B-D level hockey
Blade History: Bauer LS2, CCM SB Hyper-Glide, Step Steel ST-ProZ, Byonic Super Polished Stainless
Price: Stainless: $79.99 Canadian
Super Polished: $89.99 Canadian
Coloured Stainless: $99.99 Canadian
I have worn these blades since February. The owner/creator of Byonic supplied me these blades to test out and to give feedback on the blades.
My Blade Story: In the winter seasons I play twice a week on awful ice. It is choppy and extremely soft, the rink is so old and poorly built the benches have exposed screws, metal plates, and concrete that there are many places you can easily knick up your blades and ruin your edge. When using my Bauer Vapor X100 skates with Bauer LS2 steel, I would be in a constant battle of getting sharp enough blades to comfortably take sharp cuts and hard stops. The steel was so soft it would feel as if I needed to get the blades sharpened every 4 ice times.
I always had foot pain with my Bauer Vapor X100 skates, so I had a chance to purchase a pair of CCM Jetspeed FT1 I jumped on the opportunity. Using these skates gave me the opportunity to test out the CCM SB Hyper-Glide steel. Prior to my experiences I heard similar blade quality to Bauer’s LS2 steel, in that both blades don’t hold their edges well and are a softer than desired steel. I found those statements to hold true, but I was always skeptical in the advantages to the mirror like finish on the Hyper-Glide steel, I was curious if the steel actually lived up to its name. After about 4 months of usage I was confident the Hyper-Glide moniker wasn’t just a marketing ploy. While I was impressed by the gliding ability of the Hyper-Glide steel I was annoyed by constantly losing my edges and worrying if I was going to take a hard crash into the boards because of the softer steel. This concerns and issues led me to purchasing a set of Step Steel ST-ProZ. I ended up using these blades for a couple months (review coming soon) and the minute I switched to them I noticed how much they “stuck” to the ice when the rink becomes choppy and soft and wished I could get the Hyper-Glide gliding properties and the stronger steel properties of the Step Steel. My local stores didn’t have any of the V-Steel and I simply didn’t want to spend more money on Step Steel.
Along comes Byonic Skate Blades, offering stronger steel like Step Steel and a polished design like the CCM Hyper-Glide. Nick at Byonic offered me a chance to test and use the steel, so I jumped on the opportunity.
About Byonic: Byonic is all about weight savings in their blade design while still offering high quality steel compared to stock and aftermarket steel options. You can see in the pictures of the steel itself, the ridges along the top reduce the amount of material used and help gain a weight advantage over the competition. I have spoken to the man behind Byonic and he explained to me the idea behind weight savings in a blade and showed me his math. While my math days are behind me in university, everything seemed to line up and it made sense (see the picture below for a snippet of the math behind the idea). Byonic currently has a number of professional and college players using their steel, including: Mark Giordano, Brett Ritchie, and Brendan Perlini.
Byonic also offers different colour coated steel options to add some flash or pizazz (sorry I really just wanted to use that word) to your feet, and while that definition of style might not be suited for you it is always a benefit to have options.
Byonic skate blades also come with a split profile (9/10 for Senior, 8/9 for Junior) which tries to offer a custom radius out of the box that will benefit more skaters than the stock 9 or 10 foot radius that comes with other steel.
According to Byonic a number NHL, AHL, ECHL, NCAA & European pro players are currently using Byonic blades. Including: Mark Giordano, Brett Ritchie, Brendan Perlini, Ben Thomson, Nick Campoli, Bryan Cameron, Jamie Lewis, David Vallorani, Reggie Traccitto, and Kody Clark.
Installation: I have switched steel out of many skates in the past few years (not just my own) and one of the common complaints of aftermarket steel is getting it into holders, specifically Bauer edge holders. While these skates do not have Bauer Edge holders, I was shown samples and added and removed the steel from the Edge holders with ease and consistency. The same cannot be said for Step Steel with Edge holders, which some sets would be loose enough to wiggle when in place and others had to almost be smashed into place to get the Edge holder to lock.
I have used the Byonic Super Polished Steel with 2 pairs of my own SB 4.0+ holders and another pair while I was at a local shop. In my CCM Jetspeed FT1 skates and the skates at the shop the steel slide into the holder smoothly without the steel moving side to side, in my Super Tacks AS1 skates the same steel had to be pushed with more force than I’d like. With that said, since the steel fit perfect in 2 pairs of skates compared to my new AS1 skates, I am going to blame the extra required force on the SB 4.0+ holder rather than the steel. 10/10
Stock Profile: Profiles are a very personal thing, every skater has strengths and weaknesses skating and all play the sport a specific way. So when I review the stock profile remember that it is my opinion on the profile itself.
I really like what Nick at Byonic have decided to in regards to the stock profile of the Byonic blades. I firmly believe a proper profile on a skate will help a player’s skating abilities if they use trial and error to find a profile that really works for them. For me that is a Prosharp Qual 1 profile (which is a 6’/9’/12’/15’, see more on my profile on my Skate Profiles SnapShot). While I feel the 9/10 isn’t aggressive enough of a profile for me, I believe the little bit of forward lean would help the majority of skaters achieve more aggressive turns and more powerful crossovers. The 9/10 also ensures there is still a lot of toe on the blade so if the player wanted to move to a more aggressive profile they wouldn’t have to shave off too much blade to achieve their desired radius.
Since profiles are completely personal preference, I feel as if Byonic does a good job of giving the best of both worlds. Just a slight split to make you notice, but not aggressive enough that is would waste the blade if you decided to change it. 9/10
Time between sharpenings: I mentioned at the beginning of this review that I loved the performance of the CCM SB Hyper-Glide steel but hated how it felt like I needed to sharpen the skates every 4 ice times, that is not the case at all with the Byonic Super Polished steel. Since using the Byonic steel I haven’t made a trip to the sharpeners because I lost an edge or could feel the blades starting to become dull to the point I wasn’t confident on me edges for sharp turns and stops. Since I play goalie and always take my girl friends skates to get sharpened, I bring the Byonic steel in just to get a quick touch up. While my step steel was solid in regards to skates per sharpening ratio it wasn’t quite as good as the Byonic blades have been. The Byonic Super Polish steel has simply held their edges better than any steel I used before. 10/10
Performance: While my Step Steel had a good amount of skates between when the steel needed to be sharpened, the stainless steel finish didn’t have the best gliding ability on the awful ice I skate on. My biggest problems occurred late in the game (or early in the game if late in the night since the ice is chewed up) when the blades would feel as if they were quickly running through sand causing my body to jerk forward with momentum while my feet and my skates slowed down. The feeling is similar to when bike riding quickly through sand or thick mud, you keep going but your body feels the momentum change and your balance falls forward. The Step Steel would feel as if you started to fall deeper into the ice, while the Super Polished feel as if it constantly glides over the soft ice.
I tried experimenting with a more shallow hollow but I felt I lost my stopping, turning ability and overall confidence on my edges. I found at my usual hollow the SB Hyper-Glide and Byonic Super Polished steel would stay with a constant glide throughout the game no matter the period. This means I feel less sluggish and I can keep my speed and tempo up at the end of the game as the blades never feel like they are working against my forward motion.
I did notice that the Byonic blades do feel a bit sharper compared to the SB Hyper-Glide and Step Steel the first time after sharpening. There isn’t really an adjustment period in regards to the sharper feeling, but rather just noticing that the edges are strong when making hard stops. 10/10
Weight: With the cut out ridges at the top of the steel and the lower height, the weight of this steel is less than the larger Step counterparts. The Byonic Skate Blades come with a flatter heel and noticeably more steel than my stock CCM SB Hyper-glide and SB Black, yet the difference in weight is only a few grams (in favour of the CCM).
Height: Since weight savings is a big goal for Byonic the height is only slightly larger than stock steel. You can argue the benefits of more of an attack angle with taller steel and longer life in the skates before needing to replace the blades, but that isn’t what the Byonic blades are trying to do here. Personally I wish the steel was similar height to my Step steel just so the blades will last through more sharpenings. 7/10
Durability: I’ve used my Step Steel and the Byonic steel for close to the same amount of time, and so far my experience with Byonic in comparison to Step has been positive. In both my True goalie skates and my Step player blades the connection points of the steel show signs of rust. I wipe my skates and blades down dry after every skate, aside from actually taking out the steel from the holder there isn’t much more I can do in terms of aftercare for my skates and steel. The Byonic blades show no signs of rust at the top and connection points of the Super Polished steel. The only sign of wear is some scuffing where the holder makes contact with the steel where the screws hold the steel in place. I have been very impressed with the Byonic blades so far. 10/10
Extra Features: Byonic offering coloured blades already is a huge bonus in my opinion, they also offer a blade pouch for $10 so you have a place to store the blades Byonic replaced in case you need an emergency sharpening. It is a nice alternative to the plastic packaging that step offers and fits nicely in my accessories pouch in my hockey bag, something the plastic Step packaging can’t do. The online retailer listed on Byonic’s site offers this pouch for free with the purchase of the Byonic skate blades. While Byonic doesn’t offer custom engraving, and it isn’t something I would do on my skates I do wish it was an options as I know it is popular among younger skaters. 9/10
Conclusion: Before the Byonic Super Polished steel, I couldn’t find a set of steel I was actually happy with. The CCM Hyper-glides were far too soft and the Step Steel just didn’t have the glide I want on soft and choppy ice. I understand Step Steel V-Steel and Black wasn’t available locally, so I went with the standard Step Steel.
Byonic offers another option in the hockey blade market, adding a unique twist of colours and a profile I feel is an upgrade over the stock profile on most skates. With the optional skate pouch, multiple colours or the Super Polished finish at a price that beats out the competitors, Byonic is a serious competitor in the blade market. I would highly suggest taking a look at the Byonic steel and if I needed a new set of steel Byonic would be my choice.
Byonic has teased on social media that a black coating is coming soon, so one of my suggestions seems to be already in the works. Personally I wish Byonic also offered a slightly taller steel to really tick all of the checkboxes. The reason I didn’t score the weight category is that I don’t have enough steel to get a baseline of whether a product is light or not compared to the competition. While I have seen and had the math explained to me, I don’t believe the weight savings on steel would have enough of an effect on myself when playing.
These Byonic Super Polished skate blades are the blades I am sticking with to ensure I have confidence on my edges while also having the glide from the Super Polished steel. Now if only I could convince them to make steel for True goalie holders… 9/10