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Vulcan One Basic 28.5 mm Olympic Barbell Review

Vulcan One Basic Olympic Bar Review

Welcome! This is a review for the new Vulcan One Basic 28.5 mm Olympic Barbell; my very first Vulcan bar. I’m pretty excited about finally having a Vulcan bar to play around with; I’ve been researching them for some time now, and have heard many good things.

I’ve wanted to do a Vulcan review because I think that there is a genuine interest in Vulcan bars, but there is an unfortunate shortage of feedback and user-reviews for them. While that limited feedback is overwhelmingly good, it is still limited. With this review, I am hoping to contribute to and expand upon that limited available feedback so that those of you who are interested in Vulcan will have more information available to you.


Why the Interest in Vulcan?

Vulcan bars - The One, Vulcan Bearing, and Vulcan Professional WL

Well for starters, Vulcan bars look really good on paper. The specifications are on par with or better than some very reputable brands, and the prices are extremely competitive. Also, the product descriptions are transparent, often times outlining both the pros and the cons of each bar in a very straight-forward way. Combine that with the promising feedback that I’ve already mentioned and it’s easy to see why there would be an interest.

Additionally, I’ve done my share of harassing Vulcan with technical questions. They not only did a good job of answering my questions, but they did so in a way that demonstrated their technical knowledge of barbell manufacturing; both of their own bars, and their competitor’s bars as well. Better yet I never felt like I was being bullshitted for the sake of a sale. Nothing annoys me more than marketing misdirection; claims of having the highest this or best that in the Universe, steel shafts forged in the fires of Mount Doom, and so on.

In other words Vulcan bars look good, they’re priced reasonably, the available feedback is promising, and the company itself seems to be knowledgeable enough to develop bars, and honest enough to sell them.


The Vulcan One Basic Bar Review

The Vulcan One Basic is the closest thing to an economy bar that Vulcan Strength offers. Don’t confuse economy with cheap, though. Economy refers only to the pricing of the bar. Oh yes, economy bars can most definitely be cheap bars, but it is not implied nor is it the case here. To help illustrate this point, consider the Rogue Bar as Rogue’s economy bar. I’m sure we can all agree that it’s a very nice bar at its price point.

If you’ve seen any of my other barbell articles then you know that I don’t talk about all that many bars this close to $200. I’m not a huge fan of budget bars; I think too many of them are bad investments. Matter of fact, I can count on one hand how many different economy bars I’d buy for my own personal use, and I don’t need all five fingers to do it.

I firmly believe that an economy bar needs to be exceptional for its asking price in order to be worthy of a recommendation. I realize that not everyone has $500, $400, or even $300 to spend on a premium bar, but I dislike the idea of suggesting a sub $200 bar that will only last a year or two (if that) when spending even 15% more will get you a bar that will not only last, but absolutely outperform a cheap bar.

I don’t mind telling you right off the bat that the Vulcan One Basic is one of those bars that I’d recommend. This bar can go toe-to-toe with any bar in it’s price range, many bars above it’s price range, and absolutely smoke any of the $200 or less bars. So if you’re looking for an affordable bar for CrossFit or a general strength training program, I’d ask that you read this review before you make any purchases, especially if you’ve been considering a chain-store brand or a cookie-cutter bar from a fly-by-night CrossFit equipment dealer.


Vulcan One Basic 28.5 mm Barbell Specifications

Here is a breakdown of the Vulcan One specifications. Please be aware that while the One is still available as a product, it has undergone updates and changes that this review does not cover. Finish, warranty, price, and possibly more have changed.

  • Standard men’s 20 kg bar
  • Dual-marked, 28.5 mm shaft
  • Black zinc coating (sleeves and shaft)
  • Lab verified minimum tensile strength rating of 190,000 PSI
  • Moderate knurling; knurled to shoulder
  • 50 mm sleeves (49.98 mm), 16¼ in. loadable length
  • 4 Self-lubricating bronze bushings per sleeve
  • Double snap-ring assembly
  • Good whip for 28.5 mm bar
  • 4-year warranty
  • $234 including shipping (black zinc)
  • 2017 update: chrome finish for $248

Vulcan One Basic shaft and sleeve measurements

You can see that the shaft diameter and sleeve diameter are well within even the strictest of tolerance ranges. It is especially important that sleeves to not go above 50 mm as Olympic bumper plate openings are 50.4 mm.

Vulcan One Sleeve Length


Pros and Cons of the Vulcan Bars

My articles tend to be long-winded. In an effort to keep it under 10,000 words, I’ll stick to a Pros and Cons format.


The Good Stuff

Bar Whip

On their website, Vulcan claims that the whip/elasticity for this 28.5 mm shaft is mild under moderate loads, but is decent under heavy loads. I found this to be a slight understatement, as the Vulcan One displayed very respectable whip for a bar at this price point.

I compared the whip of the Vulcan One to that of the Klokov and the Chan (same shaft as Ohio). I found that the One started to exhibit whip at slightly lower weights than the Klokov (a true 28 mm Olympic bar), and at about the same load as the Ohio-line shaft. Pretty damn good for a $234 bar.

Keep in mind that this is a multi-purpose bar, not a 28 mm professional Olympic WL bar. If a lot of whip is what you want, you’re looking at the wrong kind of bar, and in the wrong price range. The Vulcan One Basic is already a lot of bar for the money, and the fact that it whips as well as it does is merely a bonus in my eyes. I’d recommend looking at the 28 mm Elite if you want a high whip, affordable Olympic training bar.

Construction Quality – Sleeves

Side-by-side: Bomba (top), Vulcan One (middle), and Chan

Three different bars demonstrating the differences in sleeve/collar design. Can you spot the difference between these bars? (from top: 1st gen Bomba (basically a CAP bar), Vulcan One, and Chan.)

Because of its effect on spin, noise, and performance for the long-term, sleeve construction is one area that cannot be compromised when developing an economy barbell. Sacrificing precision and using inferior components under the hood will lead to a poorly-to-no spinning bar that will end up needing to be replaced.

Half-assing the sleeve assembly leads to an excess of lateral shifting of the sleeves on the shaft. This is easily tested for by shaking the barbell from side to side. Of course, you can also just load up the bar, drop it, and listen to the noise it makes. Solid bars make a minimal amount of noise when dropped, while low quality bars are loud as hell. If you have dropped the Bomba or a AF Team bar, you are familiar with loud bars.

Noise really is one of the bigger complaints about poorly constructed economy bars, and this is especially true in a box-setting where many bars are being dropped repeatedly. While that noise is annoying, the loss of spin is a much bigger deal as it directly effects your ability to use the bar for certain lifts.

No doubt that the Vulcan One lacks the precision of a bar that sells for three times as much dough, but it certainly exceeds any other economy bar that I’ve lifted on. Sleeves are tight, they spin smoothly and consistently (as you’ll see below), and the bar is not overly loud.

Sleeve Rotation

The Vulcan One is assembled with four bronze bushings per sleeve instead of the two that is found in many economy and cookie-cutter bars. Bronze is what you want in your bar. And while bushings won’t spin like high-end needle bearings, a good bronze bushing will spin much better than an economy bearing (ball or needle), and for much longer. Yes, there are still ball bearing bars out there.

I avoid bushing bars that don’t specifically claim bronze in the product description. Never assume that they are bronze if the description doesn’t say so, because they are probably not. Composite bushings are the only other material I’m comfortable with, but that’s fairly uncommon. The point is to avoid bars that are non-specific about the bushing material, as there is a good chance it’s an inferior, cheaper material.

In terms of rotation the sleeves of the Vulcan spin just as well if not better than comparably priced bushing bars, and better than many higher priced bushing bars. It certainly has more than enough rotation to handle the Olympic lifts, especially at CrossFit weights. Although, if you Olympic lift on a competitive level, you probably should be looking at a bearing bar.

Incidentally, the Vulcan 28.5 Bearing Bar is this exact same bar only with bearings instead of bushings. Might look at that if you want bearings for close to $300. I plan to review that bar in the coming month or so.

Knurl

The knurl on the Vulcan One can only be described as moderate. It’s a nice compromise between the aggressive knurl of a single-rep competition bar, and the insignificant knurling that many low to mid-range bars ship with. The knurl is very high-rep friendly.

Knurling of the Vulcan One Basic Olympic Bar

As you can see, the knurling is not overly aggressive, and the hash marks have clean start/stop points. I used natural sunlight for this shot, so the bar looks far more metallic than it really is. This bar is black as night.

I tend to prefer a fairly aggressive knurl on all my bars, but I realize that I am probably in the minority on that one. So while I could stand for a bit more sharpness, I don’t think that this bar’s knurl is so moderate as to be considered mild (or weak.)

Also worth mentioning is that the knurling does reach the collars; it doesn’t stop short like many economy bars do. Additionally, the start and stop points are well defined. Overall, the knurling of the Vulcan One is done well.

Value

I do believe that the Vulcan One eliminates a great many bars from a potential CrossFit / multi-purpose bar shopping list. This bar offers more quality and more of a high-end feel than any other bar for under $250 that I’ve touched, and I dare say that is bar superior to many other bars that cost more.

This is a quality, no-nonsense barbell. By no-nonsense, I mean that here is no manipulative marketing (including no BS specifications), no gimmicky components, and the product page accurately portrays the bar that you will receive.

Economy bars are designed with beginner to intermediate lifters (and of course those on tighter budgets) in mind. This bar is perfect for anyone that fits that description, and I think that even an experienced lifter with limited funds would appreciate the Vulcan One at this price point. I’m not kidding you when I say this is a lot of bar for the money.

Product Testing

Vulcan bars undergo a large amount of testing before being released. In the case of the Vulcan One, it went through many re-designs over the course of a year before launching. The bar prototypes are not only tested in-house by Vulcan, but are handed down to both a CrossFit box and a professionally coached Olympic WL team so that the bar can be tested by end-users of varying skill levels.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that having professional athletes test your prototypes isn’t important (because it is), but putting bars into the hands of the novice athletes that can potentially destroy your bar is just as important, especially in a box setting, where we all know how well equipment is treated (sarcasm, of course.)


Oh No!

Black Zinc Sleeves

It’s true, blacked-out zinc bars look cool as hell. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that you will slowly chop away at that zinc coating from loading and unloading plates, especially if you use steel change plates. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen with bright zinc (it does), but it will be more noticeable with black zinc.

I’m merely talking about how much more noticeable it is with black vs bright zinc, so this is really a cosmetic issue. The fact remains that any bar finish will show wear and tear. Even chrome can be chipped off the bar, though it is much more resilient (and expensive.)

So yeah, black zinc is not my favorite finish option. You will need to occasionally give the bar a good coating of 3-in-1 oil to help maintain the finish. As you chip away at that zinc, you will need to do this more often.

BTW! For those of you that wonder how a $100 bar from Dick’s or Academy can have a chrome finish while “real” barbells that sell for two or three times as much use zinc, it’s because that chrome that you find on cheap bars is a decorative chrome, not hard chrome. It’s the stuff the flakes off and makes your gym look like a club dance floor. It’s absolute junk; zinc is far better than decorative chrome.

Turning a Con into a Pro

The Vulcan One will be available in a hard chrome finish for about $30 more at the end of March. Buy chrome, and you negate my only con.

More Cons?

I’m really impressed with this bar. I can’t think of anything else that I would consider to be a con that wouldn’t have everything to do with the fact that it’s not a more expensive bar. The limited warranty isn’t even much of a con when the bar only costs $234.

As per usual, if I make a new discovery over time I will update the review to reflect my new position. As I’ve mentioned though, this is a lot of bar for the money, and I do not foresee any issues.


Vulcan One Review – Summary

When it comes down to buying an affordable garage gym or CrossFit bar, there’s no reason the Vulcan One shouldn’t be considered. The Vulcan One is a high-quality, low-cost bar that is constructed well and offers a number of features that you’d generally have to pay more to get. The spin is excellent, the shaft is better than the industry average (both PSI rating and whip), and the construction has been fine tuned to ensure that the bar not only performs but continues to perform over time. If I had to guess, I’d say that this bar is deliberately under-priced in order to bring attention to the brand. Who cares why though, right?


 

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{ 60 comments… add one }
  • kba February 11, 2015, 7:58 pm

    Hi – thanks for your reviews, they have been very helpful.
    I am looking for a 15kg bar for oly lifting. I notice they do not carry the Vulcan Elite in 20kg (unless I did not see the link) but this was the next step down:
    http://www.vulcanstrength.com/Vulcan-Black-15kg-Women-s-Training-Olympic-Bar-p/vbar15.htm
    Do you know about this bar?

    Thanks

    • jburgeson February 11, 2015, 8:08 pm

      I don’t know why there isn’t a 15 kg version… the men’s is a popular bar. I guess because there is the one you mentioned, and then the professional women’s bar. Maybe they thought it would be too many 15 kg bars. In any case, I know if it, yes. I liked the price so much I put that bar on my barbell guide. The only downside to it is the oxide finish, but I see in your other comment you don’t care much for the finish one way or the other. The Vulcan bars are strong and whippy. Matter of fact, you should get to experience the benefit of bar whip at lower weights than most bars. I’ve got two Vulcan bars myself, but not 15 kg bars.

  • kba February 11, 2015, 8:00 pm

    I forgot to mention, your other review on the american barbell directed me to this
    http://americanbarbell.com/collections/bars/products/raw-steel-training-bearing-bar-15kg

    I dont care about the finish staying aesthetically nice, as long as its better functionally for oly lifting, and tensile strength is not a big deal since I am not setting records

    • jburgeson February 11, 2015, 8:11 pm

      Well, not caring about what it looks like, and having to deal with rust are two different things. That bar is bare steel, and you will need to brush and oil it pretty regularly. Extremely regularly if you live in a moist climate. My favorite Oly bar is that AB bar, but it’s not bare steel. Well, it’s bae stainless, but you know what I mean. I’ll never do bare steel again.

      • kba February 11, 2015, 10:44 pm

        I see what you mean about the black oxide (that its on the sleeve also, and will be prone to getting chipped off). I might be able to sell the bar later, so I will keep that in mind for the re-sale value. I wish they had the chrome option available now.

        A friend of mine here has the burgener ripptoe bar from rogue. She said that she oil it, but it rusted anyway (shes had it for one year and no climate control in the gym).

        Another bar not in your reviews that I came across is the York one
        http://www.roguefitness.com/york-weightlifting-training-bars
        It has the hard chrome coating and needle bearing. I dont know anyone who has this bar, but for that price, that seems like a great deal ($280+shipping)

        Then in your review of the Vaughan bar (on the pricier end for me, but better than other high end bars) about the Manganese finish – better than oxide and feels like steel. and “The Vaughn really does spin like a bearing bar. Keep in mind that good bushings spin better than bad bearings, and even decent bushings spin well enough for the Olympic lifts. If that weren’t true, you wouldn’t find Ohio bars and Rogue Bars in so many boxes. I have no problem recommending the Vaughn for CrossFit or straight Olympic training.”
        How would you compare the Vaughan bar to the Vulcan as far as whip and spin where one has bushing and the other bearing?

        on a similar note – the pendlay bar at $340 that has the bushing but nickel chrome coating (which I dont see in your review but in case you have heard about it from others)

        I think I have exhausted the Internet search for mid/low range price 15kg bars :)

        Thanks for the help

        • jburgeson February 11, 2015, 11:06 pm

          yeah that’s why I like the stainless. Feels like steel, won’t rust. With bare steel, you periodically have to take the developing rust off with a wire brush. Actually, you have to be really consistent to keep it from rusting in the first place. Bare steel feels great, but it’s a total PITA.

          I am no fan of either York or Pendlay. York can make good bars, but I hear horror stories about when you have an issue and need it fixed/replaced. I can’t speak to those personally, but I’ve heard it enough times that it concerns me. It might be worth asking Rogue how they handle York claims. Do they handle them or do they hand you over to York. If Rogue has your back, that would make me feel a lot better.

          I wouldn’t buy a Pendlay bar either; not the 2013 bars anyway. The old 2009 bars are decent, but they were made by someone else back then. New ones not as nice. In their defense, at least they dumped zinc and started chroming. Sadly, they chose nickel which some people are allergic to. How unlucky is that to be allergic to a metal!

          The Vaughn really does spin well. It has a short break in period, but that’s no big deal. The Vaughn bar is pretty decent whip too. Unfortunately, 25 mm bars are a little different, and I can’t with any confidence tell you how whip would be Vaughn vs Vulcan on those 15 kg bars. It also sucks that the 15 kg Vaughn isn’t cheaper. That’s unusual.

          It sounds like your trying to stay under $400. That rules out the DHS and Rogue Olympic bars, and even the non-bare AB bars. It looks like your down to the Vulcan, a Rogue Olympic Training Bar (bushings), or maybe a York if Rogue handles warranty issues, or if you are willing to take the risk if they’re not. It’s slim pickings for women’s bars with all dealers, so it’s harder to find them in a given price range. There’s also the Bella… basically the women’s Rogue Bar 2.0. More of a CrossFit bar though.

          But hey, my take on the brands I don’t like are just my opinions. And clearly not everyone has a bad experience with York and Pendlay (Bendlay, I call them) or they wouldn’t exist anymore. lol then again, CAP is still around =p

          • kba February 12, 2015, 12:07 am

            Thanks again for the info….
            After all of this research, learning, reading, writing and thinking…
            I might break down and shell out more $. Not Eleiko $ and up, but out of the other next higher price bracket options above $400 the DHS (its about $15 or $5 so more vs the Rogue and American BB equivalent)
            http://www.dynamicfitnessequipment.com/product-p/htbl0150.htm
            Here for $600 (the cheapest I can find)
            LOL – My search started from the Bella bar 2.0 all the way to thinking about DHS (my friend who has the B&R bar said the spin on the bella was not very good by comparison).
            I used a DHS bar at the gym I used to go to. I haven’t tried Rogue or AmericanBB ones

            I will be mulling this big decision over. I also just sent an email to Rogue asking about the warranty handling of the York bar and will report back on their response

            • jburgeson February 12, 2015, 12:11 am

              A good bar will last a long, long time. DHS is very good, but the Rogue Olympic bars have come a long way as well. I agree though, I wish the women’s Vulcan was chromed, I think that would make that an easy decision. It’s a great bar, that oxide though =/ Yeah I’d love to hear what they say about York, thanks.. and good luck!

  • kba February 12, 2015, 6:41 pm

    Rogue said “York warranties that barbell for 1 year against construction only. The warranty does not cover bending.”

    The chances of me bending the bar are slim, but 1 year is not long, especially if I might need to sell the bar later. Although I read that the Rogue warranty is lifetime but not transferable to another owner if you sell it.

    DHS warranties are handled in the USA:
    “Dynamic Fitness Equipment provides a three-year limited warranty on the DHS brand of training line equipment, which covers these products against functional failure when properly maintained and used as intended. This warranty does not cover any damage or failure resulting from misuse, abuse, neglect, alteration, modification or repair. This three-year warranty begins on the date of customer receipt identified either by the purchase date or delivery date.”

    But my assumption is if I haven’t heard anything bad, that means the bars are so good they rarely have to be sent back or fixed, such as with DHS etc..

    That all being said, I re-visited the American Barbell line and your and other reviews about the stainless steel are good. That you get the same grip with raw steel but dont have to worry about maintenance and rust.

    The top bar (stainless steel and bearing) is a lot more for me to spend ($800) but am wondering between the bushing/stainless steel ($500) OR the bearing/chrome ($600).

    I only train in olympic weightlifting (no crossfit or power lifting). I live in Atlanta where humidity is high, so that has steered me away from the other bar finish options.

    I am not sure I lift enough for the bearing/bushing to make a difference for the spin and or whip (Clean at most I can envision 80Kg or so for myself).

    Have you tried or heard about the American BB bushing bar vs bearing?
    Thanks for the info and hashing this out with me

    • jburgeson February 12, 2015, 7:28 pm

      Yeah York sounds like a bust. 1-year is a joke; especially not to cover bends. May as well have no warranty at all.

      3-year is pretty weak for an IWF brand, but I’ll doubt that warranty gets called in much.

      If 80 kg is optimistic for a while, bushings are fine. A lot of vendors use the same shafts among the bulk of their bars save for steel vs stainless steel. American Barbell told me that the tensile strength can vary between the two metals for the same type of bar, but that’s to keep whip comparable. As in, the SS bar is 190k while the Precision chrome is 180k. Aside from the material, they should feel the same during the lifts.

      I haven’t actually used their bushing bars, but I know someone who has one, and I can inquire into the spin and report back.

      • kba February 13, 2015, 12:03 am

        80kg yes, 100kg could be a dream weight lol if miracles happen which they do, and I gained muscle.

        DHS could be a runner up choices (chrome/bearing) $600 – I emailed to ask if the warranty is transferable to another owner (I also emailed American Barbell the same question) if they all say no, then Rogue OLY bar (chrome/bearing) at $585 is an option, MAYBE Pendlay at $530 but I have mixed feelings, and I might have considered it at the $450 price they had before on sale. And that American Barbell chrome/bearing at $600

        that is interesting to know about keeping bar whip and tensile the same. What do you think the difference is in the feel/grip/knurling of the stainless steel vs a chrome shaft (assuming the whip is the same in both bars)?

        I am wondering if I should go for the SS shaft, and thanks for asking the person you know who has the bushing AB bar. That would give me another choice 5th of AB SS shaft/bushing $500

        And I completely forgot about the Vaughn bar, that’s the bushing with manganese shaft for $400 – how would you compare this whip to the ABs? That is, would spending $100 more be worth it for the SS/bushing bar?

        • jburgeson February 13, 2015, 12:38 am

          You’re up into the prices of bars that wouldn’t need to be replaced. You’re also into the price range of the Vulcan professional bearing bar too. That one has a lifetime warranty, aggressive “comp” knurling, but has a passive center knurl for some reason, which is odd for women’s bars. DHS and AB are solid choices as well’ either finish for AB. Pendlay voided all lifetime warranties on the 2009 bars just because they switched steel suppliers. It makes their lifetime warranties a joke if you ask me. What’s to stop them from doing it again?

          It’s hard to explain the better feeling of stainless/bare steel over chrome and zinc finishes. It just feels grippy and natural, less slick. They require less chalk, and don’t need to have as aggressive of a knurl to stay tight in your hand. AB is the company that explained to me how they work the metals differently in order to keep a consistent whip. Stainless is rare because it’s cost prohibitive for most buyers, so it really doesn’t even apply to most brands. I Oly lift on stainless, but I strength train with the chrome Chan (mostly because I love my SS bar and I refuse to let it make contact with a rack!)

          The way I see it, you exclusively Oly lift, and you plan to keep doing it. It sounds like you can afford a bearing bar, but just didn’t want to spend that kind of money. You can bypass any need to even get a different bar later by buying a lifetime bar rather than a training bushing bar like the Vaughn (manganese feels good, gets destroyed easily though.) DHS, Rogue Oly, AB Performance bearing, even the Vulcan Pro. Vulcan even has a stainless bar coming out, but it’s priced like stainless.

      • kba February 13, 2015, 7:26 pm

        You are right about budget – I initially wanted to spend less, but after all of this, I decided to spend more, and it seems this $600 range is good, I don’t have to go into the $800+ range

        As for warranties, Vulcan said that it applies to the original owner and cant be transferred if sold (this is the same as Rogue) MuscleDriver said it can transfer, and the DHS bar warranty of 3 years can be transferred also (if its within that time window). American Barbell said “Our limited-lifetime warranty applies to the original owner, but if they have the original purchase order for the barbell we would look at it on a case-by-case basis”

        The warranty transfer is not a major deal breaker. Like you mentioned, these bars should be made well enough that the warranty is probably not used. I would only sell the bar if I had to for financial reasons, or I had no where to put it, was moving etc… I actually purchased an eleiko training bar in 2011, then I was fortunately able to sell it early last year as I was able to go to a dedicated lifting gym that had many women’s bars. Now that my situation has changed, I have to buy one and able to budget for it.

        Based on your feedback (and AB’s email reply) I should go with a bearing bar regardless of the amount of my lift totals (I do oly lift and I hope I get to keep training and competing sometimes)

        American Barbell – gives me two choices – $600 for the chrome, and $800 for SS
        Vulcan – $580 (Vulcan Women’s Professional Olympic Bar) or SS one at $870
        Rogue Oly – $585
        the non-lifetime DHS chrome $600

        that SS grip sounds pretty awesome.. I do have a preference for aggressive knurl, but on bars that dont, I use more chalk. I almost feel like if I am spending $600 do I spend $200 more? but that is still a chunk of cash by itself. Though I did that once with my Eleiko purchase and sold it later LOL. AB (sort of) and DHS allowing me to let the warranty go to another owner kind of makes me lean towards them, if all other factors hold equal with these bars.

        • jburgeson February 13, 2015, 7:36 pm

          You could apply that same logic about going from $600 to $800 once you get to $800. Why not spend a grand? The $800 on the SS I understand, but if not that one, stay at $600. I am really surprised the warranty isn’t longer at DHS. MDUSA said it transferred, eh? Cute. The guys that run AB would never let a customer be pissed off. It’s bad for business.

          • kba February 13, 2015, 8:10 pm

            LOL @ cute.

            If you were in my shoes, would you go with AB or Vulcan? I am thinking to forgo the SS, use more chalk, and save the extra $200, and maybe get that or the next awesome bar when I can build my dream gym (which also means I have more $$). I still like and hear good things about DHS, and not sure whats up with the 3 year.. but I guess for that very small chance something happens the day after the 3 years are over for me, I will not go with them.
            Vulcan has more likes on Facebook (if that even means anything), both companies have good ratings and reviews, but AB considering a case of a new owner is a plus.

            • jburgeson February 13, 2015, 10:05 pm

              Since you like aggressive knurl, and aren’t going stainless, I’d go Vulcan all the way. Lot’s of whip, good company, looks like a DHS =p

  • kba February 13, 2015, 11:50 pm

    Thanks so much for helping me with this decision making process.

    This is a random question but if money was not an issue, which oly bar would be the dream bar to have.. Eleiko competition ?

    • jburgeson February 14, 2015, 12:02 am

      yeah no problem… probably the Eleiko trainer actually. Slightly less aggressive knurl. That Eleiko comp is rough on the hands to train with set after set. I don’t care about the IWF sticker =p

      • kba February 14, 2015, 10:01 am

        That is a good point about the comp bar knurling. I’ve pretty much used trainer bars in training vs in a competition (eleiko, DHS etc) so I might be off in my assessment of aggressive knurling.

        But for the question of choosing a bar void of cost – would you choose the eleiko trainer over the AB SS bearing ($800) bar?

        And how would you compare the elieko training knurl to the Vulcan Professional and AB SS bearing and AB chrome bearing?

        • jburgeson February 14, 2015, 2:58 pm

          That’s a tough call. I mean, I already have the SS. I probably would take the Eleiko though if I had to do it again. Of course, that’s taking the money out of the equation.

          The AB chrome would feel the least aggressive. The SS is not as aggressive as the other two, but it doesn’t need to be. The Eleiko and Vulcan are probably pretty similar; sharp chrome, probably right up your alley. I’ve used a couple Vulcan bars, but not the highest-end Pro bar. I’d like to.. I’ve heard good things, I just haven’t had the opportunity yet. People do say it’s grippy and whippy, and I know the Vulcan guy is pretty damn proud of that bar.

  • kba February 19, 2015, 8:02 pm

    Hi – I just got the bar – I tested it out in my living room.. big difference from what I have been using lately. Using it empty, it has good spin. Will be trying it out this weekend.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v471/kulsi/IMG_20150219_193846567_zpswim0vmfw.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v471/kulsi/IMG_20150219_193739433_zpsuft6urdz.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v471/kulsi/IMG_20150219_191724200_zpssz9esl9t.jpg

    • jburgeson February 19, 2015, 9:44 pm

      I never knew where you landed… and I can’t tell which one that is! =p

      • kba February 20, 2015, 12:54 am

        lol – oh yeah
        It is the Vulcan women’s pro olympic bar (yellow sticker on the ends)

        • jburgeson February 20, 2015, 10:39 am

          Very nice. I’d love to hear how you like it once you get some weight on it

          • kba March 1, 2015, 5:47 pm

            I finally got to try the bar out. I like the knurling. I didnt go very heavy, but I did feel a difference. In the split jerk, I felt a good bounce/(oscillation?)
            I did an unweighted spin test

            http://vidmg.photobucket.com/albums/v471/kulsi/spin_zpsvc7a8sdl.mp4

            next time I can take a video of a weighted one

            • jburgeson March 1, 2015, 6:19 pm

              That’s a pretty bar. And yeah, Vulcan bars are said to have a nice amount of elasticity. You’ll love that once you go heavy.

  • Fazza February 20, 2015, 12:42 pm

    Hi,, i’m on the market for entry/intermediate bar. I’m torn between af team 2.0 , rouge 2.0 and vulcan standard bar. Trying to stay under $300. will get dedicated WL bar down the road. I’m really interested in vulcan standard. Will you recommend it over any other bars mentioned? Thanks!

    • jburgeson February 20, 2015, 12:52 pm

      I would. The Vulcan Standard is a very nice bar. It’s built to even tighter tolerances that the Vulcan One. Joel, that AMRAP guy has all three of those bars, and the Vulcan Standard is clearly the front runner by far (https://joelxfit.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/review-the-vulcan-standard-20kg-olympic-barbell/). I plan on picking one of them up myself at some point. I wouldn’t personally buy a bearing bar that close to $200 (Team). When it’s time for bearings, you’ll spend more than that.

  • Dylan Sinclair March 2, 2015, 2:38 pm

    You have done a great job highlighting the pros and cons of all these bars! Thanks! Do you know anyone who has compared the vulcan standard to the rogue 2.0? I’m really torn on them. I like the dual markings on the 2.0 and I like the all zinc on the standard. What I’m not sure of is if the composite bearing is better than the bronze in the standard or how that differs since otherwise the bars are very similar (made in USA, lifetime warranty, etc). To make it worse, the cost is nearly identical and I will be ordering an R3 rack in a few weeks so adding the 2.0 gives me the free HG collars from Rogue (and makes shipping a wash). I’m splitting hairs I know, but I want to be sure I don’t sleep on the standard just to get the 2.0 out of convenience. I appreciate any advice or comments to help me try and differentiate the two a bit. Thanks in advance!

    • jburgeson March 2, 2015, 3:12 pm

      Thanks Dylan, I appreciate that. I don’t know of any direct comparisons. I’ve heard amazing things about the Standard, but I haven’t actually seen it. I wouldn’t give too much thought to the bushings; the only difference I know if when it comes down to it is price. Composite is supposed to be cheaper, and that’s part of the reason the Rogue Bar 2.0 came down in price $20 in 2014 because Rogue switched to them from bronze (though I can’t imagine bushings cost much money either way.)

      Other than the black zinc on the Rogue, I can’t think of anything wrong with that bar for that price. If it were me, I’d go with the Standard, but to be fair I say that because I already own the Chan, and that’s basically a better version of the Rogue Bar (chrome, sharper knurl, different knurl), but the shaft itself, sleeves, bushings, etc are the same on both bars, as it is on the Ohio as well. It’s a tough call.

      Have you seen this review? https://joelxfit.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/review-the-vulcan-standard-20kg-olympic-barbell/ He goes through his share of bars, but I don’t think he’s done the 2.0. You can kinda read into Ohio Bar reviews as Rogue Bar reviews though, for the most part.

  • kba March 8, 2015, 8:39 pm

    I have been using the bar with weight and I am happy with it. Many times I don’t even remember to use chalk because the knurling is good.

    One thing that has happened due to metal plates in this gym :I are scratches. I don’t know if they are below surface. I am surprised it happened this easily although I know plastic/rubber plates are recommended only. I wonder if it happened because someone put metal plates on it without the clip or collar on top because the scratches are farther along the sleeve. Here are two pictures.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v471/kulsi/IMG_20150303_214923273_zps241p2bry.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v471/kulsi/IMG_20150303_214937773_zpsy485qmoq.jpg

    Anything I can do? Are the scratches greater than expected for a chrome sleeve?

    • jburgeson March 8, 2015, 8:51 pm

      Metal plates will do that to any finish. For fractional plates, it’s best to use rubber or other coated plates, not the generic steel plates that you find in sporting good stores. They’ll ruin sleeves with any lift, but when you Olympic lift with them, they have a tendency to spin on their own, not with the sleeves, so they just dig in. I wouldn’t say it’s any worse than could be expected… do you share this bar with people? People don’t always treat other people’s gear with the same respect they would their own.

      Best you can do is prevent it from getting any worse by either getting better change plates, or by pinning them down with the bumpers rather than putting them outside the collars. Also, take a little care in putting them on and off if you’re going to use steel. Don’t just drag them down the sleeve, lift them up a little. My Chan looks just like your bar, and I don’t even Oly with that one.

      And oh, you’re not ruining the steel, it’s just the finish. Those change plates are like casted iron, they aren’t as hard as the bar’s steel.

  • Sandarpan March 23, 2015, 12:10 am

    A great review as always. A tech query follows as always. Did you ever take a bar apart and measure the clearance between the bushing and the bar shaft. This is for bushing bars only. For all other applications the clearance between shaft and bushing is between 0.001″-0.002″. However it just occurred to me that all these applications involve the shaft being mechanically powered. e.g. pump by a motor, automobile transmission shaft by the engine etc. The motion between bar shaft and bushing is powered purely by inertia of the weights. (i.e. the weights make the sleeves stay at rest while the hands rotate the shaft relative to the sleeve). I would love some info on this. You might need a set of really good calipers with an accuracy of 0.001″ if doing this yourself.

    Thanks.

    • jburgeson March 23, 2015, 12:38 am

      My calipers are decent, but not decent enough to do thousandths of an inch I don’t think. The measurements I take all require metric, and I know they are hundredths of a mm. However, of the bars I’ve pulled apart (and this isn’t one of them), I have never even thought of taking that specific measurement. It wouldn’t be very useful information to me or anyone (except you, of course lol.) I generally measure shaft and sleeve diameter, knurl distance from sleeve, shoulder width, stuff like that. When I pull apart bars, it’s just to make sure there isn’t anything weird of questionable going on under the hood.

      Honestly, I don’t know what kind of tolerances these different bar manufacturers work within. I mean, I get offered more technical data than is offered in product descriptions, but not this kind of stuff. I just had a Team bar pulled apart (I’m working on that review) and I’ll tell you what, there is a lot more space than a thousandth of an inch between the shaft and the bushings, if that helps you any.

  • Sandarpan March 23, 2015, 1:32 am

    Oh thank God you’re in metric. Same here. I just assumed you’d be in the US and so converted the measurements to inch. 0.001″ turns out to be about 0.02 mm. So that’s 2 hundredths of a mm. Logic tells me that the clearance should be more than that. But I’m not exactly sure about the point above which the clearance just means unacceptable slop. You know the bars where even the empty bar rattles when set down on the floor. And if you have a pair of calipers that can measure a hundredth of a mm or two, it’d be easy just to measure the bar dia where the bushings ride on the bar and the inside dia of the bushings. Thanks for your time.

    • jburgeson March 23, 2015, 10:48 am

      lol well I am in the US, but barbell specs are all to metric specs so that’s how I measure. I’ll convert certain things to make life easier for us simple folks (like loadable sleeve length, shoulder width, etc.) but the core specs don’t even mean anything in inches.

      The only way I could make that measurement is when I pull another sleeve off obviously. Calipers can’t be squeezed at an angle into the bushing when it’s still on the bar. I’ll look when I do that though. I have a suspicion that you’re right; quiet bars will be a better fitting bushing, and loud bars are going to be stock parts that happen to fit well enough to be used. Matter of fact, the ball bearings in the bar that I’m reviewing can be purchased on eBay for $2, and that bar is pretty damn loud, but it’s also an inexpensive bar so I didn’t expect it to be quality parts.

      FYI, the Vulcan Standard is built to much stricter tolerances than the Vulcan One. I have that bar in queue, and it will probably be the one I take this measurement from for you.

      • Sandarpan March 23, 2015, 11:22 am

        Of course you can’t squeeze a caliper into the sleeve. But that is true only for the bushing behind the snap ring assembly. You could however squeeze the calipers into the bushing at the inner end where the bar emerges from the sleeve by using the ID measuring prongs. Also ball bearings? Ouch!

        Off topic: I spoke to a Rogue rep who said they use cast bronze and not the oil impregnated sintered bronze bushings on their bars. You probably know this already. And I get a feeling they don’t knurl their bars as a final step before finish coating, especially since they wouldn’t tell me whether they knurl their bars last or as an intermediate step. I know they used to knurl their bars last when they were using ETD 150.

        • jburgeson March 23, 2015, 11:31 am

          Yeah the only sintered bushing bars that I can think of that they sell are York bars.

          I don’t know about that process though. I told you what they told me, and who is to say whether the reps know for sure, or are even allowed to share that info. Perhaps they say whatever they feel like saying at the time lol. Try and ask Bill. His email isn’t hard to find =p

  • Clayton December 15, 2015, 11:32 pm

    Vulcan is now making this bar with a 28mm shaft. http://www.vulcanstrength.com/Vulcan-Standard-28-mm-Olympic-Barbell-p/vsolts28m.htm Here is the url to the site. Having good experience with Vulcan equipment, would this be a reliable bar? I just bent my cheapo bar and really don’t want to risk bending a brand new one. If it can handle squatting 350lbs or higher and deadlifting 450lbs or higher, then it should be able to handle my mediocre snatch and C&J (and also the dropping). I’m just skiddish when it comes to making a purchase like this because I’ve never used one before. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    • jburgeson December 16, 2015, 2:55 am

      I have the 28.5 Standard, but I’ve yet to see the 28 mm. There is no way a 190k+ bar can’t handle anything you can clean or snatch though. It’s leagues beyond the box-store cheap stuff; comparable, if not better than the Rogue bushing bars. Vulcan tends to have higher tensile ratings and they still use self-lubricating bushings in their bars.

  • Josh January 27, 2016, 1:04 pm

    I am looking at the One, Standard, and the Elite by Vulcan. I do a lot of deadlifts, squats, bench, accessories, and some Olympic lifts, mainly power cleans. Which one will give me the best for the money? I am leaning to maybe even buying a set with bumpers from them as well. I don’t drop the bar really ever. Or would you recommend anything else? Obviously I’d love to save money but want something that lasts. Thanks!

    • jburgeson January 27, 2016, 5:24 pm

      Standard or Elite will both work for you. Elite will have slightly more aggressive knurl which will make for a smoother clean and deadlift, but it’s by no means sharp or overly aggressive. Standard is just a cleaner looking bar; designed for clubs and boxes, but what does that matter in the end. I’d probably lean on the Elite as a single-user.

      There are plenty of other similar bars, but nothing that stands out as being an obvious alternative. I like Vulcan over American Barbell for the versatile bars, but I’d probably suggest American if you only power lifted or only Olympic lifted. Rogue’s fine too, but so many of their bars are merely slightly modified version of the same bar; at least the ones in this general price range. yeah, Vulcan is a good choice.

      • Josh January 27, 2016, 5:28 pm

        Well I really like Vulcan since they are here in NC and since I’m in driving distance I get an extra 15% off for picking it up there!

        • jburgeson January 27, 2016, 9:21 pm

          Oh ya, that’s a pretty sweet deal. I’d love to be next door to Vulcan or Rogue. I’m in town with Fringesport, but I don’t need any more bumpers! =p

          • Josh January 27, 2016, 9:26 pm

            Speaking of which, have you done a review on Vulcans Alpha Bumpers?

            • jburgeson January 27, 2016, 9:36 pm

              I have not. It’s crossed my mind. I took a little time off the last few weeks, as I’m sure a couple people have noticed lol. I’m dealing with a couple products that I’ve had here waiting to reviewed, then I’ll be considering what to buy next.

  • T April 14, 2016, 9:10 am

    I want to replace my wife’s Rogue Bella bar with a chrome or stainless steel 15 kg barbell. The Vulcan One is now available in chrome, so I’m thinking about going that route. However, all the Vulcan bars are on sale right now. I know you haven’t used the 15 kg versions, but since you have personal experience with both 20 kg bars, my question is whether you’d choose a chrome One for around $200 or a bright zinc Standard for around $235. I live in Atlanta so humidity is definitely an issue so I generally prefer chrome and SS. Looks like the Standard is definitely a better bar with a better warranty but is it worth the extra cost given that it only comes in the zinc finish?

    • jburgeson April 14, 2016, 9:15 am

      You know, I think almost all of their bars have changed since I reviewed them. Based on the previous models though, the Standard was a better bar. Also I think you can only get a chrome One in 20 kg, not 15 kg.

      What’s wrong with the Bella btw?

      • T April 14, 2016, 8:07 pm

        Bella is a great bar, and she loves it. I just hate having to look up at the gun rack just to see the black zinc rubbing away a little more each day. Some wouldn’t care but I like my barbells to stay pretty forever or at least as long as possible. That’s my only complaint with Rogue barbells – the finish. I’ve had Ohios rust and 2.0s turn green. One of my training partners has had issues with 2 Euros tarnishing. First was replaced but he’s just going to ride it out with the second.

        Maybe I’m just bored and ready to buy another barbell. You really tempted me with that FB post about the AB Super Power Bar. I was planning on waiting for a good deal on the 29 mm version on BF or something. I talked with a rep at Vulcan who mentioned that they’ve got a power bar coming out soon as well. I’d kind of like to add a Vulcan bar to my lineup at some point.

        The 15 kg One has hard chrome listed as an option with a $25 upgrade. The Standard description mentions that hard chrome is coming soon, but it’s still only available for purchase in bright zinc. I’ve had bright zinc bars turn to bare, rusted steel quickly without weekly care although your review seemed to suggest that the quality of the zinc finish on the Standard was superior to some others.

        • jburgeson April 14, 2016, 8:25 pm

          Well my zinc Standard hasn’t shown any issues yet, but I’d be lying if I said it got touched very often at this point. I just have much better bars to train with, so it’s kind of a fixture. It does look nicer than many bright zinc bars, and the fact that it hasn’t rusted is a good sign.

          So the Super will be replaced with the 29 mm version and it will have the same industrial finish as the current 28.5 version, and I’m sure it will be $595 as per usual, but who’s to say for sure. The current lot on sale is just to get rid of the remaining 28.5 bars. BTW “soon” at Vulcan can mean absolutely anything. The Vulcan SS Oly has been in development for a long, long time, and I remember when it was due “soon.” Just sayin!

          Interesting about the Euros. Wonder what the story was there. Mine looks pristine still. I agree about their zinc finishes though. Black is so awful. Well, there is nothing wrong with getting the bar bug. I get it all the time!

  • T April 14, 2016, 8:50 pm

    I know you’ve always loved the Chan but which bars are most active in your rotation right now?

    • jburgeson April 14, 2016, 9:01 pm

      Yeah but that’s because I have a chrome Chan. I don’t have much to say anymore with only black zinc available.

      Two of us commonly use the gym, and there are three bars that get used the most. The Super Power Bar, the SS Pro Oly, and that chrome Chan. I actually rarely touch the Chan anymore because of the Super, but when I super set two compound lifts, I still use it.

      I’ve got two new bars out there right now and one is being reviewed right now so I’m using it as much as possible, then I’ll switch to the other, but that second is a DL bar so it could never replace any of my favorites.

      • T April 14, 2016, 9:18 pm

        I use my Eleiko trainer for Oly and DLs. Currently using the SS WOD for bench, squat, and met cons. My Ohio, 2.0, Lynx Hybrid Bearing, Fringe Wonder bar, and Wright CF bar have all been sent packing. The Super Power bar would be a great fit, but the lack of any warranty whatsoever on these clearance bars worries me.

        • jburgeson April 14, 2016, 9:23 pm

          Yeah that’s a bad move on their part. No reason not to warrant those. I won’t lie, I do not always understand the decisions these companies make. You gotta wonder if things stop getting sent around the room for discussion after a while.

          Those four bars you mentioned are not all that compared to an Eleiko Trainer, so I get it. I’d actually kind of like an Eleiko PL Bar, but I’m not spending that kind of money on a rigid, bare steel bar. I went to take a gander at Iron Wolfe’s site yesterday and it was gone! So no more power bars from them I guess.

          • T April 15, 2016, 3:23 pm

            Sooner came earlier this time. Vulcan power bar just dropped today. They must have heard you, haha. Supposed to have very aggressive knurling which I love. The sharper the better. I’ll take a little discomfort if I can lock in my grip. PSI could be higher but kind of splitting hairs past 190k for most garage lifters. Just wish chrome or SS was an option. Pricing comparable to the basic AB power bar. See what you think.

            • jburgeson April 15, 2016, 3:29 pm

              Nah he don’t listen to me, it’s just coincidence lol

              Yeah should be either bare, stainless, or chrome. Zinc is wrong for power bars, but that’s just my own personal preference. Also, dual marked? Very random.

  • clay November 30, 2016, 6:49 pm

    How do you think the One Basic will hold up for just rows and dl’s? I just want a 28mm dual marked bar for basically dl variations ( snatch grip/clean grip). Thanks.

    • jburgeson November 30, 2016, 8:49 pm

      I think it will hold up just as well as any other 190k bar. The knurl leaves a little to be desired for extremely heavy pulls, but the bar itself is going to take it. Of course if you’re not pulling a quarter ton and/or you use straps for your pulls the knurl won’t matter. The One is good beater/accessory that will last. Some people will buy an actual Beater, or something like the CAP OB-86OB, but those have a limited life. The CAP is almost expendable if you get it on sale, but the Beater is just too close to the price of a real bar to be a contender.

      • clay December 2, 2016, 2:12 pm

        Thanks JB. Have a happy holiday.

        • jburgeson December 2, 2016, 2:19 pm

          Roger that, you too Clay

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