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Eleiko Power Lock – Olympic Training Bar Review

Eleiko Power Lock Olympic Bar Reveal

The new Eleiko Power Lock is a unique and rather interesting take on the classic Eleiko Training Bar. Matter of fact, the Power Lock is really just a variant of the Eleiko Training Bar. They share the same hardware, same specifications, and same high level of performance, only the new Power Lock has different sleeves – really cool looking sleeves with a series of deep grooves.

Now I’m sure you already have a pretty good idea of what purpose these special grooves serve, but I’m going to just pretend that you have no clue whatsoever so that I can tell you all about it – because that’s what I do. But first, the specs:

Power Lock Training Bar Specifications

  • 15 kg (25 mm) or 20 kg (28 mm) bars
  • Rotation: 10 high-speed, precision needle bearings
  • Shaft: standard 215,000 PSI Swedish-steel, chrome plated
  • Elasticity: high whip
  • Sleeves: integrated cap, chrome plated
  • Loadable sleeve length: 16¼” (with PL Collars: 12½”) *
  • Max Load with PL Collars: approx. 265 kg or 580 lbs.
  • Power Lock System: 23 grooves per sleeve; ½” apart from center
  • Knurl depth: firm / semi-aggressive
  • Center knurl: 20 kg men’s bar only
  • Price: $989 (includes collars)
  • Warranty: Conditional 10-years

* There is an inch of total loadable sleeve length lost when the Power Lock Collars are used. This is simply due to the location of the last groove in the sleeve. I only mention this because someone will inevitably do the math and realize that the difference between 16¼ & 12½ is greater than the max width of the collars.

Power Lock (PL) Collar Specifications

  • 5 kg pair (2½ kg per collar)
  • 4″ diameter (not counting handles), overall [adjustable] thickness of 2¼” – 2¾” [view]
  • Chrome plated
  • Warranty: 2-years
  • Price: included in bar price (previously the collars were $149 on top of the nearly $900 bar price tag.)

By the way, if you’ve got the idea in your head that the Power Lock looks sort of gimmicky, let me assure you that Eleiko’s new creation is a completely functional, high-end piece of training equipment. It may be a niche product, and it may be intended for mature audiences, but gimmick it is not.

Eleiko Power Lock vs Eleiko Training Bar

At the beginning of this article I mentioned that the Power Lock is a variant of the Eleiko IWF Training Bar. They have the same shaft, same number of precision needle bearings, same chrome finish, and even the same price. Everything is the same save for the grooved sleeves of the Power Lock.

The only situation in which it’s cheaper to own the Power Lock over the Trainer is if you intended to buy Eleiko’s Comp Collars with your Training Bar ($289 vs. $149.) I can’t imagine that happens all that often, so the Trainer is technically the more affordable of the two since any (non-Eleiko) collars will do.

Eleiko Competition Collars ($289) versus Power Lock Collars ($149)

Power Lock Tech – Why & How?

There’s no denying how cool this bar looks, especially with those beast collars, but cool looking isn’t worth a thousand bucks. So what’s the justification for buying this bar over any other Olympic bar then? Well, pretty much convenience.

Eleiko Power Lock Technology - It sure looks bad ass, but what's the point?

The Eleiko Power Lock sure looks bad ass, but is that enough?

Here’s the deal… if you’re willing to spend about four seconds attaching each collar rather than the 2 seconds that it takes to lock down “normal” collars, then you can train for an unlimited number of high rep sets and never, ever have to push a plate back into position, or re-attach a collar that has come loose. That’s the whole point of the Power Lock’s unique design – to eliminate ever having to screw with the plates or collars in between sets, or more importantly, in the middle of a set.

Olympic plates working their way off the bar after each and every rep & drop

Look familiar to you no-collar-using lifters? Even many basic collars can come loose after a few drops. The Power Lock eliminates any need to touch the collars or plates until you actually need to add or remove weight.

How do the collars work? It’s easier than it looks. The collars slide on the sleeve like any other opened collar. Once you get it all the way to the plates, pull the collar back and it will lock into the first open groove. In most cases, that’s it. All done – lift away.

If there is a decent sized gap left between the plate and collar, spin the large nut (the spikes) a couple turns to close that gap. Boom, now you’re done. The collars will not come off that sleeve until you re-loosen the spikey thing and hit the release button. Very simple. You can see a quick video demonstration below.

By the way, I should mention that the second step of tightening the collar isn’t even required. The gap between collar and plate will never be any bigger than the small distance between each groove on the bar (½”). Only the OCD (/wave) will feel compelled to close that gap every time.

After you’ve used these collars a couple times, they become just as quick and easy to attach and remove as any other collar. And if you think OSO Collars looked cool, well pfft!

The Rest of the Bar

The Shaft

Eleiko doesn’t have a dozen different shaft configurations like most other giant barbell manufacturers. If you’re buying an Olympic WL bar from Eleiko, you’re getting the same uber shaft that’s used for all Eleiko Olympic WL bars. From the $600 Eleiko XF all the way up to the $1000+ Eleiko Competition Bar, you can expect the same premium, high-whip piece of Swedish steel.

Matter of fact, the only difference between the Power Lock and the Full Competition Bar in terms of hardware (not counting the grooved sleeves, of course) is a more moderate knurl on the Power Lock, and a lack of IWF sticker. You get the same 215,000 PSI high-whip shaft, same 10 precision needle bearings, same overall bar specifications, and even the same little brush for cleaning chalk and gunk out of the knurling.

The Knurl

For those of you that don’t know, the knurling depth and firmness on the various Eleiko WL bars varies based on the bar. As you move through the ranks of WL bars (XF, Sport Trainer, IWF Trainer, & IWF Competition) the knurling gets progressively more aggressive. In other words, the XF is the most moderate, while the Competition is super aggressive.

Knurling depth and aggressiveness - Power Lock Olympic Training Bar

As I previously mentioned, the Power Lock Trainer is the same as the IWF Trainer, therefore the knurl is exactly the same. A little firmer than the Sport Trainer, but not quite as aggressive as the Comp. Personally I find the knurl on the Trainer to be just right, and I can’t imagine anyone ever complaining that it’s too soft. On the contrary, those not used to aggressive knurling may find the Power Lock to be slightly intimidating at first. Fear not though; you’ll adjust, and be better for it.

Performance – Spin and Whip

I won’t spend much time here as I can’t really say anything that hasn’t been said a thousand times. Eleiko whip is top tier. It’s possible to find comparable whip in other bars (the Euro, for instance), but don’t expect to do much better. Elasticity is already obvious with even two wheels per sleeve, and it gets more and more pronounced as you move up in weight. There is never a question of performance in this department when it comes to the Swedes.

Spin is much the same. Five premium needle bearings per sleeve is about as good as it gets. Tell me a story about an Eleiko bar that doesn’t spin and I’ll immediately ask you what in the hell you did to it to make it not spin.

Durability of Chrome on Sleeves

One of the things that I worried about before I actually had the bar in front of me was how well the plates would slide over those grooves. Were the plates going to catch on the edges and tear off the chrome finish? Turns out the distance between each groove is far enough apart that the plate won’t catch on the grooves unless you put some serious tilt into the plate as you are sliding it across, and this is only really possible to do easily with the very thin 10 kg plates and the thinnest change plates.

Sadly though, the method most people use to remove plates from a loaded Oly bar that’s sitting on the ground does not work very well with the Power Lock. In other words, lifting the end of the bar high enough to pull the plate off the bar with the plate that you’re trying to remove does not work well, and is actually a rather frustrating battle. I would recommend either a mini deadlift jack or a dead wedge if you care about the chrome finish of the sleeves holding up for any length of time.

Some more images

As much as I’d love to show this bar off with Eleiko Comp Discs instead of Rogue Trainers, who can afford it!?

Random Power Lock Perk – Silence!

Because of the tightening potential of the Power Lock collars and the strict manufacturing tolerances of high-end bars, the Power Lock bar may be the quietest bar on the market. If you think about it, even steel change plates can be locked down tightly. Couple this with an actual quiet bumper plate like the XF and your noise problems may be solved once and for all. Just a thought!

Should I Buy a Power Lock?

The Eleiko Power Lock is a very interesting bar. It’s extremely unique in function, incredibly cool to look at, and performs just as well as any other Eleiko Olympic bar. That said, I think that there are two very important factors to consider before purchasing this bar.

For starters, you simply have to be an avid Olympic weightlifter or high-rolling CrossFitter. This bar’s unique locking mechanism serves no purpose and offers no advantage to lifters who are not frequently and repeatedly dropping a loaded bar. Do not spend this kind of money on a bar if you only snatch or clean once a week. This bar will also offer you very little over the standard Trainer if you change weight each and every set – it’s just not going to be quite as efficient for you.

Secondly, you have to be able to afford this bar without feeling bad or having to starve yourself. The Power Lock Bar + Collars sells for well over a thousand bucks after shipping. It’s neat and it’s certainly fancy, but is it 10-bills neat? Not if you’re on a budget it’s not.

So yeah, the Power Lock is a good match for a very specific type of lifter, and that would be the lifter that does multiple sets at the same weight. So long as you keep the same weight on the bar for more than one small set, the Power Lock will simplify your training sessions. If that’s not you, it’s just an expensive novelty.

{ 34 comments… add one }
  • Devin April 17, 2016, 11:14 am

    Once again, thank you for a wonderful review. I have only a couple questions, both about weight. First… did you weigh the bar and collars (it seems you usually do, and since this is Eleiko, I’m quite certain what the results will be, but always curious). Second… are the dimensions of the sleeves any different, specifically the collar/neck–whatever you want to call it? All the metal removed for the grooves has to go somewhere, right?

    • jburgeson April 17, 2016, 11:46 am

      I did actually. The scale I had for heavier items broke so I used a scale only accurate to within .2 pounds (won’t do kilos), and given that allowed deviation the bar was within range. I’m convinced that it’s within the same tolerances as any Eleiko.

      The collars I was able to do more accurately because I have a smaller scale that measures in grams. Both collars were within 13 grams (that’s 13 out of 2500), so no issues there.

      The weight lost from cutting out those grooves cannot amount to much. I’d be surprised if it amounted to more than 500 grams or so. Still it is missing weight, and I’m pretty sure the way they made up for it is by increasing the diameter of the shoulder itself (not the thickness). It is measurably different, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at it. It’s actually a rather savvy way to do that since it allows them to leave the shaft and the important dimensions alone.

  • M April 17, 2016, 12:05 pm

    Frank Zappa had something to say about this:

    “Hey Lawdy Mama, can’t afford no shoes
    Maybe there’s a bundle of rags that I can use”

    That said, this seems to be a definite advance and shouldn’t require much additional lathe work — we might wish this was the standard way but I’d guess there’s a patent.

  • Sam April 17, 2016, 12:16 pm

    What’s the best intermediate Olympic WL bearing bar available now? 300-400 range?

    • jburgeson April 17, 2016, 12:38 pm

      Bearings for $300-$400? Not so much. Intermediate WL bars in that price range are generally bushings (Vaughn, Precision, Rogue Trainer). The closest good bearing bar to that price would probably be something like the zinc Rogue Oly for $525. Of course, there are some super cheap bearing bars out there, but including “intermediate” in your phrasing kind of rules them out. Actually Vulcan has a bearing version of their Standard for $499 (its on sale now I think) but I don’t know how good it for experienced lifters. Their real bearing bar is $600. The Standard is supposed to be for boxes and gyms so it probably favors durability over performance, but I haven’t actually seen that version of it so I don’t know for sure (I do have the bushing version, and it is durable but I don’t like the knurl for heavy Oly lifts.)

      It’s tough. You can do really well for that money with bushings, but you’re a little short for the good bearing bars. Early 500’s is when they get good.

  • Steven Ward April 17, 2016, 12:31 pm

    Glad you got it in and reviewed it. I’m a fan of Eleiko, not only because I sell it but to clients, but the fact they are one of the few manufacturers who have stood the test of time. That means something to me, as a dealer. I’ll agree with your review and also comment that although it is unique and for a certain end use, at least they are coming up with unique options. Too many bar companies just keep coming up with more bar models, almost to the extreme. Platform lifting and specific olympic wifting gyms will like the bar to have and to mess with. After all, that’s what they do. I do sell alot of CrossFit gyms and am pretty sure most would not make use of it for now. They tend to go with very average bars along with the trend of members owning their own collars. I don’t have this bar in yet but am anxious to get it and show it off. I know I can sell it for sure to a select group.

    • jburgeson April 17, 2016, 12:40 pm

      Yeah I referred to CrossFit as an application more for the individual athlete (your serious Games-type athlete who trains at home frequently and with big weights) and not the boxes. No box is going to equip with Eleikos and let their users have a free-for-all with $1000 bars.

  • Justin April 17, 2016, 7:21 pm

    Great review. Your reviews have always helped me in purchasing new equipment. I would love to see your review on the Eleiko powerlifting bar. My budget allows for it but I don’t want to risk regretting the purchase.

    • jburgeson April 17, 2016, 7:49 pm

      haha ya I’d love to have one to review! That would have to be a pretty good sale.

  • Rick April 25, 2016, 8:31 am
    • jburgeson April 25, 2016, 9:41 am

      Yeah you know, I was about to bid on one of the old 80’s Soviet variations this weekend, but price was a bit high, and was in Europe. Had to pass. The Eleiko is definitely an “inspired” bar, to put it professionally. =p

      • Dave McCredo April 26, 2016, 9:14 am

        Hey
        Sorry for high bid.I bough the Soviet bar just about the same price without the collars.I get these collars for spare .Hope they work

        • jburgeson April 26, 2016, 9:46 am

          haha no worries. You bought the second bar just for the collars?

          • Dave McCredo April 26, 2016, 12:09 pm

            Hi
            No, I am buying new collars for vintage bar back up.I just happen to collect a lot of collars (Mostly old York spin locks). I would only buy this new bar if it was in stainless steel,like Ivanko raw power bar.I did see photo of the old Soviet bar when sold as a new set with beautiful polished edged plates.

            • jburgeson April 26, 2016, 3:50 pm

              Oh I see. Yeah I’d like to have one of the Soviet versions. I wasn’t opposed to the price tag on eBay, but for not knowing how straight it is, if the old collars work, spin, etc… $400 is a bit much to gamble. The Eleiko is great and all, but an old un-branded, Soviet-made barbell is just cool and classy.

              I’m also with you on that stainless thing. I’m a huge fan of SS bars. I’ve had my eyes on the Ivanko IPF bar for a while now.

  • Dave McCredo April 27, 2016, 9:19 am

    Hi
    Thanks for the kind words regarding the soviet bar.i will post update once it’s delivered .(approx May 6, )

    • Rick May 24, 2016, 5:12 am

      Is it delivered yet? Im curious!

  • Amanda May 16, 2016, 8:38 pm

    You’ll like this one:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Barbell-Weightlifting-Dvorkin-LS-Young-weightlifter-Russian-/152083523529?hash=item2368e267c9:g:wNoAAOSwShJXL13l

    1982 vintage Soviet bar with strapping young athlete hoisting it on the cover.
    Probably looks rather familiar. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, I suppose.

  • Vince June 1, 2016, 12:05 pm

    Thank you for the barbell review I’ve been doing a lot of research on the kind of barbell I want to buy for my home-gym, and I am willing to spend the money for a pricey one ($800 or more).
    If I bought this barbell would I be at a disadvantage if I bought werk san plates or the uesaka varisty plates? I have a feeling that the groove spacing was really meant for only eleiko plates and I was hoping that the size of the bumper plates will not damage the sleeve despite the groove. The uesaka varsity plates are also quite larger than the regular comp plates. Any advice would be great and most appreciated. Looking forward to more of your reviews.

    • jburgeson June 1, 2016, 12:34 pm

      Vince the grooves impact nothing but the collars themselves. Any Olympic plate can be used with the Power Lock, including Uesaka, WerkSan, Rogue, ZKC, etc. The Power Lock has the same 50 mm sleeve diameter as any other brand, and bumpers all follow that same 50 mm standard. The width doesn’t matter either, as a 10 kg comp bumper is about as thin as they get, and I had no issue with 10 kg plates on the Power Lock, and I don’t own Eleiko discs.

  • Neal June 17, 2016, 3:26 pm

    I’m taking the plunge to outfit a garage gym and cancel my gym membership and your site has been invaluable for planning everything out! What I’m most looking forward to is being able to have a really nice Oly setup. The top bars I’m considering are this Eleiko, the AB SS, maybe the Rogue Euro and I keep waiting to find out about the Vulcan SS Oly bar. Have you heard anything on the Vulcan and do you think the Power Lock feature and Eleiko magic out weigh the SS grip on the AB?

    • jburgeson June 17, 2016, 7:49 pm

      I don’t know anything about the Absolute Vulcan yet, sorry. I am excited though.

      As far as the Power Lock feature, I don’t think it adds anything to the bar’s performance. It’s just kind of neat, but not really. The bar is fantastic being that it’s an Eleiko Trainer, and I might use it over the SS if I lifted at a competitive level and expected to be using that very bar on stage, but no, personally I still prefer the AB SS, and I rarely touch the Eleiko’s.

      I’ll definitely write up something when I know more about the Vulcan – not sure if I’ll end up with one, but it’s possible.

  • Dave M September 13, 2016, 9:27 am

    So,a while back i had mentioned that i had bought the original design Russian barbell.
    sad to say bar never came.Shipper in UK was unable to ship? ebay refunded money
    with a word to me or the owner.I never even found out if the owner got his bar back
    I already had purchased a set of collars as backup with out even knowing if they fit. I am now looking to buy Eleiko power lock bar this week

    • jburgeson September 13, 2016, 9:54 am

      That sucks Dave – that was a cool buy. I guess at least you know your collars will fit the Eleiko, for what that’s worth.

      • Dave M September 19, 2016, 8:13 am

        I just got the power lock bar Friday.First impression was WOW!. The chrome looked like it had a slight bluish hue and because of the shadowing on the ridges they looked like it had
        black pin striping. Even without the light effects, the bar just looks way cool.I never had a bar of this type and quality and was kinda shocked to actually feel and see the bar bend with weight on it.I still keep a eye out for the Russian Rekordnaia Stanga .I especially liked the Russian writing on the end caps.That being said,No regrets on having this gorgeous
        Bar instead.( Sad to say,Yes! i just bought it because of the its looks)

        • jburgeson September 19, 2016, 9:22 am

          That’s awesome. Hey, it’s like buying a Mercedes when you only really needed a Camry. What’s the harm.

  • Austin Mesa October 25, 2016, 9:06 pm

    I’m currently looking at the bar on the closeout and demo page for variably cheaper.

    So let me get this right, the bar is the same as the regular training bar with the only difference being the sleeves? Also how variable is the difference between comp knurling and training knurling. Reason i ask is because I currently have the DHS bar and the knurling is wayyyyyyy too soft.

    Thanks

    • jburgeson October 26, 2016, 9:43 am

      Yes, the shafts of the Trainer and Power Lock Trainer are the same. Literally the same shaft with the same knurl pattern/depth. That is how it is supposed to be anyway.

      The Trainer is only slightly milder than the competition, neither of which are considered “soft” by most people’s standards. DHS isn’t typically weakly knurled, so you either you have a poorly tooled DHS (not all that surprising), or your knurling preference is slightly extreme. Either way, you can’t get much more aggressive than Eleiko when it comes to Olympic bars.

  • gogy October 26, 2016, 2:49 pm

    Sadly though, the method most people use to remove plates from a loaded Oly bar that’s sitting on the ground does not work very well with the Power Lock. In other words, lifting the end of the bar high enough to pull the plate off the bar with the plate that you’re trying to remove does not work well, and is actually a rather frustrating battle.

    ???????

    Clarify pls dont understand

    • jburgeson October 28, 2016, 11:51 am

      So imagine any other bar lying on the ground loaded with plates. You want to take a plate off, so you go to that side, put your hands around the plate, lift that end of the bar slightly off the ground and slide the plate off the sleeve. That won’t work with the Power Lock because of the big grooves in the sleeve, the plates catch on those grooves.

  • kyle November 30, 2016, 6:39 am

    would you compare the knurling to any other barbell, how does it fare against rogue wl bar, or again faster comp barbell?

    • jburgeson November 30, 2016, 12:57 pm

      Eleiko does one of the best jobs with knurling. It’s more aggressive than any Rogue Oly/CrossFit Bar, and more aggressive (and certainly more consistent) than Again Faster’s Comp/Klokov. If you’ve handled the Ohio Power Bar or Ohio Deadlift Bar, I’d say that gives a fairly good idea of what to expect from Eleiko Training and Comp bars, though the Eleiko is slightly more comfortable. I say that because there is a very subtle difference between the aggressiveness of Eleiko Oly bars and the aggressiveness of straight up power bars. Both are very firm, but the power bars tend to have a sharper point to them.

      Knurl is so tricky to define, and comfort and aggressiveness is super subjective, but I hope that helps a little.

  • Don January 10, 2017, 1:29 pm

    Probably a stupid question, but do you have to use the power collars or can you use quick release collar clamps? Just wondering.

    • jburgeson January 10, 2017, 2:02 pm

      You’ll want the Power Lock collars. Rogue offers this same bar now btw, and the price includes the collars. A little cheaper overall.

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