Like the rest of the Nike Vapor woods the Hybrids come in a choice of Speed and Flex models, but they are the category where the two models differ the most in the Vapor range.
What joins them as a family is the revised Covert Cavity with its FlyBeam supports that stiffen the chassis of the club to allow the Compression Channel to flex more at impact and increase the ball speed.
The Cavity also increases the MOI of the club to move weight to the edges to resist twisting at impact and increase forgiveness. The effect of this is not as pronounced in the hybrids as it is in the larger headed Vapor driver, but it is still there nonetheless.
The Compression Channel is long and narrow and goes the full length of the clubface. It is wider at the heel and toe as it curves back around the edges of the Covert Cavity in order to increase ball speed and hence distance on those off centre hits.
Both these features work really well in two very different styles of Vapor hybrid as I will now reveal.
Nike Vapor Speed Hybrid Review
There are three distinct styles of hybrids in the market from driving iron style hybrids, what I would call true hybrids with a semi driving iron/wood style and then larger game improvement hybrids that look like mini woods. The Nike Vapor Speed hybrid is firmly in the latter category.
If you like your hybrids on the generous side then the deeper heads will also help you get the ball up more easily as the centre of gravity is further back than the Vapor Flex hybrid.
This it does very well and it is very light to swing and the ball flight was mid to high without ballooning in any way. The sound was good too and it was very enjoyable to play with even if it maybe missed a little of the wow factor.
It does look good at address and I like the silver top line of the face as it acts like an alignment aid. It does seem a little open even though the face is square and when I discussed this with designer Dr Tom Harper he said it was deliberate so that golfers did not feel that the hybrid was going to go left on them. This it did not do at all and for this style of hybrid the flight was pretty neutral and straight if you know what I mean.
Like the Vapor fairways, Nike has made the sole of the face flatter along the leading edge as the Covert 2.0 was quite curved in order to make it sit better at address and be a little more playable and this looks good.
The Winn grip feels great and uses a wrap style with a soft feel, but it will be interesting to see if this type of grip stands the test of time coming in and out of a bag as historically they have not fared well.
Overall the Vapor Speed hybrid is a marked improvement in looks and performance on the Covert 2.0 and I reckon is one of the best game improvement hybrids Nike has done to date.
It may be a little on the large side to have wide appeal, but if you like your hybrids big then the Vapor Speed should be on your test list.
Nike Vapor Flex Hybrid Review
Where the Vapor Speed is large and forgiving, the Vapor Flex hybrid is dark and sinister. Where the Speed is for mid to high handicappers, the Flex is for good single figure players who want that iron/wood hybrid I mentioned earlier.
Those in between these handicaps may find it hard to choose as to me they are at different ends of the spectrum, even though the Flex has a generous and lovely rounded, neutral head shape. The face is shallower and not as deep as the Speed, but is still very playable with a good mid height and penetrating flight.
The Covert Cavity and Compression Channel combine well to offer this extra ball speed and forgiveness in a smaller head and this is where I think these technologies really come in to their own. The Channel in the Flex is about the same width as the Speed but
Like the Vapor Speed the top line of the face visually looks open at address, probably even more so, to give the impression that the club will not go left on you.
The face is square though and whilst the subtlety of the design does create this visual effect, I would prefer something that looked square if it is square. The face on the flex is also shallower than the Speed and the white line on the bottom groove stands out more.
The main point of difference with the Flex model is the FlexLoft 2 adjustable hosel that is 30% lighter and backwards compatible so you can use it with older model shafts if you want.
It allows you to change the loft over a range of 4° in 1° increments and combine this with three face angle settings of left, neutral and right to open or close the face angle by 1.5°.
It does make the hosel look a little large at address against the smaller head of the hybrid, but that is the trade off and also could be the reason for the dark looks to try and mask this.
That said, the adjustability is very good at changing the shape of the shot or the face angle, which is where the neutral top lines would be better if you are de-lofting the club by opening the face. Nike say that this is for 'players looking to play an array of shots with their hybrids' and I found the Flex to be better for this as the Speed has a more forgiving design that is harder to shape the ball with.
As a better players' hybrid the Vapor Flex is the best Nike has done to date. The Nike VR Pro was probably the leader in the clubhouse before this and when we met Franceso Molinari he still had two in his bag. For elite players they may stay there as the VR Pro is probably a little more workable and gives greater forgivessness than it looks it should.
For the single figure amateur, then the Vapor Flex is the go to option as it plays like a better player hybrid should, whilst having the benefit of the larger more forgiving head with the option of adjustability if you need it.