Honest Hockey Review: Easton Synergy 60 Hockey Stick

easton-synergy-60-stick

 

Below is my Honest Hockey review of the Easton Synergy 60 Hockey Stick. In the interest of objectivity, I have graded the S60 in Balance, Durability,  Looks, Performance, and Value. I have also included a Basis of Comparison section as well as Personal Biases and Final Thoughts. As Always, feel free to comment intelligently or provide your own insights in a respectful manner.

History

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The Easton Synergy, originally released in 2000, was the composite stick that redefined how the modern game was played. While manufacturers had innovated previously with various two-piece shafts (Aluminum, Graphite, Kevlar, etc), the Synergy was something altogether different. To my knowledge, it was the first composite one-piece stick of its kind, and at the least it was the most commercially-available. I covered the Synergy’s history at length in “Choosing an Ideal Hockey Stick“.

At the time Easton two-piece shafts, in particular the Easton Ultra Lite, Easton T-Flex, and the Easton Z-Bubble, were extremely popular. Easton parlayed this success into the production of the first contemporary one-piece composite stick, and launched themselves to the forefront of retail Hockey Stick sales. They comfortably led the industry in Stick sales until fairly recently.

Over time, Easton got away from what it did successfully, which was simply producing the best Hockey Sticks on the retail market. Their sticks became somewhat gimmicky. To cite an early example, Easton began issuing their Synergy sticks in a number of neon colors, including Orange, Lime Green, and Banana Yellow. Pictures of these eyesores are available all over the internet.

greensynergy

The Synergy was gradually phased out. The Synergy line eventually became the Stealth line, and in recent years Easton has chased novelty at the expense of tradition, releasing somewhat underwhelming lines such as the Stealth RS line, the EQ line, and most recently, the VE/Parking Cone line.

While these sticks have their respective Strengths and Weaknesses, the fact remains that what took Easton to the top of the industry was the original Synergy. In my view, Easton lost a bit of it’s identity as they got too creative with their Hockey Stick offerings. I believe they recognized this, and for 2014 Easton has returned to what originally brought them success as a Hockey manufacturer: making the absolute best of line of Hockey Sticks, no frills or gimmicks needed.

What’s old is new again as Easton has wisely returned to it’s roots in the interest of reclaiming their lead in retail Market Share from industry titan Bauer. The Synergy name has returned along with the classic Silver/Gunmetal Grey detailing.

At the $100 price-marker is the Easton Synergy 60. I picked one up in Easton’s unconventional E28 Blade Pattern. Here is my review on a rock-solid entry from Easton’s 2014 Hockey Stick line.

First Impression

Coming from the sluggish CCM Tacks 3052, the Easton Synergy 60 immediately felt better on-ice. Even trimmed to my standard length of 56″ versus the lacrosse-stick length I ultimately cut the 3052 down to, the S60 played much more like a $100 stick than the 3052.

The Lie 5 that comes on Easton’s E28 pattern is very nice for controlling the puck, but I was not able to immediately take advantage of it because the E28 blade pattern is so unique. While my puck-handling was immediately more-sound, I lost pucks trying some fancier moves. This was completely due to my inexperience with the E28, not any failing on the part of the S60.

Despite being such a dramatic pattern, I immediately liked the E28 better than the C46/P46 pattern that came on my 3052 Tacks. I was firing Wrist Shots with laser-like precision during warmups before a Pickup Hockey skate, and tagged some poor guy on the collarbone as he skated behind the net. Based on the pained grimace on his face and the black-purple bruise I left on him, I would say that the shooting potential of a Synergy 60/E28 is extremely-high.

I did not dare let any Slap Shots fly with the E28, but the Synergy 60 is, like the 3052 Tacks, a mid-flex stick. This means that Wrist Shot/Snap Shot mechanics must be sound, as the stick does not auto-fire the way a low-kick stick such as the CCM RBZ Stage 2 will. However, the advantage of a mid-kick is that with proper mechanics, a player can really ramp up her or his Shot Power. I look forward to additional reporting on the Synergy 60’s shooting ability after a bit more time with it.

I had gotten more comfortable with the 3052 Tacks, so the first time out my shooting was inconsistent with the S60. It definitely handled much better though, and I am confident the S60 will shoot well after I take it to a stick-and-puck or two.

Second Impression

I decided to skim another inch from the Synergy 60, taking it to 55″ overall. The Balance on the Synergy felt fine on the initial use, but I decided that I wanted a bit more Puck Control to counter-balance the wicked E28 Blade Pattern. This ended up being a good decision.

The S60 handled very well after I trimmed it a bit more. I was much more confident doing standard puck-handling, and I began to notice the advantage of the Dual-Lie seen on the E28 blade pattern. While I was handling the puck in a different way than usual, I was also handling it quite effectively. I play better at Lower (4 or 5) Lie sticks, and I like that Easton now offers a few sticks at Lie 5.

The S60 is a mid-flex stick, allowing a player to really load up on Slap Shots. While the S60 did not quite have the bazooka-like pop of the Tacks 3052, you can certainly crush a puck with the Synergy 60. Combined with the E28 pattern, my poor practice Goaltender was rightfully fearing for his well-being as I corralled the S60/E28. Even at 55″, the Synergy 60 remained within my Effective Range for Stick Flex.

My view is that while the 3052 maybe – repeat, maybe – allows for a bit more Slap Shot Power, the S60 is a more-sound overall shooter. My Wrist Shot, which was underwhelming with the 3052, seemed sharp with the S60. I do not believe the difference between the CCM C46 and the Easton E28 blade patterns accounted for this, but the E28 did add noticeable pepper to my close-to-the-net shots. The kick-point on the Synergy 60 may be slightly lower than that of the CCM 3052.

I was also surprised at how much better the S60/E28 played on the backhand than the Tacks 3052. There is obviously an adjustment using the E28, but my Backhands were markedly better than they were with the 3052.

The Synergy 60 features a Grip finish not unlike Bauer’s Grip-Tac or the Grip finish used on Sher-Wood sticks. I greatly prefer this over Clear/Matte finish seen on some Bauer sticks (such as the Supreme One.6 and Nexus 600) and the corrugated Nipple-Grip style finish seen on the 3052.

For the record, CCM calls the finish on the 3052 a “Light grip coating with strategic raised shaft texture,” while Easton calls the finish on the S60 “grippy”.

Balance

The Synergy 60 immediately feels better-balanced off the rack than the CCM Tacks 3052 I purchased several weeks earlier. The Hockey Shop at my rink did not have a 100 Flex Left Synergy 60 in-stock, or I may have completely forgone the 3052 Tacks in favor of the Synergy 60. At an identical price-point of $99.99, at first blush the E60 compares very favorably to the Tacks 3052 in terms of Balance.

Because I have to be difficult, I ordered Easton’s absurd Open-Toe E28 Pattern rather than something more conservative or comparable to a stick I already own (such as an Easton E36, which would have been much closer to something I typically use). Once I adjusted for the wicked curve of the E28, even at my standard stick length of 56″ the S60 handled significantly better than a 54″ Tacks 3052.

The E60 is slightly blade-heavy compared to higher-end models, but nothing like the Tacks 3052.

HH Score: 8.0

Durability

The Synergy is showing above-average Durability after routine use. As is the case with many mid/lower-end sticks, the insertion point at the stick’s hosel has chipped to show two-piece construction:

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The stick is not unbreakable by any means, but the paint is not flaking off the blade like confetti, either. After two weeks of usage at my standard rate (4-5 times per week), the Synergy 60 is holding up rather well.

The reason I buy $100 sticks is that they tend to offer the best compromise of Durability and Performance. The Synergy 60 is wearing like a standard $100 stick while providing a good level of play.

HH Score: 8.0

Looks

The Synergy 60 is Silver/Black with Red highlights. It is somewhat reminiscent of the original Synergy, but it’s not a carbon-copy of the original Synergy’s Sterling Silver look. Appearance-wise, it’s a nice update but retains ties to the original line. In my view, the decision to go with an homage is a better choice than the completely overhauled look of the 2014 Tacks line, which eschewed the classic, understated Black/White styling for the loud Yellow/Black look.

The S60 looks sharp on the rack next to competitor brands. At this point, all of the major hockey brands have taken signature colors for their skate and sticks lines. For example, CCM Tacks is Yellow/Black. Bauer Supreme is Gold/Black. Bauer Vapor is Red/Silver/Black, Bauer Nexus is Blue/Black, Reebok RibCor is Black/Green, etc. The look of the Synergy line is a massive upgrade on the parking-cone eyesore that was the Easton Mako/VE line:

ES6-3

eastonve

As with the 2014 CCM Tacks sticks, you can just about identify an Easton VE stick user from space. Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but I think the Synergy line’s throwback Silver/Black is much classier and more distinct than the retina-burning Orange/Black seen on the original Mako skates and the VE sticks.

What Easton has traditionally done better than anyone else is Hockey Sticks, and harkening back to the original Synergy line, rather than releasing another gaudy monstrosity, was a smart choice. Letting the quality of their sticks shine through, without the fluorescent finishing, is just solid marketing on their part.

HH Score: 8.5

Performance

The Synergy 60 provides a good level of Performance at the $100 price-point. I have no doubt the Synergy HTX outperforms the Synergy 60 in all aspects, but the Synergy 60 certainly performs well for the cost.

Acknowledging that the E28 pattern plays a big role, I think the Synergy 60 is much more of a Snap/Wrist Shooter than a Slap Shooter. One thing I unconsciously do is make adjustments in my game based on the properties of the equipment I am using. In the case of the Synergy 60/E28, I am shooting much more than I was distributing, and I am choosing to shoot rather than deke when in-close to the goaltender.

My view is that the Synergy 60, like the Tacks 3052, is a sniper’s stick. The Synergy 60 is much better handler than the Tacks 3052, which would likely be better utilized with one of Easton’s more-conservative Blade Patterns. I would need to try a Synergy 60 with something like an Easton P4 or E36 to compare, but right now I would call the Synergy an 8.5 shooter and an 8.0 handler.

HH Score: 8.25

Value

Off the rack, the Synergy 60 is a much-better Value than the CCM Tacks 3052, and compares well to price-comparable sticks such as the Bauer Supreme One.6/170 and the Sher-Wood Nexon 8/Rekker 9.

My view has remained that an experienced player such as myself should be able to get good use from a $100 model. While some manufacturers save their best work for their higher-end models, it’s good to know that manufacturers such as Easton have sought to provide strong value across all price-points. The Synergy 60 provides fine value at the retail price of $99.99.

HH Score: 8.5

Basis of Comparison

As noted elsewhere, I recently reviewed the CCM Tacks 3052, which is priced identically and was released within weeks of the 2014 Synergy line’s debut. I think in this situation – two sticks being released within weeks of each other at identical prices – a stronger Basis of Comparison couldn’t be created.

I have a Sher-Wood EK Rekker 9 on the way, but I am incredibly-familiar with the Rekker’s predecessor, the Sher-Wood Nexon 8, which was also retail-priced at $99.99. I feel comfortable releasing this review of the Synergy 60 knowing the type of product Sher-Wood typically provides at the $100 price-point. I will amend this article after some time with the Rekker 9.

Last year, I picked up two of Bauer’s mid-level sticks, the Bauer Supreme One.6 and the Bauer Nexus 600. While I feel that those are both high-value products, I play most effectively in the 105-110 Flex range. Given how much I trim my sticks, what works best for me personally is purchasing a 95 Flex stick and trimming to my desired length of 54″-56″. Bauer sticks tend to run a bit stiffer than Easton sticks in my opinion, so after cutting the sticks down, both the One.6 and the Nexus 600 were a bit stiff for optimal play.

The Synergy 60 does seem to run a bit softer than a Bauer Supreme One/6/Nexus 600, and I was much more comfortable with it overall. Still, the quality Bauer offers on their mid-level price-point on sticks always makes me reconsider how a competitor’s stick plays.

I recently purchased and re-sold a pair of Warrior Covert DT4s. After breaking the blades on two of them in an identical way (both within two weeks of purchase), I decided to sell the Warranty replacements rather than deal with continued aggravation. I have used 15-20 Warrior sticks over the years, and the inconsistency from year-to-year or line-to-line is pronounced. I have zero confidence buying a Warrior stick before carefully examining it in-person.

While improvements in durability may have been made for Warrior’s 2014 stick line, I am very hesitant to purchase a $100 price-point Warrior stick due to what I see as mediocre performance and value on the lower end of their lines. As with CCM, I believe Warrior generally offers inferior quality at the $100 price-point, noting that I have always had positive experiences with Warrior’s Customer Service Department.

I have used a number of Reebok sticks, most recently a pair of 11Ks. In my experience, Reebok sticks always play pretty well, which surprises me given how poorly recent CCM offerings have played at the $100 marker. I suppose in the interest of fairness I can purchase a Ribcore 24K after I review the Sher-Wood Rekker 9, assuming CCM does not replace my now-broken 3052 Tacks with a Reebok model.

But as I have written before, I have used plenty of sticks, particularly at the $100 price-point. I believe I can evaluate hockey sticks well, given the sheer volume that I have used over the years.

Personal Biases

As written before, I may have a slight bias toward Sher-Wood sticks, but Sher-Wood earned this bias honestly through the quality of their sticks.

I actually was a regular Easton stick user for many years, but for some reason got away from using them. Other than a few underwhelming experiences with a couple of their Economy-line sticks, I have nothing bad to report about how their sticks play. Easton has traditionally been at the forefront of Hockey Stick Sales and Product Development, so it should come as no surprise that I have some affinity for their sticks.

I am open to using any and all brands of Hockey Sticks, acknowledging that I have been burned by CCM and Warrior several times in the recent past. I believe with the Synergy 60, I have now used a new-release stick from every major manufacturer within the last calendar year.

Final Thoughts

It has to be repeated that Easton’s E28 blade pattern is a unique animal. I do not believe the use of the E28 affected my review of the Synergy 60 itself, but it is certainly a pattern for advanced players. I have added my thoughts on both the E28 and Easton’s Dual-Lie concept to the “Choosing an Ideal Hockey Stick Article”.

What I want from a hockey stick is consistent performance and high value. I want to find one model that I like and buy 1-2 every 1-2 months, as I did with the Sher-Wood Nexon 8 in 2012/13.

The Synergy 60 is a strong candidate to become my stick of choice moving forward. It plays with no noticeable flaws, although I do need to put it through a few games worth of face-offs before I make a final judgement on the stick’s durability. It seems to provide very good consistency and value for the price.

HH Overall Rating: 8.25

Thanks for Reading. If you liked this article, Like Reboot Hockey on Facebook and Follow Reboot Hockey on Twitter.

Jack

 

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3 thoughts on “Honest Hockey Review: Easton Synergy 60 Hockey Stick

  1. Pingback: Reboot Hockey | Honest Hockey Review: CCM Tacks 3052 Hockey Stick

  2. Pingback: Choosing an Ideal Hockey Stick | Jack_Has_Spoken

  3. Pingback: Honest Hockey Review: Reebok AI9/20K Hockey Stick | Reboot Hockey

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