19 Jul 2009

Geek-gi Review - Faixa Rua Classico (embroidered) vs Vulkan Pro Lite

I've mentioned before that I came across a very geeky subset of BJJ gi reviews on the Sherdog gear and equipment review section of their forum. These guys examine their newly purchased gis with the kind of staggering level of detail usually reserved for family cars or a new U2 album. So to pay homage to these reviews, I thought I would do my own. Handily, I have a brand new Faixa Rua Classico gi and a fairly new Vulkan Pro Lite. So here it is in all its quasi-scientific glory [all photos by Meerkatsu, click on pic for larger versions]:


Manufacturer: Faixa Rua (website: faixarua.net/)
Model: Classico in white
Size tested: A2
Weave: Goldweave top, denim cotton trousers
Weight: 1.6kg (?? with embroidery)
Manufactured: Pakistan
Overarm sleeve: 78cm brand new / 72 after one 40C then one 60C wash
Underarm sleeve length: 55 / 51cm
Sleeve width: 19 / 18cm
Jacket length: 77.5 / 74cm
Trouser length outside: 101 / 101
Trouser length inside: 68 / 68
Trouser ankle width: 23 / 23
Trouser knee width: 27 / 27
TOTAL Average % SHRINKAGE: 6.2% (top), 0% (trousers)

This gi is very light, comparable to the Vulkan Pro Lite. The weave appears to be a goldweave pattern, but seems much thinner than other goldweaves I have owned eg Atama. The cut is of the two-piece design with no seam on the back and no separate skirt. There are double reinforced areas under the arms, around the shoulders and by the notch at the jacket base. It interesting to note the shrinkage percentage is greater along the length of the arms, and less so in jacket length - possibly due to the direction of the weave.

The routine to shrink the jacket (40, then 60 degree wash) was effective in reducing sleeve length and jacket length. I may require one more 60 degree wash for a perfect fit, but it is already at an acceptably good fit. The lapel is made from thick spongy rubber. It felt like it would be hard to choke me easily.

Embroidery and patchesThe embroidered pattern on the back is very intricate, and the workmanship to be of a very high standard. I was worried beforehand that it would be too stiff and may even buckle after several washes, but has not turned out to be the case. Some may feel impeded by the obvious presence of a solid patch on the back, but not me. Although I did wear a rash guard during testing. Apart from the embroidery, the gi is fairly minimal in design with red shoulder strips and a small logo on the trousers.

I do not have scales so it would be interesting to see how much the embroidery adds to the overall weight.

TrousersThe trousers are held up by a flat cotton cord.

I prefer these flat cotton ties to the cheaper feel of the 'rope' style ties. The loops are logically placed. I've never understood why some makers place a loop right in the centre, under your navel. The knees are double lined as is the case with all BJJ and judo trousers. However the denim type material feels much heavier than other brands. This is an area that could be improved. The trousers did not shrink at all even after a 60 degree wash. For me, I may end up wearing one of my old trousers as it is too long for me.

Comfort during class
Rolling with the gi during class was brilliant. It felt incredibly light and comfortable to wear. The addition of the club embroidery drew admiring comments from class mates. Although the sleeves are a tad long and wide for me (see below), it was not an issue that vastly affected the outcome during sparring. Long term durability may be an issue over a year or two. But, as with any gi, it depends on how frequently the gi is worn and washed. I may report back on this after 6 months usage.

Comparison with Vulkan Pro Lite
My Vulkan Pro lite is about a 2 months old and has undergone about 8-10 washes. Vulkan call their material 'honeycomb weave', but it is effectively a thin single weave. It is advertised as 'pre-shrunk' but most users experience a small degree of shrinkage after one wash.

Sleeve aperture is a big issue here. There is a considerable difference, the Faixa gi being 18cm wide and the Vulkan is 14cm. For those who like to do ezekiel chokes, this is a bonus. For those who get caught in spider guards, this is a bit of a pain.

Interestingly the Faixa collar is much thicker than the Vulkan. This could help defending against lapel chokes.
[CORRECTION: the above photo says 'Ultra' but the gi I reviewed is a Vulkan Pro Light, not the Ultra model] 

A comparison of the trousers, you can see the Faixa is considerably longer than the Vulkan. The material is much thicker also. Reinforcements, cords and loops are roughly the same.

Overall, I would rate this gi a 9 out of 10. The high rating reflects the high quality and good value of the product. The lightness and comfort of the gi matches, and even surpasses that of other, more expensive brands. There were a few slight issues regarding the cut of the sleeves and the non-shrinking trousers, but these are fairly minor points. In fact, I after a while I forgot what gi I was wearing. This in the end is what a gi should do - ie to allow you to forget niggly little things and concentrate on your game.

This gi can be purchased online, or from select suppliers at a cost of around £60 (plus P+P if ordering online). This is a 1/3 cheaper than well known brands such as Koral and Vulkan. The downside is that it may not acquire a high resale value. I have for example sold many of my older gis on Ebay (several Atamas and one Koral) and obtained at least 40-50 percent value on them.

I would rate the Vulkan Pro an 8/10 and my Atama Mundial No#1 as a 7.5 mainly due to their comparitavely high cost. The Vulkan pro trousers are much better than the Faixa ones, but the jackets are equally comfortable. Considering the cheaper cost of the Faixa model, it represents a great mid-range priced gi for the beginner and experienced competitor alike.
Embroidery I believe is only available on bulk club orders. More details on this can be acquired by emailing Faixa Rua.

Another impartial reviewer asserts his opinion


About the Author


Author & Artist

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


Meerkatsu said...

ADDENDA - erm sorry despite what I said at the top, most of the pictures you can't click on to get full size versions. Sorry.

Meerkatsu said...

Some further comments regarding the gi:

1. Some people have mentioned to me that tapered sleeve gis, like the Koral, Atama and Vulkan, that have shrunk a little too much in the wash, have led to disqualifications by the gi checker at IBJJF competitions.

2. Some people have reported that some makes of gi (especially the cheaper ones) that have thinner cotton trousers, have a tendency to rip.

Georgette said...

Nice review.

I'll note here (and on the Sherdog forum someday) that my Vulkan pants are my absolute hands-down favorite pants for rolling in hot weather, better even than the Atama Mundial #7s.... the Vulkans are silky smooth, very light, but tough and durable.

Anonymous said...

To date has there been any shrinkage of the pant length? Also what about the jacket, they claim a maximum of 10% total shrinkage on their website has that been the case? And what is the collar thickness in cm? Other than from them is there another online dealer for this one, I am highly interested in it.


Just here for a bit of gi advice. My first and only BJJ is a Faixa Rua Leve in white and I bought an A3 to shrink it to fit. I've only had this gi for a few months and its held out well. At one of the places I train the mats are a bit shitty because of the boxers who train before us wearing outside shoes on them. My coach suggested buying a blue gi and I figured I might as well treat myself to a nice Vulkan Pro Light. The Vulkan size guide says that I need an A2 (I'm 5ft10 and 80kg) and that the gi's are pre shrunk. Is there any truth to this claim. Should I risk an A2 or get A3 again?


The Grappling Addict said...

Man that Faixa Rua gi with Mill HIll BJJ embroidery looks fucking brilliant.


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