Most bars I review are very sought after barbells, that I would classify as mid-range bars that fit into the around $300 category. Why is this? Simply because there aren’t really a whole lot of bars that cost less than $200. Especially stuff that I would want to spend my own money on to review. That being said, I do feel like there is a whole untapped market of people looking for bars that don’t cost more than a couple bills. Not the crap that you could go to Big 5 for either; actual barbells suitable for mixed purpose lifting that could even handle affiliate use. A few come to mind, but with shipping and tax things usually end up past $200. A smaller company called ToExtreme Fitness is looking to change that up with their “Bull Bar”. Major bonus points for the fact that it’s also 100% made in the USA.
First thing’s first, the Bull Bar is not intended to be a Rogue Bar replacement, nor does it even try to compete as such. There’s a reason the Rogue Bar costs almost 50% more, because it is indeed a better barbell. As is every other bar in that same price range. You want something sub-$200, well you’re going to have to sacrifice a few things. Namely, tensile strength. While a low tensile strength isn’t optimal for putting extremely heavy weight on a bar and picking it up, that’s not always the case with every bar. I’ve seen 200k psi tensile bars bend, 190k psi tensile bars bend, but 155k psi bars remain perfectly straight for years. The Bull Bar’s tensile is 135k psi, which should be good up to about 1200lbs. Fine for most lifters I know, and definitely good enough for a general use bar for affiliates. Not usually disclosed by many manufacturers is the yield strength of the bar, which is 100k psi. Once again, not an astounding number, but should be fine for most people. In my experience, these numbers are more for show, than go, because the Bull Bar goes just fine for me.
The Bull Bar performs just about the same to me as other $250 bushing barbells. Bronze self lubricating bushings help with the rotation of the sleeves, which only improve over time. The sleeves spin just as well as any other bushing barbell, which isn’t amazing but once again, good enough for most people; I always end up having to re-grease my barbells anyways with lithium grease. Rotation however is smooth and there isn’t a whole lot of play between the shaft and sleeves making it a pretty solid sounding barbell when dropped. That 135k psi shaft measures a normal multi-use bar diameter of 28.5mm with a somewhat light knurling. Though the knurl is light, it’s machined very well and provides a very comfortable grip for high-rep work. Personally, I prefer a lighter depth knurling anyways, so it’s perfect in my hands. Dynamic, the Bull Bar is not, but neither are most bars even up to $250 and definitely none under $200. To be honest, the whip feels pretty on par with the Rogue Bar 2.0 to me.
ToExtreme Fitness sells the Bull Bar in either 20kg or 15kg variants for $189 and $169 shipped. There aren’t many bars that stay under the $200 mark after shipping and tax, so the value here is tremendous. Though the Bull Bar has slightly lower specs than most, it doesn’t try to cheapen itself any more by having a thicker shaft or being outsourced to somewhere else in the world. As I said before, there most definitely are better bars that you can buy out there, but if you could afford those bars you’d probably be reading my reviews on them. To put it simply, if you’re not cleaning more than 300, squatting more than 400, or deadlifting more than 500…you wouldn’t need anything more than the Bull Bar.