I’ve always had this dilemma of wanting to splurge and spend copious amounts of money on a legit bearing barbell. On one hand, I feel like it would save my wrists and probably (hopefully) get me some PR’s. On the other hand, I’d probably wouldn’t be improving my Olympic lifting as much as using slower bushing bars. Not to mention they never use nice barbells in competitions either, so it would basically be a bar to just try to PR with. They also cost a small fortune. Oh but the allure of that spin. Now, thanks to X Training Equipment, that barbell you’ve always dreamed of having can be yours for about the same price as some of the leading bushing bars on the market. They’ve managed to put together a 28mm bar with most of the same features you’d find on other bearing bars that are almost double the price. I know what you’re thinking, there’s got to be a catch, right? Well, on paper, it looks pretty damn appealing:
28mm Diameter shaft
Hard chrome coated all around
Medium depth knurl with no center knurling
Snap ring construction
8 Brass bearings per sleeve
Limited lifetime warranty
$299 with free shipping
Visually, the X Training Equipment elite bearing bar looks similar to the Pendlay NexGen HD bar. So much so that pretty much everyone that saw it at my box thought it was just another one of our Pendlay’s. With brushed finish hard chrome coating giving it a chalky feel and matte look, exposed gold-ish bearings, both IPF/IWF markings, and knurl that runs almost to the sleeve; it’s no wonder people would confuse them. The elite bearing bar at least looks the part, even if it didn’t play the part. Since we don’t really buy barbells based on the way they look, that leads me to the next section… …Performance! If you just leave the bar on a rack and spin the sleeves, they’ll keep rotating for what seems like infinity if you were not accustomed to typical bearing bars. Personally, this would be one of the few bearing bars I’ve ever used. All I have to compare it to are what I’ve seen in videos and some crappy no-name bearing bars we have at my box. The X Training bar spins pretty evenly and faster than any other barbell I’ve used, which is to be expected. The actual sleeves themselves are lightly machined to help keep plates on without collars, not as apparent but still there. The 190ksi shaft is not too stiff and just about as whippy as all other bars at the same price point except the RepFitness Excalibur. Olympic lifts and thrusters felt good, I haven’t done any powerlifting on this bar and I don’t plan to. The knurl will make your hands raw as an early 90’s Wu-Tang Clan CD. Some people like that kind of knurl, some people don’t. I like my Wu-Tang, but I’m not a fan of such aggressive knurling. The bar might be suitable mainly for Oly singles, versus high rep Crossfit work. I pictured myself feeling like Lu Xiaojun using this bar, but to me, it works just as well as any other bar. It’s not a bad bar, it’s just that I’ve owned a lot of good bushing bars. The spin is obviously going to be better than any bushing barbell you put against it, but bars like the RepFitness Excalibur put up a good fight. The Ohio and Again Faster bars will pale in comparison, but they spin well in their own right. The XTraining barbell is about as quiet as any other house barbell; it’s pretty noisy when dropped and the sleeves don’t spin very quietly. The knurl really kills it for me, but I know there are people in the world that really like aggressive knurling. It’s worth also noting that I found some slight inconsistencies in the knurling upon further inspection and use of the barbell I received; there were some spots that weren’t finished as well as others. I contacted X Training Equipment about this and they said I could swap the bar out, or get a minor discount. I took the latter because I didn’t want to deal with returning the bar. The spots were mainly past the IWF marks, but even the “good” knurl was rough.
For just under $300, a lifetime warranty, good customer service and all the specifications the X Training elite bushing bar includes; you’re looking at a great bargain if you really want a bearing bar. Just keep in mind, you’re probably going to want to stick to the platforms using this bar. (Unless you like a healthy dose of knurl.)
Joel, I am new to lifting and am setting up a home gym. I need to replace my junk “set” bar and will primarily be doing power lifts and the clean with lower weight – because I am weak 🙂 Would you recommend this bar for these lifts (including low bar squats) since there is no center knurling and the quick spin of the sleeve? Thanks for your reviews and input!,I should say that all my sets are done with 200lbs or less. Thanks again!