Many others on the forum have covered the background to Adam and Beikou hockey; all I would add is that his desire to bring good quality products to players for decent prices is laudable when some brands offer quite bad value in my opinion (not all, just some!) Anyway, finding myself in need of a new stick as my current one began to deteriorate (Ritual Velocity 1 2014) I found myself drawn to Beikou.
The Low 90 is designed for those who like to play with a lower bow (duh!) Until now I have avoided low-bow sticks but have found the adjustment from the Adidas LX24/Ritual Velocity bow really easy and I don’t want to go back! The mould is designed to help with 3D skills, aerials and flicking but I think as we all know, most of these skills are dependent on the player rather than the stick, most of the time, all the various moulds do is make a player feel comfortable and therefore enhance their ability to routinely perform these skills (granted there are some specialist sticks that do aid some techniques but we shall not open that can of worms here!)
The ’90’ range offer the highest carbon composition of the Beikou sticks, at 90%. It costs £145.
A note on the aesthetics..
I generally prefer sticks with a subtle paintjob, that said, I do like the red and yellow text on the stick and think the tiled pattern is a really nice touch. The carbon weave is clearly visible beneath the resin and the matte finish makes the stick look classy - it is very similar to the effect on my old Ritual Velocity.
Teammates have commented variously; “Did you get that in a Christmas cracker” was perhaps the most amusing, and also, “the logo reminds me of the Beano”.
I think the aesthetics of Beikou have been covered quite well - this is a subject that is very subjective and I do admire Adam for putting his own stamp on things with something that may be a little ‘Marmite’ but is nevertheless, distinctive. The decals and paintwork have held up well so far, with no noticeable chips to the graphics.
Personally, I found the existing under-cushioning and thick PU grip a little too much, even before putting a chamois grip over the top! However, the thick foam and gel underlay to the grip has provided a good base for the two chamois that I have placed over the top. The end cap and the underlay definitely work to combat vibrations although I have noticed int he recent cold weather that I have felt a few more of these, but nothing that is unmanageable.
How does the stick perform?
The touch is definitely one of the major positives of this stick (as others have noted). The lay-up has resulted in a stick with similar levels of carbon to other sticks that I have used recently (Ritual Velocity 1 2014, Adidas LX24 Carbon 2013) but with a much softer feel when dribbling and receiving the ball. The stick still feels substantial (especially compared with more ‘tinny’ sticks such as the Rituals). This softer feel does translate to hitting and slapping, with a slightly less rigid feel than I have been used to, but the trade-off here is a seemingly very large sweet spot for hitting on the forehand.
As mentioned, the sweet spot seems quite large, and I have been able to hit very consistently. I’m not sure whether it is the cleverly designed bow or just my technique, but I have found it easy to hit a wide range of shots/passes easily. The mould allows one to hit the ball flat for the odd driven pass but then lofting the ball is a cinch when in on goal. I think for raw power, I have used sticks that hit harder, but then again, I feel this stick is both forgiving whilst also able to hit hard.
These come off the stick sweetly, and again, it seems relatively easy to change between shots on goal and flatter passes/clearances. Again, the sweet spot is large and the only mishits I have had can be attributed to chunky technique. I definitely find reverse stick shots more consistent than with my old stick.
The other improvement is on my reverse pick ups, where the edge of the stick is used to trap/control the ball - this part of my game has improved no end, perhaps due to the softer feel and the bow shape.
Pushing, flicking and 3d skills
Pushing is great, although I think all sticks push well! Flicking is also a strength. Throwing aerials has not been a large part of my game until this season but the stick performs well with this skill. The lower bow does make getting under the ball for 3d skills that little bit quicker and easier which I appreciate.
At first, I felt this was the only major weakness of the stick. It felt like the stick was not as effective at slapping, despite being heavier than my old sticks. After several training sessions and matches I have refined my technique and have regained confidence in performing this skill to the level I would like, and I have been pinging some decent passes about with good pace on them.
I was a little worried with my last two sticks that I would get stuck into paying c. £200 for a stick every year that matched my requirements/what I like. Luckily, Beikou have provided something that, while subtly different in terms of touch/power, is on a par with more expensive sticks. Overall, this is a great value piece of kit and I would definitely recommend to anyone who is used to the same mould/carbon composition, with the caveat that the stick feels a touch softer and that you may have to work at adjusting your slapping technique.
- Beikou Hockey
- Low 90
- Bow Type:
- Low bow (200mm)
- 90% carbon, 10% other