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Olympic Barbell Review and Shopping Guide

Olympic Barbell Review

Welcome to the Olympic and Powerlifting Barbell Review. If you’re in the market for a quality barbell, or you’re looking to learn the basics of barbell construction, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re a man, woman, or youngster; or whether you’re looking for an Olympic bar, power bar, CrossFit bar, or just a general purpose bar, you will find information on a large selection of the bars currently on the market. With any luck, this article will help you find the perfect bar for you and your garage gym.

In an effort to stay current with new equipment and to keep up with changing prices, this page is updated regularly. Last update: Jan 2015 (added American Barbell SS Oly Bar, added American Barbell Training Oly Bar, added the Vulcan One CrossFit/Oly Bar, added the Vulcan Women’s CrossFit/Oly Bearing Bar, consolidated the Rogue Olympic WL Bar cousins [Froning & Burgener])

Barbell Guide Table of Contents

Understanding Barbell Specifications

Barbell Review and Shopping Guide - Disassembled needle-bearing bar sleeve

Barbell Differences for Men and Women

Barbell’s are not the same for men, women, and junior lifters. They vary in weight, shaft diameter, and in some cases overall bar length. Most bars are men’s bars, but many major manufacturers offer a women’s version of their more popular bars, and less frequently they offer a youth version. Below are the typical specs for each type:

  • Men’s Barbell: weighs 20 kg (~44 pounds), has bar shaft of 28-29 mm, and length of 2.2 meters (7.2 feet).
  • Women’s Barbell: weighs 15 kg (~33 pounds), has bar shaft of 25 mm, and a length of 2.01 meters (~79 inches). The reduction in overall length comes off the sleeves.
  • Youth Barbell: weighs 10 kg (~22 pound) , has bar shaft of 25 mm, and length of 60-67 inches. The reduction in overall length comes off the sleeves.

Type of Bar (Olympic vs Power)

There are three major types of barbells available; Olympic bars, power bars, and dual-marked, multi-purpose bars. Power bars are designed for heavy deadlifts, squats, and bench presses. They are very rigid, stiff bars that do not store elastic energy, making them a poor choice for the Olympic lifts. Power bars have their own unique knurl markings that differ from those on the Olympic bar.

Olympic barbells are designed for the two explosive Olympic lifts; the snatch and the clean & jerk. Olympic bars are generally smaller in diameter and more flexible than Power bars (28 mm vs 29 mm+), and they store more elastic energy (referred to as whip) that is used to the lifter’s advantage when performing heavy clean & jerks. The markings on an Olympic bar are also a couple inches further out from center than the markings on Power bars.

Example of a dual-marked weightlifting barbell

The ever-so-popular and increasingly common dual-marked weightlifting bar.

There is a third type of bar that has become commonplace these days, and that is the dual-marked weightlifting bar. These hybrid bars are intended to be used as a general-purpose bar; a bar that is suitable for Olympic lifts, but can also handle the slower and heavier power lifts. This type of non-specialized bar is generally the best choice for most beginner and intermediate lifters and CrossFitters, and more times than not what you will find in a box or affiliate setting.

Center Knurling

Both the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) and the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) specify that a men’s barbell should have center knurling. While you will always see center knurling on power bars (for heavy squats), it is not that uncommon these days to find Olympic bars offered without the center knurl despite the IWF standard. Center knurling on Olympic bars is normally much softer or passive than the knurling on the rest of the bar. Having this center knurl is really just about personal preference. Just pay attention to product descriptions if this attribute matters to you.

Sleeve Assembly: Bushing vs Bearing

This describes what components are used to allow the sleeves to spin on the shaft. Bushings are a low friction material (usually bronze, sometimes composite) placed between the shaft and the sleeve, while needle bearings spin more smoothly but typically increase the cost of the bar. Both mechanisms allow the sleeves to spin, but bearings allow for a smoother, quieter spin. Nearly all dual-marked/general purpose bars and powerlifting bars are bushing bars. Bearings are generally only found on high-end Olympic bars. Check out this discussion if you’re curious about these two mechanisms.

example of bushings for an olympic barbell

Bushings

Example of needle bearings

Needle Bearings

Tensile Strength

Eleiko PSI bar test

Bend test for Eleiko Olympic Bars

Measured in PSI, this is the breaking point of the barbell. Avoid barbells with no tensile strength offered in the specifications, as that normally means it’s too low to want to point out to the consumer. 150k is a good minimum, 180k is a number you’ll never need to worry about. Ivanko Barbell suggests you never buy under 190k (which covers all of their bars and eliminates a large portion of their competition, so take that with a grain of salt). While higher usually means more expensive, that is not always the case. The York B&R Barbell, for example, is 205k PSI at only $295, and lately even many bars in the $200-$300 range are hitting 190k+ PSI.

Shaft and Sleeve Finish

Barbell Finishes

Barbell Finishes (from left) Black Zinc, Bare Steel, Black Oxide, and Satin Chrome

This is the protective coating on (or not on) the bar. Bare steel requires the most maintenance but has the most natural feel. Black oxide offers slightly more oxidation protection than bare steel, but still requires some maintenance. Both bright and black zinc offer even more oxidation protection, but quickly lose their luster, while satin, hard, and polished chrome offer almost full protection from oxidation but can increase the cost of the bar significantly. One step up from chrome would be stainless steel (not pictured). Stainless offers a similar feeling to bare steel, but without the oxidation; very nice, but very expensive. Read reviews on bars with finishes you’re interested in to see what people think of the feel.

Sleeve Design (Snap Ring vs Pin and End Cap)

This is the method by which the sleeve is secured to the bar. Both of these methods work well and I wouldn’t worry too much about which your preferred bar has. If however you do want to learn more about how these both work, try this article.

I do suggest that you run away from any bar with a hex bolt sticking out of the sleeve. This is very indicative of a bad bar. You shouldn’t come across a hex bolt when dealing with reputable brands; you’re likely only to see this on barbells offered in chain sporting good stores and a good number of the inexpensive bars on Amazon, for example (CAP, Marcy, Gold’s Gym brand, etc.)

Snap ring method for securing sleeve to barbell

Snap Ring

Pin and End Cap method for securing sleeve to barbell

End Cap

The Barbell Review

All the bars listed here met a couple minimum requirements. First, they all have a stated PSI tensile strength, not just a max static weight. This eliminates pretty much every cheap box-store barbell. I strongly believe that buying a $100 bar is an absolute waste of money, and I refuse to pretend otherwise by recommending anyone even consider buying one. If you’re lucky, you’ll just outgrow a cheap bar in a few months and just be out the $100. If you’re unlucky, you’ll break the bar during a lift and hurt yourself.

Examples of broken Olympic barbells and why quality steel is important

A couple examples of how well cheap bars hold up over time. Two box store brands: CAP (left) and Marcy (right). These types of breaks don’t happen often, but the cheaper the bar, the more likely it is. When it does happen it’ll probably be during a lift. Not worth it!

Second, all these bars are manufactured by well established, reputable companies that know what they’re doing and they stand behind their products. Rogue, Eleiko, Ivanko, Vulcan, American Barbell, and WerkSan are all established players in the industry and they all offer warranties.

Go to: Dual-Marked BarsPower Bars | Technique Bars | Youth Bars | Top

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28 mm Olympic Weightlifting Bars

IWF Olympic Barbell specifications

Olympic Weightlifting Barbells are designed for the two explosive lifts: the snatch and the clean & jerk. True Olympic barbells are 28 mm bars (25 mm for women’s) and they will almost always have bearings in the sleeves. However, there are Olympic training bars (like the Vaughn and Vulcan Elite bar immediately below) that utilize bushings instead of bearings to keep the price down. Training bars are a great way to get under a true 28 mm Oly bar for less cash than what a bearing bar will cost you.

The Vaughn Olympic Training Bar (Bushing)

The Vaughn 28 mm Olympic Training Bar

The new Vaughn 28 mm Olympic Barbell – $399 shipped!

The Vaughn Bar was developed by two-time Olympian, Chad Vaughn in an effort to show that a high-quality true 28 mm Olympic bar can be manufactured and sold at a reasonable price. At only $399 including shipping, this bar is an amazing deal for any aspiring Olympic lifter or avid CrossFitter.

For starters, this bar has an very high 216,000 PSI tensile strength while still having decent whip. This is an impressive number that is typically reserved for bars like Eleiko, Ivanko, and Vulcan. The shaft and collars are coated in a beautiful black manganese, and the sleeves are micro-grooved chrome. While this bar is not a bearing bar, it has proprietary bushings that deliver a very smooth and reliable spin. In other words, it spins like a bearing bar, but is priced as a bushing bar.

I have a review for this bar. You can learn much more about it there and also see a video demonstration of the fancy sleeve spin. Great bar and great price.

Vulcan 28mm Elite Olympic Training Bar 3.0 (Bushing)

Barbell Review - Vulcan true 28 mm Elite Olympic Training Bar

An absolutely incredible barbell for the price, the Vulcan Elite Olympic Training Bar is a true 28 mm, 20 kg Olympic training barbell with an unbelievable (and lab confirmed) PSI tensile strength rating of 221,000 PSI. This is a chrome moly bar with a satin zinc finish on the shaft and hard chrome sleeves; it has a nice whip, high tensile strength, and great protection against oxidation.

The Vulcan Olympic Training Bar, 28 mm, 20 kg

This bar adheres to the IWF specifications, including having the center knurl. The bar has moderately aggressive outside knurling typical of an Olympic bar, but the center knurl is of a lower depth in order to be more accommodating to high rep clean sets making this a good choice for CrossFit. The sleeves of this bar are also micro-grooved to keep change plates on the bar without the use of collars or when used outside of the collars.

Keep in mind that this is a bushing bar, not a bearing bar; although listed below  you will find the upgraded bearing version of this bar. This bar comes with a lifetime guarantee against bending, breaking, and sleeve separation; not that you’ll even need it. This bar is a steal at $369, and it’s often on sale. Check it out! Seriously.

Vulcan Professional Needle Bearing Olympic Bar

Vulcan Professional Needle Bearing Olympic Bar

I’m really starting to like Vulcan bars. Vulcan is blowing a lot of the other bar brands out of the water with their steel choices, attention to detail, and finishing touches.

The Vulcan Bearing Bar is a 20 kg, 28 mm, Olympic bar with 8 precision German needle bearings. This bar has been manufactured to all of the IWF specifications including the center knurl. The outer knurl is aggressive and the bar has an absolutely sick, lab tested tensile strength of 240,000 PSI and a 203,000 PSI yield strength. This bar is said to be one of the highest whip bars on the market.

The bar itself is finished with hard chrome, which is both beautiful and one of the best finishes for oxidation protection. If you’re looking for a true, competition-worthy Olympic bar but you don’t want to pay the $1000 price tag of an IWF-certified bar, this bar needs to be considered. $599 with free shipping.

Rogue Olympic WL Bar & Cousins (Burgener, Froning)

New Rogue Olympic Weightlifting Barbells

Rogue Olympic WL Bar

Rogue recently designed their own line of Olympic weightlifting bearing bars to compete with the high dollar imports like Eleiko and WerkSan. The Rogue Olympic WL Bar is an American-made bar that is definitely comparable in quality to the imports but at a fraction of the price. It’s a little lower PSI that the Euro bars, but it’s half the price of the Eleiko, and 190,000 PSI is still nothing to scoff at.

The Rogue WL bar is a standard 20 kg, 28 mm Olympic bearing bar and it is available in three different finishes; bright zinc, satin chrome, and polished chrome. All three of these finishes are also available either with or without the IWF center knurling (when inventory allows). This bar is made with the highest quality American steel available and it has a minimum tensile strength rating of 190,000 PSI. Like the Eleiko and Ivanko bars, all of these bars are straightness tested before they leave the factory.

The Rogue Burgener Bearing Bar

Rogue Burgener Bearing Bar

There are two close cousins to the Rogue Olympic WL Bar: the signature Froning Bearing Bar and the Burgener Bearing Bar. Same bar, different finish options. The Froning is finished in a murdered out black zinc, and the Burgener is offered in either polished chrome or bright silver zinc. Pricing is identical among these three different bars, so it’s really just a matter of personal preference.

There is also a 15 kg women’s version of the Olympic WL Bar. You can see that here.

American Barbell Stainless Steel Olympic Bar

American Barbell Olympic SS Bar

The Stainless Steel Bearing Bar is one of the more expensive bars offered by American Barbell, but it’s such a nice bar that I just had to add it. The core specifications for this bar are very much like the Rogue Olympic WL Bar. Both are 20 kg, 28 mm Olympic bearing bars, and both are built around a 190,000 PSI steel shaft. One of the most obvious differences between the two is that the American Barbell SS bar is a stainless steel bar.

Stainless steel is actually something I often forget even exists since so few manufacturers offer stainless bars. Stainless steel is arguably superior to any other material or finish option because it offers incredible protection from oxidation, but it feels more like a completely unfinished, bare steel bar. This feel comes with a price though; stainless is expensive (just look at the Ivanko bar prices below and you’ll see what the stainless does to the price.)

Fortunately you get a little bit more than just stainless steel for the nearly $800 price tag of this bar. American Barbell uses a proprietary concealed bearing system that they say can handle higher loads than other bearing bars. In other words, you won’t lose spin at extremely high loads, and the whole system will last for longer. Additionally, there is an extra seal that protects the inner workings of the bar from dust and chalk.

In any case, the combination of stainless steel and hard chrome sleeves, along with the unique assembly of this bar make just as functional as it is beautiful. There is a very well designed, high-end Olympic bar. $795 [review]

Ivanko OB-20KG Olympic Bar

Ivanko OB-20KG and OBS-20KG Olympic Bars

No other company more thoroughly tests their premium bars than Ivanko Barbell. Each and every bar is tested for defects in the steel with no less than three separate tests: x-ray, mag, and ultra-sonic. Ivanko bars are also straightness tested to ensure that no deviation greater than 0.006/ft over the length of the bar exists.

The OB-20KG Olympic bar is a polished black oxide, true 28 mm Olympic bar. The steel is rated at 200,000+ PSI. The MSRP for this bar is about $650 (it’s actually less on Amazon), which is extremely reasonable for an Ivanko bar. There is also a stainless steel version of this bar, the OBS-20KG Olympic Bar and that bar is rated at 218,000 PSI and sells for over $1000. Both are fantastic bars, but the oxide bar is more reasonable priced. I’d go with American Barbell for stainless steel; much more reasonably priced.

WerkSan Training / Competition Olympic Barbells

Werksan IWF-certified Olympic Competition Barbells

WerkSan Olympic Bars are IWF certified Olympic bars which means they adhere to all IWF specifications. WerkSan bars are premium bearing bars that will add 10% to your PR’s. Ok that’s not a fact, just a myth. Maybe 5%.

The WerkSan Olympic bars are available both in a men’s 20 kg bar and a women’s 15 kg bar, and each version is available as either a full competition bar or a training bar. You’ll only save about $80 by going with the training bar, so why bother. Comp is $960, Training is $880.

Eleiko Training / Competition Olympic Bars

Eleiko Training and Competition Olympic Barbells

The Eleiko Olympic WL Barbell is the Olympic Barbell. Both Eleiko Competition and Training bars are individually tested in accordance with the Eleiko quality policy, and provided with a serial number (and even a brush! ) These two bars are both 20 kg with 28 mm shafts, and they are notorious for having some of the best knurl and spin of any Olympic bar.

The Competition Bar is calibrated and marked as an IWF-certified bar, while the Training Bar is not. Eleiko Olympic bars are needle bearing bars, and they have an impressive 215k PSI tensile strength… how about that Swedish steel. The training bar sells for $854 and the competition bar sells for $1044.

Eleiko offers both of these bars in 15 kg women’s versions as well. The Eleiko Women’s Olympic Barbells are the same except for the shaft thickness of 25 mm and the weight. Pricing is the same as the men’s bars.

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Dual-Marked / Multi-Purpose Bars

Many of the most popular bars on the market right now are dual-marked bars. These bars will allow you to perform both the explosive Olympic lifts and the slower power lifts all on the same bar. These bars are generally 28.5 mm bushing bars, but some variation does exist. These bars are much more affordable and versatile than the Olympic bars, perfect for most athletes, and ideal in CrossFit and garage gym settings.

The Vulcan One Olympic Bushing Bar

the Vulcan One Olympic Bushing Bar

Some Vulcan bars side-by-side, the Vulcan One, Vulcan Standard, and Men’s Bearing Training Bar

The Vulcan One is probably the best Olympic/CrossFit barbell available in the under $250 range by far. At only $235, this dual-marked, 28.5 mm barbell has a minimum tensile strength rating of 190,000 PSI, has self-lubricating bronze bushings, medium knurling, good whip, and a black zinc finish. The Vulcan One also has an extremely nice warranty for such an inexpensive bar; ten years to be exact.

Vulcan may not be a name you hear as often as some of the other brands, but I expect that will change over time. Vulcan puts out very high-quality Olympic and CrossFit barbells, and they do so at extremely competitive prices. These are not the cookie-cutter bars that so many CrossFit and strength training retailers are having made with their names stamped on the end cap. Vulcan bars are legit.

The Vulcan One is currently available in black zinc only, but hard chrome is coming soon. There is no ETA or price for that bar yet that I can find, but since it’s chrome, I expect it to be slightly more expensive. I own and have reviewed the Vulcan One, and you can read that here.

The Rogue Bar 2.0 (updated)

The new Rogue Bar 2.0 by Rogue Fitness

The Rogue Bar – Used for years at the Crossfit Games* – $274 $255

As of July 2014, The Rogue Bar is now The Rogue Bar 2.0. This bar has been drastically improved over the original, and the price has been lowered by about $20. Considering that both the price and the craftsmanship of the original Rogue Bar was already nothing to complain about, this is fantastic news.

So what’s the same? The Rogue Bar 2.0 is still a 20 kg, 28.5 mm bar with dual Olympic/Power markings (with no center knurl); the coating is still black zinc for the shaft, and bright zinc for the sleeves; and the bar is still guaranteed for life not to bend or break.

What’s new with the 2.0? The steel is of a much higher quality. The PSI tensile strength of this bar has been improved to 190k from the previous 155k. The bronze bushings have been replaced with composite, self-lubricating bushings that should extend the life of the bar and keep those sleeves spinning. Machined grooves have been added to the sleeves so the bar can be customized with colored bands. Finally, the price has been lowered from $274 down to $255.

The Rogue Bar 2.0 should be on most people’s short list when shopping for a barbell. If your budget is in the under $300 range, this is an outstanding bar for the price. Additionally, the original bar had an unbelievable 65, 5-star review on Rogue’s site, and I see no reason that these updates wouldn’t keep that perfect rating alive and well. Only complaint I’ve heard so far is that this is a loud bar when dropped, but still much quieter than other bars in its price range.

*The Rogue Bar was replaced at the CrossFit Games with the new Rogue Olympic WL Bar. Bye-bye.

The Bella 2.0 (The Women’s Rogue Bar)

The Rogue Bella Bar 2.0. The Woman's Rogue Bar

This is the women’s 15kg version of The Rogue Bar. The Bella 2.0 has similar construction to the Rogue Bar (bushings, snap rings, zinc coating and 190,000 PSI steel). However, the shaft is smaller at 25 mm, the Bella still uses bronze bushings, and this bar is slightly shorter at 79 3/8″. The difference in length comes off the sleeves, not the shaft. This is a great women’s barbell, and a steal at $215.

Vulcan 15 kg Women’s Bearing Olympic Barbell

The Vulcan Women's 15 kg Olympic Training Bearing Bar

Vulcan Women’s 15 kg Olympic Bearing Bar – $319

Say hello to one of the best priced women’s needle bearing bars on the market. At just over $300, the Vulcan 15 kg Women’s Olympic Barbell is a steal. It has an impressive 191,000 PSI, 25 mm shaft with a completely blacked-out oxide coating and four needle bearings per sleeve. This bar also has a good amount of whip, but that is to be expected with Vulcan bars.

This bar is intended to be a high-quality, more affordable alternative to Vulcan’s Professional Women’s Olympic Bar. The cost is driven down nearly $300 by using black oxide instead of hard chrome, and by having a slightly lower tensile strength than the Professional Bar (not that it matters, 191,000 PSI is extremely respectable for any bar much less a 25 mm bar.)

The Vulcan 15 kg Women’s bar has a lifetime guarantee, has medium knurling depth (no center knurl), and is dual marked for Olympic/Power lifting; making it an excellent CrossFit bar. If you are okay with having to give this bar occasional cleanings with 3-in-1 oil to keep that oxide looking nice, it really is one hell of a bar for the price.

The Rogue Ohio Bar (updated)

Olympic Barbell Reviews - The Rogue Ohio Bar

The Ohio Bar – Available in four different finishes. $282+

The Rogue Ohio Bar is a 20 kg, dual marked bar with a 28.5 mm shaft. It is available in four different finishes including satin hard chrome, black zinc, bright zinc, and black oxide. This is a bushing bar with snap rings, and while the tensile strength used to vary by finish (150k – 165k), the Ohio Bar got an upgrade recently that raised all variations of the bar to 190,000 PSI. This bar has no center knurling and ranges in price from $282 to $365.

The Ohio Bar is Rogue’s flagship bar; the first to be manufactured entirely at the Rogue campus in Ohio. It currently has a flawless 5-star rating based on 45 reviews, and tons of positive feedback for this bar can be found all over the web. However, unless you intend to purchase the satin chrome version of this bar, I suggest you consider The Rogue Bar (above). Both have the same shaft, but The Rogue Bar is priced better and has bad ass collars.

FYI: The following bars are identical to the Ohio Bar, only with different finishes: The Castro Bar (bare steel), The Froning Bushing Bar (black zinc), and the Rogue Operator Bar (olive drab). I go into some detail about why this is here.

Burgener and Rippetoe Men’s Bar by York

Burgener & Rippetoe Men's Bar from Rogue

Burgener & Rippetoe Men’s Bar by York – $295

If you’ve seen any other posts from me about Olympic Barbells, you’ll already know I love this bar. This bar is a beast for the price. The B&R Bar is 20kg, has a 29 mm shaft, is marked for both Olympic and Power lifts and DOES have a center knurl. This is a sintered bushing bar with an end cap and it has an amazing 205,000 PSI tensile strength. This is a bare steel bar and does require maintenance. This bar is a steal at $295.

I consider the B&R to be one of the best priced bars on the market, and ironically the only York bar that interests me. This bar is one of the strongest bars in its price range, but again, it requires maintenance. Read my review on this bar here.

*Aug 2014: FYI, I still use this bar in my gym more than any other*

Burgener and Rippetoe Women’s Bar by York

The Women’s B&R Bar is a little different than the men’s. While still a bare steel bar with bushings and end cap sleeve design, the weight is 15kg, the shaft is 25mm. It is still dual marked, but there is no center knurling. The tensile strength is 195k and it’s a few bucks less at $285. Like the men’s B&R, this is a very versatile bar; great for women who Olympic lift/CrossFit and still like to get under a heavy bar inside the rack as well.

The Matt Chan Bar

The Rogue Matt Chan Bar

The Chan Bar is one of Rogue’s most unique and versatile bushing bars, and it’s a bar I own and love. I recently reviewed this bar, and you can read that here if you’re interested. Fantastic bar!

The Chan Bar is a 28.5 mm dual marked bar with a 190,000 PSI shaft. It is available in two finishes; satin chrome or black zinc. The knurling on the Chan Bar is more aggressive than the rest of the Rogue bushing bars, and that knurling is set further away from center to allow for a wider stance with deadlifts. The Chan bar also has a passive center knurl for squats. The zinc Chan is $295 and the chrome is $375. 5-star rating, of course.

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Powerlifting Bars

IPF Recognized Power Bar Specifications

Power Bars are designed for the big three powerlifting lifts: the bench press, deadlift, and the squat. Power bars are knurled and marked a little differently than Olympic bars (the marks are closer to center). A power bar should always have the center knurling.

Power bars are also more stiff and rigid than an Olympic bar due to the large amount of weights that gets put on the bar. Additionally, powerlifting bars don’t need the sleeves to spin as smoothly so they are usually bushing bars.

Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar

Original Texas Power Bar by Buddy Capps

Original Texas Power Bar by Buddy Capps – $328

The most talked about Power Bar around. The TPB is 86″ long with 15″ sleeves, 4″ center knurling, and it has a 28.5 mm shaft. It’s 20 kg and has a 1500 lb test capacity. Don’t assume that because you find a bar called Texas Power Bar that it is the real TPB. The name wasn’t copyrighted so all kinds of knock-offs exist (Troy, Ader, etc.) Look for the state of Texas decal at the end of each authentic TPB. The Buddy Capps TPB is finally easy to buy on Amazon.

Rogue Ohio Power Bar (new)

Rogue Ohio Power Bar in bare steel or zinc

The new Rogue Ohio Power Bar will be available in pounds or kilos, and in zinc or bare steel. Hurray!

The new Ohio Power Bar is a 205,000 PSI power bar with a 29 mm shaft. It’s stiff, it’s rigid, and it has practically no whip whatsoever. This bar is not entirely released yet, but there is expected to be both a 20 kg version of this bar and a 45 pound version of this bar. Additionally, there will be a choice between bare steel (awesome) and a black / bright zinc finish. Hats off to Rogue for finally updating the Rogue Power Bar; this is a great looking bar at an even better price point. $250 bare steel, $275 zinc.

I have not yet had a chance to review or even see this bar, but Joel at AMRAP has, and he’s reviewed it here.

Rogue Power Bar

The Rogue Power Bar has been replaced with the Rogue Ohio Power Bar (above). Tootles to you, old Rogue Power Bar.

Westside Power Bar

The Westside Power Bar

Westside Power Bar – $375

The Westside Power Bar is a 29 mm powerlifting bar designed to the specs of Louie Simmons, the founder of Westside Barbell. This bar features an aggressive deep knurl and does have center knurling. The shaft is 29 mm thick and the bar weighs 20 kg. The shaft is black zinc and the sleeves are bright zinc. This is a bushing bar with snap rings and it has a strong 205k PSI tensile strength. This is a sweet powerlifting bar for $375. There is also an Econ version of this bar that has pinned sleeves to keep the price down ($315).

Eleiko Powerlifting Bars

The Eleiko Powerlifting Barbells

Eleiko offers two powerlifting barbells; the competition and training PL bars. Both bars have bare steel shafts and chrome sleeves. They are 20 kilo bars with a 29 mm shaft and they have bronze bearings specifically designed for powerlifting. The training bar is $949 and the IPC-certified competition bar is $1099. I challenge you to tell me the difference other than the certification. Both come with a decent 10 year warranty, but I’ll bet you’ll never need to call that in. Knurl is said to be extremely aggressive.

Ivanko OBX-20KG Powerlifting Bar

The Ivanko OBX-20KG Power Bar

Ivanko OBX-20KG Powerlifting Barbell – MSRP $667 – $1259

Bust out the wallet. The Ivanko OBX-20KG Power Bar is 20 kg and has a 28 mm thick shaft. This bar is PSI rated at over 200k. Each Ivanko Barbell is mag tested, ultra sonic tested, and x-ray tested against defects in the steel. These guys are serious about putting out quality bars. This bar has a black oxide coating and the center knurling is 4.75″ rather than 4″. This bar is sweet, IPF approved, and expensive. $667 $605 on Amazon! I’ve been drooling over this bar for a while now.

This bar is also available in stainless steel which gives it a PSI rating of 218,000. That model is $1259 $1155. What a bad ass looking bar. I’ve given Amazon links because you cannot buy Ivanko bars direct from Ivanko, and the company that is selling these on Amazon is reputable. Plus, you can’t ask for a better return policy than Amazon.

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Training and Technique Bars

Technique Bars are for training and practicing the Olympic lifts. Some are steel, some are aluminum. Most have limitations of some kind. Carefully read the product description to make sure that the bar can handle what you intend to put it through. Never leave weights on a racked technique bar when not in use (shouldn’t do it with any bar, but especially a tech bar.)

If you really need to keep the bar light, but you want the feeling of plates on the bar, consider purchasing technique plates in addition to a technique bar. American Barbell has a very large selection of Hi-Tech brand tech plates, but be warned, technique plates are far more expensive than bumpers.

American Barbell 5 kg Technique Bars

American Barbell 5 kg Technique Bar

American Barbell makes two 5 kg technique bars; an economy technique bar and a high-strength technique bar. They both have the same distance between the collars as you would find on a true Olympic bar, but the sleeves are shorter. Both of them are made of aluminum, have a 25 mm shaft, and are marked for the Olympic lifts. The economy bar is rated at 40k PSI ($120), and the high-strength bar is rated at 65k PSI ($245).

Rogue 15 lb Aluminum Technique Bar

Rogue Aluminum 15-pound Technique Bar

Rogue Aluminum 15-pound Technique Bar – $136

The Rogue Technique Bar is a 15-pound aluminum training bar that has a lot of features that make more like a true Olympic barbell. First of all, it has the same distances between the sleeves as a true Olympic bar. It also isn’t given a soft, insignificant knurl; it is knurled with the same aggressiveness as a real Olympic bar. Finally, this is one of the few Olympic training bars to have a 28 mm shaft rather than a 25 mm shaft.

The Rogue Technique Bar is like a true Olympic bar in so many ways that the transition from a training bar to true bar should be a very smooth transition indeed. Only the weight difference will come as a shock. This bar is also priced very well at only $136.

 

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Youth/Junior Barbells

I am blown away by the limited number of youth barbells (quality youth barbells) available. If you know of any that you’d like to recommend for this review, let me know in the comments.

American Barbell 10kg Junior Bar

American Barbell Junior 10kg Olympic Bar

American Barbell 10 kg Black and Chrome Junior Performance Training Bar – $225

The American Barbell 10KG Black and Chrome Junior Performance Training Bar is quite an incredible youth barbell. The shaft is rated at an incredible 180,000 PSI. That’s pretty damn strong for a 10 kg, 25 mm shaft barbell. The bar is a tad under 1700 mm long, but as with most junior bars, the reduction in length comes off the sleeves, not the shaft. This of course makes for a smooth transition to a full-size bar.

The shaft is coated in black zinc, and the sleeves are chrome. This is a bushing bar, and it’s marked for the Olympic lifts. As with all American Barbell bars, this junior bar is made in the USA. You could say that this bar is more of a high-end junior bar. Pretty nice!

Rogue Junior 10kg Economy Bar

Rogue 10 kg Junior Economy bar

Rogue Junior Economy Bar – $174.99

The Rogue Junior Bar is a 10 kg bar with a 25 mm shaft. This bar is shorter with an overall length of 66.75″, but the distance between collars is the same as a competition bar; only the sleeves are shorter at 7.5″ each. This bar is a bushing bar with snap rings and has an impressive 155k PSI tensile strength (impressive for the size). This junior bar is unique in that it is dual marked for both Olympic and Power lifting, but it has no center knurling. $174.99

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Olympic Barbell Review Summary

So the take away is this; there are a lot of solid bars on the market. Just about every manufacturer offers something unique. Rogue has the biggest variety of bars and the most options for bar finishes, American Barbell is one of the few manufacturers to offer stainless steel, Vulcan has a nice selection of affordable but very high-quality Olympic bars and some of the best priced premium bars, and Eleiko, Werksan, and Ivanko still produce some of the nicest bars in the world for prices that force us to buy someone else’s bars. There’s really something for everybody!

My Pick for a Competitive Crossfit Bar

Taking money out of the equation, I would go with the Rogue Burgener/Rogue Olympic WL bar for a CrossFit bar. I really like the Rogue bearing bars for the money. $525 for the zinc version is a fantastic price for a true 28 mm needle bearing bar, and chrome is also available. The steel is strong, there is no center knurling, and it has a lifetime warranty. Plus, if you’re serious about competing in the Games, it’s probably in your best interest to train on the same bar that you’ll compete with; and the Rogue Olympic WL Bar is the official bar of the CrossFit Games.

My Pick for a Crossfit Bar on a Budget

This one is easy, especially now that the price came down and the steel got upgraded. The Rogue Bar 2.0 is the obvious CrossFit bar on a budget, and I would say that for women who want a 15 kg bar, the Bella is just as obvious. There is a reason these fill garage gyms and CrossFit boxes all around the world.

Also, after working out with the Vulcan One for a month, I realize that it too is a great option for a budget CrossFit bar. It’s actually less than the Rogue Bar. I have a review for the One here.

My Pick for a 28 mm Olympic WL Bearing Bar

Obviously one of the IWF training bars would be the ideal Olympic bar to own, but we’re talking a ton of money for those (nearly a grand for the ones that matter.) I’m also a huge fan of the American Barbell SS Bar, but again, we’re talking serious cash. The $800 price tag on the SS is completely reasonable , but it’s clearly not in everyone’s budget. So let me make a couple more reasonably priced suggestions. Just keep in mind that 28 mm bearing bars of any quality aren’t going to be as cheap as a basic CrossFit or power bar.

I have two favorites, and both are in the $500-600 price range. The first I’ve already recommended, and that’s the Burgener/Rogue Oly. I just think that you can’t get much more for your money in terms of an Olympic bar. At $525 for the zinc version, you can’t go wrong.

Now if you were going to spring for the chrome Rogue Oly/Burgener, I might suggest that you consider my next choice, the Vulcan Professional Oly Bar. The Pro not only has extreme and legitimate tensile strength, but it has what most bars lack… an extreme yield strength. This is the closest you’re going to get to owning an IWF training bar without buying an IWF training bar. This bar is one of the whippiest bars on the market, and it’s finished in actual hard chrome. I’m a huge Vulcan fan, and if you ever lift on one, you will be too.

Both the Burgener and the Vulcan Pro are great bars, and both are priced very competitively for their specifications. Honestly, I haven’t heard anything bad about any of the bars I discussed in the Olympic bar section. Matter of fact, when I find an excessive amount of poor feedback on a bar, I pull it off this page (you’ll notice that there is no Bendlay or York Olympic bars.) I hate the idea of having anything to do with anyone buying something that’s not living up to expectations.

My Pick for General Weightlifting

Matt Chan Bar, hands down. Two different price points available to fit different budgets (zinc or chrome)*, great knurling, strong steel, and a brilliant knurl pattern for pulling. Just an all-around, well-designed bar for those who do it all; Oly, power, and a variety of accessory lifts. High-five Matt Chan when you see him out on the town. He designed an amazing barbell for a great price.

* The chrome Chan (and all Rogue satin chrome bars) has been [temporarily?] discontinued. The Chan is currently only available in black zinc, and although I dislike black zinc, I’d still buy this bar over any other for general strength training. 

My Pick for Powerlifting

Honestly I love the stainless Ivanko, but the price for Ivanko stainless is just too rich for my blood. I have been seriously considering buying the black Ivanko Power Bar though, but I really dislike black oxide (more than I dislike black zinc). For those not wanting to spend $600, I’d suggest the new Ohio Power Bar; that bar has been very well received. I hear nothing but good things, and the price is very reasonable.

I hear the TPB is brutal on the hands, but an amazing bar despite the cheese grater knurl. As much as I love Eleiko Olympic bars, I’m not overly impressed with Eleiko Power Bars. That price point for bare steel is a bit excessive, and power bars aren’t overly expensive to manufacture. If you want to charge me $1000 for a bar, give me something for that money other than a name.

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{ 116 comments… add one }

  • Drew March 5, 2014, 10:12 am

    Dude you TOTALLY forgot to mention the ELEIKO POWERLIFTING BARS!!

  • jburgeson March 5, 2014, 11:42 am

    Ya Eleiko makes a ton of bars that I didn’t include. They’re not really known for the their powerlifting bars and they’re soooo expensive that I decided to leave them out. Also, Eleiko doesn’t offer too much information on the construction and testing for the PL bars. However, I went ahead and added them with the limited info they do make available.

  • George May 27, 2014, 12:18 pm

    There is also a 10 KG bar by GP Industries and a 10 KG bar by Werk San, both bushing bars for about $350.

    • jburgeson May 27, 2014, 3:36 pm

      You’re referring to their Training bars? Ya if I remember correctly Werksan didn’t have a whole lot of technical data on most of their training equipment. I might have to try and dig that up though. While an expensive 10 kg bar at $350, it’s still cheaper than the Eleiko.

  • George May 27, 2014, 12:46 pm

    actually sorry for the confusion – i just spoke to Werk San and they said their “Silver” series 10 KG bar is actually made by GP Industries …

  • Max July 26, 2014, 10:52 pm

    So what’s your opinion on the new Eleiko XF bars! I have even wanting to step up my Olympic lifts but I am completely training for Crossfit. I am all over the new Rogue bar 2.0 but at the same time if I’m going to buy a bar I might as well get a bearing bar for my Olympic lifting. Thoughts?? Please help!

    • George July 27, 2014, 12:56 am

      The only bars i would consider are training or competition bars from Eleiko, Werk San or Uesaka. I would not even consider the Eleiko Sport Training ( which is what i actually have ) as the knurl is lacking and warranty is short. Don’t even think about Eleiko XF bar – it’s probably just going to lock up like my 10 KG Eleiko bars which arrived already stuck – two in a row. Eleiko is lately trying to expand into every market and created a lot of low quality products that are not worth the money. I would not get anything from Eleiko that isn’t part of their core product range. Be prepared to spend $800 on a bar because that’s how much a good bar costs. Between $800 Eleiko, $800 Werk San and $800 Uesaka it is a matter of personal preference – but anything cheaper is low quality, including the cheaper Eleiko bars.

      • jburgeson July 27, 2014, 2:37 am

        I don’t even know where to begin with this…

        First off, I don’t think comparing the XF to a 10 kg aluminum-sleeved technique bar is even remotely reasonable.

        Secondly, spending $800+ on one barbell for a garage gym is unnecessary and just out of the question for 99% of people. Sure, Uesaka and Werksan may be very high quality bars, but that doesn’t make anything that costs less low-quality by default. They’re not all winners, sure, but there are some very fine bars out there within the $300-$600 range; bars that will outlive all of us.

      • Christopher July 30, 2014, 4:54 pm

        After having a 6-week back order on a WerkSan bar, I was going to consider getting a Eleiko Sport Training, because it would come quicker.

        You would definitely say Eleiko Sport Training is noticeably inferior to Eleiko Training, or WerkSan training?

        • jburgeson July 30, 2014, 5:28 pm

          Maybe George will chime in on this one for you since he owns that bar. I agree that having a 10-year warranty versus lifetime on an $800 bar is pretty weak, and there are bars that cost a third of that price that are guaranteed for life, so maybe that says all that needs to be said about it. If you’re willing to spend so close to a grand on a bar, any particular reason you don’t want the true training bar?

          • George July 31, 2014, 3:22 am

            The Sport Training warranty is only 5 years, versus 10 years for Training and Lifetime for Competition as well as Werk San or Uesaka. Also the Werk San warranty is Unconditional but Eleiko warranty is not. I have not used the Eleiko Training but i spoke to somebody named Joseph Hamblen ( he has a YouTube Channel ) who owns both, and he said Training vs Sport Training are very similar but Sport Training has a slightly less pronounced Knurl. I have ordered Eleiko both from Eleikoshop and Bumperplates dot com and shipping time was resonable in both cases – on the order of 10 days or so to get delivered from Chicago to NY. Replacement speed for my defective 10 KG bar was lightning fast – i had the replacement 3 days after notifying Eleiko – unfortunately it was also defective … got the refund on that particular bar. The Sport Training vs Training are probably more similar than different. I doubt that Sport Training is only half as reliable because of half the warranty – more likely explanation is the shorter warranty is simply a way for Eleiko to be able to offer that bar at a lower cost. That said, i probably would not get it again.

    • jburgeson July 27, 2014, 1:43 am

      I think the XF is a great bar. It’s a true 28 mm Olympic bearing bar with toned down knurling and the center knurl removed. It’s basically the Eleiko answer to CrossFit. Whether or not you should pick up an XF over the 2.0 Rogue Bar is kind of tough because it’s apples and oranges. I think it comes down to how serious you are, how experienced you are, and what your goals are. If you are serious, committed, and you can afford that Eleiko price tag, go for it. If you’re not sure, it’s not like buying a Rogue Bar is a bad thing. That help any?

  • Max July 27, 2014, 10:37 am

    That was awesome feedback. I really didn’t think i’d hear anything back for a week so that is great. As for price, I’m not limiting myself. If I’m going to buy a good barbell that isn’t from my gym I’m going to get what’s going to help me improve the most. At this point I’ve been Crossfiting for about a year and a half. I am dead set on getting a heck of a lot better at my Olympic lifts. I have been working with our specialty coaches at our gym a lot and reading some literature on the subject and so OLY lifting is a massive goal of mine. I’m only 17 so I’m at the prime age to train for the games. With that said, my goal is ultimately crossfit so between the Burgener Bearing Bar, the Eleiko XF Bar, the Rogue Froning Series Bearing Bar, or the Rogue OLY Lifitng Bar what do you think I should go for. I am completely grateful for any feedback. Thanks!

    • jburgeson July 27, 2014, 4:10 pm

      If your goal is the Games, may as well start getting used to feel of the Rogue bars. To be honest, all three of the bars that you mentioned from Rogue are very similar, if not practically the same. All are 28 mm bearing bars with the same 190k PSI steel shaft. I personally go to customer feedback in a situation like that, and the Rogue Olympic bar is the only one with a substantial amount of feedback; all positive too. Grab the zinc version and you’ll not only save $100 over the chrome version, but you’ll have a bar that will feel more like the Rogue Bar, which as you probably know is the Games bar.

      While I don’t think there is any reason not to lift with an XF, I think your Games goal is just enough reason to stick with Rogue. Technically the Rogue warranty is better as well, but I doubt you’d have a warranty issue with any of the bars you mentioned.

  • Max July 27, 2014, 4:10 pm

    That’s actually really helpful! Thanks a lot. As for your questions; I have been crossfiting for about a year and a half now and in the past few months I decided that I want to step up my game. Being only 16 years old it is the perfect time to start really training to be a games level athlete. That’s said, I really need to improve my olympic lifting. I have been working with the strength coaches at our gym a lot and I have also been doing some reading on the subject. So, my ultimate goal is to be focusing on my olympic lifting. I haven’t made up my mind yet but I probably won’t do much strict powerlifting with the bar I get. That said I like the dual markings on the bar. I will also use this bar for a crossfit WOD as well. So, with that in mind, between the Burgener Bearing Bar, the Eleiko XF Bar, the Rogue OLY Bar, and Rogue Froning Series Bar, what do you think would be best suited. I am greatful for any and all feedback! Thanks!

    • jburgeson July 27, 2014, 5:06 pm

      As a follow up, none of those Rogue bearing bars you mentioned are dual marked. If you have no intention of competing in powerlifting, who cares if it’s marked. That power mark is for the bench press and serves zero purpose in CrossFit or Olympic lifting… unless I missed a memo.

    • George July 27, 2014, 5:14 pm

      Soon the games will be over and Rogue will sell off the equipment used at the games at discount prices. Buy the bar from that sale. It won’t be as nice as Eleiko but you will be training with the actual bar used at the games. And it will save you a ton of money as a bonus.

  • Anne August 1, 2014, 1:59 pm

    I’m finally taking the plunge and setting up my own garage gym. I’ve been a recreational lifter for years, but never before realized there were women-specific bars. All of the bars at my gym are identical, and I have to assume that they’re all mens’ bars. Having never lifted with a womens’ bar, I’m having a hard time deciding if it matters? Also, I will be sharing the garage gym with my husband (and as I have 3 sons, as they get older I imagine they may have an interest as well). So, when I invest in a barbell, do I get a men’s bar, even though I (a woman) will definitely be the primary user? I am quite petite, so the smaller diameter of a women’s bar sounds appealing to me. Is it just to accommodate a woman’s smaller hands? If it matters, my husband is also on the small side.

    • jburgeson August 1, 2014, 4:31 pm

      Hey Anne, grats on going with a gym at home. So women’s bars are like you said, a little thinner at 25 mm, but they are also 15 kg instead of 20 kg. They can also be a tad shorter, but not by much.

      If you’re used to lifting with a men’s bar already, and you plan to share a bar with your husband, you might just stick with a men’s bar. There’s no rule that says you have to lift with a women’s bar, especially since you’re lifting for what I assume are your own fitness purposes, not to compete.

      Having said that, you could also just have both a women’s and a men’s bar if you find the idea of a narrower bar appealing. Most folks end up with multiple bars anyway just for the convenience of it; like doing supersets and so forth. As for your sons, if we’re talking small children who aren’t lifting yet, their first exposure will probably be a youth bar (10 kg), and then straight on to men’s bars.

  • Joe S. August 20, 2014, 5:52 pm

    I have Eleiko, York, and Ivanko barbells; all are excellent.
    However, i also have and prefer Schnell & Ironwolfe barbells, especially since they are stainless steel. Check them out!

  • J Z August 21, 2014, 12:30 pm

    Any chance for a final update to:

    “My Pick for Olympic Weightlifting
    With so many new Olympic bars on the market, and the price getting so competitive, I am re-evaluating my preference and will update soon!”

    ?

    • jburgeson August 21, 2014, 12:58 pm

      Oh snap, put on the spot! =p

      So okay, this is tough because there are just so damn many bars out right now. If you want a true 28 mm Olympic bar with bearings, I still love the Burgener Bearing Bar (it’s identical to the Olympic WL Bar now, so really either of these). I think it has the best price point for a true Olympic bearing bar.

      If you don’t want to spend upwards of $600 but still want to get under a 28 mm bar, maybe look at the new Vaughn Bar. It’s everything a high-end Olympic bar offers but with bushings instead of bearings (keeps the price down by a lot). I actually have this bar and am reviewing it currently. So far I like this bar a lot. Crazy 215k steel, and the bushings are still very smooth. Pretty bar too, but that’s whatever, They don’t stay pretty.

      Those are my two favorites. You can always go with Eleiko or Ivanko for two to three times the money, but when talking about bars for a garage gym; not a stage, these two are fantastic bars for the price.

  • cvn September 1, 2014, 8:33 pm

    Have you had a chance to check out the Wonder Bar yet? Contemplating buying one but I’ve never actually seen one….but for the price maybe that’s okay!

    http://www.fringesport.com/products/ofw-mens-olympic-bar-20kg

    • jburgeson September 1, 2014, 8:48 pm

      Heya, no I haven’t handled that bar personally. I’ve heard it’s okay, more of an entry level / maybe intermediate bar. I think that by spending even $30-$50 more you can get a much better bar, but if that $199 is already pushing your spending limit, then go for it. It’s better than an Academy or Amazon bar and it has an actual warranty if you hate it. I’d much rather have the Rogue Bar though, or even the newer Bomba there at Fringe unless for some reason you have to have bearings.

      • cvn September 4, 2014, 8:13 pm

        Thanks, appreciate you taking the time to respond!

  • Sky September 11, 2014, 4:13 pm

    I love the thought and effort that went into this barbell shopping guide. Great work. I’m setting up my garage gym right now. I’m on a budget, but I know a good bar is a necessity. I’m buying two bars to start, one each for me and my wife. What would you recommend between the Bomba Bars (one 20 kg + one 15 kg) from Fringe Sport and the Rogue 2.0 bar + Bella 2.0 bar from our trusty friends at Rouge?

    • jburgeson September 11, 2014, 4:28 pm

      Hey Sky, I appreciate that.

      I think that your price works out about the same either way, so I’d suggest the Rogue bars. I really do like Fringe, but the fact is that both the steel and the sleeve design on the Rogue bars is better than on the Bomba bars, and Rogue has such competitive pricing on the Bella and The Rogue Bar that it’s hard to compete with that. Either of those bars could be $50 more and they’d still sell no problem.

  • Greg September 12, 2014, 12:41 pm

    What is your opinion of steelbody bars. I saw it at sports chalet for $189 along with their bumper plates. I am a beginner and really appreciate your detailed reviews. Would this brand fall under the category of “store brands” you were not fond of? Let me know if you think its sufficient for a home garage. Thanks

    • jburgeson September 12, 2014, 2:45 pm

      Hey Greg, well I had never even heard of that bar. I looked it up to see if I could find the specs, and I could only find it on eBay and at Academy. No specs are offered beyond the obvious like length and weight, which generally isn’t a good sign.

      If you’re just starting out but were willing to spend $200 on that bar, perhaps rather use that money towards The Rogue Bar or maybe even the Bomba 2. Rogue also has their Economy Men’s Bar on closeout at $199, and it’s better than any box brand, but for $55 more you get twice as much bar with the The 2.0 Rogue Bar. You may see the Beater Bar on Rogue’s site, but avoid that.

      I know starting out is tough cause all the equipment starts to add up in price, but you’ll be glad your bar wasn’t the piece of gear you skimped on. Buy used weights, cheap bench, whatever.. .the bar is important. Hope that helps!

  • JP October 9, 2014, 4:49 am

    Fantastic description and layout of this material. I speak to small groups and box owners all the time about equipment and will keep the link to this page handy.

    • jburgeson October 9, 2014, 1:32 pm

      Awesome. Sounds good to me! =P

  • Hanna October 22, 2014, 12:47 pm

    I need a bar that is not prone to rusting…low maintenance, mainly for olympic lifts. I have had horrible luck with a black oxide bar…could not control the rust. What would you recommend? I’m thinking Bella bar or Pendlay HD (this is a little pricey)..I’m having a hard time finding any other 15 kg bars. Any recommendations?

    • jburgeson October 22, 2014, 2:15 pm

      I’m not a fan of oxide myself to be honest. I’m assuming you want 15 kg specifically? You’re right that there is not a whole lot of them, especially when you remove oxide bars from the list. Vulcan has two 15 kg bars, but one is oxide and the other is not going to be a price you like if you weren’t excited about the Pendlay price. Do you not like zinc? The Bella is zinc, not oxide.

      • Hanna October 22, 2014, 5:11 pm

        I think because of my experience with my rusty barbell I’m wary of only oxide bars…my lifting partner has a zinc again faster bar and it has held up well. My reasoning for 15 kg barbell is that if I ever wanted to compete it would be better to train with a “women’s” bar, however I’m finding much better options with the 20kg barbells. Thoughts? Perhaps that is the way to go. Ohio bar maybe?

        • jburgeson October 22, 2014, 6:27 pm

          With men’s vs women’s, it’s a 3mm difference in shaft width, or 3.5mm if you went with something like the Ohio Bar. If that larger shaft feels comfortable to you then a 20kg bar is fine. It’s never really been about the weight with women’s barbells anyway, just the thickness really.

          I’d go with either zinc or chrome since you’re clearly not wanting to deal with oxidation. Bare steel is out of the question! Chrome will look the best for the longest, but zinc holds up well for a lot less money. The Ohio is offered in all possible finishes, so you can’t go wrong there.

          There is also the Rogue Olympic WL Bar. That’s offered as a 15 kg chrome bar, but it’s pricey like the Pendlay. Pretty popular bar though, that new Rogue Oly.

          • Hanna October 22, 2014, 8:31 pm

            Thanks so much for your help…man that rogue womens oly bar looks sweet, a bit out of my price range for now though.

          • jburgeson October 22, 2014, 10:17 pm

            Ya best of luck! Lot’s of choices since you don’t mind 28mm.

        • George October 22, 2014, 6:42 pm

          Stainless is probably not an option as all the stainless bars i seen are for powerlifting, not weightlifting. Hard Chrome plating while it can chip is the thickest kind of plating and what is found on all top weightlifting bars regardless of brand name – even Rogue that’s famous for black bars puts hard chrome on their most expensive dedicated weightlifting bars. All good bar makers offer a 15KG bar with hard chrome finish. Aside from shaft diameter something to consider is the amount of whip – a thinner bar will flex with less weight on it – which may be beneficial for a woman. On the other hand it would probably be easier to re-sell a 20 KG bar.

          • Hanna October 22, 2014, 8:34 pm

            I’ll probably go with black zinc for now…still on the fence about 20kg or 15kg. I actually don’t mind 28 mm diameter…sometimes it is more comfortable to me than the smaller diameter bars. Big decision I’ve gotta make. Thanks do much for your help.

  • JR October 23, 2014, 5:14 pm

    Excellent article, most of these guys are clueless when it come to doing a decent review, thumbs up brother.

  • Gabe October 31, 2014, 5:44 pm

    This was good information. I’ve never really looked into barbells before. My current bar is a used one that is welded from a state penitentiary. I finally decided to throw down some cash and get a “new” bar. I think I’m going Rogue 2.0. Thanks for the information.

  • Shane November 5, 2014, 2:49 pm

    IMO I just bought a Eleiko Demo set for my home Gym. Sport Training Bar + 220kg in the new ST bumpers. I couldn’t be happier. The knurling is a tad softer than the comp bar, but for long training sessions i enjoy having skin on my hands. The bumpers are far superior to the bolt together comp plates. Spin/whip/response are all as good as the comp bar. I also own a DHS Trainer and a Pendlay ’13 NB, and this bar is comparably better. $2,200 for a 190kg set up is pretty dang competitive.

    • jburgeson November 6, 2014, 10:20 am

      The ST is a nice bar. You don’t think those bumpers are too thick?

  • Roberto Garnica December 1, 2014, 1:50 pm

    Great article. Excellent research and a deep knowledge about the barbell. Have you considered translating to Spanish? I would be glad to help you on that.

    • jburgeson December 1, 2014, 5:37 pm

      Thank you. No, I have not. If I ever add additional languages, it would be site-wide, not just select pages. Not something I’m ready to do yet though.

  • Aaron December 20, 2014, 10:51 pm

    I appreciate your in depth reviews on the different bars. I am interested in your thoughts on the new Again Faster Klokov Competition bar.

  • Adam January 2, 2015, 4:50 am

    You mentioned the Vulcan One was, “…probably the best Olympic/CrossFit barbell available in the under $250 range by far.” Given that the Rogue 2.0 is just $20 more, but exceeding that $250 price point, I was wondering about your thoughts comparing the two bars. Thanks.
    -garage lifter; mostly power lifts but I dabble in oly.

    • jburgeson January 2, 2015, 10:17 am

      Actually, it’s because of the 2.0 that I made that comment.

      I think both bars are impressive at their price points, but especially the One since it technically is cheaper; both that $20 and the fact that there is no shipping charge.

      I find that the Vulcan One has a bit more sleeve rotation, but it’s not so much that I think it makes the 2.0 inferior. The shafts are more or less the same; same PSI rating, same diameter, same markings, and both have decent elasticity. The One looks cooler being blacked out, but black zinc on sleeves vs bright zinc will show wear quicker. Also, the 2.0 is a USA made bar.

      The Vulcan One will have a hard chrome finish option in the upcoming months. I heard that will be another $30 or so. If that’s true, and the bar still ships for free, I think that would put it ahead for me personally.

  • Steven Thunander January 6, 2015, 7:25 pm

    I do think that you should add the Pendlay HD and NB bars; and the Again Faster Team AF 2.0 and Klokov bars to this review. The Pendlay HD Bar has a propriety bushing system, and both the HD and NB bars are available in a Nickel chrome and bare versions. The Again Faster Team AF bars received an update, they now sport a 209k tensile strength, come with 3 bearings per sleeve, are 28mm, and have a better knurl, for $209.00 for the mens bar.

    • jburgeson January 6, 2015, 8:48 pm

      I’ll probably add the Klokov. I have a first-run Klokov, but it sounds like they’ve been hot-fixing things on each new batch based on feedback. Do you own a Team Bar 2.0?

      • Steven Thunander January 8, 2015, 1:44 am

        No, I do not own the Team AF bar 2.0. We will have to wait until Joel Xfit does his review and go off of that. As far as the Pendlay bars go, just look around; there are plenty of reviews on it floating around.

        • jburgeson January 8, 2015, 6:12 pm

          I don’t include Pendlay anymore. I don’t find them to be competitive with today’s bar options. I also believe they have inferior warranties to everyone else.

          The Team Bar I may pick up myself and take a look at it. I’m still behind on other reviews at the moment though.

  • Charles January 8, 2015, 12:39 am

    For about 6 weeks now, I’ve been doing a powerlifting program called StrongLifts 5×5 at the gym. It’s been addictive, so I’ve been shopping around for gear for a home gym in my basement. Been finding that people have nothing but good things to say about Rogue, and I’m seeing more of the same here too. Great article, wide coverage of bars, and I think you’ve convinced me that a powerlifting bar from Rogue is a good idea. Cheers!

    • jburgeson January 8, 2015, 12:46 am

      Thanks Charles. Yes, Rogue launched that Ohio PL Bar at a very enticing price; less than its predecessor even. Enjoy it!

  • Dan January 10, 2015, 10:30 pm

    Can you please fill me in more on Pendlay/MDUSA stealing. I have owned the Pendlay bearing bar for 8 months or so and it is rusting. I wouldn’t be happy if they don’t back it up.

    • jburgeson January 10, 2015, 10:48 pm

      In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have even mentioned that.

      I’m assuming since your bar 8 months old that it is not a bare steel bar, right? I’m guessing that it’s the zinc finish (not nickel chrome) if rust is already working its way onto the bar. Pendlay warrants the finish on your bar for only 30 days, so you will probably not be getting anything from them. Your best bet is to try and get the rust under control with some 3-in-1 oil and a brush. If a firm, plastic brush doesn’t remove the rust, try a wire brush. Take it easy with the wire though, you can actually take more zinc off with that if you’re not careful. Once you get it clean, apply oil once a week or so, more if you live in a humid area.

      As far as the bar warranty outside of the finish, your bar is technically still under warranty. That warranty is lifetime. However, all Pendlay bars made prior to 2009 were also lifetime warranties, but they have been voided. They don’t appear to be nearly as concerned with you after the sale like Rogue, Vulcan, and everyone else is, but that’s just my opinion.

  • Dan January 18, 2015, 11:44 am

    Im torn between the matt chan bar and the pendlay bars. Ive used my buddies pendlay to hit some nice prs but I like the idea of center knurling and more spaced out knurling for wider deadlift stances but not sure how chans spin is compared to pendlay. Whats your opinion?

    • jburgeson January 18, 2015, 12:05 pm

      I personally dislike Pendlay equipment in general. I haven’t used a Pendlay bar since they started making their bars themselves, and I keep hearing how quality and precision took a nose dive at that point. I had someone just last week tell me that every Pendlay bar at his box had some kind of bend to it. But to be honest, my biggest issue with Pendlay bars is that their warranty has been voided in the past. Will they do it again? Who knows. Rogue doesn’t pull crap like that. Rogue will always replace a bar that has defects, even if those defects don’t reveal themselves right away

      All that aside, the Chan is a much better multi-purpose option than either Pendlay bar anyway. Pendlay’s aren’t really ideal for deads and benching; just Olympic lifts, but the Chan can definitely handle Olympic lifts in addition to static lifts. Very versatile, amazing knurl, and of course the custom knurl pattern is pretty damn neat. Both bushing bars spin just fine.

      • Dan January 18, 2015, 8:05 pm

        Awesome! Thanks for the help

        • jburgeson January 18, 2015, 8:12 pm

          You got it, good luck! I used to favor the B&R as a general lifting bar, but the Chan benched it. The knurl is just so well done, I use it for just about everything but cleans (I’m not much of a snatcher). I would use the Chan for that, but I have a pretty nice 28 mm Olympic bar so of course I use that =p

  • Jerry Hughes January 23, 2015, 1:40 pm

    With all your bar knowledge and samples, what 20kg bar has the widest distance inside the collars? Very few are exactly 1310mm. They all seem to vary by 5-10mm and at 6’5, every mm helps when doing snatches. If I could find one at 1385 mm just 3″ (50mm) longer it would be ideal.

    • jburgeson January 23, 2015, 1:54 pm

      You know, that’s a good question. You will not likely ever find a bar of any quality that deviates by as much as 50 mm because that specification is one that is dictated by the IWF. However, you may be able to find a cheap bar that does. Matter of fact, the only bar that I have that isn’t within 5 mm of that 1310 is the original Bomba. It’s off by about 28 mm, a little over an inch. Unfortunately, you sacrifice spin for that length on a cheaper bar.

      What sucks is you’ll never be able to tell by looking at a product picture, and I don’t know if a cheap bar dealer would ever tell you f their bar was off by that much if you were to ask; if they even knew in the first place.

      Edit: also, cheap bars tend to not be knurled all the way to the collar anyway, so even that extra 1/2″ on each side will be smooth steel.

    • Derek January 29, 2015, 2:18 pm

      The IronMind S-Cubed and Buffalo bars are both 1485.9mm inside collar to inside collar. They’re 52# and 35mm diameter grips though so that might hamper your snatch. Granted, at 6’5″ your hands are probably plenty big enough for a 35mm bar.

      • jburgeson January 29, 2015, 2:32 pm

        yeah those are huge lol. He’s got an inch on me, but it’s possible he has a large wingspan too. I can make an IWF bar work, but my pinkies rub the collars. As if lifting at that height isn’t awkward enough, gotta find longer bars too.

  • Eric February 9, 2015, 2:50 pm

    How does the Klokov bar slot in here? I’m in the market for a $300-400 bar which will be good for the Olympic lifts but still versatile enough for other uses. I’m a small guy and c&j around 225- would the rogue 28mm bushing training bar feel significantly more whippy at those weights? I’m basically narrowed down to the rogue bushing 28mm bar, the Chan bar or the klokov bar.

    • jburgeson February 9, 2015, 3:04 pm

      At 225, the Rogue is whippier, but you may be wanting bearings as that 225 goes up. You’ll be fine with bushings for a while, just something to consider. The Klokov is good for the price, but not a Rogue bar in terms of feel. If you want spin for ~$300, go Klokov. For whip and feel, go with the Trainer or Chan. Chan is awesome, but it’s 28.5 and so a tad less whippy than Oly bar. Chan is more versatile.

      • Steven Thunander February 9, 2015, 10:05 pm

        I would consider waiting until the revamped Rogue training bar comes out. It is supposed to be a bearing bar at the same price of the current bushing training bar.

        • jburgeson February 9, 2015, 10:07 pm

          I hadn’t heard that, but that’s a good plan on Rogue’s part. Lots of bearing bars out there in that price range.

  • RaJohn February 10, 2015, 9:46 pm

    What are you thoughts on the Pendlay HD Bearing Bar as a general purpose Oly/Big 5 Lift Bar? I know it is a little pricey compared to the other all-around purposed bars, but as far quality of the bar and quality of use do you think it would fit that bill?

    • jburgeson February 10, 2015, 10:03 pm

      Hey RaJohn, I’m not a big fan of Pendlay bars. Personally, I’d never spend that kind of money for a 2013 version Pendlay; there are too many other bars out there that are better for the cash in my opinion. Plus, I’m not sure how happy you’d be benching and back squatting on a springy, Olympic bar. Even if that didn’t bother you, for that money you can have a Rogue Oly, AB Performance Oly bar, or even a DHS training bar (well that’s probably $100 more.)

      I guess it depends on how heavy you lift in the snatch and clean vs how heavy you lift on the static lifts. If you are stronger in the rack, get a 28.5 mm multi-purpose bushing bar. If you’re stronger on the platform, then get a 28 mm bearing bar. Hope that helps some

  • M February 11, 2015, 2:57 am

    I’m curious about the whether the GP Industries training bar’s price is justifiable — haven’t run into anyone who’d compared it to the others. If it’s worth the extra money it’d be nice to know but I guess it may not fit into your testing plans. The training plates seem possibly outside your regular purview too but if you could find a guest reviewer who’s familiar with most of them and up to your standards publishing them on your site could be a nice service to some of your readers.

    I love your reviews, by the way — just hoping you’ll eventually fill in all the gaps. The other stainless bars some other commenters have mentioned fall in that category, as well as, particularly, the Okie 27mm deadlift bar. As it stands you seem to consider deadlift as a generic powerlift from the standpoint of bar spec — at least that’s the impression I got — while the touted advantages of the Okie bar include maximum whip from the diameter and steel choice. As someone who is old and has a lot of rehab to do, but who always preferred deadlifting and who wants to go back to deadlifting and newly approach deadlifting with high dedication to finessing the details at light weight, the aluminum training bars, technique plates, and specialty deadlift bars are of the highest interest so even though I’m highly gratified for your reviews I’d love it if they covered these areas in depth.

    Also interested in your take on T-grip bars and, in general, multi-grip bars that leave more face-clearance for, e.g., overhead pressing than that Rogue multigrip does.

    • jburgeson February 11, 2015, 9:37 am

      You know, nobody ever asks me or comments about the tech or junior bars. I was planning to do a write-up of the tech plates because I think they are more useful… at least, they are useful for a longer period of time, but I’ll likely never have two technique bars side-by-side to compare. It’s such a rare situation that a 5 or 10 kg bar is needed, and even when it is, most people can blast through the need to use one in a matter of weeks. I know some people like to use them as warm-up bars since broomsticks and pvc pipes weight but a few ounces, but other than that I can’t imagine many people even owning these lighter bars in a home setting.

      A while back I covered the basics of specialty bars, but honestly it didn’t occur to me at the time to include the specialty power bar bars like the Okie and Iron Wolfe. Perhaps I should revisit that. I would never have guessed anyone wanted all that whip in a deadlift bar though. I haven’t even heard a second-hand story of someone owning an Okie DL bar.

      Black Widow has a couple MG bars that leave room for the face (http://www.blackwidowtg.com/category_s/1869.htm). Most of them seem to be angled, which is fine. Is there a particular bar you saw that you were interested in?

      • M February 12, 2015, 2:41 pm

        I misspoke there but I think you interpreted it correctly: I plan to go super-light on the Olympic lift practice initially (not the deadlift so much) and build very gradually, hopefully clearing several rehab issues along the way. This is due to various injuries, and I think being able to progressively move from very light to about the 150lb+ load limit of some of the aluminum bars has the best chance of achieving the rehab, which seems pretty questionable. If I make great progress on the injuries I can always buy another bar and use this for warmups until, ideally, I can really trust my parts to the point where the bar is really superfluous. Also may be nice when women are around.

        Here’s one of the T-Grip bars in question: http://shop.tgrip.com/collections/products/products/t-grip-double-strait-handle-7ft — it’s rackable and has rotating sleeves that I think are normal rather than pipe sized. I think this would give me a way to work past the most difficult overhead press areas with the greatest safety by using it in a rack, and unlike a hex or diamond shrug/squat bar, reasonably use it overhead off the floor. This is the vertical-grip model; you can also get slant grips for the same price with otherwise identical other parts.

        Black Widow makes a couple of face-clearance bars with wrist-sparing grips, and they are also highly regarded as well, but come in with fewer features and lower price point. I believe they are pipe-sized. He will do custom lengths and some other custom features. The “multi-grip” is the bar I was primarily considering there: http://www.blackwidowtg.com/product_p/bar-multi-press.htm I think this sort of bar is close to optimal for working through combinations of shoulder/wrist, and hand injuries to regain overhead pressing, but they approach the versatility of the similar bars that substitute close grips for face clearance. I haven’t talked to the Black Widow guy about it but he seems flexible enough that he might build you a straight grip version if that’s what you wanted.

        With the whippy deadlift specialist bars, there seem to be two main advantages: at the ground, and at the sticking point. In a first pull, the bar flexes a bit, storing energy while you get a little momentum and perhaps increase recruitment before the slack is taken up with less jerk than a stiff bar, sparing some stress. At the sticking point, the idea is that the stored energy is released as you slow your lift there, helping you past the sticking point. Some people like to bounce the bar while doing reps (I’m not convinced this is a very good idea), and they talk about the rebound characteristics of the bar. There was a thin raw bar at a gym I used to use, which had a reasonable knurling setup. It was so much nicer than the others for deadlifts and I think flex was part of it.

        • jburgeson February 12, 2015, 11:40 pm

          I’d love to do something regarding equipment for working around injuries, but not being a doctor at all, it would be hard to do responsibly. Perhaps I’ll just look closer at technique gear specifically; specialty bars, lighter bars, etc.

          I hadn’t seen that T-bar before. That one looks decent. I do like having true Olympic collars rather than pipes, but all that Black Widow gear is just super affordable because of the pipes. They’re not the only ones who use that piping either. Rogue has it on a lot of stuff too. Black Widow is definitely the place for custom work though.

          I’m with you though, I don’t think I want that much weight rebounding and bouncing around. There is no reason to blast through deadlifts so fast that you need momentum. I’ll take a pass on that and stick to my old school way of lifting, setting it down, resetting then going again.

  • Brian February 13, 2015, 12:06 am

    received a code for $50 off the Elite-Bearing-Bar so $250. I am looking at either this bar which looks great on paper or Rouge 2.0 or Vulcan one. I have not found much on the X training bar for reviews. I would luv to get your opinion. I do mostly crossfit and Oly lifts. I do have couple cheaper power bars for deadlifts and etc

    • jburgeson February 13, 2015, 10:59 pm

      Sorry Brian, that went to spam cause of the link I guess. Yeah I thought that bar had potential when I discovered it, but I have heard some not so great things about their bars. It’s hearsay, but I hear they’re loose, loud, and just kinda a budget bar even for a budget bar.

    • Steven Thunander February 15, 2015, 10:49 pm

      Here’s Joel X Fit’s write up on the Xtraining bearing bar…

      https://joelxfit.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/review-x-training-equipment-elite-bearing-bar-20kg/

      Note that he says that the bar is loud and has extremely harsh knurling.

  • Rhy February 23, 2015, 4:31 pm

    Do you or anyone not this thread have feedback on the Again Faster Dmitry Klovkov bars? I was debating between that bar and the Chad Vaughn. Thanks in advance

    • jburgeson February 23, 2015, 5:40 pm

      Both of those bars are reviewed on this site.

  • Laura February 27, 2015, 7:41 pm

    I have the opportunity to buy an expensive one, but which one??? I am doing more deadlifts, less bench press and squats, my husband does more squats and deadlifts. I can’t decide which one of these 2 bars:
    – Ivanko OBXS-20KG-29MM Stainless
    – Eleiko Competition PL
    I am into quality and performance. Please help with the decision!
    Thank you advance!

    • jburgeson February 27, 2015, 8:53 pm

      Deciding between those two bars is a good problem to have. Well, stainless steel is awesome. As much as I like Eleiko bars, I am not personally a fan of maintaining bare steel, and the Eleiko PL is bare. When it comes to the high-end competition Ivanko and Eleiko bars, I don’t think you could go wrong either way though. There is no performance or quality issues to really debate.

      If it helps any, Ivanko comp bars are IPF approved, Eleiko is not officially approved for powerlifting; only Olympic weightlifting. That doesn’t mean Eleiko bars are any less of bars, they just don’t pay for that certification.

  • Ryan March 8, 2015, 8:15 pm

    I just won a bid on a used Ivanko OBX 20kg off of eBay. I was very excited since I scored it for around 300 with shipping. But I am a little concerned it’ll be too similar to the OB and I’ll have a hard time squatting with it as I’m trying to switch to low bar. Have you tried the OBX since this write up? Is the whip as substantial as the OB?

    • jburgeson March 8, 2015, 8:59 pm

      I haven’t, no. It’s my understanding that the OBX is the OB but with center knurl. They’re definitely Olympic bars though, not power bars; Ivanko power bars are 29 mm. Are you having issues with the bar flexing too much when squatting? Low bar is a pretty narrow grip so I could see how it might feel whippy with enough weight. $300 is a pretty nice price though.

      • Ryan March 8, 2015, 9:30 pm

        Yes, I figured it was some kind of hybrid bar, but so far I’ve seen it used more for PL, specifically deadlifting. Just wanted a confirmation that there are no real differences other than the center knurl. Any word on the level of grip it has? I’m still waiting on it to ship to me. Anxious to get it. Was trying to hold out for the OPB from rogue, but they are out of stock til at least another month. Figured I can always resell it if the whip is too much for me

        • jburgeson March 8, 2015, 9:46 pm

          I only ever run into older Ivanko bars. They don’t market very well, so they don’t sell very many it seems so there aren’t many out there when compared to Rogue, Eleiko, etc. The Ivanko power bars have a sharper knurl than what most of this new stuff has in general, and keep in mind Ivanko is actually certified for power lifting so they need to be desirable bars, which means good knurl. I don’t know what kind of condition this bar is in, but you may need to clean it if it’s caked in chalk and junk. Knurl feels weak when it gets super dirty. I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed in this bar though.

  • Ryan March 11, 2015, 7:42 am

    I’ll be reviewing the OBX 20kg in the mail tomorrow. I’ll report back in a few days after I’ve squatted and pulled with it to give details on its application as a power bar. Mostly hoping that the knurling isn’t too passive given that it’s a hybrid bar.

    • jburgeson March 11, 2015, 11:40 am

      Very cool. Ya I’d love to hear how it is.

      • Ryan March 13, 2015, 7:13 am

        Used the Ivanko OBX 20kg this morning for low bar back squats. Side note: this version I have is probably 2-3 years old. Take aways:
        – Clearly more aggressive knurling than any OLY bar I’ve used (though I’m sure other PBs are more aggressive)
        – Since very little of the bar isn’t knurled, it actually provides good stick on your back. My rear delts got a little of the side knurling (though my shoulders are fairly wide for a 5’10 185pd guy). It actually dug in on me a bit, still feel the imprint.
        – Slight whip with 275pds during pause squats

        Deadlifting with it tomorrow. After that I’ll really have a good idea of the knurling.

        • jburgeson March 13, 2015, 11:05 am

          Interesting. Is it too much knurl, or just not used to it yet?

          • Ryan March 13, 2015, 12:52 pm

            No, the knurling is just right I think. Some bars really tear you up. It’s a good amount of grab. I was also wearing a thin shirt. Maybe that was part of it. I could definitely feel the knurling through it though

  • Brian S March 11, 2015, 3:24 pm

    Is there a list somewhere of authorized dealers for the TPB? My worry is that if someone can fake a bar, they can fake the end caps as well. Just want to make sure it’s genuine before I take the plunge. Awesome article, BTW. Very informative.

    • jburgeson March 11, 2015, 3:52 pm

      There may be a list somewhere, but I haven’t seen it. L B Baker is legit (http://www.irondawg.com/). I hear the Amazon listing is legit as well, but you’ll probably feel better about it from IronDawg.

      • Brian S March 12, 2015, 5:53 pm

        Thanks again. Any idea why the tensile strength for TPB’s are nowhere to be found? Or, is the 1500 lb test capacity a good assurance that it’s in that >180k PSI range.

        • jburgeson March 12, 2015, 6:23 pm

          The capacity is an old school way of rating a bar. PSI has gotten a bit out of control lately, I wouldn’t worry about it from the TPB. I would guess it’s within the 160-180k range, but I can’t be certain. If TPBs were permanently bending, they wouldn’t be popular… if you know what I mean.

  • Lucas March 14, 2015, 3:46 pm

    Have you heard of York and Iron Wolfe Barbell Weightlifting and Powerlifting Bars? Though Iron Wolfe does not have a general use power bar (they only have squat-bench-deadlift specific bars) they do have both a high quality Weightlifting Bar and a crossfit/ weightlifting training bar. I would also be interested to see if York barbells are anything close to what I’ve heard they used to be decades ago.

    • jburgeson March 14, 2015, 5:07 pm

      Yes to both. York is not what they used to be. The B&R is a good bar, but it’s designed to Burgener and Rippetoe’s specifications, and backed by Rogue rather than York. It also makes a pretty good power bar at 29 mm and over 200 PSI. Pretty solid bar if you don’t mind bare steel. I’ve still got one.

  • Nate March 16, 2015, 11:25 pm

    Thanks for a great site, the information you provided is extremely helpful.

    I recently purchased a Chan chrome bar and I’m looking to add a 2nd bar. I’ll primarily use the bars for power lifting, general strength training and then eventually some Olympic lifting though that may take me a few months to get back into. I’ve been looking in the sub $400 range between a 2nd chrome Chan, a B&R bar and a Rogue 2.0 bar. I’d love to get your input or if you think I should wait a few months and invest in a nicer bar. Realistically I’m probably 6 months away from regularly incorporating Olympic lifts into my routine.

    • jburgeson March 16, 2015, 11:36 pm

      If you want to get back into Olympic lifting, don’t buy any of those bars. The Rogue 2.0 is the same shaft as the Chan, and you really don’t need two Chans of any variety. The B&R makes a great power bar and strength training bar, but it’s a far less than ideal choice for snatches. The Chan is so versatile already that you don’t need another strength bar, you should get a true Olympic bar, as in 28 mm. You won’t be getting bearings at that price point (not good ones anyway), but bushings are okay if you buy the right bar.

      I would say take a look at the Vulcan Elite 3.0 (or any version really if you see one slightly used somewhere), the Vaughn, the American Barbell Performance Trainer, or the Rogue 28 mm Oly Training Bar. These are all very HQ Olympic training bars (all bushings) that will last a long time, and all of them have warranties (lifetime on all I think.) You’ll have to add about $200 to any of these bars to get them with bearings, except the Vaughn which only comes as a bushing bar.

      Oh and thank you, I am glad when people find the information helpful.

      • Nate March 17, 2015, 9:50 am

        Thanks! I think I’ll spend the extra money and get an Olympic Bar with bearings as I get back into Olympic lifting.
        If I can handle the extra money would you recommend the American Barbell SS Bearing Bar ($795) over a Chrome Burgener Bearing Bar ($635)? Basically is it worth the extra $160?

        • jburgeson March 17, 2015, 10:27 am

          Oh man I love that SS bar. The day Rogue makes a stainless steel Burgener is the day I might hang that SS up, but even then I’m not sure. The SS is a great bar, and a classy bar, and if it was stolen, I’d buy another.

  • Alex March 29, 2015, 6:46 pm

    First,
    I know that you have heard this several times, but I want to thank you so much for taking the time to post this information as well as the reviews to go along with them. This has been incredibly helpful in my search for the correct bar, and truthfully has been the most reputable review source that I have come across.

    My question for you is regarding your opinion on two bars that I am on the fence about. I don’t plan on buying another barbell for a while, so I do want to spend the money on a bearing bar FORE SURE. However, I’m looking to stay within the $500-$600 range. The majority of my training is Crossfit but I am also diving into Olympic lifting a lot harder. My goal is to find a bar that is well rounded for Crossfit use but has a very solid quality in the OLY realm.The two I am in between are the Rogue Burgener bar and the Vulcan professional needle bearing bar. Based off of reviews the Rogue bar is solid overall, but I did like the fact that the Vulcan had center knurl as well as aggressive knurl in general. I did see that your overall review favored the Burgener bar, but you gave the Vulcan a great review as well. I thought that it merited me asking, as they are comparable bars. Anything helps!

    PS- As far as Olympic lifting, I am hearing some great things about the Lynx Hybrid Bearing barbell regarding its performance(another bar I am considering). However, it only has a one year warranty and I haven’t been able to find any reviews as far as longevity. This is more of a pure OLY bar from the looks of it, but its a needle bearing bar with a good tensile for only $245. Wondering if you have any info on this barbell that you may be able to share as well.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • jburgeson March 29, 2015, 7:58 pm

      Alex I have four Vulcan bars and I am extremely impressed with all of them. Unfortunately I do not have the Pro, but I have heard many great things. The thing that stands out the most about it is the whip. Even if the claims are exaggerated, the Pro is still probably one of the whippiest Oly bars around. The tensile strength of the bar is high, and that’s great and all, but the yield strength is really impressive; something like 220K PSI, and yield is far more important than tensile strength.

      I do like the Burgener/Rogue Oly, and I leave it as my recommendation because it’s solid, reliable, and backed. Also, at the time I last edited that portion of the post, I didn’t have a lot of experience with Vulcan bars. If I add the Pro to my collection, there is a chance I’ll edit that, but I’d rather wait to try it before I do.

      I know nothing about the Lynx bar specifically, sorry. However, I’ve tried a couple of low-cost bearing bars recently, and they were garbage. Yeah I mean they’ll work at low weights, but when things get serious, they’re going to suck and need to be upgraded. It’s just like any other kind of product. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And if you’re looking at Burgeners and Vulcan Pros for $600, and then someone else says they can get you into a bearing bar that’s just as good for less than half that, well we both know that’s BS.

  • Rob K April 4, 2015, 6:57 am

    Hello jburgeron, I moved my comments over from the AB SS post because I did wind up getting the Eleiko Sport. Now that I have this nice addition, I had a thought and wanted to get your take…. I’m good about brushing the chalk out etc.. But my garage gym is in the northeast, do you think as long as I take care of brushing chalk out etc I am good to keep the bar in the garage all year long? Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • jburgeson April 4, 2015, 9:09 am

      Chrome is resilient, but I’ve seen it rust. Cleaning helps for sure, but if the climate is wet enough to rust a chrome bar, it’ll take more than brushing to prevent it. Oiling helps ward off oxidation, but it makes the bar feel awful.

      I’m in Central Texas and always have been, and I can leave anything in the garage, but maybe someone else from the northeast will chime in on this because I don’t want to tell you to leave your Eleiko in the garage and then have it form even one spot of rust.

  • Mark Manroe April 6, 2015, 3:08 pm

    I am trying to decide on which bar to purchase but I have 2 technical questions. Can I get a phone number for someone there that can help me?

  • Nate April 7, 2015, 4:10 pm

    We discussed OLY bearing bars around 3 weeks ago as I try to reincorporate Olympic lifting back into my workouts. I’m currently using my Chan bar for everything, PL and OLY. Do you have any thoughts around what approximate weight for Cleans and Snatches that a bearing bar starts to add a noticeable benefit?

    Either way I plan to hold off buying my OLY bearing bar until you’ve had a chance to compare the Vulcan’s new SS bearing bar to AB SS bearing bar.

    I really appreciate your site and all your hard work!

    • jburgeson April 7, 2015, 5:32 pm

      Hey Nate, thank you. When you start feeling resistance in your wrists as you get under the bar (during turnover), it’s time to go with bearings.

      At one point I did a test where I continued to load the Chan up until there was enough weight to actually begin to compress the shaft with the sleeve/bushings, and I think I got up to around 300 pounds before spin was affected. Now that was static testing and not exactly the same thing as the bar being turned over at the apex of a lift, but it gives kind of an idea. Actually the test I did is the same test that’s on the SS review, only the SS was never affected by the weight like the Chan and other bushing bars were.

  • Rob April 22, 2015, 11:45 pm

    With the Ohio Power Bar, would you recommend the bare steel or the Black/Bright zinc? I guess im looking for an answer in regards to longevity and quality of the bar.

    • jburgeson April 22, 2015, 11:49 pm

      Only go with bare steel if you are willing to take on the task of maintaining it. Bare steel feels amazing, but it requires constant attention in the form of brushing, cleaning, and oiling. It will rust if you don’t stay on top of it. It can always be cleaned, but the longer you let it oxidize, the more work it is to undo it (I’m talking wire brush attachment on a power tool.)

      Technically though, one is no better than the other as far as how long it will last. Even if you wear that entire zinc finish off, you’re still left with a bare steel Ohio bar.

      • Church April 25, 2015, 6:22 am

        I picked up the Ohio Power bar last year when it first came out. I got it with the bare steel shaft. For a 250.00 bar I’m very impressed with the overall quality of this bar. I got it as bare steel for the price and I don’t mind doing the maintenance. I now have two bars that have bare steel shafts and maintenance is no big deal for me. I’ll just quickly brush the bar down where there is mainly chalk build up and then I”ll wipe the shaft down with an oil-impregnated rag meant for cleaning guns.

  • Brian S April 23, 2015, 8:37 am

    Now, if only they could get the Ohio power bars back in stock. Seems they’ve been ‘coming soon’ for months

    • jburgeson April 23, 2015, 9:04 am

      They haven’t been consistently in stock since they were released. Ever since they started manufacturing in-house, inventory has been bad. Even dropping all those satin chrome bars hasn’t seemed to help. It’s no wonder there hasn’t been any new bars since the Ohio Power; they can’t make them fast enough as it is.

  • Rico April 24, 2015, 11:11 am

    Hey, I have another question. How is deadlifting with an Eleiko (or other bearing bars) training/competition bar. Does it spin too much?

    • jburgeson April 24, 2015, 1:19 pm

      It’s not great. Whippy 28 mm Olympic bars bounce around a lot with 300+ pounds on it, and that’s what can send the plates spinning. You can be super strict, but you’ll still feel it. If it’s all you have, then go for it. Better to deadlift with an Oly bar than to not deadlift at all. I prefer to have an Oly bar and a second bar for squats and deads; something more rigid, with bushings.

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