9 Feb 2012

Gi Review: Kingz Comp 420 and Comp 550

I compare two gi models from new brand Kingz, the Comp 550 and the ultra lightweight Comp 420. Both gis experienced minimal shrinkage and fitted me very well at A1 along the sleeves but seemed long down the jacket length. I had some issues over the trousers on both models but was very pleased with the neatly undertucked inner logo tape - a particular problem for me with 'scratchiness' in previous reviews. Overall, a very fine effort from Kingz.

Disclosure: This review represents my own opinions. I have been hired as a freelance designer and illustrator in the past by numerous fightwear companies, including Kingz, however I am unconnected with these two gis.

Kingz Kimonos made a big splash towards the end of last year with the simultaneous release of several BJJ uniforms made and sold by popular Canadian webstore, Fighters Market. The Comp 550 is designed for both competing and regular training while the Comp 420 is pitched straight at the weight cutting tournament player. Weighing barely less than 1.3Kg for an A1, the Comp 420 is one of the lightest pearlweave gis on the market. The Kingz brand certainly meant business with the recent large scale sponsorship of the IBJJF European Championships and the taking on board of some major BJJ stars for sponsorship, including two-time absolute World Champion Xande Ribeiro.

Size Stats, Shrinkage and Other Info

(First figure is brand new size, second figure is after x2 washes at 30 degrees. Sizes in centimetres.)
                     Comp 420           Comp 550
A                    160/157                159/157
B                    79/78.5                 79/79
C                    57/56                     57/57
D                    17/17                     17/17
E                     53/51                     54/54
F                     91/89                     93/91
G                    23/22                      23/22
Jacket             0.87Kg                       1Kg                       
Trousers          0.42Kg                       0.7Kg
Price               $139.95USD         $149.95USD

Looking at the stats after x2 washes, surprisingly neither gi shrank that much. It is also clear that the cut and fit of both models are pretty much identical. The only difference between the two gi models is weight.
At 79 cm long, I noticed the body length of both Kingz gis seemed long, especially when you put a belt on and observe the skirt at the back (see later photo of me wearing the gi). Compared to the A1 Tatami Estilo (75cm long), Origin Comp 550 (68cm) and the Bull Terrier Ltd (72 cm) I would safely conclude that the Kingz jackets work out a little long compared to most other brands (at A1). 

Sleeve lengths are happily quite long, which suits my longer than most A1 wearers arms. At 157cm long they were not as short as the Origin Comp 550 (151cm) but not quite as long as the Ronin Gold Class (163cm). Anything around 157 - 160 is perfect for me so I was pleased with this.

At roughly 90 centimetres in length, the Kingz trousers seemed a bit too short for my liking. I would have preferred an extra 4 or 5 centimetres in outside leg length, as can be found on the Scramble 1chiban final edition (96cm), the Tatami Estilo (96cm) or the Gameness Elite (96cm). the two trouser fabrics were also worlds apart in feel and comfort, which I will discuss later.

Comp 420

The 420 is extremely light! Just 1.3Kg for an A1 puts it in the same bracket as most of the ultra light models out there. The only lighter gis are possibly the Kauai Kimono (1Kg) and the Vulkan Ultra Light (1.2Kg). To be honest, at this level one is really splitting hairs difference. The key aspect with the Kingz 420 however is that the pearlweave gi fabric ensures a certain degree of durability, perhaps not quite as evident as on ripstop fabric models (my opinion).

The 420 has very striking woven patches. On the black coloured gi, I think the Kingz logo and crown work best. Simple, clear and smart. They remind me a lot of the K2 Premier patches,  

Woven tape lines the bottom edge of the gi and it looks pretty smart. I am not however a fan of the circular logo. It looks a little half baked in my opinion. It is also very reminiscent of the London Transport logo. Regardless of look, the edges of this patch look untidy and begin to fray after several washes.

The Kingz 420 collars are rubber foam and covered with ripstop cotton. I didn't take a comparison thickness photo but it is within acceptable thickness levels compared to most gis. If you want a very thick collar, I suggest you try other brands known for this - such as the BreakPoint FC Deluxe or the Ronin Insignia. I'm sure gi aficionados out there can recommend other models with thick collars.

The inside tape covering the cuffs are lovely. You can't tell in the photograph, but the tape is lapped over double and then stitched onto the gi sleeve. This means there is no fraying or scratchy edge to the tape. Regular readers will know how I find scratchy tape a big annoyance.

The 420 has very thin (8oz) ripstop cotton trousers. They are so thin and lightweight, it honestly is like wearing my summer pyjamas to the gym.  Some might suggest that very thin material might tear easily but in half a dozen rolls, I did not experience any problem. Note also the gusset (groin) segment is made from stretchy lycra material. This I imagine is to prevent tearing in the area where two pieces of fabric are stitched together. It seemed a nice attention to detail and could actually help prolong the lifespan of the trousers.
What I loved the most was that the ripstop material was not the same as some other brands - which always felt rather stiff, waxy and sticky to me. The 420 ripstop was very smooth and comfortable to wear.

There were an impressive total of six belt loops where a flat ripstop cotton tie could pass through and they seemed pretty good at staying tied throughout the session.

Patches on the 420 trousers are minimal, presumably to save weight, though they might as well get rid of that circular logo, it seems redundant to me. Note also that the double knee lined 'padding' extends from above the knee right down towards the ankle. Compare that to some other gi brands who have knee reinforcements that only cover a square patch over the knee joint - which I feel is inadequate coverage.

Comp 550

The Kingz 550 is a tad heavier, not as much as the 420-550 moniker might suggest, the stats above show there is a 0.13Kg weight difference so really, hardly much at all.

The same smart shoulder patches adorn the 550, albeit with an additional yellow bar. Red probably would have been nicer - as per the 420.

The 550 collars are covered with twill cotton, as opposed to the ripstop cotton of the 420. From my experience with past gis, twill covered collars can sometimes look a bit frayed and worn compared to either canvas or ripstop. But this does only happen after a lot of washes and uses.

As with the 420, I feel the circular logo looks a little unattractive, a feeling further enhanced by the use of yellow on this blue gi.

The 550 trousers are made from twill cotton and the stats show a 0.3Kg weight difference between these and the 420 ripstop pair. The figures only come to life once you try both the trousers on and roll with them. In my opinion, the lighter ripstop pair feel far more comfortable than the twill cotton. The latter however does feel a lot more sturdy and durable. The addition of the lycra gusset matches that of the 420.

Circular leg patch.

Overly long jacket length is very evident in this photo. Yes, my belt WAS placed on my hip bones, not around my waist (see my dorky belt guide)

Rolling Performance
The jackets of both gi models are very very similar. Even though the 420 is a degree lighter, I really did not notice a huge difference when rolling with either model. The trousers however were a different story. I loved the 420 ripstop's lightness and ease of use. Rolling in the gi I felt I could pretty much move, shrimp, shimmy and generally show off with the silkiness of a polecat. It reminded me a lot of the Vulkan Pro Light I used to own, itself a damn fine gi. The 550 however seemed like the slightly slower and heavier older cousin. I mean don't get me wrong, the weight difference is very minor and the 550 is a very good gi, but the thicker twill cotton trousers meant I just did not feel as agile as I was when wearing the 420.  I mean this review is comparing the two against one another - but in reality, a person wearing the 550 would be quite happy I am sure (unless they were into Divaesque mid-session gi changes, as I may have been known to do on occasion, ahem.)

I wasn't happy with the shortness of the trousers. Both gis would probably just about pass a gi checker when worn on me, but they did shorten a lot when bending ones legs, say in guard for example, and for some reason, that annoys me. Like I feel I have to keep readjusting them. The other noticeable difference between the Kingz gis and other gis I have reviewed is the jacket length. Whilst the torso width, overlap, sleeve lengths and pretty much everything else are perfect, the jacket just seemed to me to be too long. It did mean I could get some handy gi material in my hand for bottom lapel based techniques, but it did also mean a small fraction of extra material flapping around as I moved on the mat. Again, possibly something that is due to my own personal OCDisms rather than any fault with the design itself.

One final aspect to mention is that the 420 was not only ultra light but ultra quick to dry. I came back from  training at around 10pm, washed it on a normal cycle and hung it out to air dry at midnight, and by next morning, it was nearly dry already! Quite remarkable. The 550 was slightly slower to dry, the area around the trouser waist especially so (because it is thick and bunched up).

Kingz have started off brightly with two very good gi models. They both fit me very well along the sleeves and widths, though I could have done with less jacket length and more trouser length. The inner undertucked seam tape and lycra gusset are two lovely small details. For me, I would gravitate towards the Comp 420 over the 550 as my personal preference, simply because the lightness makes it more comfy to wear. The 550 however is a decent and solid gi, great for everyday training, just be aware of the sizing issues when ordering if you have very long legs or a short torso. At around $140 they both represent great value for money high quality BJJ uniforms, comparable I would say to a lot of other so-called premium brands but for a slightly cheaper price.

More information
Kings Kimonos is sold through Fighters Market - www.fightersmarket.com

the review above is just my own personal opinion. It is worth checking out other people's opinions on these two models. You will note for example how the arms are too long for some, (but perfect for me) and that one reviewer loved the Comp 550 trousers (which is not quite what I prefer):
SEAMMAGEARGUIDE - Kingsz 420 review
Jiu Jitsu Sweep - Kingz 420 review
Gi Reviews.net - Kingz 550 review
Slideyfoot - Kingz 550 review
Grappling Addict - Kingz 420 review


About the Author


Author & Artist

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


slideyfoot said...

I wonder if you would have liked the 550 trousers as much as I did if you didn't also have the 420 ripstop ones to compare them to at the same time?

Also interesting that you didn't like the circular patch. As you know, I generally hate patches, but that one I actually thought looked pretty good: nice and minimalist.

I still removed it of course, as I don't like any patches on my gi, whether they're nice or not. But unlike any previous patches, one has now taken up residence on my coat, covering up a hole, while the other has been living a new life as a stylish coaster. ;)

Meerkatsu said...

Clearly Slidey you are Yin to my Yang.

Anonymous said...

Hey Seymour great review as usual, i am just curious compare to the Manto 2.0 ripstop pants, which one is more comfortable? i personally hate paper wacky like ripstop pants a lot.

Meerkatsu said...

I only reviewed the Manto Evo version 1 so I don't know if they changed the pants in v2.0 however my recollection was that they seemed a wee bit thinner than the Kingz pants.

Vin said...

is this a different pearl weave then the storm pearl weave? storm is like a bath robe and stretches easy if you sweat a lot,does the kingz gi stretch a lot?


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