Saturday, 28 May 2011

Badboy UK Long Sleeve MMA Rashguard

The really on the ball amongst you may have noticed some strange things happening with the Badboy brand over the last year and one of them is the sudden flood of Badboy products onto the UK market place.  This is due to the fact that like several other bigger MMA brands Badboy made the decision to liecense the brand and allow the buyers to make their own gear donning the famous Badboy eyes.

So enter the UK Long Sleeve rashguard.  This has been sublimation printed meaning the ink sinks into the material and in terms of it retaining its design this certainly should help.  One "fault" with many rashguards including some of the Badboy range is the design quickly peels off as it gets sweaty and rubbed off mats.  This almost certainly won't happen with this style of printing.  The fit is tight as indeed it is meant to be and as rashguards go is ok.  Not great but ok, this is really going to depend on body type to some degree as a large is a bit generic in terms of sizing on a tight fitting garment such as this however all I can say is it fits ok.  I have found better fitting rashguard’s such as Manto for example but again this could be down to my body type. 
I always find the typically American style marketing schpeel about advanced “thermawick” technology a bit of a laugh. All rashguards pretty much deal with sweat better than a cotton tee shirt simply due to their material choice and tight fit.  Let’s face it a rashguard has two basic functions in grappling sports.  To avoid getting hands, fingers and toes caught in loose material and to minimise grazes and burns off the mats or often when worn under a gi off the kimonos rough cotton. It’s fair to say this one does its job as well as any other.
So what can you actually say about a rashguard as opposed to another one?  Well I think the material on this one is really flimsy and compared to rashguards I’ve owned for 6 years or more I can’t see this one lasting anywhere like as long.  It did wash ok which some don’t but the design looks like it lost some of its original sharpness almost immediately.  Whether you like the design or not is pure opinion.  Stitching looks ok and personally I quite like the wide neck however many such as Manto have a reinforced neck area so I’m not sure how well this is going to retain its shape, we’ll try and follow this up in months to come
In conclusion this is ok, not great but ok.  I would have liked to have seen a tougher material used like the ones from the USA did but I would imagine this has something to do with the printing as I’ve seen this style before and the material is always different. It serves its purpose if without any particular flair.  Priced at £39.99 like most of the “Top” brands this badboy rashguard is bang on average price too.   So average we’d say.  Not the standard of previous offerings from their USA counterparts but a decent enough garment.  Had it been priced at the level of a Caged Steel rashguard I would have given this a 3 but due to low value for money we have scored this item a 2/5.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Hayabusa "pro" MMA Shinguards RRP 49.99

First thing that hits you about these shin guards is the weight or complete lack of it, they are extremely light. Now this seems to be a selling point as far as Hayabusa are concerned saying "Lightweight construction for optimal mobility and performance" but the point of a shinguard is to protect the shin and a certain amount of padding is going to be required here but more on this later, anbother question here would be WTF do they actually mean by performance? Ok if a set of shinguards were that heavy they actually slowed your kicks down then that might be an issue but even with a really big set of Thai shins I've never come across that. Nahhhh Marketing bollocks frankly!
Hayabusa Always have great pictures

On the pictures which are always immaculate from Hayabusa these mma shinguards look great but on opening the plastic bag (which literally is a plastic bag) they really look distinctly average. The material is a "semi" leather composite possibly with the under skin made of low grade leather and the finish a PU composite, the back is a neoprene sock with a pretty flimsy fastening at the top.  The stitching is somewhat suspect too without the kind of serious reinforcements you'd be looking for from a so called premium brand. The sizing seems ok neither too small or too big (we tried an L/XL) So the question then comes to what are they like in use? Well the padding is basically inadequate.

They take little out of a landed blow on anything remotely boney and shinchecking is not advised. On the ground they are light and do stay on which is good but a pair of shinguards is designed to protect you during the stand up phase of sparring so if they are not doing their job then whats the point of wearing them.  For a brand that witters on about being trusted etc etc then why bring out such a lousy product? We'll come back to this review in 6 months and see how long these things last in the gym but I can't see them improving in time with their build quality being suspect straight out the packet. We've given this set of shinguards a 1 out of 5 rating and I'd say just avoid them as they don't offer good value for money.

Top King 12oz 3 Tone "Professional" Boxing Gloves RRP £55

Top King have made quite some strides into the Muay Thai market in the last year and are beginning to get a good reputation for quality and sharp design. But is this deserved or just another load of marketing hype?? We've been using these gloves for the last few months and here's what we found. They were originally supplied to us by Fightstuff who are also the UK distributors of Top King products.

These gloves are big, whether you see this as a positive or negative is down to personal choice but they are a large size glove with long wrist cuffs and a flattish mold.  The leather is 100% cowhide and of the type of good quality you would expect from a Thai made glove.  The picture above is the actual pair we were sent before we started smashing it up.  (I'll post some of the later photos 6 months on shortly!) First impressions of putting this glove on is that it is a nice fit and some attention has been made to a comfortable and well finished hand compartment, the leather strap is finished well and covers the velcro perfectly which is often a problem with cheaper boxing gloves.
The main feel of them once on is how light they appear to be and in use feel almost like they aren't on which I can only say is great unlike say a pair of Twins specials I have where you definately know you are wearing them.  After 6 months of constant use these gloves don't show any signs of aging and its hard to find a real downside of them.

If there is one I'd say they are in a way a little outsized affording the user quite a shield if he's a bit of a "cover up then strike" type of a guy as opposed t a good technical boxer.  I would say overall an excellent Muay Thai glove although straight up may well elect the Fairtex as a better choice due to their size. We've score this glove a 4/5 as they are also a good deal cheaper than many of their rivals which has to add a point to the score. Fairtex and Twins are both significantly more expensive.

Venum "Giant" Boxing gloves RRP £74.99

"best quality gear??, Hmmmm"
"Venum always produce the best quality gear and these gloves are no exception" Reads the ad blurb.
Hmmmmm, says the BMR Team.  First thing to say is that they do look great and Venum are a company who produce some decent quality stuff however this move many of the MMA "Fightwear" companies are making into the equipment side of the business is producing mixed results, Venum, Hayabusa and Badboy traditionally have all made good quality shorts and apparel but their moves into equipment are producing at best average results and at worst utter garbage.  These Venum boxing gloves fall into the average category but when you look at the £74.99 price tag then they really need to be competing with the best out there and they just are not doing so.

They come in a nice mesh bag and its all well presented. Leather is nice quality and being Thai made you would expect this. They look awesome, velcro straps are nicely done. In fact on initial inspection all looks good.  Get the things on is where it starts to go wrong.  The weighting on them is just odd. they seem a little front heavy and the padding seems very spongey. In use they are ok but after a weeks use the hand compartment on one split and although didn't hinder usage doesn't fill you full of confidence.  Used once a week for a guy who isn't much of a boxer and want a flash pair of gloves in his kitbag great but if you want a serious pair of boxing gloves go elsewhere.  We gave it a 1 because of the hand split however it was heading for a 2 prior to that as they have tried to use good materials and its possible the hand split was an odd pair.

Fairtex KPL 2 Thai Pads £99.99

The price of thai pads has just gone through the roof and now investing in a pair is a serous commitment so making the right choice is a serious business.  These pads were supplied to use by who said they are good and try to keep these pads constantly in stock.

The design of these pads is of the curved variety which is gainning popularity personally I think this is a little gimmicky and people forget that Thai pads are often used in conjunction with the belly pad which a curve on the pad does not help however if curved pads are to be seen as a seperate entity gear wise in order to aid use for punching and knees then fair enough.  They are designed that way and its down to the individual to chose straight or curved.

Build wise you can't fault these pads. Fairtex rarely make a bad product and this one is most definately no exception. The leather is top drawer, as is the stitching and pretty much every thing about them say quality.  They are of a medium to large kind of size for Thai kick pads and of an average kind of weight. Fairtex call them Standard pads and its a good description as they are pretty much everything you'd want. What else can we say? So far they haven't shown any signs of wear but with thai pads I'd expect at least 5 or 6 years out of them so too early to say.  I would endorse buying these if its straight pads you are after.  Only the price tag lets it down but saying that there are no really good cheap options right now. If you would like to purchase these pads please buy them from the sponsor of this review