A little more than a year ago now I put out a review on the Rep Fitness Excalibur bushing barbell; I praised the barbell for being the best sub-$300 bar that you could buy. Since then, the price on the Excalibur has gone up a little bit, newer bars that are similarly spec’d have come out, and the prices of them have come down. While still a great barbell for the money, the competition in the mid-high end barbell range has gone up considerably, but bushing bars are one thing, the selection of good, affordably-priced bearing barbells still remains thin. Lucky for us, Rep Fitness now offers the Excalibur barbell in bearing flavor, while still being competitive and managing to keep the price point at about $100+ lower than other comparable brands.
Let’s review those stats:
- 215k tensile, 205k yield strength
- Zinc coating on the bar shaft, chrome on the sleeves
- Dual knurl markings–use this as your daily bar!
- Needle bearings in the sleeves
- Lifetime Warranty
- Free shipping
Specification wise, you’re going to be looking at pretty much the same barbell, and that’s not such a bad thing. The barbell still sports the same incredibly high 215k tensile strength, 205k yield strength. The closest barbells in price sport 190k tensile strengths at a hundred more dollars. Not saying they’re bad, but you can see the value the Excalibur brings to the table. The Excalibur is an extremely strong bar, but something in the metallurgy also keeps this bar extremely whippy. This is by far the whippiest bar that I’ve used thus far, I’m probably not good enough to even utilize that amount of whip that this bar has. Just pick it up, bang it on your thighs, and you’ll see what I mean. While not the most scientific test, it’ll still demonstrate the elasticity of the barbell well enough. With that crazy high steel strength, powerlifting without worrying about bending your bar can be done just fine.
For being a bushing barbell, the original Excalibur had some of the best sleeve rotation in the game; almost enough for any normal person, but that not what you came here for, you want to know about that bearing life. The bearing variant of the Excalibur delivers, so much that you would think twice about putting your wrist wraps on. Quick sleeve rotation is almost the best form of wrist protection. The bearings rotate effortlessly and enable the sleeve to spin for incredible amounts of time. The Excalibur spun just as long as the Rogue WL bar in my testing, at a fraction of the price. But unlike the Rogue WL bar, the Excalibur also has powerlifting and weightlifting markings on the shaft, making it a great day to day/CrossFit barbell.
I’m not quite sure where this barbell is sourced, my best guess is Taiwan. Which is fine by me, because there are a ton of quality barbells coming out of there. You won’t notice any hitches in the construction of the barbell, which also comes with a lifetime warranty anyways. Like every other quality barbell, it’s virtually silent when dropped with weight on it. I wouldn’t be dropping it any other way, due to the nature of bearings not being as robust as bushings.
I’m not a fan of harsh knurling, and like the original bushing version, the bearing bar has a fierce bit of knurling. It seems to be slightly tuned down, but still feels very similar. It’s not so bad to the point where it’s going to detract you from wanting to do high-rep work, but if you have sissy hands like me, you’re going to find yourself sore after a WOD. The zinc coating remains the same on the shaft, while the sleeves are still hard chrome plated for extra durability against scratches, this I like. What I dislike is the decision to not add any kind of grooves on the sleeves to help keep plates on without collars. Even competition plates slide off all too easily, so you will NEED collars while using this barbell. Another gripe I have with this product isn’t even the bar itself, but the packaging. Unlike other barbells that come in tubes, the Excalibur came in a cardboard box. Every time I get barbells shipped like this, the shipper always damages them in transit, which can be frustrating because you pay a pretty penny for these things.
At $439 shipped, the Excalibur bearing bar is the best value in bearing barbells. There are other bars at around $300, one that I’ve done a review on before, but the quality of that bar doesn’t come close to that of the Excalibur. Performance wise, this bar competes with some of the best bars in the game, at prices almost double it’s own. If you were looking to step up your weightlifting game, this might be the bar for you.