As one of the most decorated Olympic weightlifters of all time, Lu Xiaojun needs very little introduction.
His success on the platform is well documented, and he's a household name within the sport.
Recently, Lu launched a gym equipment company with an international presence.
The initial offerings of bars, plates, a squat stand, and other weightlifting-related gear are all available in the USA, and they have so far been well received.
My first Lu Xiaojun piece is the E1 Training Bar, a 28mm needle bearing multipurpose bar.
I've had the barbell since September 2020, and I've been able to use it in a variety of ways in my training. From squats to deadlifts… overhead press to power cleans… and everywhere in between… I have a good idea of what this bar is capable of and who it's most right for.
In this review, we'll take a close look at the E1 Training Bar and I'll compare it to a couple of other multipurpose bars that I own.
Let's dig in.
The LUXIAOJUN E1 Training Bar is rated based on the Garage Gym Lab Universal Barbell Score. Read more about the ‘UBS' here.
LUXIAOJUN E1 Training Bar
The LUXIAOJUN E1 bar is a multipurpose bar with some unique characteristics. Traditionally, multipurpose bars utilize a 28.5mm shaft although there are some, like the E1 training bar that offer a 28mm diameter. Most multipurpose bars also utilize a bushing system, or at most, a hybrid bushing/bearing system. The E1 Training bar uses needle bearings throughout – no bushings.
Both of these features make the E1 bar a rather unique offering in the multipurpose class. The bar is also offered in two finishes: hard chrome and black chrome. The bar I'm reviewing is the black chrome version. At only $215 for the black chrome bar, it represents a very nice value relative to some other multipurpose bars that may or may not offer a traditionally more expensive bearing system.
At the end of this review, I'll compare the bar to two others that I own in this class: The American Barbell California Bar (28mm bushing bar @ $335) and the Bells of Steel Utility Bar (28.5mm bushing bar @ $199).
If you're looking for a budget-friendly multipurpose bar that's catered more towards Olympic lifting, the E1 Training bar from Lu Xiaojun is one to watch.
Let's have a look at the overall specs and then we'll get into the review:
Bar Weight: 20kg
Shaft Diameter: 28mm
Center Knurl: No
Knurl Marks: Dual/Multipurpose
Shaft Coating: Black Chrome (also comes in Hard Chrome)
Tensile Strength: 200,000 PSI
Bar Length: 86.6″
Distance Between Collar Faces: 51.5″
Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.33″
Sleeve Coating: Black Chrome (also comes in Hard Chrome)
Bushing/Bearing: 8 Needle Bearings
Made in: China
Shaft & Knurling
The E1 Training Bar uses a 28mm shaft, which is thinner than the 28.5mm that most other multipurpose bars use. This diameter leans more towards the Olympic Weightlifting side (28mm) than it does powerlifting (29mm) despite it offering dual knurl marks. If you mainly train Olympic lifts, you'll likely enjoy this bar and the additional whip you get with it. If you mainly train powerlifting movements, you may find a thicker diameter to be more appropriate in your daily training.
That said, there are 28mm bars that I enjoy using in my mainly powerlifting-style training from time-to-time. Not only is a 28mm bar easier to set up with a hook grip, but it also provides some extra whip that can be fun and useful for overload training on the deadlift. The American Barbell California Bar is one such bar that I've been using in this context for several years. Of course, the E1 Training Bar also has bearings which, again, lends itself more towards Olympic lifts than power lifts. Dual knurl marks still make it possible to perform both, however.
The tensile strength on this bar is 200,000 PSI, which puts it firmly in the multipurpose wheelhouse. LUXIAOJUN does not report a tested yield strength.
The knurling on the E1 Training Bar offers a passive feel thanks to its flatter and slightly volcanic pattern. It reminds me of the Bells of Steel Utility bar, but with a slightly better grip. This mild feel makes the bar ideal for high rep/volume training, which is primarily how this bar is intended to be used given its multipurpose/no center knurl design. On heavier lifts, you may find chalk or straps to be necessary.
The bar comes in two shaft finishes: hard chrome and black chrome. I own the black chrome version, which is decent in most categories. Generally speaking, chrome is a more cost-effective coating that does a good, but not great job at preventing oxidation. As an applied coating, chrome detracts from the raw feel of pure steel since it's actually filling in some of the knurl depth. Given the purpose of this bar, however, that isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. Some may find the chrome to have a slightly slicker feel relative to other finishes (or lack thereof). The solution: chalk. This bar does a fine job of taking chalk, and with a thin layer applied, it enhances the grip and the overall feel nicely.
Confirming its Olympic Lifting leanings is the lack of a center knurl, which is actually quite common for multipurpose bars, regardless of shaft diameter. Without a center knurl, you'll find that this bar is more comfortable in the front rack position and generally better suited for higher rep/volume training once again.
Having gone over this bar's knurl closely, I'm impressed with its overall consistency. I did not see any areas of double-tracked knurling or any other areas of inconsistent machining.
Sleeves and Spin
Perhaps the best feature of this bar is its needle bearing system. To have eight needle bearings on a bar that costs just over $200 is a differentiating factor compared to most of the market. The majority of multipurpose bars utilize a bushing system while a small number of them apply a hybrid bushing/bearing system. This again reinforces the fact that this bar is primarily intended for Olympic-style lifts.
The spin itself is very nice, as one might expect. Each sleeve spins smoothly and comes to a gradual stop. They're each affixed with a single snap ring and both sleeves have an acceptable amount of lateral sleeve movement. In other words, there is no meaningful “sleeve slop”.
The sleeve diameter of 1.96″ is consistent with traditional bars. The bar offers a 16.33″ loadable sleeve length, which is slightly longer than some other bars that use a sleeve length closer to 16.25″. Using competition bumpers, the E1 training bar is capable of accommodating over 600 lbs comfortably with enough room for a collar at the end.
These sleeves are also finished in black chrome, but again, they can also come in hard chrome. They have a thinly grooved surface, which helps to keep the plates more secure when not using a collar. The downside to a grooved sleeve, in my opinion, is the very audible zip noise that it creates when loading and unloading plates. Some people love that noise – I do not.
I've been using the LUXIAOJUN E1 Training Bar for over a month now, and I've generally been impressed with its overall performance. In full disclosure, I'm not an Olympic Lifter. My testing has been based around the back squat, front squat, power clean, overhead press, and some deadlift.
Overall, it has handled those lifts well, especially the first three. At the end of the day, this bar just performs better on Olympic Style lifts. Yes, it's a multipurpose bar. Yes, it has dual knurl marks. I just don't see it being used much outside of where it clearly leans… and that's towards those lifts.
28mm shaft. Check.
Needle bearings. Check.
No center knurl. Check.
If you're someone looking for a true multipurpose bar that can better accommodate all lifts, I would recommend focusing more on a 28.5mm bar with a bushing system.
If you're someone looking to mainly perform Olympic-style lifts, but also have the option for others, this is a nice option.
The E1 Training bar in black chrome is a sharp-looking bar. That murdered out scheme is right up my alley. That said, the long term implications of a black chrome sleeve aren't great. Each time you load and unload a plate, you're taking off some of that finish, so it will never look as good as it did when you opened the box. In fact, it will progressively worsen. I would personally recommend the hard chrome version for this bar for that reason alone.
On the shaft, you'll get more longevity, although I would recommend brushing your bar out after every use and applying something like 3-in-1 oil on occasion. This will keep the bar looking better for longer. Again, chrome is a good coating, but eventually, it will be susceptible to oxidation. This is true for both hard chrome and black chrome.
One thing I've noticed is that the black chrome shaft transfers black to my hands after every session. I'm curious to see how this affects the shaft over a longer period of time. The good thing is that it cleans off the hands easily, but it's not something I want to transfer to other pieces of equipment. Because of that, I wash my hands immediately after using it and before moving to other things.
The end caps on the bar look very nice. I love the blue background and I like the simple design with the “contrasty” white lettering. It pops against the black sleeve in a beautiful way.
Overall, this a great-looking bar out of the box. I would, however, recommend the hard chrome version if aesthetics are an important factor to you.
LUXIAOJUN E1 Training Bar vs. American Barbell California Bar
This is a comparison that immediately came to mind since the California bar from American Barbell offers a 28mm shaft. Aside from that though, there are several differences.
Firstly, the California Bar uses a bushing system. If you're looking to perform more powerlifting movements, you may find that to be appealing relative to bearings.
Secondly, the American Barbell bar offers a Cerakote shaft. If you train in a humid environment, this will be more protective against oxidation.
Thirdly, the California Bar is noticeably milder due to its flatter knurl pattern and more points-per-square-inch. I prefer a bit more bite on my bar, so the E1 gets the nod from me here.
Fourthly, the California Bar offers smooth sleeves with recessed welds vs. grooved sleeves and friction welds. The welds won't make a difference functionally, but aesthetically, the recessed welds are unique. Smooth vs. grooved sleeves are, of course, personal preference also.
Both bars have a smooth center section. The one thing about the California bar is that the Cerakote application makes it more difficult to find the true center. The E1 Training Bar is quite a bit easier in that respect.
Lastly, the California Bar is more expensive by over $100 ($335 vs. $215/$225 before shipping).
LUXIAOJUN E1 Training Bar vs. Bells of Steel Utility Bar
The Bells of Steel Utility Bar is a value comparison. Priced under $200, it also offers a strong value, but it's different in several ways relative to the E1 Training Bar.
The one similar thing they do offer is a black shaft. The Utility Bar uses a black zinc coating vs. a black chrome on the E1. The knurls are also quite similar, but the Utility Bar had several areas of inconsistent machining (double-tracked knurl, over-applied zinc, etc…). Compared to the E1 that offers a very clean shaft, it lags in this department. I also find the grip to be better on the E1 overall.
The Utility Bar offers a 28.5mm shaft with a bushing system and a center knurl. In this sense, it's better suited for power lifts, whereas the E1 is more appropriate for Olympic lifts.
Both bars offer grooved sleeves and friction welds.
With both bars offering attractive price points, I think this comparison comes down to intended use. If you lean more towards Oly lifts, the E1 is the better choice.
Pros and Cons
- At $215, the bar represents a heck of a value.
- The E1 Training Bar offers 8 needle bearings, which is not particularly common among multipurpose bars, and especially not at that price.
- I'm impressed with the overall consistency of the knurling and the general craftsmanship.
- With a passive knurl pattern, this bar excels at higher rep/volume training.
- The 28mm shaft is great for those looking for more Olympic Weightlifting specificity.
- The sleeves spin very well and the tolerances are tight.
- The sleeves are thinly grooved, which creates a zip noise when loading and unloading plates. This will be a pro for some people and a con for others.
- The black chrome sleeves will show imperfections almost immediately once you start using the bar. If this is an issue for you, jump on the hard chrome version – it will look much better over the long run.
- The bar only offers a two-year warranty, which isn't as high as some other bars.
In summary, the E1 Training Bar from Lu Xioajun is a nice multipurpose bar that leans more towards Olympic lifting. If you're someone who also wants to train power lifts, I think there are some other options out there that may be more suitable with a 28.5mm shaft and a bushing system. That said, if you mainly perform Oly lifts, this is a great option.
Although the black chrome is a little cheaper than the hard chrome version, I think the extra few dollars may be worth it… if you care about the long-term aesthetics of the bar. If you don't, the bars will perform very similarly, so saving the extra money may be more attractive.
Either way, at $215-$225, this bar offers an impressive value, especially with a bearing system that generally fetches a more premium price point.
If you want to read about the Universal Barbell Score, check it out here.
If you have any questions about this bar or multipurpose bars in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you own the LUXIAOJUN E1 Training Bar and you want to chime in with your own thoughts, please do so!
As always, I appreciate any feedback.
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The bar is loaded,