Following UK-based Black Eagle’s forage into the no-gi scene with their Predator brand of grappling gear, I was eager to see how their products would stand up after being impressed with their Predator MKII BJJ gi. Here’s the lowdown with tons of photos!
- Manufactured from a spandex and lycra mix
- Longer cut torso to reduce the chances of the rash guard riding up
- Sublimation printed
The Predator rashwear features the word ‘Predator’ displayed somewhere prominent on it, depending on the model. For long sleeves, they go right across the chest and on the left sleeve, while for short sleeves, they run down the left side of the torso. Both also feature a small silhouette of an eagle on the back of the rashguards, while the short sleeve version has another small eagle on the bottom right side of the rashguard.
The leggings feature the word ‘Predator’ on the left side, while the words ‘Black Eagle’ and the eagle silhouette runs prominently down the left side. Personally, I find the words a bit too big for my liking.
All are sublimated printing though, so you can expect the design to stay intact.
Colour-wise, the rashguards come in white/black, white/blue and black variants. The cool thing about the white longsleeve rashguards is that only the right sleeve is coloured, giving you a badass asymmetrical look. Now, if only added some cool design motifs to go with it, this would be smoking hot!
The leggings come in either all black or all blue, coming across a little more boring for me. I was hoping they’d add more colour options like they did with the rashguards, at least with some oddball colour mixing, though I suppose I can’t quite figure out how that might work either. One thing to note is that the blue can comes across really bright, so if you’re the more conservative sort, you might want to stick with black instead.
Overall, the rashwear looks pretty standard with the exception of the longsleeves, and are great choices for those who prefer something a little less attention grabbing.
Form & Fit
The rashguards and leggings come in sizes S to XL, and being the puny size I am, small it is for me. My chest size is approximately 35.5″, falling into the upper range of the suggested 34-36″ for the rashguard, while my waist size is 28, smaller than the suggested 30-32 for the S sized leggings.
For both rashguards, the initial fit right out of the bag was surprisingly tight, almost to the point of discomfort. I had some difficulty just putting it. The collar was a little too close to the neck too. With the exception of S sized Under Armour, I’ve not felt such a tight fit in a long time. However, the tightness was limited only to the shoulders, neck, and the upper chest region, while the torso and sleeves remained pretty comfortable, so it’s not because I sized wrongly, but probably a matter of cutting and preferences. Since rashguards do stretch a bit after a few washes, I simply threw it into the machine without putting it into a little bag for it to stretch out a little during the spin cycle.
I was a little surprised to find the sleeves falling slightly short from my wrists on the longsleeve model though. Most of the rashguards I have worn tend to be on the longer side, which allows them to simply bunch up near the cuffs if they are too long. However, if the sleeves are too short, they tend to ride up the arm more easily. Coupled with the looser cuffs that this rashguard had, I found my wrist and the first half of my forearm exposed more often than I’d like.
Both models extend a good bit past the hips, and have an elastic band to help reduce chances of the rashguard riding up.
The leggings are also a slightly odd cut for me. The height from the groin to the waistband is a little too long, making me look like a nerdy submission grappler if there ever was one. While the nerdy aspect is not a major concern, the waistband ending up on my stomach above my navel is, since it’s not exactly comfortable. That said, it can be remedied by tugging the material down somewhat to compensate between a comfortable waistband height while not having the groin area hang too low and loose. The length of the leggings are just nice, which might come out a bit short for lankier people, considering I’m a size 28 wearing leggings recommended for size 30-32.
In essence, I get the sense that the rashwear is better designed for the stockier kind, so if you’ve been finding other rashguards a little too skinny, this one might work better. Just check out the official Predator photos and you’ll see the stockier dude filling out his rashwear a lot better than the lankier one.
While the rashguards and leggings are pretty basic in the tech department, they serve their essential functions well. Both are breathable, while providing sufficient protection from matburns. The mixed lycra and spandex blend allows for good stretching and mobility, so movement is generally unrestricted. I especially love the short sleeve for sparring and no-gi, as I hardly feel it there once I start training.
As expected from any rashwear, flatlock stitching is used throughout. The stitching is also generally quite robust. However, given the competitive market out there, I was surprised to find how basic the construction of the rashguard was. It’s a basic six panel similar to Under Armours, two panels for each sleeve, and the main front and back panels, although the sleeves are connected a little differently.
From the photos, you can see that it looks like a Raglan design from the top, but underneath, the stitching still runs directly under the armpits. I didn’t notice this at first, but felt the difference the moment I put on the rashguard. Can’t quite put a finger on what the difference is, but the feeling goes away once I start rolling in it.
Similarly, the leggings are also a basic four panel. Haven’t seen much innovation in this department for leggings, so no big deal here. That said, I’d suggest a wider waistband like Scramble’s since it makes the waistband less noticeable during rolls, and perhaps an additional panel for the crotch like Eastbays to provide a better fit.
During rolls, the rashguards held themselves well, with no riding up of torso thanks to the elastic bands, although as mentioned earlier, the sleeves did expose my wrists and forearms more often than usual. The leggings are do a great job of keeping warm and providing some traction in no-gi. While the leggings didn’t ride up during training, I still feel both rashguards and leggings could do with slightly tighter cuffs.
From the official site, the short sleeve rashguard is priced at GBP 26.66 (SGD $53), while the long sleeve is GBP 29.99 (SGD $59) and the leggings are GBP 26.66 (SGD $53). There’s also the no-gi package which includes a short or long sleeve rashguard, a pair of leggings, and a pair of grappling shorts, all for GBP 74.99 (SGD $148). The price point for the rashguard and leggings fall into the average range of what’s out there, so you can consider picking this up if you like the design.
The Predator rashwear offering is still in its infancy, and will need to play some catching up with its competitors by adding more features and tech, or at least differentiating itself in some manner. However, it will serve its purpose for those wanting a basic no-gi package.
All comments in the review are my own personal opinion. Prices provided in brackets are merely for reference and are based on exchange rates at the time of writing.
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