27 Jul 2013

Gi Review: Scramble Athlete

An assured third offering from Scramble. It does exactly what its name implies - a lightweight and slim fitting uniform designed for those who need a competition (but still Scramble stylish) gi. My sample contained a couple of small quality control issues and the sleeves, as with previous Scramble gis, shrank down too much for my long arms (size A1).

Available from the UK Scramble store for £100 plus delivery.
Also available in the US here: http://store.scramblestuff.us/

Other colours: blue
Made in Pakistan

I have worked for Scramble on a number of projects in the past - I have had no input with this product.

Scramble's previous two gi models - the Ichiban and the Wave were super stylish efforts that proved irresistibly popular. This, their third gi model, was introduced to address a couple of issues - mainly, the year round availability (the last two sold out very quickly) and the need for a comp lite gi. In addition to weight, the Athlete is cut quite narrow and slim. As usual with all Scramble products, it includes a number of cool style touches.

Size, Weight, Shrinkage
I received a size A1 Athlete gi in white. My own size is 5'6 in height weighing 59-60kg with along arm reach.

Size in cm new vs three 40 degree washes for an A1 gi:
A: 157/ 150
B: 75 / 75
C: 54 / 52
D: 14.5 / 14
E: 51 / 50
F: 100 / 95
G: 19 / 18.5
Jacket weight: 0.9kg
Trouser weight: 0.5kg

There are a number of key points to mention over the sizing and shrinkage of the Athlete. The jacket wingspan shrank down to 150cm which is short for me (see photo later). The Estilo 4 for example measures 157cm (down from 160cm) which suits me much better. The jacket width and length are average but the sleeve cuff width is a very slim 14cm wide. Most A1 gis average around 15cm or more. This might not seem like much of a difference, but it is when one wears the gi. I am told that this is still IBJJF legal.

The trousers are unusually long (100cm) brand new for an A1 gi. Luckily it shrank easily and is now a more Meerkatsu friendly 95cm long.

The total weight of 1.4Kg overall is very light.

A note on washing. The instructions on the gi advise washing low temperature. This means a cold wash (to minimise shrinkage). I always wash at 40 degrees regardless. Why? Because I wash my gis along with all my other clothes of the relevant colour. It's my little attempt to save a little on the environment.

The jacket is made from 475gsm pearlweave cotton. It seems a good balance between something durable and solid without being too paper thin.

As can be expected from Scramble products, cool graphic touches decorate the gi throughout. Given the lightweight aim of this uniform, it is impressive that embroidery can still be used quite extensively.

The collar is of average thickness and is covered with ripstop cotton material. The contrast coloured stitching is subtle.

The inside jacket features some due sublimated artwork printed onto a rashguard type material across the yoke. The artwork is of Mount Fuji painted by Hokusai and continues the tradition begun with the Wave gi of utilising his imagery.

One weird observation with the big Scramble embroidered patch is that under flash lighting, it appears much lighter and more shiny than in real life.

Reinforcements used are as expected throughout the gi. Sleeve cuffs feature non-scratchy seam tape (they are folder over, hoorah!). The armpits and side vents are protected with an extra patch of fabric.

The trousers are made from 10oz ripstop cotton. They are very light, thin and kind of translucent!  (see photo below).

I like that the knee pads extend all the way to the ankle which is important when the leg is bent. The rope drawstring is quite long but I like the colour. Shame the sample I received was a bit tatty (photo later).

One absence I noticed on the Athlete was the lack of extra material to protect the vertical leg seam inside the trousers. I really loved this on the Wave and the Ichiban. I guess as a comp gi it was removed to save weight.

For some reason, I read comments online from a lot of people who did not like the star shaped stitching on the knee pad. I am ambivalent to it, even if I did not like it, it would not really upset me like it seemed to do with some people!

My rope drawstring was not very good unfortunately. The core threads herniated along several parts of the string - after only just one wash. When I informed Scramble they actioned a spare rope to be sent to me the next day.

The trousers features a screenprinted segment. I observed after two washes that it started to fade.

Rolling performance
The lightness and slim fit of the Athlete was perfect for me when rolling. We had some very hot and humid weather recently so the light weight was a great help. The ripstop pants got a bit sticky to my skin in the heat but it was still fine to use during rolling. My one major issue with the gi is the sleeve length :(

The photo below is me not even really stretching my arms out in front properly. As you can see, after a couple of washes, the sleeves are already in excess of 3-4 finger widths distance from my wristline.

The Athlete is Scramble's big money move into proper gi production. The Ichiban was very limited edition and the Wave was more or less similarly limited. But the Athlete looks to be the mainstay of the company line up. I love the lightness, the slim fit and the super stylish touches. If only, IF ONLY they made a mid-size version, it would be PERFECT for me!

Alas, I can only conclude, the Athlete is great for those who love Scramble styling on an everyday gi. Perfect for normal arm sized people, not so good for ape armed peeps like me. At £100 it's edging towarded pricey, but not out of line with other premium brands on the market.


About the Author


Author & Artist

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


Brendan said...

Great review Seymour. I've been noticing more and more drawstrings on lots of brands doing that lately, including my own.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the great review. I bought the gi and did a review for my german readers http://www.gi-world.de/testbericht-scramble-athlete-gi/

ScottSummers said...

Compares to the wave which one do you prefer?
seems like Athlete has a slimer cuts over Wave .

Pahhhoul said...

Excellent review.
I was wondering if you could tell me if the A1 would be too short for someone who is 5'8" at 155lbs after it has been washed 4 or more times.


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