Monday, May 4, 2015

93 Brand 100 Kilo Gi Review


It has been a long time since I have done a gi review on the blog.  I recently had the opportunity to test out one of 93 Brand's latest offerings the 100 Kilo gi and that was just the inspiration I needed get on here and share it with everyone.  93 Brand is an American company based out of New York that was founded in 2012.  They are very well known in the Jiu-Jitsu community for offering basic gi designs that are not overly flashy.  There is something to be said for simplicity in the design of a gi. As much as I take pleasure in a gi adorned in eye catching logo patches and a custom look right out of the box, I also enjoy the ability to get creative and add on my collection of patches from my gym and various others acquired from seminars, organizations and causes I support. They also offer a full line of gear not limited to belts, rash guards, grappling tights, and t-shirts.  93 Brand offers some excellent pricing on their gi's well under the $200 mark.  You can usually purchase their gi's anywhere from $99-140 pretty regularly on various sites. 

Design


If you are Jiu-Jitsu purist then 93 brand has a lot to offer in the way of getting you geared up and on the mat with little fuss. The 100 Kilo at first glance is a clean, organic look with a well blended combination of classic colors. It is a solid off white gi with the look and feel of unbleached cotton, soft to the touch right out of the bag with charcoal grey contrast stitching and crimson accents on the taping, logo patch and embroidery. Each sleeve features 93 brand logos embroidered in black, white crimson and charcoal grey. The bottom of the jacket has some added flair with the words “position/submission” embroidered charcoal grey and crimson.  The cuffs of the jacket, inner portion of lapels and skirt, and cuffs of the pants have crimson taping and are very soft. All of these elements provide a subtle but appreciated balance to the look of the gi. The pants match the jacket well with the contrast stitching, reinforced knee and a vertical 93 brand patch down the front of the right leg rather than down the side as we might see in a lot of other gi’s on the market. 


Construction

Specifications:
  • Unbleached natural cotton
  • 450 GSM Gold Weave jacket
  • 10 oz. twill cotton pants
  • Minimal contrast stitching
  • Interior seam taping
  • Gold Weave lined knee reinforcements
  • Gold Weave crotch gusset
  • Stretchy para-cord drawstring
  • 6 drawstring loops on the pants
As many know, Gold Weave gi's tend to suffer from shrinkage more than almost any weave available on the market.  I spoke with George of 93 Brand prior to receiving the gi and he informed me that "the 100 Kilo has undergone two treatment processes since the unbleached fabric tends to shrink quite a bit."  That isn't to say it won't shrink but it should prevent any unexpected surprises after being laundered the first few times.

Touted as the 100 Kilo gi, the actual weight of the A-1 tested came in right at 2.6 pounds. For those of you who don’t want to make that conversion, that is 1.18 kilograms.  Made of 100% cotton, when I opened the package and pulled the gi out I contemplated actually sleeping in it.  Generally treated with a finishing chemical, most new gi’s feel like sandpaper and smell like the rubber sole of fresh pair of Keds.  The collar itself is very sturdy and thick; no flimsy collar present here.  The traditional stretchy drawstring is present here. This type of drawstring seems to be the industry standard these days.  In my experience these usually are manufactured to be longer than necessary as I found with the Kilo. That being said, it is easily cut to the desired length and burning the ends makes for an easy modification. The stitching throughout the jacket and pants seems to be very good. I have seen very sloppy work in this area even with some of the most expensive brands on the market. Sometimes it is simply a cosmetic issue and even worse can affect the structural integrity of the gi. Fortunately that is simply not found here with the Kilo. The pants have reinforced knees that run mid-thigh to just 5" above the cuff on the pant legs. I prefer to see the longer, reinforcement to provide additional cushioning and the Kilo does this well.  As many know this provides cushion, and additional support for those who like a gi that fits relatively close to the body. If you do prefer that type of fit like I do, then you may be familiar with the added wear and tear that comes as a result of added stress and pull on the flat panels of fabric and critical fulcrum point seams.  The crotch gusset is constructed identical to the Gold Weave fabric of the jacket.











Fit


Based on my dimensions, 5'7" 150lbs I requested an A-1. Often times when I fall into the top end of a sizing chart for any particular brand, A-1 sized gi's tend to be too small.  Moving up in size tends to put me in an overly bulky gi. Dealing with the added fabric can be cumbersome and allow opportunities for my training partner or opponent to get deeper grip control. A-1 was the perfect choice for the 93 brand 100 kilo, especially knowing I could wash and dry it in warm/hot temperatures without worry. This is something to take into consideration when purchasing your gi, the amount of time it will take to ensure laundering is handled properly every time. The less of a worry that is, the better.  Out of the bag the sleeves were a bit long and wide for my arms, but nothing that a high heat setting on the dry couldn't fix.  The pants were pretty much perfect in length and not baggy by any means.  To my satisfaction the taping on the inner seams throughout the entire gi are also 100% cotton, preventing the chaffing that can be an issue when the manufacturer uses synthetic threading or taping that has been cauterized to prevent unraveling. I found that sometimes taping can be abrasive due to logos and the overall finishing process.  The taping on the Kilo is smooth and just what I prefer.   I can't say enough about the comfort of the pants.  They are so comfortable I have no issue lounging around the house in them.













Rolling Impressions


I can’t help but refer back to my comment about this gi being comfortable enough to wear to bed as pajamas…although my wife might actually be able to defend the middle-of-the-night Kimura or ankle lock I try in my sleep.  That being said, I knew there may be a chance that the jacket sleeves would stretch during training or become more pliable after a sweaty high intensity roll. One thing I knew for sure, I was excited at the idea of NOT getting chaffed to hell with sandpaper pearl weave on my shoulder blades and elbows! The skirt proved to be a very acceptable length, not too short or too long.  The fit in the shoulders is perfect and the overall fit of the jacket does feel a bit roomy for my body type.  It doesn't fit me like a competition gi but I think you can get a pretty good idea from the pictures provided.  If I have one complaint about this gi it is that I did experience some stretch in the sleeves.  Modern day Gold Weave gi's almost all suffer from this due to being manufactured to be "light" and comfortable.  I have had the chance to work with most of the current Gold Weaves on the market these days and almost all of them have some stretch particularly when they get damp from training.  That isn't necessarily a bad thing if you prefer a very comfortable jacket that doesn't feel like you are wearing body armor.  My fix for this issue is to not fret about a little over-shrink in the sleeves to counterbalance any stretch you will experience while training.  In order to custom tailor the fit of the Kilo I ran it through 3-4 trips in the washing machine on a warm setting, low spin cycle.  I followed this up with trips through the dryer to help steam the material and shrink it down.

All in all my experience using the 93 Brand 100 Kilo gi has been an absolute pleasure.  Even under heavy training conditions the Kilo never feels heavy from sweat and doesn't trap body heat.  I have used this gi quite a bit over the last 2-3 months and it handled everything I threw at it.  It appears to be very durable and hasn't shown any degradation at all.






Measurements

93 Brand offers a great range of sizes for any body type.  The original sizing chart can be found at http://www.rollmore.com/93br-kilo.html where you can purchase this gi and other 93 Brand products.

Size             Height               Weight
A0             5'0"-5'4"           100-130lbs
A1             5'2"-5'7"           125-155lbs
A1L           5'5"-5'9"           125-155lbs
A1F           5'3"-5'7"           110-135lbs
A2             5'7"-5'10"         150-180lbs
A2L          5'10"-6'1"         150-180lbs
A2H          5'7"-5'10"         200-230lbs
A3             5'10"-6'1"         175-210lbs
A3L           6'1"-6'4"          185-220lbs
A4             6'1"-6'3"           215-250lbs
A5             6'3"-6'6"           240-270lbs

*Note that all measurements were taken after shrinking the gi down for my use.






Closing Thoughts

This was a very fun gi to review.  It is not your every day, run of the mill kimono.  I enjoy the unbleached look of the Kilo.  It definitely makes you stand out in the crowd yet remains simple by design, not cluttered with patches and embroidery.  Due to the stretch in the sleeves I personally would wear this for any normal training and teaching day at the gym as opposed to a competition. This is by far the most comfortable gi I have ever worn and trained in.  If you are looking for something different at a very reasonable price then give the 93 Brand Kilo gi some serious consideration, you wont be disappointed.





Links
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