Black-Eagle Predator MKII Gi Review

26 04 2011

Black-Eagle Predator MKII Gi Review

The Gi – Picking One Up

The MKII Predator is produced by Black-Eagle, a company based out of the United Kingdom. The gi is one of their newest models just recently released. It incorporates many of their new design qualities for both comfort and performance. Many people here stateside have not heard of Black-Eagle due to them being primarily located and targeting the U.K. market, but they have started to branch out and are now breaking into the global market. The MK II can be picked up at the Black-Eagle Online Store and usually are always in stock. They offer sizes A1 through A5 and the gi is offered in both blue and white (and soon to be black). The retail price of the gi is £79.99 which converts over to right around $131.95 making the gi in the mid price range. The gis, as mentioned, are generally in stock and are available to order. Once your order has been placed, it usually takes about 5-10 business days in order to get it to your door. Not bad considering it is coming from across the Atlantic.

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The Gi – Jacket

  

The Predator is constructed from a light pearl weave fabric. Naturally, this design makes the gi extra light weight and that is the first thing you notice when you put the gi on. The top also has extra lines of stitching and therefore is extremely durable. The patches on the top are some of my favorite things about the gi. First of all, the color scheme of the gi that I received is blue with red trim. It honestly makes me think of spider-man when I look at it. The first set of patches on the top are on the shoulder line. Here, “Black-Eagle” can be found embroidered in red letters along with a silhouette of a black eagle down the arms on each side. Next, along the lapel towards the top is “Predator” embroidered in red. Finally, and probably my favorite of the three, “Predator” is also embroidered along the bottom of the skirt in the back, also in red. These patches are great for two reasons: one is that they are in great locations as to make the gi not seem over patched and two, they are embroidered therefore there is no way that they are going to come off after a few uses and washes.

As for the collar of the gi, it seems to be a foam insert collar, though I am not completely sure. The collar however is very light weight and dries very quickly so it is safe to assume as such. The collar is also reinforced with extra lines of stitching and a ripstop overlay. The collar is very sturdy and also light weight. Another nice thing is that the sleeve cuffs are reinforced with ripstop overlay as well as to make them extra strong against day-to-day training. Upon training in the top, it became evident that the gi was very strong and durable. However, once the gi jacket became exposed to a little moisture, the sleeves did stretch a little bit throughout the training session. With the pearl weave fabric design, this was not a huge surprise but it did pose some issues while training. More pictures of the gi jacket can be found bellow.

   

   

   

   

Overall Black-Eagle has done an excellent job with the gi jacket. It is light, durable, and very simple. The collar on the gi is great and dries very quickly and does not shrivel or wave. The embroidered patches are in great spots and though they are simple, they add a nice style to the gi. Overall I give the MKII Predator jacket a 4.4 out of 5 stars. The gi jacket is great yet the sleeves did extend way more that what they should have after a good training session. Other than that, the jacket is probably up there in being one of the better jackets I have encountered.

The Gi – Pants

 

The pants are constructed completely of ripstop cotton. This makes the pants extra light weight as well as very durable. Again, much like the sleeve cuffs, the pant leg cuffs are reinforced with extra ripstop making them extra strong and able to withstand the pressure of constant tugging and pulling that comes along with a great training session or competition. The knee pads are also reinforced with and extra layer of ripstop cotton as to give them extra support in this high traffic area. The knee pads are also quite large on the Predator pants. They extend through the majority of the legs. They probably could be a little smaller, but the extra length simply makes the pants stronger. Though I personally am not a huge fan of the ripstop cotton, these pants are quite comfortable and are great to train in. They move very well with you and for anyone who loves to play guard, that is a must.

The MKII pants do have two patches on them, each in the same place along the top side of the thigh. The patch reads “Black-Eagle” twice and then is surrounded by four flags: Brazil, the U.S., Japan, and naturally, Great Britain. These patches are unique and add a little bit of aesthetics to the rather plain pants. The only contrasting color to the pants, other than the patches, are the belt loops and drawstring. The pants do have a 6 belt loop system. The extra belt loops make the pants more secure and allows them to stay up through even the hardest of training sessions. The 6 belt loop system is becoming a new standard for high-end pants in the gi market. The drawstring is one of the few things that is not a highlight of the pants. They come with a basic, old style cotton string for the drawstring. These are slowly getting replaced in the market by the much better and more durable rope drawstring. The old cotton drawstring simply does not hold up as well and, once exposed to moisture, becomes very difficult to undue. More pictures of the pants can be found below.

   

   

   

Overall, the Predator pants are good pants. They move very well with you during training and they are very light and durable. Overall, I would give these pants a 3.6 out of 5 stars. The classic cotton string drawstring has taken a back seat to the new rope drawstring in the gi market. The knee pads are slightly too large as well. However, Black-Eagle has the right idea and is most certainly on the right track. With a few upgrades and minor design changes, these pants will surely be in the top of the heap in the gi market.

The Gi – Overall Fit and Sum-Up

One of the best qualities of this gi is that Black-Eagle has gone to extreme lengths to make sure that this gi is not shrinkable. The gi is both sanforized and mercerised in order to protect against shrinkage and also to help strengthen the fibers in the gi. They also used reactive fast color VAT dying, which reduces the amount the gi will fade. I washed the gi right out of the bag in as hot of water as I could get my washer to and then dried it on high heat for nearly two hours and the gi did not shrink one bit. Black-Eagle truly means it when they say the gi will not shrink. That being said, it is imperative that should you order this gi, you get the right size. This is where I believe that Black-Eagle needs to make a few changes. First of all, I gave them my size information directly ( I am 5’8 and about 175 lbs) and asked what size gi I should get. The reply was an A2. I also looked at the sizing chart that is given for the gi and the sizing chart is bellow.

SIZE INFO
5’1″-5’5″ 110-140 160cm (A1)
5’5″-5’9″ 140-170 170cm (A2)
5’9″-6’1″ 170-200 180cm (A3)
6’0″-6’4″ 200-250 190cm (A4)
6’4″ up 225-275 200cm (A5)

(taken from Black-Eagle.uk.co)

According to the sizing chart, I am in the top of the A2 size range and therefore I got an A2 sent to me. Upon getting the gi and trying to shrink it, the gi was too big for me. The sleeves were nearly 2 inches past my wrist (nearly to my knuckles) and the width of the gi was far wider than I am. The pants were also massive. The crotch hung way to low and the pant legs were nearly 3 inches too long. I gave the gi to a friend to try on and it fit him perfect. He is around 6’1 to 6’2 and weighs about 180 lbs. I still trained in the gi and though I felt that it was a strong, light, and durable gi, I could not gauge the actual cut of the gi as it was far to large for me. Not being able to shrink the gi at all was an issue here but it unmasked the true issue that solves all of these problems: Black-Eagle needs to readjust the sizing chart. If I had to make an educated guess based on my experience of my size, my friends size, and the one A2 that I have, I would think it is safe to assume that all the sizes are simply one too large. The A1 is actually an A2, the A2 an A3 and so forth based solely on the sizing chart given by Black-Eagle above. The non-shrinkage is a great quality, but when the sizing chart is off, it becomes its worst quality. If the sizing chart is adjusted and you do get the right size for you, the roles are reversed and the non-shrinkage becomes once again the best quality of the gi.

Although the sizing for me and the gi were off, upon rolling in the gi, I can still confirm that it is extremely comfortable to wear. The gi is very light. Upon weighing it, it tipped the scales right around 3.4 – 3.5 lbs, making it in the lighter region of the gi market. As far as I could judge, even though the gi was too large for me to get a really good feel for it, the cut of the gi was between being loose fitting such as a judo gi and a tailored fit gi. It was not perfectly snug but also was not overly loose. The pants seemed to be a bit looser in the crotch region as well.

Overall, I would have to give the gi a 4.0 out of 5 stars. Black-Eagle has created a very interesting gi in the MKII Predator. Though it is not above and beyond by any means, it is still a great gi for both training and competition. If you factor in the price of the gi, (~$130), that makes the gi very appealing. The biggest concern that you must have when looking at picking one of these up is making absolutely certain you obtain the right size. This is much more difficult seeing how the size chart provided by Black-Eagle, in my opinion, is off by a size. Should you obtain the right size though, this gi is certainly a great one to have in your arsenal. Though it is not at the top of the heap as far as great gis go, when you factor in the price, this gi becomes one of the best gis on the market as far as a cost to product ratio. Black-Eagle has a few areas left that they could change and upgrade and push this gi into the top of the line category. They are certainly on the right track and I will not be surprised if the next model of the Predator series is not a global hit.

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3 responses

26 04 2011
shan

nice review man, the sizing drama is a pretty bad problem but i guess they could fix it pretty easily just by changing the size chart…

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