The new Eleiko Power Lock Bar is a unique and rather interesting take on the classic Eleiko Training Bar. Matter of fact, the Power Lock is really just a variant of the Eleiko Training Bar. They share all the same hardware, same specifications, and high level of performance; only the new Power Lock has deep grooves cut into the length of the sleeves. Grooves that look really cool, mind you.
I’m sure you already have a pretty good idea of what purpose these grooved sleeves serve, but I’m going to just pretend that you have no clue whatsoever so that I can tell you about it – because that’s what I do. But first, the Power Lock’s specifications:
Update January 2018 – the Power Lock is sort of an independent bar now that Eleiko introduced the NxG Line of barbells. That is to say, the Power Lock didn’t undergo any changes at that time. This review is still perfectly valid though; save for direct comparisons to the Eleiko Training Bar (which is, of course, now an NxG bar.)
Power Lock Training Bar Specifications
- 15 kg (25 mm) or 20 kg (28 mm) bars
- Rotation: 10 high-speed, precision needle bearings
- Shaft: 215,000 PSI tensile strength Swedish steel
- Elasticity: very high whip
- Sleeves: integrated cap, Eleiko special chrome
- Shaft Finish: Eleiko’s special chrome
- Loadable sleeve length: 16¼” (with PL Collars: 12½”) *
- Max Load with PL Collars: approx. 265 kg or 580 lbs.
- Power Lock System: 23 grooves per sleeve; ½” apart from center
- Knurl depth: firm / moderately-aggressive
- Center knurl: 20 kg men’s bar only
- Price: $989 (includes collars)
- Warranty: Conditional 10-years
* There is an inch of total loadable sleeve length lost when the Power Lock Collars are used. This is simply due to the location of the last groove in the sleeve. I only mention this because someone will inevitably do the math and realize that the difference between 16¼ & 12½ is greater than the max width of the collars.
Power Lock (PL) Collar Specifications
- 5 kg pair (2½ kg per collar)
- 4″ diameter (not counting handles), overall [adjustable] thickness of 2¼” – 2¾” [view]
- Chrome plated
- Warranty: 2-years
- Price: included in bar price (previously the collars were $149 on top of the nearly $900 bar price tag.)
By the way, if you’ve got the idea in your head that the Power Lock looks sort of gimmicky, let me assure you that Eleiko’s new creation is a completely functional, high-end piece of training equipment. It may be a niche product, and it may be intended for mature audiences only, but gimmick it is not.
Eleiko Power Lock vs (non NxG) Eleiko Training Bar
In the intro I mentioned that the Power Lock is a variant of the Training Bar. They have the same shaft, same number of precision needle bearings, same chrome finish, and even the same price. Everything is the same save for the grooved sleeves of the Power Lock.
The only situation in which it’s less costly to own the Power Lock over the Trainer is if you intended to buy Eleiko’s Competition Collars with your Training Bar ($289 vs. $149.) I can’t imagine that happens all that often, so the Trainer is technically the more affordable of the two since any (non-Eleiko) collars will do.
Power Lock Tech – Why & How?
There’s no denying how cool this bar looks, especially with those beast, weighted collars, but cool looking isn’t worth a thousand bucks. So what’s the justification for buying this bar over any other Olympic bar then? Well, pretty much convenience.
Here’s the deal… if you’re willing to spend about four seconds attaching each collar rather than the 2 seconds that it takes to lock down “normal” bar collars, then you can train for an unlimited number of high rep sets and never, ever have to push a plate back into position or re-attach a collar that has loosened. This is the point of the Power Lock’s unique design – to eliminate ever having to screw with the plates or collars in between sets, or better yet, in the middle of a set.
How do the collars work? It’s easier than it looks. The collars slide on to the sleeve like any other opened collar. Once you get it all the way to the plates, pull the collar back and it will lock into the first open groove. In most cases, that’s it. All done – lift away.
If there is a decent sized gap left between the plate and collar, spin the large, spikey nut a couple turns to close that gap. Boom, now you’re done. The collars will not come off that sleeve until you re-loosen the spikey thing and hit the release button. Very simple. You can see a quick video demonstration below.
I should mention that the second step of tightening the collar isn’t even required. The gap between collar and plate will never be any bigger than the small distance between each groove on the bar (½”). Only the OCD (/wave) will feel compelled to close that gap each & every time.
After you’ve used these collars a couple times, they become just as quick and easy to attach and remove as any other collar. And if you think OSO Collars looked cool, well pfft!
The Rest of the Bar
Eleiko doesn’t have a dozen different shaft configurations like most other manufacturers. If you’re buying an Olympic WL bar from Eleiko you’re getting the same uber shaft that’s used for all Eleiko Olympic WL bars. From the $500 Eleiko XF all the way up to the $1000 Eleiko Competition Bar, you can expect the same premium, high-whip piece of Swedish steel.
Matter of fact, the only difference between the Power Lock and the Full Competition Bar in terms of hardware (not counting the grooved sleeves, of course) is a more moderate knurl on the Power Lock, and the lack of an IWF sticker. You get the same 215k PSI super high whip shaft, same 10 precision needle bearings, same overall bar specifications, and even the same little brush for cleaning chalk and gunk out of the knurling.
For those of you that don’t know, the knurling depth and firmness on the various Eleiko WL bars varies based on the bar. As you move through the ranks of WL bars (XF, Sport Trainer, IWF Trainer, & IWF Competition) the knurling gets progressively more aggressive. In other words, the XF is the most moderate, while the Competition is super aggressive.
Remember that the Power Lock Trainer is an IWF Trainer, therefore the knurl is exactly the same. A little firmer than the Sport Trainer, but not quite as aggressive as the Competition. Personally I find the knurling on the Trainer to be just right, and I can’t imagine anyone ever complaining that it’s too soft. On the contrary, those not used to aggressive knurl may find the Power Lock to be slightly intimidating at first. Fear not though; you’ll adjust.
Performance – Spin and Whip
I won’t spend much time here as I can’t really say anything that hasn’t been said a hundred times. Eleiko whip is top tier. It’s possible to find comparable whip in other bars (the Euro, for instance), but don’t expect to do much better. Elasticity is already obvious with even two wheels per sleeve, and it gets more and more pronounced as you move up in weight. There is never a question of performance in this department when it comes to the Swedes.
Spin is much the same. Five premium needle bearings per sleeve is about as good as it gets. Tell me a story about an Eleiko bar that doesn’t spin and I’ll immediately ask you what in the hell you did to it to make it not spin.
Durability of Chrome on Sleeves
One of the things that I worried about before I actually had the bar in front of me was how well the plates would slide over those grooves. Were the plates going to catch on the edges and tear off the chrome finish? Turns out the distance between each groove is far enough apart that the plate won’t catch on the grooves unless you put some serious tilt on the plate as you are sliding it across, and this is only really possible to do easily with the very thin 10 kg plates and the thinnest change plates.
Sadly though, the method most people use to remove plates from a loaded Oly bar that’s sitting on the ground does not work very well with the Power Lock. In other words, lifting the end of the bar high enough to pull the plate off the bar with the plate that you’re trying to remove does not work well, and is actually a rather frustrating battle. I would recommend a mini deadlift jack or a dead wedge if you care about the chrome finish holding up for any length of time.
Some more images
As much as I’d love to show this bar off with Eleiko Comp Discs instead of Rogue Trainers, who can afford it!?
Random Power Lock Perk – Silence!
Because of the tightening potential of the Power Lock collars and the strict manufacturing tolerances of high-end bars, the Power Lock bar may be the quietest bar on the market. If you think about it, even steel change plates can be locked down tightly. Couple this with an actual quiet bumper plate like the XF and your noise problems may be solved once and for all. Just a thought!
Should I Buy a Power Lock?
The Eleiko Power Lock is a very interesting bar. It’s extremely unique in function, incredibly cool to look at, and performs just as well as any other Eleiko Olympic bar. That said, I think that there are two very important factors to consider before purchasing this bar.
For starters, you simply have to be an avid Olympic weightlifter or high-rolling CrossFitter. This bar’s unique locking mechanism serves no purpose and offers no advantage to lifters who are not frequently and repeatedly dropping a loaded bar. Do not spend this much cash on a bar if you only snatch or clean once a week. This bar will also offer you very little over the standard IWF Trainer if you change weight each and every set – it’s just not going to be quite as efficient for you.
Secondly, you have to be able to afford this bar without feeling bad or having to starve. The Power Lock Bar + Collars sells for well over a thousand bucks after shipping. It’s neat and it’s certainly fancy, but is it 10-bills neat? Not if you’re on a budget it’s not.
So yeah, the Power Lock is a good match for a very specific type of lifter, and that would be the lifter that does multiple sets at the same weight. So long as you keep the same weight on the bar for more than one small set, the Power Lock will simplify your training sessions. If that’s not you, it’s just an expensive novelty.