Thursday, May 17, 2012

Raptora vs. Predadora

My two favorite made-for-ladies gis are the Raptora and the Predadora, both by Predator BJJ (a division of Black Eagle.)  Fair disclosure-- I'm sponsored by Black Eagle.

It's a shame the Raptor (for guys) and Raptora (the ladies' version) was a special edition gi that's no longer available.  I am still going to review it-- in case they make another run of it, or if you can get your hands on one some other way.

The Raptor has already been reviewed a few times, by JiuJitsu Sweep, on Sherdog, by Meerkatsu, and the Grappling Addict among others.  Megjitsu reviewed the Raptora, both in pre-production and official versions.  And my review of the Predadora is found here.

The short version:  really nice silky soft twill pants with a slimmer cut than the Predadora, a rashguard-lined jacket that's pleasantly roomier than the Predadora, with gorgeous embroidery, and very little shrinkage.  But some flaws in quality control cut the A+ down to an A-.

Stats on an A1:
Weight: 3.5 lbs-- quite light for a lined-jacket gi with non-ripstop pants.

Pants measurements:  Waist 20.5", Leg length 32", cuff 8.5", front rise 9.25", rear rise 11".

Jacket: Front length, shoulder to hem 27", width at armpits 17", armpit to cuff 19", cuff 6".  I could not accurately determine if there was any shrinkage at all-- measurements varied by 1/4" here and there but it could have been user error. 

Can't explain how well I like the fabric of the pants-- twill that feels worn in, but not worn out.  Kind of the same texture as 1000-thread count fancy hotel sheets, only sturdier.  I hope Black Eagle continues to use this fabric for future pants, although I like ripstop too-- this stuff wears very well and is extremely comfortable.  But the stitching had some skips and errors:

The double layer over the knee extends far up the thigh and down to about six inches above the ankle.  When you're on your knees, you're still on the "padding" which is good-- but just barely.  I wish they would have reinforced the whole front or at least down to the ankle.

Fancy embroidered eagle on the lower left leg.

After six months or so of regular wear, there are a few loose or fuzzed-up threads in the eagle, but no unraveling or serious issues.

Here's a small example of quality control problems: such nice reinforcement of the triple-seamed construction inside the pants/crotch, but a handful of loose threads.  To be fair, there's no deterioration of the seam or other impact, so I suppose it's predominantly aesthetic.

Aside from the eagle on the left shin, the only other "bling" on the pants is the Black Eagle label on the right hip.

You know I love pants with six belt loops.  Raptora-- got 'em.

Solidly-reinforced armpit.  Note the triple seaming on the jacket panels.

The best thing about this gi is the rashie lining.  It's soooooo smooth and pleasant to the skin-- it wicks away sweat-- it's a joy to wear.  The interior has a lovely saying in Portuguese (you can google translate if you like.) But since I don't spend much time looking at the inside of my gi, I didn't bother.  I just know it feels really cozy-- especially in nasty hot weather.

The downside to a stretchy interior lining like this is-- when you hire someone else to sew your patches on, they may not be super picky about getting the lining to lay flat.  It's not a big deal, you don't even notice either from looking at the back or how it feels to your skin.  But it's there.

The tape inside the jacket hem coordinates with the color scheme, and isn't scratchy-- though a few loose threads are visible here at the left hand side.

Solid reinforcements everywhere-- and no pulling where the reinforcement overlays the rashguard lining.  (The wrinkles are photographer/stylist error.)

The back of the gi and the fancy eagle meant my school patch had to go at waist level, but doesn't affect the utility of the gi or my comfort when wearing it.

You can see here a couple tiny "fuzzed" threads in the eagle, which gets all the wear and tear of my feeble guard game.  No big deal at all and really quite impressive, considering.

The pants cuffs are also triple seamed, twice in purple and once in white.  No scratchy tape or anything to get frayed because this is like a French seam, wrapped and folded onto itself.

I tried to photograph the texture of the pants-- it's a true twill, but so flexible, fluid, and soft.  Like wearing PJs and not heavy at all, unlike for example the hemp pants from Datsusara, which felt like thick linen.

Interior reinforcement of the armpit.

Fit:   For me, the problem was the fit of the pants.  Ladies with less in the rear end will find the Raptora pants less baggy than the Predadora-- ladies built like me (definitely pear to hourglass) will find these more like guys' pants, a little slim across the beam so to speak.  But still definitely wearable and comfortable.

As for the jacket-- it's more comfortable than the Predadora, because it offers more cross-over across the front and is looser under the arms without being boxy and enormous like most mens' gis.  The skirt is a little bit longer than the Predadora without being too long-- it hits just below my hipbone but above the crease where thigh meets torso.  While I love the Predadora pants, the Predadora jacket makes me feel like I'm literally bust-ing out of the jacket (while I'm a 36 C right now, the Predadora jacket makes me feel like a 38DD.  Or something.)

I give the Raptora a solid A--- it's one of my favorites because of all the comfortable textures, the lovely color scheme, and the nicely-fitting jacket.  Too bad there were some stitching boo-boos, but they do not affect the wear and lifespan of the gi.


Mrs. Ibarra said...

Nice review Georgette. I bought the Raptora as well. I have to say that this was my first gi with pants that have six I think they should all come with six. It makes a huge difference and I never feel like the pants are falling off. I was concerned about the lining since it is so hot here in Texas, but again, love that as well and it actually helps me stay cooler and feels great against the skin.

Anonymous said...

Seems like the inside says "Uma forma de viver, um desejo de vencer", which would translate to "A form of life, a will to win"... (All WITHOUT the help of google... :D)

Can S said...

Great review: companies should be queuing up to send you gis! ;)

I've yet to try a gi with a rash guard inner lining, but it seems like an interesting gimmick. Although as I don't like to wear a rash guard under my gi because I tend to get too hot, perhaps I wouldn't be keen.