First off, before I start this review, I want to commend Peter and the team over at Fringe Sport for being such a great company to work with. They pretty much bent over backwards to get me the right bar. Super friendly customer service, not to mention fast and FREE shipping on their products with competitive prices; you just can’t go wrong doing business with such a company. One thing that I will always bring up about Crossfit, is the community being an amazing group of people – this remains the same with the people who distribute and manufacture the gear we use (including Again Faster and Rogue!).
Now that I got that off my chest, let’s get to what we’re here for.
Barbell shopping is interestingly enough, a very painstakingly complicated procedure. There are so many different sizes, shapes and variations out there and no real resources or in-depth reviews on them. Probably due to the fact that everyone is also going to have a personal preference towards a certain type. Personally, I needed a barbell that could handle Crossfit movements: power and Olympic lifting. Also, since this was just a bar that I was buying for my home gym set-up, it had to be on the inexpensive side of things. After doing some sleuthing on the Crossfit forums, I was contacted by Peter at Fringe Sport to try out their Bomba (Boh-m-ba) bar. To be 100% honest, I had just purchased a bar from Again Faster, but I couldn’t resist the deal that Peter gave me. One more thing that Fringe Sport didn’t have to do for me, but they did anyways.
The first bar I bought, was a Rogue Ohio bar. I’m not going into direct comparisons of the two bars, as the Rogue costs at least a full $100 more, so you can’t say that they’re in the same league. What I can tell you though, is that the Bomba bar, performs up to 90% of the Ohio bar’s performance and is $100 cheaper. I’m not saying the Rogue Ohio bar isn’t worth every penny, it’s an amazingly crafted piece of steel, but if you’re looking to just get your lifting done, the Bomba bar is all about the business end of things.
Let’s take a look at the specifications (copied from Fringesport.com):
- Weight: 20kg/44lb; Material: 165,000 psi steel, black zinc plated shaft, bright zinc plated collars
- Origin: USA(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
- Length: 86in
- Oil-lite bushings
- 28.5mm shaft diameter
- 1200lb static test weight limit
- Snap ring collar construction
- One year warranty
I’ve used a TON of different bars in my Crossfit career; anything from crappy 31mm economy bars that hardly spin to the Rogue Ohio bar (duh!) and Pendlay Nexgen HD bar. The Bomba bar fits somewhere towards the top end of what I’ve used. The 28.5mm diameter of the shaft is pretty common for what you’re going to find on bars that are geared towards Crossfit since it’s right there in between 28mm Oly bars and 29mm power bars. In my experience, steer clear from anything that’s above 29mm. They’re usually a thicker diameter to compensate for the bar’s weaker PSI rating (and still bend), and they just feel crappy in the hands. The Oil-lite bushing provides a very smooth and reliable spin, without being overly fast when you need to do slow power lifts. I had absolutely no problems getting my elbows around the bar doing semi-heavy clean & jerks in my Oly lifting session. I noticed no performance decline switching to the Bomba at my heaviest lift (I warmed up to that lift using a Pendlay HD). The collars held well doing overhead squats (ugh) even as I was moving quickly though the WOD.
We’ve got some bars that are similar to the Bomba bar at my box, except I have no clue where they’re from and their black zinc finish is of the glossy kind. The coating on the Bomba is a more “matte” feeling black zinc and just feels more sturdy in the hand, even without having to chalk the bar up. I’m personally a big fan of the knurling here. My Ohio bar (black oxide) and the Pendlay’s at my box pretty much rip my hands to pieces. The Bomba just feels right in the hands, not aggressive and not too weak. With some chalk on it, it’s perfect. Combined with the finish, you’ll have no problems with slippage here. It also comes in a full bright zinc flavor if you’re not down for the two toned look.
At 165k PSI, you probably shouldn’t have to worry about bending this bar under normal use, dropping it on an edge is a different story as that can bend pretty much any bar that has weight on it. Snap ring construction is nice so that if the collars ever get gunked up and stop spinning, you could get in there and add some lithium grease to rehab it; though that probably will void the warranty. Speaking of which, the Bomba comes with two options: 1- Year for $219 shipped(!) and lifetime for $269 shipped. The 1 year option is backed by their satisfaction guarantee. Don’t like the bar? Return it on their dime! You probably will like the bar though.
Gripes? Yes, there are some. First off, I like a very fast bar, mainly because my elbows are somewhat slow. The Bomba spins well, but I prefer the fast spin of the AF bar to it. Let me add this in, the Ohio bar spins the slowest out of the three. I haven’t had the Bomba for too long, and theoretically since the bushings are self-lubricating, it should spin better over time, right? The knurl start and stop points aren’t the most well defined? That’s COMPLETELY superficial and I’m probably just nit-picking. Paying more for a lifetime warranty, not so keen on that either. Then again, chances of me ever needing that warranty are probably slim to none.
I don’t know what more I can say about the Bomba bar. It’s an awesome choice when it comes to barbells for any purpose and I have no qualms recommending it to anyone looking for a bar that’s going to perform well and last for a lifetime. Add on top that Fringe Sport is a stellar company to deal with and you’ve got a winning combination. Even though I have multiple barbells at my house and at the box, I probably won’t ever be getting rid of my Bomba bar.