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Fringe Sport 20 kg Men’s Wonder Bar V2 Review

This is a review for the most up-to-date version of the 20kg men’s Wonder Bar V2 by Fringe Sport, a bar that has been heavily refined over the years while still maintaining it’s sub $200 price point; a price that even includes the shipping, mind you.

Like all other products that they sell, Fringe Sport is incredibly proud of this bar. If you don’t believe me, go read the bar’s product description; or any product description really. They’re really kind of ridiculous sometimes, but they are thorough! I’ll give them that!

In any case, since I now have the new Wonder Bar V2 we’re going to see if it’s anything to be proud of.


Wonder Bar V2 Review – Specifications

Fringe Sport Wonder Bar V2 Review - Specifications

  • 20 kg men’s Olympic bar
  • shaft diameter: 28 mm
  • dual IWF/IPF hash marks
  • tensile strength: 205k PSI
  • yield strength: 160k PSI
  • sleeve assembly: snap-ring
  • rotation: Oilite bronze bushings (a bearing variant also exists)
  • whip: poor
  • loadable sleeve length: 16″
  • finish: black zinc (shaft & sleeves)
  • knurl: mild/moderate
  • warranty: 1-year return policy, lifetime warranty against defects
  • price: $199 (bushing variant)

Wonder Bar V2 Review – Sleeve Assembly & Rotation

The Wonder Bar can be purchased with bronze Oilite Bushings for $199 or with economical needle bearings for $20 more. I have only the bushing variant so that’s the only variant I will be commenting on in this review.

Fringe Sport Wonder Bar V2 Review - bronze bushing variant

As a side note; and take this with a grain of salt since I haven’t handled the bearing version of the Wonder; but I don’t tend to recommend economy bearing bars to people. People who actually need an Olympic bearing bar know who they are and if they are spending less than several hundred dollars on their bar they are probably selling themselves short. That said, if you just want to have a bearing bar to have a bearing bar, by all means have at it. 

The bushing variant of the Wonder Bar utilizes bronze bushings and the sleeve assembly is held together using a snap ring design. This is all pretty standard.

The Wonder Bar V2 has perfectly normal spin for a bronze bushing bar. Turnover is smooth and reliable and I can’t see rotation ever being an issue for a WOD no matter how strong of a CrossFit athlete you are. No complains in the spin department.

Fringe Sport Wonder Bar V2 Review - the black zinc sleeves

It’s worth mentioning that I had a previous version of the Fringe Wonder Bar, and although I really like the looks of Fringe Sport’s fancy metallic end caps, the way they rattled around in the sleeve drove me bonkers. I must not have been the only one to notice this because this issue has been rectified in the current version. No more rattling.

Finally, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Wonder Bar is much quieter to drop than many comparably priced (and even higher priced) WOD bars. Very quiet actually.


Wonder Bar V2 Review – Bar Shaft & Elasticity

The Wonder Bar V2 sports a 28 mm, high tensile strength, moderate yield, alloy steel shaft. The shaft is rated at 205k PSI and has a 160k PSI yield rating.

Fringe Sport Wonder Bar V2 Review - the 28 mm alloy bar shaft

As the price and the specs would indicate this is somewhat of a mid-range shaft, and this is all fine and good considering that the Wonder Bar is an economy bar – designed to be used for general strength training and WODs. So mid-range it may be, but you’re not gonna bend or destroy the Wonder Bar unless you have a 600-pound squat,  and somehow mistook this bar for a power bar.

Regarding the elasticity, the Wonder is pretty stiff. Matter of fact, I have to give Fringe Sport a little bit of credit here because even they describe the bar as having no whip. It’s been my experience that most economy bars with stiff shafts are still described by the manufacturers as being whippy even though they absolutely are not. I get quite tired of having to contradict the manufacturers on things like this and thankfully I don’t have to do that here.

All in all the Wonder Bar has a perfectly good shaft for the price point. I could do without the black zinc but I’ll talk about that later.


Wonder Bar V2 Review – Knurling

The Wonder Bar V2 is dual-marked and has no center knurl. The knurling itself is moderate; pretty mild when compared to a high-end Olympic WL bar. This is a common theme among WOD bars though, and it has been my experience that CrossFitters and the typical gym rat are not only unaccustomed to anything overly aggressive, but also don’t tend to like it when confronted with aggressive knurling. In other words, the knurling on the Wonder V2 is about where it should be considering its audience – not too sharp, not too soft.

Fringe Sport Wonder Bar V2 Review - professional knurling close-up

The deadlift is probably the only lift that would benefit from something more aggressive, but heavy deads are not generally prescribed in WODs; at least that’s my understanding. Chalk is always your friend with WODs simply because those sets are so long and chalk will need to be your friend with the deadlift as well – that is if you plan to pull heavy with the Wonder.

Other than that, snatch, clean, bench, press, squat, and row away with the Wonder Bar.


Wonder Bar V2 Review – Finish

The Wonder Bar V2 is finished entirely in black zinc. As many of you know already I am not a big fan of black zinc. It looks sharp new but it chips and scuffs easily and gets kind of ugly as it ages. Now I suppose there’s nothing wrong with a barbell that looks like it’s been used and abused, but I still prefer bright zinc on economy bars. It just ages better and chips less.

Fringe Sport Wonder Bar V2 Review - the black zinc finish

All that said, it is kind of hard to complain about the finish on a bar that’s $199 delivered. It’s a pretty solid intro/intermediate WOD bar at this price and at least it has a finish.


Wonder Bar V2 versus Rogue Bar 2.0

The Rogue Bar 2.0 is a 190k PSI, 28.5 mm, dual-marked Olympic bar, and it’s the Wonder Bar’s biggest competitor.

These two bars aren’t exactly the same in terms of their features, but they are quite similar in terms of their performance and they are both economy bars designed to target the same type of customer; CrossFitters, and those needing an affordable general purpose gym bar.

So what’s different between these two? The price, for starters. The Rogue Bar 2.0 sells for $265 plus another $20 or so for shipping versus the Wonder’s $199 delivered. Now the 2.0 is technically a slightly fancier barbell, but I’m just not sure that it’s worth $85 more than the Wonder Bar. Let’s talk about it and see.

Both bars have black zinc shafts which I don’t care for, but the Rogue Bar does have bright zinc sleeves instead of just more black zinc. The Rogue Bar also has a mildly whipper shaft despite it being thicker at 28.5 mm. I find the bright zinc sleeves to be a huge perk because that finish looks and ages better,  but that difference in whip is mostly irrelevant considering the Rogue Bar’s target customer; so that’s not much of a perk.

The Rogue Bar also has grooved sleeves that allow you to customize the bar’s look a little, but this has literally no impact on function or performance so I don’t attach any real value to it. Additionally, the Rogue Bar is a domestic product. This does have a significant impact on pricing and you may be perfectly fine paying more to know your bar was made in the USA.

Last, but not least, the Wonder Bar is infinitely quieter to drop than the Rogue Bar. This may not matter to you,  but it definitely matters to those with irritable neighbors or sleeping family members.

So who wins? I’ll actually let you decide that one.


Wonder Bar V2 versus Vulcan One Basic

The Vulcan One Basic is another big competitor to the Wonder Bar, and like the 2.0 it is still more expensive than the Wonder.  The Vulcan has more similarities to the Wonder than the Rogue Bar does including a 28 mm shaft, the use of bronze bushings, a similar knurl depth, and the fact that it’s imported.

What makes the Vulcan One different is the price ($249 shipped versus $199 shipped), and the use of a hard chrome finish instead of black zinc. That hard chrome finish on the Vulcan is a big improvement over black zinc.  It looks nicer when new, it will look that way for many years longer, and the hash marks are much easier to see in a dark garage gym.

The warranty on the One Basic is short at only four years, but let’s be honest, the likelihood of you calling in a defect even after the first 6-months is very slim. Everyone likes to see the words “lifetime warranty”, but what does that really mean?

I like the Vulcan One Basic more than the Rogue Bar 2.0 if you’re going to spend more than the $199 demanded for the Wonder, but I also think that if you’re pushing into that $250 to $300 range you’re just too close to a mid-range bar to not spend a little more.  If you’re just looking for a solid, reliable WOD bar at an economical price, you should probably stick with the Wonder.


Wonder Bar V2 Review – Summary & Final Thoughts

Fringe Sport Wonder Bar V2 Review - Final Thoughts & Summary

I liked the previous generation of the Wonder Bar less than I like this one. It has been much improved in the last couple years. Now personally I have fancier bars than this one and you all know it, so I’m not going to sit here and tell you the Wonder is my new favorite bar, but if you are a novice to intermediate CrossFitter or even an almost-hardcore gym rat looking for an affordable, reliable new barbell then I have zero issues recommending the Wonder. It’s a solid bar at a fair price.


 

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Steven Ward January 6, 2019, 11:45 am

    Just another of many Chinese bars offered from secondaries. There are way too many now for it to make it. Sorry. I tend to support those who actually make their own bars or at least have been in the business a long time. There are way more bar options out there than anyone will ever need and all seem to think theirs is the “one and only” or new. Just my opinion.

    • jburgeson January 6, 2019, 12:14 pm

      I know what you mean, but remember that not everybody cares. Look at the swarms of people who shop Titan. Clearly performance and safety and country of origin are not a concern for most. Also I think you know how few American companies actually manufacture their own bars. You can count them on one hand, and they’re not all even good bars. For what it is, this bar is fine… better than most and comparable to its USA-made competition while being much less expensive. Will you or I or even most of my serious readers buy and/or use a $199 WOD bar? Nope. But if all I did was review $600+ Oly bars and $400+ power bars then I’d have very few readers indeed.

  • Brent Arnold June 5, 2020, 2:39 pm

    The Wonder Bar V2 is now $250 (due to demand, COVID, etc). Do you think it’s still worth it vs the Rogue 2.0?

    • jburgeson June 6, 2020, 12:05 pm

      Considering Rogue didn’t raise prices, no. Though I don’t think there is a hell of a lot of functional difference between the two when it comes down to it.

      That said, the Rogue has less black zinc, and that’s something to me, and the American-made aspect of the Rogue may be something to you.

      No one has to explain economics to me, but FS sure wasted no time raising prices when all this started. I know that’s how it goes/can go, but it still rubs me the wrong way a little considering most of these other manufacturers did not.

  • khansen July 25, 2020, 9:06 pm

    I need a new bar in this price range and am comparing the WBv2 to the Rep Gladiator WL, which looks like a good alternative, especially with the Chrome coating. Do you have any experience with this one?

    • jburgeson July 26, 2020, 1:01 am

      The new Gladiator, no, not yet. I had my eye on it for a while back before Covid hit. I guess they had an issue with that run so they were discounted. I skipped it because I don’t ever want to review a “seconds” bar. Then you just couldn’t buy any bar. All that said, I’ve been pretty impressed with the Rep bars I have owned and reviewed. If I was ever going into that choice blind (Rep vs Fringe), I’d probably go with Rep unless there was some very specific feature of the Rep that wasn’t present on the Fringe bar that I didn’t care for… if that makes any sense.

      • khansen July 26, 2020, 8:52 am

        Much appreciated. It does make sense. So many items are comparable today that decisions come down to a feature you don’t like (center knurling or black zinc finish, for example).

        • jburgeson July 26, 2020, 11:06 am

          Exactly. And in the case of these two companies, if all other things are equal, I’d personally favor Rep.

  • mchaffee August 11, 2020, 9:51 am

    Great article and extremely helpful. I plan on using this bar for all my lifts (bench, press, squat, and deadlift). Since this is considered an economy bar and not a power bar, what would the heaviest load you would recommend putting on this bar? Considering that with deadlifts you are dropping the weights after each rep, albeit controlled, can you go too heavy with this bar? Thanks

    • jburgeson August 11, 2020, 1:04 pm

      I don’t really know what the exact answer to that would be. Surely a 28 mm bar for only a couple hundred bucks isn’t going to ward off a bend as well as a premium, 29 mm power bar. That said, I don’t think that the average or even slightly above average lifter will ever put a permanent bend to this bar. A lot of the low price comes from the inexpensive finish, inexpensive hardware, and a couple other money-saving tactics. The steel is still infinitely better than what you get for a $50-$100 box-store bar.

      Plus really, if this bar was bending for people it would be all over the reviews. It’s not an amazing bar in today’s market but it’s pretty popular and they’ve sold a boatload of them. We’d hear about permanent bends for sure.

  • ALock September 20, 2020, 4:35 am

    I have this bar backordered for $262. It hasn’t shipped yet but judging by your previous comments, I’m wondering if I made the right choice at this price.

    The problem is that there aren’t any other bars available at the moment for purchase and when sites do have them in stock, they get snatched up quickly before I get a chance to order

    Should I be patient and just wait or should I eat the extra costs??
    When you did this review, it was $199 and I’m now I’m wondering if it’s worth the $60 mark up

    • jburgeson September 20, 2020, 9:32 am

      Yeah it just depends what you’re going to be doing with it. For non-professional, general strength training and CrossFit-style training it’s going to get the job done. The knurl isn’t exactly what you want for heavy pulls, but the Wonder has found its way into who knows how many thousands of CrossFit gyms, and it seems well-liked in that environment.

      The price increase due to Covid demands is horse shit in my opinion, but what can you do? What I would suggest is to receive the bar if you can’t find an alternative that will reach you any sooner. If and when you find something more to your liking for the long-term, order that bar as well and then take advantage of Fringe’s 365-days no questions return policy (that they pay shipping on), and send that thing back to them.

      It’s hard to track down good stuff when you need it still, and in most cases a bar is a bar is a bar if it’s the difference between lifting and not lifting. I don’t hate the Wonder if it’s in the right hands, but there are definitely better bars (which you know anyway based on the price – whether that’s $199 or $262.)

      So yeah, try it unless you can get something better shipped sooner. They have a good return policy at Fringe.

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