Review: Black Eagle Basico Gi

(Também disponível em Português!)

Time passes, many things change in the world and pretty much in everyone's lives, and that's certainly been the case since my last review.
One thing that has not changed though is my preference for less expensive gis and my growing lack of enthusiasm regarding bling gis versus my love of simpler and, dare I say, more tasteful, classier designs.

When faced with the opportunity to review another one of Black Eagle's jiu-jitsu gis I was given the difficult choice between the Predator BJJ Gi ("Predator" being Black Eagle's brand dedicated to BJJ) and the Basico BJJ Training Gi. While the Predator does a damn good job balancing a more exclusive design with a classy and clean look while keeping a reasonable price tag, I had to go with the Basico because I'm a sucker for budget kits and that way I'd be able to do a direct comparison to Tatami's Nova Basic gi and Tuff's Lightweight BJJ Kimono – two direct competitors in the same price category!

So let's get started, shall we?

Here is Black Eagle's description of this gi:

New Basic BJJ training gi, ideal for beginners and also club orders.
Jacket manufactured from Gold Weave and Trousers from 100% cotton.
Minimal branding allows for Academy patches.
Manufactured to the same pattern as the popular Predator range of BJJ Gi, and pre-shrunk (still allow for an initial shrinkage of around 1%-2%) means it fits straight out of the bag!
Gi Weights (in kg): A1-1.45; A2-1.60; A3-1.70; A4-1.95; A5-2.15

. First thoughts:

Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the package not only featured the expected gi jacket and trousers but also a gi bag mostly made of a net pattern that might be very handy to carry the wet gi after training.
The gi itself felt adequately light and the jacket felt comfortable prior to wear.

. Going deeper:

Putting the kit on I wasn't let down and my first impressions were confirmed. This is a very comfortable gi. This is not my first gi with a gold weave jacket but it is certainly the most comfortable. Moreover, it felt snug while giving complete freedom of movement and still having a couple of centimeters to shed, which made me feel completely at ease regarding washing this. Good thing, since I like my gis clean and stink-free ;)

Comfy gold weave. I like.

As expected (and clearly visible in the official photos), the design is quite minimal. The jacket features only two embroidered black eagles on each upper arm (on purpose, I believe). That does leave room for shoulder/trapezius patches as well as a clean back for all the sponsor/academy/vanity/random patches you can think of.

Black Eagle's black eagle.

Also, there are all sorts of more than adequate reinforcements on all stress points: Sleeve cuffs with taped hem, skirt and armpit reinforcements.

During use it still felt comfortable and snug, and snugger it felt after the first wash when it shrunk a bit (numbers are included later in the review).
Weight was not an issue, and I believe this is a very much overrated point of discussion anyway. During summer a ~1,5Kg breathable gi is nice to have, and this one is more than adequate for that purpose, but besides that I don't see the point in 1Kg all-ripstop gis that feel more like karate gis than anything. But I digress.
The collar is quiet nice with regular thickness and never felt overly stiff not did it need any break-in time/wash.

The trousers have a nice thickness and feel to it. Not too thin like lighter gis, not thick and sturdy like heavier and more expensive gis. Still, they hold up fine for regular use just like every good twill cotton pants.
The flat twill cord isn't an hindrance as there's no unnecessary extra meter of it to shed and it seems to have the same treatment as the more expensive Raptor so it doesn't stick with sweat.

Major compliments to Black Eagle for including a whopping 6 (SIX!) cord loops! Not only that, they're in a very fashionable black color just like the cord itself. Gorgeous and up-the-waist-ride-proof! I love it.

As far as comfort goes, this is where these pants shine. So far I have yet to try pants with a better cut than these.
Crotch height is perfect, waist feels great, leg/thigh width is great for slimmer and beefier builds alike (since I've had this gi I've put on 5Kg so I can tell) while still allowing freedom of movement for guard players.

All necessary reinforcements are included though Black Eagle did not include taped hem at the bottom which while a nice addition isn't exactly mandatory since it's a rare place to grip anyway.

. Shrinkage:

Buyers washing on hotter temperatures should perhaps expect a higher percentage of shrinking so beware. I can not confirm nor deny this since I have not tested it myself for fear that it wouldn't fit me anymore.

. Judo:

As in previous reviews, let's say you do BJJ but you also do Judo. It's high summer and the place where you train Judo is usually hot to begin with but in those crazy temperature days it gets impossible.
Judogi are always heavy and hot unless they're really flimsy and cheap and usually rip after one of those colleagues of yours that has pliers for hands gets hold on your lapel. So that's a no no, of course. But wait, you do have your jiu-jitsu gi! They're light and they've certainly withstood everything your BJJ friends threw (or pulled) at it. You look at your Black Eagle Basico, the Black Eagle Basico looks at you, the world stops for a second, your heart skips a beat and you wonder if...

Terrible storytelling skills apart, and cutting to the chase, I've put this gi through about 5 Judo classes and it came out unblemished. One more point to the Basico on the durability front!
Also, except for the thigh patch, it's a discreet enough gi that will probably go almost unnoticed, which is a definite plus here too.

. Compared to the contenders: Tuff Lightweight Kimono and Tatami Nova Basic Gi.
  • Tatami's jacket is more comfortable than Tuff's but according to Tatami "the weave is not as dense as pearl weave and can tend to lose its shape slightly".
  • Black Eagle's Basico is more comfortable still and the sturdier of all three though that does come with an extra 100~200g (which for me is irrelevant but YMMV).
  • Something to consider is that Tuff is the only to offer their budget gi in several colors, including Navy! Both Black Eagle and Tatami only offer their entry kit in white.
  • Tatami's pants are more comfortable and fit better than Tuff's having much less unneeded cloth in the crotch area. Black Eagle's have a very similar cut but the pants' material is higher quality and sits better. Also, Black Eagle is the only to include more than two cord loops (thrice as much as both Tuff and Tatami, actually) which is a major point in their favor.
  • Even if the cut wasn't an issue, Tuff's gi now features cheap ripstop pants instead of cotton twill which for me is a deal breaker.
  • As far as costumer care, Tuff's is bad, Tatami's is very good (and I have yet to heard a bad thing about them) but Black Eagle has been awesome since, besides the fact that they reply fast to emails, deal directly and swiftly with returns in case of defects or stuff like that, they are probably the brand that most communicates with their clients, fans and random BJJ people though both forums and on Facebook asking for opinions before, during and after they come out with products and actually listen to what 'we' have to say.

Right now, Black Eagle's Basico is priced at £49,99, Tatami's Nova Basic at £51 and Tuff's Lightweight Kimono at £42,99. Between the Basico and the Nova Gi I don't think price will be the deciding factor. Tuff's price might seem more attractive but imo isn't worth the quality difference, even if they would go back to the twill cotton trousers.
All things considered I'd go about them in the following fashion: Black Eagle Basico > Tatami Nova Basic >> Tuff Lightweight Kimono.

. In conclusion:

Black Eagle's budget/training gi is not only a serious contender but in my opinion the best option of the three I have tested. Good fit, good quality, sober styling and low price make up for a close to perfect option for those wanting their first gi or just preferring a simpler kit alike.

. Disclaimer:
I am not endorsed by Black Eagle and these opinions are my own, unbiased, uncensored and they apply only to the product I tested.

. Também disponível em Português!


Megan Williams said...

Just added to Thanks for the great work!

André said...

No problem Megan, thank you very much! :)

DhAoS said...

Where did you bought this? I ask cause expedition cost from UK are quite expensive...

André said...

It came from the UK. Where are you from?

DhAoS said...

I'm from Italy. Expedition cost from Black Eagle store are to my country are about 22.50 pound

André said...

Unless you find a retailer in Italy carrying Predator/Black Eagle the only alternative I can think of is emailing them directly and inquiring about lower shipping costs.

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