I’ve tested and reviewed dozens of EZ curl bars.
Nothing out there can match the innovation of the Gungnir Curler.
You may have already heard of Gungnir and their integrated SlideLock collar system.
If you haven’t, you’re about to get acquainted.
This curl bar has premium finishes, an excellent bend profile, and a refined knurl pattern.
There are, however, some possible areas of improvement.
In this review, we’ll take a close look at the Gungnir Curler to see all that it offers. I’ll highlight the pros and cons and compare it to the popular Rogue Curl Bar.
Let’s dig in.
The Gungnir Curler
When they first teased the concept of a new curl bar, I was as excited as CT Fletcher on arm day.
To me, the SlideLock just makes sense on a curl bar. It’s efficient and effective, and because curl bar movements aren’t as dynamic as dumbbell or Oly movements, small plate gaps go largely unnoticed. I’ll explain more about this below.
With great angles, high-end finish selections, and beautifully machined knurling, the Curler is no doubt a premium curl bar.
- Bar Weight: 24.25lbs
- Shaft Diameter: 28mm
- Knurl: Medium
- Bar Length: 53.14″
- Shaft Length: 34.25″
- Sleeve Length: 9″
- Shaft Finish: Stainless Steel
- Sleeve Finish: Electroless Nickel
- Spin: Bronze Bushings
- Made in: Norway
The Gungnir ecosystem is generally impressive. Their design, craftsmanship, and machining are truly state-of-the-art. The Curler lives up to that standard. This bar exhibits a level of quality that you won’t find on many other EZ curl bars.
At ~24lbs, the Curler sits in the middle of the curl bar weight spectrum. The Rogue and REP curl bars are 30lbs, while the Synergee and Titan curl bars at 19lbs and 14lbs, respectively. This is mainly due to the Gungnir bar being slightly shorter than Rogue/REP and having a thinner shaft diameter.
Like the Allrounder bar, the Curler has a 28mm shaft, which is consistent with Olympic weightlifting bars. Smaller-handed lifters will likely appreciate this diameter. Despite not having large hands, I prefer a thicker diameter on a curl bar, but the difference between 28mm and 28.5mm (Rogue) on this type of barbell is minor.
The finish selections on this bar are excellent. Stainless Steel and electroless nickel are two of the best finishes, and Gungnir has used both to build a visually beautiful bar that feels great in the hands. I’ll discuss both of these finishes in the following sections.
When it comes to a curl bar, the bends are one of the most important factors. These angles help target the biceps muscles while greatly reducing wrist discomfort commonly felt on a straight bar.
In my experience, the bends on the Curler are effective and comfortable. It has a moderate profile that’s slightly steeper than the REP and Rogue Bars. The narrow setting is especially good with the more pronounced angle.
Compared to budget bars, these bends are far superior. Instead of “rolling hills,” the Curler has clearly defined hand zones for both narrow and wide grip settings.
I classify the knurling on this bar as moderate and refined. The pattern is consistent with their other offerings and has a flat-topped profile with noticeable depth. This creates a comfortable and grippy texture that feels appropriate for a curl bar.
Like the sleeves, the machining is excellent. After inspecting this knurling from end to end, I didn’t notice any areas of concern. There are no signs of double-tracking or feathering, and the knurl termination spots are very clean.
However, as much as I like this knurling, Gungnir could extend the coverage. To be fair, this is a common complaint I have on most curl bars since they often include knurling only in their respective hand zones. I would love to see Gungnir extend this knurling through the bends and toward the center slightly.
The issue is that you may have some part of your hand on smooth steel. Because grip isn’t a limiting factor on a curl bar, it’s not a functional concern as much as a mental one. By that, it may feel a little awkward, but it won’t affect your performance. Smaller-handed lifters like myself may never experience it, but those with larger hands will likely have some smooth steel interference.
Coverage aside, the knurling is excellent. The stainless steel finish produces a completely raw feel in the hand and is one of the best rust-fighters.
The biggest selling feature of the Curler is easily the sleeve design. Gungnir has made its name with its revolutionary and patented SlideLock collar system. Instead of using external collars, this bar includes an integrated collar that slides along the sleeve and secures your plates. It’s a beautiful concept that functions exceedingly well… with two caveats.
These sleeves are CNC-machined with a series of individual grooves. At the end of the bar is a recessed area where a titanium lock lives. Pulling up on this lock allows you to slide it along two side rails until you’ve reached your plates. When you’re ready, simply let go of the lock, and it will snap into the proper groove.
Once the lock is secured, it’s held there by a series of inner grooves and a powerful magnet. Trust me, the lock isn’t going anywhere. There have been several crazy tests showing the strength of these locks, including picking up a car.
The entire operation is just a pleasure to use. It creates a very satisfying noise, click, and sensation from end to end. If you’re into ASMR, you’re going to love this bar. And this is coming from someone who typically hates grooved sleeves.
As much as I love this mechanism, there are two caveats to consider. The first is that there may be a small gap between the plates and the lock. Each groove is 2.3mm wide, and while that is incredibly small, gaps may persist depending on what plates you’re using. For example, the SlideLock sits perfectly flush using a 25lb REP Equalizer. However, when I add a 5lb plate, a gap emerges.
Thankfully, it’s much less an issue on the Curler than on the Allrounder and Dumblers (dumbbell handles). That’s because a curl bar is used in a linear, less dynamic way. On the Allrounder, you may be performing dynamic Oly movements where you’re turning the bar over quickly. On the Dumbblers, you may be performing hammer curls where the plates naturally want to move up and down.
The second caveat is that engaging the lock will automatically cut down the loadable length by 1.5″. While the full sleeve length is 9″, the effective loadable length is only 7.5″ because of the first locking position. However, there’s a simple workaround. If you need the additional length, you can just use normal collars since the Gungnir lock sits flush with the sleeve when disengaged.
Lastly, these sleeves are operated via bronze bushings and are finished in a gorgeous electroless nickel coating. It complements the stainless steel nicely, creating the most beautiful curl bar on the market, in my opinion.
Rackable vs. Non-Rackable
Currently, the Curler is only available in a non-rackable version. While I think there are benefits to having a non-rackable bar (smaller & less expensive), having a rackable option is nice.
With a rackable curl bar, you can more easily load plates, and it makes some movements easier to perform (e.g., skull crushers). It also allows you to perform movements like front squats that can be much more challenging with a non-rackable curl bar.
Seriously though, try front squatting with a curl bar – it’s actually legit.
I would love to see Gungnir offer a rackable option, even if it’s a limited number and knowing it will be more expensive.
Price & Warranty
The Curler from Gungnir costs $449, making it one of the most expensive curl bars on the market. The reality is that there are several high-quality curl bars that cost a fraction of the Curler. The other reality is that no other curl bar offers these features and this level of craftsmanship.
Gungnir also offers a lifetime warranty on the Curler, which most curl bars don’t provide.
Gungnir Curler vs. the Rogue Curl Bar
Those looking to purchase a curl bar are likely to come across the Rogue Curl Bar. It is undoubtedly a fantastic bar. There are things I like more about the Rogue bar than the Curler, and the opposite is also true.
The Rogue Curl Bar is available in rackable and non-rackable versions. It’s slightly longer than the Curler at 54.5″ vs. 53.1″ and heavier by ~6lbs. It also has a 28.5mm shaft diameter vs. the 28mm on the Curler. Aside from having a rackable version, these differences don’t move the needle very much.
My favorite feature of the Rogue Curl Bar, and what I think stands out among all curl bars, is its knurl coverage. That bar has knurling that extends to the collar and provides an additional half-inch of knurl coverage near the center. That said, I prefer the pattern and texture of Gungnir’s knurling over Rogue’s.
Both bars have great bend profiles. The Curler has a steeper narrow grip setting that I like more than Rogue’s. However, Rogue’s additional knurl coverage essentially gives you three hand placements: narrow, wide, and ultra-wide. You only get narrow and wide on the Curler (and all other curl bars). To be fair, the majority of lifters will use the two common widths.
There is no comparison when it comes to sleeves. Gungnir is better in every way except for sleeve length. Rogue has 10.5″ sleeves vs. 9″ (7.5″ with SlideLock), so if you’re a heavy lifter, this may be a consideration. Otherwise, a standard sleeve can’t hang with the unique innovation and performance of the SlideLock. The Rogue Curl Bar generally has the loudest sleeves of any curl bar I’ve tested, and the bright zinc finish is no match for the electroless nickel.
The Rogue Curl Bar is available in e-coat and Cerakote finishes. I like how they provide two options based on budget and preferences, but I like stainless steel much more than either of those. I think Stainless looks and feels better, but if you like the black look, Rogue is hard to beat.
Price-wise, Rogue is considerably less expensive, which isn’t always the case. Rogue ranges from $225 for the e-coat non-rackable bar to $305 for the rackable Cerakote option. Shipping is also about 1/3 the cost. To my door in South Carolina, the non-rackable Cerakote Rogue Curl Bar is about $210 less expensive than the Curler.
Ultimately, both of these are excellent curl bars. The Gungnir Curler is certainly the more premium option with innovative features and superior finishes. The Rogue Curl Bar is better for most people with a lower cost and more knurling coverage.
Because this is a newer bar, there aren’t many public reviews on Gungnir’s website. As more owners share their thoughts, I’ll update this section. The feedback thus far, however, has been very positive.
Pros and Cons
- Best craftsmanship in the barbell industry
- The SlideLock collar system eliminates external collars
- The Bend profile is comfortable and effective
- Stainless steel shaft & electroless nickel sleeves
- Very refined, moderate knurling
- Lifetime warranty
- Expensive for the average home gym owner
- No rackable version
- Small plate gaps may occur
Gungnir has made another impressive barbell with the Curler. I continue to be blown away by their machining and craftsmanship, and I greatly appreciate the innovation. At the end of the day, this is a luxury curl bar.
I would ask yourself these three questions if you’re considering this bar:
- Do you want the best of the best?
- Do you have the budget to support it?
- Do you like the idea of the SlideLock and not fiddling with external collars?
If you answered yes to all three, I recommend buying the Gungnir Curler without hesitation. Otherwise, you’re probably better off saving for it or going with a less expensive option.