The original Again Faster Team Barbell might be one of my favorite bars of all time. You couldn’t touch the specifications, performance, and most of all the price! Throw in the fact that it was made in the U.S. and you pretty much had the perfect barbell. The 1.2 version of the bar kept most of the same features alive, but the sleeve spin and tensile strength had gone regressed a little bit; but still a great value barbell. We’re now at the “3rd” iteration with the Again Faster Team Barbell 2.0, and it’s got some big shoes to fill.
Quite possibly the biggest change to the Team Barbell is what’s keeping the sleeves rotating. They’ve gone from the traditional “CrossFit” bushing barbell design, which is known for it’s durability but not necessarily spin, to a hybrid oil-lite bushing with 6 needle and 4 ball bearings. What does this mean to you? A hell of a lot of spin. This bar is fast, faster than any of the previous iterations, and faster than any barbell I’ve ever used; Klokov bar included, which uses just 5 needle bearings per sleeve.
Another notable change to the barbell is that the shaft is not only 28mm in diameter, but the tensile has been upgraded to 209k. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, having an unnecessarily high tensile isn’t always the best way to gauge barbells. With the Klokov bar, that high tensile strength actually works against it, making it a bit too stiff when moving normal people weight. The TB 2.0 however, finds the right balance for an all purpose barbell. It’s not so obnoxiously whippy that you wouldn’t want to use it for power movements, but it’s whippy enough that it would be great for CrossFit and definitely suffice for weightlifters. Make no mistake, this bar definitely outperforms the Klokov bar in this area.
Again Faster has pretty much got their knurling perfect here. As stated before, I don’t like harsh knurl. I find that the TB 2.0 has more that enough depth to the knurling to not find myself needing that much chalk as often. If you’re afraid that it’s too light, it’s really not, you can definitely feel the knurl bite back into your hands, providing a secure grip. Compared to the Rogue Bar 2.0, it’s slightly shallower, but just as fine.
Not all things changed for the better. Like the Klokov bar, the origins of the TB 2.0 are completely unknown. I’m sure that it’s safe to say that this bar is made in China. Not a total deal breaker, since the construction is just as solid, if not more, than some domestic barbells. Of course, we all want to support the whole team, but this probably helps keep the prices down. Another downer of the black zinc version of the bar is that the finish is a little on the slippery side. The smooth area doesn’t quite catch your shirt or skin like a matte finished bar would. The zinc should wear away over time providing a better grip, it’s a brand new bar afterall. As I said before, ball bearings aren’t known for their durability, so only time will tell if they can withstand affiliate use.
One more thing I have to comment on, and will comment on probably until it’s fixed, is the quality of packaging. My Team Barbell 2.0 came to me with one end almost completely ripped off and that end of the barbell was thrashed. I e-mailed, no response. Again Faster is usually pretty good about their customer service, but I have to wonder if anything is going to be done about this. I know the barbell is probably going to get more messed up after use, it’s just when you pay X amount of money for something, you don’t want to receive a beat up version. Sucks, but I can move on with my life either way.
In closing, the Again Faster Team Barbell 2.0 is probably the best performing barbell in the
low $200’s, as it always has been. On a budget, not on a budget, if you don’t mind having a bar not made in the U.S.A and that’s not going to spend too much time in transit getting thrashed, this is the bar you should probably get.
EDIT: Now MID-HIGH $200’s, I was not aware that the price of the barbell went up to $229. It’s still a good barbell, but the pricing increase puts it in direct competition with the Rogue Bar 2.0 for around $15 bucks more depending on tax. Again Faster usually has pretty good sales on their Team Barbells (I purchased mine for $190+Shipping), so waiting for those might make it a better buy. If you’re paying full retail on it, then you have to ask yourself if you need a bar that spins very well, or a more well constructed bar thats made in the U.S.A. They both carry a lifetime guarantee.