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Old 07-24-2012, 08:02 AM   #1
Andy Armstrong
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: St Ives  Cambridgeshire
Posts: 207
York Fitness (NOT York Barbell) olympic barbell plates review. *AVOID*

***THIS POST IS ABOUT YORK FITNESS (based in the UK), NOT YORK BARBELL (based in the US)***
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Some people on this forum are aware of the problems I have had with my York Fitness oly plates for some time. I have tryed to refrain from being too public about the matter as I have/had respect for the brand. I am also a firm believer in giving a company a chance to redeem themselves and put right a wrong. One more time, I am going to stress that this is aimed at York Fitness not York Barbell. I'll explain the difference later in the review.

Heres a bit of background knowledge on the matter; I have bought these plates over the last 3 years in stages, building my collection slowly. All my plates were bought new from reputable dealers such as Watsons Gym Equipment, and Amazon, with the orders being fulfilled by York (fitness). As time went on I was noticing more and more defects with the workmanship on the plates. Because of this I decided to call York to see if they could resolve the matter. I will not go into the customer service that I recieved as it is not really relevent to this post, but lets just say it consisted of a months worth of multiple emails back and forth, lots of false promises, missed deadlines, and unreturned emails and calls.

So whats the difference between York Barbell and York Fitness? This link on the York Fitness site explains the confusion a bit, but it is basically dressing it up a little. The jist of it is (in my opinion, and memory) that York Barbell over in the US was the awesome brand that we have come to know and love. They have/had a strong history in the lifting game, with excellent equipment that has stood the test of time. York Fitness on the other hand were always a budget home brand, similar to the cheaper weider stuff like benches and weights. There big bold red and black branding were similar, and there names were practically the same (YF used to just call themselves YORK). A deal (I can only imagine how much money was involved) brought the 2 companies together in 2004. This is a good thing for us in the UK right?... wrong. York Fitness are still making the cheap rubbish they did years ago, only now they are riding the coattails of the brand name that started it all.

It is my opinion that York Barbell should go back to doing what they do best, and distance themselves as much as they can from this company as the good name of YB is being dragged through the mud by York Fitness.

These are the plates I am refering to:

Shown below is the first email I sent to York Fitness following my phonecall to them. It explains what most of my issues were with the plates. In following email traffic I was able to find all my receipts stretching over 3 years. Half the plates were in warrenty, half werent- hense I wanted to see what they as a company were prepared to do about it.

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Reference York Fitness Olympic Weights.

I have bought approximatly 500kgs worth of York olympic weight plates. I bought them based on Yorks good reputation, and the fact that I have had York standard weights from my early teens through to my 30s. On arrival I have been very dissapointed with the drop in quality, and lack of QC. Apart from the design and colour of the plates, I have nothing good that I can say about them.

The difference in weights of the 20s are well beyond normal tolerance levels.
The paint is so weak that the slightest knock or contact causes it to chip. (My whole gym is covered in high quality rubber matting, and even that is not enough to protect them).
The paint used on the weights appears to have been done in a very contaminated environment, as all of my 20s look like they have been sprayed over rust/dust/or flakes of metal from other parts of the manufacturing process.
The castings are so bad that in all my years as a gym user, and gym instructor, I have never seen worse. They are pitted, have sharp edges, some have bulges out of the side, and some have dips in them. Some look like they have been attacked with an angle grinder.
The outside of the plates have a camber that never allows them to sit flat on the floor when set up for deadlifts or similar. This combined with a sharp edge means that the metal on some of my plates has already chipped after minimal use of which all is on rubber mats within my home gym.
One of my plates arrived completly snapped in half. I had this refunded at the time by Watsons Gym Equipment, but it showed me just how weak the plates were and I have babied them ever since.
One of my 20kg plates is almost curved. -When it is stacked on top of another plate, you can see a big gap all the way through to the bar.
The holes are all so big that they don't sit well even on a York bar. I have 3 olympic bars from other manufacturers, aswell as a high quality Texas Power Bar, and they all have up to 5mm slack at the bottom which causes the weights to rattle all over the place even with bulldog collars.
For all the reasons above, it is my opinion that these weights are not fit for purpose.

I bought these plates on the assumption that they are high quality pieces of equipment by a high quality brand. When I see photos of the high quality of the plates being produced by York Barbell over in the states I feel very dissapointed by my purchase. I have bought them all over the past two years (new) from Watsons, and I don't have any reciepts. Most of the deliveries I have had have been fullfiled by yourselves so I am hoping you may still have some record of this. Photos can be supplied of all the defects and quantities on request.

Please advise how you are going to resolve this matter. You can call me on the number below to discuss.

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Now here are some photos you may just find interesting. I only have a crap camera but hopefully you can see where I am coming from.

If you look closely you will notice a large gap between the plates. At the time I took this photo I didn't even notice it was there. It is caused by the plate being completely warped like a salvador dali clock, leaving a 5mm gap between the plates. Many were like this.

My plan was to take a load more photos and close ups showing the plates, but I was glad to just get rid of them in the end. I have a few more which I will try and add as the thread progresses, I just need to find them.

Edit 1: Heres a few more pics, sorry for the bad photography;

This pic is of a couple of the small plates. Look at the edges, one plate has a chunk missing, and the other has a chunk added. THis is due to very dodgy casting.

This pic shows the same lumps and bumps, but more importanly it shows the side profile of the plates which is a major flaw. All the plates are this shape, which means they don't sit flat on the flaw when deadlifting. Even when you put collars on tight, they push the collars away. There is absolutly no comparison to these and milled Yorks.

This pic shows the amount of clearance be on the hole that the advertise proudly as 'machine bored'. ...I'm guessing they used a washing machine!

This one shows the 'Salvador Dali clock' plates. It was hard to show properly on camerabut basically I squeezed the plates together flush at the bottom, this is the gap it made at the top. I couldn't believe my eyes the first time I saw it.

This pic shows a large chip of metal off one of the sharp edges of the plate, which as stated in the complaint is just an inherant design flaw. All my weights are carefully used on rubber matting or a power rack, so there is no excuse for this. Again, sorry for the dodgey camera work, the metal bounced the flash back.

Want to know how strong the Iron is and whether they will stand the test of time? Check this plate out;

In summary, UK buyers- AVOID YORK FITNESS UNLESS YOU GET THEM VERY, VERY CHEAP. Even then, buy them with a view to selling them on as they are honestly the worse plates I have ever come across.

Sorry for the wall of text, I just hope this post helps someone.

Last edited by Andy Armstrong; 07-24-2012 at 08:18 AM..
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