It’s been slow…

Sorry for the lack of updates as of late guys.  I haven’t gotten anything new to review in a while.

Remember to drop me a line and let me know what you guys want to see the rundown on!  Could be anything, chances are, I already have it!

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Review: RPM Speed Rope 2.0

I know that there are a lot of people out there that absolutely detest double-unders.  I, however, am not one of those people

The search for the “perfect crossfit jump rope”, has taken me from pretty much every rope under the sun.  While I don’t think there will ever be a “perfect” rope, I’ve got a few that are pretty damned close.  The one that has been my “go-to” recently, is the RPM Fitness Speed Rope 2.0.

Having owned the earlier model, I had a pretty good clue of what I was getting myself into when I picked the 2.0 model up at the Games earlier this year.  While I liked the earlier iteration of the RPM rope, I was never enthralled by it, nor was it ever the first rope I would grab out of my bag.  I knew that while it could possibly be the fastest rope that I owned, I was just never proficient in using it.  It never had enough feedback for me; I would lose track of the rope easily with long sets of double-unders.  The construction was top notch though, and I loved the idea of that.

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The RPM Speed Rope 2.0 in gold.

Right before the Games, I had caught wind that a redesigned rope was coming out.  50% lighter handles, all metal construction and more color options!  How could I resist?!  Even fully knowing that the original rope wasn’t my favorite, I had to have it.  Good thing curiosity got the best of me, because the redesign is totally worth upgrading to.  In all honestly, the handles (knurling) feel the same, just lighter.  For some reason, this aids in adding feedback while jumping.  You can feel the rope come in contact with the ground better, helping you keep track of where the rope is.  While the construction is all metal now, the difference in weight is noticeable.  Lighter handles = less forearm fatigue.  The RPM Rope still turns with the least amount of friction out of all the ropes I own.  Though the bearings don’t spin as freely as other handles, it’s still probably the fastest rope I’ve used.  Rogue SR-1, Jump ‘n’ Rope, RX Ropes included.

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Awesome knurling.

Now, don’t get me wrong, while the RPM Rope is awesome and all, it’s NOT the best rope for everyone.  Novices still working on getting double-unders should probably be practicing with something with a little more feedback before upgrading here.  Even though feedback is better than on the original model RPM Rope, it’s still light feeling to almost non-existent if you’re forearms are fried from other movements.  Add in a cable that stings like hell when you miss and you’ve got yourself a very un-friendly beginner jump rope.  Maybe the negative reinforcement would help people get those double-unders though.  This also isn’t the cheapest option out there.  You’re looking at $49 (comes with a pouch and adjustment tool) without even including shipping, tax or personalization if you want your name on the handles.  An $8 speed rope on Amazon performs to 75-85% of what this rope can do, depending on your skill.  Probably be easier to learn with too, due to heavier wire and not as smooth rotation.

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Redesigned ends: No more cap, easier to adjust open design. Cable still hurts.

Once again, ropes are a very preferential thing.  For some people, their RX Rope, Rogue’s and Jump ‘n’ Rope configurations are just fine.  You just need to find out what works best for you…that’s probably going to take a little bit of shopping around and testing things out.

If you’re proficient in double-unders and you’re looking for something to help step your game up.  You owe it to yourself to take a look at the RPM Speed Rope 2.0.  It’s arguably the fastest rope on the market right now.

If you’re not, GET OUT THERE AND PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE THOSE DOUBLE UNDERS!!!

Face-off: Rogue Ohio Bar v.s. Rep Fitness Excalibur Bar

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Rogue’s red Ohio bar endcap…probably the meanest looking endcap on the market. That Matt Chan endcap looks sick too though.
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Again, points to the Ohio bar in the visual department, that gold bushing doe.
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Notice the finer knurl pattern on the Ohio bar. They both feel great though.
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Here’s another view on the knurling.
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The Rep and the AF Team Barbell just for comparison sake. Notice that while the AF barbell looks to have a fine knurl like the Rogue, it doesn’t feel like that in the hand. More sharktooth like…but not as aggressive.
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Grooves on the sleeves are better machined on the Rogue, but the Excalibur is slightly longer.
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Black oxide vs bright zinc – they both look awesome.

Review: Rep Fitness Elite Excalibur Bar 20kg

The Rep Fitness Elite Excalibur Bar – The best sub-$300 barbell that you can buy.

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Specifications:

  • 215k psi Tensile & 200k psi Yield Strength!!!
  • 28mm diameter shaft
  • IPF & IWF Markings w/ medium knurl depth (No center)
  • Bushing design
  • Lifetime warranty
  • $289

I first came onto the Rep Fitness Excalibur during the search for my first crossfit barbell.  While all the specifications sold me on the bar, the name was unknown to me, so I went with the Rogue Ohio bar instead.  Fast forward 5 or so months later, my curiosity got the best of me, and I ended up with an Excalibur in addition to my Ohio bar.  I hate to think that my decision in the first place to order the Ohio bar wasn’t the right decision; the Rep Fitness Excalibur is the best bar that I’ve used and owned.  Honestly, if there was more literature or videos on the Excalibur at the time, I’m not sure my original decision would have been the same.  It’s pretty fair to say that the Rep Fitness Excalibur has a lot going for it on paper.  I don’t even know of another bar that has even close to the same tensile strength in a bar that costs under $300.  The closest competitor is probably the Pendlay Nexgen HD, coming in at 190K PSI, but costing almost $50 more (too bad the MDUSA sale is over on them).   Stat for stat, it pretty much demolishes anything in the $300 range.  Let me reassure you that this bar doesn’t just talk to the talk.

 

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28mm diameter shaft, Olympic standard diameter.  28.5mm, the standard for most crossfit barbells.  That .5″ doesn’t sound like it would make a big difference, but it does, especially if you’re like me and you have little hands.  Quite honestly, this is one of the main reasons I ended up with the Excalibur (I was contemplating the Pendlay as well).  The knurling is medium to light and feels great in the hand; it doesn’t feel as “scratchy” as the Ohio bar’s, not as “sharp” as the Again Faster or Pendlay, maybe somewhere in between those bars.  Really just depends on what you’re looking for, but I feel like the Ohio bar has the finest pattern, so it’s still my favorite.  The knurl continues all the way into the sleeve, which should be good for you people with a wider snatch grip.  Oh, the bar holds chalk REALLY well.

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The build quality: Excellent.  I was worried about not knowing where this bar was sourced, but rest assured, this bar does not feel cheaply manufactured.  The sound when dropped sounds like the Rogue Ohio, just a dead blow; no rattling here.  On top of that, just spinning the collars with the bar on the rack yields pure silence.  The spin?  You could be fooled into thinking that this is a bearing bar.   The spin is extremely smooth and fast, though it’s just a bushing bar.  Pulling under the bar doing some lighter (full) snatches was no problem.  In fact, a few guys at the box hit snatch PR’s using this bar the other day.  Coincidence?  Probably….but who knows.  I used the bar earlier today for some back squats and shoulder to overhead; it performed just fine for those movements as well.  No worries about putting a permanent bend in it with that steel strength.

What do I not like about this bar?  Not much, but there are a few things.  First, as stated above, I have no clue where this bar is manufactured.  I, like most, prefer for my gear to be made in the U.S.A., but I can’t really knock the quality of this bar either, where ever it’s being made.  Secondly, while I’m glad they added some kind of rifling to the sleeves so that plates stay on better, sadly it still doesn’t work all that well.  Plates (competition and bumpers)  slide right on and off without any kind of force.  This could be viewed as a good or bad thing.  For me, since I’m too lazy to slap some collars on most of the time, it’s a bad thing.  I like bright zinc, but maybe add a black zinc color option somewhere down the line?

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That’s really it, this bar is a lot of good and hardly any bad.  Having used all the bars that are within the same price point, I can honestly say that this is the best performing of them all.   Don’t be afraid of ordering from Rep Fitness, due to them not being one of the bigger names in crossfit equipment.  Having talked to them a few times, I can only say positive things about their customer service.  If you’re looking for an excellent barbell that will probably last you a lifetime, all for a measly $289, go for the Rep Fitness Excalibur.

You can get your Rep Fitness Excalibur bar here:

http://www.repfitness.com/weightlifting-equipment/barbells/rep-elite-olympic-bar

Rogue Fitness Ohio Bar Review

The Rogue Fitness Ohio bar:  The Cadillac of crossfit bars.

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The rundown:

  • 20kg Black Oxide
  • 28.5mm Shaft diameter
  • “Multi” Knurl w/ IPF & IWF markings
  • Snap ring construction
  • Bushing
  • 155k-165k Tensile strength
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • $289

Let’s talk about how sick this bar looks.  The black oxide on black oxide “murdered” out look, paired with the red end caps just looks downright mean.  The black oxide treatment given to the bar gives it a black, but seemingly un-coated look to the steel. Throw in some gold bushings for a little bit of class, and you’ve got yourself the coolest looking barbell on the market.   Still, all that show wouldn’t mean too much if the bar didn’t perform well.
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Everything about the Rogue Ohio bar, exudes quality.  From the moment you grasp the bar, you can feel how much thought/effort was put into designing and manufacturing such a great piece of equipment.  The steel, fit and finish on the bar have a rock-solid feel to it, not hollow and loose like other cheaper bars.  It even feels light years better than the normal Rogue bar; the tolerances just seem much tighter here between the two bars.  I was used to a really clangy metallic rattling noise when a barbell hits the ground after being dropped.  That is not the case here.  When the Ohio bar hits the  ground (w/bumpers), all you hear is the bumpers thudding against the ground.  No metallic rattling to speak of.

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If you’ve been following my reviews, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of bars that turn over quick.  The faster the sleeves spin, the better for me, since my elbows lag.  There are downsides to this; using the bar for powerlifting movements, you don’t really want the sleeves to be spinning while you’re on the bench.  Of course, since the Ohio bar is still a bushing bar, it doesn’t have the fastest turn over.  I would say that the Ohio bar’s sleeves spin reliably, not the fastest, but definitely smooth and fast enough for your Olympic lifts, but not so much that it’s going to annoy you for the slower lifts.

If you watched Rogue’s video on the Ohio bar, you’ll know the knurling was a big selling point, as it should be.  You could have all the best specs in the world, but if the bar doesn’t feel great in the hand, no one’s going to want to use it.  Let me go ahead and confirm that this is probably the best knurl on the market, in my experience.  It’s a pretty fine knurl, you can feel a lot of little diamonds biting into your hands, giving you a surefire grip when you pick it up.  I’m not going to lie, at first, I wasn’t too sure I liked it.  It tore my soft-as-a-baby’s-butt hands up.  After a few months of use, or just getting used to it, I now love it and am constantly reminded why, whenever I pick the bar up.  YMMV with the zinc/chrome plated versions.
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So, now what’s not to like about the Ohio bar?  Well, like I mentioned earlier, it’s definitely not the quickest bar on the market.  I guess there’s a bit of personal preference that goes with that one, but even my Bomba and Again Faster bar’s spin faster than this does.  The black oxide finish tends to scratch up pretty easily.  I made the mistake of putting the bar bar on a rack that didn’t have any lining for the J-cups and it took some of the finish off the bar.  The sleeves are pretty worn down from sliding plates on and off as well.  Not to mention, the bar is already showing some oxidation, even with pretty regular cleaning and oiling. I’m not so sure I can comment on the 155k-165k tensile strength, I doubt that I can bend the bar, but there are other options out there for around the same price that have much higher steel strength.

I hear a lot of people say that when you buy Rogue, you’re just paying for the name.  Well, that’s pretty much true.  You’re paying for a brand that stands behind it’s products and gives great customer service.  I had a pair of wrist wraps that went bad on me earlier and they replaced them for me. no questions asked.  Those were $20 wrist wraps, but I’m sure the same kind of standards would still apply to a $300 bar.  The fact that the bar is manufactured in the U.S. of A. is always a big selling point to me.  Knowing that my money is funding American workers makes me feel better about spending it.

In the $300 barbell range, there are a lot of great choices out there.  If you’re looking to buy a Rogue bar, spend the extra $20 bucks and just get the Ohio bar.  It’s just better, at least $20 better.

Please use my links to make your purchases!

Shop Now Rogue Fitness
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