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Thread: PBT combi mask - any experience?

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    Default PBT combi mask - any experience?

    Anyone had any experience of the PBT combi mask? Not bothered about how washable a mask is, but need to be able to replace bib if it fails. Also need a mask for child who fences in U13 and cadet and wondered if the removable bib of the combi would work for that, too. Familiar with the LP exchange mask (70 price difference), just looking at other options.

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    You are better off with the X-Change mask. The combi mask from an manufacturer that does the bib this way can catch a point and is not safe.

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    That's what I wondered, but it's hard to see from the photos how exactly it is fastened. It would be interesting to hear from anyone has actually tried one. We've had the stick-on LP replacement foil bibs (glued at the edge) and there have been no issues with catching. (They do tend to fray at the edges after a while, though).

    The LP exchange masks are fine on larger, broader teens and adults, but the bibs seem ridiculously wide and cumbersome on a small 12 yr old, compared with non-exchange masks. I've also noticed that if the exchange masks are accidentally dropped (more of a hazard with kids, perhaps) there is a tendency for the metal 'slot' to get dented and it then becomes very difficult to slide the bib in or out.


    The LP exchange mask has less padding than the fixed bib ones, right? What effect does this have on protection?


    Any input welcome. Needing to replace several masks plus some other kit and upgrade to FIE at same time. Budget important, but not the only factor.
    Last edited by Cjack; -1st December 2015 at 15:14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by christopherwms View Post
    and is not safe.
    Not sure you can make this assumption.

    The FIE bans masks they think are unsafe, or asks for changes/adaptations to make them safe, I have not heard of this mask being banned by the FIE, unlike the other one you mention (when it does not have the extra safety strap)..
    Oundle, Peterborough & Stamford Fencing

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    The main issue for the PBT mask is that it uses a piece of double sided tape to hold it down.

    If the bib is sweaty or damp then the bib(tape) won't stay down and you will have the potential for the point to catch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by christopherwms View Post
    The main issue for the PBT mask is that it uses a piece of double sided tape to hold it down.

    If the bib is sweaty or damp then the bib(tape) won't stay down and you will have the potential for the point to catch.
    Just looked on the PBT website and it describes
    The conductive material is safely attached to the bib with velcro. Velcro will not come undone if damp or sweaty, if anything it is harder to take apart when damp. Though it would have to be kept clean and checked for deterioration in performance.

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    christopher is thinking of the stick on sock bib not the exchange mask that has a proper lame bib stuck to the mask bib. This mask is more comparable to the FWF mask. I think that you could waste the extra money and get an LP mask(IMO) or just go for a tested and worthwhile mask.

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    Senior Member gethylogic's Avatar
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    How sweaty are these children? Obviously people perspire at different levels although your child is going to have to sweat buckets, and I don't mean metaphorically, they're going to have to sweat literal buckets over a substantial amount of time for it to have any effect on the hooks and loops. And even then you're going to need to exert a physical force from both sides to prize them apart. Something which is unlikely to happen even if it "gets caught" like christopherwms described. If this did metaphorically happen, something which I've never witnessed or heard about with any other manufacturer who use the same system. The likelihood is that the bib will just fall off and your child will be fine so I don't really see this safety issue he's describing. Unfortunately not all velcros are created equally and they will degrade over time (a substantial amount in most cases) although you can buy some really cheap wet suits and fisherman's waders that use velcros so I wouldn't let christopherwms scare you from buying the PBT. What I will say however is that if you purchase the Leon Paul, you're buying a proven product that's trusted by a lot of parents/fencers while the Xchange has some innovative and neat features attached. Although PBT are hardly a cheap charlie brand, so either way you don't have much to worry about.

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    Thanks, that's helpful. I guess we might we might just have to try on a few different masks before making a final decision.

    Quote Originally Posted by gethylogic View Post
    How sweaty are these children? Obviously people perspire at different levels although your child is going to have to sweat buckets, and I don't mean metaphorically, they're going to have to sweat literal buckets over a substantial amount of time for it to have any effect on the hooks and loops. And even then you're going to need to exert a physical force from both sides to prize them apart. Something which is unlikely to happen even if it "gets caught" like christopherwms described. If this did metaphorically happen, something which I've never witnessed or heard about with any other manufacturer who use the same system. The likelihood is that the bib will just fall off and your child will be fine so I don't really see this safety issue he's describing. Unfortunately not all velcros are created equally and they will degrade over time (a substantial amount in most cases) although you can buy some really cheap wet suits and fisherman's waders that use velcros so I wouldn't let christopherwms scare you from buying the PBT. What I will say however is that if you purchase the Leon Paul, you're buying a proven product that's trusted by a lot of parents/fencers while the Xchange has some innovative and neat features attached. Although PBT are hardly a cheap charlie brand, so either way you don't have much to worry about.

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    Senior Member gethylogic's Avatar
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    That's good, I was afraid that was going to come across like a crazy rant. But like cesh_fencing said, while the FIE tests might not be 100% fool proof they are incredibly thorough. So I doubt that mask would be anywhere near the market place if it was "un safe". And while I'm aware that I'm on a forum sponsored by Leon Paul it would be foolish to ignore the fact other companies also make some really great products. More often than not it simply comes down to personal preference which can be annoying as it's not always possible to try them before you buy them. While not every company is as good as displaying their products like Leon Paul.

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    gethylogic hit the nail on the head if there is the chance to try before you buy then do so, it really is personal preference when it comes down to it.
    LP probably have the smartest in design when it comes down to the exchange system, but the interior protection has always been an issue with us. Youngest daughter still owns and uses one, but oldest changed when it came to renewing hers, bouts can be a bit more rough and tumble in the seniors and she found the LP product would hit her face if impacted in the front of the mask with force. This was due to there no longer being a main forehead rest in the mask like PBT and Allstar, which I presume was dropped to push the more ventilation design. Oldest daughter prefers a little more sweat and straight nose.
    All masks that have been mentioned have past the FIE tests so really it's up to the personal preferences of the user, hopefully there is a few different ones your child can try at your club -
    - but remember when doing so not all fencers masks are equal some can be a little ripe lol.

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    [QUOTE=Not quite a Vet;309003]gethylogic hit the nail on the head if there is the chance to try before you buy then do so, it really is personal preference when it comes down to it.

    Completely agree, and different head shapes fit different masks. Daughter has a very wide head temple to temple even as a very small child we had a nightmare getting and ski or cycle helmets to fit, only one brand with a ratchett band system worked. We started off with a conventional fencing mask but it kept moving even after much adjustment and daughter carded for touching her mask during a match - we then bought a LP contour fit mask spent 10-15 minutes repeatedly adjusting the padding etc and now have a perfect fit mask that never moves and no problems if hit on the mask with epees. Son on the other hand has an Allstar mask by choice.

    We have a complete mix as a family of PBT, Allstar, Uhlmann & Leon Paul across gloves, masks, jackets etc chosen for what had the best fit for the price range.

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    Absolutely. I have no issue with LP masks (my kids have used the standard ones for several years ), but I doubt that the LP x-change mask was designed with a small 12-year-old in mind.

    We'll have the opportunity to try x-change masks at club, but I don't know many folks with PBT masks, hence my question. Might need to make a trip and try PBT breeches, anyway, as LP waist size is proving a bit ample for the skinniest one of my bunch.


    [QUOTE=jahl;309004]
    Quote Originally Posted by Not quite a Vet View Post
    gethylogic hit the nail on the head if there is the chance to try before you buy then do so, it really is personal preference when it comes down to it.

    Completely agree, and different head shapes fit different masks. Daughter has a very wide head temple to temple even as a very small child we had a nightmare getting and ski or cycle helmets to fit, only one brand with a ratchett band system worked. We started off with a conventional fencing mask but it kept moving even after much adjustment and daughter carded for touching her mask during a match - we then bought a LP contour fit mask spent 10-15 minutes repeatedly adjusting the padding etc and now have a perfect fit mask that never moves and no problems if hit on the mask with epees. Son on the other hand has an Allstar mask by choice.

    We have a complete mix as a family of PBT, Allstar, Uhlmann & Leon Paul across gloves, masks, jackets etc chosen for what had the best fit for the price range.

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    I recently got the PBT combo mask (FIE) so that I could fence both epee and foil at tournaments with minimal equipment haulage and at the lowest cost. The lame bib fixes quite solidly with velcro - large strips that cover the whole bib area - and has two small lame straps that slip under a tab on either side of the bib for extra security. I've used it in 6 tournaments so far and never had complaints, problems with the bib or experience with points catching.

    Sizing was tricky. I have a smallish head which, by measurement, just fits the smallest size 0. However, the original shape is very round which was problematic and required much squeezing, compressing, near-crushing attempts to re-shape it somewhat. My ears still take a few days to recover after being folded and bent throughout a long day/weekend of putting on/taking off my mask. Once on it is comfortable and feels very safe. The padding is quite thick and does absorb a lot of sweat but dries fairly quickly.

    I have always had LP masks before and my druthers would be to continue with an LP mask especially the LP Comfort even with the extra strap requirement (although I'm not sure if it has the Xchange bib) but until I can afford the FIE LP, the PBT Combo is a decent FIE mask for the price.

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    Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by Shivi View Post
    I recently got the PBT combo mask (FIE) so that I could fence both epee and foil at tournaments with minimal equipment haulage and at the lowest cost. The lame bib fixes quite solidly with velcro - large strips that cover the whole bib area - and has two small lame straps that slip under a tab on either side of the bib for extra security. I've used it in 6 tournaments so far and never had complaints, problems with the bib or experience with points catching.

    Sizing was tricky. I have a smallish head which, by measurement, just fits the smallest size 0. However, the original shape is very round which was problematic and required much squeezing, compressing, near-crushing attempts to re-shape it somewhat. My ears still take a few days to recover after being folded and bent throughout a long day/weekend of putting on/taking off my mask. Once on it is comfortable and feels very safe. The padding is quite thick and does absorb a lot of sweat but dries fairly quickly.

    I have always had LP masks before and my druthers would be to continue with an LP mask especially the LP Comfort even with the extra strap requirement (although I'm not sure if it has the Xchange bib) but until I can afford the FIE LP, the PBT Combo is a decent FIE mask for the price.

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    Thanks for the help. Ended up with an FWF mask from PBT (similar to PBT's own combi mask, but with removable & washable padding). Still looking for youngest, but will probably end up going back to LP as PBT FIE masks weren't small enough.

  17. #17

    Default PBT Combi Mask

    If this is still of any use, I have a combi mask and I do not recommend for competitions as the lame bib often has to be sewn on to the main bib anyway. If you do not want the lame bib to be worn out then you have to constantly unpick and re-sew it on which is a pain. I think a X-Change mask would probably be better as the entire actual main bib can be swapped, meaning that you can use the mask for other weapons. It will be acceptable for competitions as the lame bib will be sewn on to the white bib.

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