Once upon a time, a company widely renown for their amazing customer service, only dabbled in CrossFit equipment; my, how things change. The foundation of which Fringe built their company and reputation from was the Bomba Bar. It was just a solid, well performing barbell that didn’t cost a fortune – it was also one of the very first things I reviewed and my first experience with FringeSport. Okay, I lied, the first thing I bought from them was their original Wonder Bar, that wasn’t so wonderous, but with a few e-mails was swapped out for their Bomba, at no extra charge.
Along the way, they’ve picked up a few tricks, especially in the barbell department. They now have a full range offerings including a power bar, a “hybrid” bar, the budget Wonder Bar, the solid Bomba bar, and the bar formerly known as the Vaughn bar, the FringeSport Weightlifting Bar. Needless to say, there’s something for everyone, but this review is about the latter and best of the bunch, the Weightlifting bar.
The Vaughn bar was an excellent barbell, other people seemed to think so as well, because it was almost never in stock. The Weightlifting bar aims to build up on what made the Vaughn bar so great, but with a few tricks of it’s own. And best of all, do it at a relatively budget price.
The foundation of the WL bar remains the same from the Vaughn bar; they use the same exact 28mm 216k PSI tensile strength shaft. This is a good thing mind you, because this barbell is one of the most dynamic barbells I’ve ever used. The amount of whip that comes from this bar is insane for Oly movements, but also would probably not be the ideal bar to do powerlifting movements with. I did however, pull a 500lb deadlift for 3 with this bar, which I’m grateful of the whip for.
Knurling is always a matter of preference and while the knurling on the Fringe WL bar is really well cut and uniform, it’s a little coarse and deep for my hands. After a snatch EMOM, I had 2 rips and a blood blister on just one of my hands. I can’t complain about the amount of grip I had though, for as long as I could grip the bar that is. Like any other good Oly bar, the center knurling is the perfect depth, giving you a little more security in the front rack without tearing out your throat. On top of all this, the Fringe WL bar has a really nice matte hard chrome coating that not only grips well, but also cleans up nicely.
Quite possibly the best feature of the barbell is just how tightly put together it is. The sleeves have virtually no play side to side or up and down. When you drop this barbell, it just goes thud without any annoying rattles. Inside the sleeves are 4 Taiwanese needle bearings per sleeve, which while buttery smooth, aren’t so impressive if you just spin the sleeves bare. Like they say, quality over quantity and in the case of barbells, as long as you don’t feel friction the bar spinning, you’re good.
One thing I think can be improved upon is the machining on the sleeves. They just don’t really do much to keep plates on, honestly, they actually do the opposite. If you’re lazy to put collars on like myself, you’re going to have plates sliding all around the sleeves.
This is a bar for Olympic weightlifting, sometimes CrossFit, and possibly deadlifting.
If you’re looking for a barbell to just squat, press and deadlift with, you’re probably better off suited with the Power bar, Bomba or Hybrid bars. Obviously, it’s still a barbell like any other, so you can use it for anything you please, but really the thing that sets the Fringe WL bar apart from all else is the amount of whip this bar has. I personally would stay away from using it for slow lifts, but to each their own.
What it’s meant for though, it excels at, especially given the price of this barbell. I sometimes get nervous about using certain barbells if I need to go heavy on my lifts, but I felt confident about hitting my lifts with the Fringe WL bar. Cleaning feels smooth and fluid, you can get under the bar quickly without choppiness on the bar’s end. I think the best movement for the WL bar are jerks, where that whip really gets the bar moving off of your front rack. I’m indifferent with snatches though, like I said, the knurling really got my hands good in the snatch grip, which can be a painful affair. Before the hot spots set in, I really like the bar and the grip from the knurling, but I know I’m going to pay for it afterwards.
A secondary use for the Fringe WL bar would be for CrossFit WOD’s, as long as it’s a light weight or cleaning, you shouldn’t have to worry about the knurling demolishing your hands. It’s a bit overkill, but the bar should handle any WOD you can throw at it. The last thing I’d recommend this bar for would be to deadlift with – like I said earlier, this bar has incredible whip. Pulling 500 for 3 was a lot easier of affair than I had imagined it to be (it was still heavy), definitely a step up from your typical multi-use barbell. Honestly, if you care about your deadlift that much though, I’d invest in a deadlift bar; this would just work well if you’re in a pinch or just have a single bar.
The FringeSport Weightlifting Bar retails for $399, which for a bar that has top tier specs and performs like this bar does, is a steal. There isn’t much out there that is even remotely close to matching the performance for price of the Fringe WL bar and like all things from FringeSport, it ships for FREE. It’s also backed by a company that is active within the fitness community and has some of the best customer support in the world.
If you’re in the market for a high performing dedicated Olympic weightlifting bar that isn’t going to set you back over $500, then look no further. Just make sure your hands are tough enough to wield this barbell.
- Great performance to price ratio.
- Excellent whip and build quality.
- One of the better companies to deal with.
- The knurling is a bit coarse.
- Spin might not impress all your friends.
- Not the best multi-use barbell
- The way your hands feel after repping it out with this barbell.