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Olympic Barbell Review and Shopping Guide

Compare Olympic barbells, power bars, CrossFit bars, Junior bars and more

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: July 2016 (minor revisions, corrections, and price updates).

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 20 kg men’s bars, but many major manufacturers offer a women’s version of their more popular bars. 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 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 cleans. 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, while center knurling on a power bar can be either the same as the rest of the bar, or passive. 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. Needle bearings (or roller bearings) spin more smoothly than bushings, but typically increase the cost of the bar. Both mechanisms produce ample sleeve rotation, 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 (novices do not need to spring for bearings.) 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 draw attention to. 165k is a good minimum, 190k 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. Lately many bars in the $250-$300 range are hitting 190k+ PSI.

Tensile strength can be a tricky thing, so I don’t suggest basing a bar purchase on this attribute alone. Many manufacturer’s know that you’ll be looking for this specification, so they use it as a means to market a cheap, inferior bar as a premium bar at a price that will make you think you just found the deal of the century. Don’t worry too much. If you look at enough of the bars on this page you’ll get a pretty good idea of what’s normal. When you stumble upon a 210,000+ PSI bar for $199, you’ll know that’s not reasonable.

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 that oxide, 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 here, but found on a couple bars within this guide). Stainless offers a similar (arguably better) feeling to bare steel, but without the oxidation. It’s by and far the best feeling of any of these options, but also the most expensive. Read reviews on bars with finishes you’re interested in to see what people think of the feel.

Sleeve Design (Snap Ring vs 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 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 and recommend one just to save you a few bucks. 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.

If you want to be cheap, do it on a different piece of equipment, not your bar.

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’s not going to be when it’s just sitting in the rack. Not worth it.

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

Go to: Dual-Marked Bars | Olympic Bearing BarsPower Bars | Youth 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 28.5 mm Vulcan Standard

The Vulcan Standard Multi-Purpose Box Bar

The Vulcan Standard is a USA-made, multi-purpose bushing bar. The 28.5 mm shaft of the Standard is rated at 194,000 PSI, the sleeves rotate on oil-impregnated bronze bushings, and the knurl is moderate; perfect for high-rep work. The whole bar is finished in bright zinc, and there is no center knurl. It’s a reliable piece of equipment that has the added bonus of not having a single drop of black zinc anywhere on the bar, and it’s only $279.

The 28.5 mm Standard was actually designed to withstand the day-in and day-out abuse of a commercial gym or CrossFit box, and is warranted for just that. If the Standard can handle the negligence typical of that kind of an environment, I think it’ll work just fine in your garage gym. Matter of fact, I know it will – I have the Vulcan Standard out in my garage gym. [full review here]

The Standard is a great alternative to both the Rogue Bar 2.0 and the Bella Bar (there is a 15 kg Standard too). While these are all USA-made, reliable, and priced reasonably, the Standard does have the advantage of sintered bronze bushings over cast bronze, and like I previously mentioned – no black zinc. When comparing the Standard to the cheap import bars from the smaller run-of-the-mill CrossFit shops, it’s a no-brainer.


American Barbell California Bar

American Barbell California Bar - CrossFit/Multi-Purpose

The California Bar is American Barbell’s answer to the Rogue Bar 2.0. Like the Rogue Bar, the California sports a 190,000 PSI, black-zinc shaft with dual marks and no center knurl. Both bars also spin on high-load composite bushings rather than bronze bushings, an attribute I’m mostly indifferent about when it comes to multi-purpose bars.

What makes the California different than the Rogue Bar 2.0 (and other multi-purpose bars in this price range) is the use of a true 28 mm shaft rather than the usual 28.5 mm shaft. Also, the California has hard chrome sleeves rather than bright zinc. Both of these features are a nice touch, but it does end up making the bar cost about $20 more than the Rogue Bar ($275 vs $255), which isn’t a bad deal considering.

At the end of the day, the California is a marvelous, high-end product, and as the proud owner of four different American Barbell bars I do not hesitate to recommend it. I do however suggest you also compare the Cali to the Vulcan Standard. [full California Bar]

Interestingly enough, if you’re okay with only IWF hash marks on your bar (as in, not dual-marked), you can get back under the 2.0 cost again with the $249 Black & Chrome Bar


The 20 kg Rogue Bar 2.0

The new Rogue Bar 2.0 by Rogue Fitness

The Rogue Bar 2.0 – King of the CrossFit Box?

As of 2014, The Rogue Bar is now The Rogue Bar 2.0. This bar has been drastically improved over the original, and believe it or not the price was actually lowered by about $20. Not too bad of a deal.

The Rogue Bar 2.0 is a 20 kg, 28.5 mm multi-purpose/CrossFit bar. The 190k PSI shaft is dual-marked with no center knurl, and finished in black zinc. Each sleeve sits on a pair of high-load, composite bushings, and they are finished in bright zinc. As a fun little bonus, the shoulder is machine grooved so that custom rubber bands can be added as a way to personalize your bar.

If your budget is under $300, The USA-made Rogue Bar should at least be considered. It’s the most commonly purchased bar for CrossFit boxes, and there are over 100+ 5-star reviews for this bar (in addition to countless off-site reviews) to prove its incredible value, durability, and performance. The only real downsides to the Rogue Bar 2.0 is that it’s quite loud to drop, and it has a black zinc shaft. Rogue has even finally released different color rubber bracelets for the sleeves so it’s totally customizable now!


The 15 kg 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 has similar construction to the Rogue Bar (bright zinc on black zinc, 190,000 PSI shaft, dual-marked, etc). However, the shaft is narrower at 25 mm, the Bella uses cast bronze bushings instead of composite, and the bar is slightly shorter at 79-3/8″ (the difference in length comes off the sleeves, not the shaft). The Bella is a solid women’s bar. Of course the best thing about it is the $215 price tag.


The 20 kg Rogue Ohio Bar

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 CrossFit bar with a 28.5 mm shaft rated at 190,000 PSI – the same shaft used for the Rogue Bar 2.0 actually. The bushings are bronze, the knurl is moderate to medium, and the whip is very average. The Ohio is available in three different finishes including black zinc, bright zinc, and black oxide, and the price ranges from $282 to just $295.

The Ohio Bar is Rogue’s flagship bar; the first to be manufactured entirely at the Rogue campus in Ohio. It currently has a 5-star rating based on over 100 reviews, and tons of positive feedback for this bar can be found all over the web. However, unless you want the black oxide variant I see little reason to buy the zinc Ohio over the Rogue Bar 2.0 for $30 less cash.

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


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 dearly. It’s not all good news though…

The Chan Bar is a 28.5 mm dual marked bar with a 190,000 PSI shaft. It’s basically an Ohio Bar at it’s core (same shaft, bushings, sleeves, etc) but the knurling on the Chan Bar is more aggressive than the Ohio and the Rogue Bar 2.0. Also the knurling of the Chan is set further away from center to allow for a wider stance with deadlifts – a blessing for tall folks like me. The Chan bar also has a passive center knurl for squats – I dare say very passive.

The black zinc Matt Chan Bar

The not so good news is that the chrome version of this bar (was $375) is no longer being offered, and only black zinc remains (is $295). As many of you know, I am not a fan of black zinc – especially when applied to the sleeves. It chips, it fades, and it turns green over time. I hate it. Because of the removal of that chrome option I find myself recommending this bar less and less. However, if black zinc doesn’t bother you then this is an absolutely fantastic bar. If you want a chrome bar, stop waiting around for a chrome Chan to be reintroduced and pick up something else. [full review here]


York Burgener and Rippetoe 20 kg Men’s Bar

Burgener & Rippetoe Men's Bar from Rogue

The original York Burgener & Rippetoe Men’s Bar

The original York B&R Bar is being discontinued, and has been replaced with the Rogue B&R Bar. The new version is being built the same for the most part; 29 mm bare steel shaft, bare steel sleeves, bronze bushings, and dual-markings. What has changed with the Rogue version is the tensile strength of the shaft (up to 205k PSI from 190k PSI), and the sleeve assembly. More specifically, the Rogue B&R uses snap rings instead of a cap now, and the bronze bushings are no longer self-lubricating sintered bronze, but rather simple cast bronze.

Close up of Rogue B&R dual-marks and knurling

The new Rogue bare steel B&R ($205-$295)

In addition to the 20 kg men’s B&R, there is a women’s 15 kg B&R as well. Both are great multi-purpose bars, and the ladies version is one of the only bare steel options in that 15 kg category, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I liked the original a little bit more. The men’s B&R is $295 and the women’s is $205 – a difference in price so large that it literally confuses me.


AF Team Bar

The Again Faster Team Bar is a train wreck and it should be avoided. The only reason I even bother to mention it here and risk drawing any attention at all to it is to save people who have it on their short list from actually buying it.

Normally I would just let the reviews do the talking, but Again Faster has been removing the negative reviews from their site. As in, they are literally just deleting the reviews that speak to the Team’s bent shafts and frozen sleeves, and the companies unwillingness to make exchanges or offer returns – an unbelievably disgraceful and unforgivable thing to do. If you’re so inclined and somewhat savvy, you can use Internet archives to dig up those reviews, but a customer who stumbles upon AF would never think to do this, so I felt it was my job to point it out here.

Below are a few of the many reviews out there that cannot be deleted and hidden from you. Shop there at your own risk.

Video Review #1 | Video Review #2 | Video Review #3


Vulcan One Basic Economy Bar

Vulcan One Basic in black zinc and chrome

The Vulcan One Basic is one of the better economy CrossFit/multi-purpose bars currently on the market. At $229, it’s incredibly competitive with the other 190,000 PSI bars like the Rogue Bar 2.0, Ohio Bar, and the California Bar, yet even at that lower price has some features that make it more appealing. For starters, the 20 kg One Basic is completely chrome – no zinc. It also has a true 28 mm shaft rather than 28.5 mm. Finally, the One Basic ships for free unlike the Rogue and American Barbell bars.

The One is offered in both a men’s 20 kg and women’s 15 kg version. These two bars used to be black zinc bars (middle bar in above image), but that finish easily chipped and scratched away so Vulcan started using chrome. The black chrome variation can still be purchased at a discount, but only for the 15 kg version. Prices start at $198 and cap out at $229.

This bar is a very real alternative to some good mid-range bars. When compared to the lesser imports like the Bomba, Team Bar, and other similar bars from the small CrossFit shops, the difference in quality and performance is night and day.


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28 mm Olympic Weightlifting Bearing Bars

IWF Olympic Barbell specifications

Olympic Weightlifting Barbells are designed for the two explosive lifts: the snatch and clean & jerk. True Olympic barbells have a shaft diameter of 28 mm (25 mm for women’s) and they will almost always utilize the more expensive roller (needle) bearings for sleeve rotation rather than using bushings. Matter of fact, all of the bars in this section are bearing WL bars, but I have included bushing-based training bars in the section immediately following.

American Barbell Stainless Steel Olympic Bar

American Barbell Olympic SS Bar

The Stainless Steel Bearing Bar is American Barbell’s most expensive bar, and it’s also their best bar. 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 (other than the $200+ price difference) is that the American Barbell SS bar is a stainless steel bar.

Stainless steel is superior to every other shaft material or finish option not only because of its resistance to oxidation, but also because stainless steel offers a natural and secure grip that no applied finish can compare to. Stainless bars don’t need to have overly aggressive knurl to stick to your hands, making them ideal for long training sessions. The American Barbell SS shaft is one of only two bar shafts that I’ve considered to be a 10/10 for grip and knurl quality.

Close up of the stainless steel shaft

This natural yet resistant feel comes with a price though, and that is of course the price. You’ll pay about $200 more for this SS bar than you would pay for an equivalent non-stainless bar like AB’s Pro Olympic Bar (the chrome version of this same bar) or the Rogue Olympic WL bar. Even the Rogue Euro is $100 less than the AB SS.

So is it worth the cost? I own this bar and I think that it’s worth every penny [full review]. The sleeves are a beautiful and resilient chrome, the grip is solid and completely secure, the bearings can handle more weight than even Dmitry could put on the bar, and the whip is better than average. This bar is as functional as it is beautiful, and I think it’s a very reasonable price for such a premium piece of equipment. I always say, “don’t spend over $700 or $800 on an Olympic bar without at least considering stainless steel.”


Vulcan Professional Needle Bearing Olympic Bar

Vulcan Professional Needle Bearing Olympic Bar

This is Vulcan’s high-end Olympic WL bar, a bar not only comparable to the IWF training bars (DHS, Elieko, Zhangkong) but probably even superior to them – and in most cases for a lot less money.

The Vulcan Professional is a 20 kg, 28 mm needle bearing bar. The shaft specifications blow all other professional bars out of the water – it has a sick, lab-verified tensile strength of over 240,000 PSI and a yield strength of 223,000 PSI. The yield is higher than the tensile strength of all other professional Olympic bars, meaning it would take an act of God or an almost deliberate form of negligence to put a permanent bend in it.

The Vulcan Pro is said to be one of the most elastic (whippiest) Olympic bars on the market, displaying its reflexive properties well at moderate weights, and better than even an Eleiko at heavy weights. It’s finished completely in engineered, hard chrome; which is both beautiful and thick enough to contribute to the bar’s overall strength. This is an end-game Olympic bar, and if you choose to purchase another Olympic bar after purchasing the Vulcan Pro, it will be for the fun of it, not out of necessity.

So if you’re looking for a true, competition-worthy Olympic bar but you don’t want to pay the $800-$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

Not so long ago Rogue designed their own line of Olympic weightlifting bearing bars to compete with the high dollar imports. That bar is the Rogue Olympic WL Bar, and this American-made bar is definitely comparable in quality to the high dollar European and Chinese bars, but at a fraction of the price. The shaft has a slightly lower PSI that the Eleiko, but it’s like 30-40% lower in price; plus 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; which isn’t often). 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

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


Rogue “Euro” 28 mm Olympic WL Bar

Rogue 28 mm Euro Olympic WL Bar

The new Rogue European Steel 28 mm Olympic WL Bar

The recently released Rogue Euro Oly Bar is gunning for the title of Best American-Made Olympic Bar, and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what it isThis bar is only similar to the US-steel version in that they are both Olympic bars with 10 needle bearings. Just about everything else is different.

The Euro has a shaft rated at 215,000 PSI rather than 190,000 PSI; a number that puts it completely on par with the Eleiko Olympic bars. Rogue claims this bar is whippier, smoother, and quieter than it’s US-steel predecessor, and they’re absolutely right. The sleeves are friction welded rather than one-piece, and the entire bar is finished in what is quite honestly a very beautiful polished chrome. The Euro is completely IWF spec’d, including the presence of a center knurl.

This bar sells for a good deal more than than the original Rogue Oly WL Bar at $695 (vs $525 and up), but it’s well within reason. The Euro is completely capable of going head-to-head with any European or Asian IWF bar, and it’s still considerably less expensive than comparable WerkSan, Eleiko, and Uesaka bars while still being competitive with the cheaper DHS and ZKC training bars.

For what it’s worth, I dropped the $695 to buy this bar, and I do not regret it. See my review here.


Ivanko OB-20KG Olympic Bar

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

No other company more thoroughly tests their bars than Ivanko Barbell. Each and every premium 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. Good luck finding a defect in an Ivanko!

The OB-20KG Olympic bar is a polished black oxide, true 28 mm Olympic bar with a steel shaft 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 reasonably priced, and if you’re willing to pay for stainless, you really should consider the AB SS Bar discussed above.


Eleiko Sport Training Bar – 15 and 20 kg

Eleiko Sport Training Bar for men or women

The Sport Trainer is Eleiko’s “budget” 28 mm Olympic training bar, but don’t let the word “budget” confuse you here; this is still an Eleiko, and it’s still expensive.

The Sport uses the same 215,000 PSI Swedish steel shaft and the same high load, smooth bearings that you’ll find on the Eleiko IWF Comp and Training bars. The only significant differences include one less bearing per sleeve (4 instead of 5), and a price that is about $150 less than the Trainer. The knurl is also a touch softer than the Trainer, but it’s still that firm, Eleiko grip.

The Sport is available for both men and women (20 kg and 15 kg). The price for either is $729 and they both have the standard strict 10-year Eleiko bar warranty. Very beautiful bar, and a great buy when it’s on sale – not that it’s ever on sale!


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28 mm Olympic WL Training Bars

These bars are more or less the same as the Olympic WL bearing bars. They have 28 mm, high-whip shafts designed exclusively for the two explosive lifts, only they utilize a bushing system for sleeve rotation rather than high-cost roller bearings. The point of these bushing-based Olympic bars is simply to provide a more affordable option for Olympic training. These are great for beginners to the sport, adequate for intermediates, and less than ideal for professional lifters.

American Barbell Precision Training Bar

American Barbell Precision Training Bar - Stainless Steel

The Precision Training Bar is a very nice training bar. It’s a lot more expensive than the rest of the Olympic training bars that I’ll talk about, but that’s basically because it’s the exact same bar as the above-mentioned SS Professional Bar only with composite bushings rather than bearings. In other words, it has a flawless stainless steel shaft and hard chrome sleeves.

Like the SS Pro, the tensile strength of the stainless shaft is 190,000 PSI. This IWF-spec bar is made entirely in the USA, comes with a lifetime warranty, and is offered in both a 28 mm 20 kg version, and a women’s 25 mm 15 kg version. I have a ton of experience with American Barbell’s stainless bars (I own three of them), I think they’re very well-designed, high-performance bars that look as amazing as they feel. They are expensive though – this bar being just under $500.

Alternatively, American Barbell does off a version of this bar that is far more in line with the competition, yet still a fantastic bar. For $345 you can pick up the Performance Training Bar. The Performance is basically the same as the Precision, only the stainless steel shaft is replaced with the chrome-finished steel shaft. You can’t go wrong with either of these bars, and the Performance is just as much bar for those that can’t afford the luxury of stainless steel.


Rogue 28 mm Olympic Training Bar

Rogue 28 mm Olympic Training Bar - bushings

The 28 mm Trainer is Rogue’s affordable alternative to the Rogue 28 mm Oly Bearing Bar. For $325 you get the same 190k PSI shaft, same semi-aggressive knurl, and same sleeves that are found on the $525+ Rogue Oly Bar, but instead of high-speed bearings you get simple cast bronze bushings. In other words you get the same grip, whip, and feel of the more expensive bearing bar, but you save about $200 by ditching the bearings.

This is one of the more reasonably price 28 mm training bars on the market. It’s a great bar offered by an outstanding company. The only real drawback in my opinion is the use of zinc rather than chrome; or rather, the lack of chrome as one of the options. Currently all you can choose from is different configurations of zinc (black or bright.) There is also a women’s version of the Olympic Training Bar (15 kg, 25 mm shaft.)

If budget is your primary concern when shopping for a 28 mm trainer, this is your bar. If you can throw a few more bucks at this bar, you’ve got to consider the Vulcan Elite 3.0.


Vulcan 28mm Elite Olympic Training Bar 3.0

Barbell Review - Vulcan true 28 mm Elite Olympic Training Bar

An amazing barbell for the price, the Vulcan Elite Olympic Training Bar is a 28 mm, 20 kg Olympic training bar with an unbelievable PSI tensile strength rating of 221,000 PSI and 206,000 yield rating. This is a chrome moly bar with a matte chrome finish on the shaft (has a sticky grip like bare steel) and bright, engineered chrome sleeves. It has amazing whip, high tensile and yield strength, and great protection against oxidation.

The Vulcan Olympic Training Bar, 28 mm, 20 kg

This bar adheres to all 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 elite CrossFit as well as Olympic training. The sleeves of this bar are also grooved to keep rubber change plates on the bar when used outside of the collars.

You will not find a nicer Olympic training bar for the money. Matter of fact the only way to improve upon this bar is to upgrade to a bearing bar. $369 with free shipping.


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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 weight that gets put on the bar. Additionally, powerlifting bars don’t need the sleeves to spin as smoothly so they are almost always bushing bars.

There are no women’s power bars. They are all either 45 pounds or 20 kilograms, and the shaft diameter will be between 28 mm and 29 mm. Women are expected to use the same bars as men.

Vulcan Absolute Power Bar

Vulcan Absolute 221k PSI Power Bar

The Vulcan Absolute Power Bar is the highest-rated tensile strength power bar on the market. At 221,000 PSI, this 29 mm beast of a bar will handle any amount of weight you throw at it. The shaft is aggressively knurled and finished in black oxide, and the grooved sleeves are unfinished bare steel. The Absolute should feel right at home to you veteran powerlifters.

Vulcan Absolute Power Bar - Knurling close-up

The Absolute is a 20 kg bar with bronze bushings, and it sells for $339; and that includes the shipping. There is also a lifetime warranty against breaking or bending – a warranty you’ll never have to call in.


Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar

Authentic Buddy Capps' Texas Power Bar

The most talked about Power Bar in existence The Texas Power Bar is 86″ long with 15″ sleeves, 4″ center knurling, and it has a 28.5 mm shaft. It’s 20 kg, has a 1500 lb max capacity (whatever that means), and the shaft is finished in black zinc.

Don’t assume that because you find a bar called the 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 Texas Power Bar. The authentic Buddy Capps TPB can be purchased from Texas Strength Systems or from Buddy’s distributor, LB Baker at IronDawg.


Vulcan Powerlifting Bar

New Vulcan Power Bar

The Vulcan Powerlifting Bar is a 29 mm, 196,000 PSI power bar. It has very aggressive knurling, Oilite self-lubricating bronze bushings, and a bright zinc finish from sleeve to sleeve. Since power bars tend to be black oxide and/or bare steel, the Vulcan being a more corrosion-resistant finish creates yet another option for us when trying to find a power bar, and that’s a good thing.

An interesting feature of the Vulcan Power Bar is the presence of dual hash marks. It has both IWF and IPF marks just like a multi-purpose bar, only it’s not a multi-purpose bar. I’ve tried to come up with a good reason for putting weightlifting marks on a power bar, but I came up with nothing. Your guess is as good as mine.

I’m optimistic about this bar, and hope to review it at some point. At $295 it has a nice price point for having Oilite bushings and bright zinc instead of oxide (or nothing.)


Rogue Deadlift (Ohio) Bar

The Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar

The new Ohio Deadlift Bar is a 90″ long beast designed for nothing more than deadlifts. The thin, 27 mm shaft is rated at 190,000 PSI, the knurl is super aggressive (no center), and the bar flexes under even moderate amounts of weight. Rumor has it that you can add 20-pounds to your deadlift just by switching to a deadlift bar. I’m not so sure that applies to anyone with a deadlift under 500-pounds, but whose to say!

The Ohio Deadlift sells for $295-$350 depending on finish (bare or zinc), and while that’s a hefty price to pay for a single-lift bar, I will admit that it was a welcome addition to my garage gym. I only deadlift with the Ohio now, and I’m super glad that I picked one up for a review (read that here). It’s one of those bars I will not be getting rid of. It’s pretty solid, I recommend checking it out if you’re an avid deadlifter and an “accessory” bar is in your budget.


CAP OB-86B Power Bar

CAP-OB-86B "Olympic" Power Bar

I have been reluctant to include any of the CAP OB-86 bars in this article as they are probably the very last bars that I’d recommend to anyone, but the CAP OB-86B is probably the least amount of money that you could spend on a barbell and not have it break or bend within a week, so I have finally decided to talk about it here.

Just briefly let me say that this bar is not marketed as a power bar, but it is a power bar. It has only IPF markings, crappy steel bushings that don’t spin well, and it’s rigid as they get. Even the knurl is very power-bar’ish. This is absolutely a power bar despite using the term Olympic in the name of the bar. The only thing CAP left off this bar is a center knurl, which is actually another minor reason I hesitated to include it.

The OB-86B has a tensile strength rating of 130,000 PSI, a price tag of anywhere from $130-$150 depending on which way the wind is blowing at Amazon, and no real warranty to speak of. This is a beginner’s bar, it won’t handle the snatch but can it handle lesser power cleans, and the only reason you should even consider this bar is if you’re flat broke but you need to lift.

While this is indeed the best product that CAP has produced in a long time, that isn’t saying much, so don’t run out and equip your gym with CAP-branded products. Nine times out of ten you will be disappointed. CAP is 100% imported, box-store equipment, and it will not last.


Rogue Ohio Power Bar

Rogue Ohio Power Bar in bare steel or zinc

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. There is 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.


Westside Power Bar 2.0

Rogue Westside Power Bar 2.0

Like the original Westside, the Westside Power Bar 2.0 was co-developed pro powerlifter Louie Simmons; the founder of Westside Barbell. This revised version of the Westside actually has a decent list of changes made to it. The knurl was modified to be less abrasive while still being deep and coarse, the entire bar is finished in black zinc now rather than the sleeves being bright zinc, and the bushings were changed from bronze to composite. Not only that, the new composite bushings are green to match the updated end caps.

The bar still sports a super rigid, 29 mm shaft rated at 205k PSI, so at the end of the day it should still feel much like its predecessor. It’s also a much better deal than it used to be as the price was lowered from $375 to $325 to be more in line with the Ohio Power Bar variations.  It definitely was leaning towards over-priced at the $375 price tag, so it’s a good change to have made.

At the time of this update, you could still buy the original Westside Power Bar, but I suspect that it will ultimately be moved into the closeouts section.


Eleiko Powerlifting Bars

The Eleiko Powerlifting Barbells

Eleiko offers two powerlifting bars; the competition and training PL bars. Both bars are bare steel bars – there is no shaft finish. They are 20 kilo bars with a 29 mm shaft with super aggressive knurling, and they have bronze bushings rather than bearings. The training bar is $899 and the IPF-certified competition bar is $999. I challenge you to tell me the difference other than the certification and end-caps. Both come with a 10- year warranty.

I don’t actually recommend this bar for a home or garage gym. The cost is prohibitive (to say the least), and nobody needs an IPF sticker in their garage. Hey if you’re flush, knock yourself out. If nothing else, you’ll be the envy of your lifting bros.


Ivanko OBX-20KG Powerlifting Bar

The Ivanko OBX-20KG Power Bar

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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Youth/Junior Bars

Junior Bars - Olympic WL Youth Bars

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

OSO Mini – Kid’s Technique Bar

Oso Mini - Children's Technique Bar

The OSO Mini is a 5-lb, 48-inch long anodized aluminum bar designed for teaching children proper lifting technique. The shaft is 22 mm thick, the sleeves spin on a unique and inexpensive bearing system, and the bar can handle being loaded to up to 50-pounds. The Mini is made in the USA and comes in three different colors; the red being unique to Rogue Fitness. Price is $100.

American Barbell Black & Chrome Junior Bar

The American Barbell B&C Junior Bar is a 10 kg bar with a 25 mm shaft. Like all junior bars, this bar has less overall length (1693 mm), but the reduction comes from the sleeves. The distance between sleeves is the same as a standard Olympic bar as to a allow smooth transitions between junior and men’s bars.

The shaft of the AB Junior is rated at 180k PSI and is finished in black chrome. The sleeves are finished in hard chrome; a very nice touch for a youth’s bar. The bar is IWF marked and it has no center knurl, and the bushings used in this bar are high-load composite rather than bronze. Very nice American-made Junior bar, and it retails for $225.

Rogue 10 kg Junior Bar

The Rogue Junior Bar is a 10 kg bar with a 25 mm black zinc shaft. This 66.75″ long bar is shorter than standard 15 kg and 20 kg bars, but the distance between collars is the same as a competition bar; the difference comes off the sleeves (only 6.6″ long each.) Rogue’s Junior is a cast bronze bushing bar with snap rings, and it has an impressive 190k PSI tensile strength (same as any Rogue bushing bar).

This junior bar is different from other Junior bars in that it is dual marked for both Olympic and Power lifting. It has no center knurling. USA- made, $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, Vulcan has the most unique, high-end barbells, American Barbell has a great selection of affordable but very high-quality American-made 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!

Links in this following section take you back up to the bar’s listing on this page.

My Pick for a Competitive CrossFit Bar

Taking money out of the equation, I would go with the Rogue Olympic WL bar (or its cousin, the Burgener) if I was looking for a competitive CrossFit training 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 for those of us who prefer it. The steel is strong, there is no center knurling, and it has a lifetime warranty backed by Rogue. Additionally, if you’re serious about competing in the Games, it could be in your best interest to train on the same bar that you’ll compete with; and the Rogue Olympic WL Bar is the current Games Bar.

My Pick for a CrossFit Bar on a Budget

My pick would have to be the Rogue Bar 2.0. The Rogue Bar (and the women’s Bella Bar) fill CrossFit boxes and garage gyms all around the world because they are reliable, perform well, and are very affordable. These two Rogue intro bars will be the default choice for many people probably for years to come.

Alternatively, American Barbell has the California Bar which is nearly identical to the Rogue Bar 2.0. The biggest difference is the use of chrome over zinc, which will of course look better for longer and offer superior protection from oxidation. The drawback is about a $20 difference in price, with the Rogue being the lower priced bar.

My Pick for a Professional 28 mm Olympic WL Bar

With no consideration to price, I’d have to say the American Barbell SS Pro. It’s the ultimate high-end training bar because it has a medium-depth knurl that is far more accommodating to long training sessions than the IWF cheese graters, but because of the grippy, stainless steel shaft there is no sacrifice to grip security. Matter of fact, even with less coarseness, the SS Pro may very well offer a grip superior to the sharp IWF trainers.

In addition the quality and feel of the knurl, the bearings of the SS Pro are simply insane; they are unstoppable. No amount of weight that you could load onto this bar will slow or seize the bearings. The bar is a champ, and it’s $799 because of the high quality of the bar and its components, not simply because there is an IWF sticker to pay for.

For something more traditional (and less expensive), the Vulcan Professional would be my next choice. The specs are crazy and the price is reasonable. With whip and tensile strength being the most important specs when hunting for a high-end Oly bar, well, you certainly can’t do any better than this bar.

My Pick for a General Strength and Conditioning Bar

Unfortunately, my favorite bar for general training is out of stock and being revised – the Super Power Bar. Prior to that my favorite was the Matt Chan Bar; that is until Rogue discontinued it in chrome. Still, the Matt Chan remains one of the better multi-purpose bars on the market, especially for taller folks.

That said, I still favor power bars for general S&C programs. I would probably lean on my B&R should I lose access to the Chan and Super, and perhaps the Vulcan Absolute Power Bar. It’s just hard to go wrong when you’re program doesn’t involve the snatch or jerk. Just avoid box-store garbage and you’ll be good.

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{ 332 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!

    • 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. 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.

  • 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.

      • oscar May 29, 2015, 1:40 am

        Where is the uesaka ? !!!!!

        • jburgeson May 29, 2015, 8:52 am

          Oscar I had to draw the line somewhere! There are so many bars, and Uesaka doesn’t do a very good job of defining specifications. I’d have dug deeper for feedback and info on them if they were a more accessible brand stateside, but it just seemed as good a bar as any to just leave off. Ironically, Uesaka is probably a better bar than WerkSan.

  • 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 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 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.

      • Jorge January 10, 2016, 7:42 pm

        I am no Olympian by any means, but I have cleaned and jerked 365# with the lynx bar, which is my orm. I haven’t tried doing an Olympic lift with more weight because I physically can’t at this point. I do have an Eleiko and I don’t notice a difference in spin with the weight I can lift. Whip is about the same. Eleiko’s chrome finish is of better quality than Lynx’s zinc obviously, but not bad. It feels like the rogue zinc bars.

        Can’t speak to long term longevity as I’ve had it about a year and a half, but it gets used as my “beater” Only bar for circuit workouts with usually 185#-225# so it has had some abuse being dropped all the time the Eleiko is what I use for strictly Olympic lifting.

  • 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.

  • Steven Thunander May 7, 2015, 11:37 pm

    It should be noted that the Eleiko Sport training bar can be had for $638 and the XF bar for $515 over at bumperplates.com. That puts them into contention with the Rogue Oly bar, which is more akin to those two bars.

    • Church May 8, 2015, 5:49 am

      No Way, thanks very much for pointing this out. Might have to jump on those prices! Been wanting to get an Eleiko cert comp or WL training and at those prices might have to pull the trigger on one! Great timing on our post, tax return should be here any time now.

  • Corey May 13, 2015, 11:07 am

    How does the new klokov bar fall among these barbells?

    • jburgeson May 13, 2015, 1:37 pm

      I’ve got the Klokov. I almost added it here a couple times, but it’s just so… meh.

      I want it to be good, and I’m hopeful that future generations of the Klokov get revised. The bar has potential, but right now it’s a hodgepodge of features that don’t mingle well. Three different knurl patterns including an aggressive center, super stiff shaft, and rust galore! The rust issue is a pretty big deal to me because you can’t tell people your bar is hard chrome when you’re putting some cheap ass decorative finish on instead. That bar started rusting 3 or 4 months out… pretty sketchy.

  • Tim May 20, 2015, 1:23 pm

    Thank you for the extensive reviews, the knowledge you shared is impressive.
    About 6 years ago I picked up 2 York bars at a small local nutrition store, and I’ve had a hard time learning much about either of them. Both were under $300.
    One is a 28mm Olympic bar with bearings, the other is a 32mm Powerlifting Bar with bushings. Both have end caps, center knurling, and a chrome finish. On a scale the 28mm bar weighs in at 40lbs, the 32mm at 45lbs.
    Have you even heard of these two bars? The two elements that stand out to me the more I learn about bars is the light weight of the 28 and the large grip of the Powerlifting bar. At the time I thought that was a standard of some type. Even the instructor at my USA Weightlifting Coaching course was stumped. I know this is an odd comment, but I appreciate any input you may have.
    Thanks!

    • jburgeson May 20, 2015, 1:40 pm

      Hey Tim. I’m not going to be of much help here unfortunately. 31 and 32 mm bars are generally low-end bars. The only reason to make a bar that thick is to make up for a low-grade steel that wouldn’t be strong enough at 28-29 mm. Power bars are thicker than Oly, but only by 1 mm, not 3 or 4 mm.

      The 40-pound Olympic bar is indeed peculiar. I have no idea what that bar could be. It’s possible that the bar is supposed to be 20 kg and is just way off. York can make decent bars, but York also makes some junky bars. It’s not that uncommon for junk bars to be off 5% of claimed weight, and in rare instances maybe as much as 10%. Of course, it could also be just some weird random bar that for one reason or another is only 40 pounds. I just don’t know =/

      Some of fellas that read comments here are pretty knowledgeable about bars though, including some older bars, so maybe someone else will chime in and have a definitive answer for you. Btw, is there a number pressed into the end caps?

      • Tim May 20, 2015, 7:04 pm

        As a matter of fact yes-
        32mm: 32112
        28mm: 32110

        • jburgeson May 20, 2015, 9:25 pm

          Yeah those numbers will tell you what you’ve got. Just search York 32112, York 32110. I found both right away. The bearing bar is just way off its weight. $269’ish for a needle bearing bar is definitely an economy bar, so the discrepancy isn’t all that surprising. You have any problems with these bars, other than the thickness of one and the weight of the other? They still spin? Still straight?

          • Tim May 20, 2015, 9:58 pm

            Huh, who’d a thunk! Thanks!
            The big one doesn’t spin all that great, but it’s real stiff and I just use it for squat/bench/deadlift. The 28 has a pretty good whip, and it spins pretty well. It’s definitely not a $1000 bar though, but it’s good enough for the basics I use it for.
            But I really appreciate the effort you’ve put into the reviews, I will definitely use them when I upgrade in the future!

            • jburgeson May 20, 2015, 10:03 pm

              haha you got it, Tim. And I appreciate you saying that, thank you.

  • Church May 20, 2015, 8:15 pm

    Figured I would put my thoughts in the general Olympic barbell review and guide on a bar I just picked up.So for the current sale price I decided this was a good opportunity to checkout a Vulcan without spending to much money on one to find out I wasn’t happy with their product. I bought the Vulcan Women’s 15kg Professional Olympic Bar on sale right now for right around $400. I’m happy with it for the $400 I paid, I wouldn’t be happy with it if I had paid full retail, right below $600. Overall the bar is a very nice buy for the current asking price and a great choice for women that are competitive with Crossfit and even Olympic weightlifting and are looking for the balance between cost and a good quality performing bar. Out of the shipping tube it’s a very cosmetically pleasing bar, nice shiny chrome and it doesn’t seem like they skimped on applying the chrome, but once you start to really go over the bar you start to see the little cosmetic glitches of hasty manufacturing. Burs were left on the sleeve and this isn’t good if you plan on using rubber V-lock style change plates. I plan on sanding down the burs which invariably will scratch up the nice shiny chrome, but I would rather do this as opposed to continuously nick away at the rubber seal on my expensive change plates. The knurling is set perfect for women, not to aggressive but definitely adequate, especially for high rep workouts like Crossfit. The quality of the knurling itself is great but the finish of the knurling on the shaft is not so great for a bar of an original asking price just under $600, typical of hasty manufacturing. The shaft spins very true, you have to look very close to notice any oscillation in the sleeves and it is very negligible. This bar spins as true as any expensive IWF certified bar I’ve been around and that includes Eleiko. The spin itself is effortless and smooth, typical of any other bar in this price range. A little bit more play between the shaft and sleeves than I would like to see but it’s minimal. Now for the whip, the shaft is definitely reflexive but I did just get the bar and it has to be lifted on for a period of time with some weight to really determine the quality of whip. The whip is very comparable to my other 25mm bar, York B&R bar. Overall I feel this bar is a great buy right now at the sale price. As much as I’m a stickler for not only performance out of a bar but the show of good craftsmanship the Vulcan Women’s Pro bar is definitely going to be a great performing bar, comparable to the higher tier “cert” competition bars but the overall craftsmanship of the finish on the bar is lacking, which like I’ve mentioned makes it a great buy at the $400 sale price and not the original retail asking price.

    PROS: how true the shaft spins in the sleeves plus ease and smoothness of spin

    CONS: little imperfections with the quality of manufacturing, ie: sleeves and knurling

    • jburgeson May 20, 2015, 9:26 pm

      Think you can get a picture of those burs on the sleeve?

      • Church May 21, 2015, 6:38 am

        Haven’t done anything about the burs yet, will try and get a pic that identifies and clearly shows the burs.

    • Church May 25, 2015, 7:32 pm

      Update: Spoke with both jburgeson and the owner of Vulcan about the burs on the sleeves and they both said the same exact thing. Has to do with suspending the bar to be able to apply the industrial hard chrome plating and this is also why the little imperfection with how the knurling finishes off. I can definitely live with this because so far the performance of the bar is definitely there, it’s a very lively bar and looking forward to seeing some ladies set some new PR’s with this bar.

      • Church May 25, 2015, 7:36 pm

        Comment from the owner of Vulcan is not to try and remove burs but let them wear away as bumper plates are slid on and off the bar in which I’m good with.

  • BJO May 25, 2015, 3:12 pm

    Thanks for the reviews! This site has been extremely helpful in my search for a new OLY bar.

    I have a budget of roughly $750 and think I have narrowed it down to the Rogue Euro Olympic WL Bar or the Eleiko Sport Training Bar. I am leaning towards the Rogue but it is hard not to get an Eleiko for only $40 more. Do you have a strong preference between these 2 bars? Are there any other bars in the price range that you would recommend?

    Also, it seems like your opinion of the Klokov bar has changed since your initial review. I saw that you mentioned the rust and knurling… Are there any other factors that contributed to the change? We just got one at our gym and it seems like a nice bar. The difference in knurling is hardly noticeable and seems to spin well.

    Again thanks for the site and all the feedback!

    • jburgeson May 25, 2015, 3:58 pm

      My Euro got held up by the weather and wasn’t delivered last week as expected, so I haven’t even seen the thing yet. It’s so new that I really couldn’t even comment on it versus the Sport until I get it in my hands. Specs look very much the same, but that doesn’t mean they’ll feel the same. To answer your question though, at $750 I think you’re looking at the right bars. You could consider DHS, but I think its an inferior bar to the Sport; certified or not.

      Yeah my opinion of the Klokov just gets worse over time. The rust is huge. I mean, not only for the sake of not wanting a rusty new bar, but also because it shows the product description is … well I’ll just say it’s incorrect. Hard chrome is an actual plating process, not just a buzz word to throw around. Telling customers that they finished the bar in the best chrome finish available in order to help sell the bar when they really only gave it a cheap decorative finish is really a big deal. It’s a much bigger deal than the 3-part knurling thing they do (they do it on the Team too, so I guess it’s their “thing.” Weird they don’t mention it anywhere) Of course, we all should have known (me especially)… the price doesn’t match the specifications.

      But hey, I’m sure there has been a couple minor changes and revisions made since the first couple batches of Klokovs. Maybe they’ve addressed a lot of it by now. Most of the Klokov bars you see reviews for are original batch bars so who knows what has changed.

      • BJO May 25, 2015, 7:02 pm

        Great, thanks for the info! I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the EU bar once it delivered.

        Like you said, the specs are very close on both bars and I am sure I will like either of them. I like the fact that the EU bar has 5 needle bearings along with all the other good stuff from Rogue but there is something about Eleikos that is hard to beat.

        At the end of the day, I guess I can’t complain about having this dilemma. Stressing over which bar to get beats most other days hands down.

      • BJO June 25, 2015, 11:12 am

        Hey JB,

        Well after a month of moderate use, the Klokov bar is showing rust on the sleeves. The bar is stored in one of the offices and is only used by 1 or 2 guys so there is absolutely NO way it should be resting, especially since its labeled as “chrome”. The spin has also decrease significantly. We sprayed some blaster lube in the sleeves, as AF recommends, and it has returned to a good spin but it still seems suspect that it slowed down that fast. I have contacted AF and sent pictures in and hope to hear back from them today. I have ordered 6 of the first gen team barbells and they have been great for general CrossFit purposes and they still look good. Pretty disappointing…

        On another note… I have a couple of weeks on my Rogue EU bar and I love it! Great feel, spin, looks, etc… As I mentioned in another post I thought the knurl was a little soft but I have been pleasantly surprised by it. We actually ran out of chalk on a hot humid day and the bar didn’t slip in my hands at all. Still looking forward to your review on it! :)

        • jburgeson June 25, 2015, 11:00 pm

          Yeah I keep hearing about that rust. I should probably completely revisit that Klokov review at this point. I haven’t touched that bar in a long damn time, and probably never will again. Same goes for the Team, although I can at least confess that the Team doesn’t seem to be rusting. You also should not have had to lubricate that bar after a month of moderate use. I’ve not heard of anyone that had a Klokov replaced due to rust, but maybe you will. Good luck with that.

          I have nothing but good things to say about the Euro so far. I think I just mentioned this in another comment (I’m not sure on which page), but I’m so damn behind right now because of a rather persistent and stubborn injury. I feel bad because I know people are waiting on reviews, but I don’t want to publish anything without actually having put the thing through the ringer. I don’t write up these reviews just for the sake of doing it; I really want the information to be worthwhile and accurate. I’m getting there though. I do apologize for so long of a delay. I don’t even normally announce what’s coming. Of course I’d be set back one of the few times I do =/

          • BJO June 29, 2015, 9:41 am

            AF contacted me about the rust issues on the Klokov bar. They didn’t really address the problem of a chrome bar rusting but they did offer to give me 20% back on my purchase or they offered to replace it. They also gave me cleaning/maintenance instructions that read more like a raw bar than a chrome one. I decided to keep the current bar and take the 20% since it didn’t sound like the problem was fixed on the manufacturing side. Overall, I am disappointed with the rusting of the bar but feel like it performs well for its price. They also said that they suggest lubricating the sleeves every few months to keep a good spin. That seems to be on the high side of maintenance IMO, but the bar is definitely spinning well now that I applied the lubricant. I also think AF customer service worked hard to make sure I was happy with the product.

            • jburgeson June 29, 2015, 10:36 am

              Well they used to pretend like rusting didn’t happen, so at least you were offered fixes. They need to remove that claim of hard chrome though; it’s obviously not. I’m surprised you touch that bar when you have access to the US and EU Oly.

              • BJO June 29, 2015, 10:47 am

                Ha! Yeah the UE bar is my personal bar and use it pretty much exclusively. My coach likes the Klokov bar and I will occasionally do a few lifts on it. I completely agree that the label of Chrome is clearly not accurate. I am not sure why they are trying to cram/claim so much on a $320 bar. They could have made it zinc at that price and I don’t think anyone would have cared. I have a feeling that they are getting a lot of complaints about the rust so maybe that is why they are changing their tune.

  • ssmmgg June 1, 2015, 12:09 pm

    recently I found my rogue ohio power bar get a deep scratch on the inside of the sleeve which form a sharp edge. and Rogue said it maybe caused by the edge hit the J-cups when rack the barbell. seems the barbell sleeve use a much weaker steel than the shaft, otherwise I don’t think the J-cup is strong enough to damage a 205K steel. do you know if other brand barbell have the same problem? or which brand barbell use same steel on both shaft and sleeve? I think the steeve get much more abuse when load/unload plate and drop to ground even when put into bar holders.

    • jburgeson June 1, 2015, 12:28 pm

      Yeah so the sleeves are cut from a larger piece of steel, and are not the same as the shafts. Actually it’s not surprising that a J-cup could damage not only the finish on a sleeve, but put a scratch in the steel itself. J-cups have pretty thick and strong steel with relatively sharp edges.

      If you can imagine what kind of forces that the sleeves themselves have to tolerate, it’s not much… nothing like the shaft. The only thing that can really destroy sleeves is steel on steel (like iron plates and change plates, or say your J-cup), dropping the bar on one end first, or simply tossing an unloaded bar to the ground so that it lands on the shoulders/collars. It may be that some manufacturers use a comparable quality of steel on the sleeves, but its not something any of them discuss, and I think that its unlikely anyway. I’ve dinged some nice bar sleeves myself. It happens; just gotta try to avoid it.

      Also, I verified the B&R change you brought to my attention, but I’m still waiting to see if they’ll tell me why it happened. They will probably just say that York decided to do it that way and leave it at that. It is definitely a downgrade though; very unfortunate. Especially considering no reduction in price.

  • RUBESIG June 2, 2015, 7:37 pm

    I have found the Eleiko Olympic WL Training Bar for $760.00
    and the Eleiko Sport Training Bar for $640. Are there other bars you’d recommend within this price or below? I’m only power cleaning 112kg, & jerking roughly 125kg currently. I want a good oly bar, and I noticed the American SS bar is getting to be popular, and I also see your admiration for Vulcan, so I’m curious to see if I should pull the trigger on the Eleiko, and which one in your opinion.
    best regards

    • jburgeson June 2, 2015, 7:47 pm

      That’s a good price on the Sport, and that’s more than enough bar. The differences between the Sport and Trainer are minimal; very few people would ever be able to even tell the difference if you blindfolded them and put it in their hands… not that I recommend being blindfolded while weightlifting =p

      The SS is $160 more than the Sport, and it’s not better than the Sport but it is different though. You’d be paying for the stainless steel. It’s a cool perk, no doubt about it, but that’s really up to you to decide if it’s worth it. The Vulcan Pro is supposed to be pretty badass, but I haven’t touched that one, and it may not even be in stock. $640 is a pretty nice price for an Eleiko; kinda hard to beat that really. The Sport is a fantastic bar, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better whip bar than the 215k Eleiko bars for so close to $600.

      • RUBESIG June 2, 2015, 10:21 pm

        LOL, I’ll make sure not to weightlift blindfold, although I do confess that would be an interesting moment to capture. Last question then. Would it make more sense to get the Eleiko Olympic WL Training bar since it is IWF Certified for the additional $120, and I guess 2 more bearings : ) ? Not that I will be hosting an IWF meet any time soon, but if I do go with the sport, it rules that out.
        Thanks for the quick response, and help.

        • jburgeson June 2, 2015, 11:45 pm

          Well, it’s the Comp bar you’d care whether or not it was certified or not because that’s the one that’s calibrated and has the sticker. You can get the Trainer for the bearings, but I don’t personally think it’s worth the $120 for one more bearing per sleeve. I mean, that’s just my opinion though. Eleiko uses pretty good bearings already, and four per sleeve is certainly enough. Technically it would spin with 2 per sleeve. More is better for larger loads of course, but look at what a bushing bar can do with only 2 bushings per sleeve.

          Really what it comes down to is would it hurt your pocketbook to spend $800 on a bar? If not, then by all means may as well move up to the Training bar. There really is no need to own the Comp bar though because the knurl is ridiculous to train on for any extended period of time. The Trainer knurl is toned down a little, and so is the Sport for that reason. Still though, even the XF has better knurl than most bars out there, so toned down does not mean weak.

      • Church June 3, 2015, 5:58 am

        Hi jburgeson, I would like to add my two cents to this. Sorry I haven’t had a chance to do my review of the American SS bar yet, been sick since receiving it and work has been busy as well. Yes, can’t go wrong with an Eleiko, the standard everyone else goes by, but will say I am extremely impressed with the American SS bar I received as a replacement to the original bar they sent me. This bar is flawless and extremely well crafted. I really like the whip and feel of the SS shaft. Plus their bearing system is impeccable, still surprised it’s taken this long for a company to make a bar with this type of bearing system. Like you’ve mentioned jburgeson, once this bar is loaded up with weight this is where you really start to notice the difference in the spin of this bar and it is by far one of the smoothest most effortless spins I’ve ever seen from a bar. I’m sold on American BB and would not hesitate to own one over an Eleiko, even just for the quality of craftsmanship and finish on the bar, beautiful bar.

        • jburgeson June 3, 2015, 9:11 am

          I’m glad to hear the second one wasn’t a dud. That would have been disappointing.

  • RUBESIG June 3, 2015, 8:11 am

    You make some valid points, which have helped make my decision easier. Thank you for your input JB. You have a great page here, and your reviews are helpful.

  • YNILW June 3, 2015, 5:58 pm

    Hey JB,

    I was wondering if you had the opportunity to find out about a smaller company named Rep Fitness. They have an Olympic bearing bar for $300.00, but I can’t seem to find out much about the bar. Unless they have a typo on their website, because it is a dual marked bar.

    • jburgeson June 3, 2015, 6:34 pm

      I’m not normally a fan of the imported economy bars, but this one doesn’t look that bad; better than some of the others. the Tensile/Yield rating is respectable, although not amazing. The bar looks clean, knurl looks decent as best I can tell from the close-up in the video.

      One of my issues with all these small CrossFit shops is that they lack user reviews and any real feedback on their products. Of the three more well-known shops (Rep, Get, AF) I’ve only had a reasonable amount of exposure to AF, and I have not been impressed. That’s not to say the other two aren’t decent, but I just don’t know. Fringe is another I suppose, but they don’t offer any of the “too good to be true” bars. Just the Vaughn, but that bar is legit. Surprisingly, Fringe actually has a crap load of reviews on their products by comparison.

      If you buy it, read up on their warranty first. It says lifetime, but make sure there aren’t any exceptions that could apply to you. I doubt it’s bad, but $300 still isn’t that far from some very nice bars.

      • YNILW June 3, 2015, 7:09 pm

        JB,
        Thank you for taking the time to review Rep’s site, and give me your honest opinion. I find the lack of reviews to be un comforting, and if you have some better suggestions for a bearing bar closer to the $300 price tag of Rep’s, I am all ears (well eyes) to find out what you think.

        Thanks again

        • jburgeson June 3, 2015, 8:37 pm

          The cheapest bearing bar that I know of that I’ve both used and liked is the black Vulcan bearing bar. I think it’s $339 shipped and that’s not even with chrome, and its 28.5 mm. Most of the bigger name manufacturers don’t come close to that low of a price for Olympic bearing bars. Rogue is probably the next best thing and that’s still $525 for zinc Oly. The Vaughn is bushings, but spins like a bearing bar; still $399. You may have to go with something like that Rep if you’re determined to have bearings for $300.

          This is exactly why I am so apprehensive about these high-spec, low cost bars. Kinda makes you wonder how they do it. What’s the catch!

  • Joe June 4, 2015, 12:40 am

    JB – this blog is truly a treasure trove of gym nerd knowledge; thanks for putting so much work into it! Really appreciate it.

    I recently (~ 3 months ago) picked up a B&R bar from Rogue; by that time, they’d already changed the PSI (though they must have done it pretty recently, because all the research I did on it beforehand pointed to 205,000), but I didn’t really know any better at the time of purchase. Obviously, it’s a downgrade; the B&R is a power-leaning bar in the first place, and something that makes it crappier at its main gig probably isn’t a positive. Do you think there are any positives to it? (besides the positive for York/Rogue getting to sell a cheaper bar for the same price, of course). Will it take on a bit more whip at that lower PSI? And do you think it’s still a worthwhile power bar at 190,000?

    Lastly, my theory for the PSI switcharoo: Rogue’s been marching a lot of bars up to 190,000 lately, as you’ve noted. Maybe they figured they could pull the B&R back into line with the rest of that group without anyone really caring?

    • jburgeson June 4, 2015, 10:14 am

      I’ve contacted both York and Rogue about this, and neither were very helpful. Though based on their vague responses, it looks like the bar is the same as it has always been. Whether by accident or some other reason, the 205k claim on the Rogue site has been a misrepresentation for all these years.

      In a way, the bar not changing is the best case scenario here. It means all of our B&R bars are the same. The downside is that whether or not we can feel the difference of 15k PSI in a 29 mm bar, it does kind of make the bar feel more expensive than it should be. It means the strength of this bar comes more from the extra millimeter of shaft diameter, not a higher than 190k steel.

      I have no reason to suspect that this was anything more than an oversight, but it still makes you stop and think. It was incorrect on that site for a long, long time… But to answer your question about being a decent power bar, I think it’s still fine. I certainly wouldn’t return it over this. It’s still a rigid 29 mm bar regardless of PSI rating. Not sure that I’ll be recommending it going forward, but that has more to do with the price seeming off now, not that the bar sucks.

  • RIWC June 17, 2015, 9:52 pm

    Anyone having issues with end caps on the American Rogue 28 mm bar? I’ve had 2 bars with loose end caps, the first just a week after I got it. A buddy of mine had the same issue and returned for the EU bar.

    • RIWC June 28, 2015, 8:48 pm

      Quick update, I got the EU bar as a replacement. End caps came loose after 1 lifting session. The bar is nice, and although the end cap issue is not impacting performance, it’s just frustrating to see a $700 piece of equipment display even a tiny defect, essentially right out of the box.

      • jburgeson June 28, 2015, 10:52 pm

        Both end caps?

        • RIWC June 29, 2015, 7:55 am

          Yes, both end caps. They look like they are going to come out completely, but like I said, it’s frustrating. Other than that, I have no complaints with either the American or EU bar. Good bars, and I’ve stuck with them despite the end cap issues. Biggest difference I’ve seen between the 2 is the EU knurling feels more aggressive, a little more competition-like. Not Eleiko aggressive, but definitely more than the American version.

          • RIWC June 29, 2015, 7:56 am

            Sorry, that should say “They DON’T look like they are going to come out completely”.

          • jburgeson June 29, 2015, 8:43 am

            I definitely know what you mean when you say it’s frustrating. Very expensive bar. I hadn’t noticed that issue with mine, but I’ll probably poke at them a little and see if I notice anything weird.

            • BJO June 29, 2015, 9:49 am

              I noticed that one of my end caps on my EU bar had become unscrewed after a few lifting sessions. I just screwed it back in with my fingers and it hasn’t moved since then. I just figured that they didn’t tighten it all the way during assembly. I like the look of the EU end cap more that the American version but tightening the end caps is a little harder on the EU since they don’t have the holes in the end cap like the USA version.

  • David June 19, 2015, 10:33 am

    Thanks J for providing reviews of all the barbells. Im looking to buy a new barbell thats suitable for doing the starting strength program which uses the powerlifting exercises along with cleans.

    Im considering the dual purpose bars Ohio, B+R bar, Mat Chan and the Vulcan One. I was considering the Rogue 2.0 but you said it has been discontinued and replaced with the Rogue Olympic Wl which is way out of my budget.

    What do you think would be the best option for someone with a max budget of €350 who currently Deadlifts around 100kg and has yet to learn the Clean and would also like to learn the olympic lifts in the future but that but that would be at least 6 months to 1 year away. Many thanks for educating me on how to choose a barbell.

    • jburgeson June 19, 2015, 10:38 am

      Hey David… where did I say that about the 2.0 being replaced by the WL bar? That’s not right at all. And where are you? Do you have access to Vulcan? I ask because you gave a price in Euros

  • David Moore June 22, 2015, 3:25 am

    I apolgise for the slow resonse. I thought I would be notified by email if you replied so had presumed you didnt.

    Sorry aslo J, I misread what you said . The Quote below occurs in the dual purpose section at the end of the piece about the rogue 2.0. I presumed it had been discontinued altogether.

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

    I am in Ireland. Its difficult to source the bars you recommend. Rogueeurope.eu do sell the Ohio and Chan but tax and shipping makes them very expensive

    • jburgeson June 22, 2015, 11:24 am

      yeah you know, if you subscribed to comments it should email you… I only get notified like 50% of the time so I guess something is up with the email system for WordPress. Sorry about that.

      Anyway yeah, there is nothing wrong with any of those three Rogue bars for your purposes. Other than minor things, they are all the same anyway. The Rogue Bar is basically the “economy” Ohio Bar with the only significant difference being composite bushings rather than bronze, which in all honestly isn’t actually significant at all. The Chan has the most unique and most aggressively knurled, and is my favorite of the three. I doubt that the Vulcan bars will be very economical to you overseas; shipping will be awful. In the end, for Starting Strength, any of these bars will be perfect. No reason to buy a bearing bar just for power cleans, and you wouldn’t even need bearings any time soon even when you starting Oly lifting.

  • Pane21 June 22, 2015, 4:29 am

    Wondering why you dislike black oxide or black zinc bars. I’m thinking about getting the Ohio power bar in black

    • jburgeson June 22, 2015, 10:55 am

      They are just not my preference. Functionally there is nothing wrong with black finishes, but I find that any nicks and scratches to the finish are much more obvious on black bars, which makes it seem like they wear more quickly. Also, in poor lighting, finding the marks quickly is annoying. With chrome/silver bars, the marks easily contrast with the knurl. But again, it’s just a preference. I’ll just always go with bright zinc or chrome over black zinc or oxide so long as that option is available to me.

  • David June 22, 2015, 11:41 am

    Thanks J, Vulcan got back to me and said shipping would be 300usd so buying from the states is out. Im using a hexbolt atm so need to change. What is the minimum bumper plates required when starting to learn oly lifting. Im trying to keep costs down so I can get a good bar.

    • jburgeson June 22, 2015, 12:18 pm

      Yeah I figured it would be a lot.

      You really just need one pair of each 10-20 kg plates, plus maybe some 5 kg technique plates. 5 kg black bumpers will work for a while as you learn, but if you use them alone on the bar and keep dropping them for too long, they will bend.

      • David June 22, 2015, 12:23 pm

        Thanks J you’ve been very helpful. I enjoy the buying guides.They have opened my eyes to buying equipment

        • jburgeson June 22, 2015, 2:06 pm

          Glad to hear it. Thank you )

  • David June 22, 2015, 3:19 pm

    Hello again J, there is a Bison bar for €220 available here and also a York 7ft Olympic North American Split Sleeve with Needle bearing Bar (28mm) for €250.00.

    Do you anything about these makes.

    • jburgeson June 22, 2015, 3:42 pm

      I don’t know anything about the Bison. The York will probably be fine, but York has slipped over the years, and while the bars tend to be decent enough, so help you if you ever have a problem with that thing. I hear horror stories about York customer service. Make sure you know how the dealer you buy it from handles warranty issues. If they just send you off to York, be willing to be disappointed. I’ve actually spoken with someone at York once and it really didn’t sounded like he knew what he was talking about in terms of bar construction. I’m a fan of the B&R bar, as many are… but that’s because we haven’t had problems with it.

      • David June 22, 2015, 3:58 pm

        Thanks J, Ill keep that in mind about York, Theres a lot of Bison bars on this site. Thought you might be interested in checking the specs. http://www.wolverson-fitness.co.uk/Bars_B26QOE.aspx

        • jburgeson June 22, 2015, 7:02 pm

          The Olympic bar doesn’t look bad. It has copper bushings instead of bronze, though that may be incorrect because that bar looks familiar, though I can’t place from where. Maybe they’ll tell you who makes their bars if you ask. If it’s Gymway, that’s good.

  • Steven Thunander June 26, 2015, 11:06 am

    All three of the Klokov Bars (2 mens, one women’s) at my box have rust on them already, and they have only had the bars for a little over a month and a half. The men’s bar (the one they got first) is rusting really bad on the collars, and there is moderate rust on the knurling as well. The center knurl is also very aggressive. If you have the Klokov bar, you need to treat it as a bare steel bar, because that’s what it is. Also, I have heard reports of this bar locking up prematurely. If that happens, get WD-40 lithium grease and take the bar apart and clean it, then apply the lithium grease.

    • BJO June 26, 2015, 12:03 pm

      I did some more searching on the rust issue and it seems to be the norm for the Klokov bar. I am surprised AF hasn’t addressed this. They have always been good about that kind of stuff in the past, at least that has been my experience. I am still waiting to hear back from AF. I have actually been talking to a guy on their service team about some issues with a barbell gun rack I orders. They were super responsive and accommodating about the rack. I hope they respond the same way about the bar.

  • David June 27, 2015, 12:43 pm

    Hello J, do u mean the black series Olympic bar on thevwolverson website.

    • jburgeson June 27, 2015, 4:31 pm

      No the silver Olympic bar for 280

      • David June 27, 2015, 5:00 pm

        Thanks J

  • David Moore July 4, 2015, 5:39 am

    Hello J,
    Im considering either the
    the Team Barbell which ships for €343.19 from Again Faster and the
    Ohio bar The Ohio Bar which ships for €408.27 from Rogue and the
    Bison bar from Wolverson for around €420 http://www.wolverson-fitness.co.uk/B…ar_A1NUS1.aspx

    There are better bars in your guide but they either are not available to me here or a are expensive to ship e.g the Chan from Rogueeurope.eu

    Ive read your review on the Team bar and apart from your issue with the Knurl it seems a good bar.The warranty says that the max weight limit for the Team bar is 300kg http://againfaster.eu/en_gb/weightlifting-bars-plates/bars/team-barbell.html This seems strange considering the PSI is 209,000. Is this correct?

    What do you think is the best option from the above bars. dont know as yet if Gymway make the Wolverson bar. Ive sent an email to them just now. I had forgotten to do so after your previous post.

    Thanks
    David

    • jburgeson July 4, 2015, 9:58 am

      I still hear from folks that they have less problems with the Team than they do with the Klokov despite the fact that the Team is the cheaper of the two, but €343 is a lot of money for that bar. I realize that your options are limited and there isn’t much you can do about that, but you already know that if it were me I wouldn’t buy the Team.

      I don’t have a problem with the Bison Comp Bar, at least based on what little information they make available, but the fact that they have no reviews makes me a bit nervous. It’s probably the better Olympic bar of the three though.

      Oh, and the low max weight on a high tensile strength bar is due to a lower yield rating than would be considered normal (most manufacturers don’t like to share the yield rating with us.) The bar won’t break at high weights, but it will develop a permanent bend. It is a common complaint actually.

      • David July 6, 2015, 3:09 am

        Thanks for expalining the low max weight/ high psi relationship J, Ill rule out the Team so. Ive a better idea of what to look for in a bar now.

  • David July 8, 2015, 7:37 am

    Hello J, Im considering this one now https://www.strengthshopusa.com/bars/strength-shop-bastard-bar-1045.html. Its more in my price range €300 inc shipping from Strengthshop.ie . Have you an opinion on it.
    Thanks
    David

    • jburgeson July 8, 2015, 10:04 am

      The price is lower than the other bars you were looking at, but I have yet to see a Strength Shop bar in person. I’m not impressed by it though. You may as well get the Team over that one. I definitely like the other bars more; any of them that you mentioned.

      • David July 8, 2015, 10:12 am

        Thanks again j, what in particular puts you off this bar.

  • Sandarpan July 10, 2015, 10:15 am

    Hi,
    Do you have any experience with Chinese bars except DHS or Zhang Kong? I was looking at Alibaba the other day and some of these bars claim to be 215000 psi. Here’s a link: http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/HARD-CHROMED-OLYMPIC-BARBELL-OB-86_60159392162.html?spm=a2700.7724838.14.5.BdlEqw&s=p

    We all know the “MIC is shit” stories but Chinese “quality” is vastly improved. The prices quoted are quite realistic I think. Thoughts?

    • jburgeson July 10, 2015, 10:58 am

      I don’t ever look at that wholesale Chinese stuff, sorry. Those $200 retail bars have to come from somewhere though, right? =p

      Also, I’ve been told that generally, bars with high TS but low, low prices have awful yield. The TS is almost worth ignoring as the bar will bend more easily than a 190k bar. It’s basically artificially inflated to improve marketability. There is a very popular bar with way over 200k TS, but it is rumored to have a yield not much higher than 50% of the TS. I can’t say which one it is because I have no lab work to back it up and don’t want to get sued, but you can probably figure out which one it is.

      • Sandarpan July 10, 2015, 11:08 am

        From all my “research”, I’ve seen that for alloy steel, the TS and YS have a definite correlation (ratio) if it is being heat treated the conventional way i.e. quench and temper. I have absolutely no idea why a higher PSI bar should cost more. It’s not like making a weaker bar is less expensive. In fact creating a 150000 PSI bar and a 200000 PSI bar entail the exact same process except the tempering temperature.

        Knurling, though, adds to the cost of a stronger bar. It’s more expensive to knurl a 200 ksi bar than it is to knurl a 150 ksi bar.

        Anyway, in your general experience. do you ever find that cheap bars bend during the course of normal use? i.e. no abuse or dropping

        • jburgeson July 10, 2015, 12:02 pm

          Yes, the 135k-165k bars can bend even without an excessive amount of abuse. There are a handful of bars out there that are pretty notorious for developing bends, even a couple with 200+ PSI. Of course, they are still “cheap” bars in regard to price.

          You can manufacture a bar that looks amazing on paper for not a lot of money, but you can’t make an actual amazing bar that way. You know that if Eleiko didn’t have to pay for those IWF sticker fees, those bars would still be pretty close to their current price, and they’re “only” 215k… a number that gets tossed around like it’s nothing these days.

          What’s the deal? You trying to develop a quality bar at a low cost?

          • Sandarpan July 10, 2015, 12:10 pm

            Ha ha. No, not trying to develop any bar here. Just appalled at the lack of quality bars in my country. My point is that if the “numbers” are true, they should mean something. I was just looking at the data sheet for heat treated AISI 4140 steel. At 210 ksi TS, it has a YS of 195 ksi. Most steels follow this kind of a ratio. In other words, manufacturers just cannot achieve a high TS with a low YS. But having said that, it will always be true that the same Eleiko if manufactured in China, with the same QC, would cost almost half of what it costs now.

            • jburgeson July 10, 2015, 12:46 pm

              Yeah, but word is that they aren’t always true. I mean, who can afford to lab test all these bars anyway. Can’t really publish the results even if you could. Also, you’ll notice that most manufacturers won’t tell you the yield even if you ask. Even Rogue won’t, and they’re generally pretty transparent with specs on gear.

              No doubt you understand the methodology involved in heat treating steel for a barbell better than I do, but I’ve been told a couple times by those more knowledgeable than me that yield most certainly can deviate pretty far from tensile strength, but maybe I’ve been lied to, or maybe I give these people too much credit. /shrug

              • Sandarpan July 10, 2015, 11:17 pm

                Indeed yield could deviate from TS (If the steel if normalized and tempered instead of quenched and tempered). But not by 50%. Also such deviation would not equate to a cheaper process.

                Anyway, this website is IMO the best place to discuss equipments. You got some really good information in here. In other forums, I’ve been charged with blasphemy whenever I “questioned” the specifications of their favourite bars or perhaps when I desired to discuss the properties of an Olympic barbell. To most people Oly bars are territory best left to “experts”. Reminds me of the time when Eleiko told Mark Rippetoe, “Since Eleiko bars don’t bend, what you have could not possibly be a bent Eleiko.” Beat that.

                • jburgeson July 10, 2015, 11:25 pm

                  lol ya, I’d have liked to have seen the look on his face the moment he heard them say that. But ya, I like certain bars and certain companies, but I don’t expect everyone or even anyone to agree with me all the time. Besides, there are bars I’m sure we both would agree are bad, but they are loved by someone =p

  • clay July 18, 2015, 7:50 pm

    Have you ever gotten your hands on a Wright Equipment Bar? I like buying American and the video of the CF Series bar on their website shows some incredible whip. At only $209.00 I am a little suspicious though. Have you used or heard anything about the bar? Thanks!

    • jburgeson July 18, 2015, 10:14 pm

      It’s $209 because it’s a 165k PSI bar. I haven’t seen one though. I looked at them a while back, but they’re basically Bomba bars so I kinda left it at that. 165k was the old standard before everyone went to 190k, and even those aren’t much more expensive.

      Some of the Vulcan’s are worked a bit beyond 190k and sell for close to $300. The Standard is one of the best priced bars right now for the specs in my opinion, and it too is made in the USA. That’s cool because not all Vulcan bars are. Though, their producer overseas is the one place you’d want to get a bar made if you are going to do it overseas.

      • clay July 19, 2015, 6:06 am

        Thanks. Once again some great insight.

  • Frank July 26, 2015, 12:37 am

    Hi i’m from Germany and i’m about to buy my first Bar for my Homegym. In Germany the Bars with high quality are very expensive. So i can decide beetwen the TPB from capps available at the german Strengthshop and the Chan Bar from Rogueeurope. All are about 480€ with shipping. I wont do any olympic lifting just do some Bench/Squat/Deadlift/Press. Wich one would you say i should go with? Is the knurling on the TPB really that aggressive on deadlifts? Would be the chan bar the better choice for it?

    • jburgeson July 26, 2015, 1:10 am

      Hey Frank. The Chan is aggressive compared to the everyday CrossFit/multi-purpose bar, but it’s nothing like the cheese grater that is the TPB. Since I’m assuming you’ll be doing full sets rather than just single rep sets, I’d probably say go with the Chan. It’s a great alternative to a true power bar. The Chan is still one of my favorites for static movements like what you’ll be doing. Of course, I’m not knocking the TPB, but as someone who likes a more aggressive knurl, I have no desire to use one of those myself.

      • Frank July 26, 2015, 3:07 am

        Thanks man! I think i’ll go with the Chan and i hope that i won’t readjust my grip on Deadlifts because i’m only 168cm. But in your review of the Chan you say that your trainingpartner is only 165cm and has no problems with the shorter knurling than on other Bars!

        • jburgeson July 26, 2015, 10:46 pm

          I asked him about that to be sure and he said he still prefers it over all the other bars in the garage despite a slightly wider grip, and he doesn’t Oly lift; just bench, deadlift, squat, etc… like what you’ll be doing. His only complaint is that he says it’s loud with deadlifts when set down between each rep. I don’t necessarily agree as I have bars that make a hell of a lot more noise, but it was part of his answer so I’m passing it along )

          • Frank July 26, 2015, 11:44 pm

            Thanks!! Helped me a lot!

  • luke July 27, 2015, 1:39 am

    Isn’t required tensile strength directly correlated to weight on the bar? So if I never plan deadlifting over 200kg/450lbs, 15000psi bar should be plenty strong for me?

    • jburgeson July 27, 2015, 9:21 am

      Technically, yes. Though it’s not as simple as that. A 150,000 tensile strength rating is certainly high enough to eliminate any concern of a bar actually breaking, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the bar won’t permanently bend. It’s the yield rating that dictates how likely a bend is, and yield is lower than tensile. How much lower is generally a mystery as few manufacturers share yield ratings with customers. Still, the lower the tensile rating, the lower the yield.

      Still though, if the weight is never going to be extreme and the bar won’t be subjected to things like Olympic lifts or rack pulls, it will probably never be a problem.

  • Santo July 28, 2015, 9:34 pm

    I purchased a Vulcan bushing 3.0 and had problems with it from the beginning. The zinc coating came chipped and knurling was stained (bar looked worn out of package). After a few months of light use, the spin on the bar became rigid. Not even close to a bearing bar in terms of spin.

    Asked Vulcan to repair, refund, or exchange for a different bar and was denied all requests.

    Read the fine print on the warranties.

  • Ray August 17, 2015, 7:04 pm

    Hi!,

    I really like the reviews you post and you seem to be pretty much a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to weight lifting products. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions since I am personally interested in purchasing two barbells that are within my price range. They both have very good attributes. The X Training Equipment 20kg Elite Competition Bar 2.0 – 1500lb Olympic Power Bar and the Wonder bar 2 by one fit wonder. Your opinion would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for posting up awesome reviews and videos on youtube.

    • jburgeson August 17, 2015, 8:30 pm

      Sorry I had to cut the links in the body of that comment cause it was getting eaten by the spam detector, but I know the bars. So full disclosure, I don’t have either of these. The Wonder Bar is an intro bar with weight limitations that are far from amazing, however, for lifting within those limitations, it’s not a bad bar for the price. OFW bars have actually seen a lot of success, and while they aren’t going to win any awards for being elite or fancy, they wouldn’t continue to sell if they were garbage. Also Fringe has that 1-year free returns thing which beats a warranty at least for that first year since you can return it simply because you don’t like it, not only because it broke or something.

      I looked into X-Training bars about a year ago because I was considering reviewing one of them. The input I received left me underwhelmed, so I didn’t buy one and the brand rarely comes up so I’ve never reconsidered. Like the Wonder, it’s a $200 bar so it’s not going to blow your mind. The only thing that stuck in my head regarding their bars was that the knurl was awful. Whether or not that’s true to this day is beyond me, it’s just what I remember hearing.

      Currently, $250ish is really the break point from meh to good when it comes to bars. You can get a lot more bar for not a lot more money by pushing your budget a little. If that’s out of the question, I understand… just want to let you know.

      • Ray August 18, 2015, 9:54 pm

        Thanks for your discerning reply. I would really like to stay at or under $200 since i still need to take taxes into account for a total price, But, If I were to wait a few more months to save, what bar would you suggest under $250?

        As for the other two bars, I managed to contact a representative for both companies and they gave me additional information which I wouldn’t have much knowledge being able to utilize its significance. For instance, X training equipment’s barbell has brass bushings. Not to sure how important the material of the bushings are but I have noticed that rogue uses composite bushing on their rogue bar and bronze bushings on the Froning bar. In addition, rather than give me direct information about yield, they propose that each bar goes “through the most stringent quality control tests. Each bar is tested at 1500lbs”.

        In contrast, the OFW bar can be used to squat and deadlift with “more than 3 plates on each side” and “will be fine with more than 2 plates on each side and being dropped from overhead”. On their website, the Wonder bar seems to be pretty comparable to a lot of pretty decent bars out there.

        My main concern is not purchasing the right bar for my needs… I don’t plan on clean and jerking more than 143 kg nor do I plan on deadlifting, benching, squating or doing pulls with more than 181 kg. I have a generic bar to do all the non oly exercises with. You and this site is probably the best place I can go to without getting too much of a biased opinion going seeking the reply from sellers of these bars.

        • jburgeson August 18, 2015, 10:32 pm

          Yeah well, all barbell manufacturers have the best bar you could possibly buy for the money… if you ask them lol.

          For around $250, you’d have access to the Rogue Bar 2.0, the Vulcan One, or the American Barbell Black & Chrome (or Cali bar for dual marks). All of these are at least 190k tensile strength bars and any of them will run circles around the X or Wonder. Now, if you really don’t foresee ever coming within about 75% of the max loads on the other two bars, you will probably be content with them.

          On and brass is not ideal, you want bronze or composite bushings. Bronze bushings are the most common because they are porous; they’re self-lubricating. American Barbell and to a lesser extent Rogue are just recently starting to use composite bushings. I have a couple composite bushing bars. I haven’t found any reason to not like them, but I do think bronze spins just a tad better.

  • Alex September 17, 2015, 7:19 am

    Even though it’s not explicitly mentioned in this article, I thought I’d give my impressions on the Eleiko Sport Training bar. After having issues with my Klokov bar, I decided to return it and went for a pretty big upgrade with the Eleiko. I’ve had the bar for a week now and I really like it so far.

    The knurl seems really aggressive if you run your finger from side-to-side, but once you grip the bar it’s really not too aggressive. I feel confident with it, and it’s about on par feel-wise to me with the AB SS WOD bar. My hands tell me a little different as I’ve got some callouses forming in new places. I’ve only used the bar for a week or so, so I know my hands will get used to it.

    The bar is of excellent quality, as I would expect. I think it’s pretty cool how the bar is serialized on the shaft, and certainly makes sense for identification and warranty issues. I’ve often wondered how other manufacturers know how old a bar is for warranty issues, etc. when there is no serial number on any other bar I’ve seen. Maybe that’s part of the reason many offer “lifetime” warranties. The chrome is really nice and polished, although there are a couple of scratches already from sliding bumpers off and on. That kind of bugs me, but it’s a bar and that happens.

    The spin is very nice and feels different compared to the AB SS WOD, Klokov, and AF Team Barbells I’m familiar with. If you put your foot on the bar and try to spin it, it doesn’t spin forever. It might spin a revolution or two at most. However, in use it turns so freely that my snatch feels weird. I guess I’m used to a little resistance and sometimes I’m under the bar too quickly (if that makes sense). I know I’ll get used to it. If you grab the bar and just turn it with your hand, it has a very precise, solid, and consistent feel to it. Many bars will spin, but they almost feel too loose, too tight, or are just inconsistent/gritty. This bar has a very different precise feel to the spin that is indicative of the Eleiko quality.

    I’m novice enough and probably don’t lift heavy enough to even know “whip” when it happens so I can’t speak to that, at least not yet. Despite it being an excellent bar, I’m torn at the moment as to whether this bar is “worth it” for my purposes. It is double the price of other quality bars, and so far it’s not a night-and-day difference feeling for me. However, if it lasts forever and maintains spin it’s worth it to not have to buy new bars every few years at a minimum. For the record, I’m using the Sport Trainer for Oly lifts/block work and an AB SS WOD bar for DL/squats and general WOD/beater-bar purposes.

  • Mike October 7, 2015, 5:49 am

    Thank you so much for all this information!
    For us in Germany the barbell market is smaller. For example Rogue Europe only offer two bars for my needs. The Ohio Bar and the Matt Chan Bar. I’m interisted in the Chan Bar – but it costs nearly 500 Euro with tax and shipping. From the US-store it would be even more.
    I’m a post novice and I like to buy my first “good equipment” and it will be my last one :-)
    But 500 Euros? I need it for Mark Rippetoes “Starting Strength”-program.
    Here in Germany we have the ATX label. The produce a view barbells with good data and a good price but I know nobody who uses them.
    Can you say something about those barbells?

    http://www.megafitness-shop.info/Kraftsport/Hanteln-Gewichte/Hantelstangen/50-mm/Original-ATX%AE-RAM-BAR-Power-Lifting-Bar-700-kg–3600.html

    http://www.megafitness-shop.info/Kraftsport/Hanteln-Gewichte/Hantelstangen/50-mm/ATX-Power-Bar-Chrom-MK–3599.html

    • jburgeson October 7, 2015, 9:43 am

      So Google doesn’t do a very good job of translating those pages, but based on the specs that I can read clearly I’d say that these bars are Asian imports very much like numerous bars we have access to here in the states; the AF Team comes to mind when I look at these. Obviously I’ve never actually touched one of these so I can’t really tell you anything concrete, but I don’t see any reason why these wouldn’t work just fine for the SS program. The knurl looks pretty soft, but not only is that based only on a picture, but knurl preference is very subjective anyway.

      At the end of the day, with the Asian imports, durability and performance can go either way. This bar could last you ten years, or it could last one. It’s unfortunate that Europe doesn’t have the same access to good mid-range bars at reasonable prices. The Chan bar is a great bar for Starting Strength. Knurl pattern is perfect for the pulls (deads and power cleans) that make up like 50% of that program. However, nearly $500 after taxes is a lot and I can understand shopping around.

      • Mike October 7, 2015, 10:01 am

        Thank you for your fast answer! I’m reading all your infos since hours – my wife will kill me today ;-)
        I love this pages and the structured information.
        I you would look for I bar just at the moment for powerlifting/SS program, which one would YOU buy (500 Euro ist the absolut limit).
        I don’t like black much. They say black oxide gives you a good grip/feeling.
        I would love stainless steel – too expensive for me. I would like satin chrome – Rogue stopped to produce such bars (no Matt Chan bar in satin chrome) ??
        So why not bare steel? The Burgener & Rippetoe Men’s Bar perhaps? Or would you nevertheless prefere the Chan Bar for the SS program?
        Best wishes, Mike

        • jburgeson October 7, 2015, 12:38 pm

          I don’t like black zinc or oxide, but I’d deal with it for a Chan.

          Are you able to get the B&R? That’s a solid bar for SS.

          • Mike October 7, 2015, 12:48 pm

            If you would do the SS-program and were looking just at the moment with the actual Rogue Barbell offers – would you choice a Matt Chan Bar in Black Zinc with Black Zinc (from Rogue Europe the only offer, 485 Euro) or a B&R Bar (520 Euro directly from the Rogue USA)?

            • Mike October 7, 2015, 1:00 pm

              Sorry, I forgot – or do you have a different bar in mind or as a good suggestion?

              This one looks nice too but I will be reasonable :-)
              http://www.ivankobarbell.com/products/obxs20kg29mm/

            • jburgeson October 7, 2015, 1:54 pm

              In the case of the B&R, I’d be pretty reluctant to order a bar from overseas. If something happens to the bar in transit, it’ll be on you to eat all that shipping. I’d say in terms of the Rogue bars, you’re better off with either the Ohio or the Chan.

              In case you didn’t know, the Ohio and Chan are essentially the same bar. It’s the same shaft, same bushing system, same sleeves. All that differs is the unique knurl pattern of the Chan, and in the case of Rogue EU, the Ohio doesn’t have black sleeves. The Ohio is just as viable a bar as the Chan in terms of performance for your purposes, and it has less black and costs less as well.

              I wish you had more of a selection from Rogue or that shipping from US vendors wasn’t so much, but it is what it is. If you don’t have confidence in your obscure local vendors like the ATX dealer, then you either have to go with Rogue, or spend more money on Ivanko, Eleiko, etc; which I don’t really recommend in your case. Again Faster deals in EU, but I don’t recommend them either. Even if you wanted to gamble on the Klokov, it’s not in stock there anyway.

              • Mike October 7, 2015, 2:26 pm

                Thanks!!
                Today I wrote to Rogue EU and USA and asked for more (power)-bars – this is the answer from Rogue USA:

                Mike,
                We do plan to offer power bars in Rogue EU.
                There has been a big shortage of supply for 29mm stock steel from the mills and we have been out of many power bar variants in the US for weeks.
                We started to get some steel last week and once we are able to fully build up the supply we will offer in EU.

                Thanks, Talor

                Hopefully it will not last to long!

                • jburgeson October 7, 2015, 6:27 pm

                  That’s a pretty long and thorough answer! That isn’t happening any time soon btw… as in, I wouldn’t wait around for it.

  • Mike October 9, 2015, 6:56 am

    As an info for anyone interested…

    Hello,
    I asked Rogue for or a date more accurate. This is the answer I received today:

    “We are going to get powerlifting bar for sale around mid November. It will be the Rogue 20kg Ohio power bar. Please keep on eye on our web store and it’ll appear there.
    Unfortunately we are not going to get York barbells to our European webstore at this moment, though we are hoping to have them in the future.”
    If this is the truth, the Ohio Power Bar (Finish: Black Zinc Shaft w/ Bright Zinc Sleeves) could be I good solution…

    Thanks, Mike

  • Mike October 10, 2015, 12:53 pm

    Hello again,
    sorry, I hope I’m not a “pain in your ass”. All those questions.
    My brain is a steam egine now!
    I’ve read so much (most of it in english – that doesn’t make is easier for me).
    But my first homegym with over 50 could be my last… :-) It’s worth the effort.

    American Barbell answered me positive. The would ship to Germany, but I don’t have a shipping quote until yet.
    Since I read your American Barbell SS WOD Bar review, I really think seriously about stainless steel.
    I like stainless steel in matte. I like a few materials (in matte) really – wood, stone, leather and steel.
    And the price for this bar could be good (and uniquely) despite shipping to Germany.
    No german dealer has an affordable bar in SS. Eleiko in Germany – yes, but 1000 Euro and more? I’m a post novice. I appreciate quality, but I don’t have to take a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

    So SS (Stainless Steel) for SS (Starting Strength)?
    For this price (299 $, with shipping and tax it will be close to 500 Euro, I estimate).
    But the “competitors” aren’t really cheaper for me.

    What do you think? What’s the best choice for my needs and at the moment?
    The only thing missing is the Center knurl, right? Do you think I will miss it for the squats or in generell?
    I wrote you, I’m also ogling with the Ohio Power Bar. But after all the infos and comments I read, that might be not the best solution for me (e.g. for Power cleans).
    The Chan Bar? Some reported they don’t like Chan Bar with the increased distance between the outer
 knurling for the PRESS (hand distance is closer here).
    Phew! I should buy two or three :-)

    Thanks,
    Mike
    So, my first olympic barbell, mainly for “Starting Strength” (Squats, Press, Bench Press, Power Clean).
    Please choice between:
    1. American Barbell SS WOD Bar
    2. Rogue Matt Chan Bar
    3. Rogue Ohio Bar
    4. Rogio Ohio Power Bar
    5. American Barbell SS Elite Power Bar (at the end clearly over 500 Euro)
    6. ??

    I can afford all (despite 5. – American Barbell SS WOD Bar – perhaps).

    • Mike October 10, 2015, 1:06 pm

      Correction
      It has to read: I can afford all (despite 5. – American Barbell SS Elite Power Bar – perhaps)

    • jburgeson October 10, 2015, 1:52 pm

      The center knurl on most bars is so passive that it’s almost not even there. That’s not to say it doesn’t help a little, but to pass up stainless steel because of that probably isn’t worth it. The feedback on the SS WOD Is good. Lot’s of recent reviews. If you were going to get something shipped overseas, AB has the best packaging so there is less risk of damage.

      The SS ELite would clearly be a front runner were it not for the price tab + shipping + I don’t know if you still pay VAT/import tax. I’d say the Ohio Power if that were an option yet… unless you’re willing to wait for it.

      • Mike October 10, 2015, 2:24 pm

        Thanks!
        So did I understand you correctly – if you could buy the SS Wood bar and the Ohio Power Bar just round the next corner, your first choice would be the SS Wood Bar.
        You didn’t mention the Matt Chan Bar anymore.
        This review 2014 on the Rogue page makes me thoughtful.
        Raleigh, NC – Rogue Ohio Power Bar:
        “I Bought the bare steel version of this Ohio Power Bar over Black Friday 2014. The knurling is sharper than any bar I have ever used. Took a little getting use to but now I love it. I also love the bare steel as you can’t beat the feeling of bare steel and you don’t have to worry about the coating coming off. Not that it really matters on a powerlifting bar but the sleeves spin as well if not better than my regular Ohio Bar. The knurl on this bar comes in a little farther towards the center than the Ohio Bar. I’m 5’10” and the grip and passive portion of the bar are perfect for me doing conventional deadlifts but I could see how a heavy weight could possibly have his shins on the knurling. Another comment that should be obvious is don’t get this bar if you want one bar to do it all with. High rep workouts and Olympic lifting would be far from idle with this bar. I would pick the Chan Bar if I could only have one.

        Overall the Rogue Ohio Bar Power is amazing. I’ve bought a lot of stuff from Rogue and this is one of my favorites.”

        • jburgeson October 10, 2015, 5:37 pm

          Well, the Chan and the SS WOD run about the same price to you, yeah? Both are great, but the SS is stainless and the Chan that you have access to is black zinc. I think 95% of ppl would prefer stainless over any zinc. I suggested the Ohio Power (assuming that you’re willing to wait) only because it should be cheaper than either of these, but until they actually list it, who knows by how much. The thing is that they are all completely viable for the SS program. All of them are bushing bars, but you get to decide between finish and price (and availability.)

          • Mike October 10, 2015, 6:01 pm

            Yes, that’s my decision – the SS Wod.
            And I don’t think, I will need this special power lifter characteristics absolutly with my first olympic barbell (e.g. the Ohio Power Bar).
            Probably it’s not my last…
            Thank you for your tirelessly help and advice J. (John or Jack?)

            • jburgeson October 10, 2015, 6:51 pm

              haha no problem. It’s John

              • Mike October 10, 2015, 7:02 pm

                I should have asked earlier :-)
                Thanks John!

                • Alex October 11, 2015, 9:02 am

                  I’ll throw in my 2 cents Mike. A buddy at my gym has an Ohio bar. Granted, he doesn’t wipe it down and it’s coated in chalk, but I’m not impressed with that thing at all. After less than a year, the thing hardly would spin at all. I took apart most of the bars in our gym last week, and I re-lubricated his. It spins better now, but not any better than the SS WOD bar. The SS WOD bar also has a better knurl than the Eleiko Sport Trainer. For your “first” bar, I think the SS WOD bar would be great. In reality, the SS WOD bar would be good enough for all of your needs honestly. I had initially ordered the Eleiko Sport Trainer and then ordered the SS WOD bar as a “beater bar”. It took about 2 months to get the Eleikos, whereas I had my SS WOD bar in less than a week. After using the SS WOD bar, for my purpose, it spins enough for c&j and snatches that if I hadn’t already ordered the Eleikos I probably wouldn’t have ordered them. Don’t get me wrong, the Eleiko is awesome, but the SS WOD bar has a less aggressive knurl that actually has more grip if that makes sense. It’s also only $300 so I’m not as worried about messing it up. For what it’s worth, another coach dropped by the other day and messed around with the SS WOD bar and he was quite surprised that it was only $300. He was impressed with it.

  • Mike October 11, 2015, 11:27 am

    Hello Alex,
    a hearty thanks for your comment.
    Without having tested or touched all those barbells, truly it isn’t easy to choose one!
    So I appreciate every opinion based on personal experience.
    The best barbell for everbody doesn’t exist for sure.
    But as I wrote a will mainly use my new bar for “Starting Strength exercises” (Squats, Press, Bench Press, Power Clean).
    I hope AB will name affordable shipping costs!

    Thanks,
    Mike

  • Mike October 22, 2015, 9:13 am

    Hello John,
    look at the American Barbell Powerlifting Bars :-)
    For this price I think I will order one of the Powerlifting Bars (actually I wanted to order the WOD bar this weekend).

    Which one would you take?
    1. American Barbell Super Power Bar
    2. American Barbell Elite Power Bar

    • jburgeson October 22, 2015, 10:24 am

      Did you see the sale prices? http://www.garage-gyms.com/black-friday-cyber-monday-gym-sales/

      The answer is the Super.

      • Mike October 22, 2015, 10:48 am

        Yes, the sale prices! Damn good.
        I didn’t see your article about the “black friday”, but I found it today, puuuh.
        So I have to be fast with my decision.
        This bar has everything I was lookong for.

    • Mike October 22, 2015, 10:57 am

      John, do you know how many days American Barbell will offer the Super Power Bar for this special price?

      • jburgeson October 22, 2015, 11:20 am

        I don’t, but I’m going to guess at least until Halloween is over. I was told that there is a lot of stainless to move. Like, I guess someone added a 0 to the end of some order or something like that, and they can’t store however many tons of this stuff they have lying around in their warehouse. As you can imagine, stainless doesn’t fly off the shelves at its normal retail price, and I guess these kinds of prices are the only way to move it quickly. I actually find the whole thing to be crazy. I thought the SS WOD price was silly enough, now the stainless power bars?

        • Mike October 22, 2015, 11:36 am

          Yes, great offer and a great chance!
          As I said – This bar has everything I want. And no fu…. black parts in zinc or oxid!
          In the Rogue EU-store they still offer the Matt Chan Bar only in completely black. Who had this idea? To offer a barbell completely in black zinc. This is not a barbell for ninja youngsters with a little bit money …
          This might be a stupid question, but when will Halloween be over in the USA?

          • jburgeson October 22, 2015, 12:22 pm

            Oct 31

  • Mike October 22, 2015, 9:20 am

    PS:
    I know my preferences – SS (power clean, deadlift, squat, bench, press)…

  • Mike October 22, 2015, 9:21 am

    SORRY!
    YOU know my preferences – SS (power clean, deadlift, squat, bench, press)…

  • Curtis Piehler November 25, 2015, 9:03 pm

    Excellent read! Coming from a 2 year crossfit background I had an idea of the mechanics but this reinforced them more. I’m looking to get a decent bar for home use for the typical deadlifts, squats, bench press, etc… and will be progressing to doing clean and jerks/snatches. Although since I am on the second floor of my apartment dropping the bar on the ground wouldn’t be too considerate of the people below me :)

    I notice Rogue came out with a new bar recently (as they usually do)
    http://www.roguefitness.com/rogue-echo-bar

    Rated at 190,000 PSI for a multipurpose bar at $195USD seems pretty affordable. I know it’s black zinc which is probably the cheapest route as far as coating. I haven’t seen any reviews only it (Well, it just came out recently) so it really does look tempting.

    • jburgeson November 25, 2015, 9:33 pm

      Bright zinc you mean, not black. Bright zinc isn’t too bad. Much better than black.

      Yeah so the Echo is just a Rogue Bar 2.0 with cast bronze bushings instead of composite, and a bad warranty. Whether there are other differences is yet to be seen. It’ll get purchased by many, so I’ll hear about it. If not, I’ll pick one up myself.

      • Curtis Piehler November 25, 2015, 9:49 pm

        Yes sorry that’s what I meant Bright Zinc. I may have been looking a black one when I said that! I saw the 1 year warranty and was shocked but I guess that comes at the reduced price. I kind of what like to keep it around the 200 market if possible. I’m curious to see what kind of deals Rogue when Black Friday rolls around in a little over 24 hours.

        • jburgeson November 25, 2015, 11:31 pm

          You see the AB Training Bar? It’s not listed in this article, but if you go over to the Black Friday page (right sidebar there), it’s listed under American barbell. Fully chrome 190k composite bushing bar for $215. No zinc, no cast bushings, no limited warranty. AB makes nice bars; completely on par with Rogue. Actually AB has been making bars 20 years now.

          • Curtis Piehler November 28, 2015, 1:13 pm

            I ended up buying the Echo Bar and they went fast let me tell you! There was about 230 in stock at the beginning of Black Friday and last time I checked around 12PM there was 80 something left. It ended up being $20 off at 175 so you can’t go wrong right? I picked up the ES-1 Stand for my apartment since it’s the lightest and some Steel Rogue Plates (45s, 25s, 10s and 5s). I’ll let you know how this bar goes

            I’m seriously thinking about re-arranging my apartment now for this rack!

            • jburgeson November 28, 2015, 1:22 pm

              Yeah definitely, I’d love to hear about that Echo. Not to put you to work or anything, but if you have scale I’d be curious to know how accurate their steel plates really are. I think steel is a viable option for a lot of people, but the accuracy of the stuff from sporting good stores is just so bad it’s hard to make that recommendation.

              I think that most of us can agree that lifting equipment takes priority over couches and TVs. Girlfriends and boyfriends may not agree, but that’s their problem.

  • Ajdg December 16, 2015, 3:58 pm

    Hi. Great website. I was hoping you could help me pick my very first bar (literally) even though I have been lifting for 5 years. You see, I was just released from prison last month after serving more than 5 years for a DUI related felony. After I found God, and turned my life around, opportunities started to open up for me.
    I got a job in the prisons gym, and was able to lift consistently. I also started communicating with a local crossfit gym who handled my programming. I made rapid progress at crossfit and also the Olympic lifts. Your website has made it clear to me the need for proper equipment to make continued progress, and also how dangerous what I was doing was (did not have access to bumpers, so I rarely ever dropped a bar, also the best bar I ever lifted with before today was worse than the cap bar you just reviewed.)

    Anyway, I was at the box today, and set PRs in the snatch and CJ. 215 and 265. Both over 30 lb PRs. I expect to make good progress now, due to the coaching I will be getting, but I will not always be able to make it to the box to train. I need a bar that will grow with me, be able to handle the assistance work I need to do, and also withstand WODs and still be in top shape for Max or close to Max Olympic attempts if I end up doing them at home. Is this too much to ask? I can always pick up another bar down the road to do my WODs with, or borrow one of the box’s beater bars till then.

    So, budget is 400 due to the need for bumpers as well. I was considering the Vulcan elite, also the stainless steel precision bar that is on sale. Anything else I should be looking at? Also any ideas for cheap bumpers, I was looking at Vulcan’s 230 lb set for 320. And I picked up pair of 55 lb training plates off Craigslist for 150, so I should be OK there.

    Thank you for your time, and this goes for anyone reading this – NEVER drink and drive!

    • jburgeson December 16, 2015, 4:28 pm

      That’s always a good suggestion!

      A bar that can handle max single rep Olympic lifts, WODs, and accessory work (I assume this means squats, deads, rows, what have you) isn’t asking too much so long as none of your power lifts are overly high. The Precision is a pretty solid choice so long as you don’t deadlift 600 pounds or squat something close to that. If you do, you need two bars; no way around that unless you’re willing to sacrifice performance in the Olympic lifts, and I doubt you would be (nor should you.)

      I’ve had a number of people ask ‘Elite or Precision’ and at normal price I’d say the Elite because the Precision is just too expensive for a bushing bar. However, at the current sale price the Precision is an easy pick. I’m becoming convinced that American Barbell has about the sturdiest, most well-built bushing bar on the market right now. They are reliable, quiet, and also good looking bars. Either of those bars can handle far more than you’re currently c&Jing so you’ll be able to grow with either of them. Truth be told, this is true of anything in this price range though.

      Compare bumper prices from Fringesport and Vulcan. Depending on where you are in their shipping area will decide who has better pricing probably. Doesn’t get much cheaper than these two except maybe the Echo’s. Any less than that and you’re back to those CAP/X-Mark/box-store stuff.

      • ajdg December 16, 2015, 6:35 pm

        By the way, I’m seeing a sale on the vulcan mainpage.

        “Vulcan Load up Sale”

        Spend 499-749 Save 72
        750-999 Save 113
        1000-1500 Save 153
        1501-2000 Save 233
        2000-2500 Save 320
        2501-3000 Save 425
        3001+ Save flat 17%

        Now I’d say that’s a sale!

        • jburgeson December 16, 2015, 9:02 pm

          There is nothing wrong with either bar. I personally just think that having stainless marked down so much makes it one hell of a deal. Other than the zero maintenance of stainless, there is the feel. Bare steel has the best feel of any bar, but bare steel is high-maintenance. Stainless offers the superior feeling of a raw metal but without the downside. Well, it has a new downside; the higher price.

          The price on the Elite is pretty nice too. I didn’t think about their sale. If you save $60 and can get better change plates, then by all means go for the Elite. And no, the Elite won’t require any more maintenance than the Precision.

          • ajdg December 16, 2015, 9:57 pm

            OK, so it looks like my options are:

            1) precision stainless – 380 w/ shipping
            230lb vulcan bumper set, 25kg vulcan v lock change set – 458 after discount
            $838 total
            2) vulcan elite bar and 230lb bumpers package, 25kg v lock change set (and comes with free spring collars, so saves me 10, but I will probably replace anyway)
            $777 total after discount (this was the option I was thinking about before the sale, would have set me back $890 with a total budget of $1000)
            3) vulcan PRO bearing bar and 230lb bumpers package, 25kg v lock….(same as 2)
            $964 total after discount

            I think if it was purely a value situation, the obvious choice would be 3), but do I really want a bar with aggressive knurling to do crossfit WODs with? How aggressive do you think the knurling on this bar is? Will I get used to it, or will it actually injure me (I dont perform my high rep sets with a hook grip, except for hang cleans/hang snatches which are generally lighter, but lets say I had to do a WOD with 30 hang cleans at 185, would the knurling become a factor?) Does it even make sense to imagine that scenario, considering the bearings will probably help me out on more WODs than the knurling might hurt me?

            No matter which option I pick, I get an additional $125 bill credit from my payment method, so still way under budget. What should I do with my savings? I probably need a wall mounted pullup bar, some gymnastics rings, a kettlebell. I’ll make my own boxes and blocks and probably squat off the blocks for now.

            Last question, and I hope I’m not taking too much of your time, but how long do you think the sale will last, or should I jump on it tonight?

            • jburgeson December 17, 2015, 12:32 am

              I’ll start backwards. I don’t know how long it will last, but it did just start like 2 days ago. Still, could be a 2-day sale, could be until the end of the year. You can e-mail them and ask and I suppose they would tell you, right? What would be gained by not..

              Here’s the deal with Vulcan. I love their bars; I have four of them. One of them is the Elite 3.0, and I maintain that the knurl is not aggressive despite the claim in the product description. I’ve even mentioned this to the owner of Vulcan at one point and he said it is aggressive, so I guess I’m crazy. That said, it makes me wonder how “aggressive” the Pro is. I mean, it’s not going to be TPB/Ohio Power bar aggressive; that’s for sure, but will it be too much? I doubt it, but I can’t tell you that for sure.

              My suggestion is this. When buying this bar; whichever you end up with; if you have to lean on something one way or the other (WOD vs power vs Olympic), I say favor the Olympic lifts. It’s more important that you have a good Olympic bar than it is to have a good “WOD” bar… and you can bench any bar. People WOD with some pretty shitty bars, but no one is excelling in the c&J or snatch with a beater. Like you said, you had a 30lb PR just by getting under a real bar. That wouldn’t have helped you squat though.

              • ajdg February 4, 2016, 11:57 am

                Just wanted to give an update:
                I purchased the Vulcan elite, 230 lbs of alpha bumpers. Also had money left over for stall mats and squat stands from CFF.

                I could not be happier with this bar. To start with, it is beautiful to look at. It is grippy even for heavy deadlifts, and I can’t imagine how a bar could have a better grip without seriously tearing up your hands. It is perfect for what I do, crossfit and olympic lifting aimed at improving strength for crossfit. I do use a copious amount of chalk though. Someday I will have to try a stainless or bare steel bar to see what you are talking about.
                The whip is noticeable at about 200 lbs, and gets even more pronounced at 250+. Have had no problems with turnover at all, can’t even tell the difference between this and a bearing bar at this point. Will probably have to wait until my lifts progress considerably to even consider replacing this bar.
                The bumpers are great. They have a very dead bounce (on par with competition plates!!!) and are perfect for my garage setting, in which I have limited space. I would recommend these over Hi-temps or similar bumpers for anyone looking for a dead bounce, IMO much safer.

                Keep up the good work!

                • jburgeson February 4, 2016, 1:23 pm

                  Thanks for the update. How long did you wait for shipping from them btw? Pretty standard turn-around?

                  • Ajdg February 4, 2016, 1:34 pm

                    The bar was out of stock when I ordered it, but the bumpers were in stock and arrived 2 days after placing order (from NC to PA). Customer service provided updates on the bar, and it was shipped earlier than expected and arrived in 2 days also. All equipment in excellent condition. I was at the CrossFit gym when they received a rogue bar, and the Vulcan packaging seemed more well thought out, easier to open and sturdier, although neither bar actually WAS damaged, the rogue tube was beat to hell. All in all, I could not be happier with Vulcan. Are you considering reviewing their new stainless absolute bar? I’d be interested to see that one.

                    • jburgeson February 4, 2016, 1:50 pm

                      That’s good to hear. I didn’t get a lot of holiday feedback for them so I just thought I’d ask you randomly what your experience was. I hear good stuff for Rogue and AB all the time, but with Vulcan it’s been kinda quiet.

                      If the opportunity to review the Absolute presents itself, then yes of course. I don’t see myself spending that close to a thousand dollars on it though. I can buy a lot of equipment for that kind of money; equipment that is far more likely to be on the average person’s radar, and within the average person’s budget. But still, I’m sure demand will play a role in whether or not it gets a review, and right now there is no information on the bar so no real demand or interest… so it’s hard really commit to it at this point.

  • ajdg December 16, 2015, 4:43 pm

    What if I could still get the elite at BF pricing, WITH free shipping. Total cost to me would be:
    -Vulcan elite $319
    -Precision SS $380

    What makes stainless such a good product, if you are willing to maintain the bar? (from your review, the vulcan shouldn’t require much maintenance and would be a better bar IF IT TOO was stainless.)

    The pricing may mean the difference between rubber change plates and steel change plates, so there is that to consider as well.

  • Andrew December 23, 2015, 12:45 pm

    Any suggestions for the very best “all around” bar for benching, squatting, cleaning, snatching, etc. I’m willing to spend $$ for a really good bar that will last. Thanks in advance.

    • jburgeson December 23, 2015, 9:52 pm

      Couple questions. Which do you excel in more; Oly or power. And how much weight are we talking about?

      • Andrew December 24, 2015, 2:37 pm

        I’m a beginner at lifting. I’ve done some cross fit off and on and have done weight training off and on for years realizing that working out at home with higher yield routines (cross fit type WODs, kettlebells, and focused lifting) is the best fit for for my schedule vs. the numerous gyms and boxes of tried in the past. So, trying to outfit my home gym. Can’t say I excel at either and don’t thrown around any crazy weight.

        • Andrew December 24, 2015, 2:45 pm

          … would also need a set of bumpers. Rogue vs Eleiko vs HT? Would start with DLs, cleans, snatched… Until I could invest in a power rack (code for when my wife gives me the OK…) Thanks again. I’m sure you’ve had these questions a million times.

          • jburgeson December 24, 2015, 4:58 pm

            Actually look at the OFW bumpers. Price is about the same as the Rogue HGs, Vulcans, etc.. but the 10’s and 15’s are a much better plate, and the 25’s and up are narrower. Definitely still the best value bumpers, and a must if you plan to toss the lighter plates around alone on the bar. The 25 and up plates aren’t going to fail no matter where they come from, its the skinny, light ones that get screwed up.

        • jburgeson December 24, 2015, 4:55 pm

          Well not putting up any mad numbers in either the Olympic or power lifts makes finding a bar suitable for both a little easier. Lucky for you, you don’t have to dish out a thousand bucks for a multi-purpose bar. It’s not until you excel in one or the other that it even becomes slightly necessary to spend a ton.

          I’d say look at the Vulcan Standard bushing bar as one option… pretty solid for both lifts; will last you a long time. It’s basically Vulcan’s version of the Ohio Bar, and I like it a bit more because the Standard has oil-impregnated bronze bushings vs cast bronze, and I believe it’s even a hair cheaper. American Barbell has their California Bar for just under $300 which is about the same as these two except it has composite bushings, and chrome instead of zinc. If you start leaning on the Olympic training bars; 28 mm bushing bars like the Vaughn, Elite, and AB Precision, the price is going to go up a bit and you’ll lose a little of that rigidity in the power lifts. It’s not a bad thing at all though since you’re not benching 400 pounds.

  • Areya December 25, 2015, 3:32 pm

    Now that the AB Super Power Bar is gone for good, what do you think of the AB Elite Power Bar for $325? I already have their Precision Olympic Bar on order and I’m primarily doing power lifts. Cleans maybe once a week.

    AB told me that they have a new power bar in the design studio. The knurl will end about 1 inch closer to the outside and it will be 29mm. Just afraid that losing an inch of knurl on each side will be worse for low bar squats but better for deadlifts.

    • jburgeson December 26, 2015, 2:50 am

      I think the Elite is a fine substitute for the Super, but I’d be curious to see the new Super (or whatever they end up calling it) unless I just had to have a power bar right away and couldn’t wait. Also the change in knurl isn’t going to be bad considering that it was too close to center previously. It’ll just be more like a standard knurl pattern now.

      • Andrew December 26, 2015, 8:16 am

        Is the AB Precision a stainless shaft? If primarily doing cleans and snatches seems like that would be an awesome bar to start with…

        • jburgeson December 26, 2015, 5:12 pm

          Yeah it is. There is a chrome variation of the same bar as well, but the stainless is the way to go

          • Areya December 27, 2015, 10:30 pm

            I guess I made the right decision by going with the Precision bar. I’m going to use it as a WOD bar and some Olympic lifts. Really interested in their next power bar since it’ll be 29mm. Seems like they’re redesigning the whole thing except for the stainless steel.

            • jburgeson December 27, 2015, 11:05 pm

              Yeah the whole stainless line is nice. I don’t have the precision but I have the other 3 and they get used daily. I too am anxious to see the new power bar. Could it replace the super!? I don’t much care about the 28.5 vs 29 mm, but some do. I get it.

  • Philip December 27, 2015, 12:06 pm

    Hey Jb,

    I’ve been checking this website periodically in hopes of coming across a York BB review. I am a coach at a CF gym and have the opportunity to purchase a York Elite 28mm Competition bar at a great price. The satin chrome version of this bar retails at $500 and the stainless steel version has a tag of $650. Are you planning on reviewing these bars in the near future or is York a brand you stay away from? Do you have any information on the aforementioned bars above? Sorry if I sound like a broken record but just as you suggest I am trying to make the best informed decision for a lifetime investment. Thanks for your time and for the information you make available on this site. Take care

    • jburgeson December 27, 2015, 3:49 pm

      Yeah I’m probably done with York. It seems like the majority of the feedback I get on York in general is bad, and the only good bar I’ve come across (the B&R) was changed for the worse about a year ago, and now isn’t even a York bar anymore anyway. That’s not to say one of their bars can’t last a lifetime, many of the classic Yorks do, but they just aren’t putting out the same quality as they used to. It’s a risk, and how much this bar is priced for makes all the difference on how good or bad of deal that is. I’d take a pretty good look at it before you hand over cash, and if it’s not heavily discounted from the price of new, I’d probably keep looking… and I say this especially since you clearly want a bar that will last a while (lifetime investment.)

      • Philip March 11, 2016, 7:32 pm

        Hey Jb,
        Just an update to my situation. So its been 6 months where I have been back and forth with your website on finding reviews on 28mm barbells. I had finally narrowed it down to two barbells, the Vulcan Elite and the York Elite Competition… You stated that you were probably done with York just based on the feedback you had received both on product as well as customer service, however when it came time for me to purchase a barbell it came down to the exchange rate between CAD and USD; so I went with the York. I have to say Jb that if you have already written off York that you should reconsider and at least give the Elite Competition barbell a last hurrah hurrah. I cant be anymore satisfied with this beautifully machined piece of steel. The knurling and spin is great and the finish is nothing short of beautiful (if I could upload a picture here I would). There is great whip to the bar and flex can be seen with a weight of 225 or more. I have yet to actually see or use a Vulcan barbell and I am sure they’re a great product, but I can assure you that I am pleasantly surprised and highly recommend that you lift with it one more time. The only thing that caught me off guard was that the barbell had both Olympic lifting and Powerlifting marks. Hope this gives you a different perspective and will at least open up the possibility of trying out a new York Elite Competition barbell. Cheers

        • jburgeson March 11, 2016, 10:16 pm

          Hey Phil, thanks, and so noted. I’ll keep my eye out for one of the Elites and give it a try. I don’t see me buying one outright unless I find one barely used. The Elite is one of their North American bars ya? Made in Canada?

          • Philip March 12, 2016, 11:26 am

            York states that it’s Made In Canada with North American steel. The finish is satin chrome. As stated earlier not only is this a beautiful bar to lift with but she is also quite the looker. Happy with this purchase. If you end up finding an Elite Competition to work with please let me know you’re thoughts!

  • Eduardo December 27, 2015, 6:46 pm

    What about klokovd bars?? Good whip?

    • jburgeson December 27, 2015, 6:56 pm

      Absolutely not good whip; very rigid. Power bar rigid

      • Eduardo December 27, 2015, 7:02 pm

        Thanks, what bar do you recommendme that have nice whip only for oly lifts? Thanks in advance

        • jburgeson December 27, 2015, 10:49 pm

          Depends on your budget really. Aside from the obvious and expensive Eleiko WL bars and American Barbell Pro SS, there is the Vulcan Pro Bearing and Rogue WL Bar for a bit less cash than those two. In the bushing budget department, I’d say either the Vulcan Elite, the Vaughn, or even the American Barbell Precision while it’s still on sale.

          • Andrew December 28, 2015, 7:54 am

            I think I just purchased the last 20kg AB precision bar in stock. It was on sale for $355. Seemed like a good deal for a SS bar. Said original price was $499 I thinks. The 15kg were out and right after I purchased the 20kg they said “out of stock.” I don’t even have plates yet and will prob buy those in a month or so but after your feedback I figured I’d jump on that bar.

            • jburgeson December 29, 2015, 1:40 am

              I think it’s safe to say you’ll be quite content with that bar, especially at that price.

  • Arturo January 4, 2016, 7:49 am

    Is there a bar for Strength and Conditioning for people in europe for around 200 €? And for more than that which do you recommend now that there isn’t chrome version of the Rogue Matt Chan bar?

    • jburgeson January 4, 2016, 12:20 pm

      Can you buy either the TPB or the CAP OB-86B in your location? Or, and I would never make this recommendation stateside, but the Team Bar 2.0 is under 200 Euro.

      I’d replace the Chan with either one of the Ohio Bars since alternatives like from American Barbell are pretty much out of the question in Europe.

  • Bob January 15, 2016, 11:51 pm

    I appreciate your reviews. Thanks!

    I’ll need to checkout the American Barbell Super Power Bar when I get enough space for a dedicated power bar.

    I’d like to suggest another weightlifting bar for your consideration, the Rep Fitness Gladiator Bar. I do not have any affiliation with Rep Fitness other than having bought a some equipment from them and found them to be great value.

    Based on its specs, the Gladiator Bar is a steal; 230 KPSI tensile, 210 KPSI yield, needle bearings, hard chrome plating on both the shaft and the microgrooved sleeves. Mine has only IWF markings not dual markings like the description says. All for $229. For that price, I figured the worst case is that I’d have a beater bar. I like this bar better than the Rogue bushing bars I’ve used at a gym but not as much as the Werksan bars that I’ve used mostly because I like a little sharper knurl.

  • James February 28, 2016, 1:10 pm

    Hi, great info, I was wondering if you could simplify my search a bit, and narrow it down as I’m wary of purchasing expensive things that I may not like and regret due to poor quality. I am thinking about building a home gym specifically for weightlifting for physique, I’m not interested in Cross-fit style lifts or the like, and I’m not going to be pushing massive weight, I’d just like basics for weight training for muscular hypertrophy.

    With that said, I think I’ve decided on the Rogue RML-390F Flat Foot Monster Lite Rack, but as far as a bench, I don’t really want to spend $545 on the Rogue adjustable bench, but at the same time I think I do want an adjustable bench so I can do incline curls, posterior deltoid flys, shoulder presses, etc., and I like the design of the Xmark FID bench, and it’s gotten good reviews on Amazon, and granted it has a relatively wide gap when flat, but I was wondering if you have any new adjustable bench suggestions?

    As far as an Olympic barbell goes, as I’ve mentioned I’d just like a quality barbell which is more aimed at squats, deadlifts, bent over rows, etc., not cleans and snatches. I’d like a chrome look more as I don’t like the black look as much, and I’m not sure I’d need center knurl for squats. I like your suggestions on stainless steel and I think they look amazing in the images, but I see the AB one is no longer in stock, and I’m not really interested in spending exorbitant amounts of money on a bar, although I’d like the least oxidative metal, as I’m not interested in frequent upkeep, although this gym will be in a temperature regulated room in my house.

    As far as weights, I honestly like rubber coated plates with grips more than bumpers as I’m not planning on dropping the bar ever, but I may end up with OFW bumpers as you’ve suggested them. I looked at the Rubber Grip Plates from AB which all say currently out of stock, and they look good to me, and that’s basically what I want ideally, but without reviews purchasing large heavy weights gives me pause. This will be in a room in my house though, so another thing that worries me is if the rubber smell will be able to dissipate enough to not smell in a small room. If I left them outside for a few weeks and washed them a few times would the smell be satisfactorily gone?

    Thank you for any advice you can give.

    • jburgeson February 28, 2016, 1:51 pm

      Did you see this page? http://www.garage-gyms.com/weight-bench-review/ There are two incline benches towards the bottom of the page; the York and Iron Master. Both are less than the Rogue, and the Ironmaster has 0 gap when flat. The Rogue’s the best of the three, but I get not wanting to spend that much if you don’t have to.

      If you have no intention of cleaning or snatching, get a power bar. You get more bar for the money since power bars need no reflexive properties, nor do they need high speed components. The American Barbell Power Bar is all chrome for about $350, and it is one of the few chrome power bars around. The AB Elite Power Bar is a fine alternative to the out of stock Super Power Bar as well, and that’s stainless. Most other power bars are bare steel or zinc, and most zinc versions have black zinc shafts. If you don’t like either of those and you still want a bar with no black zinc, the Rogue Ohio, Vulcan Standard, and AB California will also serve your purposes, but I still like the two AB power bars more since you won’t be snatching.

      Those Rubber and Urethane handle plates are their commercial line. You might want to call or email them to see if they actually have them in stock. They are weird with showing low-quantity commercial products on the website. You may get lucky. Also, they may stink a little, but they should have nothing on the smell of bumpers since it’s just a coating, not rubber all the way through. Bumpers just leak smells from their core for a good month or two. In any case though, washing them and letting them air out does help considerably. You gotta figure those come from factory in a box, and sit in that box in a warehouse until you finally open it up at home. Hope that helps

      • James February 28, 2016, 3:11 pm

        Thank you very much, that helps. Do you have any advice you could give on other brands’ rubber coated plates, or regular iron plates (with or without handles) of good quality, or are they just not your thing? Again thanks for the advice.

        • jburgeson February 28, 2016, 3:43 pm

          Generally I recommend people buy used steel plates simply because Craigslist is flooded with them. None of the brands you’d find in sporting good stores or on say Amazon are particularly good – and by good I mean accurate. So why pay full retail, you know? The cheapest accurate steel plate is the York Legacy which costs as much as bumpers, and then you’ve got the obvious high-end stuff like Ivanko and the other IPF brands. Ivanko even has some non-coated steel plates with handles, but they are not cheap. As far as coated plates, I’ve just never really looked into them. No one ever asks about them, and with bumpers so cheap these days they are just to go-to now. Sorry I’m not much help with those, but it’s safe to say that the same companies that make accurate steel plates will make accurate coated plates. Iron Grip, AB, Ivanko, and so forth.

  • Vladimir March 4, 2016, 7:21 am

    Hi,
    any insight on getrxd barbells? Specifically wod 5.0, stealth and texas bars?
    Specs look good online, price even better, which makes me think, maybe too good?
    Thanks for your answer!

    • jburgeson March 4, 2016, 9:38 am

      They’re entry-level import bars. If you’re new to training they’ll be fine and dandy and probably be better than buying something off Amazon or at the local sporting goods store. When looking at seemingly under-priced bars like this (GetRx, AF, etc), you just have to accept that if the bar is $170, you’re getting a $170 bar. You might get full value for your $170, but it’s still just a $170 bar. Not $200, not $220, and certainly not $250+ worth of bar for that $170. If you keep that in mind and you’re okay with that, you should be happy with it… assuming that you’re not already over-qualified for a $170 bar, that is.

      • Vladimir March 4, 2016, 10:49 am

        Thanx for quick response!

  • romeo lebrun April 6, 2016, 6:54 pm

    Hi, great site and great info !
    After reading a bit, i narrowed my choices for an oly barbell.If a ad to go with bushings it would be the vulcan elite, for a bar with bearings, probably the rogue euro or eleiko sport training. Is a premium bearing bar really make a lot of difference at my numbers ?

    note: I’m used to regular crossfit barbell, mostly interested by oly lifting and my snatch/clean and jerk are : 90 and 110 kg

    • jburgeson April 6, 2016, 7:09 pm

      Thanks Romeo. Not a huge difference now, but you’re close to that zone where the bearings become beneficial. A near 250-pound clean is solid, and as that goes up you become more and more of a candidate for bearings. Honestly, you’re at about that point where, assuming you see your numbers improving, and you can afford to do so, getting into a premium bar isn’t a bad move. I say that because if you go bushings and 6 months or a year from now you feel your bar turning over poorly or dragging, you’ll wish you applied that near $400 to one of those $700 bars. And at least with a Euro or Eleiko, you can be pretty confident about that being your last bar purchase, whereas that is not usually the case for bushing bars (with Olympic Weightlifters anyway.)

      Bushings these days are pretty reliable and they can handle some pretty good weight, but there is no arguing that a bearing bar is better, and both of those Oly bars you’re considering are pretty damn nice. If you go that route, remember: Euro = moderate knurl, Eleiko = sharp.

      • romeo lebrun April 7, 2016, 6:22 pm

        Thank you !
        it convinced me to buy a bar that probably be my last. I’m not used to sharp knurl so the euro should be a better bet for training.

        • Rob K April 7, 2016, 6:57 pm

          I have yet to try one of the Rogue Oly bars, but having gone from just having the Rogue Bar (1.0) and going to Eleiko ST, man its nice! I really like the more aggressive knurl. Its not bad at all, just different. I also still really like the Rogue bar 1.0. I’m sure you can’t go wrong either way. But too went thru all of John’s reviews and even went back and forth with him a bit, and just wanted to chime in again with how happy I am with the choice. The one that still leaves me wondering, is the AB Stainless Oly bar.

          • romeo lebrun April 7, 2016, 7:42 pm

            The fact that peoples describe eleiko knurling like ” cheese grater ” scared me a bit to go this way . I haven’t felt one in person. Do you have callouses problem with the eleiko compared to a rogue bar ?

            • Rico April 7, 2016, 9:13 pm

              I have the Eleiko sport training bar. It’s not a cheese grater. I like the knurling, it’s definitely sharper if you’re used to Rogue’s oly or crossfit bars, but gives a good grip. Now the Eleiko PF competition bar is a cheese grater.

            • jburgeson April 7, 2016, 10:01 pm

              Yeah it’s not so bad as some people make it sound, but it takes getting used to if you’re coming from what passes for knurl on “CrossFit” bars. You’d get used to it though. I’d only say avoid it if you’ve handled bars that you thought were aggressive but everyone else says are mild… if that makes any sense lol

  • Howard April 9, 2016, 9:34 pm

    I was curious if you have any experience with the Sorinex Performance Bar. It doesn’t seem to get much love around the net but its $325 and sounds like it covers most of the things you talk about. I was just curious if there was something about it that you didn’t like or if you don’t have any experience with it.

    • jburgeson April 9, 2016, 9:53 pm

      Howard I’ve never seen the bar in person. It’s a pretty standard 190k bushing bar though, and it’s actually a little bit on the expensive side. If you’re a Sorinex fan and you don’t mind the price increase over say the Ohio Bar ($282) or California Bar ($275), go for it. Personally the Cali is more appealing at $50 less and chrome sleeves, but I’m an AB fan so there’s that.

  • Anthony April 17, 2016, 3:52 pm

    I see you wrote your recommendation for a professional bar for Olympic lifting. What about about power lifting (i.e. no interest in the Olympic lifts, just the big 3)? If money were not an issue and you wanted a high end power bar, which one would you recommend?

    • jburgeson April 17, 2016, 4:10 pm

      If money were no object, I’d probably buy the Ivanko Stainless Comp, or maybe the Eleiko Comp. Both are extremely expensive for a personal gym bar though.

      As a more reasonable suggestion, I used to recommend the AB Super Power Bar, but it went away. It’s actually back temporarily (http://shrsl.com/?%7Ec46q) and on closeout for over $200 off, but I don’t know anything about the new texture they’re putting on it (does it grip as well, I dunno), and there is no warranty, so I opted to not put it back. Still, the Super is the power bar I use right now and I like it a lot, but I’ll bet if either one of those other two bars showed up at my door I’d switch really damn quick.

      Bars like the Ohio, TPB, and Okie are good bars, but I wouldn’t consider them the best power bars out there.

      • Anthony April 17, 2016, 4:31 pm

        Thanks for the fast reply!

  • todd April 19, 2016, 2:28 pm

    Vulcan strength now makes a power bar, 29mm 195k tensile strength with bright zinc shaft and sleeves. Their website states that it has very aggressive knurling and its $285 shipped.

  • Bob Dias April 21, 2016, 4:01 pm

    Great site, great information. Masters Lifter here, looking for a good quality Oly training bar. I recently picked up the American Barbell SS Precision Training Bar mostly on review from your site. I love it! Great bar, great performance, your reviews are right on!

    • Rob K April 21, 2016, 4:27 pm

      I know John will chime in, but from another Master who did most of his research for a nice Oly training bar based off this site and some back and forth with jburgeson, I can tell you I picked up the Eleiko ST bar and I love it! I don’t have a lot to compare to other than Rogue 1.0 bar, Werksan Training bar and a bunch of cheaper crossfit bars. The knurl, spin, feel are all awesome. I’m not throwing crazy weight around but love the lifts and wanted to treat myself without spending a $1000

    • jburgeson April 21, 2016, 6:08 pm

      Thanks Bob, glad that’s working out. Love that stainless.

  • Tim June 26, 2016, 5:48 am

    The difference between the Eleiko PL Training and Comp. Bar is the way it is produced.
    Both are produced with the same machine an tool, but the Comp. Bar is always the first in one charge.
    The consequence is, that the knurling is a bit more aggressive, but also a bit more sensitive i think.

    • jburgeson June 26, 2016, 12:54 pm

      I’ve heard about the tool becoming less effective after only a few bars knurled, so I suppose that would make perfect sense to order it like that. I know that the knurling and sticker is about the only difference between the Oly versions as well, so it makes sense.

      I’ve found that when you buy an Eleiko, receiving a bar with the proper aggressiveness for that model is kind of a gamble. XFs that are too aggressive, Trainers that are under knurled, etc. It could be a fluke that I’ve had more than one bar come through here with a knurling issue, and I hope that it is, but that has been my experience. I’m speaking specifically of the Oly bars though, as I’ve not had any of their power bars to date. I’d test this further if it was economically feasible to do so, but alas..

  • Sam N July 7, 2016, 3:03 pm

    About to pull the trigger on the AB Power Bar. Thoughts on it as an all around bar and hard chrome finishes in general?

    Thanks!

    • jburgeson July 7, 2016, 3:34 pm

      Yeah, well all-around minus snatches and jerks. Only drawback of AB bars is their total lack of knurl aggressiveness when compared to pretty much anyone else. Normally this isn’t an issue, but power bars are supposed to be fairly coarse. If you don’t want aggressiveness, than it’s probably the perfect choice. If you do, look at something like the Elite Power Bar from Vulcan. Almost everything else is bare steel or black finishes (power bars, that is.)

      As far as hard chrome, it’s the most resilient of the applied finishes. Doesn’t fade, and doesn’t flake like black zinc or decorative chrome… and American barbell actually uses hard chrome. They don’t put on decorative chrome and then call it hard chrome, a fairly common practice among the cheapo dealers.

      • Sam N July 7, 2016, 4:02 pm

        sold. i’ll report back once I put it through its paces.

        • Sam N August 8, 2016, 10:20 pm

          Owed a follow up Re: AB Power Bar which they have on sale currently for $300 and change, shipped. I’ve had a chance to lift with this thing for just under a month and feel confident in these first impressions:

          First off, this bar is a thing of beauty. Aesthetically its absolutely gorgeous. Fit and finish out the box are flawless. The hard chrome has a “brushed” stainless look and simply looks bad ass.

          Secondly, as promised, the knurling is rather mild but “grippy” in it’s own right. I’ve pulled some heavy DLs without chalk without problem in dead of summer Texas heat, pouring sweat without issue.

          Lastly, the only negative i have on this bar and perhaps its a function of being a closeout deal: The finish seems to have discolored on the right knurling. Even after a “deep” clean with a nylon brush and 3-1 oil I wasn’t able to restore original luster and shine. kind of a bummer that it discolored so quickly (i think from sweat) but so be it, doesn’t diminish the other positives.

          • jburgeson August 8, 2016, 10:27 pm

            Thanks for that Sam. Hey so, the chrome itself had faded?

            I wonder if they have a new hire in the finish department – they’ve discounted a lot of bars lately because of bad finishes. A whole batch of Black and Chromes, Super Power Bars, and at least one instance of a California going out with a jacked up finish. It’s irritating, but you’re right, it doesn’t directly affect performance so it’s a minor thing. We often forget what these bars look like a year later anyway – certainly not new anymore. I’m glad you like it, and thanks again for following up.

            • Sam N August 9, 2016, 9:16 pm

              It’s best described as a “brownish tinge”. It’s not rust but it definetely isn’t coming off even after I brushed the living hell out of the bar with 3-1. It’s almost a less exaggerated version of the sweat stains guys would have on the white t-shirt they ALWAYS wore under their football pads for good luck on game day.

              I think it may be a known issues with this finish. Pure speculation but they likely through the remaining stock on clearance after replacing a few bars that were under warranty. interesting to note that all closeout bars are not warrantied…

              The “new” power bar run is 29mm vs 28.5 but it looks like tensile strength has remained at 190.

              All that said, they just put the AB Training bar on sale for $250 and its taking all my self control not to make my debit card smoke and purchase that thing.

              • jburgeson August 9, 2016, 11:32 pm

                Looking to start that American Barbell collection, eh? You could certainly do worse – I think I have four of their bars total, and a couple are in my short list of favorites.

  • Hima July 24, 2016, 11:58 am

    Hello,
    fantastic reviews all around. I am in the market for 2 new barbell. What do you think of AB Power bar . It is listed at $345 and it is all hard Chrome.
    I have already made up my mind to buy Vulcan’ s Bar+Alpha Bumper plate package. Leaning on their Elite Power bar not Absolute one as i prefer look at of steel even though this is Bright Zinc

    • jburgeson July 24, 2016, 12:44 pm

      I have their Super Power Bar and I love it, but the basic AB power bar doesn’t really excite me. I think that it’s too expensive for being a 190k power bar. I like the Rogue Ohio PB, but you’d want bare steel, and you’d have to be willing to maintain it to keep that bright luster to it – otherwise it’ll rust. The Elite is a good choice, and a good price – probably the only other way to get that chrome/zinc look on a power bar. The rest of the biggies are black oxide/zinc.

  • Hima July 24, 2016, 7:36 pm

    Thank you for the response. The super power bar is out of stock right now. Even though it is little expensive i would have bought it if it is available. I am right now leaning towards Rouge OPB ( bare steel ) or Texas Power Bar ( regular one). But I like the look and feel of the steel.
    I do have CAP OB-86B . I have to say you review is right on that one. I got it for $99 with free shipping from Amazon. I realized that i prefer aggressive knurling after using OB-86B. It is listed as moderated knurling. So does American Super Power Bar ,Rogue OPB and Elite have more aggressive knurling than CAP OB-86B? I am not into Olympic lifting. Just into regular power lifting and other compound exercises such as barbell rows and overhead press etc…

    • jburgeson July 24, 2016, 7:55 pm

      The Ohio has more aggressive knurling than the CAP, but the CAP is probably more aggressive than the American Barbell power bars. The lack of AB aggressiveness works for the Super only because it’s stainless, but it won’t feel very substantial with chrome. It won’t feel like a power bar, more like a WOD bar.

      I have yet to touch an Elite – both it and the Absolute literally just came out. Vulcan says both are “very aggressive”, but Vulcan’s knurl ratings are based on a scale that consists of only their bars – which isn’t unusual, but not especially helpful when a bar is new and no one has touched it. I’m not worried that the Elite will be weak or anything, but since I have yet to see one I’m just making an assumption.

      Oh and the Super is supposedly being revamped to a higher tensile strength and 29 mm shaft, but we’ve been hearing that rumor for 6-months and I’m starting to think it’s not a priority in the least. I used to suggest to people who were willing to spend that kind of money on a power bar to wait, but since it’s been so long I no longer do that. Could be tomorrow, or a year from now that that new Super drops. Well, it probably won’t be tomorrow – I got an email from AB announcing new stuff and it wasn’t on that list.

  • Hima July 24, 2016, 8:56 pm

    Well in that case, I have to say American barbells are out of my consideration. After spending that much money, I need to feel right when pulling and lifting.
    I will go with Vulcan Elite ( Bar+Alpha package) . They are now back order ( looking at 230lb of plates + bar). I might also get their v-lock change plates.

    • jburgeson July 24, 2016, 9:04 pm

      I’ve got those in pounds and kilos… the change plates. I love em.

  • George July 29, 2016, 9:53 am

    Great review! Thorough as hell! Can you comment on the Body Solid lineup? The bar in particular is the 7 ft OB86P1000 Olympic Bar. It’s priced at $210 through Dicks Sporting Goods. Made in China. I reviewed all the specs on Body Solids website. No PSI rating, but rated to 1,000 lb capacity. End caps with bushings etc. The one review on the website is good. I know you mentioned staying away from any barbell that has no PSI rating. Just wondering your thoughts, as it’s only for my personal use (5’7″ @ 160 lbs). I only left light to moderate weights because of previous shoulder injury/surgery (bench 155 max, squat 185 max, dead left 185 max). It’s an easy purchase for me, but I don’t want to do it at the expensive of safety.

    • jburgeson July 29, 2016, 10:46 am

      George that is exactly the kind of bar I’m trying to help people avoid buying – brass bushings, cheap steel and decorative chrome, and pinned sleeves… and only a 30-day warranty! It’s also a 30 mm bar, and it’s not even cheaper than a real bar. Definitely not a bar I’d recommend, not even at 185 max. And if you’d never lift more than that 185 ever in your life, you wouldn’t need to spend that $200. Could do something like the CAP OB-86B for a little more than half of this price. As you continue shopping, I would recommend ignoring the “max weight” spec on bars. Just pretend that it’s not even there.

      • George July 29, 2016, 12:01 pm

        Thanks! I’m not going to buy it. I’m going to go with Rogue or Vulcan

  • Rob Brushenko September 10, 2016, 6:51 pm

    I’ve been looking around online for reviews on crossfit bars I stumbled upon yours and youtube reviewers as well. I saw a couple similar bars on the list. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OooFhnVH-qE

    I was wondering if I could get your opinion on 5 five bars that that I’m focusing on. If you had to say which is your top 2 or 3 favorite and maybe just as important say which one of the 5 you would NOT recommend, which would they be?
    Bars:
    -Rogue Bar 2.0/Ohio Bar
    -American Barbell Training Bar/California Bar
    -Vulcan Standard 28.5mm Bar / Pure Strength 20KG Bar
    -Lynx Barbell Hyrbrid Bearing Bar
    -Get RXed Texas Bar 28mm Bushing Bar
    Honorable Mention Budget Bar: -Fringe Sport Wonder Barbell

    I read your Vulcan Review and I know your pretty high on the Standard bar and maybe not quite as high on wonder bar. Have you ever used the Lynx Barbell Hyrbrid Bearing Bar or the Get RXed Texas Bar 28mm Bushing Bar?

    • jburgeson September 10, 2016, 7:30 pm

      American Barbell bars are high-end, very nicely constructed American bars. The Vulcan Standard is also a very nice American bar, and probably the one I’d go with out of these five mostly because AB bars have overly soft knurl, so you have to pay top dollar for their stainless bars to get a great grip. Rogue Bar 2.0 is a close runner up, and better than the Ohio in my opinion based mostly on the lower cost vs the Ohio and the composite bushings vs cast bronze (the rest of the bar is basically the same). I wouldn’t want a GetRx bar for half of what they charge, and I’ve got nothing based on personal experience to say about Lynx. The Wonder was decent pre-price increase, now it’s not really a contender – though it is a better choice than the Bomba (though I don’t really recommend either if you can technically afford the $250-$275 of the other better bars.) Actually I just saw another bar in there – the Pure Strength. I’ve never even heard of anyone owning their bars so I have nothing for you there either, sorry.

      Standard is just kind of an easy choice if it’s within budget. Good steel, good finish, medium knurling, and self-lubricating bronze bushings on a sub $300 American made bar. Hard to beat. Ships for free even. If you like super soft knurl, California is a beautiful bar and even has chrome sleeves.

  • Mike September 13, 2016, 2:45 am

    I bought an Eleiko CrossFit bar last year and absolutely love it, its just beautiful <3

  • Brent September 13, 2016, 7:58 pm

    I’m looking for an oly bar with great grip for $300. I’ve thought of the Vulcan Elite, but some say its softer than Rogue bars. What are your thoughts on the castro bar? My preference would be hard chrome finish, but I’d take a raw bar if it provided good grip…
    Thanks in advance,
    Brent

    • jburgeson September 14, 2016, 9:47 am

      Castro is just another Ohio Bar variant, but it will feel grippier than the zinc Ohio bars being that it’s a raw bar. Rogue doesn’t offer the Ohio line in chrome anymore unfortunately.

      I’m not sure that I would say the Elite is softer than an Ohio. The Rogue bars are generally pretty moderate/soft, save for the Chan and the power bars. The Elite certainly isn’t as aggressive as the product description eludes to, but the grip is great. A lot of it has to do with the finish being grippy as well, but I mean that’s just like raw bars. Also, performance wise the Elite and Ohio line is night and day – one being a CrossFit bar, the other an actual Oly bar.

  • Jamie Kitchen September 17, 2016, 8:52 am

    About 7 years ago I picked up a used York International bar with a 32mm shaft from the York facility in York PA. I also picked up a stack of plates to go along with it. With the collars it is one pound short of 60. It has the end cap held in with pins. I paid the same price as the CAP bar you have listed here and it still is serving me well. With 3 45’s on a side it barely budges droop wise and since this is pretty much my max it fits my bill. Having said that I am drooling over the Rogue Power Bars you have listed here.

    • jburgeson September 17, 2016, 4:15 pm

      A 32 mm better not bend. That’s a very thick shaft, and also why it was so inexpensive. I’m still impressed that it’s lasted so long though. That’s good for you – super value.

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