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Vulcan Bars – A Comprehensive Guide to the Extensive Collection

Vulcan Bars - A Comprehensive Guide to the Extensive Collection

With the increasing popularity of Vulcan Strength’s bars and the seemingly endless expansion of their barbell collection, it seemed about time for a comprehensive buyer’s guide. Questions, comments, and your own feedback is welcome in the comments section following the article, as your opinions are just as important as mine – if not more so.

How to find the right Vulcan Bar

In an effort to simplify the use of this bar guide, I’ve created five categories for the entire Vulcan barbell line-up. There are two categories for women’s 15 kg bars (Olympic WL Bars, and Multi-purpose/CrossFit bars), the same two categories for men’s 20 kg bars, and a section for power bars.

Pick the type of bar that you are interested, read about the available bars, then compare your top choice(s) to whatever other bars out there that you are considering. It’s much simpler than opening up every single product page on the Vulcan website, that’s for sure.

Many thanks to Vulcan for being so willing to answer bar specification questions when they came up, especially for those bars that aren’t even released yet.

Women’s 15 kg Olympic WL Bars

Women’s 15 kg Mulit-Purpose (CrossFit) Bars

Men’s 20 kg Olympic WL Bars

Men’s 20 kg Multi-Purpose (CrossFit) Bars

Power Bars

Quick Reference Specification Tables

Knurl Guide


Vulcan Women’s Olympic WL Bars (25 mm, 15 kg)

Vulcan Barbell Guide - Women's 15 kg Olympic Weightlifting Bars

Vulcan currently offers one of the largest selections of women’s bars; a number of them being high-performance Olympic weightlifting bars. The following bars all weigh 15 kg and have 25 mm shaft diameters – what varies from bar-to-bar is the finish, rotation assembly (bushings/bearings), knurl aggressiveness, and tensile rating of the shaft.

Note that the weightlifting bars in this section are expensive and are intended for seasoned Olympic weightlifters – especially the first two bars. Newcomers to the Olympic lifts will find that the bars in the Multi-Purpose/CrossFit section below this section will serve their purposes equally well, and for a lot less money.

Absolute 15 kg Olympic WL Bearing Bar

Vulcan Absolute Women's 15 kg Olympic WL Bar

The Absolute is Vulcan’s premium women’s Olympic weightlifting bar. It has a stainless steel shaft rated at an incredible 240,000 PSI, an aggressive knurl typical of elite Oly bars, and eight German needle bearings. The Absolute’s most unique feature – the stainless steel shaft – offers a more secure and natural feeling grip than any applied finish – it’s that classic bare steel feeling, only without the rust or maintenance.

The Absolute is a level 100 bar that will never need to be replaced, and it’s arguably a better buy than comparably priced non-stainless bars like the Women’s Eleiko Trainer and Comp bars. Only American Barbell offers a women’s stainless steel Oly bar of this caliber, but on paper the Vulcan looks to have more potential (50,000 more PSI rating, for one.)

Vulcan Absolute 15 kg Bar At-a-glance

  • Application: professional Olympic weightlifting
  • Heat treated & aged stainless steel shaft; hard chrome sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 240,000 PSI
  • Knurling: aggressive
  • Elasticity: high whip
  • Rotation: 8 total German needle bearings
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Noteworthy: Stainless is a very expensive and difficult material to work with, but the feeling of a stainless steel shaft is unbeatable. Don’t pull the trigger on any bar over $800 without at least considering a stainless bar.
  • Price: $839; includes shipping (the current batch of 15 kg Absolutes are priced at $713 vs $839 because the knurling turned out more moderate-aggressive than straight-up aggressive. It’s a pretty big discount for something only the developer of the bar would notice.

♦ ♦ ♦

Women’s Professional Olympic WL Bearing Bar

Vulcan Women's Pro Olympic WL Bearing Bar

If you’re looking for a super whippy, competition-worthy Olympic weightlifting bar but you don’t want to spend the $869 it costs to own the Absolute, then the Women’s Pro Bearing Bar is the way to go. The Pro is finished entirely in hard, engineered chrome, it sports a whippy 195,000 PSI shaft, has aggressive knurling typical of elite-level Oly bars, and spins on 8-precision needle bearings. Another odd yet interesting feature of the Women’s Pro is that it actually has a 4″ passive center knurl, something very hard to come by on a woman’s Olympic bar.

The Vulcan Women's Professional Bar has a 4" passive center knurl - very unique to 15 kg bars

4″ passive center knurl of the Women’s Professional Oly Bar

The Vulcan Pro is a very real alternative to the more expensive Eleiko Trainer and the two Chinese IWF-Trainers (ZKC and DHS). The Vulcan doesn’t carry the IWF sticker that would allow it to be used on stage, but really, were you planning to host a sanctioned meet? It’s also a lower-priced alternative to the chrome Rogue Olympic WL Bar ($635) and the AB Performance Bearing Bar ($599); both 190,000 PSI bars.

Vulcan 15 kg Professional Olympic Bar At-a-glance

  • Application: professional Olympic weightlifting
  • Hard chrome 25 mm shaft, hard chrome sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 195,000 PSI
  • Knurling: aggressive
  • Elasticity: high whip
  • Rotation: 8 total German precision needle bearings
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Price: $579; includes shipping
  • Noteworthy: The women’s Vulcan Professional has a 4″ passive center knurl, a feature all but impossible to get on a 15 kg bar. This feature alone will seal the deal for many female lifters.

♦ ♦ ♦

Women’s Elite V3.0 Olympic WL Training Bar

The new 15 kg Vulcan Elite V3.0 Olympic Training Bar

The women’s version of the Elite Olympic Trainer is a new addition to the Vulcan line-up, and other than the usual differences between men’s and women’s bars, the 15 kg Elite is the same as the 20 kg Elite.

The Women’s Elite is a 221k PSI Olympic training bar with a self-lubricating bronze bushing system, a dense chrome finish on the shaft, and engineered chromed sleeves. The Elite is a very whippy bar with moderately aggressive knurling. Couple the knurl with the unique finish of the shaft and you get an Olympic bar that offers a very secure grip.

The men’s Elite has been a very popular bar for many years among serious male weightlifters, and I expect the 15 kg version to become a favorite among women as well.

Vulcan 15 kg Elite 3.0 Olympic Training Bar

  • Application: Olympic weightlifting
  • Dense chrome 25 mm shaft, grooved hard chrome sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 221,000 PSI chrome molybdenum (Moly) shaft
  • Knurling: moderately aggressive
  • Elasticity: high whip
  • Rotation: self-lubricating bronze bushings
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Price: $359; includes shipping
  • Noteworthy: The Elite 3.0 is easily one of the best bushing-based Olympic WL bars on the market. It’s not uncommon for them to be out of stock, but they are worth the wait.

♦ ♦ ♦


Women’s 15 kg Multi-Purpose/CrossFit Bars

Vulcan Barbell Guide - Women's 15 kg Multi-Purpose/CrossFit bars

The remaining Vulcan women’s are all dual-marked, general-purpose bars. These are the bars meant to go from a WOD to the rack without the need to change equipment. You can be snatching one moment and bench pressing the other, all with the same bar.

Aside from being more versatile, Multi-purpose/CrossFit bars are also more affordable than professional WL bars. It works out this way because multi-purpose bars don’t require professionally worked, highly-elastic shafts and precision needle bearings from Germany. They simply need to be strong, they need to spin reliably under moderate loads, and the finish needs to offer protection from corrosion. Multi-purpose bars are ideal for the majority of CrossFitters and strength trainers.

Women’s Training Bearing Bar

Vulcan Women's Training Bearing Bar

The Vulcan Training Bearing Bar is surprisingly comparable in performance to the Vulcan Pro Bearing Bar, only for a lot less money. The knurling on the Training Bar is not as aggressive as the Pro, and the bar is dual-marked, but it’s still a hard chrome plated, high tensile strength bearing bar. This would be a good bar for a CrossFitter who plans to pursue Olympic weightlifting on a more serious level, as it works well for both applications and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

By the way, this bar used to be offered only in black oxide and it sold for the same price – sold pretty well too from what I hear. It’s an even better deal now that it’s finished in hard chrome.

Vulcan 15 kg Trainer At-a-glance

  • Application: Intermediate CrossFit/Olympic weightlifting
  • Hard chrome 25 mm shaft, hard chrome sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 191,000 PSI
  • Knurling: moderate (high-rep friendly)
  • Dual-marked for multi-purpose use
  • Elasticity: good whip
  • Rotation: needle bearings
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Price: $309; includes shipping
  • Noteworthy: probably the best price around for a women’s bearing bar, not to mention the fact that it’s finished in hard chrome rather than zinc or oxide.

♦ ♦ ♦

Standard 15 kg Multi-Purpose Bar

Vulcan Standard Women's Multi-purpose Olympic Bar

The Standard is a bushing bar, and at its core it’s your typical CrossFit/multi-purpose bushing bar – very similar to something like the Rogue Bella and the California.

The women’s Standard will actually cost you about $35 more than the Bella ($215), but that $35 difference gets you Oilite brand bronze bushings (self-lubricating), a higher tensile strength shaft, and absolutely no black zinc – a huge perk as far as I’m concerned. As far as the California goes, you do get hard chrome sleeves and quality composite bushings, but the Cali will also cost you about $50 more after shipping. I like them both, but $50 is $50.

If you’re looking for a durable, versatile, and affordable bar for your garage gym, the Standard should probably be on your short list.

Vulcan 15 kg Standard At-a-glance

  • Application: multi-purpose/CrossFit garage gym bar
  • Bright zinc 25 mm shaft, grooved bright zinc sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 195,000 PSI
  • Knurling: moderate (high-rep friendly)
  • Dual-marked for multi-purpose use
  • Elasticity: moderate whip
  • Rotation: Sintered bronze bushings (Oilite)
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Made in USA
  • Price: $249; includes shipping

♦ ♦ ♦

Women’s One Basic Economy Bar

Vulcan One Basic 15 kg Women's Multi-purpose Barbell

The 15 kg One Basic is Vulcan’s economy multi-purpose bar. It’s really intended for beginner to intermediate lifters on a smaller budget, but it’s still a lot of bar for the money. I mean, it has an industry-standard 190,000 PSI shaft, yet it still sells for less than $200 (the black zinc version does anyway.) Of course keeping this price competitive with other economy bars does require some compromises, and one of them is a shorter warranty than all other Vulcan bars.

Vulcan One Basic 15 kg Economy CrossFit Bar - classic black zinc version

I’ve owned the One Basic so I can say with confidence that it’s a solid economy bar. It’s way better than any box-store bar like a CAP, Body Solid, or Troy, and I’d take it over most other economy bars found online, but it only takes about $50 to move into a higher performance bar like the Vulcan Standard – and it’s not hard to justify doing just that.

Vulcan 15 kg One Basic At-a-glance

  • Application: economy multi-purpose garage gym bar
  • Black zinc 25 mm shaft, black zinc sleeves (chrome also available).
  • Tensile strength: 190,000 PSI
  • Knurling: light/moderate (high-rep friendly)
  • Dual-marked for multi-purpose/CrossFit
  • Whip: moderate whip
  • Rotation: bronze bushings
  • Warranty: 3-years
  • Price: $198 (+$15 for chrome); includes shipping

♦ ♦ ♦


Men’s 20 kg Olympic Weightlifting Bars

Vulcan Barbell Guide - Men's 20 kg Olympic Weightlifting Bars

The following bars are high performance 20 kg Olympic WL bars. They are all true 28 mm, high whip bars. What varies from bar-to-bar is the finish, rotation mechanism, knurl aggressiveness, and tensile rating of the shafts.

Keep in mind that the bearing bars in this section are expensive and are intended for seasoned Olympic weightlifters. Newcomers to the Olympic lifts will find that the Elite V3.0 and the bars in the Men’s Multi-Purpose/CrossFit section below will better serve them than the super-expensive pro bars, and do so for a lot less cash.

Absolute Stainless Steel Olympic WL Bar

Image coming soon

The Absolute is Vulcan’s finest Olympic WL bar. It’s one of the few Olympic weightlifting bars in existence to have a solid 28 mm stainless steel shaft – arguably the most secure and natural feeling material one could ask for as a barbell shaft. Stainless steel won’t rust, it requires practically no maintenance, it feels spectacular, and it also happens to look classy.

This is a high-speed bearing bar – each sleeve contains four precision German needle bearings. The stainless shaft is heat treated and aged, and the final product has a tensile strength rating in excess of 240,000 PSI. The Absolute is a high whip Olympic bar that meets all IWF-specifications, comes with a lifetime warranty, and it will probably be the last bar that you ever need to buy.

The only other two bars you can really compare the Absolute to would be the Ivanko OBS-20K (218,000 PSI stainless steel shaft @ ~$1100) and the American Barbell SS Bearing Bar (190,000 PSI stainless steel shaft @ ~$800). The Ivanko is solid competition for the Absolute, but clearly way more expensive. The American Barbell is also a great bar, and more affordable, but there is a pretty big swing in tensile ratings that may or may not matter to you. It’ll take a rich man indeed to side-by-side compare all three of these nearly $1000 barbells, so they jury may be out for a while.

Absolute SS Oly At-a-glance

  • Application: professional Olympic weightlifting
  • Heat treated and aged 28 mm stainless steel shaft, hard chrome sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 240,000 PSI shaft
  • Knurling: aggressive w/ passive center knurl
  • Elasticity: high whip
  • Rotation: precision German needle bearings
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Noteworthy: Stainless is a very expensive and difficult material to work with, but the feeling of a stainless steel shaft is unbeatable. Don’t pull the trigger on any bar over $800 without at least considering a stainless bar.
  • Price: $849; includes shipping (Note: the current batch of 20 kg Absolutes are priced at $721 vs $849 because the knurling turned out more moderate-aggressive than straight-up aggressive. It’s a pretty big discount for something only the developer of the bar would notice.

♦ ♦ ♦

Professional Olympic WL Bearing Bar

Vulcan Professional Olympic Bearing Bar

You can read an independent review of the Vulcan Pro on the WL Forums here. This image credited to author of said review.

Prior to the Absolute, the Professional Olympic Bar was Vulcan’s premier, elite-level Olympic WL bar. Even with the introduction of the Absolute, the Pro is still just as much bar as it ever was. Matter of fact, you would be hard pressed to find a bar that could match the Pro’s specifications for any amount of money, and I say that because there are a couple things about this bar that no other manufacturer seems to be able to touch.

For starters, the Vulcan Pro has the most impressive tensile and yield strength of any premium Olympic bar. The tensile strength is over 240,000 PSI and the yield is over 220,000 PSI. You read that correctly – it has a yield strength higher than the tensile strength of every other Olympic bar, including Eleiko, Ivanko, and the Euro. In other words, it would take an almost deliberate kind of negligence to put a bend in this bar.

Additionally, the Vulcan Pro is known far and wide for being one of the most elastic Olympic bars around – it whips like no other. The Vulcan Pro also has an industrial chrome finish that is as utilitarian as it is beautiful. To me, this bar looks exactly like what a professional-grade Olympic bar should look like, and I feel confident saying that it performs better than what you’re currently lifting on.

Vulcan Professional At-a-glance

  • Application: professional Olympic weightlifting
  • Engineered chrome 28 mm shaft, grooved hard chrome sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 241,000 PSI
  • Yield strength: 223,000 PSI
  • Knurling: aggressive w/ passive center knurl
  • Elasticity: high whip
  • Rotation: German needle bearings
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Price: $599; includes shipping

♦ ♦ ♦

Elite V3.0 Olympic Training Bar

Vulcan Elite V3.0 Olympic Training Bar

You’ve undoubtedly seen a Vulcan Elite somewhere; either in person, or somewhere on the Interwebs – and you’ve surely heard good things. That’s because the Elite is one of the finest and most unique bushing-based Olympic training bars on the market, and it’s a very popular bar indeed.

The Elite is a 28 mm chrome molybdenum bar with an incredible (and legitimate) 221,000 PSI tensile strength. It’s also one of the most elastic Olympic training bars you can buy – bushing or otherwise. One of the features that make this bar so popular is the dense chrome finish on the shaft – it has a rather dull and milky look to it, but it offers a feel on par with bare steel.

Vulcan Elite's dense chrome shaft finish

Dense chrome shaft of the Elite V3.0

As a whole, the Elite is a beautiful bar – the sleeves are a bright & reflective hard chrome that contrast well with the dense chrome shaft, and the Vulcan logo is laser engraved into the inner collar. Great looking bar. At the end of the day, the Elite is simply a reasonably priced, high-performance Olympic training bar, and one of my all-time favorites – and not only just of the Vulcan’s bars, but all bars.

Vulcan Elite laser engraved logo and knurl close-up

Compare the Elite V3.0 to the Rogue 28 mm Trainer and the American Barbell Performance Trainer, and I think the front-runner will be obvious.

Vulcan Elite V3.0 At-a-glance

  • Application: Olympic weightlifting
  • Dense chrome 28 mm shaft, grooved hard chrome sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 221,000 PSI chrome molybdenum (Moly) shaft
  • Knurling: moderately aggressive w/ passive center knurl
  • Elasticity: high whip
  • Rotation: self-lubricating bronze bushings
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Price: $369; includes shipping
  • In depth review: here
  • Noteworthy: the Elite is so popular that it’s rarely in stock. Don’t be afraid to pre-order this bar; it’s worth the wait.

A handful of Elites that were used for warm-up bars at a competition are $75 off at Vulcan.com right now. Pretty good deal!

Standard Olympic Bearing Bar (commercial)

Image coming soon

The Standard Bearing is like the American-made, industrial cross between the Training Bearing Bar and the Vulcan Pro Oly. It is manufactured to very high standards to withstand the hostility of a multi-user facilities like CrossFit boxes and Olympic training centers. In other words, it’s a commercial bar.

The Standard has a total of 5 bearings per sleeve rather than the usual 4 (presumably for extra durability), the knurl is a hint more aggressive than the Standard’s bushing counterpart, and there is no center knurl. The whole bar is finished in bright zinc, and it is warranted for life – which is a long time for a bar marketed to commercial facilities.

I like this bar a lot, but at full price of $499 I don’t see it as my first choice for a garage-gym (single-user) bar. It’s just too close in price to something like the Vulcan Pro; a bar that offers so much more performance potential – better whip, more substantial knurl, and engineered chrome rather than zinc. That said, when it’s on sale for closer to $400 like it is at the time of this writing it’s a different story completely. That sale price is low enough to make this bar a steal whether you’re a garage gym or commercial gym owner.

Vulcan Standard Bearing At-a-glance

  • Application: Olympic weightlifting/commercial training facility
  • bright zinc 28 mm shaft, grooved bright zinc sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 196,000 PSI
  • Knurling: moderatel to aggressive
  • Elasticity: good whip
  • Rotation: needle bearings
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Made in USA
  • Price: $499; includes shipping

♦ ♦ ♦


Men’s 20 kg Multi-purpose/CrossFit Bars

Vulcan Barbell Guide - Men's 20 kg CrossFit/Multi-Purpose Bars

The following section contains the men’s general-purpose/CrossFit bars. These are you multi-purpose Olympic bars that also work well in the rack for squats and presses and such. Except for the bearing version of the Standard, they are all dual IWF/IPF marked.

Aside from being more versatile, Multi-purpose/CrossFit bars are also more affordable than professional WL bars. These bars don’t have the same professionally worked, highly elastic shafts and premium needle bearings as their professional counterparts, though they still perform beautifully even for advanced lifters. Multi-purpose bars are ideal for the majority of CrossFitters and strength trainers as they are strong, reliable, and suitable for all but the most elite of weightlifters.

Training Bearing Bar

Image coming soon

Vulcan’s Bearing Training Bar is essentially the One Basic (below) with bearings rather than bushings. It’s an economy WOD bar for beginner to intermediate lifters who feel that it’s important for them to own a bearing bar rather than a simple bushing bar. Beginner’s definitely don’t need bearings, but I suppose if you’re going to insist that you do, this bar makes that affordable.

Like the One Basic, this bar used to be 28.5 mm in diameter and it was finished in black zinc. After some recent upgrades, it is now a 28 mm barbell with a hard chrome finish. The shaft is rated at 190,000 PSI, it is dual-marked with moderate knurl, has no center knurl, and spins on four needle bearings per sleeve. The one advantage this bar has over the One Basic is a lifetime warranty versus a 3-year warranty.

I have one of these bars so I know first-hand that it’s a solid piece of equipment, but outside of CrossFit I don’t like this bar. Aspiring Olympic weightlifters are better off with an Olympic Training Bar – something with some real whip and coarser knurl, and like I said, beginner’s don’t even need bearings. I guess I shouldn’t say that I don’t like it, but rather that this bar has a very limited audience.

Vulcan Training Bearing Bar At-a-glance

  • Home gym/garage gym CrossFit bar
  • Hard chrome 28 mm shaft, hard chrome sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 190,000 PSI
  • Knurling: moderate; no center knurl
  • Dual marked for multi-purpose/CrossFit
  • Elasticity: moderate whip
  • Rotation: needle bearings
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Price: $319; includes shipping

♦ ♦ ♦

Standard 28 mm Olympic Training Bar

Vulcan Standard 28 mm Olympic Bushing Bar

As you’ve probably noticed there are a few versions of the Vulcan Standard, and this is the 28 mm bronze bushing version. This bar is kind of similar to the Vulcan Elite in that it’s a bushing-based Olympic training bar, but there are a number of things that differentiate it from the Elite. Most notably, the 28 mm Standard has a more moderate knurl, no center knurl, lower tensile strength, and a bright zinc finish instead of dense chrome.

To me these differences make the 28 mm Standard more of a high-rep CrossFit/Olympic bar than a true Olympic training bar – despite the lack of dual marks – and I believe that unless one or more of the differences that I mentioned are really important to you that you lean towards the only slightly more expensive Elite. The dense chrome of the Elite feels better than zinc, the knurl is more substantial, and the high tensile strength shaft has more elasticity.

Vulcan 28 mm Standard At-a-glance

  • Application: CrossFit/Olympic weightlifting
  • Bright zinc 28 mm shaft, bright zinc grooved sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 196,000 PSI
  • Knurling: moderate; no center knurl
  • Elasticity: moderate whip
  • Rotation: oil-impregnated bronze bushings
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Made in USA
  • Price: $320; includes shipping

♦ ♦ ♦

Standard 28.5 mm Olympic Bar (commercial)

Vulcan Standard Commercial 28.5 mm Gym Bar

This is the dual-marked 28.5 mm commercial version (and original version) of the Vulcan Standard. This Standard is designed to be used in high-traffic, commercial gym & box settings. It’s manufactured to very strict tolerances here in the USA to offer a high level of performance, reliability, durability, and value. It sells for a very reasonable $279, making it a pretty solid contender for gyms to buy in bulk – and I’m sure that price gets much better if you need a bunch of them.

I have the 28.5 mm Vulcan Standard down in the garage gym and it’s a nice bar [review]. The zinc finish looks great and has shown no sign of aging in the last year+, the sleeves spin just as smoothly as the day I got it, and the knurl depth is right in that sweet spot of not too much; not too little. This bar costs a little more than other popular box bars like the RB 2.0, but for having Oilite bushings, no black zinc, and such a high tensile strength shaft, it’s probably worth the nominal difference.

Vulcan 28.5 mm Standard At-a-glance

  • Application: commercial gym/box bar
  • Bright zinc 28.5 mm shaft, bright zinc sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 194,000 PSI
  • Knurling: medium; no center knurl
  • Dual marked for multi-purpose/CrossFit
  • Elasticity: moderate whip
  • Rotation: sintered bronze bushings (Oilite)
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Made in USA
  • Price: $279; includes shipping

♦ ♦ ♦

One Basic Multi-Purpose Bar

Vulcan One Basic economy multi-purpose/CrossFit bar

The One Basic is Vulcan’s economy CrossFit/multi-purpose barbell. It is a dual-marked, bronze bushing bar with a moderate (high-rep friendly) knurl. This bar used to have a 28.5 mm shaft and be finished entirely in black zinc, but it was recently upgraded to have a true 28 mm shaft and a hard chrome finish – without a price increase.

These two changes to the One; along with it’s good tensile strength and low price; make it an extremely attractive and competitive bar in the low $200’s category. The One Basic blows away other budget CrossFit bars like the Team, Echo, Rocket, Sabre, and so many more – at least in my mind. It’s still an entry-level bar with a limited warranty, but that’s all most newcomers to CrossFit and strength training need.

Vulcan One Basic At-a-glance

  • Home gym/garage gym bar
  • Hard chrome 28 mm shaft, hard chrome sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 190,000 PSI
  • Knurling: moderate; no center knurl
  • Dual marked for multi-purpose/CrossFit
  • Elasticity: moderate whip
  • Rotation: bronze bushings
  • Warranty: 3-years
  • Price: $229; includes shipping
  • Review: here (previous generation)

♦ ♦ ♦


20 kg Power Bars

Vulcan Barbell Guide - 20 kg Power Bars

This final section is for the power bars. Power bars are simple bushing bars designed to handle heavy compound lifts like the squat, bench, and deadlift. They are thick, rigid, and aggressively knurled, yet generally less expensive than their Olympic-counterparts. Power bars are for folks who excel in the big-3 but have zero interest in the explosive Olympic lifts.

Absolute Power Bar

Vulcan Absolute Power Bar - black oxide and bare steel

The new Absolute Power Bar is the highest tensile strength power bar around at 221,000 PSI. That’s higher than Eleiko’s Competition Bar, the Rogue Ohio, the Texas Power Bar, and the Okie. The 29 mm shaft is aggressively knurled and finished in black oxide, while the grooved sleeves are unfinished, bare steel. Veteran powerlifters should feel right at home with the Absolute’s configuration.

Vulcan Absolute Power Bar At-a-glance

  • Application: elite powerlifting bar
  • Black oxide 29 mm shaft, grooved bare steel sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 221,000 PSI
  • Knurling: very aggressive
  • Elasticity: no whip
  • Rotation: bushing system
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Price: $330

♦ ♦ ♦

Elite Power Bar

The Vulcan Elite Powerlifting Bar

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

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

The Elite would make a great barbell for powerlifting and strength programs that focus on the core compound lifts, but no Olympic lifts – programs like Starting Strength, the GZCL Method, or Wendler’s 5/3/1; among countless others. It’s strong, it’s affordable, and it’ll spin and remain rust free for many years to come.

The Vulcan Elite Power Bar in testing - 1100+ pounds, no bowing

The Elite Power Bar during testing – over 1000-pounds and the bar barely even looks flexed. I think it’ll stay pretty straight for our slightly lighter lifts. BTW: this was actually pressed by Tiny Meeker.

Vulcan Elite Power Bar At-a-glance

  • Application: powerlifting
  • Bright zinc 29 mm shaft, bright zinc sleeves
  • Tensile strength: 196,000 PSI
  • Knurling: very aggressive, with 4″ center knurl
  • Elasticity: no whip
  • Rotation: sintered bronze bushings (Oilite)
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Made in USA
  • Price: $295; includes shipping
  • Noteworthy: the Elite is a dual-marked power bar – go figure.

♦ ♦ ♦


Quick Reference Tables – Bar Specifications

Women’s Olympic WL Bars

Absolute Oly Professional Oly Elite Oly
 Price $713 $579 $359-$489
 Tensile Strength  240,000 PSI 195,000 PSI 221,000 PSI
 Shaft Finish stainless steel hard chrome dense chrome
 Knurl Depth aggressive  aggressive semi-aggressive
 Whip high whip  high whip high whip
 Center Knurl no yes no
 Rotation needle bearings  needle bearings bushings or bearings

 

Women’s Multi-Purpose/CrossFit Bars

Training Bearing Standard One Basic
 Price $309 $249 $198-$213
 Tensile Strength  191,000 PSI 195,000 PSI 190,000 PSI
 Shaft Finish hard chrome bright zinc black zinc or chrome
 Knurl Depth moderate  moderate light moderate
 Whip good whip  average whip average whip
 Center Knurl no no no
 Rotation needle bearings  bronze bushings bronze bushings

 

Men’s Olympic WL Bars

Absolute Professional Elite Standard
 Price $721 $579 $369-$499 $499
 Tensile  240,000 PSI 241,000 PSI 221,000 PSI 196,000 PSI
Shaft Finish stainless hard chrome dense chrome bright zinc
 Knurl Depth aggressive  aggressive semi medium
 Whip high whip  high whip high whip average whip
 Center Knurl yes yes yes no
 Rotation bearings  bearings either bearings

 

Men’s Multi-Purpose/CrossFit Bars

  Standard Training Bearing One Basis
 Price $279-$320 $319 $229
 Tensile Strength  194k-196k PSI 190,000 PSI 190,000 PSI
 Shaft Finish bright zinc hard chrome hard chrome
 Knurl Depth moderate moderate light moderate
 Whip average  average average
 Center Knurl no no no
 Rotation bronze bushings  needle bearings bronze bushings

 

Power Bars

  Absolulte Power Bar Elite Power Bar
 Price $330 $295
 Tensile Strength 221,000 PSI 196,000 PSI
 Shaft Finish black oxide bright zinc
 Knurl Depth very aggressive very aggressive
 Whip none  none
 Center Knurl yes yes
 Rotation bronze bushings bronze bushings
 Markings IPF dual IWF/IPF

 

♦ ♦ ♦


Knurling Guide

Knurl aggressiveness is highly subjective. My definition of “very aggressive” will no doubt differ from yours, and both of our definitions will probably differ from the next guys. The following images are just here to help you get an idea of what Vulcan thinks the different terms mean in regard to their own bars. For the record, the differences are subtle – you really just have to touch bar, but maybe this helps a little.

Light/Moderate Knurl

Vulcan light to moderate knurling (One Basic pictured)

Light to Moderate Knurl (One Basic pictured)

Moderate/Medium Knurl

Vulcan moderate to medium knurling (28.5 mm Standard pictured)

Moderate to medium knurl (28.5 mm Standard pictured)

Semi-Aggressive Knurl

Vulcan semi-aggressive knurling (Elite Olympic Trainer pictured)

Semi-aggressive knurling (Elite Oly pictured)

Very Aggressive Knurl

Vulcan very aggressive knurling (Olympic Pro pictured) - linked to image source; thank you WLForums

Very aggressive knurling (Olympic Professional pictured)

This guide has ended up being particularly long, so I really, really hope you guys and gals find it helpful! Please share this, it’s much appreciated. Suggestions, comments, and questions below.


{ 51 comments… add one }
  • clay July 7, 2016, 9:05 am

    I really do like Vulcan. I have the Elite and I love it. The whip is incredible and it feels strong. I am thinking about that new Absolute Power Bar.. I assume it is made by the same manufacturers as the Elite, and I have no hesitation to buy the overseas bars from Vulcan. Great article JB. I hope more folks become more aware of this company. They really do put out great gear.

    • jburgeson July 7, 2016, 12:42 pm

      Thanks Clay! Any headway with the green bar?

      • clay July 7, 2016, 10:13 pm

        The CEO said zinc can come out that color, but I could exchange it on my dime. He assured me that I got a first tier bar. I will not purchase from them again. We talked on the phone civility, but I am disappointed that he could not see my point of view. I am not going to return it because that would be pissing away $50 in shipping My next purchases will be from Vulcan. The bar is OK, I think in retrospect I would have gotten the $229 One Basic.

        Anyways,I cannot overstate how happy I am with the Elite and the Black Bumpers from Vulcan. I find myself gravitating more and more to Vulcan when I want to spend my money. Great stuff and thanks for your reviews because that is why I gave them a shot.

        • jburgeson July 7, 2016, 11:30 pm

          That’s very disappointing. They just clearanced the B&C for no other reason than the batch came out green, so that was kind of a weird thing for Phil to have said. Very random. Well I’m sorry you had to deal with that from them. I never like to hear this kind of thing regarding companies I have reviewed positively.

          That aside, I’m glad Vulcan has done a better job of making you happy.

          • scott July 17, 2016, 5:42 am

            Cook up some liver and put it in the refrigerator. Overnight it can get a tint of green on it. Makes it look like it’s moldy. But it’s perfectly fine. Chemistry can be funny like that.

            My main question: What does 190,000 PSI mean in terms of weight limit. How many lb/kg can the One Basic hold? Is there a conversion chart somewhere which I can use for reference in the future? Couldn’t find one with a google search.

            • jburgeson July 17, 2016, 9:04 am

              There is no chart, no. I wish it was that easy, but it is not.

              But ok, the short answer is that you need to factor in steel quality, shaft diameter, yield rating, and price to get a real feel for a bar’s potential. The only two of these commonly offered to customers is the shaft diameter and the price. In some rare instances (high-end Vulcan bars, for instance) we are given the yield rating as well, but steel quality is almost always a mystery – especially with economy bars. I’ve been at this a while so I get a pretty good feel for a bar based on tensile rating, price, experience, and company reputation, but I realize how confusing it has to be for most other people.

              I don’t want to say ignore tensile strength, but you almost could. My best advice is to do research and just use common sense. A 215,000 PSI bearing bar for $600 seems reasonable or “normal”, yes? Or a basic 190,000 PSI bushing bar for $225-$275 seems reasonable. What doesn’t sound reasonable is a 210,000 PSI bearing bar for $200, or a 256,000 PSI Olympic bearing bar for $300. In other words, if it looks too good to be true, you can bet that it is. Regardless of tensile strength, if the shaft is high quality steel, you won’t bend it. Regardless of tensile strength, if the shaft is low quality steel, you ultimately will bend it. 200, 400, 600-pounds or more – doesn’t matter.

              The Vulcan One Basic is an economy bar, so I wouldn’t recommend it for a 1000-pound deadlifter, but it is a high-quality steel bar versus a low-quality steel bar.

    • John j October 30, 2016, 9:41 am

      I will never buy anything from Vulcan again. Cheap plates (competition) and a defective bar (sleeve) that they would not replace, refund, or fix.

      Think twice before u purchase Vulcan.

      • jburgeson October 31, 2016, 10:03 am

        Cheap competition plates? What makes them cheap? I have both versions of Vulcan Comp Plates and they aren’t different than any other brand.

        What was wrong with the bar sleeve, and what reason was given for not replacing/fixing it?

  • clay August 6, 2016, 7:48 am

    Anyone looking for an Elite, Vulcan has some closeout bars slightly used for $295. They look brand new and unlike Rogue and AB they have a warranty for bending/breaking.

    • jburgeson August 6, 2016, 10:20 am

      Good eye!

      • clay August 9, 2016, 1:03 pm

        Just got one of the closeouts and the bar is immaculate. No scratches, dings or any other signs of use. The website says that they only have 3, but they still are in stock. Love the fact that they are still under warranty and that they didn’t put a different end cap on.

        • jburgeson August 9, 2016, 11:27 pm

          Looks like only one ladies bar left. Was a good deal for sure.

        • Kris August 10, 2016, 10:15 am

          If you had to recommend one bar mainly used for crossfit which one would you recommend? Really think I’m going to go with a Vulcan Plates + Bar package. The package comes with a 20kg One Basic – garage gym 28mm bar or I can upgrade to a Vulcan Standard 28.5mm Mix use – Olympic Bar for an additional $46.50 or I can pay and $84.63 for to (upgrade?) a Vulcan Standard 28mm Olympic Training Barbell?

          Was wonder what you would do from a value $ perspective. Just want a good crossfit bar that I can train everyday with, would bend, and won’t rust up. (I’m from the midwest so it gets mildly humid in the garage gym during the summers but not quite miami or anything). If you have any tips I’d appreciate it. Thanks. Also great review guide!

          • jburgeson August 10, 2016, 10:28 am

            The truth is that all three of those bars will get the job done. The easiest way to pick one is to decide if you have a preference when it comes to knurl depth, then if you care what finish is applied, and then how much you are comfortable spending. You can also refine your options if you care about the shaft diameter. Of course, how much you even notice a .5 mm difference has more to do with your hand size and experience than anything else.

            The One Basic is a really good bar for the money – it’s imported, and that’s why it’s less than the Standards even with the chrome finish (all Standards are USA-made), plus it has the shorter warranty, but in terms of actual steel and bushing quality, the One is a fine bar. Personally I’m kind of a bar snob, and I do think that the Standard (even just the 28.5 version) is worth the difference, but I’m not sure that the $85 difference is worth it, as you get into closer proximity of stuff like the Elite 3.0.

            End of the day, you won’t bend any of these bars short of doing something negligent that would bend any bar. Vulcan uses good bushings, all self-lubricated, and the manufacturing tolerances even on the budget bars is tight. None are bare steel or oxide, so maintenance will be minimal – you won’t see rust unless you damage the finish, which is unlikely.

            • Kris August 10, 2016, 10:39 am

              Good stuff. Thank you very much!

              • Sky August 23, 2016, 7:39 pm

                Which bar did you end up purchasing? I’m in the same boat and trying to decide between the Standard (28.5) and the Elite 3.0 for my home gym. Can’t wait to pull the trigger on the Alpha bumper + bar set.

  • Kris August 11, 2016, 10:54 am

    jburgeson, I was just reading the comments on the power rack and saw you say Vuclan Discounts orders if they 45lbs. bumpers are out and you pre-order them? Do they just randomly select a few orders for discount?

    • Kris August 11, 2016, 10:58 am

      Nvm sorry, just read the following comment.

      • jburgeson August 11, 2016, 11:09 am

        haha yeah sorry about that… I probably confused a lot of people!

  • Andrew Dougan August 13, 2016, 6:57 pm

    Tried to email this to you yesterday, it was returned undeliverable.

    Hi,

    I love your reviews, and they are what led me to purchase all of the
    equipment I now use.

    I purchased a Vulcan elite a few months back, and have been using it in my
    garage. I gave it a really thorough cleaning about once a month, otherwise
    just wiping it down. It was fine over the winter, till about June. Then I
    noticed that the knurling was literally covered in rust where I hold the
    bar for cleans and snatches. See the attached pictures.
    IMAG0163.jpg

    IMAG0164.jpg

    IMAG0165.jpg

    IMAG0166.jpg

    IMAG0167.jpg

    The only thing I can think of is that the humidity greatly increased since
    the winter, often it is over 80% and sometimes (like today) it is 100%
    humidity.

    I also have a Bella bar in the same garage, and it has not oxidized at all.

    I have cleaned the bar as best I could with an ammonia solution, followed
    by wd 40 brushed into the knurling with a nylon brush, and it looks much
    better, but I can’t get all the rust off, and I’m afraid to take a brass
    brush to it because it’s already shown a propensity to rust. A few days
    after cleaning the bar the rust was back and spreading. The only way I have
    found to keep the rust off it is to brush wd 40 onto it after EVERY use,
    otherwise it will literally rust over a weekend.

    The only other problem I am having with the bar is that it doesn’t seem to
    be spinning as well as it did when it was new. This is a more major problem
    than the rust, in my opinion. I noticed the difference about the same time
    as the rust and I’m wondering if the humidity could be to blame for this as
    well.

    I’ve contacted Vulcan about the issue and they said to try a few drops of 3 in 1 inside the sleeves (I haven’t done it yet). They also said the oxidation on the bar was normal, and sent me a few pictures of old elites they have. They are turning brown in color, but it doesn’t look the same as my bar.

    I am at a loss of what to do, as I don’t want to keep oiling my bar after every use. I also would like to know if I should avoid the brass brush to remove the existing more stubborn rust, and if there is a way to remove it at all?

    Sincerely,
    Andrew

    • jburgeson August 13, 2016, 7:43 pm

      I’m getting with you via email so you can attach those images.

      • Andrew Dougan August 13, 2016, 8:13 pm

        Received your email and replied with the original message. Let me know if you got it.

        • jburgeson August 13, 2016, 8:37 pm

          I did not… that is peculiar. Perhaps your attachments are too large? At least in total size for the batch? I really don’t know I’ve never had an issue receiving mail.

          • Andrew Dougan August 13, 2016, 8:50 pm

            Tried sending an email with links only. Also trying to post them here:

            Google says the recipient server did not accept our attempt to connect.

            drive.google.com/file/d/0B134gCNvNibzSlhFZlFqQmxVUlE/view?usp=drivesdk

            drive.google.com/file/d/0B134gCNvNibzb0tUSzI2UExzdTA/view?usp=drivesdk

            drive.google.com/file/d/0B134gCNvNibzMjNSazZBSDlKMUE/view?usp=drivesdk

            drive.google.com/file/d/0B134gCNvNibzNmhvalZ5M19KTU0/view?usp=drivesdk

            drive.google.com/file/d/0B134gCNvNibzdnBGVjFwNUxpZ2M/view?usp=drivesdk

            • jburgeson August 14, 2016, 1:06 pm

              Regarding the spin, what Vulcan told you about 3-in-1 is indeed the solution. Bushing bars need oil from time-to-time, it’s just the way it is. Dust, humidity, chalk, storing vertically, and all kinds of things play a part in how often this needs to be done. If there was something wrong with a component – a busing issue or bend, etc – you’d know it.

              Regarding the rust, that’s a little perplexing. This rust is where your hands are typically touching the bar, right? The un-knurled areas and the center look super clean. In any case, not even bare steel should rust up over the weekend, especially after being treated with oil or WD-40. WD-40 is a much better cleaner than protector by the way, but still it would help reduce oxidation greatly for at least a little while. Your storage conditions sound brutal though being consistently over 80% humidity – I’m not that surprised to see some rust. It’s definitely a combination of the humidity and sweat/oils from your skin. I think that if you can get it under control (and it’s not that bad) 3-in-1 over those areas will keep the rust at bay.

              There are better brushes out there than nylon. Nylon actually doesn’t do much more than remove dirt and chalk. It’s not so good at taking down the oxidation. You can’t use a standard stiff steel brush on chrome for the obvious reason that you’ll take the chrome off along with the oxidation, but there are very thin metal wire brushes that would probably do the trick. I used one of these (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Forney-3-in-x-1-4-in-Hex-Shank-Coarse-Crimped-Wire-Wheel-Brush-72735/206472313) to clean rust off of a Klokov, which is not a bare bar. It took off the rust, but not the finish. You gotta go easy with it… don’t give it all you’ve got, but it does work. Then once you get that under control, oil will prevent further outbreaks in those areas.

              • Andrew Dougan August 14, 2016, 6:50 pm

                Thanks. The rust is where my hands usually are. Regarding rusting over a weekend, maybe it is just the old rust showing through, since I never was able to get it completely off. I’ll give that brush a try. It is indeed very harsh storage conditions, almost tropical. Maybe I’ll have to invest in a dehumidifier for one room in my house, and store my bars there, as I have other items that could benefit from storage there as well. The most perplexing thing to me is that the Bella bar stored under the same conditions and used just as often doesn’t exhibit any signs of oxidation. What are your thoughts on this?

                It looks like you haven’t got any of my emails at all. Do you want me to post the error message google sent me?

                Thanks again for your help,
                Andrew

                • jburgeson August 14, 2016, 10:25 pm

                  I’m not surprised the Bella isn’t oxidizing. Black zinc is extremely effective while it’s present. The issue with black zinc is that because it’s really more of a paint than a sacrificial metal (like real zinc is), it can be rubbed off just with the hands. If the Bella isn’t a daily bar, it’ll look almost new for a long time. If it gets a lot of use, you’ll see the most commonly touched areas of the bar start to fade, turn green, and eventually disappear entirely. When that happens, you’ll get rust.

                  Keep in mind that the Elite is not engineered (hard) chrome, but rather a dense chrome. It protects, but it’s more about the feel – like a raw steel with at least some kind of protection. I don’t have even a hint of rust on my Elite, and even though we get the brutal 80-90% humidity here in Central Texas, it’s not all day every day. I do get rust on bars more prone to it though, but not this particular bar.

                  No I have not received a single email and I think I figured out why.. I’m checking with my hosts to verify. Sorry about all those wasted attempts on your part =/

                • jburgeson August 15, 2016, 2:47 pm

                  I think I fixed it!

  • Brent August 23, 2016, 12:12 am

    I’m trying to decide on the Vulcan elite 3.0, Standard 28.5 bushing or the Matt Chan bar. I’m new to oly lifting (about 10 months) and need something reliable with a better knurl, not soft/fine/light.

    I’ve read you’re review of the Chan bar and am concerned about the black zinc wearing away; it’s currently the only option. I’m hoping the you’re able to provide some insight if the Standard 28.5 bushing bar and Chan are similar enough when describing the knurling? It’s difficult to make a decision without putting a bar through it’s paces… If this was the case I’d take the standard 28.5.

    If the Elite is a far better bar than the standard/Chan, I would be willing to shell out the extra cash. The price difference in Canada between the Elite and Standard 28.5 bushing is about $120… I’m not sure that it’s worth this cost?

    Thanks in advance,
    Brent

    • jburgeson August 23, 2016, 9:02 am

      All three have at least moderate knurl, with the Chan being the most aggressive. For Olympic lifting though the Elite is way better than the other two. It’s 28 mm instead of 28.5 mm, has a grippy finish, and moderate/aggressive knurl. It’s also a whippy bar, which means you can grow into it rather than away from it. The Standard is offered in 28 mm as well, and that’s cool, but it is probably the softest knurled of the three, though I wouldn’t say it’s mild. Still pretty solid grip.

      The Chan is a great bar, but with only black zinc or raw steel offered for that bar (you can request no finish), it’s not my favorite anymore. It’s still a very popular bar among friends, but none of them are snatching with it, just benching, squatting, and deadlifting.

      • Brent August 23, 2016, 12:54 pm

        Thanks for the input… I’ll look at the elite bar for future purchase.
        Brent

  • Tim August 26, 2016, 11:25 am

    I’ve been looking start building my home gym. Been looking everywhere from Rogue, Vulcan, Fringe, to used equipment on Craigslist. From what I’m gathering is that Vulcan is comparable if not better then Rogue equipment in terms of bars/bumpers but doesn’t have the name recognition or same branding yet. I’ve talked to a few people who have had home gyms for a while and they say at least go with Rogue for the squat rack because its quality and if you ever want resell the equipment on craigslist you can get 80-90% the original price there. I don’t plan on selling my equipment maybe fdown the road I will if I want to upgrade one day. Haven’t found any vulcan equipment on craigslist and I’ve seen Rogue equipment on craigslist but it usually sells within a day or too and it isn’t cheap or anything like some other brands of equipment on craigslist. Rogues definitely quality.

    I was also trying to find a rogue squat rack or even power rack on craigslist but I can’t find one within driving distance of my area. I saw one on a R-3 rack that was like $50 off the original price new one. It just wasn’t a great deal in my eyes considering the distance I’d have to drive to get it. I’m thinking about looking into Rogue’s blackfriday “sale” but I’ve heard for the most part its just free shipping (which isn’t nothing). Do they ever actually have real deal like 10-20% off Racks for their blackfriday “sale”?

    Other then that I’m look at a few used craigslist racks but its pretty tough to find a decent brand rack at a fair used price? I see a lot of junk on craigslist like the Marcy, CAP. Then see quite a few Body-Solid and Weider racks ranging from $135-250(I’ve heard mixed reviews on the quality of those brands). Then I’ve seen a few older Tuff Stuff and Parabody Racks, which I’ve heard a few more positive things about, but they cost a bit more and at that point I may consider paying up for a brand new rogue. Have you heard anything positive about Tuff Stuff and Parabody?

    • jburgeson August 26, 2016, 11:43 am

      Tim you’re right about Vulcan lacking the branding and marketing power of Rogue. Vulcan puts out many superior products, but they do not offer nearly as much variety as Rogue does. I think Vulcan excels in the core equipment like the bars and plates, but Rogue is still generally the go-to for the accessories and even racks. Now Vulcan has racks too and the prices are pretty good, but they are still high-quality and expensive racks. You wouldn’t save any money there really – well maybe a little because I think Vulcan ships racks for free right now. But yeah, with racks you have very few long-term options in the retail market, and short of finding that steal on Craigslist, you can’t expect to shave much off the price.

      Rogue does have racks on sale during black friday, but you cannot reasonably expect the rack you’re interested in to be included, and you cannot expect the discount to be much more than 10%. It will ship for free but only if you buy 4 other items. Most people add T-shirts or other small things with big purchases, but if you only need a rack and one other product, you just paid that shipping again by adding on those small items you didn’t really need. It can still be cheaper of course, and it works out well if you need a rack and a bar and plates and all kinds of things at the same time – big shipping savings then.

      Tuff Stuff and Parabody are commercial dealers. Well, kind of commercial dealers. They may have some equipment out there you can get for a reasonable price, but based on their retail prices I can’t see them being a viable option even used. Honestly, most commercial equipment leaves a lot to be desired – they are not designed for real lifters, they are designed for well-decorated, fancy looking residential fitness centers and global gym facilities. You wouldn’t find that stuff in a professional or collegiate training center, but you’ll find it in a hotel or apartment complex gym. If the price on a rack is right, then it’ll still work, but stuff like 4″ spotter spacing instead of 1-2″ and plate storage horns intended for scaling rubber coated plates (45 big, 35 smaller, 25 smaller still, etc.) just makes them less than ideal for true garage strength training. If you do find a good deal, check the height on commercial equipment like that – some of it tends to be 8-9′ tall or more, and that may be a problem in your home.

  • Tim August 26, 2016, 12:04 pm

    Thanks for the quick response. I appreciate it.

    But yeah the Tuff Stuff and Parabody Racks don’t really look “commercial” grade in my opinion. It definitely looks more like Home use or hotel/apartment facility quality, but it has those name brand recognition. Both racks look similar to some weider or body-solid racks I’ve seen quite a bit.

    Tuff Stuff Rack: http://images.craigslist.org/00x0x_4QR3VIrHLah_600x450.jpg

    Parabody Rack: http://images.craigslist.org/01616_7wVg6HD5oHc_600x450.jpg

    I think I could probably negotiate the Racks down somewhere between $150-$225. They look like the standard height between 80in-84in racks (not quite ideal for kipping pull ups for 6 foot guy I guess). I’m looking to use these racks for crossfit workout 5-6 ays a week and probably strength training a couple days a week. Really have no clue on the weight capacities on these models. I’m making an uneducated guessing between 400lbs- 500lbs. weight capacity, many the lesser quality racks are between are 300 lbs. capacity I believe. Thanks again for the help.

    • jburgeson August 26, 2016, 12:14 pm

      Oh I think I was only aware of their commercial lines. I didn’t know either of them had that box-store stuff. My bad. Yeah both of those look pretty cheap, and your guess on weight capacity is probably accurate, if not a little optimistic.

      Well $150 is a huge difference between $600+ of a Rogue or Vulcan unit, and while I find most people who experiment with the cheap stuff end up replacing it within the year, you aren’t out anything but time really. You’ll recover your $150 if you re-sell it probably, unless you actually break it. I also realize that not everyone is comfortable dropping a couple grand on a gym right out of the gate. My own personal gym started with an R4, an original B&R, and Rogue bumpers probably four or five years ago… all of that equipment is still 100% in-service. I’ve modified my rack, but the core unit is still there, rust-free, and good as new. There is something to be said for going with the real gear if it’s feasible to do so, but again, $150 is almost nothing for a rack, and probably tempting.

      • Tim August 26, 2016, 12:39 pm

        Haha yeah that was my thought exactly. I was think maybe I could pay $150 for one of these racks and use it for a couple months and make sure to treat it well and then flip it on craigslist in November and go for a Rogue Rack around blackfriday and fingers crossed get a little $ off and be happy with a quality rack.

        I’m a little bummed Rogue doesn’t offer a discount for buying a Rack/Bar/Bumper combo like some other brands do. I believe Vulcan has the Vulcan Standard and bumper package that saves you a little $ on a discount when you buy both and with rogue they don’t give any discount for the bars with purchase of a rack. I actually think they sell Hi-Temps set at a reduce rate $436 for 260lbs set if you buy them with the Rack which is a little something.

        I actually really like the Hi-Temps that I’ve used at a friends Home gym but the bounce is pretty insane, but I can deal with that. As far as bumpers I think I’m going to go with the Vulcan Alphas (currently out of stock) with bar package. Your Bumper Plate guide really sold me. Do the Rogue Hi-Temps compare well in durability to the vulcan bumpers? I just really want bumpers that will be durable and last, so might as well pay a little more for quality in my mind. I was also talking to a crossfit afilate owner who recommended Wright Equipment package. He told me he stocks his CF affiliate with their bars and bumpers and he says they are solid. He says he loves their Wright CF Bar V.2 20kg – Black Zinc Shaft, Bright Zinc Sleeves – 28.5MM Bar with Dual Knurl. But I’ve never used them or no one I know personally other then him has recommended them.

        • jburgeson August 26, 2016, 1:34 pm

          I’m not a huge fan of crumb rubber myself. The bounce is tolerable like you said, but insert separation is more likely. HI-Temps are better than the Diamond Pro/Wright’s bumpers if you were gonna that route, but Alpha beats both of them and for not much of a price difference (if any, compared to HI-Temps.) Durability is definitely higher with Alphas. I can’t comment on the Wright’s bars though – all I know of them is hearsay.

          For what it’s worth, with Rogue the prices are pretty good already considering domestic manufacturing and the high quality. I don’t think they can afford to give away discounts and too much free shipping and still maintain margins. I never feel like I’m being gouged by them, and I pay all the same prices as everyone else.

  • Rob August 28, 2016, 6:15 pm

    I had a real quick question for you. I was wondering if you think the savings from vulcan’s blackfriday/cyber monday would be significant enough to wait till then to get a bar and bumper package? Or bumper set on sale during BF/CM?

    It looks like the bar and bumper packages are already discounted because they are out of some of the bars and 45lb. plates but do you think the savings will be much more or less then blackfriday/cyber monday if I wait? Someone told me vulcan has had things like 15% off bars in the passed.

    I’m looking to put together a new garage gym and I’ll also being getting a rack or half rack, and was thinking on waiting till Rogues blackfriday or cyber monday to get free shipping ($5 if you order 5 items deal) anyways. Have you ever seen Ohio Bar on sale for BF or CM? I know I’m going to either go with the Ohio bar or Vulcan Standard for Crossfit workouts and I’m just a stickler for deals and can be patient. Can’t find either bars on craigslist used.

    • jburgeson August 28, 2016, 6:23 pm

      Well personally I don’t know if I’d wait three months for the possibility of saving 10%. Generally speaking, you have to be willing to compromise on what you want to get the best deals because retailers also utilize BF to clear out things that don’t sell as well regularly. If you are flexible on the particulars you might save a few bucks – that is, willing to take any number of bars depending on which are on sale. It’s your call though, of course.

      As far as Rogue, they usually have new release bars on sale, and the Rogue Bar 2.0. Sometimes they’ll throw in a limited number of unique finishes on bars that don’t normally have that finish, but it is unlikely (though not impossible) that the Ohio will be on sale. Last year it was again the Rogue Bar 2.0, and the Burgener & Rippetoe (the new one). I want to say they have a galvanized Ohio in limited quantity, but I’m not even positive that was this last year sorry =/

      Free shipping on the rack can be a deal if you have other items you intend to order. That is, you aren’t adding four other items you don’t need just to get free shipping… that kind of negates your savings.

      If you’re a deals guy and you’re not happy unless you know you saved some money, then sure keep paying for the gym for a few more months. You may not get everything on your list, but you’ll save something.

  • Ben August 29, 2016, 9:01 am

    I was wondering if you had any recommendations a bar that is somewhere in between a crossfit bar/olympic lifting bar? I’ve been doing crossfit for a couple years and I’m pretty solid at olympic lifts and I’m a beginner but I’m sort of getting the itch to get more into Olympic lifting the last few months.

    I’ve only ever used bushing bars (rogue 2.0/rogue ohio/wonderbar), other then the occasional time I get my hands a bearing bar when a couple people brought their own personal bars to the box a couple time. I’ve tried an eleiko once and wow it felt like night and day. But eleiko is far out of my budget. (one day maybe haha)

    Everyone I’ve talked to mentions you have to get a bear if you want to be serious in oly lifting which is understandable. I’m building out the garage gym to hopefully save some $ down the road but unfortunately I don’t currently have the funds for 2 bars when I factor in all the other expense in starting the home gym.

    Would you happen to have a recommendation for a bar that is a healthy mix between olympic bar and crossfit bar? I was reading the vulcan guide and you mentioned the Standard Olympic Bearing Bar is in that awkward place between CF and beginner level oly bar, but I think I’m advanced enough to upgrade to a “better” oly bar. I feel bad saying better because I’m sure its a good quality bar. I’m just worried that a standard oly bar will tear up my hands pretty good if use it for CF workouts because I’ve heard they tend to have more aggressive knurling. I’m pretty much open to any brand or suggestions. Just looking for a solid performing bar that is durable. I might also might try and get bar + plates package from the same company if I could save a little $. Any advice would be great! Thanks ahead of time. Your site has been an awesome resource.

    • jburgeson August 29, 2016, 9:51 am

      Ben if you’ve got some experience under your belt from a couple years + of CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting, the Standard Bearing shouldn’t be too aggressive to you. The Vulcan Professional would probably be a bit much for CrossFit, but not the Standard so much, and probably not even the Elites. That whole Standard line pretty much was developed because of CrossFit.

      It is probably in your best interest to go with bearings though if it is within budget. However, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t. If you do stick with bushings, just try and stick with one of the 28 mm Olympic training bars rather than the standard, stiff CrossFit bars – Vulcan Elite, American Barbell Performance or Precision Training, or perhaps even the Rogue 28 mm Training Bar. Hell even the 28 mm bushing Standard is a good mix of Oly and WOD. With this line of bars you get reliable spin, a true 28 mm shaft, and they actually offer some flex – they’ll take your Oly training farther than stiffer, thicker WOD bars.

      The best feeling knurl for your situation would be the AB SS Precision Training because it has a lighter knurl overall, but a raw stainless steel shaft. You get a good grip from the stainless without the sharpness. You pay handsomely for stainless though.

      • Andrew Dougan August 29, 2016, 10:12 am

        I can attest to the elite (bushing) being a great bar for combination oly/CrossFit lifting. It’s practically a budget price for a single bar that will feel right whether you’re doing fight gone bad or a max clean. The knurl is perfect, and very grippy even without chalk, I’ve actually held it covered in oil and it still felt secure. It’s by no means aggressive either. Just make sure to clean the bar well and take care of it, especially if you live Inna humid area, like me. When I spoke to Vulcan about bars, they actually talked me out of the professional, as the knurl would have been too aggressive for CrossFit.

        However, if I had it to do over again, I would have purchased two bars, one for Olympic lifting and one to beat up doing WODs. The sold out AB SS WOD bar would have been perfect, in combination with the elite bearing (which was not available at the time).

  • brent October 13, 2016, 12:50 am

    Hi JB,
    I just purchased a discounted Vulcan Elite 3.0 20 g found in the closeout section. Thank you for all of your assistance.

  • Medwig January 29, 2017, 2:41 pm

    How would you compare the Vulcan elite to the B & R bar. I’ve been doing the starting strength program and am looking to get a better bar – these fit my price point. Really appreciate your site, keep up the good work!!

    • jburgeson January 29, 2017, 5:07 pm

      Are you referring to the Elite 3 Oly bar, or the Elite power bar?

      The B&R has always been a very good bar for that program. 29 mm, bare steel, solid knurl, and plenty of rigidity in the shaft. The only genuine drawback of the B&R versus zinc/chrome bars with similar specs is the need to maintain the steel with oil and the occasional brushing. The steel will always feel better in the hands than an applied finish, but it will rust if it’s neglected.

      • Medwig January 29, 2017, 6:24 pm

        Was referring to the Vulcan Elite Power Bar that you discussed in this article. I see it is zinc which may be better since I live in a more humid environment.

        • jburgeson January 29, 2017, 8:26 pm

          Yeah it will hold up to that moisture a lot better. Other than that, the most noticeable difference between the two will be the knurl. The Elite will be sharper; firmer. The B&R is more on the average side, but it does have the advantage of that raw steel feel. I don’t think that you’d be disappointed in either so I’d just base your decision on price and knurl preference – and well the humidity factor in your case.

  • Ty March 15, 2017, 12:19 am

    Hey I dig your reviews,

    Question for you, I’ve been doing crossfit for over a year now and I’ve really found myself enjoying the Olympic lifting aspect of it. I’ve been debating between two bars and don’t know which one to pull the trigger on. After reading your review on the Vulcan elite it sounds perfect for what I’m looking for which is some crossfit as well as a focus on training my Olympic lifts, but then I read your review of the rogue ss Ohio and that stainless steel sounds so magical and I’m worried a more Olympic focused bar would rip up my hands for the high rep portions of crossfit as well as mess with my big 3 lifts. With those concerns in mind, which bar would you choose of the two?

    • jburgeson March 15, 2017, 11:31 am

      The Elite is much more of an Olympic WL bar than the SS Ohio, and the Elite is just as good for your other lifts as the Ohio really. I think if I were you I would favor the 28 mm, slightly whippier Vulcan Elite if you really do enjoy Olympic WL and aspire to improve those two lifts. Also the ‘moderately aggressive’ knurl is somewhat overstated, which you can confirm in the many reviews of Elite on the product page. It’s tacky and secure, and more aggressive than Vulcan’s multi-purpose line, but certainly not sharp or coarse like a power bar or stage Oly bar. The SS Ohio is also a very nice bar, but it’s stiffer, and you’re paying for the stainless – which is okay, but with the Elite you’re paying for that chrome moly 220k PSI whippy shaft. End of the day, you’d probably be pleased as punch with either, as they are both lifetime bars.

      • Brent March 15, 2017, 12:00 pm

        Having owned a Vulcan Elite and Rogue WL 20kg bar (not the SS Ohio), I can say with certainty that the Elite is not sharp and would not rip up your hands during a high rep WOD or big 3 lifts. The knurl on the Elite is far superior (moderate knurl depth, not sharp like a true powerlifting bar) to my Rogue WL bar, which is supposed to be one of Rogue’s most aggressive knurl. Unfortunately it’s SO PASSIVE that it’s laughable to call it a “firm knurling.” For my money I would go with the Elite…

        • Ty March 15, 2017, 10:55 pm

          Well I’m sold on the elite, I guess this years tax return is being turned into a barbell and some vulcan alpha bumpers. Thanks for the prompt response. I’ll let ya know what I think.

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