Eleiko – The most famous name in weightlifting.
For good reason, they’re used on the main stages in weightlifting, numerous world records have been set using them, and everyone just aspires to own one someday. I’m one of the latter, I’ve wanted one to test one of these bars for the longest time but just couldn’t get myself to pull the trigger on one. My reasoning was: “How much better could it possibly be than what I have?” and “Am I even good enough to feel the difference?”. You also have factor in that they cost almost double than even the most expensive bars I’ve used. At this point, I’ve tested pretty much every barbell that you could possibly think of owning thats under $500, so there’s only going up from here. So begins my journey to test the upper echelon of barbells, starting with the “lowest” of the bunch, the Eleiko Sport Training bar.
The STB is currently the one being used in GRID matches. While not platform certified and missing two needle bearings, the STB uses the same exact shaft found in both the training and competition Eleiko weightlifting barbells. Besides the knurling, that 215k PSI Swedish manufactured steel is really what makes an Eleiko, an Eleiko. From a construction standpoint, nothing I’ve used is nearly made as well as this bar besides the Rogue EURO bar, which is equally as nice. No rattles, no loose end caps, when you drop this bar with just about any kind of weight on, it just sounds solid. The noise the bar makes when you make contact is one of the most satisfying things a weightlifter could ever hear.
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the polished chrome coating used on the STB is not quite as brilliant as the Rogue WL or even Pendlay Bars, but should still provide resistance against scratching and major rust. Like with all chrome bars, make sure you wipe down your bars after use if you have sweaty hands, as they will acquire a bit of surface rust. My GRID STB arrived with a TON of surface rust on it, nothing 3-1 oil and a copper bristle brush couldn’t fix, but still disappointing to see the lack of care that goes into their closeout items.
As stated before, one the two things that separate Eleiko from the pack is the knurling. From reading up on Eleiko’s knurl, people say that it almost grips your hands back, some say that it’s too aggressive, some say that it’s not aggressive enough, but most people agree that their knurling varies from bar to bar. I’ve read people saying the STB has more aggressive knurl than the Training bar, and vice versa. I don’t think there is a “standard” cut, I’ve definitely seen better machined patterns. Maybe since mine is a GRID™ bar, the knurling is a bit more harsh than a normal STB bar would be but it really is unpleasant to use for more than a few reps. It’s deep and coarse, definitely something you would not want to use in a CrossFit™ workout; but on the plus side, you won’t have to chalk up as much . If I had to put this on a scale with a standard Rogue Bar being a 5, the Eleiko would be an 8. Keep in mind that knurling is like fine wine (or beer) and everyone has a different taste, you might think that this bar is perfect.
Legends have been written with the fabled 215k psi tensile shaft that has been said to produce amazing amounts of oscillation. Just a reminder, tensile strength is not totally indicative of whip. It’s a number that states how many pounds per square inch it takes before the material breaks. How well the bar whips is totally dependent on the metallurgy of the steel and is represented as yield strength. Granted, I’m no engineer and this is what I’ve just picked up over the years so correct me if I’m wrong. That being said, the Eleiko is one of the smoothest moving bars I’ve ever used. I generally use 100kg/225lbs as my reference point, that’s when you can usually start to feel the bar start to get going and I’m sure it only gets better as you get heavier. Jerks felt the best, but I never really thought twice about the bar I was using when doing all the lifts. Nothing feels better than going to the bar with the utmost of confidence to hit a lift.
The 8 needle bearings that the Eleiko uses don’t produce a ton of spin if you just spin the collars by themselves. All that really matters is that the bar spins freely and smoothly within the sleeves under load. I couldn’t imagine two extra bearings really making a huge impact on how the bar spins either. Let’s just call it a “quality” spin. Have I used more “spin-y” bars before? Yes. Will you notice a difference? No, not unless you’re coming from a bushing bar.
Also note, a little difference between the Training Bar and the Sport Training Bar is the size of the sleeve shoulder. The Sport Training Bar has a slightly wider shoulder so it doesn’t allow for as much loadability, though should suffice most people.
It’s no question that the Eleiko Sport Training Bar is an excellent barbell. Knurling aside, no one in the world would pass up the option to lift on one.
The real question is: “Do you need an Eleiko bar?”
Let’s put it like this you could buy a car that redlines at 9k, or a car that redlines at 7k. Both have a respectably high top end, but with the 9k car, top horsepower doesn’t kick in until the later RPMs, whereas the 7k car you’ll hit max horsepower in a more usable range. The 9k car also costs double the amount that the 7k car does. Though the 9k car is undoubtedly faster at the end of the day, why not just go for the 7k car that you’ll actually be able to use?
That wasn’t meant to talk you out of buying an Eleiko, just to put some sense into you when shopping for a barbell. Most people won’t actually reap the benefits of using such a barbell unless you’re a fairly high level weightlifter. You’ll also be paying quite a bit more, whereas you can get a great performing barbell at half the cost of the Eleiko; not taking anything away from the overall quality and performance of the Eleiko. If you’re serious about lifting, you have the money and you want a quality barbell to last you a lifetime, Eleiko is no doubt one of your best options. It’s one of the oldest and most popular names in weightlifting; I’ve read about people still using 30+ year old Eleiko bars! Also, if you buy an Eleiko, there’s also not a whole lot better you can get, so you also won’t have to worry about replacing your bar anytime soon. Eleiko bars come with a 10-year warranty; rest assured as that’s longer than most current companies will probably still be in business with their lifetime warranties.
In short – If you got it, go for it! You can’t go wrong with an Eleiko bar.