Welcome to the Garage Gym’s Olympic Barbell Review and Shopping Guide. If you happen to be in the market for a quality weightlifting bar, power bar, WOD bar, or a general-purpose bar, then you’ve come to the right place. If you’re interested in learning the basics of barbell construction, then again, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re a man, woman, or youngster; newbie, intermediate, or elite athlete; in this bar guide, you’ll find information and specs for some of the best barbell options on the market for you and your home gym.
In an effort to stay current with new equipment and changing prices, this page is frequently updated. The last update happened March 2020
Barbell Guide Table of Contents
- Understanding Barbell Specifications (intended for new lifters)
- The Barbell Review & Shopping Guide
- My Top Bar Picks
Other In-Depth Barbell Guides (on this site)
- 15 kg Women’s Olympic Bars
- Expanded Powerlifting Bar Guide
- Comprehensive Rogue Bar Guide
- Comprehensive Vulcan Bar Guide
- A Guide to Specialty Bars
Understanding Barbell Specifications
Barbell Differences for Men, Women & Youths
Barbell’s are not all the same for men, women, and junior lifters. They vary in weight, shaft diameter, and in many cases overall bar length. Most bars are 20 kg men’s bars, but many major manufacturers offer a women’s version of their most popular 20 kg bars.
Below are the typical specs for each barbell type:
- Men’s Barbell: weighs 20 kg (~44 pounds), has a bar shaft diameter of 28-29 mm, and length of 2.2 meters (7.2 feet).
- Women’s Barbell: weighs 15 kg (~33 pounds), has a bar shaft diameter of 25 mm, and a length of 2.01 meters (~79 inches). Reduction in overall length comes off the sleeves.
- Youth Barbell: weighs 10 kg (~22 pound), has bar shaft diameter of 25 mm, and length of 60-67 inches. Reduction in overall length comes off the sleeves.
Type of Bar (Olympic vs Power)
There are three primary types of barbells available; Olympic WL bars, powerlifting bars, and dual-marked, multi-purpose bars. Power bars are designed for heavy deadlifts, squats, and bench press. They are rather rigid, stiff bars that do not store elastic energy, making them a poor choice for the Olympic lifts. Power bars have their own unique knurl markings (or hash marks) that differ from those on the Olympic bar.
Olympic barbells are designed for the two explosive Olympic lifts; the snatch and clean and jerk. Olympic bars are generally smaller in diameter and more flexible than Power bars (28 mm vs 29 mm+), and they store more elastic energy (referred to as whip) that is used to the lifter’s advantage when performing heavy cleans. The markings on an Olympic bar are also a couple of inches further out from center than the markings on Power bars.
There is a third type of bar that has become commonplace these days, and that is the dual-marked weightlifting bar. These hybrid bars are intended to be used as a general-purpose bar; a bar that is suitable for the Olympic lifts but can also handle the slower, heavier power lifts. This type of non-specialized barbell is generally the best choice for most beginner and intermediate lifters, and CrossFitters, and more times than not what you will find in a box or affiliate setting.
Both the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) and the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) specify that a men’s 20 kg barbell should have a center knurl. For women’s 15 kg bars, no center knurl is required by the IWF, and there are no 15 kg power bars to worry about.
What this means is that you can expect the majority of 20 kg bars you come across to have a center knurl, while almost no 15 kg bars will have a center knurl. If you prefer to not have center knurling on a 20 kg bar, you’ll want to look at multi-purpose (CrossFit) bars; as more times than not those do not feature a center knurl.
Center knurling is usually passive (softer than the rest of the bar’s knurling), but not 100% of the time. Just make sure to read product descriptions carefully if this feature (or lack of) is important to you.
Sleeve Assembly: Bushing vs Bearing
This describes which component(s) are used to permit the sleeves to freely spin around the shaft; or in the case of the Olympic lifts, the shaft to spin freely within the sleeves.
Bushings are a low friction material (usually bronze; sometimes composite) placed between the shaft and the sleeve. Needle bearings (or roller bearings) rotate far more smoothly than bushings but they almost always increase the production cost of the bar. Both mechanisms produce ample sleeve rotation, but needle bearings allow for a smoother, quieter spin and a more reliable turnover at maximum loads.
Nearly all dual-marked, multi-purpose bars and power bars are bushing bars. You generally only find needle bearings in high-end Olympic weightlifting bars. Novices don’t need to pay the premium for bearings, as any benefit of owning a bearing bar will be lost on them.
It’s in your best interest to go with either bronze or composite when selecting a bushing bar. Materials like brass and steel are not a good choice for this application, and seeing either of these materials being used is kind of a red flag in terms of the overall quality of the bar. The wholesale cost of cast bronze bushings is probably about $.50 a bushing. If a manufacturer is cutting corners on this component, imagine where else corners were cut.
Bar Tensile Strength Ratings
Measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), this is the supposed breaking point of the shaft. This number is intended to illustrate the strength (and ideally an inferred quality level) of the steel used for that particular bar. It is the modern-day equivalent of the ‘maximum capacity‘ rating that we used to see in product descriptions in the past.
This rating is important, but it is also irrelevant. Tensile strength is tested by pulling the shaft apart from opposite ends; something a barbell shaft is never ever actually subjected to. The test you see being performed in manufacturer images and videos that show the shaft of the bar pinned on both ends and being bent using a hydraulic pin in the center is actually a test for the yield strength, a far more important number, and one we are almost never given in a barbell product description. Yield rating tells us at what point the shaft will deform to a point that it will not return to straight, so you can see why this would be considered a more useful figure.
Despite the fact that tensile strength rating alone is only marginally useful to know, it is still worth paying some attention to. Since lower tensile strength ratings equate to a lower yield rating, you should still avoid any bars with low tensile strength (less than 165k) or no tensile strength rating at all. I recommend that you stick with 190k and up, as this steel has proven to be very resistant to developing permanent bends.
What you do not want to do is allow tensile strength ratings to be the determining factor of a barbell purchase. Many manufacturer’s know that you’ll be looking for this number, so they use it as a means to market inferior barbells to you. They’ll buy up some super cheap, high tensile strength, low yield strength scrap steel and put together a bar that looks amazing on paper, but is absolute garbage in reality. They basically take advantage of the fact that yield ratings are considered ‘trade secrets’.
Don’t overthink it though. After reading this guide you’ll know what a 200k+ PSI Olympic bar should cost, so you’ll know that when you see a $250 bar with specs like a $700 Rogue that something is up, and you’ll know to avoid that $250 scrap steel bar. Vulcan has some crazy high tensile strength bars, but Vulcan actually discloses their yield strength ratings and they aren’t $250 bars. Just be real. No one sells $700 worth of barbell for half that. Sorry.
Shaft and Sleeve Finishes
Finishes are the protective coating applied to the steel. Their main purpose is to prevent or reduce oxidation, but aesthetics are a big factor too. Here are the most common finishes:
- Black oxide: Most natural feel among finishes, but limited oxidation protection. Tends to rub off where hands frequently touch the bar. Maintenance/upkeep required.
- Black zinc: Good oxidation protection, but has mediocre feel (feels slick with sweaty hands). Vibrant color fades to awful green. Absolutely horrible finish for sleeves.
- Black manganese: Fairly uncommon finish. Has a grippy texture on par with oxide, but with more oxidation protection. Not sure why it’s not more often.
- Bright zinc: Less costly alternative to hard chrome. Offers great oxidation protection if not in an extremely humid region, as zinc is a sacrificial metal.
- Hard chrome: Hard chrome (includes polished and satin chrome) is probably the most durable of the common finishes. It stays shiny, doesn’t chip, and doesn’t rust except in the most hostile of conditions.
- Decorative chrome: Usually found on cheap box-store bars. It looks like chrome, but it’s not. It chips/flakes off very easily because rust actually develops under this finish. If you buy a “chrome” bar that’s under $100, it’s just decorative chrome.
- Cerakote: This finish used to be exclusive to American Barbell. Cerakote is a colored ceramic typically used for firearms. It’s durable, grippy, and quite oxidation resistant. It’s also very pricey compared to other finishes.
- E-Coat: An electronically-applied paint that offers great adhesion, coverage, and rust / oxidation-resistance. It’s inexpensive and cosmetically superior to black zinc (it ages a lot better than the other black finishes; Cerakote excluded.)
Most unfinished bars (raw bars) are carbon steel. They feel the most natural in hands, they are affordable, but they will definitely rust if not maintained. Stainless steel is an alternative to carbon steel. Same natural feel, but no rust. Unfinished stainless steel will cost you more than any of these other finishes though. It’s the premium shaft material.
Sleeve Design (Snap Ring vs End Cap)
This is the method by which the sleeve is secured to the bar. Both snap rings and end caps work well and I wouldn’t worry too much about which your bar of choice has. If however you do want to learn more about how these both work, try this article.
I do suggest that you run away from any bar with a hex bolt poking out of the sleeve. This is indicative of a cheap bar. You shouldn’t come across a hex bolt when dealing with reputable brands; you’re likely only to see this on bars offered in big box and sporting good stores and a good number of the inexpensive bars on Amazon (such as CAP, Marcy, Gold’s Gym, etc.)
Barbell Guide – Comparisons & Reviews
All the bars listed in this guide meet a couple of minimum requirements. First, they all have a stated tensile strength, not just a max static weight. This alone eliminates just about every cheap box-store bar. I very strongly believe that buying a $100 barbell is an absolute waste of money, and I refuse to pretend otherwise just to temporarily save you a few bucks. If you are lucky you’ll just outgrow a junk bar in a few months and simply be out some cash. If you are unlucky you’ll break the bar during a lift and hurt yourself.
If you want to be a cheapskate do it on a different piece of equipment, not your barbell. This is your most important piece of training equipment.
Second, all of the bars in this buyers guide are manufactured by well established, reputable companies that know what they’re doing and they stand behind their work. Vulcan Strength, American Barbell, Rogue Fitness, Eleiko, Ivanko, Rep and so on are all established players in the industry and they all offer warranties.
Finally, I did not include any of the bars that are like those I alluded to in the tensile strength explanation above; scrap iron bars with artificially inflated specs. Trust me when I say that a 28 mm, 210k-250k PSI, needle bearing bar that sells for $200-$300 is a piece of junk made with the cheapest components available. No one can assemble a durable, functional barbell with those specs for that kind of money and still have a profit margin. It cannot be done, not even in China. If it looks too good to be true, it is.
Go to: Dual-Marked Bars | Olympic Bearing Bars | Power Bars | Youth Bars
Dual-Marked / Multi-Purpose Bars
Many of the most popular bars on the market right now are dual-marked bars. These bars will allow you to perform both the explosive Olympic lifts and the slower powerlifting lifts all on the same bar. These bars are generally 28.5 mm bushing bars, but some variation does exist. Multi-purpose bars generally quite affordable. They are more versatile than power or Olympic bars, perfect for most athletes, and ideal in CrossFit and garage gym settings.
The 28.5 mm Vulcan Standard
The 28.5 mm Vulcan Standard is a USA-made, multi-purpose bushing bar. The shaft of the Standard is rated at 194,000 PSI, the sleeves spin on oil-impregnated bronze bushings and the knurl is moderate; which, along with the lack of center knurling, makes this bar ideal for high-rep work. The Vulcan Standard is a reliable and affordable piece of equipment that has the added bonus of not having a single drop of black zinc anywhere on the bar – rather it is finished in resilient, bright zinc. The Standard ells for $299.
This bar was actually designed to withstand the day-in and day-out abuse of a commercial gym or CrossFit box and is warranted for precisely that. If the Vulcan Standard can handle the negligence typical of that kind of an environment imagine how well and for how long it’ll keep up in your garage gym.
The Standard is a great alternative to both the Rogue Bar 2.0 and the Bella Bar (yes, there is a 15 kg Standard as well). While both of these Rogue bars are also USA-made, reliable, and priced reasonably, the Standard does have the advantage of sintered bronze bushings over cast bronze; and like I previously mentioned; no black zinc. [full Standard review here]
The 28.5 mm Vulcan Standard currently has about 50 5-star reviews. There’s also a 28 mm variant of the USA-made Vulcan Standard that has a nickel-chrome shaft finish. This variant would be more suitable for those whose interests lie heavily on the Olympic lifts and less on the slower strength lifts like the bench press. All great options; all USA-made.
American Barbell Cerakote California Bar
The California Bar was American Barbell’s first dual-marked CrossFit bar, and it was initially considered their answer to the Rogue Bar 2.0. However, in the last year or so it’s received a number of upgrades that have put the AB California Bar’s specs (and cost) more in line with higher-end multi-purpose bars like the SS Ohio Bar than the classic Rogue Bar.
The California Bar sports the industry-standard, 190k PSI, alloy steel shaft. It has dual IPF / IWF markings, no center knurl, and sleeves that spin reliably on industrial-grade, high-load composite bushings rather than classic bronze bushings. What makes the California special is the finish. The shaft is coated with black graphite Cerakote; the same rust-resistant finish used for firearms. Cerakote is clean, consistent, completely rust-proof, and naturally grippy.
A couple of other features that make the California different from the Rogue bars (and most other multi-purpose bars, for that matter) is the use of a 28 mm shaft rather than the typical 28.5 mm shaft, and the use of industrial chrome for the sleeves rather than a cheaper bright or black zinc finish. [see full California Bar review]
So between the 28 mm shaft, chrome sleeves, and the Cerakote finish (a finish that AB first brought to market btw) you end up with a rather premium multi-purpose bar; but all of these features do put the price on the high-end of WOD bars ($335). This is more expensive than all of the standard Ohio bars. Be that as it may, as the proud owner of five American Barbell bars I do not hesitate to recommend the California Bar. It has a flawless 5-star review rating as well.
Fringe Sport Hybrid Bar
The Fringe Sport Hybrid Bar is a fairly unique, dual-marked, multi-purpose bar, and one that I like very much. It sets itself apart from other multi-purpose bars in a number of ways, all of which I’ll gladly tell you about!
The Hybrid Bar is a 28.5 mm, dual-marked bar, but rather than the same, moderate knurling found on most WOD and multi-purpose bars, the Hybrid has a moderately aggressive outer knurling, and that knurl is set further out from center in an effort to protect your shins during cleans and deadlifts. There is even a passive center knurl rather than no center knurl at all.
The Hybrid Bar also has a much higher than average tensile strength rating for a dual-mark barbell; 216k PSI versus an industry average of about 190k PSI. The shaft is also coated in matte chrome while the sleeves are polished chrome, both superior to the zinc found on so many of these bars.
Finally, the sleeves contain needle bearings rather than just bushings, making the Hybrid a great choice if you have reason to believe that you’ll be transitioning from WODs to Olympic weightlifting. There will be no need to immediately upgrade your bar.
So yeah, the Hybrid Bar is a real standout in the multi-purpose bar market, but it comes at a price; the Hybrid is $399 rather than closer to $300 like most others. Is it worth it? I certainly think so! Read my Hybrid Review here for more detailed information on this bar.
Rogue Stainless Steel Ohio Bar (SS Ohio)
The Stainless Steel Ohio by Rogue is the best priced stainless steel bar on the market, and one of Rogue’s best bars overall. At $350 this dual-marked barbell has a 195k PSI stainless steel shaft, composite bushing system, and bright chrome sleeves. It is a very beautiful and functional piece of equipment.
The 28.5 mm shaft of the SS Ohio offers whip on par with Rogue’s other multi-purpose bars and knurling that’s far superior to any zinc or chrome finished multi-purpose bar that I know of (even the Matt Chan). This is a fantastic bar for anyone who trains both the big three and the Olympic lifts with the same bar, as it performs well for both.
I personally think that the SS Ohio is one of the best bars in the current Rogue line-up, and definitely a contender for a home gym. If you are considering any of the basic Ohio Bars for your garage gym, the SS Ohio is a no-brainer upgrade so long as you can afford to pay the minor price difference. You’ll be happy you made the jump if you do, I can tell you that with certainty. [SS Ohio Bar Review].
The 20 kg Rogue Bar 2.0
The Rogue Bar 2.0 is a 20 kg, 28.5 mm multi-purpose, CrossFit bar. The 190k PSI shaft is dual-marked with no center knurl, and finished in black zinc. Bright zinc sleeves rotate on a pair of composite bushings. As an interesting little bonus, the shoulder is machine grooved so that custom-colored rubber bands can be added as a way to personalize your bar.
If your budget is in the mid-$200’s, the American-made Rogue Bar should be on your short-list. It’s the most commonly purchased bar for CrossFit boxes and garage gym WODs, and there are over 200+ 5-star reviews for this bar (in addition to the countless off-site reviews) to prove its incredible value, durability, and performance. The only real downsides to the 2.0 is that it’s quite loud to drop, and that it has black zinc.
Rogue finally released multiple rubber bracelets for the sleeves, so now the Rogue Bar 2.0 is customizable in reality, and not just in theory.
The 15 kg Bella 2.0 (The Women’s Rogue Bar)
This is the women’s 15 kg version of The Rogue Bar. The Bella 2.0 has similar construction to the Rogue Bar (bright zinc on black zinc, 190k PSI shaft, dual-marked, etc), however, the shaft is narrower (25 mm), it has cast bronze bushings instead of composite, and the bar is slightly shorter at 79-3/8″ (the difference in length comes off the sleeves, not the shaft).
The Rogue Bella Bar is a solid ladies bar, and the best thing about it is the $215 price tag.
The Bella 2.0 is also available with a Cerakote finish. The Cerakote version features all the same specifications, only the shaft and sleeve finish has changed. Currently there are like a dozen different color options for Cerakote Bella; all selling for $275. [Cerakote Bella review]
The 20 kg Rogue Ohio Bar & Ohio Variants
Rogue’s Ohio Bar is a 20 kg, multi-purpose (CrossFit) bar with a 28.5 mm shaft that is rated at 190k PSI; the same shaft used for the Rogue Bar 2.0 actually. The Ohio Bar sports a pair of cast bronze bushings, has moderate knurl (Rogue’s “standard” knurl), and average whip. The Ohio Bar is available in multiple different finish options including black zinc / bright zinc for $282, black oxide for $295, and multiple Cerakote options for $325.
The Ohio Bar is Rogue’s flagship bar; the first bar to be manufactured entirely at the Rogue campus in Columbus, Ohio. It currently has a 5-star rating based on over 200 reviews, and tons of positive feedback for this bar can be found all over the www. The only variant of the Ohio Bar that I see no purpose for in the $282 zinc bar. The Rogue Bar 2.0 is effectively the same bar for about $30 less – just go with that if you don’t want black oxide or Cerakote.
FYI: The following bars are identical to the Ohio Bar, only with different finishes: the Castro Bar (bare steel) and Operator Bar (olive drab or desert sand Cerakote). Froning’s black bar (zinc) has been discontinued, but it too was an Ohio variant. Cerakote Ohio Bars are listed on their own page, much like the Stainless Steel Ohio Bar is (discussed above).
The Rogue Matt Chan Bar is yet another variant of the Ohio Bar, only with the Chan it’s not the finish that’s different, but rather the knurl situation. The outer knurling of the Chan is set further away from center to allow for a wider stance with deadlifts (a blessing for taller folks like me) while also being knurled more aggressively than the other variants. It also sports a passive center knurl; something that the other variants do not have. Fantastic barbell. [see Chan Bar review]
In my opinion, the classic Ohio Bar is nearly obsolete thanks to all the other variants. I can see the appeal of an Operator, Chan, or the stainless steel version, but with the Rogue Bar 2.0 being less expensive I cannot see buying a Classic Ohio Bar over that.
York Burgener and Rippetoe 20 kg Bar Review
The original York B&R Bar is discontinued and has been replaced with the Rogue B&R Bar. The newest version of this bar is built to feel the same as the original but a few things have changed in terms of specifications; the tensile strength of the shaft is up to 205k PSI (from 190k); there is no longer an end cap, but rather the standard Rogue snap ring system; and the bronze bushings are no longer self-lubricating sintered bronze, but rather a simple cast bronze bushing. The price has remained the same.
In addition to the 20 kg men’s B&R, there is a women’s 15 kg B&R. Both of these are great multi-purpose bars, and the ladies version is one of the only bare steel options in that 15 kg category, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I liked the York a little bit more. I really dug those bolt-on end caps, and sintered bushings just hold lubricant so much better than cast bronze bushings. Oh well, it is what it is.
The standard men’s B&R is $295, and the women’s is $205 – a difference in price so large that it literally confuses me. This bar is great for novices and for Starting Strength.
Vulcan One Basic Economy Bar Review
The Vulcan One Basic Bar is one of the better economy multi-purpose, CrossFit-style bars currently on the market. At $249 it’s quite competitive with the other 190,000 PSI bars (such as the Rogue Bar 2.0, Ohio Bar, and the California Bar) yet even at its lower price point has some features that make it even more appealing. For instance, the men’s One Basic is fully chromed; it has no zinc. It also has a true 28 mm shaft rather than 28.5 mm shaft. The One Basic also ships for free, unlike the Rogue and American Barbell bars.
The One is offered in both a men’s 20 kg and women’s 15 kg version ($219). Both of these bars used to be black zinc coated (middle bar in above image) but that finish easily chipped and scratched away so Vulcan started using chrome instead.
This bar is a very real alternative to some tried-and-true mid-range bars. When compared to the lesser imports like the Bomba, Team Bar, and other similar bars from the small CrossFit shops, the difference in quality and performance is night and day. The One Basic will serve novices well, and will even grow with them and handle intermediate training too. [review]
Again Faster Team Bar 2.0 Review
The Again Faster Team Bar is a train wreck of a bar, and should absolutely be avoided. The only reason I bother to mention it here and risk drawing any attention to it or the brand is to save people who have it on their short list from actually buying it.
Normally I would just let the reviews do the talking, but Again Faster (owned by X-Training) has been removing the negative reviews from their site. As in, they are literally just deleting the reviews that speak to the Team Bar’s bent shafts, frozen sleeves, and their total lack of willingness to make exchanges or offer returns (an extremely disgraceful and unforgivable thing for a company to do.)
If you’re so inclined and somewhat savvy, you can use the Internet archives to dig up these reviews, but a customer who stumbles upon AF would probably never think to do this, so I felt it was my duty to point it out here. Below are a few of the reviews out there that cannot be deleted and hidden from you. Shop Again Faster and X-Training at your own risk.Video Review #1 | Video Review #2 | Video Review #3
Wonder Bar V2 Review
The Fringe Sport Wonder Bar V2 is an entry-level WOD bar offered either as a bushing bar or a bearing bar ($219 and $239, respectively.) The 28.5 mm shaft is rated at 205k PSI and the yield is rated at 160k PSI. The entire bar is coated in my least favorite finish: black zinc.
I don’t mind the bushing version of the Wonder Bar for novices, but I am not a big fan of the bearing version. When a 205k PSI barbell with eight total needle bearings can be delivered for only $239, well it’s pretty obvious how cheap those bearings must be. Now, that shaft on a bushing bar for $219 delivered makes much more sense. Not only that, we’re told that the bushings are oil-impregnated bushings, which we like.
In terms of overall feel, the Wonder Bar is pretty normal as WOD bars go. The knurl is fairly moderate, there is no center knurl, and rotation is fine (average.) The thing that stands out the most about this bar is the low, $219 price tag versus the $250 of the Vulcan One Basic, or the $265 of the Rogue Bar 2.0. If you’re a dedicated Fringe Sport fan; and I know they’re out there; I strongly recommend that you save up a little bit more and go for the Hybrid Bar. It costs twice as much but it’s 5x the bar.
28 mm Olympic Weightlifting Bearing Bars
Olympic Weightlifting Barbells are designed for the two explosive lifts; the snatch and clean & jerk. True Olympic barbells have a 28 mm shaft diameter (25 mm for women’s), and they will almost always utilize the more expensive roller bearings for sleeve rotation rather than using bushings. Matter of fact, all of the bars in this section are bearing WL bars, but I have included bushing-based training bars in the section immediately following this one.
American Barbell Stainless Steel Olympic Bar (SS Pro)
The Stainless Steel Bearing Bar is American Barbell’s finest and most expensive bar. It’s an American-made, 20-kg, 28 mm Olympic bearing bar built around a 190k PSI stainless steel shaft. It has American Barbell’s highly-refined, moderate knurl, and the sleeves are finished in a very thick and resilient layer of hard chrome.
Stainless steel is an incredible material to use for a barbell shaft. It is superior to just about all other material and finish options out there because stainless offers a natural and secure grip that no other applied finish can compare to. Bare carbon steel will feel just as good, but unfinished carbon steel will rust. Stainless steel will not. Stainless steel bars also don’t need to have overly aggressive knurl to stick to your hands, making them ideal for longer training sessions than super-aggressive, competition-style Olympic bars.
Another slightly less obvious feature of the Stainless Steel Bearing Bar that makes it better than the competition is in the sleeves; or more specifically, the bearings. American Barbell is one of the only companies to use high-load track bearings in their high-end Olympic bars. What this boils down to is a bearing that won’t wear out over time, will rotate reliably under any load, and will never lose its ability to rotate. You will never in your life clean the amount of weight this bar can handle.
All these features; the stainless steel and the premium bearings; come with a price, though. You will pay $125 more for the SS Pro than you’d pay for the equivalent, non-stainless steel Performance Olympic Bar (the chrome version of this same bar), and about $40 more than the chrome Rogue Olympic Bar.
So is it worth the cost? Well, I own this bar and I think that it’s worth every damn penny, and I picked it up when it was $799! The sleeves are a beautiful and resilient chrome, the grip is solid and completely secure, the bearings can handle more weight than you’ll ever need for it to, and the whip is above average. This bar is as functional as it is beautiful and I think the new $675 price tag is more than reasonable price for such a premium piece of equipment. I absolutely recommend it. [SS Pro full review]
Vulcan Professional Needle Bearing Olympic Bar
This is one of Vulcan’s high-performance, Olympic WL bars. It’s not only comparable to the IWF Training Bars (DHS, Elieko, ZKC, etc.) but perhaps even superior to them. It’s also less expensive; by a lot in many cases.
The Vulcan Professional Oly WL Bar is a 20 kg, 28 mm needle bearing bar. The shaft specs blow all other professional bars out of the water. It has a sick, lab-verified tensile strength of over 240k PSI, and a yield strength rating of 223k. The yield strength is actually higher than the tensile strength of all other professional Olympic bars. It would practically take an act of God or an almost deliberate form of negligence to put a permanent bend in this bar.
The Vulcan Pro is said to be one of the most elastic (whippiest) Olympic bars on the market at high weights, and it displays its reflexive properties even at moderate weights. The whole bar is finished in engineered, hard chrome; which is beautiful, durable, and thick enough to contribute to the bar’s overall strength.
If you are looking for a true, competition-worthy, Olympic WL Bar but you do not want to pay the $800+ price tag of an IWF-certified bar, this bar deserves to be considered. The Vulcan Pro is an end-game Olympic bar, and if you choose to buy another Olympic bar after buying the Vulcan Pro, it will be for the fun of it, not out of necessity. $599 shipped (15 kg women’s variant is $579). [see full review]
Rogue Olympic WL Bar & Rogue Oly Variants
Not all that long ago, Rogue developed the Rogue Olympic WL Bar line to compete with the high-dollar, IWF trainers. At a starting price of $495, these American-made bearing bars are definitely far less expensive than their European and Chinese counterparts yet they do offer comparable quality and performance.
The Rogue Olympic WL Bar is a 20 kg, 28 mm Olympic bearing bar. The standard variant is made with both US and European steel, has a tensile strength rating of 215,000 PSI, and is finished entirely in bright zinc. It has no center knurl, but there is an IWF-certified version of this same bar that does have the required center knurl. Both versions of the Rogue Oly Bar are straightness tested before leaving Rogue HQ.
In addition to the two bright zinc variants, there is also a Cerakote version of the Rogue Oly Bar that has a black Cerakote shaft and chrome sleeves, and a stainless steel version that has chrome sleeves like the Cerakote version, but the SS variant does have a slightly lower tensile strength shaft (200k PSI vs 215k PSI). Neither of these variants has a center knurl.
There is also an IWF-certified, 15 kg women’s version of the Rogue Olympic WL Bar, and it uses the 215k PSI steel as the 20 kg men’s bar. It sells for the same $495 as the men’s bar as well. There is also a Cerakote version of the women’s Rogue Oly Bar that sells for $525.
Finally, there is now the Pyrros SS Olympic Bar, a variant of the SS Oly Bar that features a more aggressive knurl, custom greasing process that mimics track bearings, and of course its own custom, Greek-themed Pyrros end-cap. The price is the same at $595, and is by all accounts a better buy than the basic Stainless Steel Oly Bar.
Rogue Euro 28 mm Olympic WL Bar
The Euro Olympic Bar is an upgrade of sorts to the Rogue Olympic Bar, and one of the only US-made alternatives to the high-end, competition bars like those from Sweden and Japan. While this bar shares many similarities with Rogue’s Oly Bars (including IWF certification); it is different enough to be its own bar.
The Euro has the same 215k PSI shaft as the Rogue Oly, a value that puts it completely on par with the other IWF bars. Rather than being finished in zinc or chrome, the steel shaft is finished in a clear, high-gloss Cerakote. The sleeves are friction welded and finished in hard chrome, and as per the requirements of the IWF there is a center knurl.
The Euro sells for a very reasonable price tag considering that it’s certified. It’s considerably less expensive than a Uesaka or Eleiko at just $545, yet it is still capable of going toe-to-toe with either of them in terms of specifications (and the Asian IWF bars as well.) The knurling of the Euro is a lot less aggressive than that of other IWF bars which I find a little surprising, but that does kind of make it a standout in the market for those who prefer less bite. [Rogue Euro Review].
Ivanko OB-20KG Olympic Bar
No other company more thoroughly tests their bars than Ivanko. Each and every premium bar is tested for defects in the steel with no less than three separate tests: x-ray, mag, and ultra-sonic. Ivanko barbells are also straightness tested to ensure that no deviation greater than 0.006/ft over the length of the bar exists. Good luck finding an Ivanko defect!
The OB-20 KG Olympic bar is a polished, black oxide, true 28 mm Olympic bar with a steel shaft rated at 200,000+ PSI. The price for this bar is about $650, which is reasonable for an Ivanko bar (for what that’s worth).
There is also a stainless steel version of this bar; the OBS-20 KG Olympic Bar, and that bar is rated at 218,000 PSI and sells for over $1000! A bit less reasonable.
Both of these are fine bars, but not too many people want oxide on an Olympic bar, and the stainless variant is just way too expensive.
28 mm Olympic WL Training Bars
These bars are more or less the same as the Olympic WL bearing bars. They have 28 mm, high-whip shafts designed exclusively for the two explosive lifts, only they utilize a bushing system for sleeve rotation rather than high-cost roller bearings.
The point of these bushing-based Olympic bars is simply to provide a less-costly option for Olympic training. These are great for beginners to the sport, adequate for intermediates, & less than ideal for professional lifters (go with bearings).
American Barbell Precision Training Bar
The Precision Training Bar is a very nice training bar. It’s a lot more expensive than the rest of the Olympic training bars that I’ll talk about, but that’s because it is the exact same bar as the above-mentioned SS Professional Bar, only with a composite bushing system instead of needle bearings. In other words, it’s more expensive because it’s a) a stainless steel barbell and b) it’s an American Barbell bar.
Like the SS Pro, the tensile strength of the stainless shaft is 190,000 PSI. This IWF-spec’d bar is made in the USA, comes with a lifetime warranty, and is offered in both a 28 mm, 20 kg version, and a women’s 25 mm, 15 kg version. I have a ton of experience with American Barbell’s stainless steel bars (I own many of them); I think they’re very well-designed, high-performance bars that look just as amazing as they feel. They’re expensive though, this bar being $450.
Alternatively, American Barbell does off a version of this bar that is far more in line with the competition, yet still a fantastic bar. For $325 you can pick up the Performance Trainer. The Performance is basically the same as the Precision, only the stainless steel shaft is chrome finished alloy steel. You can’t go wrong with either of these bars. The Performance Training Bar is just as much bar for those that can’t afford the luxury of stainless steel.
Rogue 28 mm Olympic Training Bar
The 28 mm Olympic Training Bar is Rogue’s affordable alternative to the Rogue 28 mm Oly Bearing Bar. For $325 you get Rogue’s standard 190k PSI shaft (instead of the newer 215k PSI shaft), the standard, moderate knurl pattern, bright zinc-finished sleeves, and no center knurl. What you don’t get are needle bearings. These have been replaced with simple, cast bronze bushings.
This is one of the more reasonably priced 28 mm training bars on the market. It’s a fine bar offered by an outstanding company. The only real drawback in my opinion is the use of zinc rather than chrome; or rather the lack of chrome as an option. Black zinc is an awful finish, I feel, and currently that’s all that’s available. There is also a women’s version of the Olympic Training Bar (15 kg, 25 mm shaft.)
If budget is your primary concern when shopping for a 28 mm trainer then this may be your bar. If you can throw a few more bucks at this bar (and I strongly suggest that you do), then check out the Vulcan Elite 4.0 (discussed next).
Vulcan 28mm Elite Olympic Training Bar
The Vulcan Elite Olympic Training Bar is an amazing barbell overall, and an unbelievable barbell for the price. The Vulcan Elite is a 28 mm, 20 kg, self-lubricating bushing bar with an incredible 221k PSI tensile strength and 206k yield rating. This is a chrome moly bar with a matte chrome finish on the shaft (has a sticky grip like black oxide) and engineered chrome sleeves. What it all boils down to is that the Elite has phenomenal whip, high-quality steel, and great protection against oxidation.
The Elite adheres to all IWF specifications, including having the center knurl. The bar has moderate knurling typical of an Olympic training bar, but the center knurl is of a lower depth in order to be more accommodating to high rep clean sets – making this a good choice for elite CrossFit as well as Olympic training. The sleeves of this bar are also grooved to keep rubber change plates on the bar when used outside of the collars.
You will not find a nicer Olympic training bar for the money. Matter of fact the only way to improve upon this bar is to upgrade to a bearing bar. $369 with free shipping for the men’s, and $359 with free shipping for the women’s Elite. [Vulcan Elite review]
GetRx’d Space City Bar Review
Since a couple people have asked, the Space City is basically an old Chad Vaughn Bar (no longer in production), which is basically an old Vulcan Elite. I don’t recommend the GetRX’d Space City over the Elite, as the Vulcan has better steel (it is literally the whippiest shaft on the marker for under $600), better bushings, much better knurling, a better finish (black zinc is the worst), and best of all, a lower price.
In other words, buying a Get Space City for more cash makes no sense whatsoever. Vulcan Elite every time.
Power Bars are designed for the big three powerlifting movements; the bench press, squat, and deadlift. Power bars have thicker shafts than weightlifting bars (usually 29 mm) and are knurled and marked differently than weightlifting bars (the marks are closer to center). Real power bars will also always have a center knurling, whereas it’s not uncommon to find a WL bar without a center knurl.
Power bars are larger in diameter because stiffness and rigidity is desired for the Big-3 lifts, and the bar needs to maintain that stiffness under much larger loads than is typically loaded onto a weightlifting bar. Additionally, power bars don’t need the sleeves to spin as quickly so they are almost always bushing bars.
All power bars are considered to be men’s bars in that they are all either 45-lbs or 20 kg. No 35-lb or 15 kg power bars exist. Women are expected to use the same equipment as men.
For more power bars, see the Comprehensive Power Bar Guide.
Rep Fitness Deep Knurl Power Bar EX
The Rep Fitness Deep Knurl EX is a fully-stainless steel power bar; that’s both a stainless steel shaft and stainless steel sleeves.
Rated at 200k PSI, the shaft of the Deep Knurl is both super stiff and aggressively knurled. As a matter of fact, the Deep Knurl has one of the best-feeling aggro knurls out there. The peaks of the perfectly-spaced knurl have been just slightly blunted to take the edge off the knurl that would otherwise be pretty damn sharp. It’s hard to describe how much the Deep Knurl sticks to the hands without punishing them.
It’s nearly impossible to find something wrong with this Rep power bar. A fully stainless bar with texture-less sleeves (no noise, no grinding), decent sleeve rotation, a lifetime warranty, and a price that comes in remarkably low all things considered ($379).
I’ve reviewed this bar just like I have most the bars on this page, and I can say with honesty that the Rep Deep Knurl is one of my all-time favorite power bars. I think it’s a huge mistake to not have this power bar on your shortlist.
American Barbell SS Elite Power Bar Review
The American Barbell Elite Power Bar is a 29 mm stainless steel power bar that is probably the closest we’re ever going to get to the classic (and retired) AB Super Power Bar; my own personal favorite (yes, even over the Deep Knurl EX). At $450, the Elite is an expensive bar for the big three, but it is a hard bar to beat when it comes to overall feel, grip, performance, and construction quality, and you’ll find that it’s the perfect bar for more than the big three.
The knurl depth of the AB Elite is standard American Barbell; which as many of you know is mild to moderate. While normally this is the opposite of what you’d want on a power bar, the fact that its a stainless steel bar with moderate knurl makes it surprisingly appealing. That is to say, the Elite offers a very nice grip without being a cheese grater, and unlike it’s biggest rival; the SS Ohio Power Bar; the Elite isn’t uncomfortable for back squats like the OPB can be because it doesn’t have that super aggro center knurl.
It should also be said that American Barbell just makes amazingly refined, tight bars. There is zero lateral play in the sleeves, the industrial composite bushings are smooth and reliable under any load, and the beautiful, hard chrome finish on the sleeves will outlast pretty much any other manufacturers finish. What I like to demonstrate to folks who visit my garage gym is the ‘AB vs. the others’ drop test. I simply drop an unloaded AB bar from 4-5″ and listen to the sound it makes then do the same with nearly any other brand’s power bar. AB is always ridiculously quieter, which illustrates well how precisely the components fit together.
Is American Barbell a hint more expensive than the couple other USA-made bars? Yes, but you’ll give an AB to your kid some day in perfect functional condition – and I don’t doubt that he or she will then give it to their kid. Best American bar manufacturer. [view review]
Vulcan Absolute Power Bar
The Vulcan Absolute Power Bar is currently the highest-rated tensile strength power bar on the market under $600, and it will cost you no where near that much cash. At 221,000 PSI, this 29 mm beast of a bar will handle any amount of weight you can throw at it. The shaft is aggressively knurled and finished in black oxide, and the sleeves are finished in a very nice matte chrome. Veteran lifters will feel right at home with the Absolute.
The Absolute is a 20 kg bar with bronze bushings. It sells for $339 including the shipping, it has a perfect 5-star review rating, and it has a lifetime warranty against breaking & bending. This bar is amazing, and I highly recommend it. [Vulcan Absolute Review]
There is also a fully-stainless steel version of the Vulcan Absolute Power Bar as well, and it too is really quite impressive. Much like the Rep Deep Knurl Power Bar, the SS Absolute is a higher tensile strength bar with a higher price tag. It’s basically the only way to upgrade a Deep Knurl EX. I dig both versions of the Absolute, but if you can’t (or don’t want to) pay the premium for the SS variant, don’t think for a second that you won’t be just as happy with the black oxide variant. [Vulcan SS Absolute Review]
Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar
The most well known power bar around simply must be the classic Texas Power Bar (TPB) by Capps Welding. The Texas Power Bar is 86″ long with 17″ of loadable sleeve length, has a 28.5 mm shaft, aggressive knurling, and a 4″ center knurling. It’s a 20kg bar rated at 190k PSI, and it has a 1500 lb max capacity.
The Texas Power Bar is a solid powerlifting bar and the price is still very reasonable after all these years (base $269 for totally bare steel). I don’t care for the black zinc shaft option, but chrome is still available if you don’t want a raw or black zinc bar. The most you’ll pay for the fully-chromed TPB is about $315, direct from Capps.
While there are certainly more premium options on the market, you can’t argue with exactly how well this bar has stood the test of time, and no other bar can match the aesthetics of a Texas Power Bar with those recessed end caps and pin holes in the sleeves.
Vulcan Elite Powerlifting Bar
The Vulcan Elite Powerlifting Bar is by and far the most aggressive powerlifting bar I’ve laid my hands on… ever!
The Vulcan Elite is a 29 mm, 196k PSI tensile strength power bar with one of the most rigid shafts in existence. If you can summon some elasticity from this bar then I’ll be pretty damn impressed because it just really, really wants to stay straight.
This bar is finished in a black zinc finish on the shaft, and bright zinc on the sleeves. Those sleeves spin around a pair of Oilite brand, bronze bushings; the best bushing option around for maintenance-free barbells. The Elite is $369 with shipping and it’s made in the USA.
So, I hate black zinc, but this is one instance where that has to be overlooked because the Vulcan Elite Power Bar is in a class all its own. If you want or need the most aggressive bar you can find, it’s the Elite. The knurl is sharp af (and I’m not too proud of typing those letters together), so if that makes your day then you’ll just have to come to terms with the finish.
CAP OB-86B Power Bar
I’ve been reluctant to include any CAP bars on this site, as I really hate recommending box-store equipment, but the CAP OB-86B is probably the least amount of dough that you could spend on a bar and not have it break or bend within a week, so I have finally decided to talk about it.
Let me just briefly say that the OB-86B is not marketed and labeled as a power bar, but it is indeed a power bar. It has only IPF markings, crappy steel bushings that don’t spin well and it’s rigid as hell. Even the knurl is very power-bar’ish. Despite the use of the term Olympic in the name of this bar it is absolutely a power bar. The only thing that CAP left off this bar is a center knurl, which is actually another minor reason I hesitated to include it.
The OB-86B has a tensile strength rating of 130k PSI, a price of about $125-150 depending on which way the wind is blowing at Amazon, and no real warranty. This is a beginner’s bar. It will not handle a boatload of weight, but it’ll get you by if you’re flat broke and just need to lift.
While this is indeed the best product that CAP has produced in a long time, that isn’t saying too much, so don’t run out and equip your gym with CAP-branded products. Nine times out of ten you will be disappointed.
Rogue Ohio Power Bar (OPB)
The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is a 205k PSI power bar with a 29 mm shaft. The OPB is stiff, it is rigid, and it has practically no elasticity whatsoever. The Ohio Power Bar is offered in two styles; both with multiple finish options. There is a 45-lb version that is currently available in five total finish varieties, and a 20 kg, IPF-certified version that is offered in two finishes.The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is probably the nicest power bar at its price point; at least when talking about the bare steel version. The knurl is coarse and very aggressive, the build is as solid as any Rogue bar, and you just can’t beat the feel of raw steel. This is the bar you buy on a budget, not a box-store bar. It starts at only $265 for bare steel.
Rogue also released both variants (lbs and kgs) in stainless steel at a more premium price. Stainless is an obvious upgrade if it’s within budget to do so, but there is still nothing wrong with lifting the raw Ohio – they technically feel the same, only the stainless won’t rust.
Ivanko OBX-20KG Powerlifting Bar
Bust out the wallet. The Ivanko OBX-20KG Power Bar is 20 kg and has a thin, 28 mm, 200k PSI shaft. This bar has a black oxide coating and the center knurling is 4.75″ rather than 4″. This bar is sweet, IPF approved, and expensive; well over $600! If it helps, each Ivanko bar is mag tested, ultra sonic tested, and x-ray tested for defects in the steel – Ivanko is serious about putting out quality bars.
There is also a stainless steel version of this power bar that’s rated at 218k PSI. It’s a great bar, but at over $1200 it’s a total rip off. There are way too many good power bars out there for half or a third of that cost to even bother considering spending that kind of money.
I am blown away by the limited number of youth bars available (quality youth bars, that is). If you know of any that you’d like to recommend for this review, leave a comment.
OSO Mini – Kid’s Technique Bar
The OSO Mini is a 5-lb, 48-inch long anodized aluminum bar designed for teaching children proper lifting technique. The shaft is 22 mm thick, the sleeves spin on a unique, low-cost bearing system, and the bar can handle being loaded to up to 50-pounds. The Mini is made in the USA and comes in three different colors; the red being unique to Rogue. $99
American Barbell Junior Gym Bar
The American Barbell Junior Gym Bar is a great choice for a beginning youth lifter. It can be used for a variety of lifts; it features impact resistant composite bushings, it has a normal 28 mm shaft, a chrome finish, and weighs in at just under 30 pounds. The total bar length is 5′, the distance between sleeves is about 38″, and the loadable sleeve length is 9.68″.
It doesn’t specify, but I’m assuming based on the weight that this is a steel bar rather than aluminium. $155
Rogue 10 kg Junior Bar
The Rogue Junior Bar is a 10 kg bar with a 25 mm black zinc shaft. This 66.75″ long bar is shorter than standard 15 kg and 20 kg bars, but the distance between collars is the same as a competition bar; the difference comes off the sleeves (at only 6.6″ long each.) Rogue’s Junior Bar is a cast bronze bushing bar with snap rings, and it has an impressive 190k PSI tensile strength (same as any Rogue bushing bar).
This junior bar is different from other Junior bars in that it is dual marked for both Olympic and Power lifting. It has no center knurling. USA- made, $175
Olympic Barbell Guide Summary & Recommendations
So the take away is this; there are a lot of solid bars on the market. Just about every barbell manufacturer offers something unique. Rogue Fitness has what must be the largest variety of bars and finish options, Vulcan has the most unique, high-end barbells, American Barbell makes the highest quality bars in America, and Rep Fitness is stepping in and trying hard to make their mark and steal some of these other manufacturer’s sales. There’s something for everyone.
So what are my favorites? My recommendations? Let’s see, shall we?
My Pick for a WOD / CrossFit Bar
WOD bars like the Rogue Bar 2.0, the Ohio Bars, and all of the other, similar, multi-purpose bars from all the other manufacturers feel very much the same to me. WOD bars have mild knurling with no center, bushings, and more times than not, a 28.5 mm shaft. WOD bars are designed to be middle-of-the-road; they perform well for anything, but excel in nothing.
I can’t argue that two of the better deals on WOD bars are the Rogue Bar 2.0 and the 15 kg women’s Bella Bar. Both of these bars fill CrossFit affiliates and garage gyms all around the world because they are reliable, perform well, and are affordable. Many of you will default to one of these Rogue bars simply because of how popular they are, and that’s okay.
That said, the 28 mm Vulcan One Basic does give the Rogue Bar a run for its money. They are about the same price, but the hard chrome finish, 28 mm shaft, and included shipping is hard to ignore. I mean, you can’t personalize the Vulcan One with colored rubber bands, but do you care?
If you’re more of an elite-level CrossFitter putting up some respectable numbers in both the Olympic lifts, or you are likely to participate in the Games, it probably wouldn’t hurt to grab a Rogue Olympic WL Bar. It’s a higher performance bar for the clean and snatch, and it’s also a bearing bar. More importantly, it’s commonly used in the CrossFit Games.
My Pick for a Professional 28 mm Olympic WL Bar
With no consideration to price, I’d have to say the American Barbell SS Pro. It’s the ultimate high-end training bar, because it has a medium-depth knurl that is far more accommodating to long training sessions than the IWF cheese graters, but because of the use of a stainless steel shaft there is no sacrifice to grip security. Matter of fact, even with less coarseness the American Barbell SS Pro offers a comparable grip to the IWF trainers.
In addition to the quality and feel of the knurl, the bearings of the SS Pro are simply insane; they are unstoppable. No amount of weight that you could load onto this bar will slow down or seize the bearings. The bar is a champ, and it’s original $799 is now only $675 making it even more competitive with the European and Asian IWF bars.
For something more traditional (and less expensive), the Vulcan Professional would be my next choice. The specs are off the charts and the price is reasonable. It’s basically a comp-level Olympic WL bar without the cost of IWF-certification added into the price. Don’t buy a DHS, ZKC or even an Eleiko without trying a Vulcan Pro first. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
My Pick for an 28 mm Olympic Trainer (bushing)
Hands down the Vulcan Elite 3.0. It’s a self-lubricating bar that’s stronger and whippier than any bar you’ve lifted on; bushing, bearing, or otherwise. The Elite is a beautiful bar, and it is also unbelievable affordable when you consider what you’re getting.
I like the Vulcan Elite more than the American Barbell Precision Bar despite the fact that the AB is a stainless steel bar simply because the Elite is $100 less and whippier. I like the Elite a lot more than the Rogue 28 mm Trainer because the Rogue doesn’t offer anything special for that $325 price tag. The Vulcan Elite Trainer simply has no real competition in this niche category of barbells. It’s worth every penny, and it’s worth waiting for if out of stock.
My Pick for a General Strength and Conditioning Bar
By general strength and conditioning, I’m thinking of your standard gym workout… presses, rows, squats, deadlifts, power cleans, and pretty much anything you can imagine doing in a gym environment while not specializing in anything in particular.
I’m a huge fan of the Fringe Sport Hybrid Bar. It’s a little on the expensive side when talking about multi-purpose bars, but it’s an extremely feature-rich piece of equipment. It has knurl that offers more bite than almost all other multi-purpose bars, that shin-friendly knurl pattern like the Matt Chan Bar, bearings and bushings for reliable sleeve rotation, two great finishes and beautiful aesthetics. It’s the ultimate bar for going from the rack to the platform to where ever else you’d take your barbell.
The Stainless Steel Ohio Bar is another solid option for general strength training. At $350, it has a stronger than average shaft, super grippy knurling (especially for Rogue dual-marked bar), and of course, the best feeling shaft material possible to go with that knurl; stainless. I still like the Hybrid more, but the SS Ohio is arguably Rogue’s best multi-purpose barbell so it should at least be considered (well, maybe it’s tied with the Matt Chan Bar.)
My Pick for a Powerlifting Bar
The best power bar for the money right now is the Rep Fitness Deep Knurl EX. At just $379 for a fully-stainless steel power bar with what happens to be the best, aggressive knurling in the industry is just really, really hard to beat. The Deep Knurl EX feels so good in the hands. It won’t chip, rust, bend, or break. It’ll last forever, look beautiful forever, and it’s not even all that expensive.
There are other stainless steel bars worth considering; like the Vulcan Absolute SS, and the SS Elite from American Barbell; but they both cost significantly more cash. I can see those who like a more moderate knurling going with the SS Elite and being willing to pay more but the Absolute is a harder sell at nearly $600.
Finally, for those on a super strict budget, the bare steel Rogue Ohio Power Bar is about as good as you can get for the money. $265 still gets you a whole lot of bar if you’re willing and able to maintain an unfinished, alloy steel implement.
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There is also a 10 KG bar by GP Industries and a 10 KG bar by Werk San, both bushing bars for about $350.
You’re referring to their Training bars? Ya if I remember correctly Werksan didn’t have a whole lot of technical data on most of their training equipment. I might have to try and dig that up though. While an expensive 10 kg bar at $350, it’s still cheaper than the Eleiko.
actually sorry for the confusion – i just spoke to Werk San and they said their “Silver” series 10 KG bar is actually made by GP Industries …
So what’s your opinion on the new Eleiko XF bars! I have even wanting to step up my Olympic lifts but I am completely training for Crossfit. I am all over the new Rogue bar 2.0 but at the same time if I’m going to buy a bar I might as well get a bearing bar for my Olympic lifting. Thoughts?? Please help!
The only bars i would consider are training or competition bars from Eleiko, Werk San or Uesaka. I would not even consider the Eleiko Sport Training ( which is what i actually have ) as the knurl is lacking and warranty is short. Don’t even think about Eleiko XF bar – it’s probably just going to lock up like my 10 KG Eleiko bars which arrived already stuck – two in a row. Eleiko is lately trying to expand into every market and created a lot of low quality products that are not worth the money. I would not get anything from Eleiko that isn’t part of their core product range. Be prepared to spend $800 on a bar because that’s how much a good bar costs. Between $800 Eleiko, $800 Werk San and $800 Uesaka it is a matter of personal preference – but anything cheaper is low quality, including the cheaper Eleiko bars.
I don’t even know where to begin with this…
First off, I don’t think comparing the XF to a 10 kg aluminum-sleeved technique bar is even remotely reasonable.
Secondly, spending $800+ on one barbell for a garage gym is unnecessary and just out of the question for 99% of people. Sure, Uesaka and Werksan may be very high quality bars, but that doesn’t make anything that costs less low-quality by default. They’re not all winners, sure, but there are some very fine bars out there within the $300-$600 range; bars that will outlive all of us.
After having a 6-week back order on a WerkSan bar, I was going to consider getting a Eleiko Sport Training, because it would come quicker.
You would definitely say Eleiko Sport Training is noticeably inferior to Eleiko Training, or WerkSan training?
Maybe George will chime in on this one for you since he owns that bar. I agree that having a 10-year warranty versus lifetime on an $800 bar is pretty weak, and there are bars that cost a third of that price that are guaranteed for life, so maybe that says all that needs to be said about it. If you’re willing to spend so close to a grand on a bar, any particular reason you don’t want the true training bar?
The Sport Training warranty is only 5 years, versus 10 years for Training and Lifetime for Competition as well as Werk San or Uesaka. Also the Werk San warranty is Unconditional but Eleiko warranty is not. I have not used the Eleiko Training but i spoke to somebody named Joseph Hamblen ( he has a YouTube Channel ) who owns both, and he said Training vs Sport Training are very similar but Sport Training has a slightly less pronounced Knurl. I have ordered Eleiko both from Eleikoshop and Bumperplates dot com and shipping time was resonable in both cases – on the order of 10 days or so to get delivered from Chicago to NY. Replacement speed for my defective 10 KG bar was lightning fast – i had the replacement 3 days after notifying Eleiko – unfortunately it was also defective … got the refund on that particular bar. The Sport Training vs Training are probably more similar than different. I doubt that Sport Training is only half as reliable because of half the warranty – more likely explanation is the shorter warranty is simply a way for Eleiko to be able to offer that bar at a lower cost. That said, i probably would not get it again.
I think the XF is a great bar. It’s a true 28 mm Olympic bearing bar with toned down knurling and the center knurl removed. It’s basically the Eleiko answer to CrossFit. Whether or not you should pick up an XF over the 2.0 Rogue Bar is kind of tough because it’s apples and oranges. I think it comes down to how serious you are, how experienced you are, and what your goals are. If you are serious, committed, and you can afford that Eleiko price tag, go for it. If you’re not sure, it’s not like buying a Rogue Bar is a bad thing. That help any?
Who makes a good 6ft bar? Im limited on space.
Rogue has the C-70 which is 69″ and built like an Ohio Bar, but I don’t know of any others from the reputable barbell companies. The majority of shorter bars (5 and 6 foot) are made by the cheapo companies like CAP, Body Solid, and the other importers. These are not particularly good brands, but if you don’t want like the C-70 for some reason, that’s pretty much what you’re left with. I don’t venture into the super cheap stuff, so I can’t say that I’ve ever tried to side-by-side compare the various imported shorty bars, sorry.
What about the York 6ft bars? Are they any good? I bench & Deadlift in the 300s.
Well York is certainly better than the Chinese stuff off Amazon, but I’m fairly certain that the 6′ York bar is a 30 mm bar. Maybe that doesn’t both you, I don’t know. Do you not like the C-70, or are you just not wanting to spend what they want for it?
I just don’t like that the C70 is only offered in the black oxide. At the end of the day I may just go with it.
I also noticed that the York is 28mm and rackable where the c70 is not rackacble.
Where’d you find the York with 28 mm shaft? The one I know of is 30 mm.
On the York website. Think it’s made in China though so I may pass. https://yorkbarbell.com/product/chrome-olympic-bar/
Yeah see, they used to do a mix of manufacturing; both Asia and Canada. On their Canadian products they would include a logo that said “Made in North America”. Like I said, I have not really been paying much attention to what they’ve been doing as it’s been some time since it was impressive. The B&R was the last time they were on the radar, but they didn’t design that one they just built it. It’s not as though they make the worst stuff, it’s just not top tier until you get into their “Elite” line, but those are full size bars ranging from $500-$800.
Here’s the thing though. If you want a rackable 6′ bar, you may have to just give something a shot since it’s kind of a unique need. Worst case scenario, you don’t like it and you Craiglist is at a 15% loss. It sucks to lose anything and be back at square one, but it’s not that bad. And hell, you may find it suits your needs beautifully.
Based on your reviews I sacrificed the space and went with a Culcan Elite 3.0 on a close out deal. I may still get the c70 down the road for winter/closed door use. Thanks for your advice it’s much appreciated. I also purchased the Vulcan black bumpers based on your reviews.
I’m happy to have helped. The Elite is a nice bar; even more so when it’s discounted; and those plates will last forever. It’s so much better in the long run to only have to buy this stuff once, and you’ll find that will be the case with both of those purchases.
That was awesome feedback. I really didn’t think i’d hear anything back for a week so that is great. As for price, I’m not limiting myself. If I’m going to buy a good barbell that isn’t from my gym I’m going to get what’s going to help me improve the most. At this point I’ve been Crossfiting for about a year and a half. I am dead set on getting a heck of a lot better at my Olympic lifts. I have been working with our specialty coaches at our gym a lot and reading some literature on the subject and so OLY lifting is a massive goal of mine. I’m only 17 so I’m at the prime age to train for the games. With that said, my goal is ultimately crossfit so between the Burgener Bearing Bar, the Eleiko XF Bar, the Rogue Froning Series Bearing Bar, or the Rogue OLY Lifitng Bar what do you think I should go for. I am completely grateful for any feedback. Thanks!
If your goal is the Games, may as well start getting used to feel of the Rogue bars. To be honest, all three of the bars that you mentioned from Rogue are very similar, if not practically the same. All are 28 mm bearing bars with the same 190k PSI steel shaft. I personally go to customer feedback in a situation like that, and the Rogue Olympic bar is the only one with a substantial amount of feedback; all positive too. Grab the zinc version and you’ll not only save $100 over the chrome version, but you’ll have a bar that will feel more like the Rogue Bar, which as you probably know is the Games bar.
While I don’t think there is any reason not to lift with an XF, I think your Games goal is just enough reason to stick with Rogue. Technically the Rogue warranty is better as well, but I doubt you’d have a warranty issue with any of the bars you mentioned.
That’s actually really helpful! Thanks a lot. As for your questions; I have been crossfiting for about a year and a half now and in the past few months I decided that I want to step up my game. Being only 16 years old it is the perfect time to start really training to be a games level athlete. That’s said, I really need to improve my olympic lifting. I have been working with the strength coaches at our gym a lot and I have also been doing some reading on the subject. So, my ultimate goal is to be focusing on my olympic lifting. I haven’t made up my mind yet but I probably won’t do much strict powerlifting with the bar I get. That said I like the dual markings on the bar. I will also use this bar for a crossfit WOD as well. So, with that in mind, between the Burgener Bearing Bar, the Eleiko XF Bar, the Rogue OLY Bar, and Rogue Froning Series Bar, what do you think would be best suited. I am greatful for any and all feedback! Thanks!
As a follow up, none of those Rogue bearing bars you mentioned are dual marked. If you have no intention of competing in powerlifting, who cares if it’s marked. That power mark is for the bench press and serves zero purpose in CrossFit or Olympic lifting… unless I missed a memo.
Soon the games will be over and Rogue will sell off the equipment used at the games at discount prices. Buy the bar from that sale. It won’t be as nice as Eleiko but you will be training with the actual bar used at the games. And it will save you a ton of money as a bonus.
I’m finally taking the plunge and setting up my own garage gym. I’ve been a recreational lifter for years, but never before realized there were women-specific bars. All of the bars at my gym are identical, and I have to assume that they’re all mens’ bars. Having never lifted with a womens’ bar, I’m having a hard time deciding if it matters? Also, I will be sharing the garage gym with my husband (and as I have 3 sons, as they get older I imagine they may have an interest as well). So, when I invest in a barbell, do I get a men’s bar, even though I (a woman) will definitely be the primary user? I am quite petite, so the smaller diameter of a women’s bar sounds appealing to me. Is it just to accommodate a woman’s smaller hands? If it matters, my husband is also on the small side.
Hey Anne, grats on going with a gym at home. So women’s bars are like you said, a little thinner at 25 mm, but they are also 15 kg instead of 20 kg. They can also be a tad shorter, but not by much.
If you’re used to lifting with a men’s bar already, and you plan to share a bar with your husband, you might just stick with a men’s bar. There’s no rule that says you have to lift with a women’s bar, especially since you’re lifting for what I assume are your own fitness purposes, not to compete.
Having said that, you could also just have both a women’s and a men’s bar if you find the idea of a narrower bar appealing. Most folks end up with multiple bars anyway just for the convenience of it; like doing supersets and so forth. As for your sons, if we’re talking small children who aren’t lifting yet, their first exposure will probably be a youth bar (10 kg), and then straight on to men’s bars.
I have Eleiko, York, and Ivanko barbells; all are excellent.
However, i also have and prefer Schnell & Ironwolfe barbells, especially since they are stainless steel. Check them out!
Any chance for a final update to:
“My Pick for Olympic Weightlifting
With so many new Olympic bars on the market, and the price getting so competitive, I am re-evaluating my preference and will update soon!”
Oh snap, put on the spot! =p
So okay, this is tough because there are just so damn many bars out right now. If you want a true 28 mm Olympic bar with bearings, I still love the Burgener Bearing Bar (it’s identical to the Olympic WL Bar now, so really either of these). I think it has the best price point for a true Olympic bearing bar.
If you don’t want to spend upwards of $600 but still want to get under a 28 mm bar, maybe look at the new Vaughn Bar. It’s everything a high-end Olympic bar offers but with bushings instead of bearings (keeps the price down by a lot). I actually have this bar and am reviewing it currently. So far I like this bar a lot. Crazy 215k steel, and the bushings are still very smooth. Pretty bar too, but that’s whatever, They don’t stay pretty.
Those are my two favorites. You can always go with Eleiko or Ivanko for two to three times the money, but when talking about bars for a garage gym; not a stage, these two are fantastic bars for the price.
Did you end up doing a review for the Vaughn bar? I purchased this bar about 11 months ago. I think its fantastic. The tensile strength is amazing but I cannot find the yield strength anywhere.
I had one years ago when it was first released, but I’ve rotated most of my Fringesport content off the site. It’s a good bar though – probably the best piece of equipment FS offers, and by a lot. Is over-priced when not on sale, but it’s still a good bar. According to my review notes, Vaughn never released the yield strength, but if it’s sourced from where I believe it’s sourced from, the yield is approx 206k.
I’m a 600+ deadlifter but have not put more than 400 on the bar. Because its the only bar I have, I really want to start adding more weight to my squats and need to start deadlifting again. Obviously, I should purchase a powerlifting bar (maybe the Rogue Ohio Power bar) but the bank is tight right now so I have to use what I have. I will likely only get up to 500 ish and not very often. Think the bar will hold?
Yeah there is no reason it shouldn’t, it’s a solid bar. It might feel pretty elastic at those weights being that it’s a 28 mm Oly bar, but it’s not going to bend permanently unless it’s dropped onto spotters or something. You definitely would benefit from a power bar, and the Ohio Power is a fantastic bar – cheap too if you go with bare steel.
Have you had a chance to check out the Wonder Bar yet? Contemplating buying one but I’ve never actually seen one….but for the price maybe that’s okay!
Heya, no I haven’t handled that bar personally. I’ve heard it’s okay, more of an entry level / maybe intermediate bar. I think that by spending even $30-$50 more you can get a much better bar, but if that $199 is already pushing your spending limit, then go for it. It’s better than an Academy or Amazon bar and it has an actual warranty if you hate it. I’d much rather have the Rogue Bar though, or even the newer Bomba there at Fringe unless for some reason you have to have bearings.
Thanks, appreciate you taking the time to respond!
I love the thought and effort that went into this barbell shopping guide. Great work. I’m setting up my garage gym right now. I’m on a budget, but I know a good bar is a necessity. I’m buying two bars to start, one each for me and my wife. What would you recommend between the Bomba Bars (one 20 kg + one 15 kg) from Fringe Sport and the Rogue 2.0 bar + Bella 2.0 bar from our trusty friends at Rouge?
Hey Sky, I appreciate that.
I think that your price works out about the same either way, so I’d suggest the Rogue bars. I really do like Fringe, but the fact is that both the steel and the sleeve design on the Rogue bars is better than on the Bomba bars, and Rogue has such competitive pricing on the Bella and The Rogue Bar that it’s hard to compete with that. Either of those bars could be $50 more and they’d still sell no problem.
What is your opinion of steelbody bars. I saw it at sports chalet for $189 along with their bumper plates. I am a beginner and really appreciate your detailed reviews. Would this brand fall under the category of “store brands” you were not fond of? Let me know if you think its sufficient for a home garage. Thanks
Hey Greg, well I had never even heard of that bar. I looked it up to see if I could find the specs, and I could only find it on eBay and at Academy. No specs are offered beyond the obvious like length and weight, which generally isn’t a good sign.
If you’re just starting out but were willing to spend $200 on that bar, perhaps rather use that money towards The Rogue Bar or maybe even the Bomba 2. Rogue also has their Economy Men’s Bar on closeout at $199, and it’s better than any box brand, but for $55 more you get twice as much bar with the The 2.0 Rogue Bar. You may see the Beater Bar on Rogue’s site, but avoid that.
I know starting out is tough cause all the equipment starts to add up in price, but you’ll be glad your bar wasn’t the piece of gear you skimped on. Buy used weights, cheap bench, whatever.. .the bar is important. Hope that helps!
Fantastic description and layout of this material. I speak to small groups and box owners all the time about equipment and will keep the link to this page handy.
Awesome. Sounds good to me! =P
I need a bar that is not prone to rusting…low maintenance, mainly for olympic lifts. I have had horrible luck with a black oxide bar…could not control the rust. What would you recommend? I’m thinking Bella bar or Pendlay HD (this is a little pricey)..I’m having a hard time finding any other 15 kg bars. Any recommendations?
I’m not a fan of oxide myself to be honest. I’m assuming you want 15 kg specifically? You’re right that there is not a whole lot of them, especially when you remove oxide bars from the list. Do you not like zinc? The Bella is zinc, not oxide.
I think because of my experience with my rusty barbell I’m wary of only oxide bars…my lifting partner has a zinc again faster bar and it has held up well. My reasoning for 15 kg barbell is that if I ever wanted to compete it would be better to train with a “women’s” bar, however I’m finding much better options with the 20kg barbells. Thoughts? Perhaps that is the way to go. Ohio bar maybe?
With men’s vs women’s, it’s a 3mm difference in shaft width, or 3.5mm if you went with something like the Ohio Bar. If that larger shaft feels comfortable to you then a 20kg bar is fine. It’s never really been about the weight with women’s barbells anyway, just the thickness really.
I’d go with either zinc or chrome since you’re clearly not wanting to deal with oxidation. Bare steel is out of the question! Chrome will look the best for the longest, but zinc holds up well for a lot less money. The Ohio is offered in all possible finishes, so you can’t go wrong there.
There is also the Rogue Olympic WL Bar. That’s offered as a 15 kg chrome bar, but it’s pricey like the Pendlay. Pretty popular bar though, that new Rogue Oly.
Thanks so much for your help…man that rogue womens oly bar looks sweet, a bit out of my price range for now though.
Ya best of luck! Lot’s of choices since you don’t mind 28mm.
Stainless is probably not an option as all the stainless bars i seen are for powerlifting, not weightlifting. Hard Chrome plating while it can chip is the thickest kind of plating and what is found on all top weightlifting bars regardless of brand name – even Rogue that’s famous for black bars puts hard chrome on their most expensive dedicated weightlifting bars. All good bar makers offer a 15KG bar with hard chrome finish. Aside from shaft diameter something to consider is the amount of whip – a thinner bar will flex with less weight on it – which may be beneficial for a woman. On the other hand it would probably be easier to re-sell a 20 KG bar.
I’ll probably go with black zinc for now…still on the fence about 20kg or 15kg. I actually don’t mind 28 mm diameter…sometimes it is more comfortable to me than the smaller diameter bars. Big decision I’ve gotta make. Thanks do much for your help.
Excellent article, most of these guys are clueless when it come to doing a decent review, thumbs up brother.
This was good information. I’ve never really looked into barbells before. My current bar is a used one that is welded from a state penitentiary. I finally decided to throw down some cash and get a “new” bar. I think I’m going Rogue 2.0. Thanks for the information.
IMO I just bought a Eleiko Demo set for my home Gym. Sport Training Bar + 220kg in the new ST bumpers. I couldn’t be happier. The knurling is a tad softer than the comp bar, but for long training sessions i enjoy having skin on my hands. The bumpers are far superior to the bolt together comp plates. Spin/whip/response are all as good as the comp bar. I also own a DHS Trainer and a Pendlay ’13 NB, and this bar is comparably better. $2,200 for a 190kg set up is pretty dang competitive.
The ST is a nice bar. You don’t think those bumpers are too thick?
Great article. Excellent research and a deep knowledge about the barbell. Have you considered translating to Spanish? I would be glad to help you on that.
Thank you. No, I have not. If I ever add additional languages, it would be site-wide, not just select pages. Not something I’m ready to do yet though.
I appreciate your in depth reviews on the different bars. I am interested in your thoughts on the new Again Faster Klokov Competition bar.
Thanks, Aaron! Here…
I do think that you should add the Pendlay HD and NB bars; and the Again Faster Team AF 2.0 and Klokov bars to this review. The Pendlay HD Bar has a propriety bushing system, and both the HD and NB bars are available in a Nickel chrome and bare versions. The Again Faster Team AF bars received an update, they now sport a 209k tensile strength, come with 3 bearings per sleeve, are 28mm, and have a better knurl, for $209.00 for the mens bar.
I’ll probably add the Klokov. I have a first-run Klokov, but it sounds like they’ve been hot-fixing things on each new batch based on feedback. Do you own a Team Bar 2.0?
No, I do not own the Team AF bar 2.0. We will have to wait until Joel Xfit does his review and go off of that. As far as the Pendlay bars go, just look around; there are plenty of reviews on it floating around.
I don’t include Pendlay anymore. I don’t find them to be competitive with today’s bar options. I also believe they have inferior warranties to everyone else.
The Team Bar I may pick up myself and take a look at it. I’m still behind on other reviews at the moment though.
Where is the uesaka ? !!!!!
Oscar I had to draw the line somewhere! There are so many bars, and Uesaka doesn’t do a very good job of defining specifications. I’d have dug deeper for feedback and info on them if they were a more accessible brand stateside, but it just seemed as good a bar as any to just leave off. Ironically, Uesaka is probably a better bar than WerkSan.
For about 6 weeks now, I’ve been doing a powerlifting program called StrongLifts 5×5 at the gym. It’s been addictive, so I’ve been shopping around for gear for a home gym in my basement. Been finding that people have nothing but good things to say about Rogue, and I’m seeing more of the same here too. Great article, wide coverage of bars, and I think you’ve convinced me that a powerlifting bar from Rogue is a good idea. Cheers!
Thanks Charles. Yes, Rogue launched that Ohio PL Bar at a very enticing price; less than its predecessor even. Enjoy it!
Can you please fill me in more on Pendlay/MDUSA stealing. I have owned the Pendlay bearing bar for 8 months or so and it is rusting. I wouldn’t be happy if they don’t back it up.
In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have even mentioned that.
I’m assuming since your bar 8 months old that it is not a bare steel bar, right? I’m guessing that it’s the zinc finish (not nickel chrome) if rust is already working its way onto the bar. Pendlay warrants the finish on your bar for only 30 days, so you will probably not be getting anything from them. Your best bet is to try and get the rust under control with some 3-in-1 oil and a brush. If a firm, plastic brush doesn’t remove the rust, try a wire brush. Take it easy with the wire though, you can actually take more zinc off with that if you’re not careful. Once you get it clean, apply oil once a week or so, more if you live in a humid area.
As far as the bar warranty outside of the finish, your bar is technically still under warranty. That warranty is lifetime. However, all Pendlay bars made prior to 2009 were also lifetime warranties, but they have been voided. They don’t appear to be nearly as concerned with you after the sale like Rogue and everyone else is, but that’s just my opinion.
Im torn between the matt chan bar and the pendlay bars. Ive used my buddies pendlay to hit some nice prs but I like the idea of center knurling and more spaced out knurling for wider deadlift stances but not sure how chans spin is compared to pendlay. Whats your opinion?
I personally dislike Pendlay equipment in general. I haven’t used a Pendlay bar since they started making their bars themselves, and I keep hearing how quality and precision took a nose dive at that point. I had someone just last week tell me that every Pendlay bar at his box had some kind of bend to it. But to be honest, my biggest issue with Pendlay bars is that their warranty has been voided in the past. Will they do it again? Who knows. Rogue doesn’t pull crap like that. Rogue will always replace a bar that has defects, even if those defects don’t reveal themselves right away
All that aside, the Chan is a much better multi-purpose option than either Pendlay bar anyway. Pendlay’s aren’t really ideal for deads and benching; just Olympic lifts, but the Chan can definitely handle Olympic lifts in addition to static lifts. Very versatile, amazing knurl, and of course the custom knurl pattern is pretty damn neat. Both bushing bars spin just fine.
Awesome! Thanks for the help
You got it, good luck! I used to favor the B&R as a general lifting bar, but the Chan benched it. The knurl is just so well done, I use it for just about everything but cleans (I’m not much of a snatcher). I would use the Chan for that, but I have a pretty nice 28 mm Olympic bar so of course I use that =p
With all your bar knowledge and samples, what 20kg bar has the widest distance inside the collars? Very few are exactly 1310mm. They all seem to vary by 5-10mm and at 6’5, every mm helps when doing snatches. If I could find one at 1385 mm just 3″ (50mm) longer it would be ideal.
You know, that’s a good question. You will not likely ever find a bar of any quality that deviates by as much as 50 mm because that specification is one that is dictated by the IWF. However, you may be able to find a cheap bar that does. Matter of fact, the only bar that I have that isn’t within 5 mm of that 1310 is the original Bomba. It’s off by about 28 mm, a little over an inch. Unfortunately, you sacrifice spin for that length on a cheaper bar.
What sucks is you’ll never be able to tell by looking at a product picture, and I don’t know if a cheap bar dealer would ever tell you f their bar was off by that much if you were to ask; if they even knew in the first place.
Edit: also, cheap bars tend to not be knurled all the way to the collar anyway, so even that extra 1/2″ on each side will be smooth steel.
The IronMind S-Cubed and Buffalo bars are both 1485.9mm inside collar to inside collar. They’re 52# and 35mm diameter grips though so that might hamper your snatch. Granted, at 6’5″ your hands are probably plenty big enough for a 35mm bar.
yeah those are huge lol. He’s got an inch on me, but it’s possible he has a large wingspan too. I can make an IWF bar work, but my pinkies rub the collars. As if lifting at that height isn’t awkward enough, gotta find longer bars too.
How does the Klokov bar slot in here? I’m in the market for a $300-400 bar which will be good for the Olympic lifts but still versatile enough for other uses. I’m a small guy and c&j around 225- would the rogue 28mm bushing training bar feel significantly more whippy at those weights? I’m basically narrowed down to the rogue bushing 28mm bar, the Chan bar or the klokov bar.
At 225, the Rogue is whippier, but you may be wanting bearings as that 225 goes up. You’ll be fine with bushings for a while, just something to consider. The Klokov is good for the price, but not a Rogue bar in terms of feel. If you want spin for ~$300, go Klokov. For whip and feel, go with the Trainer or Chan. Chan is awesome, but it’s 28.5 and so a tad less whippy than Oly bar. Chan is more versatile.
I would consider waiting until the revamped Rogue training bar comes out. It is supposed to be a bearing bar at the same price of the current bushing training bar.
I hadn’t heard that, but that’s a good plan on Rogue’s part. Lots of bearing bars out there in that price range.
What are you thoughts on the Pendlay HD Bearing Bar as a general purpose Oly/Big 5 Lift Bar? I know it is a little pricey compared to the other all-around purposed bars, but as far quality of the bar and quality of use do you think it would fit that bill?
Hey RaJohn, I’m not a big fan of Pendlay bars. Personally, I’d never spend that kind of money for a 2013 version Pendlay; there are too many other bars out there that are better for the cash in my opinion. Plus, I’m not sure how happy you’d be benching and back squatting on a springy, Olympic bar. Even if that didn’t bother you, for that money you can have a Rogue Oly, AB Performance Oly bar, or even a DHS training bar (well that’s probably $100 more.)
I guess it depends on how heavy you lift in the snatch and clean vs how heavy you lift on the static lifts. If you are stronger in the rack, get a 28.5 mm multi-purpose bushing bar. If you’re stronger on the platform, then get a 28 mm bearing bar. Hope that helps some
I’m curious about the whether the GP Industries training bar’s price is justifiable — haven’t run into anyone who’d compared it to the others. If it’s worth the extra money it’d be nice to know but I guess it may not fit into your testing plans. The training plates seem possibly outside your regular purview too but if you could find a guest reviewer who’s familiar with most of them and up to your standards publishing them on your site could be a nice service to some of your readers.
I love your reviews, by the way — just hoping you’ll eventually fill in all the gaps. The other stainless bars some other commenters have mentioned fall in that category, as well as, particularly, the Okie 27mm deadlift bar. As it stands you seem to consider deadlift as a generic powerlift from the standpoint of bar spec — at least that’s the impression I got — while the touted advantages of the Okie bar include maximum whip from the diameter and steel choice. As someone who is old and has a lot of rehab to do, but who always preferred deadlifting and who wants to go back to deadlifting and newly approach deadlifting with high dedication to finessing the details at light weight, the aluminum training bars, technique plates, and specialty deadlift bars are of the highest interest so even though I’m highly gratified for your reviews I’d love it if they covered these areas in depth.
Also interested in your take on T-grip bars and, in general, multi-grip bars that leave more face-clearance for, e.g., overhead pressing than that Rogue multigrip does.
You know, nobody ever asks me or comments about the tech or junior bars. I was planning to do a write-up of the tech plates because I think they are more useful… at least, they are useful for a longer period of time, but I’ll likely never have two technique bars side-by-side to compare. It’s such a rare situation that a 5 or 10 kg bar is needed, and even when it is, most people can blast through the need to use one in a matter of weeks. I know some people like to use them as warm-up bars since broomsticks and pvc pipes weight but a few ounces, but other than that I can’t imagine many people even owning these lighter bars in a home setting.
A while back I covered the basics of specialty bars, but honestly it didn’t occur to me at the time to include the specialty power bar bars like the Okie and Iron Wolfe. Perhaps I should revisit that. I would never have guessed anyone wanted all that whip in a deadlift bar though. I haven’t even heard a second-hand story of someone owning an Okie DL bar.
Black Widow has a couple MG bars that leave room for the face (http://www.blackwidowtg.com/category_s/1869.htm). Most of them seem to be angled, which is fine. Is there a particular bar you saw that you were interested in?
I misspoke there but I think you interpreted it correctly: I plan to go super-light on the Olympic lift practice initially (not the deadlift so much) and build very gradually, hopefully clearing several rehab issues along the way. This is due to various injuries, and I think being able to progressively move from very light to about the 150lb+ load limit of some of the aluminum bars has the best chance of achieving the rehab, which seems pretty questionable. If I make great progress on the injuries I can always buy another bar and use this for warmups until, ideally, I can really trust my parts to the point where the bar is really superfluous. Also may be nice when women are around.
Here’s one of the T-Grip bars in question: http://shop.tgrip.com/collections/products/products/t-grip-double-strait-handle-7ft — it’s rackable and has rotating sleeves that I think are normal rather than pipe sized. I think this would give me a way to work past the most difficult overhead press areas with the greatest safety by using it in a rack, and unlike a hex or diamond shrug/squat bar, reasonably use it overhead off the floor. This is the vertical-grip model; you can also get slant grips for the same price with otherwise identical other parts.
Black Widow makes a couple of face-clearance bars with wrist-sparing grips, and they are also highly regarded as well, but come in with fewer features and lower price point. I believe they are pipe-sized. He will do custom lengths and some other custom features. The “multi-grip” is the bar I was primarily considering there: http://www.blackwidowtg.com/product_p/bar-multi-press.htm I think this sort of bar is close to optimal for working through combinations of shoulder/wrist, and hand injuries to regain overhead pressing, but they approach the versatility of the similar bars that substitute close grips for face clearance. I haven’t talked to the Black Widow guy about it but he seems flexible enough that he might build you a straight grip version if that’s what you wanted.
With the whippy deadlift specialist bars, there seem to be two main advantages: at the ground, and at the sticking point. In a first pull, the bar flexes a bit, storing energy while you get a little momentum and perhaps increase recruitment before the slack is taken up with less jerk than a stiff bar, sparing some stress. At the sticking point, the idea is that the stored energy is released as you slow your lift there, helping you past the sticking point. Some people like to bounce the bar while doing reps (I’m not convinced this is a very good idea), and they talk about the rebound characteristics of the bar. There was a thin raw bar at a gym I used to use, which had a reasonable knurling setup. It was so much nicer than the others for deadlifts and I think flex was part of it.
I’d love to do something regarding equipment for working around injuries, but not being a doctor at all, it would be hard to do responsibly. Perhaps I’ll just look closer at technique gear specifically; specialty bars, lighter bars, etc.
I hadn’t seen that T-bar before. That one looks decent. I do like having true Olympic collars rather than pipes, but all that Black Widow gear is just super affordable because of the pipes. They’re not the only ones who use that piping either. Rogue has it on a lot of stuff too. Black Widow is definitely the place for custom work though.
I’m with you though, I don’t think I want that much weight rebounding and bouncing around. There is no reason to blast through deadlifts so fast that you need momentum. I’ll take a pass on that and stick to my old school way of lifting, setting it down, resetting then going again.
received a code for $50 off the Elite-Bearing-Bar so $250. I am looking at either this bar which looks great on paper or Rouge 2.0 or Vulcan one. I have not found much on the X training bar for reviews. I would luv to get your opinion. I do mostly crossfit and Oly lifts. I do have couple cheaper power bars for deadlifts and etc
Sorry Brian, that went to spam cause of the link I guess. Yeah I thought that bar had potential when I discovered it, but I have heard some not so great things about their bars. It’s hearsay, but I hear they’re loose, loud, and just kinda a budget bar even for a budget bar.
Here’s Joel X Fit’s write up on the Xtraining bearing bar…
Note that he says that the bar is loud and has extremely harsh knurling.
Do you or anyone not this thread have feedback on the Again Faster Dmitry Klovkov bars? I was debating between that bar and the Chad Vaughn. Thanks in advance
Both of those bars are reviewed on this site.
I have the opportunity to buy an expensive one, but which one??? I am doing more deadlifts, less bench press and squats, my husband does more squats and deadlifts. I can’t decide which one of these 2 bars:
– Ivanko OBXS-20KG-29MM Stainless
– Eleiko Competition PL
I am into quality and performance. Please help with the decision!
Thank you advance!
Deciding between those two bars is a good problem to have. Well, stainless steel is awesome. As much as I like Eleiko bars, I am not personally a fan of maintaining bare steel, and the Eleiko PL is bare. When it comes to the high-end competition Ivanko and Eleiko bars, I don’t think you could go wrong either way though. There is no performance or quality issues to really debate.
If it helps any, Ivanko comp bars are IPF approved, Eleiko is not officially approved for powerlifting; only Olympic weightlifting. That doesn’t mean Eleiko bars are any less of bars, they just don’t pay for that certification.
I just won a bid on a used Ivanko OBX 20kg off of eBay. I was very excited since I scored it for around 300 with shipping. But I am a little concerned it’ll be too similar to the OB and I’ll have a hard time squatting with it as I’m trying to switch to low bar. Have you tried the OBX since this write up? Is the whip as substantial as the OB?
I haven’t, no. It’s my understanding that the OBX is the OB but with center knurl. They’re definitely Olympic bars though, not power bars; Ivanko power bars are 29 mm. Are you having issues with the bar flexing too much when squatting? Low bar is a pretty narrow grip so I could see how it might feel whippy with enough weight. $300 is a pretty nice price though.
Yes, I figured it was some kind of hybrid bar, but so far I’ve seen it used more for PL, specifically deadlifting. Just wanted a confirmation that there are no real differences other than the center knurl. Any word on the level of grip it has? I’m still waiting on it to ship to me. Anxious to get it. Was trying to hold out for the OPB from rogue, but they are out of stock til at least another month. Figured I can always resell it if the whip is too much for me
I only ever run into older Ivanko bars. They don’t market very well, so they don’t sell very many it seems so there aren’t many out there when compared to Rogue, Eleiko, etc. The Ivanko power bars have a sharper knurl than what most of this new stuff has in general, and keep in mind Ivanko is actually certified for power lifting so they need to be desirable bars, which means good knurl. I don’t know what kind of condition this bar is in, but you may need to clean it if it’s caked in chalk and junk. Knurl feels weak when it gets super dirty. I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed in this bar though.
I’ll be reviewing the OBX 20kg in the mail tomorrow. I’ll report back in a few days after I’ve squatted and pulled with it to give details on its application as a power bar. Mostly hoping that the knurling isn’t too passive given that it’s a hybrid bar.
Very cool. Ya I’d love to hear how it is.
Used the Ivanko OBX 20kg this morning for low bar back squats. Side note: this version I have is probably 2-3 years old. Take aways:
– Clearly more aggressive knurling than any OLY bar I’ve used (though I’m sure other PBs are more aggressive)
– Since very little of the bar isn’t knurled, it actually provides good stick on your back. My rear delts got a little of the side knurling (though my shoulders are fairly wide for a 5’10 185pd guy). It actually dug in on me a bit, still feel the imprint.
– Slight whip with 275pds during pause squats
Deadlifting with it tomorrow. After that I’ll really have a good idea of the knurling.
Interesting. Is it too much knurl, or just not used to it yet?
No, the knurling is just right I think. Some bars really tear you up. It’s a good amount of grab. I was also wearing a thin shirt. Maybe that was part of it. I could definitely feel the knurling through it though
Is there a list somewhere of authorized dealers for the TPB? My worry is that if someone can fake a bar, they can fake the end caps as well. Just want to make sure it’s genuine before I take the plunge. Awesome article, BTW. Very informative.
There may be a list somewhere, but I haven’t seen it. L B Baker is legit (http://www.irondawg.com/). I hear the Amazon listing is legit as well, but you’ll probably feel better about it from IronDawg.
Thanks again. Any idea why the tensile strength for TPB’s are nowhere to be found? Or, is the 1500 lb test capacity a good assurance that it’s in that >180k PSI range.
The capacity is an old school way of rating a bar. PSI has gotten a bit out of control lately, I wouldn’t worry about it from the TPB. I would guess it’s within the 160-180k range, but I can’t be certain. If TPBs were permanently bending, they wouldn’t be popular… if you know what I mean.
Have you heard of York and Iron Wolfe Barbell Weightlifting and Powerlifting Bars? Though Iron Wolfe does not have a general use power bar (they only have squat-bench-deadlift specific bars) they do have both a high quality Weightlifting Bar and a crossfit/ weightlifting training bar. I would also be interested to see if York barbells are anything close to what I’ve heard they used to be decades ago.
Yes to both. York is not what they used to be. The B&R is a good bar, but it’s designed to Burgener and Rippetoe’s specifications, and backed by Rogue rather than York. It also makes a pretty good power bar at 29 mm and over 200 PSI. Pretty solid bar if you don’t mind bare steel. I’ve still got one.
Thanks for a great site, the information you provided is extremely helpful.
I recently purchased a Chan chrome bar and I’m looking to add a 2nd bar. I’ll primarily use the bars for power lifting, general strength training and then eventually some Olympic lifting though that may take me a few months to get back into. I’ve been looking in the sub $400 range between a 2nd chrome Chan, a B&R bar and a Rogue 2.0 bar. I’d love to get your input or if you think I should wait a few months and invest in a nicer bar. Realistically I’m probably 6 months away from regularly incorporating Olympic lifts into my routine.
If you want to get back into Olympic lifting, don’t buy any of those bars. The Rogue 2.0 is the same shaft as the Chan, and you really don’t need two Chans of any variety. The B&R makes a great power bar and strength training bar, but it’s a far less than ideal choice for snatches. The Chan is so versatile already that you don’t need another strength bar, you should get a true Olympic bar, as in 28 mm. You won’t be getting bearings at that price point (not good ones anyway), but bushings are okay if you buy the right bar.
I would say take a look at the Vaughn, the American Barbell Performance Trainer, or the Rogue 28 mm Oly Training Bar. These are all very HQ Olympic training bars (all bushings) that will last a long time, and all of them have warranties (lifetime on all I think.) You’ll have to add about $200 to any of these bars to get them with bearings, except the Vaughn which only comes as a bushing bar.
Oh and thank you, I am glad when people find the information helpful.
Thanks! I think I’ll spend the extra money and get an Olympic Bar with bearings as I get back into Olympic lifting.
If I can handle the extra money would you recommend the American Barbell SS Bearing Bar ($795) over a Chrome Burgener Bearing Bar ($635)? Basically is it worth the extra $160?
Oh man I love that SS bar. The day Rogue makes a stainless steel Burgener is the day I might hang that SS up, but even then I’m not sure. The SS is a great bar, and a classy bar, and if it was stolen, I’d buy another.
I know that you have heard this several times, but I want to thank you so much for taking the time to post this information as well as the reviews to go along with them. This has been incredibly helpful in my search for the correct bar, and truthfully has been the most reputable review source that I have come across.
My question for you is regarding your opinion on two bars that I am on the fence about. I don’t plan on buying another barbell for a while, so I do want to spend the money on a bearing bar FORE SURE. However, I’m looking to stay within the $500-$600 range. The majority of my training is Crossfit but I am also diving into Olympic lifting a lot harder. My goal is to find a bar that is well rounded for Crossfit use but has a very solid quality in the OLY realm.The two I am in between are the Rogue Burgener bar and the Vulcan professional needle bearing bar. Based off of reviews the Rogue bar is solid overall, but I did like the fact that the Vulcan had center knurl as well as aggressive knurl in general. I did see that your overall review favored the Burgener bar, but you gave the Vulcan a great review as well. I thought that it merited me asking, as they are comparable bars. Anything helps!
PS- As far as Olympic lifting, I am hearing some great things about the Lynx Hybrid Bearing barbell regarding its performance(another bar I am considering). However, it only has a one year warranty and I haven’t been able to find any reviews as far as longevity. This is more of a pure OLY bar from the looks of it, but its a needle bearing bar with a good tensile for only $245. Wondering if you have any info on this barbell that you may be able to share as well.
Thanks in advance for your help!
Alex I have four Vulcan bars and I am extremely impressed with all of them. Unfortunately I do not have the Pro, but I have heard many great things. The thing that stands out the most about it is the whip. Even if the claims are exaggerated, the Pro is still probably one of the whippiest Oly bars around. The tensile strength of the bar is high, and that’s great and all, but the yield strength is really impressive; something like 220K PSI, and yield is far more important than tensile strength.
I do like the Burgener/Rogue Oly, and I leave it as my recommendation because it’s solid, reliable, and backed. Also, at the time I last edited that portion of the post, I didn’t have a lot of experience with Vulcan bars. If I add the Pro to my collection, there is a chance I’ll edit that, but I’d rather wait to try it before I do.
I know nothing about the Lynx bar specifically, sorry. However, I’ve tried a couple of low-cost bearing bars recently, and they were garbage. Yeah I mean they’ll work at low weights, but when things get serious, they’re going to suck and need to be upgraded. It’s just like any other kind of product. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And if you’re looking at Burgeners and Vulcan Pros for $600, and then someone else says they can get you into a bearing bar that’s just as good for less than half that, well we both know that’s BS.
I am no Olympian by any means, but I have cleaned and jerked 365# with the lynx bar, which is my orm. I haven’t tried doing an Olympic lift with more weight because I physically can’t at this point. I do have an Eleiko and I don’t notice a difference in spin with the weight I can lift. Whip is about the same. Eleiko’s chrome finish is of better quality than Lynx’s zinc obviously, but not bad. It feels like the rogue zinc bars.
Can’t speak to long term longevity as I’ve had it about a year and a half, but it gets used as my “beater” Only bar for circuit workouts with usually 185#-225# so it has had some abuse being dropped all the time the Eleiko is what I use for strictly Olympic lifting.
Hello jburgeron, I moved my comments over from the AB SS post because I did wind up getting the Eleiko Sport. Now that I have this nice addition, I had a thought and wanted to get your take…. I’m good about brushing the chalk out etc.. But my garage gym is in the northeast, do you think as long as I take care of brushing chalk out etc I am good to keep the bar in the garage all year long? Any thoughts? Thanks!
Chrome is resilient, but I’ve seen it rust. Cleaning helps for sure, but if the climate is wet enough to rust a chrome bar, it’ll take more than brushing to prevent it. Oiling helps ward off oxidation, but it makes the bar feel awful.
I’m in Central Texas and always have been, and I can leave anything in the garage, but maybe someone else from the northeast will chime in on this because I don’t want to tell you to leave your Eleiko in the garage and then have it form even one spot of rust.
I am trying to decide on which bar to purchase but I have 2 technical questions. Can I get a phone number for someone there that can help me?
Sorry I don’t have a public number for this blog. You can email me at email@example.com or use the contact form here https://www.garage-gyms.com/about-garage-gyms/ and I’ll be happy to try and answer your questions.
We discussed OLY bearing bars around 3 weeks ago as I try to reincorporate Olympic lifting back into my workouts. I’m currently using my Chan bar for everything, PL and OLY. Do you have any thoughts around what approximate weight for Cleans and Snatches that a bearing bar starts to add a noticeable benefit?
Either way I plan to hold off buying my OLY bearing bar until you’ve had a chance to compare the Vulcan’s new SS bearing bar to AB SS bearing bar.
I really appreciate your site and all your hard work!
Hey Nate, thank you. When you start feeling resistance in your wrists as you get under the bar (during turnover), it’s time to go with bearings.
At one point I did a test where I continued to load the Chan up until there was enough weight to actually begin to compress the shaft with the sleeve/bushings, and I think I got up to around 300 pounds before spin was affected. Now that was static testing and not exactly the same thing as the bar being turned over at the apex of a lift, but it gives kind of an idea. Actually the test I did is the same test that’s on the SS review, only the SS was never affected by the weight like the Chan and other bushing bars were.
With the Ohio Power Bar, would you recommend the bare steel or the Black/Bright zinc? I guess im looking for an answer in regards to longevity and quality of the bar.
Only go with bare steel if you are willing to take on the task of maintaining it. Bare steel feels amazing, but it requires constant attention in the form of brushing, cleaning, and oiling. It will rust if you don’t stay on top of it. It can always be cleaned, but the longer you let it oxidize, the more work it is to undo it (I’m talking wire brush attachment on a power tool.)
Technically though, one is no better than the other as far as how long it will last. Even if you wear that entire zinc finish off, you’re still left with a bare steel Ohio bar.
I picked up the Ohio Power bar last year when it first came out. I got it with the bare steel shaft. For a 250.00 bar I’m very impressed with the overall quality of this bar. I got it as bare steel for the price and I don’t mind doing the maintenance. I now have two bars that have bare steel shafts and maintenance is no big deal for me. I’ll just quickly brush the bar down where there is mainly chalk build up and then I”ll wipe the shaft down with an oil-impregnated rag meant for cleaning guns.
Now, if only they could get the Ohio power bars back in stock. Seems they’ve been ‘coming soon’ for months
They haven’t been consistently in stock since they were released. Ever since they started manufacturing in-house, inventory has been bad. Even dropping all those satin chrome bars hasn’t seemed to help. It’s no wonder there hasn’t been any new bars since the Ohio Power; they can’t make them fast enough as it is.
Hey, I have another question. How is deadlifting with an Eleiko (or other bearing bars) training/competition bar. Does it spin too much?
It’s not great. Whippy 28 mm Olympic bars bounce around a lot with 300+ pounds on it, and that’s what can send the plates spinning. You can be super strict, but you’ll still feel it. If it’s all you have, then go for it. Better to deadlift with an Oly bar than to not deadlift at all. I prefer to have an Oly bar and a second bar for squats and deads; something more rigid, with bushings.
It should be noted that the Eleiko Sport training bar can be had for $638 and the XF bar for $515 over at bumperplates.com. That puts them into contention with the Rogue Oly bar, which is more akin to those two bars.
No Way, thanks very much for pointing this out. Might have to jump on those prices! Been wanting to get an Eleiko cert comp or WL training and at those prices might have to pull the trigger on one! Great timing on our post, tax return should be here any time now.
How does the new klokov bar fall among these barbells?
I’ve got the Klokov. I almost added it here a couple times, but it’s just so… meh.
I want it to be good, and I’m hopeful that future generations of the Klokov get revised. The bar has potential, but right now it’s a hodgepodge of features that don’t mingle well. Three different knurl patterns including an aggressive center, super stiff shaft, and rust galore! The rust issue is a pretty big deal to me because you can’t tell people your bar is hard chrome when you’re putting some cheap ass decorative finish on instead. That bar started rusting 3 or 4 months out… pretty sketchy.
Thank you for the extensive reviews, the knowledge you shared is impressive.
About 6 years ago I picked up 2 York bars at a small local nutrition store, and I’ve had a hard time learning much about either of them. Both were under $300.
One is a 28mm Olympic bar with bearings, the other is a 32mm Powerlifting Bar with bushings. Both have end caps, center knurling, and a chrome finish. On a scale the 28mm bar weighs in at 40lbs, the 32mm at 45lbs.
Have you even heard of these two bars? The two elements that stand out to me the more I learn about bars is the light weight of the 28 and the large grip of the Powerlifting bar. At the time I thought that was a standard of some type. Even the instructor at my USA Weightlifting Coaching course was stumped. I know this is an odd comment, but I appreciate any input you may have.
Hey Tim. I’m not going to be of much help here unfortunately. 31 and 32 mm bars are generally low-end bars. The only reason to make a bar that thick is to make up for a low-grade steel that wouldn’t be strong enough at 28-29 mm. Power bars are thicker than Oly, but only by 1 mm, not 3 or 4 mm.
The 40-pound Olympic bar is indeed peculiar. I have no idea what that bar could be. It’s possible that the bar is supposed to be 20 kg and is just way off. York can make decent bars, but York also makes some junky bars. It’s not that uncommon for junk bars to be off 5% of claimed weight, and in rare instances maybe as much as 10%. Of course, it could also be just some weird random bar that for one reason or another is only 40 pounds. I just don’t know =/
Some of fellas that read comments here are pretty knowledgeable about bars though, including some older bars, so maybe someone else will chime in and have a definitive answer for you. Btw, is there a number pressed into the end caps?
As a matter of fact yes-
Yeah those numbers will tell you what you’ve got. Just search York 32112, York 32110. I found both right away. The bearing bar is just way off its weight. $269’ish for a needle bearing bar is definitely an economy bar, so the discrepancy isn’t all that surprising. You have any problems with these bars, other than the thickness of one and the weight of the other? They still spin? Still straight?
Huh, who’d a thunk! Thanks!
The big one doesn’t spin all that great, but it’s real stiff and I just use it for squat/bench/deadlift. The 28 has a pretty good whip, and it spins pretty well. It’s definitely not a $1000 bar though, but it’s good enough for the basics I use it for.
But I really appreciate the effort you’ve put into the reviews, I will definitely use them when I upgrade in the future!
haha you got it, Tim. And I appreciate you saying that, thank you.
Figured I would put my thoughts in the general Olympic barbell review and guide on a bar I just picked up.So for the current sale price I decided this was a good opportunity to checkout a Vulcan without spending to much money on one to find out I wasn’t happy with their product. I bought the Vulcan Women’s 15kg Professional Olympic Bar on sale right now for right around $400. I’m happy with it for the $400 I paid, I wouldn’t be happy with it if I had paid full retail, right below $600. Overall the bar is a very nice buy for the current asking price and a great choice for women that are competitive with Crossfit and even Olympic weightlifting and are looking for the balance between cost and a good quality performing bar. Out of the shipping tube it’s a very cosmetically pleasing bar, nice shiny chrome and it doesn’t seem like they skimped on applying the chrome, but once you start to really go over the bar you start to see the little cosmetic glitches of hasty manufacturing. Burs were left on the sleeve and this isn’t good if you plan on using rubber V-lock style change plates. I plan on sanding down the burs which invariably will scratch up the nice shiny chrome, but I would rather do this as opposed to continuously nick away at the rubber seal on my expensive change plates. The knurling is set perfect for women, not to aggressive but definitely adequate, especially for high rep workouts like Crossfit. The quality of the knurling itself is great but the finish of the knurling on the shaft is not so great for a bar of an original asking price just under $600, typical of hasty manufacturing. The shaft spins very true, you have to look very close to notice any oscillation in the sleeves and it is very negligible. This bar spins as true as any expensive IWF certified bar I’ve been around and that includes Eleiko. The spin itself is effortless and smooth, typical of any other bar in this price range. A little bit more play between the shaft and sleeves than I would like to see but it’s minimal. Now for the whip, the shaft is definitely reflexive but I did just get the bar and it has to be lifted on for a period of time with some weight to really determine the quality of whip. The whip is very comparable to my other 25mm bar, York B&R bar. Overall I feel this bar is a great buy right now at the sale price. As much as I’m a stickler for not only performance out of a bar but the show of good craftsmanship the Vulcan Women’s Pro bar is definitely going to be a great performing bar, comparable to the higher tier “cert” competition bars but the overall craftsmanship of the finish on the bar is lacking, which like I’ve mentioned makes it a great buy at the $400 sale price and not the original retail asking price.
PROS: how true the shaft spins in the sleeves plus ease and smoothness of spin
CONS: little imperfections with the quality of manufacturing, ie: sleeves and knurling
Think you can get a picture of those burs on the sleeve?
Haven’t done anything about the burs yet, will try and get a pic that identifies and clearly shows the burs.
Update: Spoke with both jburgeson and the owner of Vulcan about the burs on the sleeves and they both said the same exact thing. Has to do with suspending the bar to be able to apply the industrial hard chrome plating and this is also why the little imperfection with how the knurling finishes off. I can definitely live with this because so far the performance of the bar is definitely there, it’s a very lively bar and looking forward to seeing some ladies set some new PR’s with this bar.
Comment from the owner of Vulcan is not to try and remove burs but let them wear away as bumper plates are slid on and off the bar in which I’m good with.
Thanks for the reviews! This site has been extremely helpful in my search for a new OLY bar.
I have a budget of roughly $750 and think I have narrowed it down to the Rogue Euro Olympic WL Bar or the Eleiko Sport Training Bar. I am leaning towards the Rogue but it is hard not to get an Eleiko for only $40 more. Do you have a strong preference between these 2 bars? Are there any other bars in the price range that you would recommend?
Also, it seems like your opinion of the Klokov bar has changed since your initial review. I saw that you mentioned the rust and knurling… Are there any other factors that contributed to the change? We just got one at our gym and it seems like a nice bar. The difference in knurling is hardly noticeable and seems to spin well.
Again thanks for the site and all the feedback!
My Euro got held up by the weather and wasn’t delivered last week as expected, so I haven’t even seen the thing yet. It’s so new that I really couldn’t even comment on it versus the Sport until I get it in my hands. Specs look very much the same, but that doesn’t mean they’ll feel the same. To answer your question though, at $750 I think you’re looking at the right bars. You could consider DHS, but I think its an inferior bar to the Sport; certified or not.
Yeah my opinion of the Klokov just gets worse over time. The rust is huge. I mean, not only for the sake of not wanting a rusty new bar, but also because it shows the product description is … well I’ll just say it’s incorrect. Hard chrome is an actual plating process, not just a buzz word to throw around. Telling customers that they finished the bar in the best chrome finish available in order to help sell the bar when they really only gave it a cheap decorative finish is really a big deal. It’s a much bigger deal than the 3-part knurling thing they do (they do it on the Team too, so I guess it’s their “thing.” Weird they don’t mention it anywhere) Of course, we all should have known (me especially)… the price doesn’t match the specifications.
But hey, I’m sure there has been a couple minor changes and revisions made since the first couple batches of Klokovs. Maybe they’ve addressed a lot of it by now. Most of the Klokov bars you see reviews for are original batch bars so who knows what has changed.
Great, thanks for the info! I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the EU bar once it delivered.
Like you said, the specs are very close on both bars and I am sure I will like either of them. I like the fact that the EU bar has 5 needle bearings along with all the other good stuff from Rogue but there is something about Eleikos that is hard to beat.
At the end of the day, I guess I can’t complain about having this dilemma. Stressing over which bar to get beats most other days hands down.
Well after a month of moderate use, the Klokov bar is showing rust on the sleeves. The bar is stored in one of the offices and is only used by 1 or 2 guys so there is absolutely NO way it should be resting, especially since its labeled as “chrome”. The spin has also decrease significantly. We sprayed some blaster lube in the sleeves, as AF recommends, and it has returned to a good spin but it still seems suspect that it slowed down that fast. I have contacted AF and sent pictures in and hope to hear back from them today. I have ordered 6 of the first gen team barbells and they have been great for general CrossFit purposes and they still look good. Pretty disappointing…
On another note… I have a couple of weeks on my Rogue EU bar and I love it! Great feel, spin, looks, etc… As I mentioned in another post I thought the knurl was a little soft but I have been pleasantly surprised by it. We actually ran out of chalk on a hot humid day and the bar didn’t slip in my hands at all. Still looking forward to your review on it! :)
Yeah I keep hearing about that rust. I should probably completely revisit that Klokov review at this point. I haven’t touched that bar in a long damn time, and probably never will again. Same goes for the Team, although I can at least confess that the Team doesn’t seem to be rusting. You also should not have had to lubricate that bar after a month of moderate use. I’ve not heard of anyone that had a Klokov replaced due to rust, but maybe you will. Good luck with that.
I have nothing but good things to say about the Euro so far. I think I just mentioned this in another comment (I’m not sure on which page), but I’m so damn behind right now because of a rather persistent and stubborn injury. I feel bad because I know people are waiting on reviews, but I don’t want to publish anything without actually having put the thing through the ringer. I don’t write up these reviews just for the sake of doing it; I really want the information to be worthwhile and accurate. I’m getting there though. I do apologize for so long of a delay. I don’t even normally announce what’s coming. Of course I’d be set back one of the few times I do =/
AF contacted me about the rust issues on the Klokov bar. They didn’t really address the problem of a chrome bar rusting but they did offer to give me 20% back on my purchase or they offered to replace it. They also gave me cleaning/maintenance instructions that read more like a raw bar than a chrome one. I decided to keep the current bar and take the 20% since it didn’t sound like the problem was fixed on the manufacturing side. Overall, I am disappointed with the rusting of the bar but feel like it performs well for its price. They also said that they suggest lubricating the sleeves every few months to keep a good spin. That seems to be on the high side of maintenance IMO, but the bar is definitely spinning well now that I applied the lubricant. I also think AF customer service worked hard to make sure I was happy with the product.
Well they used to pretend like rusting didn’t happen, so at least you were offered fixes. They need to remove that claim of hard chrome though; it’s obviously not. I’m surprised you touch that bar when you have access to the US and EU Oly.
Ha! Yeah the UE bar is my personal bar and use it pretty much exclusively. My coach likes the Klokov bar and I will occasionally do a few lifts on it. I completely agree that the label of Chrome is clearly not accurate. I am not sure why they are trying to cram/claim so much on a $320 bar. They could have made it zinc at that price and I don’t think anyone would have cared. I have a feeling that they are getting a lot of complaints about the rust so maybe that is why they are changing their tune.
recently I found my rogue ohio power bar get a deep scratch on the inside of the sleeve which form a sharp edge. and Rogue said it maybe caused by the edge hit the J-cups when rack the barbell. seems the barbell sleeve use a much weaker steel than the shaft, otherwise I don’t think the J-cup is strong enough to damage a 205K steel. do you know if other brand barbell have the same problem? or which brand barbell use same steel on both shaft and sleeve? I think the steeve get much more abuse when load/unload plate and drop to ground even when put into bar holders.
Yeah so the sleeves are cut from a larger piece of steel, and are not the same as the shafts. Actually it’s not surprising that a J-cup could damage not only the finish on a sleeve, but put a scratch in the steel itself. J-cups have pretty thick and strong steel with relatively sharp edges.
If you can imagine what kind of forces that the sleeves themselves have to tolerate, it’s not much… nothing like the shaft. The only thing that can really destroy sleeves is steel on steel (like iron plates and change plates, or say your J-cup), dropping the bar on one end first, or simply tossing an unloaded bar to the ground so that it lands on the shoulders/collars. It may be that some manufacturers use a comparable quality of steel on the sleeves, but its not something any of them discuss, and I think that its unlikely anyway. I’ve dinged some nice bar sleeves myself. It happens; just gotta try to avoid it.
Also, I verified the B&R change you brought to my attention, but I’m still waiting to see if they’ll tell me why it happened. They will probably just say that York decided to do it that way and leave it at that. It is definitely a downgrade though; very unfortunate. Especially considering no reduction in price.
I have found the Eleiko Olympic WL Training Bar for $760.00
and the Eleiko Sport Training Bar for $640. Are there other bars you’d recommend within this price or below? I’m only power cleaning 112kg, & jerking roughly 125kg currently. I want a good oly bar, and I noticed the American SS bar is getting to be popular, and I also see your admiration for Vulcan, so I’m curious to see if I should pull the trigger on the Eleiko, and which one in your opinion.
That’s a good price on the Sport, and that’s more than enough bar. The differences between the Sport and Trainer are minimal; very few people would ever be able to even tell the difference if you blindfolded them and put it in their hands… not that I recommend being blindfolded while weightlifting =p
The SS is $160 more than the Sport, and it’s not better than the Sport but it is different though. You’d be paying for the stainless steel. It’s a cool perk, no doubt about it, but that’s really up to you to decide if it’s worth it. The Vulcan Pro is supposed to be pretty badass, but I haven’t touched that one, and it may not even be in stock. $640 is a pretty nice price for an Eleiko; kinda hard to beat that really. The Sport is a fantastic bar, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better whip bar than the 215k Eleiko bars for so close to $600.
LOL, I’ll make sure not to weightlift blindfold, although I do confess that would be an interesting moment to capture. Last question then. Would it make more sense to get the Eleiko Olympic WL Training bar since it is IWF Certified for the additional $120, and I guess 2 more bearings : ) ? Not that I will be hosting an IWF meet any time soon, but if I do go with the sport, it rules that out.
Thanks for the quick response, and help.
Well, it’s the Comp bar you’d care whether or not it was certified or not because that’s the one that’s calibrated and has the sticker. You can get the Trainer for the bearings, but I don’t personally think it’s worth the $120 for one more bearing per sleeve. I mean, that’s just my opinion though. Eleiko uses pretty good bearings already, and four per sleeve is certainly enough. Technically it would spin with 2 per sleeve. More is better for larger loads of course, but look at what a bushing bar can do with only 2 bushings per sleeve.
Really what it comes down to is would it hurt your pocketbook to spend $800 on a bar? If not, then by all means may as well move up to the Training bar. There really is no need to own the Comp bar though because the knurl is ridiculous to train on for any extended period of time. The Trainer knurl is toned down a little, and so is the Sport for that reason. Still though, even the XF has better knurl than most bars out there, so toned down does not mean weak.
Hi jburgeson, I would like to add my two cents to this. Sorry I haven’t had a chance to do my review of the American SS bar yet, been sick since receiving it and work has been busy as well. Yes, can’t go wrong with an Eleiko, the standard everyone else goes by, but will say I am extremely impressed with the American SS bar I received as a replacement to the original bar they sent me. This bar is flawless and extremely well crafted. I really like the whip and feel of the SS shaft. Plus their bearing system is impeccable, still surprised it’s taken this long for a company to make a bar with this type of bearing system. Like you’ve mentioned jburgeson, once this bar is loaded up with weight this is where you really start to notice the difference in the spin of this bar and it is by far one of the smoothest most effortless spins I’ve ever seen from a bar. I’m sold on American BB and would not hesitate to own one over an Eleiko, even just for the quality of craftsmanship and finish on the bar, beautiful bar.
I’m glad to hear the second one wasn’t a dud. That would have been disappointing.
You make some valid points, which have helped make my decision easier. Thank you for your input JB. You have a great page here, and your reviews are helpful.
I was wondering if you had the opportunity to find out about a smaller company named Rep Fitness. They have an Olympic bearing bar for $300.00, but I can’t seem to find out much about the bar. Unless they have a typo on their website, because it is a dual marked bar.
I’m not normally a fan of the imported economy bars, but this one doesn’t look that bad; better than some of the others. the Tensile/Yield rating is respectable, although not amazing. The bar looks clean, knurl looks decent as best I can tell from the close-up in the video.
One of my issues with all these small CrossFit shops is that they lack user reviews and any real feedback on their products. Of the three more well-known shops (Rep, Get, AF) I’ve only had a reasonable amount of exposure to AF, and I have not been impressed. That’s not to say the other two aren’t decent, but I just don’t know. Fringe is another I suppose, but they don’t offer any of the “too good to be true” bars. Just the Vaughn, but that bar is legit. Surprisingly, Fringe actually has a crap load of reviews on their products by comparison.
If you buy it, read up on their warranty first. It says lifetime, but make sure there aren’t any exceptions that could apply to you. I doubt it’s bad, but $300 still isn’t that far from some very nice bars.
Thank you for taking the time to review Rep’s site, and give me your honest opinion. I find the lack of reviews to be un comforting, and if you have some better suggestions for a bearing bar closer to the $300 price tag of Rep’s, I am all ears (well eyes) to find out what you think.
The cheapest bearing bar that I know of that I’ve both used and liked is the black Vulcan bearing bar. I think it’s $339 shipped and that’s not even with chrome, and its 28.5 mm. Most of the bigger name manufacturers don’t come close to that low of a price for Olympic bearing bars. Rogue is probably the next best thing and that’s still $525 for zinc Oly. The Vaughn is bushings, but spins like a bearing bar; still $399. You may have to go with something like that Rep if you’re determined to have bearings for $300.
This is exactly why I am so apprehensive about these high-spec, low cost bars. Kinda makes you wonder how they do it. What’s the catch!
JB – this blog is truly a treasure trove of gym nerd knowledge; thanks for putting so much work into it! Really appreciate it.
I recently (~ 3 months ago) picked up a B&R bar from Rogue; by that time, they’d already changed the PSI (though they must have done it pretty recently, because all the research I did on it beforehand pointed to 205,000), but I didn’t really know any better at the time of purchase. Obviously, it’s a downgrade; the B&R is a power-leaning bar in the first place, and something that makes it crappier at its main gig probably isn’t a positive. Do you think there are any positives to it? (besides the positive for York/Rogue getting to sell a cheaper bar for the same price, of course). Will it take on a bit more whip at that lower PSI? And do you think it’s still a worthwhile power bar at 190,000?
Lastly, my theory for the PSI switcharoo: Rogue’s been marching a lot of bars up to 190,000 lately, as you’ve noted. Maybe they figured they could pull the B&R back into line with the rest of that group without anyone really caring?
I’ve contacted both York and Rogue about this, and neither were very helpful. Though based on their vague responses, it looks like the bar is the same as it has always been. Whether by accident or some other reason, the 205k claim on the Rogue site has been a misrepresentation for all these years.
In a way, the bar not changing is the best case scenario here. It means all of our B&R bars are the same. The downside is that whether or not we can feel the difference of 15k PSI in a 29 mm bar, it does kind of make the bar feel more expensive than it should be. It means the strength of this bar comes more from the extra millimeter of shaft diameter, not a higher than 190k steel.
I have no reason to suspect that this was anything more than an oversight, but it still makes you stop and think. It was incorrect on that site for a long, long time… But to answer your question about being a decent power bar, I think it’s still fine. I certainly wouldn’t return it over this. It’s still a rigid 29 mm bar regardless of PSI rating. Not sure that I’ll be recommending it going forward, but that has more to do with the price seeming off now, not that the bar sucks.
Anyone having issues with end caps on the American Rogue 28 mm bar? I’ve had 2 bars with loose end caps, the first just a week after I got it. A buddy of mine had the same issue and returned for the EU bar.
Quick update, I got the EU bar as a replacement. End caps came loose after 1 lifting session. The bar is nice, and although the end cap issue is not impacting performance, it’s just frustrating to see a $700 piece of equipment display even a tiny defect, essentially right out of the box.
Both end caps?
Yes, both end caps. They look like they are going to come out completely, but like I said, it’s frustrating. Other than that, I have no complaints with either the American or EU bar. Good bars, and I’ve stuck with them despite the end cap issues. Biggest difference I’ve seen between the 2 is the EU knurling feels more aggressive, a little more competition-like. Not Eleiko aggressive, but definitely more than the American version.
Sorry, that should say “They DON’T look like they are going to come out completely”.
I definitely know what you mean when you say it’s frustrating. Very expensive bar. I hadn’t noticed that issue with mine, but I’ll probably poke at them a little and see if I notice anything weird.
I noticed that one of my end caps on my EU bar had become unscrewed after a few lifting sessions. I just screwed it back in with my fingers and it hasn’t moved since then. I just figured that they didn’t tighten it all the way during assembly. I like the look of the EU end cap more that the American version but tightening the end caps is a little harder on the EU since they don’t have the holes in the end cap like the USA version.
Thanks J for providing reviews of all the barbells. Im looking to buy a new barbell thats suitable for doing the starting strength program which uses the powerlifting exercises along with cleans.
Im considering the dual purpose bars Ohio, B+R bar, Mat Chan and the Vulcan One. I was considering the Rogue 2.0 but you said it has been discontinued and replaced with the Rogue Olympic Wl which is way out of my budget.
What do you think would be the best option for someone with a max budget of €350 who currently Deadlifts around 100kg and has yet to learn the Clean and would also like to learn the olympic lifts in the future but that but that would be at least 6 months to 1 year away. Many thanks for educating me on how to choose a barbell.
Hey David… where did I say that about the 2.0 being replaced by the WL bar? That’s not right at all. And where are you? Do you have access to Vulcan? I ask because you gave a price in Euros
I apolgise for the slow resonse. I thought I would be notified by email if you replied so had presumed you didnt.
Sorry aslo J, I misread what you said . The Quote below occurs in the dual purpose section at the end of the piece about the rogue 2.0. I presumed it had been discontinued altogether.
“*The Rogue Bar was replaced at the CrossFit Games with the new Rogue Olympic WL Bar. Bye-bye.”
I am in Ireland. Its difficult to source the bars you recommend. Rogueeurope.eu do sell the Ohio and Chan but tax and shipping makes them very expensive
yeah you know, if you subscribed to comments it should email you… I only get notified like 50% of the time so I guess something is up with the email system for WordPress. Sorry about that.
Anyway yeah, there is nothing wrong with any of those three Rogue bars for your purposes. Other than minor things, they are all the same anyway. The Rogue Bar is basically the “economy” Ohio Bar with the only significant difference being composite bushings rather than bronze, which in all honestly isn’t actually significant at all. The Chan has the most unique and most aggressively knurled, and is my favorite of the three. I doubt that the Vulcan bars will be very economical to you overseas; shipping will be awful. In the end, for Starting Strength, any of these bars will be perfect. No reason to buy a bearing bar just for power cleans, and you wouldn’t even need bearings any time soon even when you starting Oly lifting.
Wondering why you dislike black oxide or black zinc bars. I’m thinking about getting the Ohio power bar in black
They are just not my preference. Functionally there is nothing wrong with black finishes, but I find that any nicks and scratches to the finish are much more obvious on black bars, which makes it seem like they wear more quickly. Also, in poor lighting, finding the marks quickly is annoying. With chrome/silver bars, the marks easily contrast with the knurl. But again, it’s just a preference. I’ll just always go with bright zinc or chrome over black zinc or oxide so long as that option is available to me.
Thanks J, Vulcan got back to me and said shipping would be 300usd so buying from the states is out. Im using a hexbolt atm so need to change. What is the minimum bumper plates required when starting to learn oly lifting. Im trying to keep costs down so I can get a good bar.
Yeah I figured it would be a lot.
You really just need one pair of each 10-20 kg plates, plus maybe some 5 kg technique plates. 5 kg black bumpers will work for a while as you learn, but if you use them alone on the bar and keep dropping them for too long, they will bend.
Thanks J you’ve been very helpful. I enjoy the buying guides.They have opened my eyes to buying equipment
Glad to hear it. Thank you )
Hello again J, there is a Bison bar for €220 available here and also a York 7ft Olympic North American Split Sleeve with Needle bearing Bar (28mm) for €250.00.
Do you anything about these makes.
I don’t know anything about the Bison. The York will probably be fine, but York has slipped over the years, and while the bars tend to be decent enough, so help you if you ever have a problem with that thing. I hear horror stories about York customer service. Make sure you know how the dealer you buy it from handles warranty issues. If they just send you off to York, be willing to be disappointed. I’ve actually spoken with someone at York once and it really didn’t sounded like he knew what he was talking about in terms of bar construction. I’m a fan of the B&R bar, as many are… but that’s because we haven’t had problems with it.
Thanks J, Ill keep that in mind about York, Theres a lot of Bison bars on this site. Thought you might be interested in checking the specs. http://www.wolverson-fitness.co.uk/Bars_B26QOE.aspx
The Olympic bar doesn’t look bad. It has copper bushings instead of bronze, though that may be incorrect because that bar looks familiar, though I can’t place from where. Maybe they’ll tell you who makes their bars if you ask. If it’s Gymway, that’s good.
All three of the Klokov Bars (2 mens, one women’s) at my box have rust on them already, and they have only had the bars for a little over a month and a half. The men’s bar (the one they got first) is rusting really bad on the collars, and there is moderate rust on the knurling as well. The center knurl is also very aggressive. If you have the Klokov bar, you need to treat it as a bare steel bar, because that’s what it is. Also, I have heard reports of this bar locking up prematurely. If that happens, get WD-40 lithium grease and take the bar apart and clean it, then apply the lithium grease.
I did some more searching on the rust issue and it seems to be the norm for the Klokov bar. I am surprised AF hasn’t addressed this. They have always been good about that kind of stuff in the past, at least that has been my experience. I am still waiting to hear back from AF. I have actually been talking to a guy on their service team about some issues with a barbell gun rack I orders. They were super responsive and accommodating about the rack. I hope they respond the same way about the bar.
Hello J, do u mean the black series Olympic bar on thevwolverson website.
No the silver Olympic bar for 280
Im considering either the
the Team Barbell which ships for €343.19 from Again Faster and the
Ohio bar The Ohio Bar which ships for €408.27 from Rogue and the
Bison bar from Wolverson for around €420 http://www.wolverson-fitness.co.uk/B…ar_A1NUS1.aspx
There are better bars in your guide but they either are not available to me here or a are expensive to ship e.g the Chan from Rogueeurope.eu
Ive read your review on the Team bar and apart from your issue with the Knurl it seems a good bar.The warranty says that the max weight limit for the Team bar is 300kg http://againfaster.eu/en_gb/weightlifting-bars-plates/bars/team-barbell.html This seems strange considering the PSI is 209,000. Is this correct?
What do you think is the best option from the above bars. dont know as yet if Gymway make the Wolverson bar. Ive sent an email to them just now. I had forgotten to do so after your previous post.
I still hear from folks that they have less problems with the Team than they do with the Klokov despite the fact that the Team is the cheaper of the two, but €343 is a lot of money for that bar. I realize that your options are limited and there isn’t much you can do about that, but you already know that if it were me I wouldn’t buy the Team.
I don’t have a problem with the Bison Comp Bar, at least based on what little information they make available, but the fact that they have no reviews makes me a bit nervous. It’s probably the better Olympic bar of the three though.
Oh, and the low max weight on a high tensile strength bar is due to a lower yield rating than would be considered normal (most manufacturers don’t like to share the yield rating with us.) The bar won’t break at high weights, but it will develop a permanent bend. It is a common complaint actually.
Thanks for expalining the low max weight/ high psi relationship J, Ill rule out the Team so. Ive a better idea of what to look for in a bar now.
Hello J, Im considering this one now https://www.strengthshopusa.com/bars/strength-shop-bastard-bar-1045.html. Its more in my price range €300 inc shipping from Strengthshop.ie . Have you an opinion on it.
The price is lower than the other bars you were looking at, but I have yet to see a Strength Shop bar in person. I’m not impressed by it though. You may as well get the Team over that one. I definitely like the other bars more; any of them that you mentioned.
Thanks again j, what in particular puts you off this bar.
Do you have any experience with Chinese bars except DHS or Zhang Kong? I was looking at Alibaba the other day and some of these bars claim to be 215000 psi. Here’s a link: http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/HARD-CHROMED-OLYMPIC-BARBELL-OB-86_60159392162.html?spm=a2700.7724838.14.5.BdlEqw&s=p
We all know the “MIC is shit” stories but Chinese “quality” is vastly improved. The prices quoted are quite realistic I think. Thoughts?
I don’t ever look at that wholesale Chinese stuff, sorry. Those $200 retail bars have to come from somewhere though, right? =p
Also, I’ve been told that generally, bars with high TS but low, low prices have awful yield. The TS is almost worth ignoring as the bar will bend more easily than a 190k bar. It’s basically artificially inflated to improve marketability. There is a very popular bar with way over 200k TS, but it is rumored to have a yield not much higher than 50% of the TS. I can’t say which one it is because I have no lab work to back it up and don’t want to get sued, but you can probably figure out which one it is.
From all my “research”, I’ve seen that for alloy steel, the TS and YS have a definite correlation (ratio) if it is being heat treated the conventional way i.e. quench and temper. I have absolutely no idea why a higher PSI bar should cost more. It’s not like making a weaker bar is less expensive. In fact creating a 150000 PSI bar and a 200000 PSI bar entail the exact same process except the tempering temperature.
Knurling, though, adds to the cost of a stronger bar. It’s more expensive to knurl a 200 ksi bar than it is to knurl a 150 ksi bar.
Anyway, in your general experience. do you ever find that cheap bars bend during the course of normal use? i.e. no abuse or dropping
Yes, the 135k-165k bars can bend even without an excessive amount of abuse. There are a handful of bars out there that are pretty notorious for developing bends, even a couple with 200+ PSI. Of course, they are still “cheap” bars in regard to price.
You can manufacture a bar that looks amazing on paper for not a lot of money, but you can’t make an actual amazing bar that way. You know that if Eleiko didn’t have to pay for those IWF sticker fees, those bars would still be pretty close to their current price, and they’re “only” 215k… a number that gets tossed around like it’s nothing these days.
What’s the deal? You trying to develop a quality bar at a low cost?
Ha ha. No, not trying to develop any bar here. Just appalled at the lack of quality bars in my country. My point is that if the “numbers” are true, they should mean something. I was just looking at the data sheet for heat treated AISI 4140 steel. At 210 ksi TS, it has a YS of 195 ksi. Most steels follow this kind of a ratio. In other words, manufacturers just cannot achieve a high TS with a low YS. But having said that, it will always be true that the same Eleiko if manufactured in China, with the same QC, would cost almost half of what it costs now.
Yeah, but word is that they aren’t always true. I mean, who can afford to lab test all these bars anyway. Can’t really publish the results even if you could. Also, you’ll notice that most manufacturers won’t tell you the yield even if you ask. Even Rogue won’t, and they’re generally pretty transparent with specs on gear.
No doubt you understand the methodology involved in heat treating steel for a barbell better than I do, but I’ve been told a couple times by those more knowledgeable than me that yield most certainly can deviate pretty far from tensile strength, but maybe I’ve been lied to, or maybe I give these people too much credit. /shrug
Indeed yield could deviate from TS (If the steel if normalized and tempered instead of quenched and tempered). But not by 50%. Also such deviation would not equate to a cheaper process.
Anyway, this website is IMO the best place to discuss equipments. You got some really good information in here. In other forums, I’ve been charged with blasphemy whenever I “questioned” the specifications of their favourite bars or perhaps when I desired to discuss the properties of an Olympic barbell. To most people Oly bars are territory best left to “experts”. Reminds me of the time when Eleiko told Mark Rippetoe, “Since Eleiko bars don’t bend, what you have could not possibly be a bent Eleiko.” Beat that.
lol ya, I’d have liked to have seen the look on his face the moment he heard them say that. But ya, I like certain bars and certain companies, but I don’t expect everyone or even anyone to agree with me all the time. Besides, there are bars I’m sure we both would agree are bad, but they are loved by someone =p
Have you ever gotten your hands on a Wright Equipment Bar? I like buying American and the video of the CF Series bar on their website shows some incredible whip. At only $209.00 I am a little suspicious though. Have you used or heard anything about the bar? Thanks!
It’s $209 because it’s a 165k PSI bar. I haven’t seen one though. I looked at them a while back, but they’re basically Bomba bars so I kinda left it at that. 165k was the old standard before everyone went to 190k, and even those aren’t much more expensive.
Some of the Vulcan’s are worked a bit beyond 190k and sell for close to $300. The Standard is one of the best priced bars right now for the specs in my opinion, and it too is made in the USA. That’s cool because not all Vulcan bars are. Though, their producer overseas is the one place you’d want to get a bar made if you are going to do it overseas.
Thanks. Once again some great insight.
Hi i’m from Germany and i’m about to buy my first Bar for my Homegym. In Germany the Bars with high quality are very expensive. So i can decide beetwen the TPB from capps available at the german Strengthshop and the Chan Bar from Rogueeurope. All are about 480€ with shipping. I wont do any olympic lifting just do some Bench/Squat/Deadlift/Press. Wich one would you say i should go with? Is the knurling on the TPB really that aggressive on deadlifts? Would be the chan bar the better choice for it?
Hey Frank. The Chan is aggressive compared to the everyday CrossFit/multi-purpose bar, but it’s nothing like the cheese grater that is the TPB. Since I’m assuming you’ll be doing full sets rather than just single rep sets, I’d probably say go with the Chan. It’s a great alternative to a true power bar. The Chan is still one of my favorites for static movements like what you’ll be doing. Of course, I’m not knocking the TPB, but as someone who likes a more aggressive knurl, I have no desire to use one of those myself.
Thanks man! I think i’ll go with the Chan and i hope that i won’t readjust my grip on Deadlifts because i’m only 168cm. But in your review of the Chan you say that your trainingpartner is only 165cm and has no problems with the shorter knurling than on other Bars!
I asked him about that to be sure and he said he still prefers it over all the other bars in the garage despite a slightly wider grip, and he doesn’t Oly lift; just bench, deadlift, squat, etc… like what you’ll be doing. His only complaint is that he says it’s loud with deadlifts when set down between each rep. I don’t necessarily agree as I have bars that make a hell of a lot more noise, but it was part of his answer so I’m passing it along )
Thanks!! Helped me a lot!
Isn’t required tensile strength directly correlated to weight on the bar? So if I never plan deadlifting over 200kg/450lbs, 15000psi bar should be plenty strong for me?
Technically, yes. Though it’s not as simple as that. A 150,000 tensile strength rating is certainly high enough to eliminate any concern of a bar actually breaking, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the bar won’t permanently bend. It’s the yield rating that dictates how likely a bend is, and yield is lower than tensile. How much lower is generally a mystery as few manufacturers share yield ratings with customers. Still, the lower the tensile rating, the lower the yield.
Still though, if the weight is never going to be extreme and the bar won’t be subjected to things like Olympic lifts or rack pulls, it will probably never be a problem.
I purchased a Vulcan bushing 3.0 and had problems with it from the beginning. The zinc coating came chipped and knurling was stained (bar looked worn out of package). After a few months of light use, the spin on the bar became rigid. Not even close to a bearing bar in terms of spin.
Asked Vulcan to repair, refund, or exchange for a different bar and was denied all requests.
Read the fine print on the warranties.
I really like the reviews you post and you seem to be pretty much a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to weight lifting products. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions since I am personally interested in purchasing two barbells that are within my price range. They both have very good attributes. The X Training Equipment 20kg Elite Competition Bar 2.0 – 1500lb Olympic Power Bar and the Wonder bar 2 by one fit wonder. Your opinion would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for posting up awesome reviews and videos on youtube.
Sorry I had to cut the links in the body of that comment cause it was getting eaten by the spam detector, but I know the bars. So full disclosure, I don’t have either of these. The Wonder Bar is an intro bar with weight limitations that are far from amazing, however, for lifting within those limitations, it’s not a bad bar for the price. OFW bars have actually seen a lot of success, and while they aren’t going to win any awards for being elite or fancy, they wouldn’t continue to sell if they were garbage. Also Fringe has that 1-year free returns thing which beats a warranty at least for that first year since you can return it simply because you don’t like it, not only because it broke or something.
I looked into X-Training bars about a year ago because I was considering reviewing one of them. The input I received left me underwhelmed, so I didn’t buy one and the brand rarely comes up so I’ve never reconsidered. Like the Wonder, it’s a $200 bar so it’s not going to blow your mind. The only thing that stuck in my head regarding their bars was that the knurl was awful. Whether or not that’s true to this day is beyond me, it’s just what I remember hearing.
Currently, $250ish is really the break point from meh to good when it comes to bars. You can get a lot more bar for not a lot more money by pushing your budget a little. If that’s out of the question, I understand… just want to let you know.
Thanks for your discerning reply. I would really like to stay at or under $200 since i still need to take taxes into account for a total price, But, If I were to wait a few more months to save, what bar would you suggest under $250?
As for the other two bars, I managed to contact a representative for both companies and they gave me additional information which I wouldn’t have much knowledge being able to utilize its significance. For instance, X training equipment’s barbell has brass bushings. Not to sure how important the material of the bushings are but I have noticed that rogue uses composite bushing on their rogue bar and bronze bushings on the Froning bar. In addition, rather than give me direct information about yield, they propose that each bar goes “through the most stringent quality control tests. Each bar is tested at 1500lbs”.
In contrast, the OFW bar can be used to squat and deadlift with “more than 3 plates on each side” and “will be fine with more than 2 plates on each side and being dropped from overhead”. On their website, the Wonder bar seems to be pretty comparable to a lot of pretty decent bars out there.
My main concern is not purchasing the right bar for my needs… I don’t plan on clean and jerking more than 143 kg nor do I plan on deadlifting, benching, squating or doing pulls with more than 181 kg. I have a generic bar to do all the non oly exercises with. You and this site is probably the best place I can go to without getting too much of a biased opinion going seeking the reply from sellers of these bars.
Yeah well, all barbell manufacturers have the best bar you could possibly buy for the money… if you ask them lol.
For around $250, you’d have access to the Rogue Bar 2.0, the Vulcan One, or the American Barbell Black & Chrome (or Cali bar for dual marks). All of these are at least 190k tensile strength bars and any of them will run circles around the X or Wonder. Now, if you really don’t foresee ever coming within about 75% of the max loads on the other two bars, you will probably be content with them.
On and brass is not ideal, you want bronze or composite bushings. Bronze bushings are the most common because they are porous; they’re self-lubricating. American Barbell and to a lesser extent Rogue are just recently starting to use composite bushings. I have a couple composite bushing bars. I haven’t found any reason to not like them, but I do think bronze spins just a tad better.
Even though it’s not explicitly mentioned in this article, I thought I’d give my impressions on the Eleiko Sport Training bar. After having issues with my Klokov bar, I decided to return it and went for a pretty big upgrade with the Eleiko. I’ve had the bar for a week now and I really like it so far.
The knurl seems really aggressive if you run your finger from side-to-side, but once you grip the bar it’s really not too aggressive. I feel confident with it, and it’s about on par feel-wise to me with the AB SS WOD bar. My hands tell me a little different as I’ve got some callouses forming in new places. I’ve only used the bar for a week or so, so I know my hands will get used to it.
The bar is of excellent quality, as I would expect. I think it’s pretty cool how the bar is serialized on the shaft, and certainly makes sense for identification and warranty issues. I’ve often wondered how other manufacturers know how old a bar is for warranty issues, etc. when there is no serial number on any other bar I’ve seen. Maybe that’s part of the reason many offer “lifetime” warranties. The chrome is really nice and polished, although there are a couple of scratches already from sliding bumpers off and on. That kind of bugs me, but it’s a bar and that happens.
The spin is very nice and feels different compared to the AB SS WOD, Klokov, and AF Team Barbells I’m familiar with. If you put your foot on the bar and try to spin it, it doesn’t spin forever. It might spin a revolution or two at most. However, in use it turns so freely that my snatch feels weird. I guess I’m used to a little resistance and sometimes I’m under the bar too quickly (if that makes sense). I know I’ll get used to it. If you grab the bar and just turn it with your hand, it has a very precise, solid, and consistent feel to it. Many bars will spin, but they almost feel too loose, too tight, or are just inconsistent/gritty. This bar has a very different precise feel to the spin that is indicative of the Eleiko quality.
I’m novice enough and probably don’t lift heavy enough to even know “whip” when it happens so I can’t speak to that, at least not yet. Despite it being an excellent bar, I’m torn at the moment as to whether this bar is “worth it” for my purposes. It is double the price of other quality bars, and so far it’s not a night-and-day difference feeling for me. However, if it lasts forever and maintains spin it’s worth it to not have to buy new bars every few years at a minimum. For the record, I’m using the Sport Trainer for Oly lifts/block work and an AB SS WOD bar for DL/squats and general WOD/beater-bar purposes.
Thank you so much for all this information!
For us in Germany the barbell market is smaller. For example Rogue Europe only offer two bars for my needs. The Ohio Bar and the Matt Chan Bar. I’m interisted in the Chan Bar – but it costs nearly 500 Euro with tax and shipping. From the US-store it would be even more.
I’m a post novice and I like to buy my first “good equipment” and it will be my last one :-)
But 500 Euros? I need it for Mark Rippetoes “Starting Strength”-program.
Here in Germany we have the ATX label. The produce a view barbells with good data and a good price but I know nobody who uses them.
Can you say something about those barbells?
So Google doesn’t do a very good job of translating those pages, but based on the specs that I can read clearly I’d say that these bars are Asian imports very much like numerous bars we have access to here in the states; the AF Team comes to mind when I look at these. Obviously I’ve never actually touched one of these so I can’t really tell you anything concrete, but I don’t see any reason why these wouldn’t work just fine for the SS program. The knurl looks pretty soft, but not only is that based only on a picture, but knurl preference is very subjective anyway.
At the end of the day, with the Asian imports, durability and performance can go either way. This bar could last you ten years, or it could last one. It’s unfortunate that Europe doesn’t have the same access to good mid-range bars at reasonable prices. The Chan bar is a great bar for Starting Strength. Knurl pattern is perfect for the pulls (deads and power cleans) that make up like 50% of that program. However, nearly $500 after taxes is a lot and I can understand shopping around.
Thank you for your fast answer! I’m reading all your infos since hours – my wife will kill me today ;-)
I love this pages and the structured information.
I you would look for I bar just at the moment for powerlifting/SS program, which one would YOU buy (500 Euro ist the absolut limit).
I don’t like black much. They say black oxide gives you a good grip/feeling.
I would love stainless steel – too expensive for me. I would like satin chrome – Rogue stopped to produce such bars (no Matt Chan bar in satin chrome) ??
So why not bare steel? The Burgener & Rippetoe Men’s Bar perhaps? Or would you nevertheless prefere the Chan Bar for the SS program?
Best wishes, Mike
I don’t like black zinc or oxide, but I’d deal with it for a Chan.
Are you able to get the B&R? That’s a solid bar for SS.
If you would do the SS-program and were looking just at the moment with the actual Rogue Barbell offers – would you choice a Matt Chan Bar in Black Zinc with Black Zinc (from Rogue Europe the only offer, 485 Euro) or a B&R Bar (520 Euro directly from the Rogue USA)?
Sorry, I forgot – or do you have a different bar in mind or as a good suggestion?
This one looks nice too but I will be reasonable :-)
In the case of the B&R, I’d be pretty reluctant to order a bar from overseas. If something happens to the bar in transit, it’ll be on you to eat all that shipping. I’d say in terms of the Rogue bars, you’re better off with either the Ohio or the Chan.
In case you didn’t know, the Ohio and Chan are essentially the same bar. It’s the same shaft, same bushing system, same sleeves. All that differs is the unique knurl pattern of the Chan, and in the case of Rogue EU, the Ohio doesn’t have black sleeves. The Ohio is just as viable a bar as the Chan in terms of performance for your purposes, and it has less black and costs less as well.
I wish you had more of a selection from Rogue or that shipping from US vendors wasn’t so much, but it is what it is. If you don’t have confidence in your obscure local vendors like the ATX dealer, then you either have to go with Rogue, or spend more money on Ivanko, Eleiko, etc; which I don’t really recommend in your case. Again Faster deals in EU, but I don’t recommend them either. Even if you wanted to gamble on the Klokov, it’s not in stock there anyway.
Today I wrote to Rogue EU and USA and asked for more (power)-bars – this is the answer from Rogue USA:
We do plan to offer power bars in Rogue EU.
There has been a big shortage of supply for 29mm stock steel from the mills and we have been out of many power bar variants in the US for weeks.
We started to get some steel last week and once we are able to fully build up the supply we will offer in EU.
Hopefully it will not last to long!
That’s a pretty long and thorough answer! That isn’t happening any time soon btw… as in, I wouldn’t wait around for it.
As an info for anyone interested…
I asked Rogue for or a date more accurate. This is the answer I received today:
“We are going to get powerlifting bar for sale around mid November. It will be the Rogue 20kg Ohio power bar. Please keep on eye on our web store and it’ll appear there.
Unfortunately we are not going to get York barbells to our European webstore at this moment, though we are hoping to have them in the future.”
If this is the truth, the Ohio Power Bar (Finish: Black Zinc Shaft w/ Bright Zinc Sleeves) could be I good solution…
sorry, I hope I’m not a “pain in your ass”. All those questions.
My brain is a steam egine now!
I’ve read so much (most of it in english – that doesn’t make is easier for me).
But my first homegym with over 50 could be my last… :-) It’s worth the effort.
American Barbell answered me positive. The would ship to Germany, but I don’t have a shipping quote until yet.
Since I read your American Barbell SS WOD Bar review, I really think seriously about stainless steel.
I like stainless steel in matte. I like a few materials (in matte) really – wood, stone, leather and steel.
And the price for this bar could be good (and uniquely) despite shipping to Germany.
No german dealer has an affordable bar in SS. Eleiko in Germany – yes, but 1000 Euro and more? I’m a post novice. I appreciate quality, but I don’t have to take a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
So SS (Stainless Steel) for SS (Starting Strength)?
For this price (299 $, with shipping and tax it will be close to 500 Euro, I estimate).
But the “competitors” aren’t really cheaper for me.
What do you think? What’s the best choice for my needs and at the moment?
The only thing missing is the Center knurl, right? Do you think I will miss it for the squats or in generell?
I wrote you, I’m also ogling with the Ohio Power Bar. But after all the infos and comments I read, that might be not the best solution for me (e.g. for Power cleans).
The Chan Bar? Some reported they don’t like Chan Bar with the increased distance between the outer knurling for the PRESS (hand distance is closer here).
Phew! I should buy two or three :-)
So, my first olympic barbell, mainly for “Starting Strength” (Squats, Press, Bench Press, Power Clean).
Please choice between:
1. American Barbell SS WOD Bar
2. Rogue Matt Chan Bar
3. Rogue Ohio Bar
4. Rogio Ohio Power Bar
5. American Barbell SS Elite Power Bar (at the end clearly over 500 Euro)
I can afford all (despite 5. – American Barbell SS WOD Bar – perhaps).
It has to read: I can afford all (despite 5. – American Barbell SS Elite Power Bar – perhaps)
The center knurl on most bars is so passive that it’s almost not even there. That’s not to say it doesn’t help a little, but to pass up stainless steel because of that probably isn’t worth it. The feedback on the SS WOD Is good. Lot’s of recent reviews. If you were going to get something shipped overseas, AB has the best packaging so there is less risk of damage.
The SS ELite would clearly be a front runner were it not for the price tab + shipping + I don’t know if you still pay VAT/import tax. I’d say the Ohio Power if that were an option yet… unless you’re willing to wait for it.
So did I understand you correctly – if you could buy the SS Wood bar and the Ohio Power Bar just round the next corner, your first choice would be the SS Wood Bar.
You didn’t mention the Matt Chan Bar anymore.
This review 2014 on the Rogue page makes me thoughtful.
Raleigh, NC – Rogue Ohio Power Bar:
“I Bought the bare steel version of this Ohio Power Bar over Black Friday 2014. The knurling is sharper than any bar I have ever used. Took a little getting use to but now I love it. I also love the bare steel as you can’t beat the feeling of bare steel and you don’t have to worry about the coating coming off. Not that it really matters on a powerlifting bar but the sleeves spin as well if not better than my regular Ohio Bar. The knurl on this bar comes in a little farther towards the center than the Ohio Bar. I’m 5’10” and the grip and passive portion of the bar are perfect for me doing conventional deadlifts but I could see how a heavy weight could possibly have his shins on the knurling. Another comment that should be obvious is don’t get this bar if you want one bar to do it all with. High rep workouts and Olympic lifting would be far from idle with this bar. I would pick the Chan Bar if I could only have one.
Overall the Rogue Ohio Bar Power is amazing. I’ve bought a lot of stuff from Rogue and this is one of my favorites.”
Well, the Chan and the SS WOD run about the same price to you, yeah? Both are great, but the SS is stainless and the Chan that you have access to is black zinc. I think 95% of ppl would prefer stainless over any zinc. I suggested the Ohio Power (assuming that you’re willing to wait) only because it should be cheaper than either of these, but until they actually list it, who knows by how much. The thing is that they are all completely viable for the SS program. All of them are bushing bars, but you get to decide between finish and price (and availability.)
Yes, that’s my decision – the SS Wod.
And I don’t think, I will need this special power lifter characteristics absolutly with my first olympic barbell (e.g. the Ohio Power Bar).
Probably it’s not my last…
Thank you for your tirelessly help and advice J. (John or Jack?)
haha no problem. It’s John
I should have asked earlier :-)
I’ll throw in my 2 cents Mike. A buddy at my gym has an Ohio bar. Granted, he doesn’t wipe it down and it’s coated in chalk, but I’m not impressed with that thing at all. After less than a year, the thing hardly would spin at all. I took apart most of the bars in our gym last week, and I re-lubricated his. It spins better now, but not any better than the SS WOD bar. The SS WOD bar also has a better knurl than the Eleiko Sport Trainer. For your “first” bar, I think the SS WOD bar would be great. In reality, the SS WOD bar would be good enough for all of your needs honestly. I had initially ordered the Eleiko Sport Trainer and then ordered the SS WOD bar as a “beater bar”. It took about 2 months to get the Eleikos, whereas I had my SS WOD bar in less than a week. After using the SS WOD bar, for my purpose, it spins enough for c&j and snatches that if I hadn’t already ordered the Eleikos I probably wouldn’t have ordered them. Don’t get me wrong, the Eleiko is awesome, but the SS WOD bar has a less aggressive knurl that actually has more grip if that makes sense. It’s also only $300 so I’m not as worried about messing it up. For what it’s worth, another coach dropped by the other day and messed around with the SS WOD bar and he was quite surprised that it was only $300. He was impressed with it.
a hearty thanks for your comment.
Without having tested or touched all those barbells, truly it isn’t easy to choose one!
So I appreciate every opinion based on personal experience.
The best barbell for everbody doesn’t exist for sure.
But as I wrote a will mainly use my new bar for “Starting Strength exercises” (Squats, Press, Bench Press, Power Clean).
I hope AB will name affordable shipping costs!
look at the American Barbell Powerlifting Bars :-)
For this price I think I will order one of the Powerlifting Bars (actually I wanted to order the WOD bar this weekend).
Which one would you take?
1. American Barbell Super Power Bar
2. American Barbell Elite Power Bar
Did you see the sale prices? https://www.garage-gyms.com/black-friday-cyber-monday-gym-sales/
The answer is the Super.
Yes, the sale prices! Damn good.
I didn’t see your article about the “black friday”, but I found it today, puuuh.
So I have to be fast with my decision.
This bar has everything I was lookong for.
John, do you know how many days American Barbell will offer the Super Power Bar for this special price?
I don’t, but I’m going to guess at least until Halloween is over. I was told that there is a lot of stainless to move. Like, I guess someone added a 0 to the end of some order or something like that, and they can’t store however many tons of this stuff they have lying around in their warehouse. As you can imagine, stainless doesn’t fly off the shelves at its normal retail price, and I guess these kinds of prices are the only way to move it quickly. I actually find the whole thing to be crazy. I thought the SS WOD price was silly enough, now the stainless power bars?
Yes, great offer and a great chance!
As I said – This bar has everything I want. And no fu…. black parts in zinc or oxid!
In the Rogue EU-store they still offer the Matt Chan Bar only in completely black. Who had this idea? To offer a barbell completely in black zinc. This is not a barbell for ninja youngsters with a little bit money …
This might be a stupid question, but when will Halloween be over in the USA?
I know my preferences – SS (power clean, deadlift, squat, bench, press)…
YOU know my preferences – SS (power clean, deadlift, squat, bench, press)…
Excellent read! Coming from a 2 year crossfit background I had an idea of the mechanics but this reinforced them more. I’m looking to get a decent bar for home use for the typical deadlifts, squats, bench press, etc… and will be progressing to doing clean and jerks/snatches. Although since I am on the second floor of my apartment dropping the bar on the ground wouldn’t be too considerate of the people below me :)
I notice Rogue came out with a new bar recently (as they usually do)
Rated at 190,000 PSI for a multipurpose bar at $195USD seems pretty affordable. I know it’s black zinc which is probably the cheapest route as far as coating. I haven’t seen any reviews only it (Well, it just came out recently) so it really does look tempting.
Bright zinc you mean, not black. Bright zinc isn’t too bad. Much better than black.
Yeah so the Echo is just a Rogue Bar 2.0 with cast bronze bushings instead of composite, and a bad warranty. Whether there are other differences is yet to be seen. It’ll get purchased by many, so I’ll hear about it. If not, I’ll pick one up myself.
Yes sorry that’s what I meant Bright Zinc. I may have been looking a black one when I said that! I saw the 1 year warranty and was shocked but I guess that comes at the reduced price. I kind of what like to keep it around the 200 market if possible. I’m curious to see what kind of deals Rogue when Black Friday rolls around in a little over 24 hours.
You see the AB Training Bar? It’s not listed in this article, but if you go over to the Black Friday page (right sidebar there), it’s listed under American barbell. Fully chrome 190k composite bushing bar for $215. No zinc, no cast bushings, no limited warranty. AB makes nice bars; completely on par with Rogue. Actually AB has been making bars 20 years now.
I ended up buying the Echo Bar and they went fast let me tell you! There was about 230 in stock at the beginning of Black Friday and last time I checked around 12PM there was 80 something left. It ended up being $20 off at 175 so you can’t go wrong right? I picked up the ES-1 Stand for my apartment since it’s the lightest and some Steel Rogue Plates (45s, 25s, 10s and 5s). I’ll let you know how this bar goes
I’m seriously thinking about re-arranging my apartment now for this rack!
Yeah definitely, I’d love to hear about that Echo. Not to put you to work or anything, but if you have scale I’d be curious to know how accurate their steel plates really are. I think steel is a viable option for a lot of people, but the accuracy of the stuff from sporting good stores is just so bad it’s hard to make that recommendation.
I think that most of us can agree that lifting equipment takes priority over couches and TVs. Girlfriends and boyfriends may not agree, but that’s their problem.
Hi. Great website. I was hoping you could help me pick my very first bar (literally) even though I have been lifting for 5 years. You see, I was just released from prison last month after serving more than 5 years for a DUI related felony. After I found God, and turned my life around, opportunities started to open up for me.
I got a job in the prisons gym, and was able to lift consistently. I also started communicating with a local crossfit gym who handled my programming. I made rapid progress at crossfit and also the Olympic lifts. Your website has made it clear to me the need for proper equipment to make continued progress, and also how dangerous what I was doing was (did not have access to bumpers, so I rarely ever dropped a bar, also the best bar I ever lifted with before today was worse than the cap bar you just reviewed.)
Anyway, I was at the box today, and set PRs in the snatch and CJ. 215 and 265. Both over 30 lb PRs. I expect to make good progress now, due to the coaching I will be getting, but I will not always be able to make it to the box to train. I need a bar that will grow with me, be able to handle the assistance work I need to do, and also withstand WODs and still be in top shape for Max or close to Max Olympic attempts if I end up doing them at home. Is this too much to ask? I can always pick up another bar down the road to do my WODs with, or borrow one of the box’s beater bars till then.
So, budget is 400 due to the need for bumpers as well. I was considering the Vulcan elite, also the stainless steel precision bar that is on sale. Anything else I should be looking at? Also any ideas for cheap bumpers, I was looking at Vulcan’s 230 lb set for 320. And I picked up pair of 55 lb training plates off Craigslist for 150, so I should be OK there.
Thank you for your time, and this goes for anyone reading this – NEVER drink and drive!
That’s always a good suggestion!
A bar that can handle max single rep Olympic lifts, WODs, and accessory work (I assume this means squats, deads, rows, what have you) isn’t asking too much so long as none of your power lifts are overly high. The Precision is a pretty solid choice so long as you don’t deadlift 600 pounds or squat something close to that. If you do, you need two bars; no way around that unless you’re willing to sacrifice performance in the Olympic lifts, and I doubt you would be (nor should you.)
I’ve had a number of people ask ‘Elite or Precision’ and at normal price I’d say the Elite because the Precision is just too expensive for a bushing bar. However, at the current sale price the Precision is an easy pick. I’m becoming convinced that American Barbell has about the sturdiest, most well-built bushing bar on the market right now. They are reliable, quiet, and also good looking bars. Either of those bars can handle far more than you’re currently c&Jing so you’ll be able to grow with either of them. Truth be told, this is true of anything in this price range though.
Compare bumper prices from Fringesport and Vulcan. Depending on where you are in their shipping area will decide who has better pricing probably. Doesn’t get much cheaper than these two except maybe the Echo’s. Any less than that and you’re back to those CAP/X-Mark/box-store stuff.
By the way, I’m seeing a sale on the vulcan mainpage.
“Vulcan Load up Sale”
Spend 499-749 Save 72
750-999 Save 113
1000-1500 Save 153
1501-2000 Save 233
2000-2500 Save 320
2501-3000 Save 425
3001+ Save flat 17%
Now I’d say that’s a sale!
There is nothing wrong with either bar. I personally just think that having stainless marked down so much makes it one hell of a deal. Other than the zero maintenance of stainless, there is the feel. Bare steel has the best feel of any bar, but bare steel is high-maintenance. Stainless offers the superior feeling of a raw metal but without the downside. Well, it has a new downside; the higher price.
The price on the Elite is pretty nice too. I didn’t think about their sale. If you save $60 and can get better change plates, then by all means go for the Elite. And no, the Elite won’t require any more maintenance than the Precision.
OK, so it looks like my options are:
1) precision stainless – 380 w/ shipping
230lb vulcan bumper set, 25kg vulcan v lock change set – 458 after discount
2) vulcan elite bar and 230lb bumpers package, 25kg v lock change set (and comes with free spring collars, so saves me 10, but I will probably replace anyway)
$777 total after discount (this was the option I was thinking about before the sale, would have set me back $890 with a total budget of $1000)
3) vulcan PRO bearing bar and 230lb bumpers package, 25kg v lock….(same as 2)
$964 total after discount
I think if it was purely a value situation, the obvious choice would be 3), but do I really want a bar with aggressive knurling to do crossfit WODs with? How aggressive do you think the knurling on this bar is? Will I get used to it, or will it actually injure me (I dont perform my high rep sets with a hook grip, except for hang cleans/hang snatches which are generally lighter, but lets say I had to do a WOD with 30 hang cleans at 185, would the knurling become a factor?) Does it even make sense to imagine that scenario, considering the bearings will probably help me out on more WODs than the knurling might hurt me?
No matter which option I pick, I get an additional $125 bill credit from my payment method, so still way under budget. What should I do with my savings? I probably need a wall mounted pullup bar, some gymnastics rings, a kettlebell. I’ll make my own boxes and blocks and probably squat off the blocks for now.
Last question, and I hope I’m not taking too much of your time, but how long do you think the sale will last, or should I jump on it tonight?
I’ll start backwards. I don’t know how long it will last, but it did just start like 2 days ago. Still, could be a 2-day sale, could be until the end of the year. You can e-mail them and ask and I suppose they would tell you, right? What would be gained by not..
Here’s the deal with Vulcan. I love their bars; I have four of them. One of them is the Elite 3.0, and I maintain that the knurl is not aggressive despite the claim in the product description. I’ve even mentioned this to the owner of Vulcan at one point and he said it is aggressive, so I guess I’m crazy. That said, it makes me wonder how “aggressive” the Pro is. I mean, it’s not going to be TPB/Ohio Power bar aggressive; that’s for sure, but will it be too much? I doubt it, but I can’t tell you that for sure.
My suggestion is this. When buying this bar; whichever you end up with; if you have to lean on something one way or the other (WOD vs power vs Olympic), I say favor the Olympic lifts. It’s more important that you have a good Olympic bar than it is to have a good “WOD” bar… and you can bench any bar. People WOD with some pretty shitty bars, but no one is excelling in the c&J or snatch with a beater. Like you said, you had a 30lb PR just by getting under a real bar. That wouldn’t have helped you squat though.
Just wanted to give an update:
I purchased the Vulcan elite, 230 lbs of alpha bumpers. Also had money left over for stall mats and squat stands from CFF.
I could not be happier with this bar. To start with, it is beautiful to look at. It is grippy even for heavy deadlifts, and I can’t imagine how a bar could have a better grip without seriously tearing up your hands. It is perfect for what I do, crossfit and olympic lifting aimed at improving strength for crossfit. I do use a copious amount of chalk though. Someday I will have to try a stainless or bare steel bar to see what you are talking about.
The whip is noticeable at about 200 lbs, and gets even more pronounced at 250+. Have had no problems with turnover at all, can’t even tell the difference between this and a bearing bar at this point. Will probably have to wait until my lifts progress considerably to even consider replacing this bar.
The bumpers are great. They have a very dead bounce (on par with competition plates!!!) and are perfect for my garage setting, in which I have limited space. I would recommend these over Hi-temps or similar bumpers for anyone looking for a dead bounce, IMO much safer.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks for the update. How long did you wait for shipping from them btw? Pretty standard turn-around?
The bar was out of stock when I ordered it, but the bumpers were in stock and arrived 2 days after placing order (from NC to PA). Customer service provided updates on the bar, and it was shipped earlier than expected and arrived in 2 days also. All equipment in excellent condition. I was at the CrossFit gym when they received a rogue bar, and the Vulcan packaging seemed more well thought out, easier to open and sturdier, although neither bar actually WAS damaged, the rogue tube was beat to hell. All in all, I could not be happier with Vulcan. Are you considering reviewing their new stainless absolute bar? I’d be interested to see that one.
That’s good to hear. I didn’t get a lot of holiday feedback for them so I just thought I’d ask you randomly what your experience was. I hear good stuff for Rogue and AB all the time, but with Vulcan it’s been kinda quiet.
If the opportunity to review the Absolute presents itself, then yes of course. I don’t see myself spending that close to a thousand dollars on it though. I can buy a lot of equipment for that kind of money; equipment that is far more likely to be on the average person’s radar, and within the average person’s budget. But still, I’m sure demand will play a role in whether or not it gets a review, and right now there is no information on the bar so no real demand or interest… so it’s hard really commit to it at this point.
What if I could still get the elite at BF pricing, WITH free shipping. Total cost to me would be:
-Vulcan elite $319
-Precision SS $380
What makes stainless such a good product, if you are willing to maintain the bar? (from your review, the vulcan shouldn’t require much maintenance and would be a better bar IF IT TOO was stainless.)
The pricing may mean the difference between rubber change plates and steel change plates, so there is that to consider as well.
Any suggestions for the very best “all around” bar for benching, squatting, cleaning, snatching, etc. I’m willing to spend $$ for a really good bar that will last. Thanks in advance.
Couple questions. Which do you excel in more; Oly or power. And how much weight are we talking about?
I’m a beginner at lifting. I’ve done some cross fit off and on and have done weight training off and on for years realizing that working out at home with higher yield routines (cross fit type WODs, kettlebells, and focused lifting) is the best fit for for my schedule vs. the numerous gyms and boxes of tried in the past. So, trying to outfit my home gym. Can’t say I excel at either and don’t thrown around any crazy weight.
… would also need a set of bumpers. Rogue vs Eleiko vs HT? Would start with DLs, cleans, snatched… Until I could invest in a power rack (code for when my wife gives me the OK…) Thanks again. I’m sure you’ve had these questions a million times.
Actually look at the OFW bumpers. Price is about the same as the Rogue HGs, Vulcans, etc.. but the 10’s and 15’s are a much better plate, and the 25’s and up are narrower. Definitely still the best value bumpers, and a must if you plan to toss the lighter plates around alone on the bar. The 25 and up plates aren’t going to fail no matter where they come from, its the skinny, light ones that get screwed up.
Well not putting up any mad numbers in either the Olympic or power lifts makes finding a bar suitable for both a little easier. Lucky for you, you don’t have to dish out a thousand bucks for a multi-purpose bar. It’s not until you excel in one or the other that it even becomes slightly necessary to spend a ton.
I’d say look at the Vulcan Standard bushing bar as one option… pretty solid for both lifts; will last you a long time. It’s basically Vulcan’s version of the Ohio Bar, and I like it a bit more because the Standard has oil-impregnated bronze bushings vs cast bronze, and I believe it’s even a hair cheaper. American Barbell has their California Bar for just under $300 which is about the same as these two except it has composite bushings, and chrome instead of zinc. If you start leaning on the Olympic training bars; 28 mm bushing bars like the Vaughn, Elite, and AB Precision, the price is going to go up a bit and you’ll lose a little of that rigidity in the power lifts. It’s not a bad thing at all though since you’re not benching 400 pounds.
Now that the AB Super Power Bar is gone for good, what do you think of the AB Elite Power Bar for $325? I already have their Precision Olympic Bar on order and I’m primarily doing power lifts. Cleans maybe once a week.
AB told me that they have a new power bar in the design studio. The knurl will end about 1 inch closer to the outside and it will be 29mm. Just afraid that losing an inch of knurl on each side will be worse for low bar squats but better for deadlifts.
I think the Elite is a fine substitute for the Super, but I’d be curious to see the new Super (or whatever they end up calling it) unless I just had to have a power bar right away and couldn’t wait. Also the change in knurl isn’t going to be bad considering that it was too close to center previously. It’ll just be more like a standard knurl pattern now.
Is the AB Precision a stainless shaft? If primarily doing cleans and snatches seems like that would be an awesome bar to start with…
Yeah it is. There is a chrome variation of the same bar as well, but the stainless is the way to go
I guess I made the right decision by going with the Precision bar. I’m going to use it as a WOD bar and some Olympic lifts. Really interested in their next power bar since it’ll be 29mm. Seems like they’re redesigning the whole thing except for the stainless steel.
Yeah the whole stainless line is nice. I don’t have the precision but I have the other 3 and they get used daily. I too am anxious to see the new power bar. Could it replace the super!? I don’t much care about the 28.5 vs 29 mm, but some do. I get it.
I’ve been checking this website periodically in hopes of coming across a York BB review. I am a coach at a CF gym and have the opportunity to purchase a York Elite 28mm Competition bar at a great price. The satin chrome version of this bar retails at $500 and the stainless steel version has a tag of $650. Are you planning on reviewing these bars in the near future or is York a brand you stay away from? Do you have any information on the aforementioned bars above? Sorry if I sound like a broken record but just as you suggest I am trying to make the best informed decision for a lifetime investment. Thanks for your time and for the information you make available on this site. Take care
Yeah I’m probably done with York. It seems like the majority of the feedback I get on York in general is bad, and the only good bar I’ve come across (the B&R) was changed for the worse about a year ago, and now isn’t even a York bar anymore anyway. That’s not to say one of their bars can’t last a lifetime, many of the classic Yorks do, but they just aren’t putting out the same quality as they used to. It’s a risk, and how much this bar is priced for makes all the difference on how good or bad of deal that is. I’d take a pretty good look at it before you hand over cash, and if it’s not heavily discounted from the price of new, I’d probably keep looking… and I say this especially since you clearly want a bar that will last a while (lifetime investment.)
Just an update to my situation. So its been 6 months where I have been back and forth with your website on finding reviews on 28mm barbells. I had finally narrowed it down to two barbells, the Vulcan Elite and the York Elite Competition… You stated that you were probably done with York just based on the feedback you had received both on product as well as customer service, however when it came time for me to purchase a barbell it came down to the exchange rate between CAD and USD; so I went with the York. I have to say Jb that if you have already written off York that you should reconsider and at least give the Elite Competition barbell a last hurrah hurrah. I cant be anymore satisfied with this beautifully machined piece of steel. The knurling and spin is great and the finish is nothing short of beautiful (if I could upload a picture here I would). There is great whip to the bar and flex can be seen with a weight of 225 or more. I have yet to actually see or use a Vulcan barbell and I am sure they’re a great product, but I can assure you that I am pleasantly surprised and highly recommend that you lift with it one more time. The only thing that caught me off guard was that the barbell had both Olympic lifting and Powerlifting marks. Hope this gives you a different perspective and will at least open up the possibility of trying out a new York Elite Competition barbell. Cheers
Hey Phil, thanks, and so noted. I’ll keep my eye out for one of the Elites and give it a try. I don’t see me buying one outright unless I find one barely used. The Elite is one of their North American bars ya? Made in Canada?
York states that it’s Made In Canada with North American steel. The finish is satin chrome. As stated earlier not only is this a beautiful bar to lift with but she is also quite the looker. Happy with this purchase. If you end up finding an Elite Competition to work with please let me know you’re thoughts!
What about klokovd bars?? Good whip?
Absolutely not good whip; very rigid. Power bar rigid
Thanks, what bar do you recommendme that have nice whip only for oly lifts? Thanks in advance
Depends on your budget really. Aside from the obvious and expensive Eleiko WL bars and American Barbell Pro SS, there is the Vulcan Pro Bearing and Rogue WL Bar for a bit less cash than those two. In the bushing budget department, I’d say either the Vulcan Elite, the Vaughn, or even the American Barbell Precision while it’s still on sale.
I think I just purchased the last 20kg AB precision bar in stock. It was on sale for $355. Seemed like a good deal for a SS bar. Said original price was $499 I thinks. The 15kg were out and right after I purchased the 20kg they said “out of stock.” I don’t even have plates yet and will prob buy those in a month or so but after your feedback I figured I’d jump on that bar.
I think it’s safe to say you’ll be quite content with that bar, especially at that price.
Is there a bar for Strength and Conditioning for people in europe for around 200 €? And for more than that which do you recommend now that there isn’t chrome version of the Rogue Matt Chan bar?
Can you buy either the TPB or the CAP OB-86B in your location? Or, and I would never make this recommendation stateside, but the Team Bar 2.0 is under 200 Euro.
I’d replace the Chan with either one of the Ohio Bars since alternatives like from American Barbell are pretty much out of the question in Europe.
I appreciate your reviews. Thanks!
I’ll need to checkout the American Barbell Super Power Bar when I get enough space for a dedicated power bar.
I’d like to suggest another weightlifting bar for your consideration, the Rep Fitness Gladiator Bar. I do not have any affiliation with Rep Fitness other than having bought a some equipment from them and found them to be great value.
Based on its specs, the Gladiator Bar is a steal; 230 KPSI tensile, 210 KPSI yield, needle bearings, hard chrome plating on both the shaft and the microgrooved sleeves. Mine has only IWF markings not dual markings like the description says. All for $229. For that price, I figured the worst case is that I’d have a beater bar. I like this bar better than the Rogue bushing bars I’ve used at a gym but not as much as the Werksan bars that I’ve used mostly because I like a little sharper knurl.
Hi, great info, I was wondering if you could simplify my search a bit, and narrow it down as I’m wary of purchasing expensive things that I may not like and regret due to poor quality. I am thinking about building a home gym specifically for weightlifting for physique, I’m not interested in Cross-fit style lifts or the like, and I’m not going to be pushing massive weight, I’d just like basics for weight training for muscular hypertrophy.
With that said, I think I’ve decided on the Rogue RML-390F Flat Foot Monster Lite Rack, but as far as a bench, I don’t really want to spend $545 on the Rogue adjustable bench, but at the same time I think I do want an adjustable bench so I can do incline curls, posterior deltoid flys, shoulder presses, etc., and I like the design of the Xmark FID bench, and it’s gotten good reviews on Amazon, and granted it has a relatively wide gap when flat, but I was wondering if you have any new adjustable bench suggestions?
As far as an Olympic barbell goes, as I’ve mentioned I’d just like a quality barbell which is more aimed at squats, deadlifts, bent over rows, etc., not cleans and snatches. I’d like a chrome look more as I don’t like the black look as much, and I’m not sure I’d need center knurl for squats. I like your suggestions on stainless steel and I think they look amazing in the images, but I see the AB one is no longer in stock, and I’m not really interested in spending exorbitant amounts of money on a bar, although I’d like the least oxidative metal, as I’m not interested in frequent upkeep, although this gym will be in a temperature regulated room in my house.
As far as weights, I honestly like rubber coated plates with grips more than bumpers as I’m not planning on dropping the bar ever, but I may end up with OFW bumpers as you’ve suggested them. I looked at the Rubber Grip Plates from AB which all say currently out of stock, and they look good to me, and that’s basically what I want ideally, but without reviews purchasing large heavy weights gives me pause. This will be in a room in my house though, so another thing that worries me is if the rubber smell will be able to dissipate enough to not smell in a small room. If I left them outside for a few weeks and washed them a few times would the smell be satisfactorily gone?
Thank you for any advice you can give.
Did you see this page? https://www.garage-gyms.com/weight-bench-review/ There are two incline benches towards the bottom of the page; the York and Iron Master. Both are less than the Rogue, and the Ironmaster has 0 gap when flat. The Rogue’s the best of the three, but I get not wanting to spend that much if you don’t have to.
If you have no intention of cleaning or snatching, get a power bar. You get more bar for the money since power bars need no reflexive properties, nor do they need high speed components. The American Barbell Power Bar is all chrome for about $350, and it is one of the few chrome power bars around. The AB Elite Power Bar is a fine alternative to the out of stock Super Power Bar as well, and that’s stainless. Most other power bars are bare steel or zinc, and most zinc versions have black zinc shafts. If you don’t like either of those and you still want a bar with no black zinc, the Rogue Ohio, Vulcan Standard, and AB California will also serve your purposes, but I still like the two AB power bars more since you won’t be snatching.
Those Rubber and Urethane handle plates are their commercial line. You might want to call or email them to see if they actually have them in stock. They are weird with showing low-quantity commercial products on the website. You may get lucky. Also, they may stink a little, but they should have nothing on the smell of bumpers since it’s just a coating, not rubber all the way through. Bumpers just leak smells from their core for a good month or two. In any case though, washing them and letting them air out does help considerably. You gotta figure those come from factory in a box, and sit in that box in a warehouse until you finally open it up at home. Hope that helps
Thank you very much, that helps. Do you have any advice you could give on other brands’ rubber coated plates, or regular iron plates (with or without handles) of good quality, or are they just not your thing? Again thanks for the advice.
Generally I recommend people buy used steel plates simply because Craigslist is flooded with them. None of the brands you’d find in sporting good stores or on say Amazon are particularly good – and by good I mean accurate. So why pay full retail, you know? The cheapest accurate steel plate is the York Legacy which costs as much as bumpers, and then you’ve got the obvious high-end stuff like Ivanko and the other IPF brands. Ivanko even has some non-coated steel plates with handles, but they are not cheap. As far as coated plates, I’ve just never really looked into them. No one ever asks about them, and with bumpers so cheap these days they are just to go-to now. Sorry I’m not much help with those, but it’s safe to say that the same companies that make accurate steel plates will make accurate coated plates. Iron Grip, AB, Ivanko, and so forth.
any insight on getrxd barbells? Specifically wod 5.0, stealth and texas bars?
Specs look good online, price even better, which makes me think, maybe too good?
Thanks for your answer!
They’re entry-level import bars. If you’re new to training they’ll be fine and dandy and probably be better than buying something off Amazon or at the local sporting goods store. When looking at seemingly under-priced bars like this (GetRx, AF, etc), you just have to accept that if the bar is $170, you’re getting a $170 bar. You might get full value for your $170, but it’s still just a $170 bar. Not $200, not $220, and certainly not $250+ worth of bar for that $170. If you keep that in mind and you’re okay with that, you should be happy with it… assuming that you’re not already over-qualified for a $170 bar, that is.
Thanx for quick response!
Hi, great site and great info !
After reading a bit, i narrowed my choices for an oly barbell.If a ad to go with bushings it would be the vulcan elite, for a bar with bearings, probably the rogue euro or eleiko sport training. Is a premium bearing bar really make a lot of difference at my numbers ?
note: I’m used to regular crossfit barbell, mostly interested by oly lifting and my snatch/clean and jerk are : 90 and 110 kg
Thanks Romeo. Not a huge difference now, but you’re close to that zone where the bearings become beneficial. A near 250-pound clean is solid, and as that goes up you become more and more of a candidate for bearings. Honestly, you’re at about that point where, assuming you see your numbers improving, and you can afford to do so, getting into a premium bar isn’t a bad move. I say that because if you go bushings and 6 months or a year from now you feel your bar turning over poorly or dragging, you’ll wish you applied that near $400 to one of those $700 bars. And at least with a Euro or Eleiko, you can be pretty confident about that being your last bar purchase, whereas that is not usually the case for bushing bars (with Olympic Weightlifters anyway.)
Bushings these days are pretty reliable and they can handle some pretty good weight, but there is no arguing that a bearing bar is better, and both of those Oly bars you’re considering are pretty damn nice. If you go that route, remember: Euro = moderate knurl, Eleiko = sharp.
Thank you !
it convinced me to buy a bar that probably be my last. I’m not used to sharp knurl so the euro should be a better bet for training.
I have yet to try one of the Rogue Oly bars, but having gone from just having the Rogue Bar (1.0) and going to Eleiko ST, man its nice! I really like the more aggressive knurl. Its not bad at all, just different. I also still really like the Rogue bar 1.0. I’m sure you can’t go wrong either way. But too went thru all of John’s reviews and even went back and forth with him a bit, and just wanted to chime in again with how happy I am with the choice. The one that still leaves me wondering, is the AB Stainless Oly bar.
The fact that peoples describe eleiko knurling like ” cheese grater ” scared me a bit to go this way . I haven’t felt one in person. Do you have callouses problem with the eleiko compared to a rogue bar ?
I have the Eleiko sport training bar. It’s not a cheese grater. I like the knurling, it’s definitely sharper if you’re used to Rogue’s oly or crossfit bars, but gives a good grip. Now the Eleiko PF competition bar is a cheese grater.
Yeah it’s not so bad as some people make it sound, but it takes getting used to if you’re coming from what passes for knurl on “CrossFit” bars. You’d get used to it though. I’d only say avoid it if you’ve handled bars that you thought were aggressive but everyone else says are mild… if that makes any sense lol
I was curious if you have any experience with the Sorinex Performance Bar. It doesn’t seem to get much love around the net but its $325 and sounds like it covers most of the things you talk about. I was just curious if there was something about it that you didn’t like or if you don’t have any experience with it.
Howard I’ve never seen the bar in person. It’s a pretty standard 190k bushing bar though, and it’s actually a little bit on the expensive side. If you’re a Sorinex fan and you don’t mind the price increase over say the Ohio Bar ($282) or California Bar ($275), go for it. Personally the Cali is more appealing at $50 less and chrome sleeves, but I’m an AB fan so there’s that.
I see you wrote your recommendation for a professional bar for Olympic lifting. What about about power lifting (i.e. no interest in the Olympic lifts, just the big 3)? If money were not an issue and you wanted a high end power bar, which one would you recommend?
If money were no object, I’d probably buy the Ivanko Stainless Comp, or maybe the Eleiko Comp. Both are extremely expensive for a personal gym bar though.
As a more reasonable suggestion, I used to recommend the AB Super Power Bar, but it went away. It’s actually back temporarily (http://shrsl.com/?%7Ec46q) and on closeout for over $200 off, but I don’t know anything about the new texture they’re putting on it (does it grip as well, I dunno), and there is no warranty, so I opted to not put it back. Still, the Super is the power bar I use right now and I like it a lot, but I’ll bet if either one of those other two bars showed up at my door I’d switch really damn quick.
Bars like the Ohio, TPB, and Okie are good bars, but I wouldn’t consider them the best power bars out there.
Thanks for the fast reply!
Vulcan strength now makes a power bar, 29mm 195k tensile strength with bright zinc shaft and sleeves. Their website states that it has very aggressive knurling and its $285 shipped.
Great site, great information. Masters Lifter here, looking for a good quality Oly training bar. I recently picked up the American Barbell SS Precision Training Bar mostly on review from your site. I love it! Great bar, great performance, your reviews are right on!
I know John will chime in, but from another Master who did most of his research for a nice Oly training bar based off this site and some back and forth with jburgeson, I can tell you I picked up the Eleiko ST bar and I love it! I don’t have a lot to compare to other than Rogue 1.0 bar, Werksan Training bar and a bunch of cheaper crossfit bars. The knurl, spin, feel are all awesome. I’m not throwing crazy weight around but love the lifts and wanted to treat myself without spending a $1000
Thanks Bob, glad that’s working out. Love that stainless.
I’ve read a couple of reviews that complained about rust forming really quickly on American Barbell’s chrome finished bars like the Training Bar and the Precision Bar. Two years later, how has yours held up, especially the chromed sleeves?
Most of my American Barbell bars are stainless steel so I’ve never had rust issues on the shaft, but they all have chrome sleeves and I’ve never seen any rust on those.
I can’t see how in the world someone could get more than a couple little tiny splotches of rust on a hard chrome-finished bar. The only way it forms at all is through a tiny chip or pinhole in the chrome, but it certainly wouldn’t spread around. Maybe if one lived in the rain forest the moisture could prove too overwhelming but I don’t think that describes too many people’s situation.
Did these complaints have pictures left? Like in a product review or a message board or something? Being 100% honest I just don’t see oxidation as being a problem on an AB bar. I have too many of them and I’m not in a dry climate. It’s no rain forest, but certain times of the year I regularly have to wipe condensation off of my barbell before I start a workout. They are literally wet. Still, no rust.
First off, I just want to say that these reviews have been very helpful in putting together a home gym so thanks for posting these!
There weren’t any pictures. A user commented on youtube about how great the Precision bar was but they wished AB would improve the chrome sleeves due to them rusting really fast. Another popular gym equipment review site dubbed the AB Training Bar a Rogue Bar Killer then later withdrew the recommendation because the Training Bar hadn’t held up well and developed surface rust. Maybe there was a bad batch or something.
I’ve been looking at stainless steel bars for multipurpose / some oly lifts and have been seriously considering the AB Precision or Rogue Ohio. Was leaning towards the AB due to the seemingly better whip and build quality (apparently much quieter than the Ohio when dropped too) but the comments about rust really put me off. But if you say yours have held up well, I think I will go for the AB, unless you have any other recommendations? I live in a humid area so stainless would be ideal.
I wonder why more manufacturers don’t produce 100% stainless bars like the Ivanko OBS-20KG. They almost all use chromed sleeves.
Yeah I’m pretty sure I know who you’re talking about and I just don’t agree with that retraction. But hey, it’s a different world over there; different motives and a totally different audience.
Currently I have the Super Power Bar, Elite Power Bar, SS Comp Olympic Bar, two California bars, and I previously owned the SS WOD Bar and Precision Training Bar. No rust ever. Well actually, the only rust I ever saw was on the shaft of the SS Comp Bar from where another steel bar rubbed against it. Tiniest little blemish. I cleaned it, the chromium did its job, and it never rusted again.
I don’t know what these people are doing to these bars to get enough rust to actually complain about it. AB actually has a thicker layer of hard chrome than other manufacturers, so these people are either cleaning these things with steel wool or dragging some seriously awful, sharp metal plates up and down those sleeves carelessly. Or doing it on purpose for all I know.
You are correct though, the AB is a 28 mm bar versus 28.5, and it is a quieter bar than the SS Ohio.
Regarding other options, Vulcan has entirely stainless Oly bars but they’re close to double these prices – which is exactly why everyone uses chrome sleeves btw. Takes a lot less stainless to just do the shaft.
Yeah, I was confused. Some of the chrome bars at the gym still look pretty damn good considering how old they are and how much abuse they’ve been put through. But since you’ve got positive experience with the AB bars I’ll put AB back on my wishlist. That Vulcan bar looks amazing but I can’t justify spending that much right now.
Can I ask why you got rid of the Precision Training Bar? Would you choose it over the stainless Ohio or are they just entirely too different to compare? Ideally I’d have a different bar for each use but for now I’m just looking for a good all-rounder.
I got rid of that because I have the SS Comp variant. I am frequently out of space for new bars and I simply didn’t need that particular bar anymore. I would definitely have kept it if my AB collection wasn’t already pretty large, or if the knurl was different and it could one day need to be compared to a competitor’s bar, but AB knurl is AB knurl.
I like both bars. The Precision is probably a better choice for favoring the Olympic lifts, but the SS Ohio may make for a better multi-purpose bar… it’s dual marked, a little more aggressively knurled, plus it’s less expensive. When it comes down to it there’s a lot of things to base that decision on, I just wouldn’t base it on that rust issue.
I don’t suppose you can send me links to these rust sources via firstname.lastname@example.org. I think I’d like to address this in an article if possible.
The difference between the Eleiko PL Training and Comp. Bar is the way it is produced.
Both are produced with the same machine an tool, but the Comp. Bar is always the first in one charge.
The consequence is, that the knurling is a bit more aggressive, but also a bit more sensitive i think.
I’ve heard about the tool becoming less effective after only a few bars knurled, so I suppose that would make perfect sense to order it like that. I know that the knurling and sticker is about the only difference between the Oly versions as well, so it makes sense.
I’ve found that when you buy an Eleiko, receiving a bar with the proper aggressiveness for that model is kind of a gamble. XFs that are too aggressive, Trainers that are under knurled, etc. It could be a fluke that I’ve had more than one bar come through here with a knurling issue, and I hope that it is, but that has been my experience. I’m speaking specifically of the Oly bars though, as I’ve not had any of their power bars to date. I’d test this further if it was economically feasible to do so, but alas..
About to pull the trigger on the AB Power Bar. Thoughts on it as an all around bar and hard chrome finishes in general?
Yeah, well all-around minus snatches and jerks. Only drawback of AB bars is their total lack of knurl aggressiveness when compared to pretty much anyone else. Normally this isn’t an issue, but power bars are supposed to be fairly coarse. If you don’t want aggressiveness, than it’s probably the perfect choice. If you do, look at something like the Elite Power Bar from Vulcan. Almost everything else is bare steel or black finishes (power bars, that is.)
As far as hard chrome, it’s the most resilient of the applied finishes. Doesn’t fade, and doesn’t flake like black zinc or decorative chrome… and American barbell actually uses hard chrome. They don’t put on decorative chrome and then call it hard chrome, a fairly common practice among the cheapo dealers.
sold. i’ll report back once I put it through its paces.
Owed a follow up Re: AB Power Bar which they have on sale currently for $300 and change, shipped. I’ve had a chance to lift with this thing for just under a month and feel confident in these first impressions:
First off, this bar is a thing of beauty. Aesthetically its absolutely gorgeous. Fit and finish out the box are flawless. The hard chrome has a “brushed” stainless look and simply looks bad ass.
Secondly, as promised, the knurling is rather mild but “grippy” in it’s own right. I’ve pulled some heavy DLs without chalk without problem in dead of summer Texas heat, pouring sweat without issue.
Lastly, the only negative i have on this bar and perhaps its a function of being a closeout deal: The finish seems to have discolored on the right knurling. Even after a “deep” clean with a nylon brush and 3-1 oil I wasn’t able to restore original luster and shine. kind of a bummer that it discolored so quickly (i think from sweat) but so be it, doesn’t diminish the other positives.
Thanks for that Sam. Hey so, the chrome itself had faded?
I wonder if they have a new hire in the finish department – they’ve discounted a lot of bars lately because of bad finishes. A whole batch of Black and Chromes, Super Power Bars, and at least one instance of a California going out with a jacked up finish. It’s irritating, but you’re right, it doesn’t directly affect performance so it’s a minor thing. We often forget what these bars look like a year later anyway – certainly not new anymore. I’m glad you like it, and thanks again for following up.
It’s best described as a “brownish tinge”. It’s not rust but it definetely isn’t coming off even after I brushed the living hell out of the bar with 3-1. It’s almost a less exaggerated version of the sweat stains guys would have on the white t-shirt they ALWAYS wore under their football pads for good luck on game day.
I think it may be a known issues with this finish. Pure speculation but they likely through the remaining stock on clearance after replacing a few bars that were under warranty. interesting to note that all closeout bars are not warrantied…
The “new” power bar run is 29mm vs 28.5 but it looks like tensile strength has remained at 190.
All that said, they just put the AB Training bar on sale for $250 and its taking all my self control not to make my debit card smoke and purchase that thing.
Looking to start that American Barbell collection, eh? You could certainly do worse – I think I have four of their bars total, and a couple are in my short list of favorites.
fantastic reviews all around. I am in the market for 2 new barbell. What do you think of AB Power bar . It is listed at $345 and it is all hard Chrome.
I have already made up my mind to buy Vulcan’ s Bar+Alpha Bumper plate package. Leaning on their Elite Power bar not Absolute one as i prefer look at of steel even though this is Bright Zinc
I have their Super Power Bar and I love it, but the basic AB power bar doesn’t really excite me. I think that it’s too expensive for being a 190k power bar. I like the Rogue Ohio PB, but you’d want bare steel, and you’d have to be willing to maintain it to keep that bright luster to it – otherwise it’ll rust. The Elite is a good choice, and a good price – probably the only other way to get that chrome/zinc look on a power bar. The rest of the biggies are black oxide/zinc.
Thank you for the response. The super power bar is out of stock right now. Even though it is little expensive i would have bought it if it is available. I am right now leaning towards Rouge OPB ( bare steel ) or Texas Power Bar ( regular one). But I like the look and feel of the steel.
I do have CAP OB-86B . I have to say you review is right on that one. I got it for $99 with free shipping from Amazon. I realized that i prefer aggressive knurling after using OB-86B. It is listed as moderated knurling. So does American Super Power Bar ,Rogue OPB and Elite have more aggressive knurling than CAP OB-86B? I am not into Olympic lifting. Just into regular power lifting and other compound exercises such as barbell rows and overhead press etc…
The Ohio has more aggressive knurling than the CAP, but the CAP is probably more aggressive than the American Barbell power bars. The lack of AB aggressiveness works for the Super only because it’s stainless, but it won’t feel very substantial with chrome. It won’t feel like a power bar, more like a WOD bar.
I have yet to touch an Elite – both it and the Absolute literally just came out. Vulcan says both are “very aggressive”, but Vulcan’s knurl ratings are based on a scale that consists of only their bars – which isn’t unusual, but not especially helpful when a bar is new and no one has touched it. I’m not worried that the Elite will be weak or anything, but since I have yet to see one I’m just making an assumption.
Oh and the Super is supposedly being revamped to a higher tensile strength and 29 mm shaft, but we’ve been hearing that rumor for 6-months and I’m starting to think it’s not a priority in the least. I used to suggest to people who were willing to spend that kind of money on a power bar to wait, but since it’s been so long I no longer do that. Could be tomorrow, or a year from now that that new Super drops. Well, it probably won’t be tomorrow – I got an email from AB announcing new stuff and it wasn’t on that list.
Well in that case, I have to say American barbells are out of my consideration. After spending that much money, I need to feel right when pulling and lifting.
I will go with Vulcan Elite ( Bar+Alpha package) . They are now back order ( looking at 230lb of plates + bar). I might also get their v-lock change plates.
I’ve got those in pounds and kilos… the change plates. I love em.
Great review! Thorough as hell! Can you comment on the Body Solid lineup? The bar in particular is the 7 ft OB86P1000 Olympic Bar. It’s priced at $210 through Dicks Sporting Goods. Made in China. I reviewed all the specs on Body Solids website. No PSI rating, but rated to 1,000 lb capacity. End caps with bushings etc. The one review on the website is good. I know you mentioned staying away from any barbell that has no PSI rating. Just wondering your thoughts, as it’s only for my personal use (5’7″ @ 160 lbs). I only left light to moderate weights because of previous shoulder injury/surgery (bench 155 max, squat 185 max, dead left 185 max). It’s an easy purchase for me, but I don’t want to do it at the expensive of safety.
George that is exactly the kind of bar I’m trying to help people avoid buying – brass bushings, cheap steel and decorative chrome, and pinned sleeves… and only a 30-day warranty! It’s also a 30 mm bar, and it’s not even cheaper than a real bar. Definitely not a bar I’d recommend, not even at 185 max. And if you’d never lift more than that 185 ever in your life, you wouldn’t need to spend that $200. Could do something like the CAP OB-86B for a little more than half of this price. As you continue shopping, I would recommend ignoring the “max weight” spec on bars. Just pretend that it’s not even there.
Thanks! I’m not going to buy it. I’m going to go with Rogue or Vulcan
I’ve been looking around online for reviews on crossfit bars I stumbled upon yours and youtube reviewers as well. I saw a couple similar bars on the list. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OooFhnVH-qE
I was wondering if I could get your opinion on 5 five bars that that I’m focusing on. If you had to say which is your top 2 or 3 favorite and maybe just as important say which one of the 5 you would NOT recommend, which would they be?
-Rogue Bar 2.0/Ohio Bar
-American Barbell Training Bar/California Bar
-Vulcan Standard 28.5mm Bar / Pure Strength 20KG Bar
-Lynx Barbell Hyrbrid Bearing Bar
-Get RXed Texas Bar 28mm Bushing Bar
Honorable Mention Budget Bar: -Fringe Sport Wonder Barbell
I read your Vulcan Review and I know your pretty high on the Standard bar and maybe not quite as high on wonder bar. Have you ever used the Lynx Barbell Hyrbrid Bearing Bar or the Get RXed Texas Bar 28mm Bushing Bar?
American Barbell bars are high-end, very nicely constructed American bars. The Vulcan Standard is also a very nice American bar, and probably the one I’d go with out of these five mostly because AB bars have overly soft knurl, so you have to pay top dollar for their stainless bars to get a great grip. Rogue Bar 2.0 is a close runner up, and better than the Ohio in my opinion based mostly on the lower cost vs the Ohio and the composite bushings vs cast bronze (the rest of the bar is basically the same). I wouldn’t want a GetRx bar for half of what they charge, and I’ve got nothing based on personal experience to say about Lynx. The Wonder was decent pre-price increase, now it’s not really a contender – though it is a better choice than the Bomba (though I don’t really recommend either if you can technically afford the $250-$275 of the other better bars.) Actually I just saw another bar in there – the Pure Strength. I’ve never even heard of anyone owning their bars so I have nothing for you there either, sorry.
Standard is just kind of an easy choice if it’s within budget. Good steel, good finish, medium knurling, and self-lubricating bronze bushings on a sub $300 American made bar. Hard to beat. Ships for free even. If you like super soft knurl, California is a beautiful bar and even has chrome sleeves.
I bought an Eleiko CrossFit bar last year and absolutely love it, its just beautiful <3
I’m looking for an oly bar with great grip for $300. I’ve thought of the Vulcan Elite, but some say its softer than Rogue bars. What are your thoughts on the castro bar? My preference would be hard chrome finish, but I’d take a raw bar if it provided good grip…
Thanks in advance,
Castro is just another Ohio Bar variant, but it will feel grippier than the zinc Ohio bars being that it’s a raw bar. Rogue doesn’t offer the Ohio line in chrome anymore unfortunately.
I’m not sure that I would say the Elite is softer than an Ohio. The Rogue bars are generally pretty moderate/soft, save for the Chan and the power bars. The Elite certainly isn’t as aggressive as the product description eludes to, but the grip is great. A lot of it has to do with the finish being grippy as well, but I mean that’s just like raw bars. Also, performance wise the Elite and Ohio line is night and day – one being a CrossFit bar, the other an actual Oly bar.
About 7 years ago I picked up a used York International bar with a 32mm shaft from the York facility in York PA. I also picked up a stack of plates to go along with it. With the collars it is one pound short of 60. It has the end cap held in with pins. I paid the same price as the CAP bar you have listed here and it still is serving me well. With 3 45’s on a side it barely budges droop wise and since this is pretty much my max it fits my bill. Having said that I am drooling over the Rogue Power Bars you have listed here.
A 32 mm better not bend. That’s a very thick shaft, and also why it was so inexpensive. I’m still impressed that it’s lasted so long though. That’s good for you – super value.
Have you heard of the new RepFitness Stainless Steel Power Bar? $299 is a crazy price, any thoughts before I place an order?
Looking forward to your response…
210k PSI, stainless steel (shaft AND sleeves), needle bearings, and only $299? Reminds me of the Klokov. I’m anxious to see how this goes.
Actually, I love checking bars like this out. I ordered one just now.
You’re hilarious!!! now I have to buy one… I guess one of 2 things will happen, good/great or shit. Any bet on which one?
Yes, my money is on it being another Team or Klokov – looks great on paper, not very good in reality. It doesn’t add up. 20 kg worth of high tensile strength stainless steel + needle bearings for $300. IF the specs are correct, the materials are all low-grade, which is worse than quality materials with average specifications. But, that’s just my assumption based on experience and I’ve been wrong before. When it shows up, I’ll approach it like I would any other bar. Truthfully I am hoping that it’s not garbage because it will be the first Rep bar to pass through here, and it’s never good when the first is bad.
May be I’ll wait until I hear back/read your review before dropping any money. I hope for there sake it’s better than you expect…
Does anyone have any experience or opinions on the wright V.2 bar? I am considering this bar over the Rogue 2.0 as it is about $50 less with free shipping on Amazon.
I need your help, I purchased an oly bar from a reputable manufacturer and I think it arrived bent…? When I rotate the bar shaft one sleeve spins in an abnormal rotation, much like a bent bar would. When I spin just the sleeve, it doesn’t move from center. The manufacturer has stated that it’s near impossible to bend this bar due to it’s high yield strength. Any chance that I could send you a short video to get your input? I would rather not say who the manufacturer is as I like their products and don’t want others to think less of them or their equipment. Thus far they have been very helpful!
Yeah sure, jburgeson@garage-gyms
I was about one click of buying the Vulcan one basic since it’s just as good as many other more expensive bars, until I read this about the warranty.
“3 Year Warranty from bending, breaking, or sleeves departing or seizing. Misuse, abuse, or disassemble voids warranty. This bar is not recommended or warrantied for commercial gym or CrossFit gym use”
I still like it since it’s the most affordable, but I’m not so sure about buying it anymore, since most bars in that price range are suitable for use in commercial gyms, like the rogue 2.0 and AB California bar.
I’m trying to make up my mind to catch any of the black Friday sales. Any thoughts?
Also which one do you think it’s better between the AB California and the AB training barbell? They’re both 275$ but the training barbell has hard chrome coating.
Ironically, the beater bars that commercial gyms actually buy aren’t even as good as the One, plus the One is no more likely to bend than a Rogue Bar 2.0 or California Bar or any other mainstream 190k PSI budget bar.
Those two bars aren’t technically different other than the finish, but I’d say the Trainer because zinc is meh and AB has been known to have green-ish black zinc sometimes.
I decided to go with the Vulcan one basic. I actually like the AB trainer better and I wouldn’t mind paying 275, but those 25 extra $ for shipping is a deal breaker, specially when the Vulcan One is just 230 and free shipping.
This article was really helpful. Thank you! And thanks for replying my email as well.
Have you heard anything good/bad about the Get Rx’d “Texas” bearing bar?
I’ve gotten varying feedback for GetRx’d barbells in general… very hit or miss. Personally I’m not a fan of them but for every guy who hates their Get barbell, another guy likes it. I don’t buy their equipment.
Regarding the Vulcan One Basic, their website states “not made in USA”. With that being said, do you think it’s of good enough quality for one person using it in their garage gym (5’8″ 160lbs, no super heavy lifting)? Also, since it’s likely made in China I guess, is it better quality than let’s say, CAP?
Yeah Vulcan uses a really good overseas manufacturers. There are a few brands and a few select bars that you can buy from Asia with confidence. For instance, the Vaughn is a good import – the only good bar in their line-up actually. Unfortunately it’s overpriced, but still it is a good bar and not made domestically. Is the Vulcan One as good as the USA-made Vulcan Standard? No, but it’s miles ahead of a CAP, Body Solid, Bomba, etc.
Thanks for your input/advice. That gives me lots of help in making my decision!
Sounds to me like the Vulcan One Basic will serve my needs just fine.
Thanks for you input re: vulcan elite bar. Unfortunately I did return it and purchased a Rogue WL barbell during their BF sales.
You’ve got a great site and I’m very appreciative for your unbiased opinion.
So, money/cost aside, what finish is preferable if I want to perform the least amount of maintenance on a bar? I mean, I don’t want to have to be tending to a bar at all.
Great, thanks a bunch!
Any thoughts on “the best” landmine bar? Rogue’s Beater seems too nice to ruin brand new and I’m afraid the OB-86B will splinter in half, impaling me on heavy rows (heh). Also, I’m really surprised that padded, foam, or plastic landmines are not a thing. I will most likely buy a dedicated bar for T bar style rowing, but I keep scratching my head, wondering why metal landmines aren’t just better adapted for sleeves.
I wouldn’t buy a Beater for that either – too expensive new. I use a first gen Bomba for landmine work; which is no better than the CAP OB-86B, and it’s fine – but I wouldn’t actually go out and buy that new either. Honestly the CAP is probably the best option for a new landmine bar, but it also doesn’t hurt to check Craigslist in your area for a used, half decent bar for that.
I’ve wondered the same thing for some time now haha.
How would you compare the Vulcan Stainless Steel bar to the American barbell one?
I had an Absolute Olympic Bar here for a couple weeks a few months ago to try out. It’s a really nice bar. It has more of a classic, professional feel to it than the AB SS Pro does, and that’s mostly because AB is so afraid to knurl a bar even remotely aggressively. Really you can’t go wrong with either, but the Absolute is a stronger bar with a better knurl and a lower price (when it’s on sale.)
American Barbell has the PBT bar on sale for $295 right now, with shipping, $320. Vulcan has the Vulcan Elite B-side for $349 including shipping. You seem to really like both of these bars, do you think the Vulcan is worth the extra $30? Also, unrelated, what is your opinion on doing leg extensions using a barbell to brace oneself – the GHD machines are sooo expensive. Thanks in advance.
The Elite is a higher performance bar with more elasticity and a more aggressive knurling. It’s not super aggressive, but American Barbell bars have pretty soft knurling in my opinion, so the difference is quite noticeable. I would say that it’s worth the difference in price.
Do you mean glute ham raises with your heels under a bar? It’ll work if you can secure the bar well enough, but obviously it’s not ideal (and not nearly as comfortable on the knees). Have you seen this? http://www.roguefitness.com/rogue-2×3-echo-ghd You can buy just the roller plate, though it’s still not cheap and probably too much to spend to not just use that towards a real GHD, but it is an option.
Thanks. Was already leaning towards the Vulcan as I have some of their other equipment and have been very satisfied. Face plate might work as I already have and S-2 squat stand but for $195 I could get a decent Roman Chair, or just invest in some good padding – decisions, decisions.
I’d find some other creative ways to target the posterior chain while maybe saving for a decent GHD… Good mornings, RDLs, etc. Makes little sense to have just the roller plate and no pad for that kind of money.
I have the American Barbell Super Power Bar, I was wondering if there would be any negative affect if I start using it for some Olympic lifts and dropped the bar with bumper plates on it?
The bar will be fine. It’ll take that just as well as any Oly bar
I love your website. Just found it looking for a good bar. Mine is a cheap no name. Here is the the response I got from Rogue. Let me know what you think. I m not considering the Echo.
I told them I workout in my garage and that I have a power rack and an olympic set of plates. I have modest goals of 185 bench, 250 squat, and 290 DL.
Here is Rogue’s response:
Thank you for reaching out to us regarding this matter.
Our popular entry level barbell that is awesome for the lifts you are referring to (Squat, Bench, Deadlift) would be the Echo Bar 2.0:
This bar will come with a limited 1 year warranty for construction.
The next step up from the Echo Bar would either be the Rogue Bar 2.0 or the Ohio Bar:
Both of these bars come with a limited lifetime warranty for construction.
Doug that’s a tough call. The Echo is on version 2 which is improved over the original, but the 1-year warranty is pretty lame. That said, your goal weights aren’t going to put the kind of stress on the bar that would ever make you in need of calling in a warranty over a bent shaft, and any manufacturer defects in the sleeves would definitely be noticed well before a year. No doubt the Echo is way better than your current no-name bar too.
Are you suggesting the Echo too because of the lower cost?
The low cost is the biggest selling point. It’ll get the job done, and it’ll last longer than the short warranty. Nothing wrong with the new Echo, just isn’t anything super fancy. Would I personally buy it? As a first bar, sure.
First Id want to say that I love your website…I’m glad there is someone out there putting out so much useful information for the community.
A little backstory on me: I’m a decent enough weightlifter and i have been in the market for a new barbell. I have been lifting at a crossfit gym down in Louisiana and have managed to hit 135/169 using really basic, really busted up Again Faster Bars. In the last few months I have developed what I assume to be an allergy to cheap metals (nickel and zinc) which i assume is due to the amount that I sweat. I have taken the last month or two off from lifting because to be honest I just got tired of breaking out in a rash every time I did any lift that involved the front rack. I plan on going and getting tested to figure out what are all the metals that I am allergic to so that i can buy a bar accordingly. There have been quite a few bars that have caught my attention, primarily the American Barbell Bearing Bars, DHS, and the Rogue Barbells. I am very interested in if you have any idea how a chrome covered barbell would hold up in a very humid setting, like Louisiana? Because of that I have been closely considering a SS barbell, which would likely not cause a reaction and I wouldn’t have to worry about rusting.
Anyways, I have a couple of questions for you.
1. If you have any idea how chrome holds up against rust?
2. Do you have any input on the Rogue SS barbell they putout recently?
3. What would your recommendation be for a barbell (bearings) in the ~$600 range?
Thanks Austin. Most chromes won’t rust, but in very humid environments it can happen. It’s not usually bad unless you just completely ignore it when you see it. The issue for you will be determining what kind of chrome each bar has, as many of them are indeed the less expensive nickel chrome (of which allergic reactions are not unheard of.) American Barbell uses true industrial hard chrome, and Vulcan does a pretty good job of letting you know what finish is on each bar (zinc, chrome moly, dense chrome, etc.) Eleiko is also a true chrome bar, but who can afford it.
Rogue’s stainless is great. I only have the Ohio, not the new Oly bar, but the feel is great – very comparable to the American Barbell stainless bars.
Jeez anything will be better than a junky AF bar. The Vulcan Pro Bearing maybe – assuming that you’re not allergic to chrome moly. The SS Oly from Rogue or AB (the AB is currently on sale I believe and is a little less than the Rogue). The DHS trainer is a nice bar, but DHS has awful quality control and their US-reseller has equally poor customer service. If you get a winner bar and never have an issue, it could be a good buy. If you have any issues with the bar then you’ll wish you bought anything else. I don’t even bring them up on the site because of the complaints I’ve heard. Oh also check out the Eleiko Sport – it would have to be on sale to be close to $600, but it happens sometimes.
Hope this helps, and I hope you determine what your allergy is so you can put that rash behind you and train on.
Should I choose the Rogue Ohio Stainless Steel or the Vulcan Professional Olympic if they’re the same cost? The Vulcan is only about $350 when purchased with their Alpha bumpers, which is what I’m about to do. So, I’m leaning towards the Vulcan.
My only concern with the Vulcan is the “cheese grater” knurling you describe. Will be doing WODs and working on olympic technique. I don’t lift much weight yet if that matters (<200lbs). Also, I much prefer olympic to power lifting.
Yeah the Vulcan Elite is a better fit for Oly lifting and still great for your basic lifts. It’s not a cheese grater – matter of fact the SS Ohio probably has more “bite” to it, but neither are overly aggressive anyway. The Elite + Alphas is a nice set up
Awesome, thanks for the feedback. I was actually referring to the Vulcan PRO, not the ELITE… however! Now I’m looking at the new Oly stainless from Rogue. Plus, the AB stainless is sold out (great sale price, sorry I missed it).
This site is incredibly helpful btw. Thank you for providing this.
I’m in Canada and need your help deciding between 2 possibly 3 rogue bars. The price for the echo is $280, $320 for a Castro and $520 for the Ohio SS. Ive already purchased a WL oly bar during the most recent Black Friday sale so I’m good for oly lifts. I just need something to use as a beater bar, but am willing to pay more than what a box store can offer.
If I purchased the Castro I would let it turn a nice patina, so keeping it pristine doesn’t matter to me. Your thoughts on elshich to choose would be appreciated.
Thanks again for the great reviews and website.
The SS Ohio is a great bar, but it is a bit expensive in your neck of the woods. I’d probably skip that since it’s $500+. I can see paying a more for the Castro over the Echo for sure though, for the bare steel. Bare steel is just as secure and grippy as stainless, and while the SS Ohio has different knurl, I don’t think that it’s ‘$200 different’, especially since you don’t mind bare steel. Yeah I’d probably go Castro over Echo, and only spring for the SS Ohio if you can write it off or something haha.
Excellent article it really helped me a lot. Being European I would like to draw attention to the Barbells from Bulldog UK and a small Danish company named Trithon. Prices ranges from roughly 215 to 500 usd. I have no financiel interest in saying this I just used barbells from these to companies and they really hold up well to all kinds of use.
Links – http://www.trithon.dk/traeningudstyr/center-udstyr/vaegtstaenger.html
Any idea what’s going on with Eleiko? I was ready to pull the trigger on the competition PL bar, because it dropped $50 (a steal now at $949, lol), then it quickly went out of stock. They didn’t respond to my e-mail about when it will be available again. Feels like they just let inventory run out, in preparation for all this next gen stuff they are hyping up.
Yeah I don’t know. I haven’t had any updates from Eleiko in a while. And because they are so cost-prohibitive to most lifters, the brand doesn’t come up in conversation very often either. Also remember they had that warehouse fire last year that wiped out a lot of inventory, so stock has probably been lower than they’d like anyway.
A “steal” eh? haha
Is there a significant difference in overall performance between the Vulcan standard 28.5 bushing and the Ohio SS? I do mostly big 3, rows and power cleans but wanted to know if the SS would provide an improved lifting experience that justified the move from the standard.
Unless you’re having a grip problem with the Standard, I would say no, there is no significant performance difference. I mean the stainless is nice, yes, but is it worth $350 when you have a solid bar already? Probably not. Not unless you have $350 burning a hole in your pocket anyway. That said, considering your programming, if you were to ever want to add a second bar I’d keep that SS at the top of your list because it’s a great fit.
Thanks for the response. I’ll stick with the Vulcan and consider buying the SS later on. I think I’m getting bar happy and want to buy each new bar that comes out.
With the AB SS bearing bar on sale for $695 which would you buy that or the rogue euro? I’m getting ready to make a purchase
I own both and prefer the SS personally.
Thanks was curious with the price point being about the same currently which u would choose…thanks again took your advice on the SS wod bar a long time ago and have been a fan of your site thanks for ur help
Firstly great read Thanks for the time and effort put into this A++ effort. I am wanting the Ohio SS but being in AU that is not an option here (standard Ohio) and we dont have majority of the bars in your list. I am so tempted to buy the Ohio SS and get it shipped over here but Rogue wont give me a cheaper shipping option just the one $325 option (total of $675 US). So $450AU for standard zinc option or try to get a cheaper shipping (around $200) and come in at $550 US for SS (but have US $ in paypal so same same lol). Thoughts please. Cheers
I feel for you guys – everything is so expensive anyway!
So $675US is almost $900AU, right? But standard zinc is only $450AU? I don’t think it’s worth the difference to be honest, if I’ve got those numbers right.
There are companies that basically handle shipping US products to other parts of the world for less money. The way they work is that you would order your bar, arrange to have it shipped to their US address, and then they use their preferred method to get it to you. A fellow from Germany I believe was grabbing up Rogue US stuff doing that, but I want to say delivery time was pretty long.
Here’s the thing though – it’s not going to be cheap either way, and delivery of a bar that far is risky. Even going just a couple states over bar tubes can get damaged. That would completely suck to wait 2 weeks or more for a bar that you paid a boat load of money for only to receive it damaged. Honestly Chris, I’d get the zinc Ohio locally and call it a day. The SS and zinc are different, but not $450 different.
Thanks for the quick reply, really appreciate it. With the shipping companies option I can get shipping for $200US so total of $550US which converts to approx $725AU. But you are right and thats exactly what I needed to hear so Ohio in Zinc will be ordered tonight. I will keep dreaming and drooling though. Cheers
It’s may be a long shot, but how to choose a bar by power rack? Mine is 45″ or 114.3cm wide. now I need a lifting bar and I’m struggling between 6ft and 7ft , which would be more efficient end better to grip on? And obviously comfortable to lift of a rack.I mean not to wide and not too short,?
For a standard power rack you need a 7′ barbell if you want to be able to rack it. I don’t think anybody even makes a 6′ bar anyway outside of like the chain stores and economy fitness outlets.
I mainly train the big 3 lifts, but I already have a nice power bar. I don’t plan to snatch or jerk, but I do cleans often. The power bar I have was given to me by my neighbor who is a strength coach at Duke – not sure the brand but it’s been custom stamped with Duke logo, etc… It has no whip or spin but a great grip, yet it’s rusted a quite a bit, I’m relatively certain it’s bare steel. Anyway, I don’t think it’s a good bar for cleans or oly lifts. I am torn between the AB California Bar, Rogue SS Ohio, or the Vulcan Elite 3.0 as my second bar for cleans and oly lifts. I was considering the Chan bar, but it’s only offered in black zinc. I have a cheapo Body Solid bar I’ve used for years but now that my squat and deads are over 500 pounds, I only use it for landmines after acquiring the power bar from my neighbor a couple weeks ago. Thanks for your recommendation and I absolutely love this site!
I say the Elite v3/v4 (same difference). If you’re gonna add more Olympic lifting you may as well use a bar built for those lifts. Also because you’re already pulling 500+ and squatting that as well, you’ll have a high clean easy (if you don’t already) and will be able to benefit from a high-whip bar like the Elite. The California isn’t a bad choice either being that it’s 28 mm and just a really nice bar in general, but the Elite is just a better choice since you are buying specifically for Oly lifts and already have a power bar and beater bar. Matter of fact, I personally wouldn’t stray from the Elite unless we were adding bearing bars to the mix.
Thanks for the quick response. I wasn’t considering bearings due to price and I’m really not competing. I’m a 5/3/1 lifter and lift for performance, not really anything else. Since my friend across the street is a strength coach at Duke, I’m taking advantage of the free coaching on cleans and wanted a bar to compliment them. I haven’t tested my cleans beyond 200 pounds while I’m just starting to re-learn them – it’s more confidence with the catch that I’m dealing with right now lol… Just pulled the trigger on the Elite v4 – thanks again for the incredibly helpful site and personal recommendations!
Of course, Marc! Enjoy it.
best info ive found in this article..I’m curious to whats your opinion of the Rep Gladiator abd Rep Gladiator Stainless bars, since im most likely ordering my rack, plates, and bench from Rep…if not ill just order a American Barbell Grizzly
Did you see this? https://www.repfitness.com/new-arrivals/build-your-own-home-gym-package
I don’t have experience with their barbells. I very rarely review the imported bars because the demand for the high performance and the American-made stuff is just greater. I’ve never heard anything alarming about Rep bars, though it’s my understanding that the Rep Power has the marks in the wrong place. That would bother most people I think.
If you have all that heavy stuff coming from Rep then the bar would basically ship for free, but all you’re probably saving is about $20 if you ordered a bar elsewhere. I’m not saying you should or have to buy it elsewhere, just that if you think you’d be settling, don’t do that for $20 – not with a bar. Make sense?
yeah I was looking at that build a package thing.
Hi. Thanks – all of your reviews and content are really great. Sorry if I missed it somewhere, but what would be your current barbell recommendation for someone doing the Starting Strength novice program? Slow lifts and then he adds in power cleans (and maybe power snatches, not sure). If it makes any real difference related to the different bar diameters, I have smaller hands. I’d love the most versatile bar I can get for under around $400, but all I know I’ll be doing initially is the Starting Strength lifts. Thanks a lot.
Hi. Forgot to mention bar will be in the garage and I’m about an hour south of Seattle. I don’t care about a bar looking shiny and new, but if oxidation will affect performance at some point it’s something I’ll need to consider. Thanks again.
Mark check this article out: https://www.garage-gyms.com/choosing-a-barbell-for-starting-strength/
For a smaller diameter preference maybe look at the Vulcan Elite Olympic Training Bar at 28 mm – very tough bar, more of an Oly bar but it’s a fun bar to deadlift and clean with while still being more than rigid enough for squats and bench press at novice/intermediate levels.
The SS Ohio Bar is another versatile bar, and one that won’t rust… it’s a less aggressive alternative to the SS Ohio Power Bar.
Look at that article and see if that doesn’t help you. If you end up with more questions or you narrow it down but need help zeroing in, let me know.
Ha! No excuse for missing that one…
From the SS Ohio, the B&R 2.0, the Vulcan Elite you mentioned, or one of the American Barbell power bar’s (regular or elite) which would be your recommendation for Starting Strength? I’m a short guy so I think the wide center on the Chan wouldn’t work well. I’d like to have one bar that will work for me as long as possible. I have two main concerns/questions about the bar’s. One is how necessary center knurling is for the low bar squats they teach for starting strength. The other is which type of bar would have me shopping again the soonest. Is it more likely that a thicker/power bar would be uncomfortable for the power cleans and send someone looking for a thinner bar or that a thinner bar like the Vulcan Elite would get too bouncy for low bar squats and bench and have one shopping for a power bar. Don’t know at what weights any of this becomes an issue, but those are my main remaining questions. Thanks again for your help.
The value of center knurling for any squat is mostly imaginary. It can be helpful for newer lifters to feel that contact or that grip on their back, but your positioning and form really will dictate how secure that bar is. The thing of it is that if for some reason a bar was going to slide down your back, no amount of knurl is going to stop it, you know? I personally prefer a mild/passive center knurl (to no knurl) just because I like that it feels stuck, but I’ve never had a bar slip or slide anyway and honestly I don’t know what in the world one has to be doing to lose control of a bar on their back. Obviously there is a major breakdown somewhere if that’s happening, but the good thing is that one would have to be pretty new to have this issue, so at least there isn’t going to be a lot of weight involved. All that said, I’m all for center knurls so long as they aren’t super aggro. I’d rather have it than not.
You’ll have to be squatting 500 pounds before your 28 mm Olympic bar was bouncing all over the place. Same goes for the bench. I think I’d pick a bar based on your immediate needs and preferences. If you buy a decent Oly bar or a decent power bar, the bar will last forever, and if you do want to add a bar or even replace that bar, it won’t be worth nothing. I do think you should worry about now though, not later, and I don’t think any bar “type” is a horrible choice with Starting Strength. If I were to have only one bar though, I personally would like a bushing based 28 mm Olympic training bar like the V Elite or AB Precision over a 29 mm, aggressive power bar.
But ya, whip doesn’t matter until you’re cleaning a lot of weight, and that’s an explosive lift. That whip doesn’t translate the same to a slow, non-explosive squat or bench, so that bounce isn’t an issue for even longer.
I hope that helps!
Yeah, that helps. I appreciate your taking the time to respond to my questions. I’ll be sure to go through one of your links when I make my purchase. Thanks again and Happy Easter.
Happy Easter. Thanks Mark
Any advice on the rogue echo bar and whether the below link bar is any good?
And also is this bench any good?
Do you know where the vulcan absolute powerbar is made?
Taiwan, I believe
I’d like to get my wife involved with my strength training, but I know she’s going to have to start out really light and will need to learn each and every lift.
So I’m looking for a recommendation on a good 15lb training barbell with the obvious understanding that the bar will be aluminum based and will have lower weight tolerances. My one major requirement is that the bar shaft length be long enough to be racked properly. I was looking at the Fringe Sport Training Barbell as a possible option that appears to stand out, but I know there are plenty other options from Rogue, Rep Fitness and others.
I’d say American Barbell if you’re okay with 5 kg, Rogue if it really needs to be 15 lbs. Rep is probably a fine option, but I’m not overly confident in Fringe and don’t recommend much of anything from them outside of their basic bumper plates.
I also suggest maybe just going with a 35-lb woman’s bar instead of a tech bar. A tech bar will be out of the picture and stuffed into a corner so fast you’ll likely regret spending the money. Perhaps there are special circumstances that have you looking at a tech bar for her (such as an injury), in which case go for it, but if not I just wanted to give you that to think about. Almost no one needs a tech bar. Going from a 6-7 foot long, 1″ wood dowel for the basics to a women’s bar works fine 99% of the time. But ya, if you still want one start with Rogue or AB.
I am looking for my first bar. Been crossfitting for 3 years and in the last year been focusing on OLY lifts. Hoping to qualify for the open series this upcoming season. I would like a bar I could use for OLY training but during certain WODs as well. I’d like your thoughts……
American Barbell 28mm Perfomance Training ($295 + $25 shipping) versus
Vulcan Standard 28 mm Olympic Training ($345.45 free shipping) versus
Rogue 28mm Training Bar – Cerakote ($325 and I can pick it up)
Thanks and loved reading through this article!
I like these three in the following order: American Barbell Performance, Vulcan Standard, Rogue Trainer. American Barbell bars are smooth, feel great, and they are quiet (very tight assembly tolerances). The Rogue Trainer is actually one of Rogue’s better bars in my opinion because you’re basically buying the Rogue Oly without bearings for close to $200 less, but I still like the AB more. The AB has what I consider to be a better knurl, better bushing system, and it makes much less noise when dropped.
Based on this list of bars I’d probably suggest looking more at the Vulcan Elite 4 than the Vulcan Standard. It’s a fantastic bar with many unique attributes. The Standard is great and it will truly last a long time, but from a performance standpoint the Elite is a better buy. I’d honestly even take an Elite over the AB Performance, though I maintain that the AB is still a solid option.
Have you looked at Wight Equipment bushing bars.
Wright V3 Cerakote Colored Bar (20KG)
I check in with Wright’s to see if anything interesting is happening from time to time.
The 20kg V3 is only mentioned in a Wright’s blog post and the link to the product 404’s. Do you work for Wright’s?
No I live in Michigan
I just checked web site and they make that bar now with bearings and call it Next generation. At least I think it is mainly the same bar. My question is your opinion of their bars as apposed to a similar prices bar.
I have no issue with Wright’s; their bars are known to be decent. I just don’t think they stand out in any way. I do like Wright’s for quantity quotes for an actual gym, but I don’t see them ever being a huge hit in garage gyms.
I’ve thought about grabbing some of the newer ones up for a review but honestly I get asked about Wright’s once for every 100 times I get asked about Vulcan or American Barbell, and since I have to buy this stuff to review it I tend to buy what people express an interest in. So far the demand just hasn’t existed so other than checking in with them, I kind of leave them alone.
Thank you for this incredibly informative site! It is very helpful for a newbie like me. I need to start with a lighter weight barbell because of injuries due to hypermobility, and it was suggested I find a junior barbell. (The typical 15kg women’s barbells are too heavy for my warmup according to both my trainer and doctor.) I saw a recommendation for the Rage fitness Olympic training barbell (15 lb) as a possible option. Do you have any experience with this barbell or company? It’s quite a bit cheaper than I was expecting to pay so I am hesitant. I prefer to purchase higher quality over cheaper price, and don’t want to waste my time with something that will be frustrating to use. Finding a lighter weight, full size (6-7 ft) higher end barbell with 25mm grip (I have small hands) is becoming much more difficult than I was anticipating!
Rage doesn’t make very good equipment. Rogue has a 25 mm Junior Bar weighing 10 kg that has no weight limitations like many other junior/tech bars. It’s $179, which may be more than you’re looking to spend but it’s not a bad price at all. Sleeves are short at about 6.5″, but that’s typical of youth bars. American Barbell has one too but it’s $100 more and not a great value considering the Rogue. It’s probably slightly nicer overall but with a little less sleeve length it’s not $100 nicer.
I don’t think you’re going to get a full length barbell at less than 10 kg without going with a technique bar. You could do that, but they are generally aluminum and have low weight limits. But then again if this is for warming up into a normal woman’s bar then the weight limit wouldn’t matter since anytime you have any weight loaded you switch to your 15 kg bar.
You know I am quite the opposite of the recent CrossFit when it comes to barbells because I’ve been lifting for years without having to over-emphasize the so-called quality margins. And now that I have collected several barbells of my own, I’ve got to say the Rogue standard is sadly mistaken. I was at a Box earlier this year and tried my first Rogue bar and needless to say…I was not at all impressed! I’ve got at least two bars that I paid less than $100 for that outperform Rogues bars quite embarrasingly. And one of them has got 8 bearings in it!!! So why all the fuss over Rogue brand if they’re not the best design.
I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to get at. You are saying that you have two sub-$100 bars that you think are superior to a Rogue bar (the only Rogue bar) you that you handled in CrossFit Box? the most abusive possible environment for a barbell regardless of brand? Was it a new Rogue bar, a five year old Rogue bar, older than that? Which bar was it? Which variant/version? Why were you not impressed?
I’m certainly not going to try and convince you to buy Rogue. Hell I don’t even prefer to lift with Rogue bars myself, but I know enough about barbells and equipment in general to know what to expect from Rogue, what to expect from the higher end bars, and absolutely what to expect from any barbell worth less than $100 new. I also know how easy it is to take care of a bar in a personal gym versus what happens to even the best bars in the world when tossed into a CrossFit box.
It would be one thing if you were assessing a Rogue bar that you purchased and it was brand new and you just thought it sucked. But to use someone else’s used (probably very used) bar once and then come to a conclusion about a whole product line seems quite unreasonable. I’m thinking it’s the prices that you really have the problem with, not the equipment itself; because Rogue doesn’t have a sub $100 barbell.
I’ve recently been remodeling my garage. Sold off a bunch of my equipment in the process. As far as barbells go, I now only have my Eleiko NxG Weightlifting bar, Elite FTS SS Yoke, Vulcan Swiss bar, & Intek Functional Trap Bar. Trying to decide the best way to rebuild my power bar line up. I’ve had many, many different barbells through my garage gym, but I consider you the overall authority when it comes to the finer points of barbells.
I recently sold my Vulcan Absolute SS PB and Eleiko Comp BB due to incorrect markings and galvanized finish respectively. Sold my Texas Strength Deadlift Bar as well. I can’t stand oxidation and I really just bought the Eleiko PB & TDBs to try them out for a while (both really good bars now in great hardcore powerlifting homes). I got great deals on both and buying them got me some crazy prices on other stuff I bought from the seller.
I love that Vulcan bar and will likely buy another, but I’d be interested to hear your top 3 power bars. My plan is to buy an aggressively knurled PB (Vulcan SS PB, Kabuki in nickel), a moderately knurled PB (AB Mammoth, AB Elite, or Rep SS PB), & a deadlift bar (Rogue DL bar in Cerakote or SS if that becomes an option, Kabuki?). The moderately knurled bar would mostly be for squatting as the Vulcan causes callousing on my back that my wife hates. Squat bar would be an option but probably not super versatile. Obviously, corrosion resistance is a top priority so no bare steel, black oxide, or zinc bars. Cost isn’t a major issue but value is. For example, I know the Mammoth is technically better than the Rep but if the Rep offers a ton of value for the price I’d consider it.
So for the aggro bar I’d definitely go with the new, properly marked SS Absolute. It has way, way more value than the (finished) $669 Kabuki New Gen, and you already know what to expect from the Vulcan. I realize the New Gen Squat is a very popular bar, but I think that has way more to do with marketing and a perceived value than it does with actual value. Nice bar, for sure, but not a very good value at $700 delivered.
I’m still very loyal to my American Barbell power bars for both benching and squatting. I still use the Super but I’d be perfectly happy using either the Mammoth or the Elite; both of which I also have. AB prices aren’t low like Rogue prices, but they’re a lot less than Kabuki and Eleiko, and even Vulcan’s SS bars. That said, the Rep bars are high value. I don’t dislike their bars and would even recommend them to folks on a tighter budget because of their higher overall value, but for those who could afford the upgrade I say upgrade.
Rogue Ohio Deadlift is a great bar. I would only really look at the TDB as an alternative but you’ve been there, done that. The ODB is aggressive enough that the dulling of the knurl from Cerakote won’t matter, and while Rogue will no doubt eventually offer SS who knows when that will be. I have a bare ODB and it looks like shit – only bar I let oxidize away and I don’t even care haha. When I have to deadlift with a bar I’m reviewing I get sad to leave the Ohio on wall. I know you don’t want bare steel but talk about a high value bar without a finish.
Thanks for the quick and thorough response as always. I’m pretty sold on going back to the Vulcan SS Absolute. I had a Rogue SS OPB before that I loved, but the Vulcan won out easily in head to head competition. Glad you agree. I have the same overall impression of Kabuki based on reading reviews and my own experience with my nickel ShouldeRök and a zinc squat bar I was able to check out in person but ultimately didn’t buy.
I sold my first new barbell, the AB SS WOD, a month or so ago, and I’ve definitely missed having an AB bar around. Just something about them, but I don’t really do “functional fitness” anymore & and I have a dedicated Oly bar so no need for a dual purpose bar. I’ve pressed you on this time and time again and haven’t been able to pin you down, but it looks like this is the one category you didn’t really pick a bar if you could only have three: Mammoth or Elite? Current options are Mammoth on sale for $495 shipped, Elite at full price of $450 + shipping, or blemished Elite at $375 + shipping. Keeping in mind I’ll have the Vulcan and Rogue ODB.
At $495 I’d definitely pay the extra $45 to upgrade the Elite to the Mammoth. I’m not big on blemish bars myself but most people seem perfectly happy to save the money in exchange for a few scratches or small section of knurl tracking. I’m kind of biased against it though because I don’t ever want to review seconds.
I guess what you want to hear is this…if my Super vanished into thin air I’d pick up the Mammoth.
Yeah, I sort of figured. I’m actually surprised they kept the Black Friday pricing on the Mammoth. I’m guessing I should probably jump on that before they change their minds. Kind of a no brainer at current pricing. That will tide me over until Vulcan puts the Absolute back on sale which seems to happen once a quarter or so. That is unless you want to sell me your Super and you pick up the Mammoth, haha. But seriously though…
I’ll be quite honest, I appreciate your efforts to present consumer details, but I think you guys have just gotten lost in the CrossFit sauce. It’s like you guys went for years on cheap bars and then the first quality bars you used were Rogue and you just flipped out because you didn’t know any better. But granted, that’s what just about every “well informed” gym vlogger seems to be saying as well. I swear, your description on bushings vs bearings seems like you guys put calibrated Ivanko kg plates on a bar with no bearings what so ever and were surprised with the results. And the fact that you haven’t encountered any really great bars for less than $150 means that either you WERE unfortunately whipped up in that 2005-2015 CrossFit sauce that has people paying way too much for gym equipment, or you just haven’t been looking hard enough!
Can you please clarify what you’re saying about bushings vs bearings? Obviously bushing bars under load won’t rotate as freely as a bearing bar and this site helps to inform those that don’t know the difference.
Also, can you please share what great barbells there are for less than $150? That would be a killer price for a multipurpose barbell with better quality than Rogue or American Barbell’s recent “CrossFit sauce” bars.
This comment you’re responding to, Shaun, makes no sense to me. I responded to the first one this person left but I didn’t know what to do with this one lol
Because of guys like you who take time to write reviews, i bought a Rogue Ohio Power Bar in black zinc. It was not cheap but better than those 32mm bars in my local gym. And i’m allowed to leave my bar in the gym (locked with a Porloc lockable collar). Keep up the good work!
But now i’m getting more interested in Olympic lifts and the OPB is not really suited for the job. I’m already searching the internet for a couple of days for a cheaper alternative than Rogue. Because i live in Europe, American barbells are too expensive to be delivered.
I came across a German brand called SQMIZE. Their Eco Competition Weightlifting bar OB86WLm-EC comes at a price of $215 (€190). Nickel-Phospor coating, 230K PSI tensile strenght, 216K yield strenght, 10 needle bearings and a 28mm shaft. Is this too good to be true being a needle bearing under the €300 mark?
Are there any visible signs on a website or in photos that can point in the direction of rubbish barbells?
Well it’s not too good to be true in the sense that the specs are probably moderately accurate, but it’s too good to be true that it’s comparable in quality and performance to a similarly spec’d bar that costs 3 times as much.
It’s just a quality of components difference from a $200 bar to a $600 bar. The cheap bar will have cheap $1 bearings, lower quality steel (sometimes significantly so), weak knurl, little to no QC, etc. A $200 28mm bearing bar isn’t going to last forever unless you’re not using it, but if you’re fine with buying a $200 bearing bar to hold you over until you can afford (or even need) a higher performance bar, there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean I’m a big believer of ‘buy once, buy right’, but that’s not always feasible depending on availability (regional) and budget.
But to answer your last question, no, not really. It’s kind of an intuition thing based on price. You can see knurl in the images – that’s important – but most specs are not obvious in the images (tensile, yield, bearing quantity/quality, etc).
I appreciate the thorough overview and reviews you provided on this page. I wanted to get your opinion on cerakote vs stainless? I live in Central America in a city that is hot and humid 9 or so months out of the year and hot the other 3 months. While the gear will be protected from the direct elements, it may not be in a room with AC, thus making humidity and rust a concern.
Based on the descriptions above it seems that a multi-purpose / general purpose bar might be the best fit for what I plan to do. Further it also seems that perhaps one of the Rogue Cerakote or Stainless might be a good fit, or even one of the American bars.
Thoughts / recommendations on which bar might be a good fit for my scenario?
Also, thoughts on plates for the same conditions?
I appreciate your advice. Thank you!
Hey Chris. You should be fine with either Cerakote or stainless. You’d almost have to be getting the bars wet to force oxidation out of either, which only tends to happen in gyms where the temperature goes from cold to hot while allowing moisture in (like if the garage is cold overnight, then during the day you open the door to let heat and outside humidity it. In that case, the equipment will form condensation).
If you’re overly concerned about it there are even a handful of bars that are both stainless and Cerakote; the Matt Chan Bar and American Barbell Mammoth being the two I know of (though the Mammoth is not a multi-purpose bar) – neither are stainless at the sleeves though. The AB has hard, industrial chrome and the Chan has either decorative chrome or Cerakote. Any of those but the decorative chrome will also resist oxidation very well.
Any coated plates – rubber, urethane, or even bumpers. Cast iron and steel (even painted) will eventually rust no matter what finish or coating has been applied.
I hope that helps!
Hi JB, any thoughts on Iron Master Elite Olympic Barbell?
I can get 25% off of the retail price with special discount + Friday sale, but haven’t been able to find any kind of review out there.
I’ve never handled one personally. I don’t like that the bushings are brass versus bronze. I also don’t like that there are no steel specs of any kind. Doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it does make it mysterious.
My biggest concern about buying any bar that has no reviews (either on-site or 3rd-party) is about the knurling. I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is no standard or common ground among manufacturers when it comes to describing the knurling of their bars. What I mean is, when they say firm, or aggressive, or deep, or moderate… it means nothing. It’s not that they’re wrong all the time, it’s just that they’re wrong most the time, and it’s from reviews (or simply by being a guinea pig) that we really learn how they knurl is.
Having said that, IronMaster doesn’t manufacture their own bars, so it’s likely that this bar is fairly tame/mild as far as the knurling goes.
I just don’t know. It’s not a very compelling price considering how much of the bar is a mystery, but so long as the knurling ends up being to your liking it’s unlikely the bar would ever let you down. Even cheaper bars can be surprising sometimes. And I’m just going off the product description remember, which I do think could be more forthcoming with specs and images.
I am currently looking for a 20 kg barbell, mainly for the big 4, power cleans, basically everything other than Oly lifts. I am in England and hoped you might be able to offer your advice regarding the options on offer to me. I squat high bar and worry about being eaten alive by something with a centre knurl as harsh as the OPB, and also worry that finishes such as zinc and chrome will feel slick. Ideally I would get a bare steel bar but I haven’t found an option over here and the stainless such as the Ohio are very expensive here. My current highest lift is deadlift and still only 160kg but I’m only a relative beginner. The only proper bars I have felt were the men’s Zhangkong bars which felt slippery and had very soft knurling to my feel.
Which bar would you say suited my needs best out of this list, taking into account the prices I would have to pay for them (converted to $ for simplicity), or is there a better recommendation in your opinion?:
ATX Ram Bar- Black oxide shaft/chrome sleeves, 28.5mm, 206k psi, centre knurl, brass bushings.
Lacertosus Elite Powerlifting Bar- Black phosphate shaft, 29mm, 250k psi (allegedly), centre knurl, bushing material?
Rogue Chan bar (Cerakote+bright zinc) $635
Rogue SS Ohio Bar $535
Rogue OPB (black zinc) $470
Rogue 2.0 Bar $395
I removed a couple of links as I’m not sure if they were allowed.
Thanks in advance, your site has been a great resource for me.
Hey Pat. I don’t know anything about the first two bars first-hand. The product description of the first is underwhelming, as are many of the finer details, but the Lacertosus seems like it has more potential. Price seems pretty competitive with your Rogue options, of which I would probably recommend to you the Chan – so yeah, much more affordable.
You’re right about the center on the OPB for high-backs, and I think the 2.0 is a weakly-knurled bar. The SS Ohio is not a bad bar at all but it has no center – does that matter? It’s knurled about as well as the Chan in terms of bite.
I’d say look closely at the knurl of the Lacertosus and even request a better image of the center if you want, then decide if you need to upgrade to the Chan. I think you’ll be happy with the Chan – everyone is – but if you don’t want to pay that much it’s not as though there isn’t a good second-best out there for you, and maybe that Lacertosus is it.
Thank you, I appreciate you taking the time. The Chan is my first choice but is on the absolute limit of my budget, as in, it’s way over, but I might be able to stretch to it depending on how Xmas goes!
I honestly don’t care either way regarding existence of centre knurl, except that i’d rather it wasn’t ferocious if it is going to be there, the problem is I would prefer a pretty aggressive knurl elsewhere and such a bars are few and far between over here. The Chan fits the bill perfectly as it sounds like the grip is great and the centre knurl is more passive. Next choice would be the SS Ohio, but again this is dependent upon budget. I actually just found one on eBay today close to me, so will keep an eye on that.
Thanks for taking a look at the Lacertosus, there isn’t much info on it and my Italian is non existent so I’m glad to get a much more educated opinion on it. Would I be right in thinking that the black phosphate would offer a feeling closer to bare steel, like black oxide, as opposed to chrome, zinc etc?
Yes, the black phosphate and black manganese finishes are more tacky and grippy than either of the standard zinc finishes (bright/black) and polished chrome.
Thanks, feel/grip security is the second most important aspect to me, after overall quality.
What’s your opinion of this bar as a potential alternative?: https://www.bulldoggear.eu/collections/bars/products/the-bulldog-bar-cerakote-20kg-composite-bushing-barbell
Price is much closer to what I can reasonably afford, especially at current sale price. Seems to me like a Cerakote Ohio equivalent but w/ bright zinc sleeves. Basically, looks like i am down to the SS Ohio, or the Bulldog one i’ve linked. Ohio is $150 dearer though which seems like a lot. Do you think it would be worth the extra?
I am not all that impressed with that Bulldog. The knurl looks soft. I can’t speak to their manufacturing quality; they claim to make their own bars; but at least one of the few specs they offer is a red flag to me.
There’s a good chance that bar will feel fine and last forever, but the knurl does look pretty insignificant and it’s a case of knowing the quality of one bar (Rogue) vs assuming the other.
I don’t get paid either way but I’m still leaning on the SS Ohio simply because we know it has a good, firm knurl and we know the bar is going to perform and last. No guessing/assuming necessary.
To be fair though, these bars can be returned if you’re not happy just like any other product. You’ll just eat the shipping.
I actually just ordered that Bulldog as the prices of the Rogue bars were slightly out of my range in the end. I’m assuming you are referring to the claimed psi rating, it did make me wonder too tbh.
Fingers crossed the knurl isn’t barely-there, although, as you said, if I don’t like it I will return it and splash on the Rogue SS Ohio.
Thanks again, much appreciated.
What do you think of Hammer Strength bars? There is a lot of Hammer Strength equipment in the commercial gyms in Atlanta, and I just missed buying a used $300 Hammer Strength bar through LETGO.
Hammer Strength bars are not made by Hammer Strength, nor are their plates or dumbbells. The current HS bars are made by American Barbell, which can be identified by the ridge on the inner sleeve shoulders (look at American Barbell’s site to see what I’m talking about and see if the HS bars you are seeing look the same.) AB bars are the best, but outside of that since I don’t know who has made their equipment at any given time, I can’t really say that a HS bar is always a sure thing.
Thanks for the quick reply, and I’m amazed at the quality of your site!. I’ve lifted weights for 50(!) years, and I learned more from reading your “Barbell Guide” about barbells than from a half-century of using them at commercial gyms around the country.
Thank you, Robert. I appreciate that, and I’m glad the site has been helpful. For what it’s worth, gyms don’t even know what they’re buying most the time. Hell when it comes to bars, most garage gym owners have better equipment than Gold’s or Lifetime Fitness. They buy $6000 machines but $100 barbells. Of course they get charged way more than $100 for those bars, but they are the retail equivalent of a beater bar.
Hello. I have a quick question about a barbell I picked up on OfferUp. Seller sold a handful of these bars for $225. Endcap only says Muscle D, seller says it’s American Barbell and has bearings. Bar looks stainless or hard chrome has snap rings on outer AND inner sleeves. Research says these are dust/chalk seals? Anyone else use these seals? Did I snag a good deal or buy a lemon? Thank you for your time.
Price certainly doesn’t sound right but who knows. Send me a picture at email@example.com. Include inner and outer sleeves.
Hi! Any update on this brand? I can’t find much information on it. I’m looking at one called Muscle D Olympic Barbell with Center Knurling (7′, 20kg/45lb). I’m looking for weight capacity and reviews. No luck tracking that down. I called the fitness store selling them. Sales rep had no clue. Any information will help. Thank you!
I have never even heard of this company, Jessica, I’m sorry. Their website is not very helpful either, it turns out.
I just an average Joe putting together a garage gym and am in need of a bar for squats, shrugs and bench press. I always wondered why some bars are in the $100 to $700 range. I never knew that there was such a difference in construction and application. I read the entire article and now I have a new found appreciation for the various bars. Great research precise explanations. Thanks!
Thank you, Steve. I’m glad you found it helpful.
I’ve a power bar and have a 28 mm Olympic bar ordered mainly to do deadlift and prob try to bench press with it as well since I’ve small hands. Do you see a point in picking up a 28.5 mm Olympic bar (looking at Rep Excalibur). I really want an optimal hand grip for my bench presses. Thanks!!
No, you don’t need a third bar at 28.5 mm. There’s no point. You’ve already got a 28 and 29 mm. That’s not to say you can’t, but you don’t need =p
This is some great information, especially for someone like myself that is in the beginning stages of building a home gym although I have had the opportunity to take part in Crossfit for about 4 years. Do you have any experience or feedback on the barbells that Fray Fitness manufacturers? They have a 28MM bar with a Cerakote finish with internal bearings at a cost slightly under the Rogue 2.0 bar, but I would believe there is something not as high quality because quality tends to follow price.
I don’t know much about Fray actually, but I can tell you one thing… you’re absolutely right. Price is a direct reflection of quality. Of course there are exceptions to that, but that’s typically on the other end of the spectrum, like when a company has a $700 bar that’s really no better than a $300 bar. Nobody is selling a bar that’s “worth” $400 for $200.
An American-made bar that costs 10-20% more than an import with unreasonably high specs for its cost is almost always the nicer bar overall. Bearings in non-professional, weightlifting bars is kind of a scam anyway, and generally a tactic of importers. That is to say, you don’t see Rogue or American Barbell sticking bearings in all their WOD bars or power bars just to make them look nicer on paper. Almost nobody needs bearings in their bar, not even CrossFitters. And those who do need a good bearing bar, and good bearing bars aren’t anywhere near $200; import or domestic.
Wow, thanks for the quick response, it is much appreciated! I figured this would be the case, but hard to tell since they do not give the greatest description on their website so I am unsure where there barbell is made. They have a fair amount of great reviews on their barbells and other equipment so I wasn’t sure if it made sense to take a chance on them. I was given the advice yesterday, just like you mentioned in the article, not to cut corners with a barbell as it is one of the most important pieces of equipment in the gym. Thank you again!
omg!!! love your articles. you are my new fav( sorry GGR)
I appreciate that. Thank you haha. Also, I edited that URL out – I’d rather not backlink to that.
Just looking into building a casual garage gym stuck between Ohio bar e coat and the Rogue Echo bar 2.0 read a lot about the echo bar rusting after a short amount of time.
Looking to use for deadlifts, squats and cleans nothing too serious.
Hey Scott. These bars are the same outside of that finish. If you don’t want to deal with oxidation issues of the cheaper, Echo finish then yeah, bump up to the E-coat Ohio. Functionally though; same experience. One is no better than the other when you get under it.
Thank you very much for the advice I opted for the ecoat Ohio bar don’t want to deal with the oxidation.
Also being in Canada I have a hard time finding reputable online fitness companies to deal with not sure by chance you’ve heard of any that’s why I went with rouge despite the significant shipping prices.
Hey JB, what a terrific primer on barbells!
Can I ask you a few questions? Maybe you could elucidate a number of things for me.
1) As you explained, the yield strength in a barbell is the real McCoy, while its tensile strength is more like a shadow of such. If that’s indeed the case, and I’m sure it is, why do companies provide data on a barbell’s tensile strength at all? This is what I don’t grasp. Why not provide data directly on the yield strength?
2) Not taking price into account, would you say the Rogue Ohio Bar is slighly better than the Rogue 2.0 Bar, which in turn is slightly better than the Rogue Echo Bar 2.0?
I’m not sure about this, as you seem to favor the Rogue 2.0 Bar over the Rogue Ohio Bar based on the former’s composite bushings and the latter’s bronze bushings, if I’m not mistaken. And if, indeed, I’m not, why do you think composite bushings are superior to bronze bushings? Most people I’ve talked to seem to think that bronze is the gold standard when it comes to bushings.
3) Are you ever going to review barbells from Ironmaster, Ironmind and Sorinex? It would make for an interesting read.
4) Just why is the knurl on a power bar more aggressive than the knurl on an Olympic Weightlifting bar? Could it be that by making the knurl softer the bar can slide better inside your palms when you transition from the first part of an Olympic lift, the pull, to it final part, the catch? Or could it be that you need more aggreassive knurl in general for heavy deadlifts?
5) Is it true that the knurl on an Olympic Weightlifing bar is softer than that of a power bar only if the Olympic Weightlifing bar is actually an intermediate-level training bar, while higher-end competition bars have a knurl that is close in aggressiveness to that of power bars? If so, why? It seems a repudiation of all that jazz about Olympic Weightlifting bars having a softer knurl.
6) If you do the olympic lifts, only when you become quite advanced at them you’ll “feel” that a non-Olympic Weightlifting bar is not enough anymore, and that you need to graduate to a real Olympic Weitghtlifting bar. Before such advanced stage, a non-Olympic Weightlifting bar is OK because you just won’t perceive any difference. Am I correct so far? At any rate, why do you actually feel that difference at all, when you become advanced at the Oly lifts, if you get a real Olympic Weightlifting bar? Is it because you need that extra rotation provided by the needle bearing? Or is it because you need that extra whippiness? Or is it because difference in the knurl? Also, when we say that unless you are an advanced Olympic Weightlifting practitioner, a non-Olympic Weightlifting bar is enough to handle the Oly lifts gracefully, are we talking about a multi-purpose bar or even a power bar?
7) The only exercise that I’m planning to do with the barbell ever touching the floor is the deadlift, I do everything else with dumbbells. Now, let’s say that I’m planning to use bumber plates to contain the noise, that I’m planning to gingerly and slowly lower down the barbell each time I do a repetition (this has to do with my style of training, H.I.T.-spawned SuperSlow), and that I will never use much weight to deadlift, 200 pounds would be the heaviest possible I may lift. Now, if this is what I’m planning to do, do you think a platform is, in my case, completely unnecessary? I just can’t think of how I could destroy the floor if I don’t do the Oly lifts and I deadlift the way I described. I have a wooden parquetry kind of floor, by the way.
8) While multi-purpose bars are obviously best for CrossFitters who plan to do both the slow and the Oly lifts, are they also best for a beginner if they are already 100% sure they won’t ever do the Oly lifts? I mean, if a beginner is not 100% sure yet of the way they’ll end up training, I can understand why a multi-purpose bar is the way to go, as such beginner may eventually end up along the way doing CrossFit workouts or workouts that, while not necessarily CrossFit by the book, still comprise the Oly lifts. But for someone who is 100% positive from the very beginning that they only want the barbell to deadlift, bench press, squat, curl, row, and so on and so forth, what’s best? A multi-purpose bar or a power bar? I’m not talking about someone who wants to become a powerlifter, just someone who wants to follow a general strength training program, albeit one that doesn’t feature the Oly lifts. Power bars tend to cost a little more than multi-purpose bars. I’m posing you this question regardless of such difference in price.
9) As it is well-known, multi-purpose bars are intended to be able to handle both the Olympic lifts and the slower, heavier power lifts. Fine, but why are they such? They feature dual knurls, I got it, but does the “hybridness” of the multi-purpose bars have to do a bit with their whippiness as well? Are multi-purpose bars less whippy than Olympic Weightlifting bars but less rigid that power bars?
10) OK, let me get to the main point of my post. I need to buy a barbell and, for a number of reasons, including matters of availability in Italy, which is where I live, it should be one by Rogue. I don’t trust Italian barbells because their stated specs are too generic to understand what you’re actually buying and you can’t find reviews or shopping guides like yours for Italian barbells.
At any rate, I’ve narrowed down my scouting to these bars:
Ohio Bar with cerakote finish
Ohio Bar in stainless steel
Ohio Power Bar with cerakote finish
Ohio Power Bar in stainless steel
Ohio Deadlift Bar with cerakote finish
Of these, only the Ohio Bar with cerakote finish and the Ohio Bar in stainless steel are listed on the Rogue Europe website, albeit neither of them is currently available! I may end up buying what becomes available first on such website, or perhaps I’ll have to end up ordering from the US. Sigh. Bad time to build a home gym, sadly for me. Do you think it’s the Coronavirus pandemic that has emptied what’s available on the Rogue Europe website? I don’t know what to think. I hope it’s a temporary situation that is going to change soon, I’m getting frustrated here.
One bar that is listed and that is also available is the Burgener & Rippetoe Bar, which I don’t like because I’m not going to take care of bare steel. I left out the Echo Bar and the Rogue Bar 2.0 because I’m not fond of the finishes they’re available with. I only want cerakote or stainless steel bars, for (lack of) maintenance reasons.
At any rate, which bars of the ones I narrowed down my search to should I buy?
Now, I’ll tell you what specifically are my needs in having a barbell.
I need the barbell for deadlifting and nothing else. And it’s not that I have another barbell to do squats or presses or anything else. With the exception of deadlifts, I do everything with dumbbells. And it’s not that I’m in need of pulling powerlifter-level poundages. In fact, the poundages that I lift are going to be quite moderate because I lift weights in an extremely slow and controlled manner, and therefore I don’t need much weight to get my muscles burning. I follow the training protocols of High Intensity Training and SuperSlow that necessarily dictate poundages that are very light compared to what you find in more “normal” styles of lifting.
One could immediately think that the Ohio Deadlift Bar would be ideal for me, since I only have to use the barbell to deadlift, but is that so? It’s my understanding that the benefits of a deadlift bar only come when you’re a competitive powerlifter and use the bar to train by pulling gigantic tonnages for very few reps, while if you only pull more moderate poundages within a more normal rep range, the distinctive features of the bar are either irrelevant, this is the case of its extra whippiness, or even going to make your deadlifting more clumsy, this is the case of the extra aggressiveness of the knurl. Does this make sense? The thinner shaft, though, may be a plus for me, as I don’t have big hands and I can tell you that my current bar (a junk box store one), using a double overhand grip, tends to gradually slip from my grip if I don’t use straps.
Should I go with the Ohio Deadlift bar for my needs?
Or should I go with the Ohio Power Bar? The deadlift, the only exercise that I have to use the barbell for, is a power lift, after all. But isn’t a 29 mm diameter less than ideal if I only have to deadlift?
Or should I choose a multi-purpose bar even though I won’t do the Oly lifts?
I’d like to point out that even though I lift baby poundages, my style of lifting is actually extremely tough and hard by dint of its deliberateness and lack of momentum. My repetitions last up to ten or fifteen seconds each on the row or the overhead press (I do these with dumbbells), and up to five or six seconds on the deadlift. If my current barbell tends to slip from my hands after a while, believe me, those baby poundages are enough to deliver a brutal workout when you handle them the way I do. In fact I sometimes have to use straps. So perhaps that 27 mm diameter of the Ohio Deadlift Bar is indeed for me? I don’t know what to think. Also, if the bar sleeps from my hands, the aggressive knurl of the Rogue Deadlift Bar and that of the Ohio Power Bar could be advantageous for me, but since I currently lift with a junk bar that probably has a ridiculously soft knurl, could it be that even the more moderate knurl of the Ohio Bar would be enough to ameliorate the slipping problem? Probably even the knurl of the Ohio Bar is lights years more aggrsssive than the knurl of my current bar! Go figure. And maybe too aggressive a knurl is not for me because, if I’m not mistaken, power bars tend to be used by lifters who work in the 1-4 rep ranges, while I would probably work in the 3-7 range. Would the knurl of a power bar wreck my hands? Not having ever used a serious bar, it’s hard for me to know what a serious knurl really feels like, and what “aggressive” really means.
By the way, even if this is the first serious barbell that I’m gonna buy, I don’t think I qualify anymore as a beginner lifter, as I’ve been lifting for several years now and I have a very clear idea of what I’ll use my barbell for. Multi-purpose bars are usually ideal for beginner lifters because, since they still don’t know what they may use the bar for, having a “generic” bar is ideal for them in case they’ll add different varieties of exercises along the way. For instance, they’ll be well-served by their bar if they’ll add Oly lifts, right? But I’m 100% sure that I’ll only use it for deadlifts. I already know in advance what I’m gonna use it for, so if a multi-purpose bar is ideal for me, it has to be so for reasons other than “if will serve you better if you add Oly lifts later on” or something like that. Maybe a multi-pupose bar is indeed ideal in my case, but just not for the dual-knurl or things like that, I guess.
What do you think?
11) By the way, if I could choose between the 45 lbs and the 20 kg versions of the same bar, which one should I choose?
12) I’d also like to tell you what I intend to do with my bar when I’m not using it and I’d like to know if you think this is feasible.
First, as I’ve already explained, I’d only use the bar to deadlift. Second, I only do work sets with the same weight and the same rep range. I’ve already maxed out on my deadlift. What I mean is, I don’t think I’ll ever add more weight to the bar, I’m at my strongest now and all I can do is to strive to keep my current strength. I’m 40 years old, after all. So, let’s say that I always have to deadlift with a 45 lbs plate and a 25 lbs plate (I obviously mean one of each for both sleeves of the bar).
All of this means that I could stay without changing plates on my barbell for years if I wanted.
If I did bench presses or squats it wouldn’t be nice to let the barbell on the j-cups for days with the plates on, right? It would slowly bend. But what about a barbell let with bumper plates inserted, left for days… on the ground? Would that damage the bar? I don’t see how but I’d like to hear what you have to say about this. If it’s OK to do this I’d definitely like to act like that because I don’t enjoy moving around 45 lbs plates, it’s time-consuming and tiring, I prefer to have my barbell right away ready to be lifted instead of stored somewhere to be coupled with the plates each time I need to deadlift. But is it OK to do so?
Also, is it OK to leave the collars on all the time or they’d end up “impressing” themselves on the sleeves? If I plan to let the collars on all the time, is it better to use plastic lockjaws rather than metal lockjaws? Which ones damage the bar the less? I’ve heard that metal lockjaws may scratch the bar when you slide them in and out, is that true? But I don’t plan to slide them in and out, I’m thinking about keeping them in place all the time, just like the plates, so are metal lockjaws good for this like the plastic ones should probably be? Should I leave the lockjaws, be them plastic or metal, in place but not snapped shut perhaps, only to snap them shut just before I deadlift?
Finally, and this is purely a hypothetical question as this is not what I plan using, if I decided to use plates that are not bumpers, and hence are of different diameters, would it bend the bar if I left it at all time on the ground with 45 lbs plates and 25 lbs plates on? Only the 45 lbs plates would rest on the ground while the others wouldn’t touch it. Should I at least remove the 25 lbs plates each time I finish deadlifting, leaving the barbell with the 45 lbs inserted only? Or those 25 lbs plates, even though they don’t touch the floor, wouldn’t be heavy enough to bend it at the ends?
13) You provided a very positive review of the Ironmster Super Bench, and for what I can see it’s spectacular in many respects, but you have to concede that its lack of a single-post front foot design can be a problem. The splayed-out front feet could be getting in the way. It seems that Ironmaster have produced a newer version of the Super Bench called Super Bench Pro with several improvements, including less cumbersome front feet.
14) I was really surprised by your very positive comments about Ivanko barbells.
“No other company more thoroughly tests their bars than Ivanko. Each and every premium bar is tested for defects in the steel with no less than three separate tests: x-ray, mag, and ultra-sonic. Ivanko barbells are also straightness tested to ensure that no deviation greater than 0.006/ft over the length of the bar exists. Good luck finding an Ivanko defect!”
“Part of what makes Ivanko bars so expensive is that they put each and every bar through a number of tests before shipping them out. They go through a mag test, an ultra-sonic test, and a straigthness test. They do this to ensure that each barbell leaves the factory without a single imperfection.”
I always thought that Ivanko barbells were trainwrecks from what I gathered by lurking on the Starting Strength message board.
Mark Rippetoe once said that the “…knurling on an Ivanko bar keeps me from recommending it. It’s badly-enough designed to make the bar useless for pulls.”
Jordan Feigenbaum chimed in: “This is true. The markings make the thing less than useless and they bend pretty easily too. Evidence? 6 bent Ivanko competition bars are floating around where I train right now.”
He went on to say that he would “…absolutely 100% stay away from the ivanko bar. The knurling is non standard, center spacing is off, and the bars bend very easily in addition to being non competition spec diameter (29mm). For a premium price, it’s not worth it IMO.”
He also added that the “…Ivanko 29mm is new to comply with IPF rules as all their old 28mm bars got deemed “illegal” overnight. They also bend very easily and again, have terrible useless knurling marks. For 600 bucks, you’re in premium bar market and the Eleiko -though more expensive- crushes the Ivanko in every way.”
Finally, Robert Santana, a Starting Strength-certified coach, said that he “…can attest to this. My gym has all Ivanko bars and those markings are fucked up. When I first started bench in heavy at that gym, something felt off and eventually I ended up missing on weights I can typically manage. So I went back to my previous gym, measure the damned markings, then go and figure out where I needed to be on the Ivanko bars. Needless to say those confusing ass markings caused me to grip too narrow.”
I wonder if the Sarting Strength crowd have a dog in this fight as Rippetoe is selling his own barbells. Conflict of interests?
15) Let’s say that multi-purpose bars didn’t exist, and you wanted to do both the power lifts and the Oly lifts with only a bar rather than two. Would you choose a power bar or an Olympic Weightlifting bar? In other words, what is clumsier? Using a power bar for the Oly lifts or using an Olympic Weightlifting bar for the power lifts?
16) Is it true that the sleeves of Olympic bars have a diameter that is actually *less* than 50mm, in order for the sleeves to be inserted into the 50mm-hole of the matching plates? I mean, if they were both exactly 50mm all of that would be impossible. Or are the plates having holes with a diameter slightly larger than 50mm? Which is which?
17) Multi-purpose bars have dual knurls, OK, I got it. But what does that exactly mean? Does that mean they have knurl that goes all the way to the sleeves with double knurl marks, or does that mean all of that *plus* the fact that the knurl where a powerlifter would put their hands is more aggressive than the knurl where an Olympic Weightlifter would put their hands? I mean, are two different types of knurl featured within the same bar in a multi-purpose bar?
18) I’m beginning to think that cerakote bars should be regarded as the highest-end option on a par with stainless steel bars, not just the second best option behind stainless steel. On one hand, stainless steel bars have a more natural feel than cerakote bars, so yes, on this regard stainless steel bars are superior, but on the other hand the steel used for cerakote bars is stronger, as stainless steel is a type of steel alloy that can’t be hardened, while the raw steel that is covered with cerakote in cerakote bars is indeed hardened. The tie-breaking point here could be that stainless steel is slightly more resistant to rust than cerakote, but is that so? I’m reading anecdotes here and there by people who claim that their cerakote bars have no traces of rust whatsoever, while their stainless steel bars are showing very tiny traces of rust. I’m not so sure anymore that stainless steel is the best in terms of resistance to rust. Cerakote may be just as good. I think that stainless steel bars and cerakote bars would be in a draw in a contest for maximum quality.
19) Have you ever seen the type of bar featured in these videos?
Can you tell me the brand and the model? I’d never seen anything like this, I don’t even know what it should be called: “foldable bar”?
20) Will you ever review weighted vests?
21) Do you think that brass bushings are inferior to both bronze bushings and composite bushings?
I’ll have to tackle this one tomorrow afternoon, but I did want you to know I see it.
LOL, you must have decided to take a pass on answering my post. That’s understandable, I realize it was just too many questions at once. Still a great website though.
I’d like to revisit one question asked by Mandricardo:
“8) While multi-purpose bars are obviously best for CrossFitters who plan to do both the slow and the Oly lifts, are they also best for a beginner if they are already 100% sure they won’t ever do the Oly lifts? I mean, if a beginner is not 100% sure yet of the way they’ll end up training, I can understand why a multi-purpose bar is the way to go, as such beginner may eventually end up along the way doing CrossFit workouts or workouts that, while not necessarily CrossFit by the book, still comprise the Oly lifts. But for someone who is 100% positive from the very beginning that they only want the barbell to deadlift, bench press, squat, curl, row, and so on and so forth, what’s best? A multi-purpose bar or a power bar? I’m not talking about someone who wants to become a powerlifter, just someone who wants to follow a general strength training program, albeit one that doesn’t feature the Oly lifts. Power bars tend to cost a little more than multi-purpose bars. I’m posing you this question regardless of such difference in price.”
This is exactly what I am wondering. We are even the same age (40). I hope you’re able to get to this one.
The answer to this is which bar fits your preference for shaft diameter and knurl aggressiveness. It doesn’t actually matter if the bar is 28 mm or 29 mm or 31 mm if that’s what you feel comfortable with. It also doesn’t matter how many pairs of hash marks the bar has. Just.. how does it feel to you.
I am somehow just now seeing your reply. Thank you! Do you feel that 28.5 vs 28 doesn’t matter much, even if one’s squat might get up into the 500’s? I’m seeing rapid improvement on that lift and currently using a SS Ohio Bar for all lifts. I plan on getting a power bar top avoid whip in the future, plus, the Ohio Bar has no center knurl.
At any rate, I know I’m gonna get a 29 mm power bar soon, but am just having a hard time deciding between the Rep Deep Knurl, Vulcan Absolute Black Oxide, and the Vulcan Absolute SS. Rep price went up since most reviews and the shipping is up there. It’d be $475 Deep Knurl, $600 Absolute SS, and $340 Absolute Oxide. If I weren’t in humid Houston, the Oxide bar would already be ordered, haha!
Lastly, what are your true thoughts on the Deep Knurl and Absolute SS bars for high-back squatters. This is the one thing that prevents me from deciding on one of the bars with aggressive center knurling. Otherwise, reviews of the Deep Knurl and Absolute SS are outstanding. Thanks J!
I wonder sometimes if I’m weird for liking these narrow bars for powerlifting. They will flex more. But honestly, look at it like this… Oly lifters still squat heavy. Really heavy. Front and back. Do they have to run out and find a 29 mm bar for that or do they just grab their Oly bar and squat? 500 is a good squat, of course, but it’s not going to turn a 28 mm bar into a pool noodle.
I have so many bars that in a way, I get to split hairs over things that some may never even notice if it hadn’t been pointed out. One of those is center knurl aggressiveness. If you’re wearing a shirt, you’ll be fine with most knurls. Maybe not something like the Vulcan Elite, or, because of how coarse the center is, a raw Ohio Power Bar, but I certainly wouldn’t say avoid the Absolutes over fear of the center knurling. Both that line up and the REP are just fine.
Thanks a ton for the reply! I hear you about splitting hairs, haha! I have to keep in mind that you test and review a lot of equipment, and most of it is really good. Most of us truly would not notice much difference between varying models of barbells. I wish the SS Ohio Bar has center knurling, because the grip on this bar is pretty freaking solid.
And yeah, my squat isn’t at 500 yet, so I really might have no issue with the Ohio Bar’s lack of a center knurl, and certainly won’t have much issue with flex during squats just yet. I guess I’m just knowing I won’t get a deadlift bar until either the TPB or ODB have a stainless steel version lol! For that reason, I want an aggressive power bar to hit these heavier deadlifts with, and figure if I can get more use out of it than just deadlifts, it’ll be a worthwhile purchase, long-term.
I think I’m gonna grab a Deep Knurl, though my heart says wait for the Vulcan SS Absolute. There’s just no telling when the Absolute will be back in stock, and the Deep Knurl is ready to ship right now. I’ve let go of the Oxide Absolute, knowing I will regret the minimal savings in the long run.
If it were you and you could only get one or the other, would you grab the Deep Knurl or the SS Absolute? It’s sad that I know I will eventually own both, as there will be no other way to determine which I prefer haha! But, the second one won’t get purchased for a while, so I have to make this first one count. Thanks again!
The Absolute line seems to be made with a higher-grade of stainless steel; something with a higher chromium %; and it’s less likely to form patches of oxidation. Generally in the knurl. That said, whether that ‘maybe’ is worth that price difference, well that’s your call haha
I think you just helped seal the deal. I’d already “unbolded” the Deep Knurl earlier this morning, due to reports of rust formation on the Rep bars. It’s a great price for full stainless, but it ain’t necessarily cheap when it comes down to it.
I had another question for your regarding the American Barbell line. Is there any particular time of year that their bars go on sale, or are the mentions of past sales rare events that I just missed the boat on? Haha. I like the knurl of my Ohio Bar, but I am wanting something moderate with center knurl, 29 mm, that can be used for everything.
Lastly, I really want a doggone deadlift bar, but am worried about the feel of cerakote. Are the current crop of cerakote deadlift bars worth their salt, or should I use the SS Ohio Bar or Vulcan Absolute as a deadlift bar placeholder until the 27 mm SS models surface (hope! hope! hope!)? Thanks as always!
AB doesn’t do sales unless THEY have a reason. They didn’t even do Black Friday last year, and the year before it was mostly blemish bars on sale if I remember correctly. Understand that 99% of ABs business is commercial fulfillment. They could cut off individual sales and it wouldn’t impact their bottom line much. Maybe this will change if gym buildouts slow down with the slight transition to garage gyms, but I wouldn’t necessarily count on it. I mean you can wait for a sale. I’m sure it’ll happen again. But there’s no telling when. Closest you’ll get to an answer to that is to just email them and ask and see if they have anything planned AND they’re willing to tell you about it haha.
I have had three deadlift bars and I’ve landed on the Cerakote Texas Bar. I have no complaints. I also don’t know when an SS variant will ever be released.
In the meantime, I have gathered that the bar used in the videos I’d found may be the Sorinex Recon Bar. The modifier for such a bar appears to be “collapsible”, at least that’s what they say in the description box of the product on their website. I guess that “Recon” stands for… “Reconstruction”?
Great article. After much study I decided to go with the Rogue Ohio Power Bar in raw steel. Look forward to getting it sometime this week (has shipped). Thanks again!
Awesome. Can’t beat the feel of that raw steel. Oil it once a week; especially where you’re touching it most.
Love all the articles. I’ve been reading them for several months now and they certainly have influenced my garage gym set up. Thank you for this website.
One question I have is how do you feel about boneyard bars? From the posts I have seen on some facebook groups it seems to be great bargain more times than not. Or is it better just to pay full price? A ohio bar cerakate black shaft and sleeve was listed a few days ago for $275 instead of $335 and I pulled the trigger.
Boneyard is almost always a fine option… a great option if the savings makes a difference on what else you can afford. The kinds of flaws on these bars do not impact performance, and in most cases you’re going to do that kind of damage to your bar over time anyway. In many cases you’ll have to actually look pretty hard to see why it’s even a Boneyard bar.
Some people just can’t deal with not having a real end cap or the thought that their bar is new, but looks used. Boneyard bars are not for those people.
Thanks John! It’s good to know that about AB, so I don’t end up chasing a dream haha. Those are some expensive bars at full clip, but I do like the attention to detail and quality. I think I will ask them about potential sales, though I’m sure I’ll sound ridiculous haha!