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Lightning Review – American Barbell SS WOD Bar

AB SS WOD Bar Review

In the last couple months, I’ve been asked about the American Barbell Stainless Steel WOD Bar more that I’ve been asked about any other bar. Why? Because the price for this bar is just stupid low. Stainless steel bars are never sold for $299, and people want to know whether this bar is legit or not.

Truth be told, I’ve know of the SS WOD Bar for a while, but I originally had no intention of buying or reviewing one. I simply didn’t want to invest my time and money into a ‘limited time’ bar, nor did I want to get people excited about a bar that could sell out at any moment. Of course it didn’t help that I was more than slightly apprehensive about a $299 stainless steel bar; a bar that even ships for free (not anymore btw, but it did at first.) Seemed a little too good to be true.

Well I finally buckled. After all of the questions and not having any answers, I checked with American Barbell to see exactly how ‘limited’ the SS WOD is. I decided that if there was a decent inventory left, I’d go ahead and grab one and check it out. As it turns out, there are still “plenty” of them available. So now I’ve got one, and I’m going to answer all the questions I’ve been getting.

Since I don’t know exactly what “plenty” means in terms of actual numbers, I’m going to bust this review out faster than I normally would (hence, Lightning Review.) I want all of you to get a chance to grab one of these while they’re still around; assuming that you want one.

American Barbell Stainless Steel (SS) WOD Bar

Here are the specifications. They can also be found here.

  • 20 kg, 2200 mm, men’s bar.
  • 28.5 mm stainless steel shaft.
  • Tensile strength rating of 190,000 PSI.
  • Composite bushing system.
  • Sleeves finished in hard chrome.
  • Olympic hash marks, no center knurl.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Made in California, USA.
  • $299

SS WOD in a Nutshell

This section should answer the bulk of the questions that I have received about the SS WOD Bar within the last month or so.

Is the $295 price tag a steal? Yes, the price is ridiculously low for stainless steel bar. No, it’s not a pricing mistake, nor is it a fancy shaft wrapped in garbage sleeves; this is the real deal. But again, it’s a limited run bar. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Why so cheap then? It’s my understanding that American Barbell had a surplus of stainless steel, and limited warehouse space to store that surplus. Since the $500 and $800 performance SS bars don’t exactly fly off the shelves like the $250-$300 multi-purpose bars do, I assume it made more sense to offer a mid-range stainless steel bar at a price high enough to cover costs, but low enough that bars could potentially be sold off quickly. The SS WOD is that bar.

What would this bar cost under normal circumstances? Based on the pricing structure on AB’s website, I’d guesstimate that this bar would sell for about $450 or so were it not for the desire to move them out quickly. If you look at their current bar line-up, for every stainless steel bar, there is a version of that same bar with a steel, chrome-finished shaft. The price difference seems to be a consistent $200.

The closest bar to the SS WOD is the Precision Training Bar, and that sells for $495. Other than the Precision Training Bar having a 28 mm shaft versus the SS WODs 28.5 mm shaft, these bars are the same. In other words, take a Precision Training Bar, add 0.5 mm to the shaft diameter, then take $200 off the price and you’ve got yourself the SS WOD Bar. Pretty silly, eh?

Another way to look at it is this. Consider the Black & Chrome Olympic Bar (AB’s ‘Rogue Bar 2.0’.) This bar is $249 and has a regular steel, zinc-coated shaft with hard chrome sleeves. Again the shaft is zinc, not chrome. Now imagine you want this bar but you want to swap the shaft out; not for chrome, but for stainless steel. Would you pay a $50 up-charge for that? Yeah you would.

Is this the same stainless used in AB’s premium SS bars? Yes it appears so. I have the SS Professional Bearing Bar [review], and unless you’re hands can differentiate 28 mm from 28.5 mm, you wouldn’t even notice a difference (strictly speaking of the shaft, the Pro is a bearing bar.) Both of these bars are 190,000 PSI shafts that offer the same amazingly secure SS grip, which I’ll cover below when I talk about the knurl.

The Bar Review Part

Here’s a brief rundown on the bar itself.

SS WOD Bar: Knurling

Close up - American Barbell SS Wod Bar Knurling

I really, really want people who have handled this bar to comment on this section so that those of you who haven’t handled it (or any American Barbell stainless steel bar) won’t think I’m exaggerating, or simply full of shtuff.

I’d rate the overall grip of the SS WOD as an easy 10/10. The knurl itself is a compact, medium-depth pattern that feels surprisingly soft to the touch. The combination of this refined knurling and the natural, firm feel of the stainless steel makes this bar incredibly secure. With no harshness or sharpness, the SS shaft clings to your hands without any slipping or sliding. Adding chalk to this already secure grip is like gluing the bar to your hands. It’s not going anywhere.

AB SS Pro Bearing Bar and AB SS WOD Bar

American Barbell SS Pro Bearing Bar (top) and the American Barbell SS WOD Bar – $799 vs $299. Those shafts look the same to you? (try to imagine it without the chalk)

Like I mentioned, I own both the SS WOD Bar and the AB Professional SS Bearing Bar, and I can tell you that both of these bars have a very soft initial feel to them, yet they offer holding power that chrome and zinc coated bars with twice as much aggressiveness can’t even consistently offer. Don’t get me wrong, by no means am I saying that the SS bars are the only bars that feel this secure in the hands, but I am saying that they are among the handful of bars that do.

SS WOD Bar: Sleeve Rotation

Sleeve rotation is just fine. I’d say that it’s right about average when it comes to bushing bars. The rotation is consistent and smooth, and it won’t let you down during a lift, it’s just not anything that would make your jaw drop.

American Barbell SS WOD Bar sleeve

American Barbell uses composite bushings rather than bronze. In my experience, bronze just spins a little faster. I’m not even talking about a big difference, but I get to dick around with a lot of bars so I start to notice these things.

Would the lack of bronze bushings make me re-consider buying this bar? Hell no. The spin is more than adequate for a bushing bar, the bar turns over just fine, and the price is still just too ridiculous to ignore.

SS WOD Bar: Whip

This is a 190,000 PSI, 28.5 mm bar that is on par with all 190,000 PSI, 28.5 mm bars. These bars whip when they’re loaded up, and not before that. Remember, this is a WOD bar, not a professional 28 mm Olympic bar.

The up-side to these moderate whip bars is that they make excellent multi-purpose bars. They can go from a WOD to the rack with no problem. The American Barbell SS WOD is clearly packaged as a CrossFit bar considering that it lacks a center knurl and is called a ‘WOD’ bar, but this doesn’t change the fact that this bar can be deadlifted and benched just as easily as any other multi-purpose bar like say the Chan, Ohio, Standard, and so on.

SS WOD Bar – Finish

Well the only part of the bar with a finish is the sleeves, and those are finished with hard chrome. Hard chrome is quite nice; very consistent, durable, and pretty. It’s not polished to a reflective sheen, but really who cares; it still looks fancy-pants.

The stainless steel shaft looks cool just the way it is, and unlike bare steel, zinc, and oxide, it will always look new. It won’t oxidize unless you submerge in the ocean, and any gunk you get in the knurl easily comes out with a wire brush. Don’t use the wire on the sleeves though please. That’s no bueno.

SS WOD Bar – Summary

Yeah, it’s a steal. We’re not going to get a chance to buy a stainless steel bar at this price again, and I feel pretty confident about saying that.

If you’re currently considering any bushing bar in the say $250 to $350 range (maybe even more), you should probably seriously consider this bar. It may be worth raising a lower budget in order to get twice as much bar for half as much more money. If your budget is higher than $299, you may find that you can get just as much bar (or more) for less than you were planning to spend. I mean hey, it’s worth considering; just weigh those pros and cons. 

Don’t think about it for too long though. Once they sell out, you’re back to paying $495 for the Precision Training Bar if you want the stainless steel shaft.

Shipping Kudos

American Barbell gets a gold star for having the absolute best barbell packaging. Everyone uses the hard tubes now, and just about everyone screws or staples the steel end caps into the tube at this point, but American Barbell not only uses rivets (yes, rivets) on the ends of the tubes, but they also wrap the hell out of both ends of the bar with foam and tape. Gone are the days of seeing half of your bar sticking out of a tube when UPS drops it off… finally.

American Barbell uber shipping

That’s all I got! In my rush to get this article published I may have overlooked something that you specifically wanted to know about this bar. If so, feel free to ask questions in the comments. As always, I appreciate social shares. They are quite helpful.

American Barbell SS WOD Bar

{ 140 comments… add one }
  • Fred Cipriano August 21, 2015, 12:04 am

    I just ordered this bar based on you review! I’m glad I subscribe to your blog. Thanks for the heads-up!

    • jburgeson August 21, 2015, 12:11 am

      That’s awesome. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? I actually feel dumb for not having jumped on that bar when it first was released.

      Thanks for subscribing too!

  • T August 21, 2015, 1:11 pm

    Very pumped to see this today! You handle so many barbells that I trust your judgment even if you’ve only used the bar for a few days. I think I’m going to go ahead and place the order for this bad boy. Have a feeling this may be one to brag about snagging down the road. One question, if you had to purchase just one 28.5 mm bar right now, would you go with your beloved Chan or this one?

    • jburgeson August 21, 2015, 2:07 pm

      Well I have both!

      But ya I know what you’re asking. That’s tough. Hard to ignore a $100 difference (I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of a zinc bar for personal use so it would have to be the $375 or whatever + shipping version.) I guess if all my bars disappeared tomorrow, I’d probably grab another SS simply because it’s as good, a lot less cash, and I’ll always be able to buy a Chan (presumably). I won’t always be able to grab an SS bar for $25 more than a Rogue Bar shipped.

      If the chrome Chan was also $299, I’d grab that, and only because it has an equally firm grip and a center knurl; which is my preference. But it’s not $299.

      • T August 21, 2015, 2:11 pm

        Done deal. You’re right. If I end up not liking it, I can always come back around and pick up a Chan down the road. Think I’m going to go with the SS and the Euro. My previous daily bar was bare steel, and a few weeks with a zinc-coated bar has convinced me that I’d never go that route again.

    • Andrew September 22, 2015, 4:32 pm

      With the Chan bar, be careful about that wider grip on the knurl. It is great for Oly lifting, but doesn’t work well depending on your dead lift form. The center knurl on the bar I tried was really passive. I couldn’t hardly feel it on my shirt. If you are squatting really heavy, it probably makes a difference, but I don’t know that there would be much of a difference from a bar with no center knurl under 200 or 250. I was considering the Chan bar, but it won’t work for my dead lift form. I saw this review and jumped on this bar. I am picking it up tonight and hope to get it out of the tube this weekend.

  • shane August 21, 2015, 2:42 pm

    Having the SS Comp bar, comments on the knurling are absolutely spot on. Easily a 10/10. I train all year long on the AB SS comp bar, and switch to my Werksan 2 weeks before a competition just so my hands get used to the sharp chrome knurl.

  • Mike Russo August 22, 2015, 10:43 am

    J.Burgeson ..Thankyou For a few months I was reviewing barbells for a personal bar I would train with at my box. And the CHAN bar was the one that appealed to me the most but held out because the chrome model was not available at the time. In the mean time I educated myself in everything barbells where, knurl, strenght, finish etc. and most bang for my buck would give me in a barbell.. SOMEHOW LOL.. I SAW YOUR BARBELL REVIEW.. OF THE AMERICAN BARBELL SS BEARING BAR….And became a suscriber.. read every thing in your blog. Helped me make a very procrastinating decision. Your review of the AB SS COMB Bar was so highly recommended. I took the gut chance on the AB SS WOD Bar. I believe it is probably the best bar for the money for me to do crossfit.. And I really wanted the Chan bar. All this before your AB SS WOD Bar review. I`m very thankful to you for helping me with this purchase..I`m very picky for quality product. YOUR AB SS WOD BAR review is spot on. I love this bar..People in my gym want this bar. I purchased another bar SS WOD bar for my 16 yr old crossfitter..Now we have two outstanding wod bars in the family for less then $600.00 One for the box and for our garage gym.. that will last for generations…You helped me big time with not regretting a expensive purchase on a very good quality product that will last. For this fifty year old crossfitter from N.J. Thanks J

    • jburgeson August 22, 2015, 11:07 am

      That’s awesome. I’m glad the review was helpful, and thanks for saying so. Also thanks for subscribing lol. I don’t think I have that subscription thing in a very good spot or something because my subscription rate vs incoming traffic is rather skewed, so I appreciate the ones that I get =p

      Your gym mates better hurry if they want one though!

      • Mike Russo August 22, 2015, 12:06 pm

        Thanks “OH” Here is my take on the knurl for the Wod Bar and for me it is a 10/10. Training one of my weaknesses the snatch in my driveway on a 90 degree high humidity day this summer, sweat pouring out of my pours.. This fine but very grippy knurl with chalk turning to paste lol. Kepted my hands glued to the bar for countless reps. Without tearing my hands up. No outwards slide of hands. As i experienced with others bars on NJ hot humid summers… No Rust,,Sweaty Grip No Problem with this bar outstanding value..Wipe it down ready for next wod………….

  • Eric Oltersdorf August 22, 2015, 7:30 pm

    Grr, you WOULD have to review this one right after I pulled the trigger on the Vulcan Standard based on your other review. :p I looked at this one as well but thought SS for that low price seemed kinda sketchy so I passed. Vulcan arrived yesterday and the packaging was not that great; end cap was completely crushed and the the bar was sliding back n forth inside the tube. Doesn’t seem to be damaged though.

    BTW Fringesport is having a garage sale next week. I also came across a new kettlebell company here in Austin called the Kettlebell Kings. Product seems to be quality. You should check me out.

    • jburgeson August 22, 2015, 7:35 pm

      Yeah sorry about that; it’s only the second time I’ve been peer pressured into a reviewing a bar I wouldn’t have otherwise; lol I apologize for not doing it sooner. Don’t feel too bad though, it’s not going to change how you feel about the Standard. Was the cap on that Vulcan tube plastic or metal?

      I’ll look into that kettlebell company this weekend, thanks for the heads up on that. Had not heard of them yet.

      • Eric Oltersdorf August 26, 2015, 6:38 pm

        The end cap was metal with a very small wad of bubble wrap between it and the bar and finally taped up with Gorilla Tape. I emailed them to let them know about it. They blamed mishandling in transit. I don’t buy it especially after seeing the packaging on Rogue and AB’s stuff. Oh well, bar was fine minus a few small dings on the end.

        • jburgeson August 26, 2015, 6:49 pm

          I’ve had four of their bars shipped to me and yeah, its not nearly as protected as this AB bar was. I haven’t had a problem, but that’s not to say I couldn’t. To their credit though, I think they only use FedEx for bars, and they are not nearly as negligent with them as UPS is. UPS straight up doesn’t give a damn. They’ll drop that thing off with no tube if that’s how it goes down.

  • Brady August 26, 2015, 4:08 pm

    Ordered mine yesterday, was told they had “about 30” left in stock. Great review!

    • jburgeson August 26, 2015, 4:11 pm

      Thanks Brady. Glad you got one! Only 30? Bummer.

  • Morgan August 26, 2015, 7:04 pm

    Just got mine today (based on other reviews, here). I was planning on a bearing bar, but could not justify the cost right now. The only thing I can comment on right now is the fit, finish, and the knurling. Stainless speaks for itself; the construction seems quite solid (welds, hard chrome on sleeves, etc). The knurling, or combination of bare stainless and knurling is awesome. The beauty of this bar is you can actually use the dang thing for everything as it’s only $299.00

  • Morgan August 26, 2015, 7:09 pm

    Glad I got mine as these will sell out quick. Just a note to future buyers – these are made to order (called and asked – maybe not after this article, though), so one might be able to get them to add a ghost center knurl for a few extra dollars. Could easily be added by a machinist, too.

    • T August 26, 2015, 9:43 pm

      Damn! Wish I would have tried that before I ordered mine.

  • RG August 27, 2015, 1:03 am

    I have been following your site for some time (my favourite fitness one), and reference it often as I am always in quest of knowledge. Thanks so much for all the information you have imparted.
    After slowly putting together a pretty decent gym, I hadn’t yet purchased a bar, but was looking at several based upon your reviews for my first.
    Coming across your write up on the Americal Barbell SS WOD for only $299 today, thought you should know I just ordered it… even though my company won’t reimburse me under their fitness plan. (Spent it already this year.) Seems like too good of a deal to pass up on though, and living about a one minute drive from the ocean I really liked the idea of having a stainless bar.
    Seriously, I do appreciate your candor and value for money perspective, and look forward to getting this bar in my hands. Will let you know what I think about it, even though I don’t have much to compare it to.
    Regards.
    RG

    • jburgeson August 27, 2015, 9:05 am

      Thanks RG, I appreciate you saying that. I am confident that you’ll be happy with it. Good stuff.

  • Thomas August 28, 2015, 12:49 am

    How does this compare to the Vulcan V3 Elite bar? I probably should have asked this before ordering the AB Wod bar but there you have it.

    • jburgeson August 28, 2015, 12:56 am

      They’re a little different. Elite will be springier since it’s Vulcan, and it’s a 28 mm bar. SS WOD has the nice grip, although the Elite still has a really nice feel to it despite not being stainless. Hell I say “despite not being stainless”, but practically nothing else is so it’s a silly thing to say really. Its just hard to pass up on $300 for stainless right now despite how good another bar is. Then again, if the WOD bar doesn’t give anything that you want besides the grip, then I guess it’s a bad choice at any price, but I don’t see that being an issue all that often. It won’t be for long anyway, since there can’t be too many left.

      • Thomas September 3, 2015, 9:50 pm

        Well got the SS WOD bar and did a WOD with it and love the knurling on it! The whole bar is just sweet! My next bar just might be their SS bearing bar but I want to wait to see what the SS Vulcan bar will be like. I live in Charlotte and have been down there to see the V3 and really liked it but yeah the Stainless is what sold me. That said, it might have been the knurling if I had had a chance to play before buying. I’m glad you decided to review it.

  • Andrew August 29, 2015, 12:01 pm

    I just posted on the klokov bar review, but I figured I’d post here too, I have 2 klokov bars and one is pretty good and the other is perfect.

    But this Wod Bar is so tempting that I really want to pick it up and try to sell my one klokov bar. I emailed them about a ghost center knurl so I’m waiting to see about that.

    • jburgeson August 29, 2015, 12:09 pm

      Yeah I’d trade my Klokov for a stainless bar. Post back if they can/are willing to knurl on a center for you. I’m not sure how likely it is that they put these together as they’re ordered, but I’m sure anything is possible. They’ve have to pull the sleeves off to do it if they’re already assembled though.

      • Andrew August 29, 2015, 12:18 pm

        Yeah even without the center knurl I still would probably buy it.

        And just to clarify, I would definitely not trade one of my klokov bars for this bar, because I use it for all my oly lifting and much prefer its bearings. Also because it is pretty much a flawless representation of what the klokov bar is supposed to be.

        That being said, I do want an all purpose bushing bar and was always tempted to pick up a Chan bar eventually, until seeing this AB bar at least.

        After reading a lot of reviews of the klokov bar, even my other one is nowhere near as bad as some. It is perfectly functional in every way that the other is, just the fit and finish isn’t quite as flawless. So I guess I got lucky for both and extra lucky for one of them.

        Having two is the main reason for wanting to sell one to try out this AB bar, curiosity plays a big part lol.

        • Andrew August 29, 2015, 12:21 pm

          Edit: I meant to say I wouldn’t trade the flawless klokov bar for this AB bar, but since i have 2 I’d trade the other one I have for it.

          • jburgeson August 29, 2015, 1:35 pm

            Yeah it sounds like you might have gotten lucky on that replacement. Yeah I mean if it works well for you then what more could you ask for. And since one of the two is practically free, may as well upgrade it to something else rather than have an inferior duplicate bar.

  • T August 29, 2015, 3:06 pm

    Got my SS WOD bar in yesterday. Love the knurling and overall finish. Just what I was looking for. However, the first thing I noticed was a pronounced rattle from one side. Other side is silent. Seems to have some lateral movement on one collar. Coincidentally, the knurling goes all the way to the collar on that side. Small gap on the other side.
    Sent an email but probably won’t hear back until Monday. Been impressed with the AB customer service so far so I’m sure they’ll make it right. How concerning is this though? I went with the SS because I want this to last a long time. Concerned about a potential defect right out of the box affecting functionality down the road.

    • jburgeson August 29, 2015, 5:31 pm

      Make sure the rattle isn’t the little end cap disc shifting when rotating. I have a couple bars that I’ve noticed that do that recently and it’s an annoying sound, but it has nothing to do with the internals. Using metal discs for the fancy end cap looks neat, but they have weight to them to if they’ve been given enough room to shift, they will.

    • lu August 30, 2015, 6:51 am

      @T: I just got mine and noticed the same thing about the knurling, goes all they way, almost into the collar, on one side and there’s 1/2 an inch gap between the knurling and the collar on the other side.
      Otherwise no complaints. The knurling is just beautiful. Love the bar, would recommend it to anyone.

      • T August 30, 2015, 9:51 am

        Good to know. So that’s probably not a big deal, but the loose collar is concerning. Just hoping they don’t sell out before this gets corrected.

  • Alex August 30, 2015, 2:31 pm

    I received my AB SS WOD bar on Friday and used it for the first time yesterday. I think the bar is very nice, but I’m not blown away by it. I think I’m really going to like the knurling. I’d describe the feel as a mild sandpaper. I didn’t lose grip yesterday when doing bear complexes. I didn’t pay attention to the knurl going to the collars inconsistently as others have noted. I’ll take a look at that tomorrow.

    My only bars for comparison on the knurl are an AF Team Barbell and a Rogue Ohio Bar. I’d say the knurl is in-between the two of those with the AF Team Barbell being the least aggressive, then the SS WOD Bar, then the Rogue bar. I’m sure the SS WOD bar will provide just as much grip as the Rogue Ohio bar, it’s just not as abrasive to the touch.

    A brief “spin test” consisting of spinning the bar with my foot while loaded didn’t make the bar spin nearly as much as the Klokov I had, but I kind of expected that. It spins more on par with the AF bushing bars we have. This bar might loosen up over time maybe, but it spins enough I would say. I did buy this as an all-around/beater bar, so I think it will be really nice for that. I didn’t notice any lateral movement on the collars, which is quite noticeable on the AF Team Barbells we have. That lateral movement did develop over time however.

    For @Andrew, I’d probably sell the inconsistent Klokov and upgrade to the SS WOD bar while it is available if you’re just looking for a long-lasting WOD-type bar. It sounds like the good one you have should last you a long time and be great for Olympic movements. The SS WOD bar should be a great “Chan-type” bar, but won’t do anything the Klokov won’t do, other than having a better finish with less spin. My Klokov never developed rust, but granted I wiped the bar down daily with a rag that had some oil on it. In theory, a chrome bar shouldn’t be doing this, so either it’s not really chrome or the chrome is so thin that the layer underneath is rusting. I covered pretty in-depth in the Klokov review about how my Klokov had practically no knurling per AF and I’m getting a refund. AF is too inconsistent, at least with the Klokov right now.

    As I use the bar more, I’ll post any additional impressions I have. As far as AB customer service goes, they don’t seem to have much in the way of support staff. There is never anyone online to chat, and it’s quite literally a day between responses when I’ve been asking them questions on their urethane fractionals. I even called to place a possible order, and I was sent to voicemail for the one person that has also been responding to email. The bar shipped quickly when I placed an online order, but my take so far is they’re not the easiest to get in touch with. If I was waiting a day between responses for a warranty issue with AB, I wouldn’t be happy. AF was quite responsive while dealing with Klokov issues. Maybe AB has just had a bad week…

    • jburgeson August 30, 2015, 3:22 pm

      I’m not by any means defending AB here because none of us like to wait for responses from companies that we’re trying to give our money to (or have already), but I’m pretty sure that the guy who actually designs and maintains the website is the same guy who also answers customer service emails, so I think he’s being stretched pretty thin. Also, I think he’s in charge of some seminar or coaching event in NJ this weekend. Poor guy lol. But yes, they need to hire a rep or two; no doubt about it.

      I’m also pretty sure they read these threads, at least the ones about them. So let ’em know!

      • T August 30, 2015, 3:26 pm

        I’m definitely not complaining. I don’t expect an answer from them over the weekend. We all have to have some down time, haha. They’ve been really responsive when I’ve had questions regarding this bar, their SS Oly bar, and their urethane plates. Hate that I had to have an issue with the first bar I purchased from them as it seems like everyone else has been very happy, but I’m confident they’ll take care of it based on posts by others who have had issues. Just wanted to make sure that the lateral play to the collar was specific to my bar and not something others were seeing before actually engaging with customer service. I appreciate all the feedback. I’ll update after I’ve spoken with Philip.

      • Alex August 31, 2015, 12:04 pm

        Yeah, I wasn’t really trying to bash them but was a little frustrated. The shipping on 2 sets of urethane fractionals was pretty high, so we were discussing over email a reduced shipping price. I just spoke with Phillip over the phone and ordered them, so all is well. They did reduce the shipping, so it’s hard to complain about the CS on that!

        I took a look at the knurling towards the sleeves on my bar, and it goes almost inside the sleeve. I’d guess there is maybe 1/8″ or so space that isn’t knurled on one side and slightly more on the other side. With shorter arms honestly my hands never go much wider than the Olympic mark on the bar so that means nothing to me. I wouldn’t have even noticed had it not been brought up in comments.

        I was able to do high hang snatches just fine today and my grip was fine. The bar felt good for back squats without the center knurl as well. If you want to pay a little more for a stainless/chrome bar for overall utility, I’d say it’s pretty hard to beat!

        • jburgeson August 31, 2015, 12:29 pm

          Oh yeah sorry, I wasn’t thinking anyone was bashing them. I’ve never heard of them letting anyone down, but I know it can be slow sometimes. So Phillip is answering the phones eh? I thought it was Wyatt. I guess ignore me anyway cause I obviously don’t know what I’m talking about lol. Well either way, that’s cool they adjusted the shipping on those. Kinda hard to over-charge on things that have the shipping weight built into the name of the product and get away with it =p

          • Alex August 31, 2015, 1:25 pm

            I’m not sure who normally answers the phone. Since Phillip and I were playing email back and forth, he gave me his direct number so I could place the order. One set of urethanes was about $12 shipped, but 2 sets was twice that. That was pretty steep for plates that could fit in a small box and only weighs 10 pounds, so they adjusted the shipping. Knowing that shipping on the bar was free and most places charge no more than $30 to ship a 20kg bar, $25 for 10# of small plates seemed like a lot. They agreed and adjusted it, so score! They’ve been quite responsive today I’ll add.

        • Alex September 1, 2015, 11:21 am

          I figured I’d add some additional feedback on the SS WOD bar after lifting with it for the 2nd time today. Doing a 5×3 snatch at 80% was a night and day difference between the Klokov. My grip was totally secure and didn’t slip at all. I did use a little chalk, but not much. I also did some RDLs and the bar literally felt glued to my hand with no slipping. I’m almost second-guessing my decision to get the Eleiko Sport Trainer at this point, but I’m sure it will be great.

          • T September 1, 2015, 11:33 am

            That’s awesome. Can’t wait to put mine through its paces. Sucks just watching it sit there in the rack untouched. Let me know what you think of the Eleiko. I’m still going back and forth between that and the Rogue Euro. Need to pick up some comp plates and rubber change plates before then though. Anybody used Vulcan’s comp plates? They look like a pretty good deal right now, but they only have 20 kg and 15 kg pairs available.

            • Alex September 1, 2015, 12:04 pm

              Why aren’t you using the SS WOD bar? I read that it has a rattle, but that shouldn’t keep you from using it unless you feel it is unsafe. They do read on here, so I’m sure they’ll take care of you.

              So you got the SS WOD bar and are thinking of an Eleiko or Rogue Euro as your Oly bar? If so, it sounds like you’ve basically done what I have done with the SS WOD bar as an all-around bar and a nice Oly-specific bar in the Eleiko. The Rogue Euro just has stronger steel, which the Eleiko already has. Rogue is great, but for about the same price I figured I’d go Eleiko. Which model Eleiko are you considering? I guess if you’re going with the competition there’s quite a price difference, but the Sport Trainer and Rogue Euro are similar price-wise.

              I don’t have any comp plates, and can’t justify the price for them honestly. I just use Pendlay bumpers and bought some of the Vulcan v-locks in 2.5# and 5# since I lift in pounds. The V-locks are great so far, and I won’t have to worry about messing up the bar. I also ordered some of the urethane fractional pound plates from AB. I’m sure it would be fine, but I don’t want to chance the Rogue metal fractionals I have messing up the bar and it wouldn’t hurt to have an extra set or two at our box anyway.

              As mentioned in the reviews, the Vaughn competition set is the cheapest competition set out there right now at $549 for a 90kg set with free shipping code. Rogue is right there price-wise with the Vaughns for their “training plates”. We do have a Pendlay comp set (210# set) we got for about $2 a pound shipped during a Christmas sale. The comp plates were a gift for our coach, so she uses them exclusively. You might want to wait a couple of months to get in on some Black Friday sales.

              • T September 1, 2015, 12:55 pm

                That’s exactly what I’m doing. Looking at the Sport as well. Pricing is very similar to the Euro. Haven’t been using the SS WOD since I will likely be exchanging it. It’s perfectly safe for use, but figured I’d avoid using it in case an exchange was needed. We’re in the process of getting that all worked out.

                I’ve been looking at the v-locks and the AB urethane fractional plates. Fringe also makes a set of fractional plates in their Vaughn line. Change plates are my priority for now as I don’t want to use metal change plates on these nicer bars. I’ll eventually get rid of all my steel in exchange for bumpers. Figured the comp plates would make sense so I could still have room to load heavy deadlifts on the bar. Price is hard to swallow though. I’ve seen Pendlay’s 90 kg set go for $500 shipped on flash sales for what it’s worth. Think you’re right about waiting for Black Friday for those though.

                • Alex September 1, 2015, 1:26 pm

                  Yeah, I believe the Pendlays were $450 shipped for 210#, so that was a great deal at the time. If I was using this for a home gym, I’d pony up and probably get comp plates as well. As is, we have standard bumpers at our box, so other than being cool, comp plates wouldn’t do anything for me. If I max DL I might come close to running out of room I guess, but I’m not worried about that. We also have some narrow cast iron I could throw on a beater bar for a max DL.

                  The Fractionals Fringe sells are metal. The AB are urethane, so for peace of mind you might want to go with those as far as bar damage. FWIW, the paint on the metal fractionals wears off pretty easily, at least on the Rogue. As I mentioned, I really like the 2.5# and 5# v-locks.

                  As far as Eleiko vs. the Euro bar, I see that the Euro is actually about $30 more than the Sport through bumperplates.com ($695 shipped) vs. $637.88 + $25 shipping. I will say that there is no reason not to buy from bumperplates.com. They place the order directly with Eleiko Sport (I know from an email chain), so you can save money buying thru bumperplates.

                  One thing that might change your opinion is I had originally ordered a 15kg and 20kg Sport. Bumperplates (through Eleiko Sport) said these would probably not be in-stock until October, but the 35# and 45# models were in-stock. Being someone who thinks/lifts in pounds anyway, I opted to change my order to the pound models. If your heart is set on a 20kg bar and you need it now, the Rogue is an easy decision. However, if you want the cache’ of the Eleiko name for less price…. Decisions decisions. I hope to have the Eleikos in soon (still haven’t shipped), but I’d be happy to give you my impressions when they arrive.

            • jburgeson September 1, 2015, 12:45 pm

              I think even those 15’s and 20’s are gone, price was amazing. They did some cosmetic changes to the new ones coming in so they clearanced off the leftovers. I have some of those plates though; they’re just as good as the others. Mostly all come from the same place anyway.

              • Alex September 1, 2015, 12:52 pm

                Yeah, Vulcan doesn’t show any competition plates in-stock on their entire site, so they must be adding new inventory. From what I read, Hi-Temps are pretty much the only American-made bumper. Even Rogue said as much when I questioned the “Made in Ohio” comment they made on a new bumper they’re working on. I guess Rogue might start making their own competition bumper?

                So, it appears that most all bumpers and comp bumpers are made in the same place, so it’s really just a matter of logo? I know you had mentioned the bolts coming out of Pendlay comps, but not Rogue. Maybe they’re all made in the same place, but just have slight spec differences…

          • jburgeson September 1, 2015, 12:48 pm

            lol Sport vs WOD eh? That’s one hell of a compliment I’d say

            • Alex September 1, 2015, 12:54 pm

              lol, in fairness I haven’t received the Eleiko yet. You also have to consider my bar experience consists of AF Team Barbell (1.0 I think), Klokov, and now the AB SS WOD bar. Maybe I’m easy to please :)

  • Brady Beyer September 2, 2015, 5:36 pm

    My co worker and I both ordered one of these last week. The bars packaging was really good and we were both excited at the quality of the bar. However on both of our bars the end caps were scuffed and scratched. The logo on both caps is pretty scratched and a disappointment on such a good looking bar. I asked for replacement caps and was told that if I replaced them it would void my warranty. We have sent pics in to AB and are awaiting their response. I will keep you up to date.

    • Alex September 3, 2015, 9:55 am

      I took a look at the end caps on mine this morning. I wouldn’t say they’re scratched, but the black logo is missing paint in a couple of spots, or should I say it’s almost as if the logo has been mildly sanded over so it’s not as sharp as it could be. The rest of the bar is pristine however, and I wouldn’t have even thought to look at the end-caps had it not been for your comment. In my case, it’s minor and I’m really enjoying the bar so far.

      Your comment on the end-caps voiding the warranty is kind of interesting though. Often times on bars part of the maintenance is removing the end-caps and spraying oil in there occasionally. Is there any recommended maintenance on these, other than wiping the bar off?

      • jburgeson September 3, 2015, 10:30 am

        No not really, but even if you do need to oil it, you can do it from the collar side of the sleeve. Taking end caps off and sliding the sleeve off a bushing bar is nothing, and very easy to put back together, but it shouldn’t even need to be done. Almost all manufacturers void warranties for this.

    • Brady Beyer September 8, 2015, 12:46 pm

      Just a follow up on the end caps. AB customer service is very good and they resolved the matter with urgency. I am very impressed with the quality of the SS WOd bar and would purchase again.

      • jburgeson September 8, 2015, 1:22 pm

        Very cool. Do you know who helped you? Or was it just “customer service?”

        • Brady Beyer September 8, 2015, 1:40 pm

          Phillip

  • Bruced September 3, 2015, 10:02 am

    Wish I would’ve found your site before buying all of my gear a year ago! Recs regarding this bar versus the rogue chan bar as they are both about $300 shipped? I’m purely a recreational lifter looking for a general all around bar. I do mainly sumo deads, bench, squat, and ohp.

    • jburgeson September 3, 2015, 10:38 am

      I’d take the SS over the zinc Chan, but not over the chrome. Chan is one of those bars where I find price matters less simply because it’s such an incredible strength training bar. Both will work equally well for all the static lifts, and if you wouldn’t want to pay for the chrome Chan than it’s an easy choice for the SS WOD. Then again at the $299, it probably still makes more sense to go with the SS WOD even if you would pay for chrome.

      • Alex September 3, 2015, 11:13 am

        It looks like Rogue has completely removed the chrome Chan as an option. I think it used to be listed, but was just out-of-stock. It’s not even there now. If it matters, someone at our box has a Black Zinc Ohio Bar and the thing is almost green looking. I’d go with the SS WOD bar for aesthetics alone. Admittedly I’ve never used a Chan for comparison, but the lifts Bruced mentioned don’t even make grip as important, and center knurl isn’t on either bar. I think the knurl is really good on the SS WOD bar. I’d find it hard to believe the Chan knurl is much better, especially in black zinc.

        • shane September 3, 2015, 2:28 pm

          I have a Chan bar (black zinc) and a AB SS comp bar. How tall are you and how wide is your grip? if you are under 5’10” id grab a Chan for a test run to make sure you like the knurling spacing differences. I love both bars, and although I think the AB WOD bar is a better value, at 6’2″ with a wide stance I love the wider knurling and passive center knurl of the Chan. If you end up going with the Chan, Rogue has several in the “closeout” section. if you don’t mind whiping your bar with a little oil once a week they have a RAW steel shafted Chan on closeout for $250. Raw steel feels a lot like SS, but you gotta oil it.

          • T September 3, 2015, 2:32 pm

            Not sure why Rogue did away with the chrome bars. Makes you wonder if something was wrong with their chrome plating process. I offered to pay full price for a chrome Ohio or Chan they had on closeout if they would sell it with normal end caps, and they refused.

            I will never do black zinc again. My Rogue Bar 2.0 has turned neon green along the middle where the knurling is absent after 6 weeks of normal use and routine maintenance. Matches the colors of my gym though so I guess there’s that.

            • Alex September 3, 2015, 2:46 pm

              I will say that the Ohio bar has a more aggressive knurl than the SS WOD bar, and the Ohio bar we have at our box is largely green and doesn’t spin hardly at all. Granted, the guy who owns is uses chalk like a fiend and never cleans it. However, for a $300 bar I am not impressed at all. The only other Rogue bar we have is an original female bar that no one really likes. I’m sure Rogue makes nice bars, but not at the lower ranges it seems. In any event, I’d go SS WOD over an Ohio (even in Chrome) all day long.

            • jburgeson September 3, 2015, 3:30 pm

              For some reason, rather than say “out of stock” they remove those chrome bars from the listing entirely. I don’t get it, but it’s not the first time they’ve done it.

        • Alex September 3, 2015, 2:41 pm

          My bad on the incorrect info. Chan does have a center knurl.

  • Shane September 3, 2015, 3:00 pm

    they have a satin chrome Chan in the closeout section. I know the say they’ll void your warranty if you pull the end cap off, but this is only because they don’t want you to see their sleeve design. I’ve pulled the sleeves off and services every bar I’ve ever owned from $1000+ euro bearing bars to $200 AF team bars at a CF box. If you have a current 190k steel ohio bar, pull the sleeves clean the shaft and relube (I like a teflon based lube) and it will spin like a champ again.

  • Jacob September 16, 2015, 8:24 pm

    Got my bar today so I thought I would add my opinions. (Short term opinions)

    Cons
    1 No center knurl. I knew that before purchase but still would prefer it had it. I like one handed snatching and bent press.
    2 Spin isn’t great, it’s smooth but I think bronze might be better. Also one sleeve spins better than the other.
    3 There is a slight gap between the knurl and the sleeves (doesn’t bother me but some people care)

    Good
    1 It’s a multipurpose stainless steel bar!
    2 Knurl is great. Soft but good grip.
    3 The noise some people talked about is just the end cap. The sleeves do not rattle.

    I am very pleased with this bar. Nothing is perfect but this bar is very nice and a great price. The only reason to not buy it is if they run out.

  • Aubrey September 17, 2015, 1:42 pm

    I am an avid reader of this site…and threw down for the AB SS WOD bar after reading this review. For the level of athlete I am, this bar is perfect…could not be happier with my purchase. The price was right as well. Thanks for all the info!

    • jburgeson September 17, 2015, 2:23 pm

      That’s awesome Aubrey. I’m glad you got one. Looking at the feedback, it seems a number of readers got their hands on one and thats really cool. They’re nearly gone though based on what they told me when I asked a couple days ago. =/

  • Dustin C September 19, 2015, 10:51 am

    Getting ready to purchase first barbell…would u purchase chrome chan blem for $330 or this barbell?

    • jburgeson September 19, 2015, 10:53 am

      From the closeouts? If so, this.

      • Dustin C September 21, 2015, 9:48 am

        Yes and thanks for all the insight. Just ordered this bar today.

  • Greg September 21, 2015, 8:06 pm

    Thanks for the great site. I just received my SS WOD today and I’m loving it. This is the second bar I have purchased on your recommendation. Back in January I got my first real bar, a chrome Chan. My only complaint with the Chan has been that the side knurling doesn’t extend far enough toward the center for me. The SS WOD has an additional 2+ inches of knurling on each side, correcting that problem. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the center knurling. I’m not really sure that the center knurling does anything, but at least in my mind it’s helping stabilize the bar for squats.

    After only one day with the WOD I can’t say that I favor one bar over the other, I’m glad to have both. But the Chan cost $100 more and assuming that both bars were available I think I would go for the SS WOD if I was just starting out.

    • jburgeson September 21, 2015, 8:37 pm

      I’m glad you like both of them, but I think you somehow overlooked the fact that the “less knurling” on the Chan is the only bar like that, and it was done deliberately. The idea is that there is no knurling in the way of your chins for cleans and deadlifts. Depending on your height/shoulder width, the Chan knurling can be less than ideal for stuff like the bench if you take a rather narrow hand position. In any case, both are great bars, and I’m glad I didn’t lead you astray!

  • T September 22, 2015, 9:50 am

    Just an update from my previous comments. American Barbell came through for me. Philip was very responsive and had a new bar headed my way quickly. He personally inspected it to make sure it was perfect in every way, and I couldn’t be happier. The previous barbell had an odd rattle in one collar unrelated to the end caps which were also loose but not the source of the noise. The defect was minor but I feared that it might get worse with time. AB understood my concerns and seemed genuinely concerned about even a minor quality control issue. Certainly makes you feel confident that this is not a common occurrence for them.

    My replacement bar is excellent. I love the stainless finish and the feel of the knurling. Could be a little more aggressive for my liking but about what you would expect for a multipurpose bar. Grip is extremely secure after just a little chalk. Collar spin is very smooth. Rotation won’t blow your mind or anything especially without weight on the bar, but does exactly what it’s supposed to very efficiently. I love this bar even more for the power lifts. In the end, I got just what I was hoping for. A stainless bar that needs minimal maintenance that performs reliably in both the Oly and power lifts. Great addition to my home gym. I know the supply of these is drying up, but I would recommend AB to anyone looking to buy a bar in the future.

  • Alex September 22, 2015, 11:20 am

    I’m sorry to post this here, but I don’t think you have any type of maintenance section. I was thinking of cleaning some of our older bars that has lost some spin. There’s a video on YouTube where the guy at NorCal Crossfit using snap-ring pliers to take the sleeves off, cleans them, and then applies a teflon grease. I was thinking of doing the same thing. Is this a good method, and do you have a set of snap-ring pliers you would recommend? He says basic Home Depot ones might bend and is teflon grease the way to go? Thanks!

    • jburgeson September 22, 2015, 11:52 am

      I’m sure that’s fine. I’ve always just used 3-in-1 oil for bushing bars since oil is what they started with, and oil can be be absorbed into the bronze bushings. Grease probably works, but how effective it is or for how long I don’t know. Yeah get the pliers off Amazon or an actual tool store. I have these http://amzn.to/1QX5zsn and they work fine. The ones at the Home Depot and auto stores were pretty bad when I looked back then.

      • Alex September 25, 2015, 9:32 am

        Not your fault of course, but I ordered those pliers and they broke when I attempted to remove the internal clip on the first barbell One of the handles came completely off. Ugh….

        • jburgeson September 25, 2015, 10:15 am

          lol really? Wait, you know the handles flip ya? I mean, I’m sure you do but I’m making sure!

          • Alex September 25, 2015, 10:37 am

            There are basically no instructions. One of the handles came off completely and I can’t get it back on… I’m obviously mechanically challenged. Maybe it’s supposed to pop off but I can’t get it back on. Feel free to email me at the address in the comments.

          • Alex September 25, 2015, 11:10 am

            I see how they’re reversible now. The issue with mine is the metal on one side is sheared off, so the handle doesn’t stay in. I’m returning them and ordered some others.

            • jburgeson September 25, 2015, 5:02 pm

              That sounds like bad luck; sorry about that. Mine have held up pretty well, and the reviews were good enough. /shrug

              • Alex September 29, 2015, 2:13 pm

                My first set was broken, so I ordered a different pair. On the AF Team Barbell (1.0 I guess), it’s not a snap ring inside the sleeve (after you take the end-cap off). It’s a much thicker ring. I was trying to use the external pliers to remove this, and it broke the tips off. I saw a video where the guy said to remove that with a hammer and a screwdriver. So, the first set was a faulty set, and the 2nd set was user error. I have a third set that should work just fine once they get here.

  • Fred Cipriano September 22, 2015, 11:32 am

    AB just removed FREE SHIPPING from all of their barbells EXCEPT the SS WOD Bar so if you’ve been on the fence about this bar it’s time to hop on over and buy it!

  • Dustin C September 28, 2015, 7:15 am

    I got my barbell and love it thanks for the review. I’m curious on what type of maintenance I should expect to do to it?

    • jburgeson September 28, 2015, 9:39 am

      Not much, Dustin. The stainless won’t rust, and neither will the hard chrome. Other than brushing out chalk and gunk, you shouldn’t have to do anything. If over the years the spin slows, put a drop or two of oil in each bushing and you’ll be good to go.

      • Dustin C September 28, 2015, 9:54 am

        Ok Great. Is there a certain brush you use?

        • jburgeson September 28, 2015, 11:35 am

          Nothing specific no, just like one of those handheld plastic shower brushes. I have one from the Home Depot that cost only a few bucks and it gets the job done. You can use 3-in-1 oil to loosen up a lot of build-up, but you gotta really neglect it for a while before you’ll get anything that stubborn.

  • Fred Cipriano September 28, 2015, 11:53 am

    I was at the AB factory/warehouse recently and they recommended a stainless steel brush to remove chalk and Super Lube for the bushings.

    • Alex September 28, 2015, 12:17 pm

      The Eleiko came with a pretty aggressive steel brush. I don’t know that the brush is anything special, but I suspect that type of brush would be good for about any bar. I imagine the stainless and chrome finishes could handle the steel, but I don’t know about some of the zinc-coated bars.

      • jburgeson September 28, 2015, 12:20 pm

        I’ve been reluctant to use steel wire brushes on anything other than bare metals. It should be okay if you don’t go crazy with it, but technically it can begin to remove finishes the more you do it. And yea, zinc especially.

  • Tanner September 29, 2015, 10:32 am

    I bought this bar based on your review about a month ago. I’ve gotta admit — I thought you were exaggerating about how good the knurling feels and how nice the grip is. But after a hard month full of attempts at finding a fault with this bar, I’ve got nothing. Thanks for the great review!

  • Matt September 30, 2015, 3:33 pm

    Well, I did ask about having them machine in a ghost center knurling:

    “Thank you for your inquiry. I’m sorry to inform you, but we are all sold out of the SS Wod Bar as of yesterday. It was a limited edition bar, in which we would not be able to customize the shaft with a ghost knurling. Our Stainless Steel Bearing Bar, however, does have the ghost knurling on it, if you are interested in that. …”

    Sold out while I was waiting for a reply, too. Guess you really have to shoot first and ask questions later on deals like this.

    Looks like I need to get a bigger budget or wait for chrome Chans to come back or for production to start up on these again (if ever).

    • Alex October 1, 2015, 6:30 am

      When I asked via chat if Rogue would have a chrome Chan in the future they said they were only offering their WL bars in chrome. That’s unfortunate because the black finish they put on most bars is awful and turns green like a piece of fake gold jewelry.

      • jburgeson October 1, 2015, 9:37 am

        They’ll probably be back again, just like they were the first time they disappeared. Rogue isn’t going to tell you that though. For starters, they probably don’t know when to expect it back. Also, you’ll hold off on making another purchase if you think that your preferred product will be back online soon.

    • jburgeson October 1, 2015, 9:47 am

      Bummer! I like the part about the $799 bearing bar being a good alternative.

  • Tony October 2, 2015, 1:54 pm

    Hey,

    Earlier today their website said sold out but I checked back randomly and they appear to be available again. Maybe a return or a few last bars are available? Or it’s a glitch and I’m terribly sorry if it is, but, worth giving it a shot, right?

    Tony

  • Tony October 2, 2015, 3:20 pm

    Well, just like that, looks like it’s gone again. Maybe it was a return or maybe it was a glitch. Sorry if I got anyone’s hopes up.

    Tony

  • Tony October 2, 2015, 6:13 pm

    Hey, so first off thanks so much for the great content on this site. I just started my home gym and I found myself coming back here time and again. Best decision I’ve made and this site has been an invaluable resource for me.

    Per your review, I got myself one of these SS WOD bars as my everything bar and I’m glad I did as it appears to have run out. She arrived today and, wow, what a beaut! Unfortunately there is a nick in one of the sleeves that appears to have occurred during shipping (the packaging was awesome but there was still a puncture in the tubing). I am waiting to see if Philip can do anything for me given that it appears to have been UPS’s fault. I’ll keep you guys posted as AB seems to have a good rep for customer service.

    In the meantime, the nick made me realize that even though I got this as an everything bar and plan to get rough with it, I’d like to avoid unnecessary wear. I have iron plates, and would be reluctant to use them on this bar, especially since the hard chrome would be more susceptible to rust with nicks and scratches in it. Research here confirmed that metal plates with wider diameter holes (mine are TSA’s and fit that description) will beat up your sleeves quick, particularly on deadlifts and oly lifts.

    I started with a craigslist bar (cheap Chinese with hex bolts, only 32 lbs) and could theoretically keep it for deadlifts, but that would kinda defeat the purpose of having the awesome knurl on the SS WOD. The other option is I could probably unload it along with the plates to heavily subsidize a basic bumper set. Third option is I sell the plates but keep the beater bar and have to shell out that much more cash for my upgrade.

    Since you have tons of bars, do you see utility in my keeping the cheapie for warmups or oly lifts (despite the poorer rotation, knurling, weight capacity etc)? I guess my real questions are a) will I regret lifting with iron plates on the SS WOD and if so b) should I keep the cheapie or would I miss having a beater bar around?

    The SS WOD was a bit of a budget reach, but I’m coming around to quality over quantity now that I’ve seen the difference.

    Long “first” post. Anyways, thanks again! Awesome site!

    • jburgeson October 2, 2015, 6:56 pm

      Hi Tony. I cant imagine you’d even want to use the old 32 pound bar anymore, but there is certainly no harm in keeping it as a whatever back-up bar; at least until some time down the road you have a “real” second bar. As far as the iron plates go, they’ll eventually do some damage to the finish of the sleeves, but keep in mind that it’s only cosmetic; the bar will function all the same whether it looks pretty or not. Deadlifts, benches and squats with iron won’t wreck the sleeves as quickly as Oly lifts will, that’s assuming your completing your deadlift and not dropping it from the top.

      At the end of the day, if you gotta nick the chrome off those sleeves to get your workouts in and get them done in a meaningful way, then nick those sleeves. If you plan to Oly lift, there really is no way around needing bumper plates whether you care about cosmetics or not. The grip on the shaft will be that way forever, but even if you baby the rest of the bar you’ll till wear it down over time, so don’t let it hold you back.

  • Matt October 8, 2015, 2:40 pm

    Well, it showed up as a “closeout item.” It’s got a disclaimer: “These bars are new and are top-quality, but there may be very slight cosmetic blemishes as a result of finishing and handling.”

    Whatever. Not missing this again. Couldn’t get out my wallet fast enough.

    • Tony October 8, 2015, 3:11 pm

      Nice! Glad you were able to order one. If it’s anything like the one I got it should still be in great shape. The nick was probably only 2mm and very much cosmetic. I think I’d just have to spray it with a protectant every so often.

      Was it priced at a discount?

      • Matt October 8, 2015, 5:22 pm

        Nope, it was still $299 with $20 shipping. They’ve got a notice up that “These bars are a limited supply and will not be brought back once they are gone.” They know that it will still easily sell out as a closeout without any reductions,

  • Mr. Bill October 12, 2015, 9:01 pm

    Amazing site; I’ve learned a TON and you’ve already saved me from the entry-level stuff on Amazon.

    I have an order of OWF bumpers on the way, but I’m stuck when trying to choose a bar. The only bars I’ve ever used are the Iron Grip power bars at the university gym where I teach, but about a year ago I had a baby and making it to the gym went from difficult to nearly impossible. Time for some basement equipment! But this means I don’t really have any frame of reference for knurl, whip, finish, etc. I got really excited about this SS bar, but I don’t think the Olympic markings will work for me, since I mostly do entry-level deadlifts (and my basement ceiling is too low for much else), with my pinkies on the power-bar marks. But looking around, it seems that all your other top choices are no longer available in hard chrome – Vulcan One, Matt Chan, Rogue 2.0, Ohio – and a bright no-maintenance bar is really appealing. (Black bumpers on a black bar in a basement? Meh. And periodic oiling seems like a pain.)

    Given what’s available now, do you have any easy recommendations? It sounds like the Vulcan One or the Chan might still be the best bet, and I’ll just have to live with the finish. And between the two, the Chan sounds more versatile, especially for avoiding shin scrapes and for possible squats later if I get a squat rack. It doesn’t sound like anyone here has enough experience with the American SS power bar to say much, and $485 for my first bar seems pretty steep.

    (And FWIW, the bumpers in the low-ceiling gym aren’t for dropping, but just to avoid the noise of iron on concrete. Low noise is crucial since I’ll be lifting while others are asleep.)

    Thanks for any thoughts – and thanks again for the site!

    • jburgeson October 13, 2015, 3:22 am

      Well first off you’re absolutely right that black bars in dark garages or basements is not fun when looking for marks. It doesn’t even have to be that dark!

      I’m pretty disappointed at the constantly disappearing chrome bars like the Chan and Ohio. They come and go, come and go. No idea why. The Vulcan One was supposed to come out in chrome but never did to my knowledge. Now, if you were willing to spend the kind of money it would take to get the stainless Elite power bar from American Barbell, it would be the perfect choice I think. You get your power marks, no maintenance, and a much more darkness friendly color… and that’s to say nothing of the bar’s feel and performance.

      I’m actually working on a review for their “Super” power bar, and other than the additional heat treating done to the Super, the bars are the same, and I absolutely love it. It’s the only bar I’ve racked the Chan for. If you prefer not to spend that much, you’ve got either the Chan or the Ohio Power, but both in black for the time being. The Vulcan Standard is another option, and it’s in bright zinc rather than black. It has both marks like the Chan, but you’d have your power marks. It’s slim pickings for power bars these days if you don’t want black. Seems to be the thing.

      • Mr. Bill October 13, 2015, 7:58 am

        Ok, that’s what I feared, but I’m really glad to hear how much you like the American power bars. A couple quick questions: is the feel of their power-bar knurling more or less the same as what you describe for the Olympic? If so, it sounds wonderful, and I’d just have to think about the price. How aggressive is the center knurling? It might be helpful for back squats, but in the past I’ve had center knurling chew up my collar bones with front squats, and I never go that heavy in any case. And I assume the heat-treating just ups the tensile strength from 190 to 210, and otherwise doesn’t change anything? (There’s no way I’ll need that much.) Finally, I assume the only difference between black and bright zinc (besides the look) is that scratches on the bright zinc won’t be as noticeable – but both coatings are the same hardness and both will require some oiling to prevent rust in the scratches?

        Thanks again – super duper helpful!

        • jburgeson October 13, 2015, 10:35 am

          It doesn’t feel like AB did anything different with the knurling on any of their stainless steel bars. The superior grip is pretty much a result of the steel. It’s cheating kind of. The center knurl is passive; way way softer than the outer knurl. Yeah the Super has a higher tensile strength than the Elite and would stay more rigid under the heaviest of loads.

          As far as the zinc goes, I don’t know if one is inherently better than the other, but both will almost completely prevent oxidation so long as their is a coating still on the bar. But ya, the black will look like it’s coming off quicker.. and maybe it actually does. Bright zinc will just always look better in my opinion, but there is obviously a fan-base for black because everyone offers it. Oil in scratches will help where the zinc has gone away.

          • Mr. Bill November 5, 2015, 11:21 am

            Just a quick follow-up to say that I grabbed the AB Elite while it was on sale, and I’ve now used it a few times. It’s great! It does everything I need, and I love that I can keep it my slightly damp basement without worrying about rust. Thanks again for all the tips! (Now I’m just waiting for the black Vulcan change plates to come back in stock and I’ll be set for a while!)

            • jburgeson November 5, 2015, 12:16 pm

              Awesome. Thanks for the update, glad you like it. The V-locks are nice too. Worth the wait; much better than iron.

  • Matt October 22, 2015, 3:34 pm

    Got the bar and have been lifting on it, I’m excited about it. American Barbell seems to be running a bunch of sales now, too. If I had known, I might have dropped the extra $25 for the Elite Power Bar with center knurling or even the extra $60 for the Super Power Bar to get the 210K PSI strength. Then again, lifting with the SS WOD bar isn’t anything to complain about. Just a note for everyone else to check out the other bars that are temporarily comparable in price.

    • Tony October 22, 2015, 3:53 pm

      I know, I just noticed that too! I was definitely interested in a center knurl also but at the time the stainless steel at that price trumped it. I went ahead and got it earlier than I would have because of the limited quantity. Oh well, like you said it’s still a phenomenal bar.

      Does the elite power bar have less whip? The diameter and psi is exactly the same as the SS WOD, so unless the whip is different they seem exactly the same but with a center knurl.

      • jburgeson October 22, 2015, 5:12 pm

        That I don’t know, but the Super does.

        If you take all the discounts and sale prices away from the SS WOD and the Elite Power, I think you’d find that they would be priced about the same. I also don’t think that under normal circumstances that the WOD bar would have been 28.5 mm, at least not according to AB’s bar line-up prior to the SS WOD. All bars were 28 mm except the power bars.

        I’ve got three of their stainless bars now, and two of them were not on sale. Amazing bars at either price. I think every SS bar they sell except the Pro bearing is on sale right now.

        • Tony October 31, 2015, 4:48 pm

          As an update, I asked Philip at AB about the Elite vs the SS WOD in terms of whip since on paper they are spec’d the same (28.5 diameter, stainless steel, composite bushings, 190 psi) and he explained that steel grade can change the flexibility/stiffness of a bar, so even two bars with identical specs can perform very differently in terms of whip. He did say that the Elite uses a different steel grade so it will indeed be stiffer than the WOD bar. I also asked why steel grade isn’t advertised like the other elements of a barbell and he let me know that steel grade is generally proprietary so manufacturers aren’t going to be sharing specifics with us about that anytime soon. Anyways, I thought I’d share this knowledge with everyone here and I also wanted to note that Philip and AB in general have just been absolutely great when it comes to customer service.

    • Alex October 22, 2015, 3:58 pm

      It seems they’ve created almost the same bar at 3 different price points. They’re all bushing bars, so I guess tensile strength and presence or lack of a center knurl is all that separates them. Oh well, I have the SS WOD bar and am pleased with it.

  • Kenny November 4, 2015, 1:08 pm

    Thanks for your review, I just got the AB SPB during the halloween sale. I just started to lift and also buying for home gym for strength training (following stronglift 5×5). Is there any reason to also get the SS WOD bar?

    • jburgeson November 4, 2015, 1:29 pm

      No not really, not for that program. It’s really a CrossFit bar. If you thought CF might be something you’ll work into, and you’re not financially worried about buying two bars, it is a good price, but you definitely don’t need it.

      • Kenny November 4, 2015, 1:55 pm

        I have the same thought as you, as I don’t need the WOD bar especially for the program I will be doing currently. The only thing is that the value is so good for the WOD bar right now, “in case” I will do any type of Crossfit or Olympic Liftings, then the WOD seems to be better than the SPB.

        I just don’t want to end up buying this bar at a higher price in the future when I need it, however I also don’t want to buy something I may not need for quite a while. What is your suggestion?

        • jburgeson November 4, 2015, 3:04 pm

          I’d say wait unless you see the desire to have it in the very near future. You never know, may be something else, or maybe you even want something at 28 mm for the Olympic lifts rather than 28.5.

          You know the Precision is currently on sale too, but that’s another $60. Is slightly more versatile considering you have the Super being a whippier 28 mm bar, but other than that same bar as the WOD. Still though, doesn’t sound very urgent to me either way

          • Kenny November 4, 2015, 3:34 pm

            Agreed. I will wait and see how it is in the future, thanks a lot.

  • Brock kirian November 9, 2015, 10:11 pm

    AB currently has Precision Training Bar for $360 (down from $495). Seems like a great deal, marketed as the same as the AB SS Olympic bar but with bushing instead. Only difference seems to be that you can return the precision if needed, wod bar is final sale. And the diameter, I definitely prefer a 28 mm for obvious reasons, but do you think there would be any grip benefits to training with a 28.5 most of the time so a 28 feels easier to grip for comps, big lifts, etc? I will also be squatting and doing a few wods, so 28.5 would be better in that aspect, but along with the grip being better on a 28, the whip is beneficial. I have pretty big lifts that I notice and love the whip, but is that gonna be too detrimental in squats? I’m open to other options too, but would like to stick with American made (I’m from Columbus so I love rogue, and they have the best customer service around). But I’m really drawn to the feel, maintenance (or lack of), and durability of the Stainless and AB has the best prices on those. Thanks for any help.

    • jburgeson November 9, 2015, 10:50 pm

      I don’t think you’ll feel a difference in the squat unless you squat in excess of 500 pounds, and even then I don’t think it’s a deal breaker. I certainly wouldn’t forego the whip in the 28 mm bar for a 28.5 mm bar if you already pull heavy enough to benefit from it. I also don’t see any benefit other than maybe psychological for training with a thicker bar, especially when thicker is only half a millimeter.

      I don’t see anyone returning either of these stainless bars short of an actual defect, in which case you could return either. AB wouldn’t stick it to anyone like that. It’s a great deal that $360. Look at the site, I love Rogue, but I’m not married to them when someone else has a deal for a product they don’t even offer =p

      What I’m curious about is why you aren’t looking at bearing bars if you already pull heavy enough to feel the whip. Have you been content with bushing rotation so far? I mean, it’s not unheard of, and I’m just curious. I mean, I get the obvious answer of $360 vs $799 but maybe there is more.

      • Brock Kirian November 10, 2015, 11:05 pm

        It’s mainly the obvious answer of 360 vs 799. I’ve used eleiko at some comps and some grid stuff and they’re amazing, as in sure the AB bearing bar is. But I just can’t justify the price right now, as I’m buying bar, bumpers, power rack all at once, and a bar for my fiancé. And I’m currently used to training with the 2.0 or a pendlay bar (not sure what model), and I think the 2.0 has decent spin with the bushings. Also any thoughts you have on bumpers of racks would be great, currently going with AB sport bumpers due to price and free shipping, seem like good quality too. And rack was looking at RML-390F flat foot monster lite rack, as I don’t want to have to bolt it down, it’s going to be in a basement or garage. It seems like a pretty good/versatile rack for the price.

        • Brock Kirian November 10, 2015, 11:08 pm

          And I do squat more than 500, but I’m sure I’d get used to it, and I currently won’t be able to go over 500 yet with the bumpers I’ll have.

          • jburgeson November 10, 2015, 11:16 pm

            If you were squatting with that Pendlay you were already squatting a 28 mm bar, so I don’t think you’ll be at all offended by the Precision. The price on the AB bumpers with the free shipping is solid. They are new plates and I haven’t seen them yet, but I mean what could be wrong with them, you know? With a 500 squat I don’t see you flinging around a bar with only 10 lb bumpers, but if your girl would be I suggest a pair of OFW 10’s from Fringesport. Much sturdier bumper in those smaller weights than pretty much everyone else. I think they still ship anything for free too so it would just be the cost of the discs.

            390F is good too. Definitely one of the better options if avoiding anchors matters. Only other suggestion is the HR-2, but if you want a full cage then that’s a no go. You’re definitely on the right track though.

        • Brock November 26, 2015, 11:06 pm

          Pry not the right place to ask about this, but wasn’t sure where else to ask it. Have a friend who just got the Lynx oly bar. He says he loves it, he’s too far away for me to get my hands on it. Do you know anything about these bars? Seems like another steal, as I was previously going to go with the AB precision training bar which is 350 right now. The Lynx has 5 bearings per sleeve for $319. Not sure how durable they are but he says the bar feels great in his hands too. Any thoughts on these bars, particularly in comparison to the Ab precision training. Another concern of mine was customer service, I’m used to rogue customer service which has been outstanding thus far. Can’t find many reviews about the barbells for AB anywhere but here, and can only find reviews for the Lynx hybrid. And not much about customer service for either.

          Thanks

          • T November 26, 2015, 11:45 pm

            Charles over at Lynx provides excellent customer service at least on a local level. Living in Atlanta, I’ve never needed to have anything shipped or returned. I’ve done business with them several times, and they’ve always been extremely helpful and accommodating.

            I haven’t gotten my hands on the Lynx Oly bar yet, but I have a lot of experience with the Lynx Hybrid Bearing Bar which, for the pricepoint, I was very happy with. However, the craftsmanship of my AB barbell (SS WOD) is definitely more refined than the Lynx bar I’ve used. The company seems to be progressing rapidly though so I’d love to try out the Oly bar before making a judgement.

            • jburgeson November 27, 2015, 12:14 am

              yeah I just replied to that myself.. I don’t like that Oly bar. Reminds me of the K. “$300 for $600 of bar.” Hey, I could be wrong though.

          • jburgeson November 27, 2015, 12:13 am

            Brock I don’t know much about Lynx; the company itself. I don’t like the price of that bar though; it doesn’t match the specifications. $300 for a 200k+ PSI chrome plated shaft with 10 needle bearings is not right. That’s a $500 or $600 bar anywhere else. Any number of things could explain the price, and I don’t like any of them. But again, I don’t know the company or their reputation and I don’t want to speculate or make negative assumptions about them, so I’ll just leave it at that..

            American Barbell is completely on par with Rogue both in terms of the quality of their bars, and customer service. I know the AB review pages here have a ton of comments, but if you were bored enough to read them all you’d see some people have had to deal with AB customer service and they were always taken care of, and everyone is completely happy with their bars; be it the WOD, Super Power, or even the $800 SS Pro. I personally have all three of those bars and two of them are in my top three. The Precision is a steal right now, and I don’t think the $50 savings from the Lynx is worth the gamble, but that’s just me.

            • T November 27, 2015, 12:42 am

              To be clear, the AB Precision Training bar is a bushing bar, correct? If it’s a bearing bar, I’d have to be all over that. I know I can check, but if there’s an AB chrome or SS bearing bar in that price range, somebody please let me know.

              • jburgeson November 27, 2015, 1:06 am

                Precision is bushing. The SS Pro is the bearing version of the stainless line which is $799 normally, or $699 right now.

            • Brock November 27, 2015, 11:28 am

              As always, thanks for the input. As soon as I think I have it settled, something else pops up on the radar. I guess I’m just struggling with the AB because I haven’t heard much about it beyond this website, pry cause it’s a relatively new company and they’re on the opposite coast of me. But from what I get here it sounds like I can’t really go wrong with it.

              • jburgeson November 27, 2015, 11:41 am

                AB the brand is new, but the company has been around longer than just about all the competition. They’ve just been commercial vendors for most of that time. That’s why you see some of the random things they have on their site like cable attachments and urethane coated plates, and why a lot of the equipment (like racks) seem over-priced; it’s for the commercial market.

                You got one thing right though. Their location on the West Coast is awful logistically. It’s exactly why free shipping isn’t a thing with them, and why some stuff seems too expensive once shipping is added in. Gotta be Central US if you want to ship heavy stuff. I think that’s why OFW can match bumper prices and ship them for free anywhere. Has everything to do with being in Texas.

                • Brock November 27, 2015, 11:57 pm

                  So eleiko has the XF bar for 441 with free shipping for Black Friday. The AB precision training bar with shipping is 370. Any thoughts on the eleiko, it didn’t look like you had a review out on it yet, but I have to assume it’s good quality being an eleiko, and that seems like a really good price, and I like the dual marked knurling (not that big of a deal tho). But I’ve also never been able to get my hands on a stainless bar, so I can’t say how these two would compare, if you have experience with it id appreciate your input.

                  • jburgeson November 28, 2015, 12:52 am

                    Yeah so the XF is nice; it is an Eleiko. I think it’s a great bar; a bit over-priced at full retail, but that’s a nice sale price. The thing to note about it is that if this is for CrossFit or any high rep work, the knurl is a bit much. It’s light for Eleiko, but it’s still sharper than just about any multi-purpose bar I can think of. Also the bearings mixed with bushings doesn’t really make the sleeves spin any smoother or faster than if there were just bushings. It performs like a bushing bar. On the good side, it is the standard Eleiko shaft; very whippy at the high weights and given the usual fancy chrome finish.

                    Both of these bars are at good prices. The stainless will give a great grip without the cheese grater, but other than that I think there are arguments to be made for either.

                    • Brock November 29, 2015, 7:48 am

                      Pure strength has their bearing bar on sale for 350 down from 500. But it’s zinc coated which I wanted to stay away from. Any thoughts on what’s more important, bar shaft feel that I’d get from the SS, or the better spin you’d appreciate from the bearing bar? Also, do you have any experience buying closeout bars from rogue, been eying the WL bar that’s down to 375.

                    • jburgeson November 29, 2015, 11:40 am

                      Very small percentage of the lifting world actually needs bearings in their bars. Bushings spin very well up to many hundreds of pounds. Keep in mind the spin is only necessary for the clean and snatch; doesn’t matter in a deadlift or back squat or anything else. Bearing bars are pretty much for the Oly pros and/or the people with money to burn, so if you don’t clean a lot, I wouldn’t give bearing bars too much thought. If cost doesn’t matter, sure buy a true bearing bar; why not. Otherwise focus on feel, quality, warranty, and price until your skill level necessitates a pro bar.

                      Regarding the closeouts, I do not. I hear its hit or miss though, and I’ve always been reluctant to order a closeout bar. Now, they’ve gotten better with the product descriptions on those closeouts, but they are still too vague for my liking considering they don’t explain exactly what the “issue” is. Many people have gotten good deals there though, I’m just too afraid to risk it personally. That said, Rogue won’t send you a broken bar. What they might send you is a bar that you wish you spent a little more money on to just get a new one. Less likely with the WL since it’s like almost half off, but still possible I suppose. I’m not a gambling man though so I’m far less likely to give it a shot than many lol

  • Alex November 10, 2015, 11:31 am

    I thought I’d throw out there that the chrome sleeves are already rusting in a few spots on the SS WOD bar. It does stay in a non-climate controlled Crossfit box, but I do normally wipe it down every day or so and have never used a metal plate on it. I’ve only used v-locks, rubber fractional plates, and standard/comp bumpers. It’s not a huge deal as I was able to use the steel brush that came with my Eleiko and some 3-in-1 oil to get most of the rust off. However, that’s pretty disappointing in a bar I’ve only had for a few months that I take good care of. I guess the chrome coating isn’t very durable. I was wiping the bar down daily with a slightly oily rag, but I had stopped doing that because it was causing the Oso collars to move after multiple reps.

  • Chris Emmons December 7, 2015, 3:22 pm

    I am currently looking into purchasing the Vulcan Elite 3.0 per your review. I am a 5 to 6 day a week crossfiter but will be increasing my olympic lifting to 3 nights a week. I would be primarily using this bar for all of my olympic lifting and every so often with my WOD’s depending on the programming. I have now run across the American Barbell Precision training bar (SS) for the lowered price of $355. I just wanted to get your input on which bar you would recommend at this point, the Vulcan or the AB??? Thank you for your input and your great reviews on your site.

    • jburgeson December 7, 2015, 5:07 pm

      Chris the Precision is at too competitive of a price right now. I’d take it over the Elite over and over again.

      At both bar’s regular prices, I’d do the Elite, but that’s just not the situation right now.

      Functionally we’re not talking much of a difference. They’re both 28 mm Olympic training (bushing) bars. The composite bushings of the Precision may be considered a very minor upgrade in your case because it sounds like this bar is going to get a boat load of use, and composite can take a hell of a beating. Plus it’s just so hard to top that SS feel; it’s just so easy on the hands.

      • Chris Emmons December 7, 2015, 5:30 pm

        Thanks for your input on Vulcan vs AB. I have spent time reading a lot of your reviews and they have been extremely helpful and have provided a ton of insight. I will leave another comment on your page and AB once barbell is in hand and hopefully earn you some type of kudos with AB.

        • jburgeson December 7, 2015, 11:55 pm

          I’m glad to hear that, and I appreciate you saying that. Yes please say nice things so that if this site ever falls through, I’ll have an in over there for a job… Head of Marketing or something fancy like that. =p

  • Tony December 24, 2015, 10:51 am

    Think it’s gone for good this time?

    • jburgeson December 24, 2015, 12:01 pm

      Yeah I think so

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