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Old 01-07-2013, 01:06 PM   #1
Eric Huesman
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Barbell Comparison Chart (Again Faster, Rogue, Vulcan, Hammerhead, Bomba)

First, this is only a comparison chart of the specifications. It is not a review or comparison based on personally using the listed barbells. I hope this might be helpful for someone.

Like many, I have been trying to decide on a good barbell, but I am not even considering anything above $300 dollars total cost. That automatically excludes bars like Eleiko, Ivanko, Pendlay, and Werksan. I know there are some Pendlays that are close in price, but I couldn't find any that I could get to my house for that price and I had to draw the line somewhere.

After cost, my next parameter was a lifetime guarantee. That ended up excluding a lot of bars on the lower end. I know that some brands (like Rogue) carry other barbells that may be great, but if they don't stand behind it with a lifetime guarantee then I'm not standing under it.

What I have here is a chart comparing what I think are considered the "flagship" barbells of what has become some of the most common (IMHO) CrossFit equipment suppliers (Again Faster, Rogue, Hammerhead, Vulcan, Fringe Sports). I did not include Cap or Troy barbells because they have too many variations with obscure model numbers that make comparison difficult.

If I left out something obvious, please let me know and I will add it, whether it be another brand or a specification category. I think what this chart shows is they are all pretty comparable, at least on paper. The AF barbell is the cheapest, but it only comes in bright zinc and my personal opinion is that I want a black bar.

Note: The total price includes tax (if applicable) and shipping to California.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:11 PM   #2
Greg Light
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Re: Barbell Comparison Chart (Again Faster, Rogue, Vulcan, Hammerhead, Bomba)

Nice resource!

I've heard good things about this one too (WFS): http://www.maverickathleticcompany.c...s-training-bar

May want to add that to the list.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:25 PM   #3
Eric Huesman
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Re: Barbell Comparison Chart (Again Faster, Rogue, Vulcan, Hammerhead, Bomba)

Thanks Greg. I hadn't come across the Maverick bar before. The website doesn't provide much information on the specs, so I'll try and contact them. If they send what I need then I'll add it to the chart.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:13 PM   #4
Anjali Patwari
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Re: Barbell Comparison Chart (Again Faster, Rogue, Vulcan, Hammerhead, Bomba)

Great chart! 3 things:

1) I believe the Bomba 20kg Bar is a Black Zinc finish (much more rust resistant than a Black Oxide finish)
2) Is the AF Bar Lifetime Guarantee? I see the "100% Satisfaction Guarantee" and I know Jon is a stand up guy, but I have never seen it in writing that it is a "Lifetime Guarantee"
3) Does it matter to you whether its American made? Just a suggestion for another column
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:51 PM   #5
Eric Huesman
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Re: Barbell Comparison Chart (Again Faster, Rogue, Vulcan, Hammerhead, Bomba)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anjali Patwari View Post
Great chart! 3 things:

1) I believe the Bomba 20kg Bar is a Black Zinc finish (much more rust resistant than a Black Oxide finish)
2) Is the AF Bar Lifetime Guarantee? I see the "100% Satisfaction Guarantee" and I know Jon is a stand up guy, but I have never seen it in writing that it is a "Lifetime Guarantee"
3) Does it matter to you whether its American made? Just a suggestion for another column
Thanks Anjali. The Bomba is listed as "black oxide" on their website, and Alex from Fringe Sports stated it was "black zinc" in an email he sent me. Since some (like Vulcan) state the finish is "black zinc oxide", I figured they were the same thing. Some quick research seems to say otherwise, but same research also indicated it was disputable on which is better. Black zinc is an actual coating (and provides more corrosion resistance?) and black oxide is a process that actually changes the color of the metal (and more durable?). I haven't made my own decision on which bar to get yet, so if you can give more education on this topic I'd appreciate it.

I had the same concerns as you regarding the wording of AF's bar, but one of their videos (and even their competitors) refer to AF as being one of the brands with a lifetime warranty. It seems the one caveat is the "100% guarantee" only extends to the original buyer. The other brands are silent on this aspect, but that is a pretty common business policy.

I didn't include the "Made in the USA" for two reasons: (1) Ran out of room and wanted to keep the font readable; (2) I'm personally willing to only pay a small surcharge for American-made, best value in regards to price versus quality is my primary factor. If two products are equal and the the USA product is only a few dollars more, then that might sway me.

FWIW: Again Faster, Rogue, and the Bomba are USA made. Vulcan and Hammerhead don't state, but someone else's research pointed to Taiwan. I can try and fit it on the chart if there is an indication it is important to others.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:49 AM   #6
Steve Jaeger
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Re: Barbell Comparison Chart (Again Faster, Rogue, Vulcan, Hammerhead, Bomba)

Thanks much for posting the comments about our Men's Bar and thanks also for pointing out the coating discrepancy. Let me clarify...

The shaft coating on our bars is Manganese Phosphate. The finish is Matte Black. We went with this method of coating because of it's better rust resistance properties than Black Oxide and we found it to have a better feel. We opted to stay away from Black Zinc.

In addition to that Men's Bar, we also offer a Ladies Bar with a 201 CM, 25MM shaft weighing in at 35lbs with all the same properties as the Men's bar - coating, bushings, markings, etc.

We are making some changes to the bars that we feel make them an even better choice [but we'll leave that to you]. The Sleeves are now going to be Zinc Coated and we've got a re-designed end cap with no center hole. It was only aesthetic originally but we thought better of having a hole on the end of the bar unnecessarily. The new bars will be out in about 5 weeks.

Finally, yes, the Hammerhead bars are made in Taiwan. The manufacturer was highly recommended by some CrossFit friends in New Zealand that had used them extensively and after putting some sample bars through the paces ourselves, we agreed that they are stellar.

We do manufacture much of our product line in the US [Pullup Rigs, Squat Racks, Plyo Boxes, Rings, Ring Hangers, Sleds, Climbing Ropes, etc] and we are on the lookout to do more and more locally.

Again, thanks for the mention!
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:02 AM   #7
Jon Gilson
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Re: Barbell Comparison Chart (Again Faster, Rogue, Vulcan, Hammerhead, Bomba)

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to give clarification on the guarantee.

Simply, we stand behind our gear 100%. Always. Call us, and we make it right.

The words "satisfaction" and "happiness" mean just that to me: if we ever encounter a problem, we'll solve it to your satisfaction, and you'll leave happy. I've run Again Faster on that basis since 2006, and will continue to do so until my last breath.

Here's why:

I don't want you to be a customer just once, as I've no interest in a single-transaction relationship. Every time you need gear, your clients need gear, your neighbors need gear, I want you to think of us. We provide tools to change lives, and if those tool break, your ability to make a difference is hamstrung.

To me, that's unacceptable.

Further, I design equipment to last, and I build it to specification. If you manage to break it, you've done me a great service, pointing out a fault in our design. The least I can do is compensate you by replacing, repairing, or refunding the broken item.

I wrote our guarantee. Lawyers had nothing to do with it. I wrote it to give me and you maximum flexibility in dealing with problems in a collaborative environment.

You can think "lifetime". I certainly do. At the same time, I shied away from that language because it is extraordinarily abused in the equipment industry. Read the fine print, and you'll see that many companies that offer this are insuring the gear for ITS lifetime, not YOURS. What a crock.

Hope that helps.

Best,

Jon Gilson
Owner, Again Faster
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:24 AM   #8
Brian Lelli
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Re: Barbell Comparison Chart (Again Faster, Rogue, Vulcan, Hammerhead, Bomba)

These are the things I love out CF and the community. Owners of companies posting on public forums with the "rest of us" and giving real words about their company and products. No "lawyer" talk of any kind.

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:22 AM   #9
Struan Potter
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Re: Barbell Comparison Chart (Again Faster, Rogue, Vulcan, Hammerhead, Bomba)

Keep up the great work Jon.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:37 PM   #10
Eric Huesman
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Re: Barbell Comparison Chart (Again Faster, Rogue, Vulcan, Hammerhead, Bomba)

Steve and Jon,

Thanks much to both of you for chiming in on the post, and Jon thanks for clarifying (or confirming ) what the AF guarantee is.

In regards to the women's bar, I probably should have mentioned it in my post, but the chart I put together was just for the 20kg bars. I did the chart strictly for my own purposes (I guess I'm selfish like that, lol) to help me make a decision. It was easier to see the information that I thought was important all in one place, and I was getting confused (happens easily) by switching back and forth between browser tabs!

FWIW, I think all of the brands in the chart have a 15kg (or close) version of the same bar.
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