Brand new for 2018, The Super Tacks AS1 skate is the latest incarnation of CCM’s exceptional one-piece Super Tacks design.
Now, usually, we’d tear the box open, tell you what we think – then get out onto the ice for a breakdown of how any skate performs, but with the AS1s we’re going to do something a little different – we’ll compare the brand new 2018 skate to the previous Super Tacks design – allowing us to report back to you on exactly what’s changed – and whether or not this new design is going to be worth your hard-earned money…
Our test skates
We tested the Super Tacks AS1s in a 9D and they tipped the scales at 785g. We also reviewed the original Super Tacks in a 9D and they weighed in at 843g – so that’s a whopping 58g shaved off the AS1s – but more on that later…
Both the Super Tacks and these Super Tacks AS1s are good looking skates. Of course, the look of your skates is personal preference – but the AS1s seemed to get a universal thumbs-up from everyone I show them to, possibly down to the fact there’s not quite as much bright yellow splashed on them – so you get a bit more of a stealth look.
It’s difficult to talk about first stepping into the AS1s without going into detail about the technical changes CCM have made above and beyond the previous one-piece Super Tacks. We’ll come on to that, but suffice to say, even with a steady first skate prior to baking, these feel like a different skate altogether.
Because the AS1s look quite similar to the Super Tacks, I wasn’t super excited about pulling them on – but when I was on the ice, that feeling gave way – and I have to say, CCM have turned a very very good skate into an absolutely exceptional one.
AS1 Technical features
Heat Mouldable: Yes
Quarter Package: As with the original Super Tacks, there’s no distinct quarter – instead, a ‘MonoFrame 360’ one-piece carbon composite boot structure.
Ankle Padding: Multi-density memory foam
Heel Support: Anatomically formed as part of the carbon boot structure
Tendon Guard: Super-stiff (and toughened compared to the Super Tacks)
Lining: TotalDri Pro with Durazone abrasion patches
Footbed: CCM OrthoMove (with custom arch inserts)
Outsole: Again – there’s no distinct outsole, just a wraparound carbon boot
Tongue: TriTech Flex – with moulded lace-bite protection
Blade Holder: SpeedBlade 4.0
Runner: SpeedBlade Black
Comparing the Super Tacks AS1 and the original Super Tacks
Before we get into what’s different about the AS1s from the previous incarnation of the Super Tacks, I’d like to tell you what’s similar.
Firstly, holders and runners are identical – SpeedBlade 4.0s with the top quality SpeedBlade Black steels. This is a great combo and would be difficult for CCM to improve upon in my opinion.
In essence, the carbon composite boot body is very similar too – there’s some detail that does show big improvements, but the fact that you’ve got a full wrap-around heat mouldable boot body is nothing short of amazing. The Super Tacks fit like a glove – and the AS1s do the same – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!
Now, let’s talk about where the improvements have come…
We’ve been able to sit the Super Tacks AS1s and our Super Tacks side by side – and the once sleek looking Super Tacks now look a little busy next to the AS1s.
It’s like the AS1 designers have looked at every feature on the Super Tacks through the lens of performance, rather than looks. That’s not to say the AS1s don’t look great, they really do – they’re just a sleeker skate. For instance, the CCM logo is no longer stitched onto the boot – but embossed in the coating that protects the carbon weave – and the laces don’t enter the boot through a piece of stitched leather – instead, they’re straight into the weave too…
This is undoubtedly where the weight saving comes in – unless it’s purpose is to make the skate lighter or faster, then material is stripped back.
The new AS1s have taken the already great durability of the Super Tacks and built on it again. The lace eyelets are more sturdy, the stitching looks slightly tidier and more solid – again, this isn’t to say the Super Tacks are bad, but this AS1s look like the difference you’d expect stepping up a model or two in skate level.
You’ll notice too that there’s the same solid toe box – but this time it’s framed on the outside of the skate with sturdy reinforcement of the carbon. Sure enough, our original Super Tacks are scuffed in this very spot – so every potential ice-contact point has been beefed up on the AS1.
Add these features to the improved and toughen tendon guard and the harder-wearing abrasion points and you’ve found a truly bomb-proof skate with the AS1s.
Taller quarter package
Although it’s hard to discern when you stand the two models together, the AS1’s ‘quarter package’ (I know, there’s no quarter as such, but you understand what I’m referring to!) stands around 5mm taller than the Super Tacks.
On the ice this feels more comfortable, there’s a better sense of the skate being wrapped around you – and it’s kept super-comfy by the additional padding CCM have added.
Tri-tech flex tongue
One difference noticeable to the naked eye is the look of the tongue on the AS1s – but it’s far more than a style overhaul that the tongue’s had.
Pull the laces tight and you’ve got the same great level of comfort from the tongue padding – but on the ice there’s a noticeable difference in flexibility. A boot can be as anatomical as you like – but without the right movement in the tongue, you won’t deliver power exactly as your leg, ankle and foot intends. The TriTech Flex tongue is the perfect blend of comfort and natural movement – and a definite improvement on the Super Tacks.
A good footbed is the unsung hero of the skate world – and with the OrthoMove insoles CCM have, in my opinion, raised the game higher than virtually any footbed on the market at the moment – and they’re a big improvement on the Super Tacks.
The custom arch inserts are a great new touch, lift out the sole, add the appropriate insert underneath, slide it back in – and you’ve got a factory insole that meets your foot in exactly the right way.
The OrthoMove science goes way beyond arch support though, the insole is computer-designed in a way that translates downward pressure delivered from your foot through to the body, holder and runner in the most efficient way possible. Maximum power transfer to ensure your energy goes into movement – and nothing else.
CCM have done something special with the Super Tacks AS1. They’ve taken the already excellent Super Tacks and improved the performance, dropped the weight and built on durability.
To compare the AS1s and the previous Super Tacks is a little unfair, the AS1 is a skate that goes in at a higher level – and since the Super Tacks is already an elite skate, CCM have just managed to raise the bar even higher. These are unbelievably good skates – and even though it’s a phrase that gets used a lot, ‘game changer’ definitely applies to the AS1s…