Monday, March 11, 2013

Shoyoroll Batch #17 Competitor Gi Review



I'm a bit late to the Shoyoroll party but I'm here now.  Over the last couple of years I've seen the unorthodox marketing style that SYR has employed.  Truth be told I was not a fan of the limited releases and having to wait around three months to get a gi from them.  So I sat by and watched release after release and much of the time I'd regret not getting on the bandwagon and snatching up a couple of their gi's after everyone had received them...and I wasn't about to buy one from eBay!  I told myself, "If they would just make them more available and not make me wait a long time I would give one a shot."  As their popularity has increased it seems that SYR has gone that way to a degree.  SYR has increased the number of batches they release of gi's and made the turn around time much shorter.  I came very close to pulling the trigger on the the Gold Star  (Batch #14)  but opted to wait as I didn't want a black gi and figured they might offer something a bit more my style this year.  As luck would have it the announcement of Batch #17 was made and I was very excited to get one.  The hard decision was which color would I get...white or blue?

Design
The Competitor gi design is somewhat borrowed from the SYR sponsored athlete gi of 2012.  There are some obvious differences with respect to patches and placement but the general concept is quite similar.  I am a big fan of patches that are well thought out with regard to design and placement.  Many gi companies utilize a pretty traditional and predictable approach to patches and location.  SYR has shown over the years that they aren't afraid to try something different and that is something that has always attracted me to the brand.  The large SYR patch on the back left shoulder looks great.  I like that they placed this here providing ample room for an affiliation patch to go along side it. The red patch along the bottom of the skirt is tastefully done and different than most setting it apart in a good way.  The white gi features grey contrast stitching throughout which is subtle and executed well.  The classic red embroidery gives this gi some pop along with the traditional SYR yellow patches.



Construction
Sticking with the concept of a "Competitor" gi SYR has done just that with the public release of batch #17.   The jacket itself is a lightweight pearl weave.  The A1 used in this test weighed in at exactly 3lbs which is great for someone that needs a light gi for competitions.

The jacket sports traditional red SYR embroidered patches on the sleeves and classic yellow SYR patches adorning the front right/upper portion of the jacket and a very large one over the opposite shoulder on the back.  This patch makes sure everyone in the gym knows you are wearing a Shoyoroll gi.  One thing that will please most is that the patches throughout this gi are all sewn on and can easily be removed with a seam ripper should you want to go with a lower profile look.  The jacket and pants feature the typical Rasta taping (red/yellow/green) throughout the inside of the jacket and pants.  Despite the jacket being ultra lightweight the collar is anything but that.  It is quite thick and seems to have a rubberized material inside.  I think it is very comparable to my Tatami Estilio 3.0.  There were so minor flaws in the stitching which will always show up when contrast stitching is used but nothing too concerning.


The pants are lightweight as well and are made with rip-stop material.  I am not usually a fan of rip-stop but wanted to give them a shot as I don't currently have any lightweight gi's in my closet at the moment.  Much to my surprise the pants feel really nice for being rip-stop.  I have a pair of Atama #9 pants and really dislike them.  They have a waxy feeling due to being a cotton poly blend and feel odd when you train in them.  You can feel the poly blend in these pants but they seem to be made much better and have a more comfortable feel.  The pants feature reinforced knees but there isn't a lot of padding. Surely this is to reduce the weight of the pants which is not a problem.  The pants have an excellent loop enclosure with six total loops.  The spacing and grouping of the loops seems to keep the drawstring comfortable and easy to keep the pants very secure.  The ever popular stretchy rope cord is present and proper in length.



Fit
SYR has made efforts to accommodate various sized grapplers by offering a good variety of sizes and you don't see that with all the other gi companies so that is a nice bonus.  For this review I opted for an A1 sized gi: 5'4" - 5'8" & 130-160lbs in white.  My initial impressions of the jacket were pretty good.  The sleeve length is just a hair longer than I'd like.  The skirt is a bit longer than my Koral MKM but not excessively like the Storm Typhoon gi.  I'd say it is very adequate in length but not so much that it feels bothersome to keep tucked away.  I find both the jacket and pants to be very comfortable.  Provided I don't shrink this gi any further I should have no problems with the gi passing IBJJF inspections unless someone takes issue with the patches.  I have read someone ran into an issue with the large SYR patch on the back shoulder of the gi but personally did not experience this.

The pants are really nice and fit very well.  One of my biggest pet peeves are pants that are too baggy and these are anything but that.  There is ample room in the legs and crotch but don't feel like I'm wearing pants that I'm swimming around in.  The length is perfect and had no problems passing the IBJJF inspectors.  I'm a big fan of the 6 loop enclosure system.  This seems to be the best that I've experienced with all the gi pants I've owned.






Rolling Impressions
The honest truth is the first time I got to work in the Competitor gi was at the IBJJF Houston Open just days after I received it.  As I suspected this gi didn't disappoint in the rolling department.  The Competitor gi is light and a real pleasure to train or roll in. The gi never feels excessively heavy after an hour of training and breathes very well.  After a couple washes and trips through the dryer on low heat the sleeves feel much more acceptable in length.  One thing I love about this gi is that even though it is very lightweight, the fabric doesn't seem to be compromised in terms of durability.  I have had lightweight gi's that seem to stretch when pulled on and become problematic in situations where the sleeves are being manipulated.  There don't seem to be any problems like that with this gi.  I'm very impressed with the durable feel of the jacket and pants.  For being so light one might suspect that it can't take a beating but so far I've had no issues.  


Measurements
Take note that the measurements I took below were post-washing a couple times on warm water and medium heat through the dryer.  I did intentionally shrink this gi a little bit but nothing extreme.  For reference:  I am 5'7" and 150lbs.



Closing Thoughts
After waiting a long time to get a SYR gi I am really glad that I picked this one.  The fit and overall look is exactly what I look for in a gi.  A lot of people not familiar with SYR at the gym are asking a lot of questions and want one after seeing this one in person.  The fit and look of the gi really sets it apart from the standard fare. Since Shoyoroll allowed buyers to buy two of each color I think there will be a pretty big market for them new and probably not far from the retail price since it wasn't such a limited release.  For those that aren't aware of how to keep up when the pre-releases are announced be sure to "LIKE" Shoyoroll's Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/shoyorollbrand?fref=ts in order to keep up with their announcements.  This gi also looks pretty good on the podium too!


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