Two months ago I have received two sticks from KaBo hockey which are based in Preston, Lancashire, UK. They asked me to review the CC90 and the MK1 and compare with some of the other leading brands currently available.
For many of you this is an unknown brand and unless you are really a ‘stick geek’ like us, this is the first time that you have probably heard of them. I’m going to start with a small introduction to the company and then continue on the actual stick that I have tested for the last two months.
KaBo is not one of those companies who have big overheads with a lot of board of directors who drive nice expensive cars (Not sure if any of the other brands have these anyway!!). It’s made up of a General Manager who runs the daily operations of the company and 5 directors who have all different skill sets and help out in the company.
While talking with Matt, the founder and current Managing Director of KaBo we discussed on what makes his company different than any other brand currently on the market. Matt said that the brand was born out of frustration with the rising costs of sticks and becoming fed up of companies using fluffy over-egged marketing claims on sticks! (We have all been there and thought it. Matt just decided to do something about it.)
So far KaBo have managed to keep the prices quite low thanks to lean operation and also because they don’t have big international stars which they sponsor. Basically, KaBo is after the weekend warriors who love the game but don’t want to spend big.
As I said, I got two sticks to review; the CC90 and the MK1. I’ll start off with CC90 because it’s the one that I have played the most with.
The first time I unpackaged the stick I remember saying ‘that’s one hell of an ugly stick!’ and even my wife said that it looked awful. When I took it to the training ground, the guys just looked at it and where more interested in the MK1. I even took it to the Juniors which I coach and they were not relly interested in the ‘new’ stick. Basically, the colours are uninspiring and the sky blue and grey don’t really go well together. Now, a month has passed since I have started playing with it and I must say that it grew a little bit on me. I have always liked simple designs but this one was a little bit hard to get used to. The logo, the hashtag, the colours… meh, not my cup of tea. So far, with all the people I have met, no one said how nice it looked.
Also it important to note that after a few training sessions the paint at the bottom started to peel off (quite normal with these type of sticks) but I’m now also seeing some chips on the face of the stick (probably with the hits). Not sure of the durability on the paint job yet.
I was used to a lightweight lowbow so I was expecting a little bit of difficulties at first. The CC90 has a hybrid bow which comes in-between the standard lowbow and midbow (For the stick geeks the bow is 25mm and located at 25cm up the stick). To me this is similar to the Ritual Velocity with a slightly bigger bow. The stick is made of 90% Carbon and feels a little bit heavier. I actually weighed it on my scale and it read 555g which compared to some other sticks on the market currently it is heavy (the lightweight KaBo MK1 measured 519g on the weighing scale!).
Personally, the feel wasn’t great. As I said before I’m used to a lightweight stick and although this is pretty much a lowbow stick I found it pretty difficult to dribble. Probably it was the weight that I felt uncomfortable with so anyone who is used with a stick that heavy will probably have better success. Although I wasn’t really happy with it, I stuck with it and continued to use it for the training sessions. The slaps and hits where strong and I actually felt that I have slightly increased slightly the speed in them. With the heaviness, you actually feel that there is something extra pushing you while slapping and hitting. My only trouble is that I’m neither a frequent hitter nor slapper of the ball so didn’t help much my game.
One last thing to mention is the grip. It comes with buffed up PU grip which is awesome. I’m one of those people that immediately change the grip once a new stick arrives but this one felt really good from the start. I’ve asked Matt on how they do the grip and he said that they use Poly Urethane which is what most companies use but then as a final process the grip is then buffed up to replicate a shammy grip, this gives it a softer feel but also plays well in the wet.
The CC90 sells at £140.00 from the KaBo website while something very similar are the Ritual Velocity 1 and the Adidas adiBow24 LX24 which are both currently selling at £225.00 from Barrington. More or less these 3 sticks are quite similar except the price range. When it comes to value for money, the CC90 trumps them out but if I have some extra money to spare I would go for one of the other two simply because of the lighter feel of the stick. Don’t get me wrong, if you are a recreational player who enjoys a game of Saturday hockey without being flashy nor the centre of attention, this is it.