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The Rogue Bars – A Comprehensive Guide to the Extensive Collection

Comprehensive Guide to the Rogue Bars

Are you looking for a little help figuring out what the difference between all of the Rogue bars is without needing to make a spreadsheet and have 15 browser tabs open? If so, then you’ve come to the right place.

Rogue Fitness has one of the most extensive collections of branded barbells around. It can be daunting trying to figure out which bar is right for you. You can stare at product pages, compare numbers, and read reviews for hours; but about the time that you think you’ve got a handle on all these bars, Rogue adds a couple more to the line-up, takes a few out of the line-up, and then slaps a new version number on everything else.

So how do you select the Rogue bar that’s right for you? Do you buy one of the new additions? Do you buy one of the updated bars? Do you just buy the bar that Joe Blow down the street swears by? Are they really all that different from one another anyway?

It turns out that almost every Rogue bar is different in one way or another. The good news is that more times than not, those differences are minor, and many of those differences are actually just cosmetic. Matter of fact, with the recent introduction of the new steel that Rogue uses for bar shafts (discussed below), Rogue doesn’t sell as many functionally unique bars as you may think.

So relax. I’ll bet by the time you’re done with this article, you’ll have gone from contemplating half a dozen Rogue bars and all their variants to narrowing it down to one or two. Your final decision will almost certainly just come down to aesthetics.

Last updated: June, 2017 (minor revisions and edits, added multiple new Rogue bars to list.)

The Rogue Bars – About that New Steel

That Rogue Steel

There was a change made at Rogue HQ recently that has actually made selecting the right bar easier. Rogue decided to simplify their barbell manufacturing process and use the same US-made, 190,000 PSI steel for the shafts of nearly all of their bars. Since this decision was made, Rogue has been systematically either eliminating or upgrading almost every bar that didn’t previously have a shaft equal to or greater than this new 190,000 PSI steel.

So now rather than being all over the charts with 135,000 PSI steel on this bar, to 205,000 PSI steel on that bar (and everything in between), nearly every bar they make is now made with the same 190,000 PSI steel shaft (excluding the power bars… for now). This change essentially removes one of the most overwhelming aspects of choosing a bar from the equation (if only Rogue bars are part of the equation, that is.)

To give you an idea of how this has worked out so far, consider the recent upgrade that both The Rogue Bar and The Bella received. Without a price increase, these two bars went from having a 155,000 PSI shaft to having 190,000 PSI shafts. The Ohio Bar received the same shaft upgrade, again without a price increase. Now whether you spend $255 on The Rogue Bar or $600+ on the Burgener Bearing Bar, you get the same strong, 190,000 PSI shaft.

Editor’s note: this section is now somewhat dated. Rogue still uses 190k steel for the majority of their dual-marked bars, but they have introduced many new, higher PSI bars to the line-up as well.

Suggested Reading

If you’re new to lifting and the terminology thrown around confuses you; things like bushings and bearings, tensile strength, zinc vs chrome; and so forth, I suggest you read the first section of an article of mine that covers practically all of the important aspects of bar construction. You can read that here.

How to zero in on one of the Rogue Bars

I’ve separated all of the Rogue bars into four categories based on their apparent intended applications using specific features of the bars. With the exception of the women’s category, all of the Rogue bars covered are standard 20 kg, 2.2 m (44 lbs, 7.2 feet) barbells. The categories, along with the Rogue bars they contain are as follows:

Once you’ve decide which category best describes your intended application, you can look through the bars and further refine them by price, finish, knurl depth, and cosmetic or other special features (I will include a TL;DR summary at the end for those who can’t be bothered). Once you’ve selected a bar, you can either go with that bar, or begin the process anew by comparing your choice to the other manufacturers’ bars until you’ve found the perfect bar for you.

The Rogue Bars for CrossFit

The Rogue bars for CrossFit - men's 20 kg

Clearly Rogue’s biggest market, these are the mulit-purpose bars designed with CrossFit in mind. All of the Rogue bars in this category are 20 kg, 190,000 PSI bushing bars with 28.5 mm shafts. They are all dual marked for Power/Olympic lifting (except for the Echo), have either no center or a passive center knurling, and an about average knurl depth (with the exception of the Chan Bar). With all these things being equal, I will only address things that differentiate the bars from one another and make them unique. Prices range from $255-$375

The Rogue Echo Bar 2.0

The Rogue Echo Economy Bar

The Echo 2.0 is Rogue’s economy bar. In terms of specifications it’s almost exactly the same as the Rogue Ohio Bar, only it doesn’t have the dual-markings (IWF only) and it carries a short, one-year warranty (vs lifetime warranty). The original version of the Echo was actually pinned, yet it sold for the same $195 – so the 2.0 is really quite an upgrade. The warranty sucks, but if economy bars are your only option this certainly beats a box-store barbell.

Rogue Echo Bar 2.0 At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: moderate/average
  • Whip: normal/average
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.4″
  • IWF hash marks only
  • Short 1-year warranty
  • Made in Ohio $195

The Rogue Bar 2.0

The Rogue Bar 2.0 - Overall an outstanding value for CrossFit

The recently updated 2.0 Rogue Bar is a black zinc bar with bright zinc sleeves. There are two main things that make it stand out from the others. First is that it uses new self-lubricating, composite bushings rather than bronze, and second, you have the ability to customize the look of the bar with colored rubber bands that sit in machined grooves on the collars. This is one of the better priced bars on the market right now and a clear alternative to the zinc and oxide versions of the Ohio Bar. $255 with a 5-star review rating (100+ reviews).

Rogue Bar 2.0 At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: moderate/average
  • Whip: normal/average
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.4″
  • Self-lubricating composite bushings rather than bronze bushings
  • Rumors of composite bushings being noisier than bronze
  • Machined groove for bar customization
  • Made in Ohio $255

The Ohio Bar
The Ohio Bar with Black & Bright zinc finish

This is Rogue’s Flagship bar; it was the first bar to be completely manufactured at Rogue HQ in Ohio. There is nothing especially appealing about this bar anymore now that the Rogue Bar 2.0 can be had for $30 less. The Rogue Bar 2.0 has the same specifications, same default finish, yet it also has some unique features like the grooved sleeves and composite bushings. Also bars like the new SS Ohio and Matt Chan are often no-brainer upgrades to the classic Ohio. Now there is a black oxide finish option for the Ohio which is pretty cool, but other than that it’s a pretty basic bar. Prices range from $282 – $295 depending on finish.

Ohio Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: moderate/average
  • Whip: normal/average
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.4″
  • Slightly quieter than The Rogue Bar
  • Chrome is no longer offered, but stainless is (below)
  • Made in Ohio $282-$365

The Stainless Steel Ohio Bar

Rogue Bar Guide - the Stainless Steel Ohio Bar

The Stainless Steel Ohio Bar is Rogue’s contribution to the growing stainless steel bar market. In my opinion, it’s a much nicer bar than the classic Ohio bars. It has a higher tensile strength shaft, composite bushing system, chrome sleeves, and a superior knurl pattern. All this in combination with the stainless shaft and you’ve got one of the best all around bars that Rogue offers. For all the improvements, this bar couldn’t even be considered expensive at $350.

Stainless Steel Ohio Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: moderately aggressive/firm
  • Whip: normal/average
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.4″
  • Much quieter than bronze bushing Ohios
  • Stainless shaft offers the best protection from oxidation, and the most natural grip
  • Chrome sleeves instead of zinc/oxide
  • Made in Ohio $350

The Rogue Castro Bar

The bare steel Rogue Castro Bar

The Castro Bar is a bare steel Ohio Bar variant. Bare steel means it has no finish and requires the most maintenance (2-in-1 oil) of any of the bars in this category. Some people (myself included) actually like the feel of a bare steel bar and don’t view this as a burden, but I’m certain most will not be too excited about cleaning their bar every week. Some proceeds from the sale of the Castro Bar are given to the family of two fallen Navy SEALs. $262

Castro Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: moderate/average
  • Whip: normal/average
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.5″
  • Bare steel; natural feel, but requires brushing and oiling to prevent oxidation
  • Part of proceeds of each sale are donated
  • Made in Ohio $262

Froning Bushing Bar

The Rogue Froning Bushing Bar with signature end cap

Good ol’ Rich Froning; what a bad ass. His bar is a murdered out, black-on-black, zinc signature bar. This is an Ohio bar with cooler looking end caps and a way to show your support for Froning. In my opinion, his bearing bar stands out a little more than this bushing bar, as it’s the only way to get a black-on-black 28 mm Olympic bar. The Froning bushing bar is $295

Froning Bushing Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: moderate/average
  • Whip: normal/average
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
  • Froning signature end caps
  • Made in Ohio $295

Rogue Operator Bar 2.0

The Rogue militar inspired Operator Bar

The Operator Bar is a military-inspired barbell with black zinc sleeves and an olive drab shaft. While unique cosmetically, functionally this is no different than the zinc Ohio Bars. Rogue explains that this olive coating will easily blemish, but that probably only makes it look cooler. $295

Rogue Operator 2.0 Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: moderate/average/consistent with Ohio Bars despite unique finish
  • Whip: normal/average
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.4″
  • Unique green shaft, but susceptible to blemishes
  • Made in Ohio $295

Rogue Matt Chan Bar

The Rogue Chan Bar with signature end caps

This is the most unique bar in the bunch, and one of my long-time favorites. The Chan Bar is a modified Ohio Bar. The knurling on the Chan Bar is more aggressive than the other Ohio variants, and that knurling is set further away from center to allow for a wider stance with deadlifts. It’s also the only bar in this group to have a passive center knurling. The Chan was available in two finishes; satin chrome or black zinc; but sadly chrome was discontinued. The black zinc Chan is $295. 5-star rating, of course.

Rogue Chan Signature Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: semi-aggressive
  • Center knurl: present and passive
  • Increased distance between outer knurling for shins (deadlifts)
  • Whip: normal/average
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.5″
  • Satin chrome finish is discontinued indefinitely
  • Most versatile bar in CrossFit category
  • Made in Ohio $295

♦ ♦ ♦

Rogue Women’s 15 kg Bars

Women's 15 kg Rogue Bars for Olympic lifting and CrossFit

Women’s bars are 15 kg rather than 20 kg, and they have a 25 mm shaft rather than a 28+ mm shaft. They are also typically a few inches shorter in overall length than men’s bars. Rogue currently manufacturers only a handful of women’s 15 kg barbells, but that collection is expanding. Prices range from $215 to $769.

The Bella Bar 2.0

The Rogue Bella Bar 2.0

The Bella is a CrossFit bar, and a multi-purpose bar. I think of it as the true ladies version of the Rogue Bar. Same 190,000 PSI steel and same zinc coating. It’s dual marked, has no center knurl, and has bronze bushings in the sleeves. Like The Rogue Bar, this is a mighty fine bar; especially for the price. $215

Rogue Bella Bar 2.0 At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: moderate/average
  • Whip: normal/average
  • Total bar length: 79.13″
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 13″
  • Comparable to the men’s Rogue Bar 2.0
  • Made in Ohio $215

Rogue Women’s Olympic WL Bar

Rogue Women's Olympic WL Bar

This is simply the women’s 15 kg, 25 mm version of the men’s bar of the same name. 190,000 PSI steel, marked for Olympic lifts with no center knurl, and needle bearings in the sleeves. As the name implies, this is a bar designed for the Olympic lifts. This bar is available with the same finishing options as the men’s; bright zinc, satin chrome, or polished chrome. $525-$635

Rogue Women’s Olympic WL Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: mildly aggressive
  • Whip: high
  • Total bar length: 79.13″
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 13″
  • Needle bearing bar
  • Available in bright zinc, satin chrome, or polished chrome
  • Made in Ohio $525-$635

Rogue Women’s Russian Bar w/ Collars

Rogue Women's Russian Bar w/ Collars

Rogue’s Russian Bearing Bar was inspired by an old Soviet design that was used in the 1980 Olympics. The bar has grooved sleeves and custom, weighted collars the lock down more securely than is possible with standard collars. This set up basically allows long training sessions without having to make collar adjustments. The shaft itself is identical to that of the 25 mm Rogue Oly Bar discusses above, so you can expect great whip and performance. Collars are included in the $769 price.

Rogue Women’s Russian Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: mildly aggressive
  • Whip: high
  • Total bar length: 79.12″
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 12.5″
  • Needle bearing bar
  • Polished chrome finish
  • (2) 2.5 kg collars included (5 kg total)
  • Inspired by Russians, but made in Ohio $769

♦ ♦ ♦

Rogue True 28 mm Olympic Bearing Bars

True 28mm Olympic Weightlifting Bars by Rogue

All of the bars in this category are true 28 mm barbells with a minimum 190,000 PSI rating. They are all marked only for the Olympic lifts and they have no center knurling; although the Olympic WL bars can be ordered with center knurling if you choose. These are high whip bearing bars with more aggressive knurling than the CrossFit/multi-purpose bars (however, the 28mm Training Bar has bushings, not bearings).

These bars would also be great CrossFit bars if you’re willing to pay the premium for bearings and don’t mind the more aggressive knurling and higher whip. Prices range from $325 to $635.

Rogue 28 mm Olympic Training Bar

Rogue true 28 mm Olympic Training Bar

This bar is intended to be an economical way for intermediate Olympic athletes to get under a true 28 mm bar. The shaft of this bar is identical to the Rogue Olympic WL Bar, but the sleeves are assembled with bushings rather than needle bearings. The Training Bar is available in solid bright zinc, or bright zinc sleeves with a black shaft. This is a high whip bar with semi-aggressive knurling. All of Rogue’s Olympic bars are straightness tested, including this bar. $325

28mm Training Bar Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: semi-aggressive
  • Whip: high
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
  • Economy 28 mm Olympic bar
  • Only 28 mm Olympic bar to use bushings rather than bearings
  • Made in Ohio $325

Rogue Olympic WL Bar

Rogue Olympic WL Bar in Chrome

The Olympic WL bars are intended to be more reasonably priced competition for the high-dollar imports (Eleiko, Werksan, etc.) This bar can be purchased with a bright zinc finish, satin chrome, or polished chrome. All three variations can also be purchased with or without the center knurling. The reviews rolling in on this bar are great, Prices vary by finish; from $525 (zinc) to $635 (polished chrome.)

Rogue Olympic WL Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: semi-aggressive
  • Optional center knurling
  • Whip: high
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
  • Used in 2014 CrossFit Games
  • Made in Ohio $525-$635

Rogue Euro Olympic WL Bar

Rogue Euro Olympic WL Bar

This is new release from Rogue. The Euro Olympic WL bar is Rogue’s attempt to directly rival competition-worthy, professional weightlifting bars like those from Eleiko, WerkSan, and Uesaka. The Euro is made in the USA, but the shaft is European sourced and worked steel. The specifications are completely on par with Eleiko at 215,000 PSI, 10 needle bearings, and a full polished chrome finish. Rogue claims that this bar could easily be considered the highest-quality Olympic bar made in the USA.

Rogue Euro Olympic WL Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurl: Semi-aggressive
  • Passive center knurl
  • High whip
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
  • European-sourced steel
  • Made in Ohio $695 (free shipping)

Froning Bearing Bar

The Rogue Froning Olympic Bearing Bar

The Froning Bearing Bar is the signature, murdered out version of the Rogue Olympic WL Bar (above). It’s basically the only way to get the WL bar in black zinc, plus it features the cool Froning signature end caps. $525

Rogue Froning Bearing Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: semi-aggressive
  • Whip: high
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
  • Black zinc adaptation of Olympic WL Bar
  • Rich Froning signature end caps
  • Made in Ohio $525

Burgener Bearing Bar

Rogue Burgener Bearing Bar

Designed by Olympic Coach, Mike Bergener, the Bergener Bearing Bar is a whippy, needle bearing bar designed to rival some of the best Olympic bars on the market. This bar stood out more before the introduction of the Olympic WL bars. Now it seems to be just another variation of that line. It’s available in either bright zinc or polished chrome. Priced $525-$635

Burgener Bearing Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: semi-aggressive
  • Whip: high
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.10″
  • Burgener signature end caps
  • Made in Ohio $525-$635

♦ ♦ ♦

Rogue Powerlifting Bars

The Rogue Powerlifting Bar Collection

The power bars are just that. These serve no real purpose outside of the sport of powerlifting. They are so rigid that they make awful bars for cleans and snatches, and the overly aggressive knurling isn’t ideal for high-repetition sets.

The following Rogue power bars are 28.5 and 29 mm bars. It’s worth pointing out that power bars are not Rogue’s specialty, so the selection is rather small when compared to the CrossFit/Olympic WL selection.

Rogue Ohio Power Bar

The new Rogue Ohio Power Bar

The highly anticipated upgrade to the Rogue Power Bar is here. The Ohio Power Bar is a 29 mm power bar rated at 205,000 PSI. This bar has aggressive knurling, is marked solely for powerlifting, and does have a center knurl. This bushing bar will be available in either a 20 kg or 45 lb version, and will be offered with no finish (bare steel) or in a zinc finish much like the Rogue Bar 2.0.

Rogue Ohio Power Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: aggressive
  • Whip: None/Very rigid
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
  • Available in bare steel or zinc
  • Available in 20 kg bar or 45-pound bar
  • Made in Ohio $250+

Westside Power Bar 2.0

Rogue Westside Power Bar 2.0

Rogue recently updated the Westside Power Bar to be more in line with the Ohio Power Bar in terms of pricing. At $375, the original Westside was not priced competitively enough to really even be a contender in the power bar market. No worries; the price of the 2.0 came down $50 to only $325, and the bar has some new features that make it more unique; like being completely blacked out, and having colored composite bushings with matching end caps.

Westside Power Bar 2.0 At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: aggressive
  • 205k PSI shaft; very rigid
  • Black zinc finish with green bushings/end cap
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
  • Made in Ohio $325

Westside Power Bar (original)

Westside Power Bar by Louie Simmons and Rogue

This is the original Westside Power Bar, and at the time of this update (adding the 2.0 above) it could still be purchased at full price, though I don’t know why you’d want this over the 2.0.

Westside Power Bar At-a-Glance

  • Knurling: aggressive
  • 29 mm, 205k PSI shaft
  • Whip: negligible
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.1″
  • Made in Ohio $375

♦ ♦ ♦

Honorable Mentions

The Burgener & Rippetoe Bar

the Burgener & Rippetoe Men's Bar by York Barbell

The Burgener & Rippetoe Bar is not actually a Rogue bar; the B&R is manufactured by York Barbell. The reason I feel it is worth mentioning here is because it’s been a staple of the Rogue line-up for so long it actually feels like it’s one of their bars. Even I own this bar, and I still think Rogue when I see it.

The men’s B&R bar is a sturdy 29 mm bar with a 205,000 PSI tensile strength rating. This is a well-designed, bare steel bar that is dual marked and does have a passive center knurling. The bushings in this bar are top shelf and will spin like you got it yesterday for many years. The B&R can handle both the slow, heavy lifts and the explosive lifts. It is not a super whippy bar, and it is a 29 mm bar, but this is a fantastic all-around, general purpose bar for the money. $295 ($285 for women’s).

♦ ♦ ♦

The Rogue Bars Summary (TL;DR)

Too long, didn't read! Summarize for me

So in case you missed the similarities, let me break it down.

For a multi-purpose/CrossFit bar bushing bar, just remember that the Castro Bar, the Froning Bushing Bar, and the Operator 2.0 are all Ohio Bars by different names. The Rogue Bar 2.0 is unique in that it uses new composite bushings rather than bronze, has that machined groove for customization, and even costs less, but it’s still the same shaft as the Ohio Bar. The Chan Bar stands out the most as it is the only CrossFit bushing bar to really stray from the Ohio Bar (knurl depth, placement, center knurl, more loadable space). You’re really only deciding between three bars; the rest is just cosmetic.

Every 28 mm Olympic Bar that Rogue manufactures uses the same shaft. You need to first decide if you want to pay the premium for needle bearings or not. If not, well you only have one choice; the 28 mm Training Bar. Want the bearings? You’re in luck there too. The Olympic WL Bar, Froning Bearing Bar, and Burgener Bearing Bar are functionally the same bar. It really comes down to finish and whether you want a signature bar or not.

Selecting a power bar is easy as there is only three of them to choose from. Go by price, tensile strength, knurling, whatever.

See, it’s not so bad. Not as many bars as you thought, right? I didn’t include The Beater Bar because it’s not a real bar (sorry deal-hunters, but the Beater is practically an axle), and I didn’t include the Economy Bar because it’s discontinued.

Update: September 15, 2014

Rogue and Matt Chan released this video today. They’re a little late to the party! Still it sums up a lot of this post in a video. Enjoy!

Final Words

It would be negligent of me to not remind you that Rogue is not the only manufacturer of barbells out there. You may find the best fit for you among all these barbells, but that does not mean that it the best fit for you when other brands are factored in. Barbells are an expensive investment, so do your homework (and stay out of the box stores.)

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{ 58 comments… add one }
  • Jamie August 12, 2014, 10:07 am

    Any more info on a new power bar from rogue? A guess at an eta or anything like that? I was about to buy the rogue power bar but may hold out if there is a new one in the pipes.

    • jburgeson August 12, 2014, 10:34 am

      I saw a comment by Bill Henniger (owner of Rogue) on the CrossFit forum that eluded to them working on a new Power bar (http://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=87389) and then I saw that teaser image of the bar that I included above on Rogue’s Instagram. Unfortunately I have no more information on it than that. I’ll add it when I hear anything though.

    • jburgeson September 16, 2014, 1:19 am

      In case you didn’t get the memo, the new Rogue Ohio Power Bar is on the Rogue website… and above as well.

  • Jeff Lawshe December 11, 2014, 11:22 am

    Thanks for a great post!

    Would you be able to provide some more information about finish (especially how it affects functionality and maintenance more so than aesthetics)? The Rogue Ohio Bar page (http://www.roguefitness.com/the-ohio-bar) has a great break-down of most of the finishes, and the Rogue Olympic WL page (http://www.roguefitness.com/rogue-olympic-wl-bar) has useful reviews that talk about the difference between the Bright Zinc and the Polished Chrome in terms of knurling aggressiveness, but I haven’t found anything that talks about the difference between Satin Hard Chrome and Polished Chrome. What do you get for the extra $50 it costs for polished over satin?

    • jburgeson December 11, 2014, 1:00 pm

      Jeff, polished chrome is just satin chrome that’s been taken thru the additional step of, well polishing. Satin has more of a matte feeling, more like raw steel, and polished chrome is brighter (shiny), and feels smoother. It’s only the areas of the bar that aren’t knurled that get polished anyway, so I wouldn’t expect a performance difference. The $50 difference is the cost of actually adding that polishing step. I personally wouldn’t pay for polishing; Satin is fine with me, but you know it’s personal preference.

      • Jeff Lawshe December 11, 2014, 1:11 pm

        Thanks! I just heard back from customer support at Rogue and they said exactly the same thing. I appreciate the help: I now know exactly which bar I’ll be picking up next.

  • SpiderMonkey January 25, 2015, 1:55 pm

    I want to set up a small garage gym without taking up too much room in the garage (one car). It’s not going to be a full blown box, how does the rogue beater bar compare to these bars? Should I get it for weights (deadlifts included) well under 400 lbs?

    • jburgeson January 25, 2015, 2:30 pm

      If you don’t mind the diameter of 31 mm vs 28-29 mm, and you’re not wanting to spend over $200, then it’ll get you by. There is absolutely nothing fancy or special about the Beater, and it’ll make for a horrible bar for Olympic lifts, but if you’re just general strength training (squats, deads, bench, etc) then sure. I personally wouldn’t buy a beater unless I was literally strapped for cash and just needed to work out, but for a pinned sleeve, super thick bar, the people who buy seem to enjoy it.

  • Mike February 9, 2015, 4:51 pm

    If I don’t do olympic lifts, should I wait for the Ohio Powerbar to come back in stock next month or go with the Matt Chan bar? I mostly deadlift, squat, bench, press.

    • jburgeson February 9, 2015, 5:18 pm

      You’d be fine with either really. If you don’t care for the modified knurling pattern of the Chan, save a few bucks and get the Ohio Power. If you’re putting over 400 pounds on the bar, maybe the Ohio is better because it’ll stay rigid at higher weights. If you have any intention of adding Olympic lifts, or even just power cleans, then the Chan would be better for that.

  • Zach February 15, 2015, 11:11 pm

    Maybe I missed the memo, or I’m blind to this on Rogue’s website, but what is the weight limits for their true olympic bars? I’m leaning towards the Olympic WL Bar. I getting ready to move into 500+ range. Thanks for the help.

    • jburgeson February 15, 2015, 11:19 pm

      lol ya, you’re not blind, it’s just not there. It’s not a typical specification for the better bars. The PSI rating is the indicator to the bar’s strength. You won’t bend any of the 190k PSI Rogue Bars unless you do something negligent with it. I’m assuming you’re not cleaning 500 pounds, so why the 28 mm WL bar rather than a 28.5 bar or 29 mm power bar? You like all that flex in Oly bars for deads and squats?

  • Nick February 16, 2015, 5:03 pm

    Any advise or feedback on the Rogue C-70 bar? I have Ohio Bar and like it a lot, but it’s hard to throw a full size bar in the jeep for a traveling workout when the gym isn’t available.

    • jburgeson February 16, 2015, 5:12 pm

      Unfortunately, I’ve actually never even seen that bar, nor have I known anyone to own it. The product page still references the older Ohio Bar, not the new one. I am sure it’s fine for occasional workouts; there was nothing wrong with the original Ohio Bar. You can’t snatch with it unless you’re a short guy though; almost a foot is missing from the space in-between collars.

      • Nick May 27, 2015, 8:24 am

        As a follow up,
        I have had the c-70 for about 4 months now. Bottom line it’s everything it’s advertised as, a short Ohio bar. Thrusters, deadlifts, snatch, cleans and overhead squat. I am 5’10 and my grip goes right out to the collars on snatch/ OHS doesn’t bother me but I can see how it could.
        No problems so far. Collars are shorter so if you have the wider economy bumper plates its max out at around 315.
        Little whip due and a bit stiff due to the short distance. Overall great bar. As a plus it fits in my jeep and in a crowded gym/garage it would work well… Probably why they use it at the games when 25 athletes are next to each other.

        • jburgeson May 27, 2015, 9:00 am

          Oh nice, I’m glad to hear that you like it and it’s working out well. Thanks for coming back to share that.

  • Sandarpan March 18, 2015, 4:07 am

    Do Rogue still knurl the bar after it has been heat treated to 190 ksi like they did with the ETD 150?

    • jburgeson March 18, 2015, 10:12 am

      I don’t know, but I’m trying to find out. I love your tech questions and comments btw. Let me know when you have your own lab so I have someone on the inside to pull these bars apart and verify ratings =p

      • jburgeson March 18, 2015, 10:20 am

        the answer is yes. It is the final step before finishing (coating, polishing, etc.)

        • Sandarpan March 18, 2015, 10:50 am

          Thanks. But a steel that hard is not easy to knurl. Eleiko can knurl about 6-7 bars before they have to throw away the knurling tool.

          • jburgeson March 18, 2015, 10:55 am

            Yeah I remember that.. I’m sure it’s much the same at Rogue. They do a pretty good job with their knurl. Also keep in mind that Eleiko steel is actually much harder than Rogue’s.

  • Sandarpan March 18, 2015, 11:08 am

    Actually it is and it’s not. Eleiko’s steel is not “through hardened” like most other barbell manufacturers. Eleiko surface hardens their bar shafts, so that it’s like a soft core encapsulated by a hard case. So Eleiko’s bar should be very resistant to snapping. Although I have read about bars snapping because of hydrogen embrittlement. I, for one cannot fathom why manufacturers chrome plate their shafts when a zinc plate is good enough.

    • jburgeson March 18, 2015, 11:36 am

      Well in terms of the knurling process, it’s that hardened surface that’s getting knurled, not the core. It’s also my understanding that hydrogen embrittlement can be avoided when the manufacturer knows what they are doing. I can’t say who knows enough to avoid it, but are we really worried about bars snapping these days?

      • Sandarpan March 18, 2015, 12:22 pm

        Maybe not snapping but bending for sure. Mark Rippetoe had 3 bent Eleikos and he sure wasn’t happy with them or the response he got from their customer service official. That being said, no bar in the world is un-bendable. Remember the bars are never straight from the mill itself; they are bent straight by the manufacturer. Again the definition of straightness varies quite a bit. Some people I think are too anal about having a straight bar. I mean Ivanko are so OCDish about straightness, that the straightening itself has a huge impact on the final cost. Anyway, I have a bar design that I intend to get manufactured in the coming months. Not for production though. The shaft manufacturing process design is driving me crazy. I know the shaft needs to be heat treated, straightened, finish machined & knurled. The order which these would be economical to do will confuse even the most technically inclined.

        • jburgeson March 18, 2015, 12:36 pm

          Well depending on what you’re doing with that bar, straightness is worth being anal about. It’s one thing to have a slight bend to the bar in like a global gym setting where people just back squat and bench, but you do not want a bar that twists in your hands as it corrects in the beginning of a snatch. In any case, I don’t know how in the world people are bending bars, especially decent bars. Anything over a couple hundred bucks should outlive the person who bought it, save for any issues inside the sleeves. Then again, I take pretty good care of my equipment, and not everyone does.

          You might see if you can get a hold of Phil Sr. at American Barbell. That guy knows his stuff, and is generally more than willing to talk to like-minded, intelligent people about the technicalities of barbell manufacturing.

          • Sandarpan March 18, 2015, 12:48 pm

            Wow. It’s like you read my mind or something. I did have a lengthy email conversation with Phil around Christmas time. He keeps shuttling between his manufacturing facilities across the globe, so he’s kinda busy these days.

            • jburgeson March 18, 2015, 12:52 pm

              Yeah he comes and goes. They all get pretty busy over there, so their follow-through leaves much to be desired. I kinda gave up on it myself, but if you catch him at the right time he’ll dump lots of info on you.

  • ssmmgg May 30, 2015, 1:25 pm

    I just found the B&R bar PSI tensile strength change to 190K in Rogue website. not sure if Rogue or York changed something.

    • jburgeson May 30, 2015, 3:49 pm

      Oh wow, look at that. Well that’s not good, is it. I’ll probably be asking Rogue about that on Monday.

  • Shane June 24, 2015, 2:06 pm

    Ok I know I’m jumping the gun, but any word on the EU bar yet. I’m eyeing a new bar/bumper set and thinking the EU+190kg’s of rogues new comp plates(4-25’s) might be what the doctor ordered. At $2k delivered the price seems great and my gut says that set will have an IWF sticker on it very shortly

    • jburgeson June 24, 2015, 4:41 pm

      I’ll tell you that the Euro is a very nice bar indeed. I haven’t finished writing about it formally because an injury has prevented me from really pushing the bar, but the thing is beautiful. The grip is great, the spin is smooth, clean, and quiet, and it just feels like an expensive bar… which I suppose should feel that way as it is pretty expensive. I like it a lot, and I think about how many people are checking back for that review all the time and feel awful that it’s not done.

      I also have the 2.0 training kilo bumpers and I like those too. They’ve got the right amount of give/bounce for my personal tastes, and so far I haven’t had any wear issues. Also the colors are very vibrant. I know cosmetics on bumpers is whatever, but it is nice that they look nice as well as perform.

  • Brian August 11, 2015, 7:40 am

    I’ve got a question. I just ordered both the rogue ohio power bar (black zinc finish) and the bella bar 2.0 (for my gf). They are still in the package and I will not be using them until our house is built next September 2016. In terms of maintenance, is it better to keep them in the package? I already started peeling the top but I can enclose it again if that is the best way to prevent oxidation. Or would I still need to oil it up every now and then despite not using it. I will be storing them in my parent’s basement and I live in Toronto Canada so I’m not entirely sure what to do.

    • jburgeson August 11, 2015, 9:38 am

      These bars should be in plastic bags inside the tubes; you’d be able to tell easy if you started to peel the tube or remove one of the packing caps. Neither of these are bare steel bars so they should be okay in the bags, but over a year in a basement is a rather long time. You might want to email Rogue and ask them what they think. Worst case scenario is they suggest to put a coat of oil on then them wrap them back up. Still, I’d feel better about them answering that since I’ve personally never tested such a thing.

  • K August 26, 2015, 11:56 pm

    Great writeup. I already have a Texas Power Bar for the heavy stuff in my rack (squats, bench, deadlift). If I were to get another bar for outside the rack would it make sense then to jump right to the Olympic training bar for the floor work (cleans, snatches, etc)? I’m not an Olympic lifter per se, just someone who likes to do all types of lifts to keep things fresh. I was thinking of getting the Chan bar but now I’m thinking I should go for more whip if it’s going to be mostly for Olympic lifts (anything I do outside my power rack basically). Thanks for the tips

    • jburgeson August 27, 2015, 12:08 am

      You don’t necessarily have to spend the kind of money it would cost to get a high whip bar if the Olympic lifts aren’t your forte. If you’ve already got a strong clean then you may benefit from it, or if you want a bar that will stay relevant as you improve in the clean and jerk then by all means go for it. If either of these sound about right, focus in on the 28 mm bars rather than the 28.5 mm. Bearings or bushings in that 28 mm bar also depends on your numbers now, and down the road. Bushings will go a fairly long way, but not all the way.

      Once you decide on the configuration, it’s really just a matter of deciding how much you’re willing to spend for the additional features like chrome, stainless, etc.

      How do you like that TPB? Is it the Buddy version or one of the others? I guess you’re immune to the knurl if you’ve been using it a while.

      • K August 27, 2015, 8:41 am

        Thanks. I have the Troy TPB which I was told is the exact same thing as Buddy’s. I love the aggressive knurl for the power lifts. It feels like I’m locked in. I’ve been hitting PR’s in every lift since I’ve bought it (but that’s probably just because I’m more focused these days).
        Thanks for the tips. It’s interesting to find out that most Rogue bars are the same except for the finish, sleeve (bearing vs bushing), and knurl. At first glance it seems overwhelming with all of the choices. Thanks for simplifying it. Any feedback on the composite bushings in the Rogue 2.0? Is the Ohio bar worth the extra cost to get the copper bushings?

        • jburgeson August 27, 2015, 9:15 am

          I generally prefer bronze bushings, but in the case of the Rogue Bar 2.0 and the Ohio; two bars that are nearly identical, I think the only true advantage to the Ohio is the choice of finishes. But even that doesn’t matter at this moment because the chrome Ohio is not available for the time being. Technically even the Chan is an Ohio Bar as well, but it of course has those knurl features; including more aggressiveness than the either the Ohio or Rogue Bar. Though having said that, I wonder if you’ll find the Rogue Bar to be weak in the knurl department considering your experience and daily use of the TPB.

  • Philip December 10, 2015, 5:02 pm

    Hey Jb,

    Thanks for all the great information. Just wondering if you have any intel on whether Rogue will be making the Ohio bar or Chan bar available in satin chrome finish in the future? I am not much of the black zinc finish on barbells now a days. Also, other then the up keep of the Castro bar what are your thoughts on it in regards to weightlifting? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and gaining some valuable knowledge. Take care

    • jburgeson December 10, 2015, 5:23 pm

      I do not. It’s not the first time chrome has disappeared from those bars, and it was gone for some time before it returned (briefly). My advice now is to look at something else entirely if you don’t want zinc. Chan doesn’t have much of alternative because of that reduced knurl, but the chrome Ohio has plenty of alternatives out there.

      The Castro is just another Ohio. Matter of fact, it’s completely normal to think of all the Rogue bushing bars as Ohio’s as none of them vary functionally; with the exception of maybe the Trainer because of its 28 mm shaft. All Ohio variations are fine for WL up to a point though; about somewhere in the intermediate range (which handles all CF Oly weights; which is of course the point for these 28.5 mm bars.) There are of course bearing bars to move into, or even some better spinning bushing bars from other manufacturers with 28 mm shafts once the Ohio’s performance starts to suffer from heavier weight.

  • Jeff December 10, 2015, 5:30 pm

    Thanks for your super-helpful blog.

    Do you know of any hybrid bars like the Chan bar that come in the women’s size (15 kg, 25 mm diameter) but DO include the center knurl. It’s just so surprising to me that this doesn’t exist already given the importance of the low back squat (in Starting Strength and CrossFit).

    Alternately I might be interested in a higher tensile powerlifting bar for my wife, since she’s not doing the Oly lifts yets. But those seem to be hard to find too — with Rogue or elsewhere.

    I’m very happy with my Rogue Powerbar + Rogue Oly bar, and I’d like to be able to duplicate that setup for her smaller hands.


    • jburgeson December 10, 2015, 5:57 pm

      I can’t even think of a woman’s bar off the to of my head that has center knurl. IWF doesn’t require center knurl for 15 kg bars, and there are no women’s power bars. About all I can suggest is using a 28 mm bar back squats (for her) and having a 25 mm bar for everything else. The added thickness won’t be a big deal with the bar on the back since the hands aren’t supposed to take on any of the load in a squat anyway.

      Power bars are still considered a little more specialized than Olympic/CrossFit bars, so their selection is still small by comparison, and in your situation it isn’t helpful that women lift with men’s bars in that sport.

      • Jeff December 10, 2015, 6:06 pm

        Great advice… thanks!

  • Patrick December 28, 2015, 10:24 pm

    I am looking to pick up another bar, so that my wife and I can lift at the same time. We mostly do powerlift exercises, but i have been adding some cleans and want to start working on oly lifts. Current bar is a York B & R that I like alot, especially the grip/knurl. I am not lifting very heavy yet ( 325 DL , 305 SQ) and oly lifts are strictly sub 100 right now. I am considering the Rogue Castro and AB Training Bar. Is there anything else you would recommend in the 2-350 range that would serve better than one of these bars, and of these two, which would you see as the better option as a multi-purpose bar?

    Thanks for al the great info you provide.

    • jburgeson December 29, 2015, 1:54 am

      The Castro is just a bare Ohio, and the AB Trainer is really quite similar in terms of performance. They have differences like the finish and the composite vs bronze bushings, but these things don’t change how they function. Both will serve you. You already know how bare steel works since you have a B&R so I won’t bring up the pros and cons of that.

      The California Bar is worth considering as well. It’s like $25 more than the Trainer, but they supposedly overhauled the sleeve assembly to make it nicer than the Rogue Bar 2.0/Ohio rather than just the same. I don’t have much in the way of details on that, but I do plan to pick one up here soon.

      Depending on how much you want to Oly lift, you could pick up something like the Vulcan Elite, AB Precision, or Rogue Trainer. They are all 28 mm Olympic bushing bars, but they have more than enough strength for your power lifts; especially the Elite with it’s 220k+ PSI. Your wife will probably prefer the slightly narrower shaft since it doesn’t sound like you’re looking for a 25 mm bar for her. The thicker 28.5/29 mm bars for power lifts is for the uber strong. 600 pound deadlifts…sure use a stiff bar. 300 pounds… use whatever you want. You’ll care more about the feel in the Oly lifts than you will while benching. Just a thought.

      In any case, you’re not considering any bars that should be avoided. Between a Castro and Trainer is more about preference with that bare steel/chrome, dual marks/Oly marks. Btw, neither of these have center knurls.. I’m assuming you’re not wanting that. I think the Elite does have it, but it’s passive.

  • Patrick December 29, 2015, 11:06 am

    Personally, I really like the raw steel feel and the knurl on the B&R was a huge upgrade from what I was used to. I noticed that my overhand grip in the deadlift increased 25-30 lbs. just due to the better knurl on the bar. What I was looking to get was something I can grow into, but will still work well for power lift applications.

    I guess at my age, 50, I don’t need to worry too much about outgrowing them, although I am hoping to be 400+ by summer in the DL and Squat. The Oly lifts I will probably keep on the lighter/high rep crossfit side of things, but who knows. I had no idea I was going to enjoy weight training as much as I do when I started with it a year and a half ago.

    I am looking to skip the center knurl on this bar and my only real aversion to any of the coated shaft bars is the fact that I never liked any of the ones at the Y where I started lifting. Of course, they were not very good bars at all. Either very little knurl and slippery or they were stolen from Gordon Ramsey’s kitchen.

    Would the AB Training Bar not have the same sleeve setup as the California Bar with just different coating? At $250.00 with $25 shipping, it seems like a good alternative and probably have a bit more whip than the Castro?

    • jburgeson December 29, 2015, 11:30 am

      The idea behind the California bar is to be in direct competition with the Rogue Bar 2.0, but at the end of the day the California, the Black & Chrome, and the Trainer are all pretty much the same bars. AB wants that CA to be their flagship bar like Rogue has the 2.0, so it’s getting all the upgrades and attention lately… that’s the only real reason to favor it. I don’t think that you’ll notice any difference in feel or flex between any of these bars; Castro, RB, CA, etc.

      It sounds like you do need to stick with either the bare steel or stainless because those are the two with the grips. The SS WOD would have been perfect for you but that thing is finally all sold out. The only remaining “deal” on stainless is that Precision Training, but that’s right at the top of your budget and that’s the low price. It’s normally about $500. Still, you get the grip without the rust.

  • Patrick December 29, 2015, 1:42 pm

    I agree with you on the SS WOD. I came across your review on it about three weeks after I had purchased the B&R and I was jealous. Almost bought one, but had some things pop up that derailed my plans and I was hoping there would be enough of them, so I could get one once I was a bit more set. Oh well. Ya don’t always luck out.

    Probably rhetorical, but is the Precision worth the $100 premium over the Castro?

    • jburgeson December 30, 2015, 3:33 am

      Yeah sorry you missed that. It was a hell of a deal.

      Is it worth $100 for the Precision over the Castro? It would be to me. I’m quite sold on the stainless bars. I have no issues with bare steel; it too is a great feel and the prices for bare are generally good, but with all the low prices AB has had on stainless it’s just hard to pass up. Same feel, no maintenance.

      The Precision is simply a much nicer bar. I’m not sure I’d spend $500 on it at regular price (only because I think it’s too close to bearing prices to not make that next jump), but at $350 it’s a steal. That said, $100 is $100 and I can’t argue with that since both bars will work. Toyota or Lexus, ya know? Both still get you to work in the same amount of time. One just rides a little better =p

      • Patrick December 30, 2015, 7:20 am

        Yea, the money is a concern, but so is having the best equipment you can afford and to me the bar is the one part of equipment you splurge on when you can, since it is the piece you have to be in contact with to get the job done. I’m going to go with the Precision.

        Is the dearth of raw bars just due to cosmetics and upkeep, or is there any performance gains acheived through the coating processes?

        Thanks for all the time you spent discussing this with me.


        • jburgeson December 30, 2015, 12:24 pm

          Yeah pretty much just the maintenance, and the hours it takes to remove rust if you fail to keep it from even forming. But bare steel is normally the only real raw option for folks since stainless has typically been priced way out of most peoples budget. It’s the downside to getting a superior feel for those that can’t afford stainless… or simply don’t know about it. It’s been a rather unknown shaft material up until recently. I mean, it’s been around but so few obscure companies offered it that you just didn’t see it. You certainly wouldn’t run into stainless at the local Gold’s or CF box.

          Finishing a bar doesn’t do anything other than protect the shaft. There are a few minor exceptions to that as there are a very small amount of elite bars that have such a significant chrome moly finish that it contributes to the total tensile strength of the bar, but that is not the case with any of these mid-range multipurpose bars. Matter of fact the only bars that I can think of are the Eleiko WL Bars and the Vulcan Professional WL Bar.

          It’s not just the stainless though for that $100. It’s a nicer bar overall, and as your Oly lifts improve you’ll be glad you have that over the 28.5. To put it in a way that might make you feel better, it’s basically a Vaughn, Vulcan Elite, or Rogue 28 mm Trainer (all of which are great bars btw) for the same price or less but it also happens to be stainless with chrome sleeves rather than some other less expensive combination of phosphate, zinc, and chrome.

          • Patrick December 30, 2015, 1:15 pm

            I guess my line of thinking is that the maintenance on the raw bar is so minimal, and once you get enough penetrating oil on the thing, it will be even less, I’m surprised how few mid-level bars are offered in a raw only version. I mean, my workroom is in a detached two car garage in TN and even having the B&R over the summer in a lot of humidity and heat, I only had to clean it once or twice to keep it looking, if not new due to use, definitely clean and rust free.

            I was guessing the internal design and operation of the Precision was going to be a big upgrade from the others and the stainless shaft just sealed the deal in the end.

            Thanks again for all your help and the great information you provide.


            • jburgeson December 30, 2015, 6:08 pm

              Yeah you got it. Good luck.

  • Stewart November 13, 2016, 9:29 pm

    Love your guides! I’m almost done building a heated & cooled room inside my new shop, and I hope to fill it with lifting gear soon. Regarding my upcoming bar purchase, I noticed Rogue has an Ohio bar with a stainless shaft and chrome sleeves for $350. Composite bushings, dual marked, no center knurl, 195k PSI, and 28.5 mm shaft. I’m guessing it’s a somewhat new addition, since you didn’t mention it in this guide. Anyway, just wondering if you had an opinion on it. Thanks very much for all the valuable info you provide here, this site has been a real treasure trove for me!

    • jburgeson November 14, 2016, 10:10 am

      That is indeed a new bar – released within the last week. I’ve got one on order, but there is no reason to not to think that it’s any less of a bar than the other Ohio variations. I’ll update after I’ve lifted with the thing.

  • Mike November 23, 2016, 4:41 pm

    Your guides and reviews are great, they’ve been a huge help to getting my Garage gym setup and I appreciate all the time you’ve spent sharing the info and tips!
    Do you have any first impressions on the New Rogue Stainless shaft Ohio bar to share yet? I see you had it on order last week, not rushing you, just curious :)
    Thanks in advance!

    • jburgeson November 23, 2016, 5:24 pm

      Yeah I have it already – been playing around with it and starting the review. I like it. Knurl and grip is 10/10, composite bushings are quieter than Rogue’s cast bronze bushing bars, and quality is pretty much on par with all their other bars. I’ll get more specific in the review, but yeah I think it’s a nice bar.

      The price point is pretty much perfect. Considering that stainless is just rust-proof bare steel, paying $200 more like you would with an American Barbell stainless bar is just too much. But less than $100 between the SS Ohio and say ordering a raw steel Ohio is a reasonable trade-off to not have to deal with oxidation, and even better is that the knurl itself (stainless feel aside) is arguably better than it is on standard Ohios.

      • Mike November 23, 2016, 6:14 pm

        Thanks, sounds good! Yea the price seemed great for a Stainless bar, so I thought I’d ask to make sure it didn’t have any trade offs or a reason not to buy it. Just waiting to see if it comes up as a random MBF sale now hopefully.
        I look forward to reading the full review!

      • Stewart November 23, 2016, 7:54 pm

        Thanks for the preliminary review! I actually already ordered this bar along with a bunch of other equipment from Rogue in order to take advantage of the shipping deals this week. I figured it was probably a pretty safe bet, and I’m glad to know that your first impression has been positive. Thanks again!

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