Tag Archives: rogue

Rogue Fitness Matt Chan Barbell (Boneyard Bar)

The Rogue Chan Bar – I finally got my hands on one of the most popular barbells that Rogue makes, that I haven’t reviewed yet. The bulk of the barbells Rogue puts out nowadays are just a variations of the Ohio bar with coating differences. For the most part, they all use the same 190k PSI tensile strength shaft, bronze bushings (though many are going composite), they’re 28.5mm in diameter, and they all have the same knurl pattern; though some might disagree on that last one. There are a few things remain the same with the Chan bar, but it also has the biggest differences from the Ohio, enough to make it my personal favorite Rogue “multi-use” barbell.

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Construction/Build Quality

Like all Rogue products, the Chan bar feels over-engineered. Almost no other equipment in the world have the polish that Rogue products do. As previously mentioned, the shaft is the typical Rogue 190k PSI tensile, 28.5mm diameter shaft forged right here in the US of A. With that, you get Rogue’s limited lifetime warranty against bending or breaking, which I honestly don’t think you’ll ever use; I’ve never heard of any of their bars bending. Hell, even my older Rogue bars that had imported shafts are all straight as arrows.

On the contrary to what the Rogue website says and what people think they know, the Chan bar has the same knurl pattern as all of Rogue’s 28.5mm barbells. To be fair, I think all of the other bars adopted the Chan bar’s knurling when they all switched over to the 190k PSI shafts. Personally, I think Rogue’s knurling is more on the medium side of things; it’s definitely not as deep and coarse like a power bar but it can for sure give you some hot spots on your hands. You don’t need a ton of chalk to get a sure grip and it’s still probably the most well rounded knurling I’ve used for everything you’d possibly want to use this bar for.

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The sleeves are typical Rogue sleeves, one inch shoulder with 16.5″ of loadable space. The surface of the sleeves have a very fine machining to help keep plates on, but I would still make sure to use clips when loading. Each sleeve has two cast bronze bushings, not sintered Oilite bushings, but ones that are made in house. Spin is smooth and there isn’t a ton of play when you try to move the sleeve side to side, giving you a nice solid thud when the bar is dropped.

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Performance

Because Rogue uses the same shaft in all of their multi-use barbells, if you’ve used one of them, you’ve used them all. Don’t take this as a bad thing though, Rogue barbells are the most reliably performing bars on the market. They don’t excel in one area, but they’re very good all around. If you just want to squat, bench or dead, you’ll probably want to look into a power bar. If you want to improve your oly, maybe check out their training bars. If you want to do all of those things, get an Ohio bar variant. The 190k PSI shaft has good enough whip to satisfy most weightlifters, without being overly dynamic for the slow lifts such as your press or squat. Spin, once again is smooth and more than fast enough for oly, but not over the top for presses. Some might hate that I use the term “CrossFit barbell”, but Rogue’s multi-use bars are the quintessential CrossFit barbells.

Practical features are what differentiates the Chan bar from it’s brothers. This bar has a smaller clean grip knurl area and passive center knurling. The purpose of cutting the clean grip knurling short is so that when you pull, your shins are free of any knurling, potentially saving you from racing stripes up your shins. It also makes for quicker setups, assuming you use the same width grip that Matt Chan uses; which most of us probably do. The only instance this was a little bit of a problem for me was for my deadlift grip, which is typically right at the start of the knurling. I’d take adjusting my grip a little bit over tearing my shins up any day though.

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Center knurling is a taboo subject in the CrossFit world, but when done correctly, I’d almost always want a bar that has it. The Chan bar has some of the best execution of center knurl that I’ve come across; it’s not even a quarter of the depth of the grip knurling, more like a light texturing to the middle of the bar. It’s light enough to not tear up your collar bone, but substantial enough to give you added stick to your chest or back when cleaning or squatting. Don’t be scared of center knurling folks, it can be a good thing.

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Value/Conclusion

The Chan bar only comes in one flavor at the moment, black zinc shaft with black zinc sleeves and retails for $295. At one point they had a satin chrome version that retailed for $350, but I’m not sure we’ll ever see that come back. Sure, you can get the Ohio bar for about $10 less, but personally I’d pay the difference for the thoughtful grip knurling and center knurling, not to mention the awesome end cap. You can get this bar for a real steal if you’re patient enough to keep checking out Rogue’s boneyard section. I picked up my Chan bar for $195+$15 shipping and tax leaving me at about roughly $230 out the door. You’d be hard pressed to find any defects (I couldn’t), but sometimes you might not end up with coating in some areas. As long as the shaft is zinc, I wouldn’t worry too much about the sleeves being bare steel. In that case, I think this is one of the best deals in barbells at the moment.

I wish I didn’t wait so long to get a Chan bar, it actually could have been my first barbell ever if I wasn’t scared of the center knurling. The adjustments to the knurling and addition of center knurl make it, in my opinion, the best of the Ohio bar clones and the best “CrossFit” bar that Rogue makes. Remember with any barbell you get from Rogue, you can’t go wrong.

Get your Rogue Matt Chan Bar here!

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Pure-Strength 20kg Barbell Review

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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

Grab your Pure-Strength barbell here!

 

 

Review: Rogue Fitness Froning SR-1F Speed Rope

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I’m a big fan of anything that has the name “Rogue” on it.  I’m not just a Rogue Fitness fanboy, purchase just about anything from them and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.  The original SR-1 bearing speed rope they make provides one of the best bangs for the buck when it comes to “fast” jump ropes; I say that because I still believe that fast jump ropes aren’t good for everybody, besides the most efficient of jumpers.  Personally I preferred the long handled variant over the short, because to me it was easier to whip around, but you can’t argue that it’s any better, because the Chris Spealler variant is based of of the shorter handles, and he’s killing the double under game.  That special version was nothing more than a palette swap of the SR-1S though.  Now, the champ, Rich Froning has his own variant and while it resembles the SR-1 with long handles, it’s got some thoughtful additions.

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The SR-1F sports the same length tapered handles, but now has a grey rubber on the ends of the handles for added grip.  They do get dirty right away, but that’s purely cosmetic and the grip is a welcome improvement.  There are now end caps at the bottoms of each handles, that add a little bit more weight, but nothing that’s going to hamper your wrist speed.  Rogue’s website says they still use the same 4 bearing set-up, but the eyelet is shaped a little differently with a little gasket between the it and the handles, probably to keep dirt and hand gunk out.  It could just be my mind playing tricks on me, but the SR-1’s have one of the best free spinning handles on the market; and the SR-1F seem to be better than it’s predecessor.

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The Achilles heel of the original SR-1 was the cable provided with the handles.  You could get it going, but in the air it seemed to try to re-coil itself if you slowed the rope down at all.  My preferred setup of the original SR-1 included the excellent cable that Jump N Rope sells.  The grey cable on the SR-1F is improved; it seems to not retain it’s coiled shape, making it easy to untangle and maintain it’s domed shape while jumping.   The hard PVC coating is similar to the original, however, it does feel slightly lighter, so if you have timing issues, this might not be the cable to learn on.  I’ll stick with this cable until it implodes, which will probably be a while.

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If you’re coming from just about any speed rope, you’ll feel right at home.  The learning curve of the SR-1F isn’t very steep if you’re used to the sort.  Beginners should probably spend some time on heavier ropes; I don’t like recommending speed ropes until you’re able to string more than 20 unbroken double-unders with proper mechanics. I’m a speed rope junkie, with a few big name brands in my bag, but I prefer the Froning SR-1F to them so far.  I had no trouble adjusting from my RPM, which was my main rope, though I previously spent a lot of time with the original SR-1.

What completes the package is the price at which the SR-1F can be had, under $30 shipped ($23.95 excluding shipping and tax)! Most people are charging upwards of $50 for their ropes that provide the same performance. See, not everything Rogue sells will break the bank!  For the price, this rope is damn near unbeatable.  It looks awesome, performs just as well as any other speed rope,  and doesn’t cost as much as the top tier ropes.

I don’t know how much input Rich actually put into helping design this rope, but it’s definitely made for a champion.

Shop Now Rogue Fitness

 

 

Vulcan Strength Standard Olympic Barbell Review

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The barbell marketplace has become overrun with imported bars as of late. I for one, don’t actually mind since the quality of manufacturing has gone up considerably for these bars, and prices are being driven downwards overall. Competition in the marketplace, like in our sports, is healthy.  Some import bars are actually pretty damn good, for example: the Vaughn Bar, Team Barbell 2.0, and the Klokov bar; but all of those bars have the same issue in common: the fit and finish.  All the barbells I own that were manufactured in the United States have this extra bit of quality to them that is missing from import bars. This doesn’t mean that the import bars are shoddily made, but that extra little bit goes a long way when it comes to barbell ownership. Most of us don’t own more than a single barbell for ourselves and it heavily factors into your lifting experience, so why not spend the extra $20-30 bucks to ensure yourself a quality piece of equipment that will last for years to come and the Vulcan Standard is just that barbell.

Specifications:

  • 20 Kg Olympic Bar
  • Made in USA
  • 28.5 mm Shaft Diameter
  • Bright Zinc Finish
  • 194,000 PSI Tensile Strength
  • IWF Markings, No Center Knurl
  • Medium Knurling
  • Grooved Sleeves
  • Oil Impregnated (Self Lubricating) Bronze Bushings
  • Double Snap Ring Construction
  • One Piece Sleeve Construction
  • Free Shipping
  • Lifetime Warranty

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This bar is a piece of art.  From the bronze bushings to the perfectly shaped diamond pattern of the knurl, everything oozes good ol’ American made quality.  An immaculate coating of bright zinc adorns the shaft and sleeves, probably the best I’ve ever seen on a barbell and even comes close to the Rogue WL bar’s polished chrome finish in terms of shine.  The diameter of the shaft is the standard 28.5mm that you’ll find on most multi-purpose/CrossFit bars.  With a minimum of 194k tensile strength, you won’t ever have to worry about putting a permanent bend in this bar.  You’ll only find a single IWF marking here, which I kind of find odd since the bar is 28.5mm rather than the IWF standard of 28mm, but don’t get me wrong, this is still a great Oly bar.  Hint hint: I would add an IPF marking for the next iteration.

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The absolute number one thing that sells this barbell for me is the knurling, quite possibly the most important aspect of a barbell.  To put it frankly, this is my favorite knurling of all time. To be fair, I’ve never used any higher end Olympic lifting barbells either, but compared to what I have used (Rogue WL, American Barbell, Pendlay), the Standard takes the cake. It’s super fine with a medium depth so it almost feels like it’s grabbing you back when you lay your hands on it; I imagine this is what Eleiko’s are like to a lesser degree.  If you don’t like light to medium knurl, you might not find it as perfect as I do, but I don’t think there’s anyway someone could dislike this pattern.  I would say it’s perfect for functional training and weightlifting; it’ll work for powerlifting but don’t expect the same grip a Texas power bar is going to give you.

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As more and more manufacturers switch to bearing or hybrid assemblies in the sleeves, the Standard sticks to the tried and true bronze self lubricating bushing.  Less fuss leads to more robust construction while still providing an adequate amount of rotation for the sleeve.  Bearings really aren’t designed to take the repeated drops of functional training, so if that’s your gig, you might want to stick with a nice bushing bar for the long run.  Sleeve rotation on the Standard is above average and silky smooth compared to other brand name bushing bars; it’ll even hang with some of the bearing bars out there.  If you’re wondering if this is going to affect your 100kg clean, it probably won’t.  Bushings will spin plenty fast for most normal to high end lifters. Vulcan states that the Standard has a medium whip profile, I found that accurate but it doesn’t take much weight for the bar to get going.

The sleeve itself is milled from a single piece of steel.  Lightly ribbed so that plates stay on alright without having to put on collars. Tolerances are really tight, there isn’t much play side to side.  Dropping the barbell with bumper plates yields a solid clang compared to the cheap rattle of barbells with more play in the sleeves.  I expect over time and repeatedly dropping the bar, it will rattle more, like any other bar.  It just is what it is.  One small but very important note is that the container the Standard is shipped in is as sturdy as the bar itself! The bar ships from Virginia and during it’s voyage over to SoCal, the shipping tube hardly sustained any kind of damage and the bar slid out without any hitches.

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Honestly the fatal flaw of the Vulcan Standard barbell is that it doesn’t say Rogue or Pendlay on it.  It’s a shame that most people will overlook (or won’t even know it existed) this barbell for the bigger brands, while this bar does everything better or the same as their comparable models, with better fit and finish.  At a retail of $285 shipped, it falls right in line with what a Rogue Bar 2.0 would cost shipped to SoCal. If you’re reading this, the Vulcan Standard might be the best barbell in it’s price range so please give it your attention and help spread the word about Vulcan and what they’re doing with the Standard.

American made.

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Review: OSO Barbell Collars (Olympic/2″)

Remember that one workout?  The one where you could have PR’d your time or reps, but your collars kept coming un-done?  Yeah, we all have had that experience at least once in our lives.  It always seems like no matter which collars you pick, or switch to, you’re always having to readjust them multiple times in your workout.  Sans the times you check them just to catch a breather.  Not only can this be tedious, it can also be dangerous.  I’ve seen collars come undone mid-workout and plates slide right off during the middle of lifts.  This can be not only harmful for the athlete, but could also lead to legal problems for the affiliate.  There are a lot of options when it comes to collars, but so far none have hit the mark like the OSO barbell collars have.

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Honestly, the OSO barbell collars look a little out of place in the gym.  The clamp is shaped like a cog and the colorway’s are akin to paint schemes you might see on an exotic car (my orange clamps remind me of the orange Amuse S2000!).  It doesn’t take long before you warm up to the shape and at least someones trying to freshen up the tried and true design of the barbell collar.  I don’t have a full spec sheet but I think it’s safe to say that the “gear” part of the collar is a lightweight, anodized aluminum, while the “lever” is plastic.  Inside the gear, you’ll find rubber lining that serves as a grommet between the collar and the barbell. Weight and dimension-wise, the collars aren’t much different than your standard HG collars, but definitely heavier than spring clips.  Also, made in the United States of America! ‘Merrrrica.

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Operating the collars is easy enough: pull the lever open until it clicks, slide the collar on the barbell, and clamp it down.  While you don’t have to open it until you get it to click in place, that setting definitely helps you slide the collar on and off.  Unfortunately there’s no click like that when you lock the collar down, but fortunately it stays in place just fine.  We tested the OSO collars with high-repetition cleans, heavy overhead drops, and hell, we just threw the bar around to see what would happen; the collars stayed put.  Now that’s not to say they didn’t move ever so slightly; I don’t think any collar that isn’t a screw type will ever accomplish that.  The collars did stay put, WOD after WOD, drop after drop, without having to readjust them other than to add weight on.  Much, much better so than the HG collars and spring clips that continually pop off after a couple drops.

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A pair of OSO collars will run you $55 shipped to your door.  A set of Rogue HG collars go for $40, metal HG collars go for $50, and spring clips are just a couple bucks.The metal versions of the HG collars are great clamping down, but they’re a PAIN in the ass to take off!  If you’re a garage gym’er looking for a solid pair of collars, this is a no-brainer.  If you’re a serious affiliate goer and your box doesn’t have optimal collars, once again, no-brainer.  For affiliates, they aren’t much more expensive than HG’s but OSO also offers bulk discounts and will probably never have to be replaced either way (hint hint: invest in gear for your athletes!).  If something were to happen (Murphy’s law), OSO offers a 2 year warranty that covers pretty much everything that could happen while on a barbell.  They do not cover throwing, kicking, or stepping on the collars though; as explained in the nice thank you card that comes with the collars.

Ever since I got my OSO barbell collars in, everyone in the box has been asking me about them, or if I’d sell mine to them after I’m done reviewing.  Sorry guys, I usually unload the stuff I get to review, but these are too sweet and I have to keep them.  I too, was just using spring clips at home, but never again!  If you’re into functional fitness or Olympic weightlifting, you owe it to yourself to ditch those old, worn clips that you’ve been using and invest in some OSO barbell collars.  PR’s not guaranteed, but most definitely probable.

Get your OSO Barbell Collars here!

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