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MadMax

More Life Squeezed from Your Wilson Shock FX

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This past year, Wilson ended production of the Shock FX line of Hockey Style masks. While technically progressive, the unit represented a customer service headache for Wilson and a marketing dud when put up against the more sculpted, more rugged, and yet less expensive All-Star System7 series and Easton M series. With cages being bent by impacts, or the shocks becoming fouled up by constant frequent tossings or hurlings to the ground by catchers, more than a few were being sent back to be replaced by all-new units. At one time, Wilson did offer a replacement cage alone, but that option was quickly exhausted. Then, with a substantial portion of their production run going to replace returned units, the Shock FX wasn't generating a sufficient profit margin. Thus, last year, Wilson debuted the Pro Stock HSM, which is a great catchers HSM, as it is very sleek and looks like an even more sculpted and tapered All-Star System7.

But where does that leave Shock FX users? As far as umpires were concerned, the Shock FX was a rather well-designed and accommodating HSM, offering very good viewing space and the critical stand-off distance – supplemented by the shock suspension – necessary for good forward protection. It wasn't too heavy of a unit either, all things considered, but did have some shortcomings that could have been addressed and remedied in subsequent versions. The leather pads would unfortunately retain oils and grime, and made laundering and cleaning a challenge; to their credit, Wilson did offer a replacement pad set (still may, but supplies are likely limited). Then, of course, no cage is impervious to the tremendous energy that a ball potentially carries, and the cages would get bent. Compounding this was Wilson's dalliance into titanium which, while lighter and thinner than steel, cost a substantial amount more and were "impossible" for Wilson and the average user to repair. So while Wilson was closing the line down, and supplies of replacement parts dwindled, the response back to users became, "Sorry, you'll have to purchase another one".

Frustrating, to say the least. Especially when a retail Shock FX was $150 - $200 and a retail All-Star System7 was $115 - $150.

Well good folks, that bent-up Shock FX can get a new lease on life. Mask-It can make repairs on the cages of the Shock FX, as the cage does remove rather easily. Two screws – one at the forehead, one at the chin – hold the cage in place, then the cage merely slides forward and free of its shock-&-spring suspension. Take note of how the parts are arranged, put them in a zip-lock bag or a jar, and then send the cage alone to Tony and his crew at Mask-It. The one they just did for @KenBAZ had a fairly large dent in the eyebrow region, and the paint was long gone to corrosion. Mask-It not only trued the mask back up, but filed the bar ends smooth (before, they were blunt and sharp) and gave it a powdercoat job in Liquid Gunmetal – one of the sexiest colors in their palette.

IMG_0374.thumb.JPG.eda02ca0618d252af2302581429260c3.JPG

Looks good as new, doesn't it? It came to $40, but it sure does beat trying to find and purchase a new one!

Oh, I do recommend wrapping the four mounting posts in masking tape. I forgot to, and suddenly remembered an episode of American Chopper wherein powdercoat was applied to the sleeve mountings of the front fork, and they had to file and grind it off to get the fork struts in. Same thing here, I had to file the powdercoat off the four mounting posts so the springs and bushings would fit.

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@MadMaxReady to deal with the other Shock FX's I have with bent cages?  I'm getting my Force3 HSM broken in to where I'm using it all the time but I want to get the bends out of my other Wilson's.  

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That looks slick Max!

I'm a black cage kind of guy when it comes to standard masks. But I love the silver/black contrast on the HSM. And yours really pops!

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On 8/28/2017 at 0:11 PM, MadMax said:

This past year, Wilson ended production of the Shock FX line of Hockey Style masks. While technically progressive, the unit represented a customer service headache for Wilson and a marketing dud when put up against the more sculpted, more rugged, and yet less expensive All-Star System7 series and Easton M series. With cages being bent by impacts, or the shocks becoming fouled up by constant frequent tossings or hurlings to the ground by catchers, more than a few were being sent back to be replaced by all-new units. At one time, Wilson did offer a replacement cage alone, but that option was quickly exhausted. Then, with a substantial portion of their production run going to replace returned units, the Shock FX wasn't generating a sufficient profit margin. Thus, last year, Wilson debuted the Pro Stock HSM, which is a great catchers HSM, as it is very sleek and looks like an even more sculpted and tapered All-Star System7.

But where does that leave Shock FX users? As far as umpires were concerned, the Shock FX was a rather well-designed and accommodating HSM, offering very good viewing space and the critical stand-off distance – supplemented by the shock suspension – necessary for good forward protection. It wasn't too heavy of a unit either, all things considered, but did have some shortcomings that could have been addressed and remedied in subsequent versions. The leather pads would unfortunately retain oils and grime, and made laundering and cleaning a challenge; to their credit, Wilson did offer a replacement pad set (still may, but supplies are likely limited). Then, of course, no cage is impervious to the tremendous energy that a ball potentially carries, and the cages would get bent. Compounding this was Wilson's dalliance into titanium which, while lighter and thinner than steel, cost a substantial amount more and were "impossible" for Wilson and the average user to repair. So while Wilson was closing the line down, and supplies of replacement parts dwindled, the response back to users became, "Sorry, you'll have to purchase another one".

Frustrating, to say the least. Especially when a retail Shock FX was $150 - $200 and a retail All-Star System7 was $115 - $150.

Well good folks, that bent-up Shock FX can get a new lease on life. Mask-It can make repairs on the cages of the Shock FX, as the cage does remove rather easily. Two screws – one at the forehead, one at the chin – hold the cage in place, then the cage merely slides forward and free of its shock-&-spring suspension. Take note of how the parts are arranged, put them in a zip-lock bag or a jar, and then send the cage alone to Tony and his crew at Mask-It. The one they just did for @KenBAZ had a fairly large dent in the eyebrow region, and the paint was long gone to corrosion. Mask-It not only trued the mask back up, but filed the bar ends smooth (before, they were blunt and sharp) and gave it a powdercoat job in Liquid Gunmetal – one of the sexiest colors in their palette.

IMG_0374.thumb.JPG.eda02ca0618d252af2302581429260c3.JPG

Looks good as new, doesn't it? It came to $40, but it sure does beat trying to find and purchase a new one!

Oh, I do recommend wrapping the four mounting posts in masking tape. I forgot to, and suddenly remembered an episode of American Chopper wherein powdercoat was applied to the sleeve mountings of the front fork, and they had to file and grind it off to get the fork struts in. Same thing here, I had to file the powdercoat off the four mounting posts so the springs and bushings would fit.

The original Shock in titanium was $250.   :o

Re:  the bend in @KenBAZ's cage:   interesting....  exactly where the cage on mine bent, some years ago.   Wilson sent a replacement (first steel, which I questioned them about, and they followed with the titanium, and let me keep the steel).  This was circa 2008.   

 

Nice look on the repair / refinish job.    Is that titanium or steel ?

 

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16 hours ago, KenBAZ said:

@MadMaxReady to deal with the other Shock FX's I have with bent cages?  I'm getting my Force3 HSM broken in to where I'm using it all the time but I want to get the bends out of my other Wilson's.  

Ken:  question for you:   when you were hit and the cage bent above the eyebrow.... what were the results?   Concussion or no ?    

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@BrianC14, this particular cage is a Steel; @KenBAZ has another one (at least) that's a Titanium, and that's what we'll be attempting to fix next. On this Steel, there were some minor dents, but the real bad one was just to the right (photo left) of the bullring on the eyebrow bar. It had caved in rather acutely such that the metal was touching the plastic shell.

As I've said before regarding Wilson gear – the products themselves are not the problem. Instead, it's the lack of comprehensive support and progression that this gear needs, that Wilson utterly fails to provide. Yes, I say "utterly" because Wilson is the supposed exclusive supplier for Major League Umpires, and very little has been done to progress the protection of those umpires during this time. Majestic is going to, unfortunately, be brushed aside in favor of the irresistible force that is Under Armour, but at least they took the uniform through several progressions to arrive at a material and a style that was not only good looking, but was highly functional – it's a shame that pants development took as long as it did.

So while the Shock FX is a very good design, it's not ideal... yet. It's quite well ventilated compared to other HSMs. The suspension system is rather novel, but could afford to be more robust and have the anchoring points more strategically placed. The cage is of a good shape and layout, but could afford to be less complex, yet longer (taller, actually) to give more protection at the forehead. The interior doesn't have to be leather; instead, better performing and better fitting foam and synthetic wicking fabrics could be used. These alterations to it would really benefit umpires, but Wilson isn't concerned about umpires – Wilson is concerned about sales and profit margins in regards to catchers.

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I've had three of the Shock FX's and all of them have sustained dents.  The titanium cage unit I bought with a slight dent, the two steel cages bent without me being aware of it.  One day I just looked at my helmet sitting while I was sitting in a locker room and noticed the cage is dented.  The shots to the cage don't bother you as much as when you get hit above the top of the cage.  

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