Company: Warrior Lacrosse / Product: Rabil X Head / Price: $99.99
I want to preface this whole gear review by admitting to you that I fear change. I fear buying new jeans, I don’t like downloading new apps, and I don’t like changing my stick. When the NCAA changed the stick rules on me in 2010 I feared for my career. I ran doomsday scenarios through my head, a full blown zombie lacrosse apocalypse.
In 2010, I overcame my fear of change and adopted a new head in the Warrior Evo Pro X6 and once I got her dialed in I never looked back. I still use that same head I strung in the UC Davis ARC in my uni and pads before our Santa Clara game got rained out in Feb, 2010.
I’ve known it would take something real special to come along and change my stubborn ways. That’s why the photos from my gear reviews aren’t usually game photos; when a W is on the line, I stick to my weapon of choice. I never thought my next weapon of choice would be a head created by a midfielder whose style of play could not be more different than my own.
Warrior’s Rabil X head is branded as their “most technologically advanced head yet,” and it shows. It’s a healthy combination of the rigidity and hard lines of the Brine Clutch and the pinch and the offset of the Warrior Evo Pro X6. It features possibly the most open sidewall on the market, maybe second only to the M80 which is bizarrely open and light. This head is like a beautiful woman–it’s edgy but you simply can’t ignore its curves. It just doesn’t quite look like anything else out there, and when you see it, you know it. It leaves a lasting impression.
It comes in a variety of colorways that all involve 2Shot color injection meaning that if you can’t stand the simplicity of white on white there’s tons of options for you. And the colorways match nicely with the Rabil Dolomite shaft and the Rabil apparel line we’ll be releasing next week.
Warrior really didn’t overlook anything in the aesthetics department from the little branded additions like the Warrior indents in the throat to the Rabil symbol on the front. Part of the beauty of any head at first glance is the pocket so I’d really love to do a side-by-side comparison of a few different versions of this head strung, including Paul’s. Hopefully we can put a few next to one another in the near future.
One thing stringers look for today that they didn’t 5 years ago is a ton of holes in their sidewall. Holes equal options for stringers and this head gives us the canvas we need for creativity and small adjustments. If I were a chef, these sidewalls would be a pantry full of ingredients. If I were a kindergartner, they’d be a cubby full of fingerpaints. We used to be limited by the holes engineers gave us, engineers who likely had never cradled before. We’d drill new ones and interlock strings to allow mesh to float where no holes existed.
Those days are now behind us. Whatever pocket you envision in your head you can execute in this head. It puts the onus back on the stick doctor, where it belongs.
The thing I’ve really come to appreciate about this head after using it for a few weeks is that you really can string whatever type of pocket you want. Lorne Smith uses traditional in his Rabil and said he’s been shooting as accurately as ever. Paul Rabil has a deep mid/high pocket perfect for flipping tires and shooting on the run. I strung my low “I’m feeding unless I’m wide open” dodge-from-X P34 pocket and I couldn’t be happier with it.
My litmus test for a stiff lacrosse head is stringing the first sidewall. If you read the last review I did for the Maverik Flight head, you’ll remember how it morphed when I pulled the first three diamonds tight. It led to a discussion of the relative merits of having a less stiff head for things like facing off, getting ground balls, and being in loose ball scrums. The Flight, while technically receiving lower marks in this category could pinch and pop the ball with ease from the first face-off I took with it. I don’t believe Warrior’s Rabil head was built for the pinch and pop, but it seems like offensively, it was built for just about everything else.
This is a shooter’s head. It was engineered to withstand all the force Paul’s tire flips allow him to apply to the head of his stick. It shares hard edges with many Brine heads, something I believe that in combination with the rounder shapes typical of past Warrior heads contributes to its stiffness. If you’re a player who often has heads warp from stringing them or leaning on them or letting them sit in a hot car, I think you’ll extend the life of your game stick by getting this head. I feel the same was about the Warrior Noz. My Evo Pro X6 has lasted me 30 months of regular use. I believe the Rabil could outdo it if I gave it the chance.
Contrary to popular belief, durability doesn’t have a lot to do with stiffness. They’re definitely correlated, but not directly. Reebok makes some of the stiffest heads on the market and (SPOILER ALERT) we have more broken Reebok heads at HQ than any other brand.
Durability is about a head’s capacity to maintain its shape over a multiple seasons without warping or breaking. Believe it or not, 4 games in hot weather is plenty to find out if your new head is going to keep its shape and I was pleased with the Rabil in this regard.
Sure it’s already started pinching a bit, but because it’s stiffer and has a wider pinch than my Evo Pro X6 I felt like I was almost pulling it in to where I wanted it instead of pulling it too far into illegality. After 4 games of play it has paint from other people’s sticks all over it, scuffs from handling passes, and there are no visible changes in the structural integrity of the head. If I polished her up (which I won’t), she’d look like the day I strung her. As always, I can’t say with certainty what this says for the long-term durability of the head, but it passed every test I could throw at it in game situations.
This is the only category I felt brazen enough to dock points. At $99.99 this head is out of the reach of the player on a budget. This goes for 5th graders with a $10 allowance and college graduates without income alike. Sure, it’s not $119.99 which we can collectively thank Warrior for, but I can find a complete stick for the same price that’s totally usable if I have to.
That being said, you’re getting a lot for your money here. Warrior has come at this head with a completely revamped design concept. The head is on the longer end, longer than the standard 10″ which gives players like Paul the ability to keep the ball in his pocket longer during his shooting motion, maximizing the amount of torque potentially applied. Stuff like this seems simple, but I can tell you it’s costly from a manufacturing standpoint. I think this head is priced appropriately considering it’s Warrior’s top of the line head. I appreciate their efforts to bring the price of all heads down by making this one under $100.
I don’t think my score is unfair or biased. Warrior is pushing the boundaries of what a lacrosse head looks like. And with the new stick rules that just got passed, there’s no better time to be doing so. There are plenty of Warrior heads I wouldn’t play with, let alone in a tournament with a plastic trophy on the line. This isn’t one of them.
I’ve been nothing but pleased with the shape, weight, feel, and execution of this head from top to bottom. Sometimes I still look down on it and think to myself “Why am I using a midfield head?” or perhaps more saliently “Why am I propping up the career of the only lacrosse player who clearly doesn’t need it?” It’s because this is a darn good lacrosse stick, and there aren’t too many ways around that.
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