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American Barbell Stainless Super Power Bar Review

Bar review for the Super Power Bar

This is a review for the Super Power Bar, a high tensile strength, stainless steel power bar manufactured by American Barbell.

First I want to say that I hope a power bar will be a welcomed addition to the collection of barbell reviews here at Garage Gyms. The bars that generally get attention on this site are either dual-marked, multi-purpose bars, or Olympic WL bars. Since I am fairly certain that there are just as many big-three lifters out there in those garage gyms as there are Oly lifters, and since I personally get much more joy out of the deadlift than I do the snatch, I figure that a power bar review is probably long overdue.

The Super Power Bar reviewed here no longer exists as a product. You can view and purchase a closeout variation of the Super Power Bar here.   It is essentially the same bar but with a sand-blasted, industrial-style texture given to the shaft. I have not seen or touched this “industrial finish” so I can not offer any meaningful insight into how it feels. This closeout Super has no warranty and may come with blank end caps, but it is heavily discounted at $360 vs the normal $595.  

The Power Bar

So what’s the benefit of using a power bar when training heavy compound lifts rather than using an Olympic WL bar or a multi-purpose, dual-marked bar; like say the Ohio or California bar? Well there are a number of features exclusive to power bars that make them a superior choice when it comes to heavy deadlifts, squats, and presses, and they are as follows:

For starters, a power bar needs to have a very firm, reliable grip that won’t slip when a lot of weight is involved. You can’t expect to pull a heavy deadlift with a weak knurl, and most multi-purpose bars have a soft to medium knurl better suited for moderate weights and high reps. Most of these dual-marked bars also forego the center knurl, an important feature for heavy back squats.

Secondly, a power bar needs to have sleeves that rotate, but not high speed sleeves that spin erratically. This isn’t usually a problem with multi-purpose bars since they tend to be bushing bars anyway, but bearing bars are certainly less than ideal.

Finally; and this is probably the most defining attribute of a power bar; a power bar needs to have a shaft of sufficient strength and rigidity to not bounce around during lifts. When you get four or five plus wheels on each sleeve, you want as little springiness in the bar as possible. Bar whip is for the clean and jerk, not the squat.

Heavy lifts need no whip

So to sum it up, we want good knurl and a center knurl, moderate but reliable spin, and no whip. These are some of the things I’ll be looking at with the Super Power Bar.

Super Power Bar Specifications

Here are the specifications taken from the product page. I have a couple comments about the product listing below.

  • 20 kg men’s bar
  • 28.5 mm shaft diameter
  • Heat-treated stainless steel shaft
  • Minimum 210,000 PSI tensile strength
  • IPF hash marks
  • Moderate knurl w/ 4″ passive center knurl
  • Low elasticity; very rigid
  • Machined steel sleeves with hard chrome finish
  • High tensile strength composite bushing system
  • Made in California, USA
  • Lifetime warranty against anything but negligence
  • Retail price of $595, currently on sale for $360

The image on the AB website does not accurately display the unique coloration of the heat-treated shaft. I understand the desire to touch up images for websites, but this is one of those bars where it might have been best to leave the images alone as the coloration is just super sexy. Hopefully the images of my bar will do the bar some justice.

Also, this bar does not come with the steel blue end caps as the image on the American Barbell site shows, but rather the gun metal color (below) just like the caps on the SS WOD or California Bar. I don’t know if the caps were changed at some point, or if the bar in the image is even the correct bar. Personally I like the blue more, so that was sort of disappointing to not get it, but whatever.

American Barbell Super Power Bar

Stainless Steel Shaft

I’ll talk about the actual feel and grip of the bar below, but for now I just wanted to point out an aesthetic feature of the bar that I think makes it really cool, and that’s the coloration of the stainless steel shaft after being heat-treated.

In the image below, the top bar is the American Barbell SS WOD Bar. This is what a standard stainless steel bar looks like. Below that you can see the heat-treated Super Power Bar. The heat-treatment gives the stainless a darker and almost purplish red shade that transitions in and out with the knurling. It’s really neat.

Stainless steel vs heat treated stainless

Since my garage doesn’t get all that bright, I took the bar outside into the direct sunlight. The darkness of the knurled parts of the bar are obviously not quite so dark in the sun, but you can still see the transition from bright to dark. Very unique and pretty bar, and it’s even more so in person.

Super Power Bar coloration

I realize this has nothing to do with performance of the bar, but in an age when colored rubber bands wrap around sleeves and end caps keep getting more and more colorful and catchy, it’s silly not to think that a naturally beautiful and unique bar shaft shouldn’t be mentioned or highlighted.

Sleeve Rotation/Assembly

The Super Power Bar utilizes high tensile strength composite bushings instead of bronze; presumably the same composite bushings that are found in all of American Barbell’s bushing bars. While for Olympic training bars I find bronze to be a better choice, I think that using composite bushings in a power bar is the way to go. Composite has slightly less spin than sintered bronze does (in my experience), and since power bars don’t need to have excessive spin, it’s a great match.

American Barbell's composite bushings

Not only that, but composite bushings theoretically should outlive bronze bushings because of their high tensile strength and superior impact resistance, but since I can’t remember the last time I heard about a cracked bronze bushing, this factoid is of very little significance to me. I suppose one could argue that in a bar loaded for an 800-pound deadlift, the bushing could use all the extra strength it could get.

In any case, the Super Power Bar offers more than enough spin for a power bar without being excessive. It functions beautifully for the slow compound lifts, and spins well enough for a smooth turnover in the power clean. No complaints.

Whip

The 210,000 PSI Super Power Bar stays pretty stiff and rigid; as it should. It would be even stiffer if it were it a 29 mm bar, but what can you do. Even the Texas Power Bar is a 28.5 mm bar.

Remember that you can’t eliminate flex as plate after plate gets loaded, but you can reduce the springiness, and that’s why power bars shoot for the thicker, high tensile strength shafts.

Knurling/Grip

Close up of the steel and knurling

It may come as no surprise to you that I found the grip to be outstanding. As per usual, the refined, moderate knurl on a stainless steel shaft allowed me to effortlessly hold on to the bar during pulls without the need for excessive chalk or straps. Of course with this being my third stainless steel bar, I’m really not all that surprised by this. You just can’t beat the feel of a raw steel when it comes to barbells.

If I had to rate the overall grip and feel of the bar, I’d give it a 9/10. It’s true that I’ve given both the other American Barbell stainless steel bars that I’ve reviewed a 10/10, but since this is a power bar I feel that the knurl could have been just slightly more aggressive, and that’s despite the fact that it doesn’t necessarily need to be. Powerlifters are likely to not only be used to a sharper knurl on their bars, but to also somewhat expect it.

Still though, the grip is outstanding, and a score of 9 is many full digits higher than most bars I come in contact with. I’d give the thing a 10 if this was a bar for any other application, but no other form of weight training loads up bars with as much weight as powerlifting, and a good chunk of the worth of a power bar revolves around that knurl.

One other thing about the knurl. Not the knurl depth, but rather the placement. The SPB has it’s outer knurl closer to the center knurl than most standard bars. I personally don’t mind this one bit, but some of you may and I wanted to point it out.

Borrowed image from Starting Strength guide - bar knurl patterns

In this picture from my Starting Strength Barbell Guide, you can see from bottom, the Chan, then the B&R, followed by the Super Power Bar. Using the B&R as a example of “normal”, you can see how both the Super PB and the Chan are knurled differently.

Super Power Bar Review – Summary

I really like this bar. I think the name leaves a lot to be desired, but the bar itself is bad ass. The stainless steel shaft fails to disappoint, and the coloration of shaft makes this bar about as unique as it could possibly be among the standard go-to power bars. The specifications are above average, the measurements all check out, and the hard chrome on the sleeves is actually hard chromium, and not something else entirely; something more than one manufacturer out there misleads us about.

This may shock some of you, but my Chan Bar has been spending a bit more time in the gun rack ever since I picked up this bar. Even though both the Chan and the Super both have nearly perfect grips (despite accomplishing this differently), I have been liking the Super more since it not only feels more rigid, but it also is a much, much quieter bar. Even considering the custom knurl pattern of the Chan and how great it is for deads and power cleans, I still find I’m preferring the Super Power Bar. Of course, this doesn’t make the Chan any less of a bar. The Super retails for a lot more cash, so it better outperform a multi-purpose bar in the heavy compound lifts.

The only downside to the Super Power Bar is that price*. I will not argue that $595 for a power bar is a lot of money. Still though, considering the alternatives in the stainless steel department, the price is definitely more than reasonable. Ivanko stainless steel bars will set you back well over a grand. Iron Wolfe bars are stainless steel as well, but expect to pay north of $800 for one of those, and they’re only single lift bars (deadlift bar, bench bar, squat bar.)

*The Super Power Bar is currently on sale for $360 instead of the normal $595, and that’s an insane deal. If you’re reading this after the sale has ended, I’m very sorry! Please leave a comment and I’ll remove this section ASAP.

I think it says a lot about American Barbell and their products that their bars make up two of my three favorite bars at the moment. If you’re in the market I suggest you take a gander.

{ 107 comments… add one }
  • ssmmgg October 26, 2015, 6:45 pm

    Nice review again! I just think if it’s 29mm that will be perfect power bar in the world. Do you feel the 28.5mm make anything easier or harder on the big 3 lifts?

    BTW, I heard that Rogue is also planning stainless power bar.

    • jburgeson October 26, 2015, 7:03 pm

      Of course they are. It’s what they do. If American Barbell makes stainless a thing; Rogue will get in on it 100%. I don’t necessarily mind this as it kind of forces everyone to be at the top of their game.

      I have giant hands, so I’m actually pretty indifferent to 28.5 vs 29 in terms of feel. I guess I probably prefer narrower to thicker, but I wouldn’t go so far to say that one is more advantageous than the other, but someone with smaller hands may completely disagree. So many bars are 28.5 now, and I don’t know about you but I’m pretty used to it.

  • Mike October 27, 2015, 3:04 am

    Hello John,
    can you guess my wishes? ;-)
    First the “Strarting Strength” review and now the SPB review! Thanks!

    Only one thing – You wrote:
    “One other thing about the knurl. Not the knurl depth, but rather the placement. The SPB has it’s outer knurl closer to the center knurl than most standard bars. I personally don’t mind this one bit, but some of you may and I wanted to point it out.”

    Because AB’s homepage isn’t perfect (only one photo and no exact knurling dimensions – Rogue does it better) I realized this only after I read your review.

    Do you have an idea, why they created so a special knurling? I would ask them but I”m afraid my english isn’t good enough at the phone.
    I hate it, if I don’t understand why something is different…
    Could this knurling have disadvantages?

    Matt Chan did the opposite with his Rogue-Bar and “reduced” the knurling – and he explained it well – even I understood his idea ;-)

    Thanks, Mike

    • jburgeson October 27, 2015, 11:06 am

      All I can safely assume is that the additional knurling allows for a larger variety of lifts, just like you guys are talking about with the sumo deadlifts. I’m sure the consensus with the design team was that normal knurling is not out of the way of the shins for pulls, so more knurl doesn’t really negatively impact the bar for anyone that doesn’t already take a super, super narrow foot position.

      I think I’ll send them an email and see if they had some additional reasoning for this, as your curiosity has made me curious.

      • Mike October 27, 2015, 11:51 am

        Thanks a lot John!
        I wonder what they will tell you!
        Perhaps a information design like Rogue use it with the Matt Chan Bar could help prospective buyers.
        Only one photo which shows not much or nothing – this is a joke, sorry!
        Buying a barbell is a serious and quite expensive matter.
        For example: The could take their three (?) barbell designs and show them by comparison with all measurements!

        • jburgeson October 27, 2015, 12:06 pm

          Oh I agree. I think they’re trying for the Eleiko look with the webpage. A consistent layout with overly beautiful barbell pictures. Let the specs sell the bar. Not ideal for anyone not already familiar with their bars. People want to see the shaft, the sleeves, and the knurl… up close!

  • Brian S October 27, 2015, 6:55 am

    For those of us who demand nothing less than cheese graters in bar form, how would you say the grip compares to the TPB? I must say, the first thing that came to mind when you mentioned the “extra” knurl near center, is that the iron gods have finally smiled down on sumo deadlifters. I’m drooling at the thought of finally using a bar where my hands aren’t half-on, half-off the knurl. I’m a little shocked at the 40% price break. I just don’t see that when it comes to power bars. My initial reaction should be a backflip or two, but the jaded consumer in me is wondering why these are on the clearance rack.

    • Mike October 27, 2015, 7:56 am

      Hello Brian,
      I’m Mike and I’m German.
      4 months ago I started with Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength”.
      Now I’m looking for my first “good” Olympic (Power) Barbell….
      You wrote: ” I’m drooling at the thought of finally using a bar where my hands aren’t half-on, half-off the knurl.”
      Can you explain this in easy words to me, please? Did you have problems with the “normal” knurling on typical bars until yet?

      • Brian S October 27, 2015, 8:49 am

        Hi Mike,

        What i meant by that, is that when you setup for a sumo deadlift, you use a narrow grip, closer toward the center of the bar (compared to a conventional deadlift). This usually means that when you reach straight down, you will find part of your hand is gripping the smooth, unknurled part of the part, which can cause issues with slipping. So, it isn’t really problems with the knurling, but rather where it stops on the bar. The picture with the starting strength book in it that John put up does a good job illustrating this. Hope that helps.

        • Mike October 27, 2015, 9:10 am

          Hi Brian,
          thanks a lot for your answer. Yes, this help me.
          Do you see any disadvantages with this closer knurling or will I miss the “normal” knurling (e.g. Rogues Ohio Bar) while doing the “Starting Strength-exercises” (low bar back squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press and power clean)?
          I would like to understand why Amercan Barbell designed it like this? Where is the possible avantage? The sumo-deadlift? Is this the reason?
          I never saw a powerlifter bar with such a knurling before…
          Thanks, Mike

    • jburgeson October 27, 2015, 11:03 am

      If you demand nothing less than a cheese grater, this unfortunately isn’t it. Those conditioned to the TPB and similar bars have no reason to step back to softer unless they simply want to… for more sets instead of singles or something, or just to have multiple bars to choose from depending on the day’s programming, etc. But no, the Super isn’t a certified IPF comp bar, and I was careful to not elude to it being one. It’s a fantastic bar, but it’s not a bloody-hands bar, and I know some ppl love bars that sharp.

      I’ve spoken with AB about all these stainless bar sales a couple times now. What I took away from it was that these sales are due to a massive surplus from what basically amounts to a mistake in an order for raw materials. I have a feeling the mistake was made GP, their commercial operation, but is being offloaded in both the commercial and retail side. It’s not just a few bars they want to move, it’s thousands.

      I had you same feeling months back with the SS WOD Bar. I was not recommending that bar at all when people asked because it seemed.. wrong. Too inexpensive; something must be up. Finally after being asked dozens and dozens of times about that bar, I picked one up to check out so I could either tell ppl to avoid it or go for it. Turned out to be the deal of century, well at least until now when they mark down $500-$600 stainless bars by 30-40%.

    • David November 2, 2015, 8:37 pm

      The knurl is nowhere near as sharp as a TPB. That being said, it still provides an amazing grip that rivals the TPB. If I had to say, I would give a very slight edge to the TPB in terms of grip, but the super power bar has a better overall feel and will not tear the hands like a TPB will. I’m wondering if they are clearing out of the 28.5mm versions to get in 29mm versions in the furure.

      • jburgeson November 2, 2015, 10:59 pm

        That could very well be. I like the idea of them moving to 29 mm, though I have no issues or regrets about the 28.5 mm version. Anyone that pays $360 for it probably isn’t going to have a problem either.

        I ordered an Ohio bar in bare steel and received it today. I mean, I don’t mind knurl like what’s on that Ohio, but compared to the Super, the Ohio is razor blades. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll use it, but I’ll never squat that Ohio without a shirt on!

        • Carl December 29, 2015, 10:27 am

          Did you order the Ohio “Power” bar? If so is there a review forthcoming? I just ordered one. The price was irresistible at $250.

          • jburgeson December 29, 2015, 11:32 am

            Yeah I got the bare steel. I dig it. I’ve been using it on and off for about 3 weeks so I can take notes, and I’ll probably start putting it into an article in another week or two. It’s a solid bar for the money. That knurl though… I like it a lot, but it’s not going to be for everyone.

  • Grant October 27, 2015, 11:35 am

    Would you say that this would be a good all-purpose bar? Deciding between the SS WOD and the SS SPB to replace my somewhat aged barbell.

    I do oly lifting and a fair bit of powerlifting so it would be a plus to find a bar that can do both relatively well. (and not rust)

    Any feedback/opinions would be appreciated!

    • jburgeson October 27, 2015, 12:04 pm

      Yeah hrmm, I would say the SS WOD would make a better multi-purpose bar, but it lacks a center knurl and dual marks. The shaft of the Super will be more rigid of course, but bar whip for the Olympic lifts isn’t a “light to moderate weight” issue, only heavy.

      You could pull it off with either if the minor compromises don’t bother you. There are definitely better bars for multi-use lifting, but not in stainless. Chrome won’t rust, any opposition to that? Or is this just like a matter of stainless being so affordable right now might as well get one?

      • Grant October 27, 2015, 1:14 pm

        Cost and curiosity have led me to look at the SS options at the moment. Never lifted on stainless before due to it being scarce in the barbell market/expensive (I’m looking at you York) so I thought it might just be fun to give it a try.

        I’m considering just keeping my old bar as a beater for the big three and just getting an eleiko sport or dhs for oly lifts as I know those are quality pieces of equipment.

        Although If you think there are better options right now for multipurpose bars I’m more than willing to hear recommendations. Budget is around 700

        • jburgeson October 27, 2015, 1:35 pm

          Multi-purpose bars won’t run you near $700 unless you go with something like the Eleiko XF, but I’d say in that case to buy the Sport over the XF and use your other old bar for your deadlifts and stuff. I’d also go Eleiko over DHS any day of the week. I know they’re certified and all, but it’s still night and day in terms of construction, warranty, and support when there is a problem (as a couple regulars here can attest to).

          There’s also the SS Pro Bearing Bar, but that’s about $800 and it’s the only stainless bar not on sale, and like the Sport it wouldn’t be a great multi-purpose bar. I generally suggest the Chan for multi-purpose because it really works well for everything, but the no chrome version at the moment makes me not favor it so much. Black zinc is silly.

          Being curious about the stainless and all, if you want to know if stainless is worth it, just consider how it feels to lift on bare steel bars; assuming that you have. It’s like that, but without the oxidation, brushing, and oiling.

          • Grant October 27, 2015, 3:27 pm

            To be fair I’ve been shopping around since May, looking at the options/opinions out there as I’m not in a huge rush. That being said, I’ve heard from more than a few people that stainless is about as good of a grip as raw and raw steel > all. If the SS Pro would be so kind as to go on sale I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

            Oh and I am aware that multipurpose bars won’t run me anywhere near $700, it’s just the upper limit of the budget I set for myself so I don’t go too crazy. I wouldn’t even spend that unless I know I’m investing in a sweet piece of steel that won’t seize (with a little maintenance) and will last until entropy makes a popsicle out of my favorite solar system.

            I’d thought of the Chan a while back but where I live it can get pretty humid in the summer so I took it out of the equation a while ago. As you say, black zinc is silly :p

            Eleiko over the dhs sounds about right. Although I’ve never used a dhs personally I have heard many good things about the bar itself (not so much about issues regarding warranty)

            Sounds like I should just get a bar that will be good for oly lifts and stick with ol’ reliable for the time being. Perhaps the SS Pro will go on sale toward black friday, who knows?

            Thanks for the input and love the site!

  • M October 28, 2015, 12:41 am

    Thank, John — I was waiting for Black Friday to pick up a 28mm bushing bar, but ordered one on this sale after getting your automated e-mail update.

    They were having some problems processing my card and first applied then wouldn’t apply a coupon I used. Hopefully they will come to an OK price with tax and shipping and will get their system to accept the card if the price comes out OK. The shipping is not a whole lot to here but you get screwed on sales tax.

    This seems like a great bar for my uses, so thanks!

  • Mike October 28, 2015, 10:23 am

    (I sent this a view times… but I can’t see my comment at the end)

    Hello John,
    I need an explanation…

    In front of me I have the AB homepage – Shopping Cart…
    I tried different addresses in the USA.
    (Why? I will use Shipito.com the first time. So I can choose a virtual address in one of three US-States with different shipping rates to Germany. California is the cheapest location for shipping to Germany if you look on the rate which is $130 for one barbell – $35 less compared to Nevada and $45 cheaper than shipping from Oregon to Germany.)

    I thought the amount of tax you pay inside the USA depend on the state (and their taxes) to which the packet will be shipped?

    E.g. if I live in Oregon or Montana a company in California should not calculate tax.
    But if they ship to Minden, Nevada 89423 it should cost tax, because Nevada charges tax.

    But American Barbell only calculate tax, if they ship to an address in California (AB’s company headquarters).
    Some with Rogue. Only if I choose a destination in California it shows me tax. But they DO NOT have the headquarter in CA.
    If I choose any other US-state, they show me “Total Excl. Tax” (that means product price plus shipping, no tax).
    So finally, what do an US-citizen pay at the end, when he orders online? No tax if he lives in any US-state except California?
    Thanks, Mike

    • jburgeson October 28, 2015, 11:43 am

      I don’t know the answer to this. I live in Texas, and we always pay sales tax. Some states have no across state line sales tax whatsoever, some do. It’s a stupid, random system, and I feel bad for people who have to program shopping carts.

      I do know that there is no way for you to select CA and not be charged sales tax. AB and Rogue both have a business presence in CA, so you’ll pay sales tax if you “live” in that state.

      Also I was confused by a lot of the comments regarding the post, so I removed them. Let me know if I took anything important down.

      • jburgeson October 28, 2015, 11:51 am

        Oh I see what you were doing Mike. Yeah so when you post any links, I have to manually approve the comment. For some reason, the spam catcher saw your submission as spam and junked it rather than send it to me for moderation.

        Sorry about that. I hate having to have it set up like that, but these comment sections would be unreadable if all the comments that are pushed through every day actually made it up onto the site. You’d see nothing but comments about glock parts, testosterone pills, and comments in foreign languages that are no doubt also about glock parts and testosterone pills. For every legit comment, I get probably 20-30 spam.

  • M October 28, 2015, 11:06 am

    Typically, historically, one pays sales tax when buying from one’s state of residence and not from other states. More recently, California and I think some other of the more aggressive taxation states forced some online retailers in other states to pay tax on purchases that are shipped to California addresses; this tax was already due from residents according to California law but was historically not the responsibility of the other-state retailers (in this circumstance it’s called a “use tax” instead of “sales” and the buyer is supposed to report and pay it directly) — but the state managed to pressure some other-state retailers like Amazon into collecting it.

    It seems to me that you might be somehow exempt if it’s being shipped out of state, Not sure how shiptto works but I think perhaps you should ask those people about it — theoretically you would seem to be exempt from that tax but if a middleman is buying then shipping (not sure that’s what you’re contemplating), the situation becomes murkier and I don’t know the answer.

  • Mike October 28, 2015, 12:15 pm

    Okay, thanks a lot for your help M and John!

    Just at the moment Rogue answered this:
    Mike,
    We only collect state sales tax on order shipping to Ohio, California, or Texas.

    Yes, we do have a presence in those 3 states.

    • Mike October 28, 2015, 12:20 pm

      Okay – the answer M gave to me is the normal situation (without exceptions) I guess:
      “Typically, historically, one pays sales tax when buying from one’s state of residence and not from other states.

      • M October 28, 2015, 9:52 pm

        I didn’t state it perfectly, Mike. If a business has something like a warehouse or office in a state, some states don’t mind forcing buyers in that state to pay tax. So a company can end up being taxed in 3 states like that. This is a relatively recent practice and I’m old so yeah, historically I wax correct but I should have remembered to put that detail in for you. Main thing is to ask all the parties involved: companies and any middlemen.

        • Mike October 29, 2015, 2:27 am

          Hello M, hello John,
          thank you for your commitment and for the detailed answers!

          Yes, understood it after I counted up the different information.
          Rogue answer always short and without any explanation.
          So I had to ask a few times.
          (Perhaps the don’t like me anymore because I have written them clearly what I think about all those black barbells – more or less ALL Rogue barbells under $500 are black or totally black – see the Matt Chan Bar!
          Even the sleeves! 2 bare steel bars, that’s it.
          No chrome for powerlifter or Crossfit. Good for the company – saves money. Zinc is much cheaper than hard chrome. Does the market really want this?
          Do many guys have their second “Star Wars time”? Cool, breathing like Darth Vader while pumping with a dark black mamba bar?

          Ok, sorry. Guess what – it hate black barbells!

          @John
          Did you ask AB why the have chosen this special knurling?

          By the way…
          Do you use a powerlifter belt?
          Inzer? Best Belts? Rogue (the 13 mm black one, because the 10 mm has no suede inside).

          Best wishes,
          Mike

          • jburgeson October 29, 2015, 10:32 am

            Yes, the answer was to create a better grip for low back squatters, and to offer a grip for close grip presses.

            I can’t really help you with belts. Inzer is popular though. If you want a nice belt, buy a belt from someone who is in the business of making belts.

            • Mike October 29, 2015, 10:42 am

              Thanks John,
              would it not be more consistent to knurl the whole barbell ;-) ?
              Why do anybody need parts without knurling?

              • jburgeson October 29, 2015, 8:30 pm

                For the marks and for the shins! Plus it would be hard to identify where center was. Bar would always start off out of balance.

                Also, I’m looking to handle the belt issue. It’s been a long time coming. Technically I can already tell you what people tend to buy, but whether or not the Ohio belt is just as good, or if Best Belts or Titan is better than Inzer, not sure. Inzer is the safe bet, though they supposedly have awful customer service, and I know that their sizing system is just dumb. I feel bad for international buyers when it comes to picking the right size Inzer belt because if you’re wrong… that sucks.

                • Mike October 30, 2015, 1:07 am

                  Hello John,
                  yes, those are good reasons for non-knurled parts…

                  You know, I would buy the “10mm Ohio belt” (Rogue has it in the EU-store) but the inside is made of smooth leather too…
                  Most use suede for the inside. Rogue himself use it in the 13 belt.
                  Rogue: “We lined the inside with suede so it provides a firm grip on your gear or clothing with no slippage”.
                  Good reasons, but not good enough to use it for the Ohio belt?

  • M October 29, 2015, 12:32 pm

    I would actually prefer black if stainless was black (or a drab color), but any coating including plating will wear — so the ideal bar for me would probably be probably stainless or some other more exotic material that would neither rust nor peel nor greatly wear (and for the sleeve too rather than chrome), while giving that raw bar feel.

    I haven’t tried a lot of belts but have a Spud 3-layer that has a ratchet on it — you can make it really tight at least if your hands are in good shape, it’s plenty stiff, and the nylon is not helping drive the animal industries if that matters to you; it is a little tough to put on, though because of the ratchet. They makes belts in 3 thicknesses, with either the ratchet or velcro, and have recently brached out to at least two and possibly three widths. They do make solidly constructed nylon stuff.

    Deadlift-specific bars, for a lot of people, would benefit from a wider non-knurled portion. Still working on a shin-saving system due to this — what appear to the most widely-regarded “deadlift socks” look to me, in-hand, to be simply medium-weight knee-height socks and not really up to the shin-protection task. Open to suggestions!

    • Mike October 30, 2015, 3:28 am

      Thanks M,
      so you can say the Matt Chan Bar is the best bar for deadlifts and it may be the best multipurpose barbell – and the only one I know with a wider non-knurled portion.
      But this barbell is offered in completely BLACK ZINC. No way! The further options Rogue offered do not exist any longer.
      And this could mean too that the AB SPB is not nice for deadlifts?

  • Mike October 30, 2015, 3:17 pm

    Maybe the dimensions are for more people of interest:

    American Barbell mailed me this (I think that John has received a similar response):

    “The knurling on this bar is slightly different to allow for a wider range of grip for various lifts. This is beneficial for low-bar back squats, close-grip presses, bench press, etc.

    The Super Power Bar is not currently set to IPF specifications, but our new 29MM power bars will be. We expect to release these in early 2016.

    Here are the current (knurled) dimensions on the Super Power Bar:

    -4 sections of knurl at 9.375” (outer and inner patches separated by the power lifting knurl mark)

    -1 section of knurl (center) at 5.00″ (this is standard).

    We appreciate the suggestions for showing/comparing different barbells and will likely include these photos and descriptions in the near future.”

  • Tony November 2, 2015, 7:03 pm

    Gosh I love their customer service. Combine that with the beautifully crafted barbells and I feel myself becoming a fan boy…

    • jburgeson November 2, 2015, 11:00 pm

      I’m glad to hear someone say fan boy. I think I used it in an upcoming article and I was wondering if it would sound ridiculous or not, but now I feel okay about it. =p

  • G W Langston November 12, 2015, 6:32 am

    Pulled the trigger on this bar based solely off your review. Am in the process of building my garage gym and this was the first non-Craigslist purchase. Had originally settled on the Chan bar but only offering it in black (which supposedly wears over time) had caused me to hesitate. I saw the American BB Halloween sale kick off and found this review a day or two later. After mulling it over, I decided the deal was too good to pass up. Knurl is amazing, the colors from heat treating described in the review must be see seen in person to fully appreciate, spins just the right amount and as smooth as can be. In addition, as described, this thing was packaged for shipping in such a way that it could survive a near direct nuclear detonation and survive unscathed. If this bar is still available at 40% off and you are even remotely considering buying a bar (and you are still reading comments after the review because you are on the fence), buy this bar. Now.

    • jburgeson November 12, 2015, 10:40 am

      Yeah it’s too bad about that chrome Chan being gone, but the Super for about the same money is pretty insane.

    • Chris Smith November 12, 2015, 4:53 pm

      I actually bought this bar and am selling my chrome Chan bar. I realized that the knurling spacing on the Chan doesn’t work well with my deadlift grip. I was widening my grip just to stay on the knurling. Also, I wanted something with a grippier center knurl for back squats. Lastly, I have a hard time passing up on such a great value.

      • jburgeson November 12, 2015, 6:56 pm

        Everyone once in a while I hear that about the Chan. I tell people that I talk to about that bar to mark on their current bar where the Chan knurling will be and see if it messes with your grip. The taller you are the less likely it is to be bothersome. It’s true though, the biggest perk of the bar can also be the worst thing about it depending on your perspective. At least it’ll be an easy bar to get most of your money back with though; especially now that chrome is gone off the Rogue site again.

  • Chris Smith November 12, 2015, 4:45 pm

    Thanks so much for writing this review. Your website is such a great resource. I actually bought this bar with the 40% discount based on your review. Mine arrived with a very slight bend in it (only perceivable when spinning the bar and watching very closely). I called them and the CS rep said that this sometimes happens during the heat treat process and should not get worse given the very high tensile strength of the bar. He apologized and said that this must have slipped past QC. I think it will be just fine for my purposes (powerlifting) and accepted a partial refund to keep the bar.

  • Michael November 15, 2015, 9:40 am

    Any comments on the AB Stainless Elite? Seems like you save $45 vs the super ($325 vs $360) and just giving up a bit of tensile strength – which shouldn’t be a big deal for those of us lifting more modest amounts of weight.

    • jburgeson November 15, 2015, 4:14 pm

      You’re right. It’s the same bar aside from the treatment / higher ts. You’d never know the difference at moderate weights… other than the color.

  • Tony November 18, 2015, 5:41 pm

    Looks like it is sold out. Bummer! I wonder if they are bringing it back or just waiting till they have the 29mm bars come out.

    • jburgeson November 18, 2015, 6:00 pm

      I saw that. I lowered the article on the front page as to not get ppl excited about a bar they can’t buy. I asked today for an ETA on more, but I haven’t heard back yet. You may be right though on the 29 mm thing though, we’ll see.

      • Tony November 20, 2015, 9:42 pm

        The SS WOD bar sold out and then came back what seemed like a few days later. I was actually a little annoyed since I pulled the trigger out of fear it would run out at any moment. Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with that bar, but the limited run thing definitely works if the intent is to push people who are on the fence to pull the trigger.

        • jburgeson November 20, 2015, 9:47 pm

          I was glad to see there were more because I still think it is a deal and I definitely want to see people get their hands on good deals, but I too was none too pleased to see more pop up. I felt tricked as well… I’m an honest guy, and preaching limited run on a bar that there are thousands of doesn’t feel honest. I mean, you don’t know what I know or don’t know, and I certainly don’t want anyone to think I would write that up on their (AB) behalf knowing there were more.

  • Tony November 20, 2015, 10:02 pm

    I think others here will agree that it’s pretty clear that you’re giving your honest opinion when you do your reviews, so no worries there. I agree though, I’m glad the SS WOD (and the 2 SS power bars for that matter) are still around because it is a great bar. I also hope it makes other companies start to consider more affordable SS options because then the consumer really wins. Can you imagine if EVERYONE had an affordable SS Bar option?

    • jburgeson November 20, 2015, 10:51 pm

      It would be nice, but I don’t see it happening. Most of us won’t care though; we got ours haha.

      But yeah, thanks for that. I do worry about stuff like that. All I’ve got is reputation you know.

  • Dan November 21, 2015, 10:14 pm

    First post here – I found your site recently and have scoured pretty much every review! Thanks for all time time you put into this – it has been very helpful and informative. I added you on Facebook and twitter, for what little help that support can provide.

    I quit my crossfit gym a few months ago after a lot of trainer/coach turnover and have been equipping my home gym since. After reading your SS WOD bar review, I picked one up and have been loving it. As you and commenters have said, the grip on stainless is superb, and I love the low maintenance, too. Anyway, I’ve got a shopping cart on the Rogue site ready to go for Black Friday, and am considering picking up an AB power bar, too.

    What I am wondering is, given that I have the SS WOD bar as well as a used beater bar, is there a benefit to getting a power bar? I don’t lift a ton of weight, and don’t see myself ever getting up to even 400 lb deadlifts/350 lb squats or so. I am intrigued by getting a second bar with a center knurl for back squats.

    I am a fairly novice lifter, and I guess I have two questions:
    1) For somebody lifting modest weight, is there a measurable difference between the WOD bar and the Super or Elite Power bar?
    2) At modest weight, is there any benefit to the Super bar over the Elite bar (other than the cool look of the heat treatment?

    In terms of your comment above about feeling tricked, I think it’s a legit description from AB. They apparently have a one time excess of stainless steel, and are pushing these bars through (whether hundreds or thousands) until that supply is gone. I picked up the WOD bar only AFTER the original batch was out of stock, so I, for one, am damn happy they made more. And as others have said, customer service is great, shipping was quick, and packaging was unparalleled. So much so, that I’m considering adding a second SS bar to my gym. My wife tells me I have a problem, but at least it’s for workout stuff and not drugs or alcohol ;)

    • jburgeson November 21, 2015, 11:41 pm

      Dan we all have a problem! Thank you though, I’m glad this site has been helpful.

      So based on your situation; other than for the sake of having a center knurl for squats; there is no real benefit to owning the Elite Power Bar in addition to the SS WOD. Until American Barbell switches the shafts of the power bars to 29 mm shafts, there won’t be much difference between the SS WOD and the Elite. The Super is still slightly different with a significantly higher PSI rating though, but neither could be considered necessary at moderate weight.

      In answer to your second question, no not really. The higher PSI rating should make it more rigid at heavy weights, but ya other than that it’s just color. Started as the same shaft, has the seem bushings, sleeves, and so on.

      Also yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that I thought the reasoning was for all the SS bars on sale wasn’t genuine, just that the way it was released in stages made me feel a little uncomfortable after basically writing an article saying “buy this now or miss out forever.” It is what it is though. Like I said, glad people are still able to pick them up at that price. Deal of the year I’d say.

      • Dan November 22, 2015, 8:19 pm

        Thanks for the reply. I think I’ll hold off on a second (third, really) bar, especially given that I’ve got my eyes on plenty of other equipment. Just waiting on official black friday deals now!

      • T December 8, 2015, 6:56 pm

        Dan, I’ve been wondering the same thing. I currently have an Eleiko Sport Training bar for Oly lifts, the AB SS WOD bar for cross training and power lifts, and a Rogue Bella bar for my wife. I too felt like I had to make a move to get the SS WOD bar before they ran out but might have considered buying the SPB instead had I known my options. I’m now trying to decide between picking up a stainless power bar while the prices are insane vs holding out for the next big thing down the road because honestly I like getting new stuff in from time to time whether I truly need it or not.

        My powerlifting numbers are decent but nothing to brag about – 515/415/275. If my SS WOD had center knurl I would probably be all set, but as it is, I’m still just not sure if it’s worth it to add a true power bar.

        • Dan December 16, 2015, 4:29 pm

          T – I decided not to buy another bar despite the temptation, but I did talk to AB customer service. They confirmed that the steel used in the Elite and Super Power Bars is stiffer than that used in the SS WOD bar. I was really close to picking one up, but I bought a C2 rower and another set of bumpers with a weight tree, so I decided it was better to wait and get one next year, even if it is more money. I’m the same as you – I like periodically getting something new for the gym, and it will be a MUCH easier conversation with my wife next year, when I haven’t just dropped a couple thousand on exercise equipment!

  • Mike November 26, 2015, 10:17 am

    Hello John,
    the long and short:
    At was worth the effort to ship the AB SPB to Germany.
    Perfect for all my exercises.

    I love this bar!
    “She” is a real beauty and feels so sexy in my hands!
    And I think “she” likes me too… :)

  • ypacheco December 1, 2015, 2:24 pm

    Hello MIKE,
    Did you use Shipito.com for the shipping to Germany?
    What was the global cost for the SPB + shipping +taxes ?
    I’m from France and i want to buy the SPB but i’am afraid of the added taxes that you can have when you buy something outside european country.
    Thanks a lot for John for sharing us great reviews and great work.

    • Mike December 1, 2015, 9:09 pm

      Hi Pacheco,
      I paid $360 for the bar plus $150 for shipping and $115 total tax (tax was about 22%).

      Everything counted together I paid at the end in approximately 600 €.

      And I would to do it again because this barbell is worth every dollar.

      I hope that helps you,
      Mike

      • Mike December 1, 2015, 9:16 pm

        PS:
        And yes, I have used Shipito.com. Everything worked fine.
        First I asked American barbell directly what it would cost to ship to Germany.
        They wrote me US$ 350!

        • ypacheco December 2, 2015, 9:31 am

          Thanks Mike for your help.
          I have now an estimated price for total cost.
          Pacheco

          • Mike December 2, 2015, 9:41 am

            You are welcome Pacheco!
            You’ll definitely like or even love this barbell :-)

            Mike

  • scott December 15, 2015, 8:22 am

    is there any side to side slop in the sleeves?
    I’ve found york bars to be quite sloppy in the sleeves even with the bushing, my eleiko is tight tight… how is this bar?

    • jburgeson December 15, 2015, 11:11 am

      There is no more movement in the SS as there is in the Eleiko or the Euro. I have all three on the same gun rack and they all felt exactly the same.

      • scott December 16, 2015, 5:43 am

        Thanks for your reply.. That´s good news. I´m going to order one, but I am in Europe, so sit´s important I research it thoroughly before ordering :-)

        Excuse my ignorance, but what is the “Euro” that you mention?

        Thanks for the reply, once again.

  • scott December 16, 2015, 2:21 pm

    ahh ok. thank-you.
    great review and network you have here. cheers.

  • Scott December 16, 2015, 4:08 pm

    No stock on this bar for 8-12 weeks! The next stock will be the new 29mm version.. Probably worth waiting for… Considering the non “super” version but delivery is pretty expensive to Europe (quote of 270$).

    • Mike December 16, 2015, 11:20 pm

      Hello Scott,
      I’m Mike and I’m German. Look above and read my posts.
      You can use SHIPITO.COM for shipping.
      I paid $360 for the bar plus $150 for shipping and $115 total tax (tax was about 22%).

      @ John
      Hello John,
      there is a lot going on here…
      Spirits that I’ve cited // My commands ignore. ;-)
      (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

      • jburgeson December 17, 2015, 12:33 am

        lol should I get that reference?

        • Mike December 17, 2015, 12:58 am

          Don’t worry – be happy John!
          As long you are you the master… ;-)

          Lord and master, hear me crying! –
          Ah, he comes excited.
          Sir, my need is sore.
          Spirits that I’ve cited
          My commands ignore.

          “To the lonely
          Corner, broom!
          Hear your doom.
          As a spirit
          When he wills, your master only
          Calls you, then ’tis time to hear it.”

          (1779, translation by Edwin Zeydel, 1955)

          • Mike December 17, 2015, 1:00 am

            Correction:
            As long as you are the Master…

  • todd December 18, 2015, 11:33 pm

    Part of the message i recieced today! Hello Todd- We will be launching our 29MM Power Bars in early 2016. Once available, they will be added to americanbarbell.com

    • jburgeson December 19, 2015, 11:53 am

      That’s more than I’ve heard about it! sounds good though.

  • Scott January 5, 2016, 5:12 pm

    AB super power bars are gone, however I ordered a stainless elite power bar (same bar minus extra heat treatment) for $325 + $25 shipping. I was hesitant about the narrow knurling pattern and hope I don’t remove all the skin from my shins deadlifting, but at that price for SS power bar it seemed like my best option. Thanks for all your reviews!

    BTW…AB seems to be replacing these with a more standard knurl pattern on all the power bars. I think that’s the reason for the sale. Those will be back to normal pricing once they come out in a few months.

  • Mauricio March 4, 2016, 1:26 pm

    Hey jberguson.

    First, I have to thank you. The summer of last year I used your site as my main source of education on how to set up my home gym. I chose my bar, plates, and mat based on your recommendation. Your contribution was crucial!

    I bought the Vulcan Standard Olympic bar, and I’ve doing SS for about 6 months now. So I mainly do the big three lifts. I thought I’d be doing more power cleans, but I prefer doing deadlifts instead.

    My power clean and deadlift are currently at 325 lb. I feel the bar start to slip down my back and whip when I’m squatting. I’m considering shelling out for a bar with center knurling.

    But I’m not sure if this is necessary. If it is, the American Super Power bar is no longer in stock (and probably no longer on sale if more stock arrives).

    Do you think I should buy another bar specifically for powerlifting? If so, which would you recommend for me?

    Thanks much! Seriously, this site has been a blessing.

    • jburgeson March 4, 2016, 3:14 pm

      Thanks very much Mauricio, I’m glad the site was helpful. Yeah the Super will be back as a 29 mm bar, but no I don’t see it being on sale at that point. I can’t see them asking any more for it though, and I suppose it’s possible that it will be less than it was, but I doubt it. But yeah, you probably should be looking for a power bar since you’re not snatching or jerking, and you don’t have to spend $600 to get one (you sure can if you want though.)

      What you get depends on how aggressive of knurl you think you can handle. The Ohio Power at its highest is what, $325? That bar has pretty aggressive knurl, and the center knurl isn’t passive; it’s the same as the rest of the bar. The AB Elite will be more like your Standard in terms of sharpness, but it will stick better because of the stainless, and it does have a center. The basic Power Bar from AB is chrome, and it has a center, but the outer knurl will only be marginally grippier than the Standard you’ve got. Oh, worth noting is that the AB bars have pretty good spin so you’d be in a good place with your cleans, which are already high enough to slow down some bushing bars.

      Beyond these bars and the Texas Power Bar, you’re looking at much more expensive power bars. Titex, Eleiko, Ivanko, etc.. and there is no justification for them at 325 in a home gym – that is, short of bragging rights. The Super is about the most you really should spend, and it may be worth waiting for if you don’t want zinc/bare steel, and you would prefer it over the Elite.

      • Mauricio March 4, 2016, 3:33 pm

        I just realized I completely misspoke. I meant I am squatting and deadlifting 325 lb. There is no way in hell I am power cleaning 325 lb, that’d be amazing though!

        Considering your recommendation, and having read your formal review for the Ohio Power Bar, I will start saving up for either the basic AB Power Bar or the OPB. I’m leaning towards the AB though; I’m not sure how concerned I should be about the OPB’s knurling aggressiveness after having used the Standard for a while now.

        I also read through your responses on your piece over barbells for SS. I may just need to clean up my form for now. As you mentioned, the bar shouldn’t be sliding down anyway if one is squatting properly.

        • jburgeson March 4, 2016, 3:41 pm

          Are you low bar squatting like Rippetoe teaches? I’m assuming that you have the book, but have you watched any of his squat videos? It could be that you’re simply missing something minor that is allowing it to slip. Could be any number of little things.

          Yeah I wondered about the deadlift/clean thing, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Is the knurl on your Standard enough for your deadlift or do you find you slip there too?

          • Mauricio March 4, 2016, 5:27 pm

            Yeah, I’m low bar squatting. I read the book but never really watched any squat videos. Definitely need to do that.

            The Standard slips a bit for my deadlifts but chalk usually remedies that.

            You mind me asking what workout routine you follow? What do your gains look like? Haha, I assume you’ve been lifting a long time. (Just wondering. Not sure if you’ve already mentioned it somewhere else. Sorry, if you have.)

            • jburgeson March 4, 2016, 5:46 pm

              Actually I’m working on an article where I address what I use because I don’t think that it’s very mainstream, but it’s a great program. Well actually, the creator of it calls it a “method” since it’s really an outline for building your own program, but it’s definitely a step up from the beginner programs like SS. It’s called the GZCL Method (http://swoleateveryheight.blogspot.com/). It’s not a very long read, and it’s a very challenging program, so I’d recommend giving it a once-over.

              However, if you’re still making progress on SS, you gotta stay with it. Those are the easiest gains while they are still possible to make. Milk that linear progression for as long as you can, and only when that comes to a halt do you move up to more complicated programs. Btw, is there a reason your DL is the same as your squat?

              • Mauricio April 25, 2016, 2:00 am

                Sweet! I’ll check it out once I’ve stopped making gains on SS, like you said.

                And the reason they’re the same is I ran out of weights to add to my bar. Bumper plates are expensive :( but I’ll be buying a pair of 45s once my tax refund comes in :)

  • Dan April 17, 2016, 8:11 pm

    Well, I just ordered the closeout SPB. I bought the SS WOD bar last fall, so I’ll be able to compare the finish/feel of the two. I almost pulled the trigger on the SPB in November, but am happy I waited. Hmm, I guess my wife was happy I waited, anyway.

    I do some workouts on my back patio, and some in my basement, so it will be way more convenient to have two nice bars and not have to use my old beater bar unless I choose to. Looking forward to receiving it and having another new tool to add to my ever-growing home gym!

    • jburgeson April 17, 2016, 8:14 pm

      Very cool, let us know what that texture business is if you think about it.

      • Dan April 17, 2016, 8:17 pm

        Will definitely do so. Just ordered it Friday, and am leaving tomorrow for a week-long work trip, so I won’t see it until Friday night at the earliest (if it ships and gets here quickly).

    • T April 17, 2016, 8:44 pm

      I held off in November but would love to pull the trigger on one of these now. The whole no warranty thing still bothers me a bit. I’d love to hear some feedback on the gunmetal grey finish. Sounds like it might be an external coating to cover the previous color variations described in the jburgeson’s review. Wondering how likely that will be to wear down over time. Would also prefer the 29 mm shaft, but I doubt we’ll see prices anywhere near this level when those drop. Looks like they’ve also got a few other bars, their GHD, and some other odds and ends on sale right now.

      • jburgeson April 17, 2016, 8:50 pm

        My understanding is that it’s basically sand-blasted. It’s still heat treated (well it still refers to the heat treatment at the bottom of the description http://shrsl.com/?%7Ec46q). Maybe the blasting covers up imperfections that were made? I have no idea why, but that is what my contact over there told me. It should still be warranted though. They’d take it back if there was something wrong with it, no doubt, but beyond that I dunno. /shrug

        • jburgeson April 17, 2016, 8:51 pm

          Oh but yeah I was gonna say, knowing what was done to it doesn’t help knowing what that feels like. That’s where i was going with that lol. So yeah, Dan is the man in this case. I’m sure Dan is always the man, but for sure now

          • T April 17, 2016, 9:57 pm

            That does make me feel better though. Glad it’s not a cheap cosmetic coating. Looking forward to Dan’s feedback. Let us know if it comes with blank end caps too.

            • Dan April 18, 2016, 8:24 pm

              LOL so Mom was right – I AM the man!

              When placing the order, Mandy in customer service (who was very good, btw) told me that some bars come with the regular end caps and others have blank ones. I tried to request the standard ones since I was jumping on the order so quickly, but was told they are random. Hope that’s not the case. The pictures on the site show the “gunmetal gray” finish they are talking about, and it looked similar in other respects.

              I love the WOD bar I bought and think I will always use stainless from now on – it has spoiled me in terms of the feel of the knurl, and the crazy low maintenance.

              I’ll check back in once it arrives and I’ve had the chance to compare it side by side the WOD bar, and let you know my impressions.

              • Mauricio April 25, 2016, 1:58 am

                Any updates, Dan? Might jump on this.

                • Dan April 25, 2016, 6:17 am

                  It’s supposed to arrive today – I should be able to give my impressions tomorrow.

      • Ross April 19, 2016, 10:32 pm

        They’re back right now. $360+shipping. Get them while they’re available.

  • Dan April 25, 2016, 3:43 pm

    The closeout SPB arrived this afternoon. I snapped some pictures next to the Stainless Steel WOD bar I bought last year, but can’t paste them into the comments (or maybe I *could* but don’t know how to).

    Quick overview: the bar came packaged superbly, as did the last one. No way UPS or anybody else was going to damage this bar in transit, unless they ran it over with a truck or something!

    When I got the bar out of its container, I was happy to see the cool red AB end caps. Mandy in customer service told me that some come with blank end caps, and they are selected randomly. That struck me as strange, as I would think they would send the signature end caps first and then send the blank ones when they are gone, but in any case, mine has the branded caps.

    The bar arrived in perfect condition. No blemishes or scratches whatsoever – it seems like a first condition bar to me. There is plenty of lube in the bushings and the bar spins about as smoothly as the WOD bar (I’ve only tested it without weight so far).

    I know the big question is the “gunmetal gray” finish. It is definitely a matte finish, and I have no idea if it will last. The bar came with a free nylon brush to use to clean the barbell, instead of the stainless one they recommend for SS bars, so I assume it will wear at some point. (My WOD bar did not come with a brush, so I don’t know if all the free brushes are nylon, or this was intentional due to the sandblasted finish). I prefer the stainless look of the WOD bar, and would have preferred the heat-treated finish these had last year.

    Having said that, the SPB knurl is definitely stickier than that on my WOD bar. I have only owned the WOD bar for 5 or 6 month and taken pretty good care of it, so I don’t think it would have worn much in that time. As far as I could tell, the knurl pattern was the same on both bars. Maybe the sandblasted matte finish on the SPB has something to do with the difference. I think the SPB is going to be better for deadlifts and cleans without being too aggressive.

    The center knurl is the same as the main knurl, which is to say pretty damn grippy. I decided to pull the trigger on this bar because I didn’t have a center knurled bar for squatting, and I’m happy I bought this. Also, I’ll have the SPB in my basement for the powerlifting moves, and the WOD bar on my back patio for crossfit style workouts.

    $360 seems like a good deal for this bar, even with the finish and the lack of warranty. Happy to answer any questions to the best of my limited experience/ability.

    • jburgeson April 25, 2016, 5:54 pm

      That’s awesome Dan, thanks for all of that. Sounds like it’s still a good deal then.

    • Ross April 29, 2016, 12:53 am

      Received mine as well. Also red end caps. Also matte finish. I received a stainless brush with the bar, however, so maybe they’re just throwing in from whatever box is nearest.

      When I saw the rivets holding some of the packing in the ends of the shipping tube, I took a saw and carefully cut through the shipping tube in the middle then pulled the halves of the tube apart to free the barbell. This worked very well and I recommend it to anyone wanting to unpack one of these without scratches. The sleeves were wrapped in medium density foam so that they fit snug in the tube and there were multiple end protectors to keep things from shifting in transit.

      The sleeves have a machined surface with fine grooves that feel like running your fingers over a stack of thick paper (maybe 0.5mm). My weights and clamps seem to like it a lot so far. Bumpers slide on nicely, OSO mighty collars grip firmly and if they moved on a drop, I couldn’t tell. Also, this bar is much quieter than my Rogue Bar V1 on barbell rows and deadlifts.

      The way someone else described the knurling, I was expecting it to be more painful to deadlift, but it’s not at all painful, while providing a very strong grip. The knurling is quite fine compared to everything I’ve seen before, which may be how it can be both comfortable and grippy. This is the first time I’ve touched a stainless bar and I’m already a huge fan.

      • jburgeson April 29, 2016, 10:43 am

        Everyone seems to be happy with it and that’s bad ass. I may have to check out one of the new ones once they go into permanent mode. The last two American Barbell bars that I reviewed disappeared within months of publishing, and it takes a lot of time to put those reviews together just to have the bar leave the market, so I’d like to not go for three in a row!

        • T April 29, 2016, 11:46 am

          I talked to Philip at AB, and he said the next crop will be 29 mm with a slightly more aggressive knurl pattern. It will retain the gunmetal finish and will return to the full price point of around $595. I’m not sure how much 0.5 mm matters, but I do like the idea of a little thicker bar to differentiate between my 28 mm Oly bar and my 28.5 mm WOD bar. In theory, should be better for bench and squat too. Will either stick with my Eleiko for DL or pick up a Rogue DL bar but that would be a complete luxury purchase.

          The only thing stopping me from pulling the trigger on the closeout bar is the knurling at this point. I love the grippiness of my SS WOD, but there’s just nothing that compares to a good, sharp knurling to really lock in your grip on heavy lifts. Philip did confirm that even though there’s no warranty they would stand behind the product and replace any defective bars. I can personally vouch for their excellent customer service if problems arise after purchase. I’ll need to decide quick though because I think today is the last scheduled day of the spring sale.

          • Mauricio April 29, 2016, 1:48 pm

            I’m having the same reservations, T. Thinking of going with the Rogue Power Bar instead. Jburgeson says the knurling is perfectly aggressive on the RPB.

  • Steven July 13, 2016, 7:46 pm

    Hey, Great review. I’m really new to weightlifting and am starting SS soon, so am looking for a bar that is good for the 5 main exercises (squat, bench, deadlift, military press, power clean). I’m not planning on doing this competitively, just as a main hobby for the long haul.

    I’ve looked all over the internet, but I can’t seem to find any information about whether the whip of 28mm Oly bars is necessary or useful for power cleans. The consensus seems to be that stiff bars are good for bench/military press/squat, whippy bars are good for Oly lifts like snatch/clean and jerk, and that deadlifts depend more on knurling than whip (more aggressive knurling being better for heavier deadlifts). But for power cleans, I couldn’t find any such information. Would you say that having a stiff bar (29mm diameter, >190k tensile strength) is at all a disadvantage for power cleans?

    Regarding this bar in particular, does the non-standard knurling (closer to center) pattern tear up your shins when you deadlift? If it matters, I’m 6’5″ so I might have a wider stance than some.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    • jburgeson July 13, 2016, 9:38 pm

      Steven I wouldn’t go out of your way to get a 28 mm, whippy bar for a strength program. Power cleans are not enough justification for that especially when you’ve got four other lifts to think about. Besides power cleans are done for reps in SS, not done at 90-100% of max. Stick with 28.5-29mm – better for your program, and less expensive (well, not the Super lol).

      I’m 6’4″ and I never had an issue, but my natural pull puts the bar a quarter inch from my shins, so I guess it’s not fair for me to answer that. If your shins are close to knurl range on a normal bar, they will definitely be in range with this bar. For what it’s worth, for a power bar it’s not that aggressive. All the grip comes from the stainless. Still though, any knurl can cut and scrape.

      • Steven July 14, 2016, 2:36 pm

        So in the abstract, 28mm bars are better for the cleans? Does the whip actually make them more “comfortable”/easier to execute, or does it just let you lift more weight?

        • jburgeson July 14, 2016, 4:17 pm

          Well more specifically they are better for the clean and jerk. I wouldn’t say whip makes the lift more “comfortable”, although bar oscillation will help absorb impact when the bar hits the rack position if the weight is heavy enough. Though yes, that is the idea – whip allows more weight to be moved, just not at light weights (under 140 kg or so).

          Look at it like this… Rippetoe doesn’t recommend a whippy bar for his program, yet he does teach the power clean. Even his own bar (the B&R) is a 29 mm, 205k bar with practically no elasticity.

          • Steven July 14, 2016, 4:29 pm

            Ah, well that sort of settles it then. I’m in no hurry to get a bar of my own so I’ll probably hold off until AB finishes their rework of this one. It’s a real pity Rogue stopped offering the Matt Chan bar in Chrome because it would be pretty much the ideal bar for tall dudes doing SS.

            Incidentally, I was reading somewhere that the “catch impact” in the power clean was actually useful in the sense of strengthening joints and such. (Analogous to kettlebell swings I guess). I guess once you get up to really heavy weights it switches from being useful to being dangerous, but I kind of doubt most of us mere mortals will ever get to the point of it being a bad thing.

            Thanks for your help!

            • jburgeson July 14, 2016, 4:38 pm

              I’m sure that’s true, but never did I have more joint and tendon issues then when I was Olympic weightlifting. Strengthen and destroy at the same time, I suppose. Fun lifts though. Good luck Steven

  • Andrew November 21, 2016, 1:04 pm

    ABB elite power bar in SS vs. Rogue Ohio Power Bar in bare steel? Which would you recommend? What pros and cons do you see for those bars? Is SS worth the $$? I am hoping ABB would have some black Friday discount on that bar but I doubt it. I already have the ABB precision training bar in SS and love it but the Rogue Ohio PB in bare steel is a few hundred bucks cheaper than the ABB elite PB now. ABB doesn’t specify much difference between my SS precision training bar vs. the elite SS PB other than just saying the training bar has more whip but it tensile strengths are the same on the two. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Andrew

    • jburgeson November 21, 2016, 1:10 pm

      Ohio easily since you already own the Precision. The AB SS bars are not that different save for the Pro, but the Ohio Power vs your Precision are very different bars giving you variety in your arsenal rather than more of the same. Especially! for that price difference. Ohio Power knurl is just sick – love it.

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