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Rogue Ohio Power Bar E-Coat Edition – Quick Review

Rogue Ohio Power Bar Review - E-Coat Edition

Rogue recently added yet another finish option for the 45-pound version of the Ohio Power Bar. That’s right, now in addition to bare steel, stainless steel, black zinc, and Cerakote you can pick up the OPB with Rogue’s black E-Coat finish. You know, just on the off chance you thought there was a shortage of materials, finishes, and colors to choose from already.

All jokes aside, I actually have reviewed the Ohio Power Bar twice already; both the original raw steel OPB and the stainless steel OPB, and since the core bar hasn’t changed since its release many years ago, I don’t see much point in getting carried away discussing all of the particulars a third time. Rather, in this review, I think I’ll just focus on how the E-Coat variant is different from all of the others; what makes it potentially appealing, good, bad, and so on.


Rogue Ohio Power Bar – Specifications

The E-Coat variant of the Ohio Power Bar shares specifications with all of the non-stainless steel Ohio Power Bars. Only the finish (or lack thereof) is different.

Bright Zinc Sleeves of the E-Coat Ohio Power Bar

  • 45-lb men’s powerlifting bar
  • shaft finish: e-coat
  • sleeve finish: bright zinc
  • shaft diameter: 29 mm
  • tensile strength rating: 205,000 PSI
  • knurl: very aggressive w/ IPF markings
  • center knurl: yes, same as outer knurl
  • rotation: cast bronze bushings
  • whip: none; very rigid
  • loadable sleeve length: 16.25″
  • sleeve assembly: snap-rings
  • made in Columbus, Ohio USA
  • price: $285 + shipping

What is E-Coat?

E-Coat is an electrically-applied paint that was originally developed for the auto industry. It’s an economical finish, and a practical finish too because it provides superior coverage, great adhesion, and reliable resistance to corrosion. E-Coat is attractive and uniform, durable and tough, and easily maintained.

Rogue Ohio Power Bar - E-Coat Finish Close-Up

Rogue also states that E-Coat is more environmentally-friendly than many other processes (finishes), producing little to no HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants), or VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds); for those of you who appreciate such things (and you probably should!)

This is the exact same finish found on Rogue’s EZ Curl Bars.  Maybe, just maybe, Rogue is planning to dump black zinc from the line-up in favor of this better looking and longer lasting black finish. I’d be for that.


How I Feel About the Ohio Power Bar Overall

I think that the Rogue Ohio Power Bar;  especially the bare steel version; is one of the best power bars that you can get your hands on for the money. At just $265 it’s incredibly strong, rigid, and can handle pretty much any amount of weight you can throw at it. It also has very aggressive knurling that the overwhelming majority of customers really seem to like.  To top it all off, the Ohio Power Bar is made entirely in the USA.

When it comes down to it the Ohio Power Bar is a whole lot of bar for the money. You really ought to be able to pass this bar down to your children, and maybe even their children, too.

New Bars & Gear this Fall - New Equipment

Having said all that, the Ohio Power Bar is not my personal go-to power bar. I mean, I really like the knurl of the OPB. I think the aggressiveness and coarseness of it feels really nice in the hands; amazing even; but I just don’t care for that same knurl being on the center of the bar. I don’t think it serves any purpose to be that aggressive and I don’t like it for heavy sets of squats, and since I’m already pulling with a deadlift bar rather than my power bar, there’s only two major lifts left that I expect my power bar to excel in (and like I just said, I don’t like it for one of those two lifts.)

Don’t listen to me though, as I really do feel like I’m alone on this one. The Ohio Power Bar may very well be the most popular and best-selling power bar available right now. Not only will you find this in thousands of garage gyms, but in commercial facilities and affiliates too. Not all of my opinions are shared by the masses, so don’t let me talk you out of one.


So What About the E-Coat Ohio Power Bar?

I am of the opinion that E-Coat drastically diminishes the aggressiveness of the Ohio Power Bar’s knurling. I find that this finish dulls the knurl down so much, in fact, that it just does not feel like the other Ohio Power Bars at all.  The knurl pattern is clearly the same among all of the OPBs (as you can see in the images below), but it definitely doesn’t feel the same.

Some difference in texture and overall feel should be expected when comparing a raw steel bar to a finished bar, of course, but this much dulling of an otherwise super aggressive knurl makes me think E-Coat is a much thicker-than-average finish.

Rogue Ohio Power Bar E-Coat Edition - Knurling Close-Up

Rogue Stainless Steel Ohio Power Bar Knurling Close-Up

I’ve decided to not see this weakening of the knurling as a bad thing, though. Think about it, there are numerous finish options already for the OPB, so if you’re going to add yet another one shouldn’t it be different?

Well, the other Ohio Power Bars couldn’t be much more aggressive without being classified as weapons, so the E-Coat variant might as well be less aggressive rather than being more aggressive, right? And so it is! Now those who still want an affordable version of this bar but would actually prefer one with a toned-down knurl have the perfect option, and it won’t rust!

The almost-passive center knurling of the E-Coat Ohio Power Bar

There’s more good news for those of you who, like me, aren’t fans of the center knurling on the unfinished Ohio Power Bars.  Just like with the outer knurling of the E-Coat Ohio Power Bar, the center knurling is also less aggressive. Score.


Rogue E-Coat Ohio Power Bar Review Summary

I like this version of the Ohio Power Bar. I believe spending an extra $20 more than what it would cost you to grab a bare steel Ohio Power Bar to get a variant that will require like no upkeep is a good thing for new [garage] gym owners who are not only trying to stretch that budget, but who also know that they’re probably not actually going to perform maintenance on a bare steel bar (and that’s a great number of people.)

Of course, you need to be okay with a different feel than the other OPBs,  but with so many people seemingly content with bars with much weaker knurl, I can’t see this being too much of a problem. That said, if you do fancy the more aggressively-knurled bars, then try to miss this one and either upgrade to the stainless steel variant or a different power bar altogether.

It should also be noted that not only does an E-Coat bar require no real finish maintenance, it also doesn’t deteriorate like black oxide and black zinc.  It retains its luster really well and always seems to look clean. I owned Rogue’s EZ Curl Bar for a couple years and I was just blown away by how nice it always looked, and there’s no reason to suspect things would be any different with the E-Coat OPB.

I don’t have any problem recommending the E-Coat Ohio Power Bar. It’s different, sure, but it’s still an Ohio Power Bar. It’s not for everyone, but what is, really?

Rogue Ohio Power Bar E-Coat

9
Specifications 9.0
Overall Performance 9.0
Knurling / Grip 8.0
Rotation 9.0
Aesthetics 9.0
Value 10.0

Pros

  • Both the outer knurl and the center knurl is less aggressive than other OPBs. This can be a pro or a con.
  • Knurl is still moderately aggressive; more so than Rogue's non-power bars.
  • E-Coat is durable, attractive, and it prevents oxidation extremely well.
  • Stiff, rigid shaft displays virtually no whip/elasticity.
  • Rotation is more than adequate for a powerlifting bar.
  • Competitively priced at under $300.

Cons

  • Both the outer knurl and the center knurl is less aggressive than other OPBs. This can be a pro or a con.
  • Rogue bushing bars are extremely loud when dropped.
  • Hash marks are very difficult to see in low-light garage gyms.
{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Mark March 10, 2020, 9:21 am

    Thanks for this review. I’ve noticed that Rogue’s offering several of their bars in the e-coat, including their deadlift bar as well, and I was curious how much it took away from the knurl compared to something like cerakote. Reading your review lets me know it’s not for me.

    As an aside, if Rogue ever really does come out with a stainless steel deadlift bar, I hope they make the switch to composite bushings like they did for their stainless steel ohio bar. The loudness when dropped is the biggest turn off for me right now.

  • hawkhandler April 10, 2020, 2:35 pm

    how does that knurl compare to the zinc. apologies if i missed it but it read like you were comparing only to the bare and stainless steel bars and their knurl.

    • jburgeson April 10, 2020, 4:30 pm

      The zinc is maybe the only variant I’ve never owned, but zinc does not tend to dull knurl out as much as this e-coat does. I think the e-coat is in a league of its own

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