Man, this review has been a looooong time coming. I’ve had this thing for a while now, decided not use it and then after I opened my affiliate, decided that it would be best to just have it there as another WOD bar; it wasn’t because there was anything wrong with the barbell or that I didn’t like it. In fact, it’s very similar to the Vulcan Standard, which I really liked.
When you go through so many barbells, you can kind of get an idea of who’s actually behind making the bars (I could be wrong of course). So, when a different looking barbell comes up, it piques your interest; that’s exactly what attracted me to the Pure-Strength barbell. As stated before, the only bar that resembled the design was the Vulcan Standard, but a few things were off. First, the Pure-Strength bar had dual markings; the Vulcan does now but didn’t at the time. Second, the Vulcan only came in bright zinc and still does. Third, the tensile is slightly different, but that’s negligible. All a bunch of little things, but curiosity still go the best of me, so I bit. Anyways, let’s talk about the Pure-Strength bar…
The thing that caught my eye the most was the rounded edges that the sleeves have. No other bars besides the Pure-Strength and Vulcan bar have these. It actually gives the bright zinc sleeves both a very polished look, no pun intended. Both are still paired with an exposed bronze oil-lite bushing unlike the cast ones now found on Rogue’s bars. Spin isn’t the greatest, but it’s smooth and adequate for most lifters. There’s not a whole lot of play in the sleeves, so the bar makes a very pleasant “thud” when dropped with weights.
The knurling on the Pure-Strength bar can be either it’s best or worst feature; users will either love or hate it’s light depth. Personally, I don’t mind light knurling and if I need a little more grip, I just chalk up. While the knurling is light in depth, it’s pattern is well cut and doesn’t feel choppy in your hands. The start and stop points could be a little bit more refined though. Like most bars nowadays, the knurl extends all the way to right before the sleeve attaches to the bar. It isn’t just myself that is a fan of the knurl, this is one of the most sought after bars by members at my gym. Oddly enough, the 28.5mm diameter shaft feels slightly thicker than other bars that should have the same diameter (I thought the same of the Standard).
Like most popular bars on the market, the Pure-Strength barbell has a tensile strength of 190k psi. This is a multi purpose barbell that’s acceptable for all types lifting; excellent for functional fitness purposes. Don’t expect whip like a dedicated Oly bar, but it’s not awful either. It’ll suffice most heavier lifters and if you’re not going over 225lbs, you probably wouldn’t notice a difference here anyways. It’s whip is right on par with other popular barbells with similar tensile strength and doesn’t really kick in until past the 200’s. If you need proof that this bar performs well, check out this video of ZA Anderson hitting #260 on “the big clean complex”.
So in a sea of Rogue Fitness barbells, why would you want to go for the Pure-Strength barbell? Asides from quickly gaining a ton of popularity from being the gear supplier for a ton of high profile events (East Coast Championship), Pure-Strength actually produces really nice rigs and squat racks as well. Granted, it’s kind of iffy buying anything from anyone besides Rogue, as we’ve seen recently with Pendlay and Again Faster. Pure-Strength is still gathering steam and doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere soon. Not to mention, the Pure-Strength bar will only set you back $270 shipped (to CA), as opposed to the $320 of it’s closest Rogue competitor, the Ohio bar (or the Vulcan Standard at $279).
If you wanted a solid alternative to Rogue, that has less aggressive knurling, you’ll probably want to check out the Pure-Strength barbell.