Fairtex 6 Foot Muay Thai Banana Bag
Great looking heavy bags made from tough Syntec Leather
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Fairtex 6 Foot Muay Thai Banana Bag
An essential to every Muay Thai gym or even when you are training Muay Thai yourself at home, is to have a long heavy bag which reaches almost to the floor. The Fairtex Muay Thai 6 Foot Banana Bag is just such a bag.
I’ve had bags from various manufacturers over the years and it took me awhile before I decided to fork out the extra money to buy these bags from Fairtex. I never really had a problem with the products. I always believed that Fairtex made good products comparable to the other big brands manufactured in Thailand. They tended to be a tiny bit more expensive at retail. That wasn’t that much of an issue, but unlike Twins and Top King, they didn’t really cater to smaller businesses. To get a decent wholesale price, they wanted quite large orders. Our gym neither had the finances to purchase on that scale, nor the storage capacity for loads of gear that we could then sell on.
However, there was a backlog from my normal suppliers a few years ago when we ended up needing to replace all of our bags. We couldn’t wait, so we had to suck it up and purchase from Fairtex.
Why do you need a bag so long?
Traditionally, Muay Thai fighetrs have always had a tendency to attack the legs with kicks. You can watch fights on Youtube going back to the 70’s and leg kicks have been an integral part of the sport.
If you haven’t watched “The Fight that Changed History” between American kickboxing legend and hen-undefeated Rick Roufus and unheralded Muay Thai fighter Changpuek Kiatsongkrit, you definitely should. The older Muay Thai fighter destroyed Roufus with leg kicks despite suffering a broken jaw in the first round. Roufus was completely blindsided with the power of these kicks and he and his brother/trainer Duke went on to train in Thailand to learn the secrets of the devastating blows.
So, in order to master the leg kicks, you want to be able to practice on a Muay Thai heavy bag that almost reaches the floor. It should be noted that Muay Thai leg kick have mostly targeted the quadriceps, the three large muscles running from the hips to the knees- along the front, outside and inside of the leg. These are large muscles and these heavy blows accumulate over time.
When you land multiple big kicks to the lead leg, especially, it slows down your opponents and eventually leaves them unable to form strong attacks.
In the last few years, there has been a change. In my opinion, I think the rise of the lower leg kick both on the inside and outside of the calf has become the focal point. This is a spot that causes a lot more pain and it doesn’t take as many of these kicks to more-or-less disable an opponent’s attacking options. Another advantage is that when you throw this kick, it is less likely to cause you damage if the kick is checked. When someone checks a leg kick aimed at the thigh, it could end up with your shin on their knee, and you usually come away the worst of the exchange, a la Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva. I believe that the rise of MMA and fighters who aren’t as strictly adhering to Muay Thai methods has resulted in this discovery.
That’s why a bag reaching almost to the floor is a game-changer. We have many in our gym and here is my review of one of them- the Fairtex Muay Thai 6 Foot Banana Bag.
I believe you can order these bags filled from your supplier or you can fill them yourself. We always get them unfilled and use of mix of sawdust and used clothes to fill them. Keep in mind that it takes some time for these bags to get the right amount of filling and weight. As they are so long, you can expect the contents to settle quite a lot over time. We usually need at least 3 different steps to get them properly filled. First on arrival, then after every week or so, until the contents no longer compress.
When these bags first arrive, you will notice straight away that they do not have the typical smell that is so intoxicating of most new boxing or Muay Thai gear. Fairtex, for some reason makes an awesome 90cm heavy bag out of leather. But the longer (and skinnier) Banana Bag is made of their trademarked Syntec Leather.
It confounds and annoys me that this bag is not made from real leather. I know that it would last much longer if that were the case. But I do believe that, as with many products on the market (cars, clothes, anything from Apple, etc) they are designed to fail at some point to encourage you to keep purchasing. Sorry. I’m usually not a conspiracy theorist, but I doubt anyone will be driving a 2020 Ford Prius in 30 years. But 55 year old Mustangs and Galaxies are still going strong!
That said, they do look good. We have ordered them in numerous colors- Black, red, blue, yellow- and they also come in a mucus green- which we have swerved. When you have them in a variety of colors, it does seem to add some life to the gym. They are good looking bags and I appreciate the colors.
The Syntec Leather is tougher, much tougher, than most synthetic leather I have seen used on gloves, pads and bags. There is an inner lining of some sort of nylon and the trademarked Fairtex logo runs vertically along the sweet spot of the bag. The bags are designed with a single interior stitch, meaning one panel from the floor to the top of the bag. One more rounded panel on the bottom which is stitched and a zippered panel at the top to facilitate filling the bag. The stitching is on the inside of the bag. I suppose that it is OK, though initially I was concerned about it. I’m used to greasing the seams of my leather bags with petroleum jelly every month or so. This is not effective if the stitching is on the inside. However, I then realized that synthetic leather doesn’t really need to be greased, as it is non-porous.
The nylon straps that attach to hang the bag to the support bars are thick and secured with numerous heavy metal rivets on a reinforced panel of the bag. It looks sturdy enough. All in all, I’m happy with the look of these bags.
As with most bags, the feel has a lot to do with the stuffing. These took some time as all of these long bags do, but it feels good. I do prefer the leather bags because they tend to have a bit of a different feel. Something a bit more sticky or tacky, whether you are wearing gloves or not. The synthetics seem to be a bit more slick. I suppose in a way, it encourages you to land your shots more accurately in the center. Otherwise, they may have a slight tendency to slide off.
Again, this is subtle and unless you have spent endless hours punching a bag, you probably won’t notice much of a difference. Get these bags weighted and stuffed well and you will be happy with them.
I have to say that I am never a fan of synthetic leather. I also don’t care for killing animals. I’m just a simple gym owner who is trying to get by and these bags have done me well. I prefer real leather, but the vegan-friendly Fairtex Muay Thai 6 Foot Banana Bag has served me and my gym admirably. Yes, they would receive a top mark if they were genuine leather. But these bags are structurally solid.
We have used these for 3 years with virtually no maintenance. They say not to use Vaseline on synthetics and we don’t really have a product for PU leather. Our training area is covered but otherwise open air. It is humid here. And hot. Maybe that helps to increase the lifespan of these bags. But we are a pretty busy gym with a good mix of experienced and newbie trainees here, and of course we have our trainers and the fighters in our stable who give these bags a good beating, and these Fairtex bags have stood up alright.
But in the last few months we have noticed that there is a thin coating on these bags which carries the color and the printing. That coating is slowly starting to flake off. Some of these synthetic bags have a good powdering of dust beneath them after a Muay Thai or Boxing session.
This just reinforces what I have always thought about synthetic leather. Even Fairtex’s SynTec, which is undoubtedly a quality product in comparison with the synthetics that other manufacturers use, is not able to match up with genuine cowhide.
Value for Money
I’ll be replacing these bags soon because I‘m a stickler for keeping my training area cleaner than what most people expect form an open-air Muay Thai gym in Thailand.
I don’t mind the look of a seasoned leather bag that has obviously been through some punishment- even for a number of years. But I don’t like this flaking that is occurring with these bags. I’m sure that I could ignore the problem and get another two years, or more, from these bags, but I’m not a fan of the mess that they are starting to leave.
If you are purchasing a long bag for personal use in your home, and you are training 1- 2 hours a day, I reckon you could easily expect to get 8-10 years out of the Fairtex Muay Thai 6 Foot Banana Bag. But if you are a Boxing or Muay Thai gym owner whose number one priority is a long-lasting bag, stick to genuine leather. Looking for a mix of a good-looking bag that will definitely give you 2-3 good years in your gym? Then look no farther. This bag will be perfect for you. The Muay Thai bags are comparable in price to other synthetics on the market and I would say that their quality probably surpasses most of the synthetics.