27 Jun 2012

Gi Review: Bull Terrier New Star (single weave)

Another spectacularly flashy gi design from established Japanese brand. The New Star, like all the other Bull Terriers I have owned, is made with the usual extreme high standards of construction and quality plus the usual fireworks of patchworks, embroidery, screen printing and general outrageous blinginess.

I have no personal or business relationship with Bull Terrier. I bought this gi from UK stockists Grapplers Delight.

Bull Terrier never create boring gis. If there is blank space where one could stitch on a patch or add a bit of gold, silver or screen printed blingery, then they will do it. The New Star does not disappoint if bling is your thing. And it is mine! Previous models I have tried have either been too small (a1) or too baggy (a2). The new half size of A2s (the 's' I presume stands for either short or slim A2) gave me the ideal excuse to finally buy a Bull Terrier that would, in theory, fit me a whole lot better than my previous models. The Bull Terrier website (www.btfightgear.com) offers a wide range of normal and half sizes, plus there is the option of white, blue or black and a choice of single or goldweave fabrics. I chose the white, single weave.
[Note: the above photo shows various additional items that were sent to me within the parcel, I cannot verify if these are included with a normal purchase - I suspect a customer would normally just receive the gi only]

Size, Weight and other Stats

A2s gi stats. Units are in centimetres, first figure is brand new, second is after three 40 degree washes.
A: 162/157
B: 76/76
C: 56/56
D: 17/16.5
E: 58/55
F: 97.5/94
G: 25/25
Jacket weight = 1.3Kg
Trouser weight = 0.5Kg
Made in: Pakistan
Price: £159.99 (UK), 19,800JPY
Available from: www.grapplersdelight.co.uk (UK), www.btfightgear.com (ROW)

The new half size of A2s is intended for guys like me who find the normal A1 Bull Terrier way too small but are engulfed by their A2 sized models. The dimensions of the A2s jacket are indeed wider and longer than their A1 Limited Edition gi (review here) but the arm wingspan, at 157cm, is still on a par with most other brands' A1 size. I would have expected it to be a bit longer, not that I am complaining, the length is just about right for me. The A1L half sized Shoyoroll Count Koma by contrast has a much longer wingspan of 162cm.

The New Star trousers are noticeably longer than most A1 models, 94cm is just about right for me. Overall for both jacket and trousers shrinkage was impressively minimal in all areas.

The jacket is labelled as a single weave but feels like a good quality pearl weave gi - similar to the Estilo or the Gameness Elite. I can't find the gsm textile 'weight' of the gi but it feels neither heavy duty nor ultra light. Like most pearl weave gis, it feels very stiff straight out of the bag but softens over time.

The design immediately grabs attention - numerous woven and embroidered patches coupled with light silvery grey stars on the shoulders add to the overall feel of flashiness but not, in my opinion, vulgarity. It's a showoffy gi for those who like to show off with something cool, exotic yet nicely designed.

The rubber core collar and lapel is covered with hard wearing canvas cotton. Contrast black stitching reveals near-immaculate construction quality. The collar feels stiff and inflexible but not too thick.

The New Star is amply reinforced throughout at important stress zones such as under the arms (above) and within the sleeve cuffs (below).

The cuff tape is also canvas. I have found with other gi brands that cuff tape made from woven material can feel very scratchy along the outer edges. This is not the case with canvas tape.

Branded patches and logo tape abound on this model. Side vents are covered with red coloured canvas cotton.

The interior of the jacket is decorated with miniature Bull Terrier logos. They appear to be screen printed using a thick, rubbery, plastisol type of ink. After six washes I have not noticed any fading, cracking or peeling so far. I am sure it will fade over time, which is to be expected. The pattern itself appears to look uncannily similar to Louis Vuitton.

The back of the jacket features two large patches.

The trousers are made from canvas cotton. They're quite thin and light. I think just two belt loops might seem oddly parsimonious given the nature of the whole design, but it so far appears to do the job of keeping my pants up whilst rolling. The main drawback with just two belt loops is the rope cord (which is excellent by the way) rising above the waistline.

The other criticism I have of Bull Terrier trousers is the very square cut of the ankle openings. The trousers have zero tapering to the cut and this means they look very flared when worn on the body (especially with stick insect thin legs like mine). I think maybe some effort could go towards refining the cut of the trousers for future models, otherwise we'll have to accept the vintage sailor look.

Rolling Performance
This gi fitted me very well. Being a slightly cut down A2 rather than a slightly bigger than normal A1, it did feel a tad broader on me than my other gis. After several washes it did still feel quite stiff to wear and comparing it to my Shoyoroll Count, the latter is most definitely a more comfortable gi by comparison. Still, it performed perfectly well during training I have no doubt that the extra durability this gi seems to offer over the lighter, thinner and softer Count gi might mean it lasts longer as a result. My speculation of course.

I'm pretty happy with my purchase. The cut is designed just for long armed small fellas like me and it's bling enough to stand out above the crowd. No self respecting gi addict should go through their obsession without owning a Bull Terrier at some point. They are like the Toyota Supras of the gi world - super flashy, noisy, expensive but if you are a fan, you gotta have one.

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


Paul Cypert said...

I've noticed Bull Terrier gis are a bit odd in fit. I'm 6'1" 180 and wear an A2 despite their insistance that an A3 would fit me better.

I absolutely swam in the A3. I have their lightweight one though and it's def the least blinged of all of theirs. But also one of my most comfortable. Love the company and designs.

John Logan said...

I recently bought some shorts from Bullterrier and got the same calendar. I've had patches from them in the past. Just confirming that they do sent little extras at times.

Anonymous said...

Man this gi looks so sharp! Finally a tastefully patched up gi that I dig. Great review sir!


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