremely tight so I had Brian’s send me an extended elastic strap which adds an extra 2 inches but (surprise, surprise) when I got that, it was just the standard sized velcro tab. Leg channel is great, the segmented calf wrap is great because it moves with my leg and whether I’m stretching out or executing a butterfly from a backside push, this calf wrap moves with your leg. There is also a tighter calf wrap inside of the segmented calf wrap on these pads and it’s made of Brian’s hex-air materials and its great, it prevents slippage and lives up to all of that. When I asked Brian’s to put leather straps on these pads, I specifically asked for them to be stitched to the inside of the leg channel which they did after attempting to fix it a few times but they stitched them in so tight to the leg channel there is almost no room to feed the male end of the leather buckle into the female end, it’s still doable but was an extreme pain. Now with the exception of the single break on the outer roll, I ordered those pads as stiff as Brian’s can make them and they are exactly what I was looking for. Obviously they took a few ice times to break in but all in all I was happy with the stiffness.
These pads are also extremely customizable. As you can clearly tell with my set, if you can imagine it and communicate the concept over to Brian’s they can do it. The only issue I had was with their primo material that they use in higher wear areas. It only comes in white, silver and black. My pads look good with white primo but I would have like to have gotten Navy primo but that wasn’t an option so that was a little bit disappointing.
So lets talk about the customer service over at Brian’s. Now this is where I was disappointed the most because Brian’s screwed up some of the biggest mods that I asked for as well as a few minor details with my pads. Now I understand that we are all human and mistakes happen but when you call yourself the “custom goal company” or the “custom kings
it’s one thing to be able to do anything a customer can imagine but it’s another to execute it properly and in a timely manner. Unfortunently Brian’s didn’t offer an type of compensation aside from a few apologies for the 8 extra weeks it took to sort of fix all of the problems. I asked if they would be willing to compensate with a matching glove because at this point we are in I believe April, if not May 2016 and I never used these pads for anything more than 1 team practice and 4 or 5 pickup skates after the season finished, and after asking in typical Brian’s fashion they pretty much told me to beat it.
Over the next few weeks I kept asking if they were going to give anything to make up for this eventually, eventually they gave into sending me a sweater (which I am still waiting to receive to this day, March 2017) but a $50 sweater doesn’t do much in my books considering I spent over $2000 on these pads. However Chris Jawsriak did send me a GPS1 stick in May 2016 which makes it a little bit better but I shouldn’t have to keep asking for quality customer service, if they committing to accepting my payment for the gear I am about to order they should also be committed to making sure I am 100% satisfied with no questions asked. All of these mistakes made it impossible to use this gear for my playoffs. This experience was extremely disappointing. From the moment the pads arrived at my doorstep to the moment Brian’s fixed all of THEIR mistakes and repaired my pads, it had been 8 weeks extra. That along with the 11 weeks it took to built my pads, it took 19 weeks before I could truly use my pads and if you ask me, thats ridiculous.
To contrast this situation, when I ordered my last Reebok P4 set, my original glove broke within 2 months because some of the padding in the palm broke and Reebok didn’t ask a single question. They sent me a replacement glove to use in the meantime and they remade my custom glove, allowing me to change whatever colours and specs I wanted and even made me a brand new custom blocker for me to make up for it, all of this was 100% on the house. Now that’s 100% quality customer service. Reason I didn’t stick with Reebok (now CCM) on this order was because I thought that Brian’s could match CCM in every way possible and then beat them with all the custom options available consider Brian’s often refer to themselves on social media as “the best”, and to be the best you gotta be better than the best (CCM and Bauer) but I was sadly wrong.
So would I recommend the Brian’s Sub Zero 3’s to you? Absolutely not, and for the reasons I stated at the beginning of this review I wouldt recommend Brian’s as a company to deal with because the customer service alone outweighs how happy I was with some of the performance perks by far in my opinion. if you are ordering stock, you might be okay to order since they are making the same product over and over but If you are ordering custom I would highly, highly suggest looking at CCM or Bauer. Brian’s claims that they are known for their customer service and craftsmanship but when I’m paying over $2000 for a set of pads, I don’t care about everybody else. All I want is MY gear to be done my way and I want it to be taken care of in as timely a fashion as possible and after my experience neither of those happened. Brian’s feels more like a factory line that is concerned with getting equipment out as quick as possible with no regard for the quality to the casual consumer, meanwhile giving everything they got to the pro’s that endorse their product considering those are the people that generate sales and revenue. So with that in mind I’m giving the Brian’s Sub Zero 3 leg pads a 2/10.
So what do you think? If you spend a lot of money on a custom set of gear what do you expect from the company producing your gear? I have also attached the video link to the shorter video review on this topic so check that out if you want to see visual examples of all this and more. For more gear reviews and everything else goaltending, make sure you subscribe to me on Youtube and follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Trav4oilers