E-Lacrosse invited all of the lacrosse manufacturers to submit their latest equipment or products for review. We are reviewing the materials in the order that they are received.






THE BRINE AXIS GLOVES: Brine has thrown out conventional ideas about how the lacrosse glove conforms to the hand. A diagonal pattern of pads and seams make this the most interesting looking glove on the market in years. Like a rare Italian sports car, it demands a double take. Under the hood, the glove performs, as well. We found it to be comfortable and durable, while providing great dexterity but only average protection. The price tag is high, at a buck and a quarter, but the glove is light, comfortable and looks awesome. When we first saw the glove we wondered if the attached cuff would bother us or if the clear plastic protection on the fingers would loosen and come off, but after a whole summer of use, they are still in good shape. An expensive leather glove should be.



The external armor on the fingers

The Attached cuff can be adjusted with a velcro strap

The features we liked the most were the slits in the finger area for ventilation and the way the glove conforms to the movement of the hand rather than to the hand sitting still. The wacky shape is not just Billy Daye and the Brine folks' madness. There is method and careful research involved. We would not be surprised to see the more fluid diagonal motion in the seams of many gloves in the future. A few of the manufacturers this year and last have begun to accommodate the curled inward movement of the open hand and the natural uneven resting position of the fingers in a closed fist, but these gloves go much further.



Ventilation between fingers

A very comfortable grip



The palm with raised rubber dimples

Mesh inserts for ventilation and flexibility


The palms are suede leather with mesh insert areas and rubber dimples for grip, but not overly so. This is a nice touch and they have even used the Brine spinning B logo as some of the larger dimples on the fingertips. The pattern of dimples is placed such that you can grip when needed but let the stick slide along the non-rubberized area for quick changes in shaft position.

The most flexible glove we've seen

Mesh finger sides





This glove is an innovative and impressive design, but from a protection standpoint, Brine has better gloves and is known for their quality protective gear. We've taken a couple poke checks to the fingers wearing the Axis that surprised us and slap checks to the hand have occasionaly been painful. The defensemen who tried them didn't notice this at all, while the attackmen definately did. The glove uses a minimalist approach and sacrifices some protection for its extreme comfort and dexterity. John Zulberti and a few others on the winning Under Armor team in Vail wore them against a ferocious MAB defense and fared well. That said, the Axis is not selling that well from our conversations with retailers. Perhaps the price is somewhat prohibitive for some young buyers, although for only 10 dollars less, the X-Factor Gel gloves are probably Brine's best seller and a very protective glove. Brine, of course, makes a good glove at every price level integrating some of the technology from the higher lines. The L-33 has always been a great glove. But if you have the big money and want the top of the line, either the X-Factor Gel or Axis will fill the bill. The Axis cannot be missed on the field. Check them out the next time you go to the store or see someone with them. Find out more about all of the Brine gloves on the Brine website.








While the Edge still sells very well, its offspring could not keep the iron grip on the head market that their father did. Retailers are now saying that the edge series, other than the edge itself, is closer to the bottom than the top of the list for sales. But Brine foresaw this a couple years back and did not even introduce a new head in the edge line for 2001. The Cyber and Vapor broke into the market as brand new looks for the New England based manufacturer. The Cyber ads on lacrosse television broadcasts were the best anyone had to offer this year with tag lines like "Would you eat a worm for a Cyber", and "Would you stuff this dirty old sock in your mouth for a Cyber"? The kids did, and the ads were very talked about amongst the lax crowd and industry.


The Cyber with a yellow hard mesh

and with the Complete Pocket

Turning points in product lines and company image are delicate and so important and Brine sailed through the transition with the help of these ads, a nice series of print ads, web advertising with contests and, of course, a great new stick. And it is a great new stick, as is the Vapor, which came out in a quiet mid to late-season release to little clamor and sells poorly so far. We like the Vapor more than the higher priced Cyber and a few of the top selling sticks by other manufacturers. So keep reading.



The sleek and unique Cyber design

Our favorite end cap

The Cyber and the Vapor scoop better than the Edge series, although we never had a problem scooping with the edge because we use two hands and bend at the knees like our youth coaches taught us to. But scooping is a breeze with these two and especially the Cyber. The "Boston Crab" or "Indian Pick-up" is a breeze with either, but especially the Vapor. Both have a new look and support construct which establishes attractive long design lines from the base upward. We know that the look of the Cyber is extremely popular because its already been knocked off a couple times in the plans for next year by other manufacturers. We don't mind that, but credit is due to this design for a possible wave over the next few years. Brine calls it an open throat design and Power Beam construction, which actually looks like an I-beam if looking from the bottom of the head. They claim a higher strength to weight ratio and we think they're right.



VAPOR

CYBER

Many kids have commented that the new Brine offerings are more like the Warrior heads than the old Brine heads but that they don't break as often. This is nothing new for Brine. The Edges we had never broke, but were eventually handed down or stolen. So far, reports from retailers have been that there are very few breakage returns of the Cyber or Vapor.


Cyber (left) and Vapor base designs

The scoops of the Cyber and Vapor (front)

Both sticks are pinched far more than the original edge, but are not the same. Our illustrations show the differences in the width, base, scoop and offset degrees. The Cyber is a Full Offset and the Vapor is a modified offset, which feels like an offset but releases more quickly. Both feel like very well done pinch or bake jobs we've seen on Edges over the years. The offset may differ slightly from the Cyber to the Vapor, but they feel like one could put down the Edge, pick these up and never miss a beat as far as passing and shooting go. The newer offerings are also more accurate by design. Both sticks throw and shoot smoothly at all velocities. They catch well too, but the more narrow heads which create that accuracy make them, and all the new pinched heads, slightly harder to catch with than the Edge and many earlier sticks. They are both very light but seem to make good face-off sticks, as they have above average rigidity and the right kind of flexibility.


Attractive construction with a minimum of

materials makes the Cyber very light

All the pockets we tested on these two heads played well because they are solid products. We like both and played with both as they come off the store shelf before we began messing with them. The factory V pocket is bad to the bone with a few punches to your depth. Shots zip out of the the both with great trajectory and velocity. Both are very sleek and have massive potential for crazy dyes. Ball rattle is non-existent if you opt for that hard mesh with the Kevin Donohue designed Original V Pocket. This pocket rocks on the Vapor. We like Van O'Banion's Complete Pocket best on the Cyber, but the V pocket is awesome here, as well. The Brine V pocket has a loose bag below the shooters but a very tight area above making scooping and throwing easier. It's a great beginners pocket too. Donohue's been a coach at Syracuse forever and knows what he's doing. This might be one of the best configurations we'd seen in mesh, especially with the Vapor. In fact the Vapor with the Donohue pocket is easily in the top three sticks/pockets of 2001. If you're a stringer you'll love the Vapor and its 30 sidewall holes (15 each side). They also play well with Brine Monster Mesh and any number of custom stingings. The Cyber may be one of the more attractive sticks we've seen, especially when its making us look good too. Both the Vapor and the Cyber carry the standard one-year guarantee and come on a light Aluminum F-10 shaft if you buy the complete stick. The Powergrip shaft is a great shaft if you want to upgrade. The Cyber complete stick retails for $84.99 and the Vapor for $67.99 at the E-lacrosse Online Store!


The Vapor with hard mesh

with the V Pocket.

A snug fit with a quick release

This review comes late in the year so remember that Brine will have some new products on the shelves too sometime in the Fall and Winter. Keep your eyes open at the stores and on E-Lacrosse for the latest developments from Brine and the entire lacrosse industry.


MLL Keeper and Brine Designer Billy Daye

with the Xtreme, an offset goalie stick!



The Brine Slingpack is the best bag of 2001!

The Slingpack in action!



8/1/01