The long awaited aggressive power bar in stainless steel from Rep Fitness is finally here!
I was actually able to get my hands on this bar before its release, so in this article we’ll take a look at the specs as well as my initial thoughts on the bar. I’ve also included some comparison shots to give you an idea of the knurling relative to other popular power bars.
This isn’t Rep Fitness’ first time producing a stainless steel power bar. If you read my review of their original version, you know I’m a big fan of that bar. It’s fully stainless steel from end-to-end and it offers excellent value at that price point. The downside of that bar to some is that the knurling is fairly passive. I love it on bench press as well as high-bar squats, but I never use it for deadlifts or low-bar squats.
Understanding this, Rep Fitness has spent the better part of a year developing an aggressive version of the bar.
It is more expensive than the original ($379 vs. $269), but it’s less expensive than the Rogue Ohio Power Bar (stainless shaft/chrome sleeves) and several other notable options.
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😱😎 First look at the new aggressive stainless steel power bar from @repfitnessequipment! I don’t believe anyone outside of Rep has seen or touched this bar. It’s a real stunner! We’ve been patiently awaiting this bar for over a year, and it does not disappoint based on initial impressions. – It’s beautiful, it’s aggressive, it’s fully stainless from end to end, it has dual snap rings, a slick end cap, and full knurl coverage. – I absolutely cannot wait to use this bar. I have a stainless Rogue OPB coming on Monday to compare it to, but the knurls are very different. I prefer this type, but we’ll see when the Rogue bar comes in! – GREAT JOB, REP! – #GarageGymLab #garagegyminspiration
Again, this is based on my initial impressions of the bar. I will have a full, thorough review in the coming weeks. That said, I’m confident this bar is going to be a winner.
Going into this, I had the ~$600 Vulcan Absolute Stainless Power Bar (review here) rated as one of the best bars I’ve ever used. That is still the case today… but as you will see below, the Rep Fitness Aggressive Stainless Power Bar is remarkably similar at $379.
Let’s have a look.
Rep Fitness Aggressive Stainless Power Bar
The freshly released Power Bar EX from Rep is a beauty of a bar. It has an impressive spec profile, it’s fully stainless from end-to-end, it has a deeply aggressive knurl, it offers smooth sleeves, and it’s priced competitively.
If you follow me on Instagram (@GarageGymLab), you know that I’m downright giddy over this bar. I’ve been looking forward to this specific bar argulably more than any other bar in my collection. Having used it now a couple of times, I’m optimistic that it’s going to be in my regular rotation. In fact, I see it being my daily driver when I’m not actively reviewing other bars. Up to this point, the black oxide version of the Vulcan Absolute Power Bar (different knurl than its stainless sibling) has held that title.
The specs of the bar are as follows:
Bar Weight: 20kg
Shaft Diameter: 29mm
Center Knurl: Yes – Same Pattern
Knurl Marks: Powerlifting
Shaft Coating: Stainless Steel
Tensile Strength: 200,000 PSI
Bar Length: 86.52″
Distance Between Collar Faces: 51.5″
Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
Sleeve Coating: Stainless Steel
Sleeve Type: Smooth
Bushing/Bearing: Bushing (2 Bronze + 1 Stainless)
As mentioned, my initial reaction to the bar is very positive. I prefer a more aggressive knurl in general, and this bar from Rep delivers in spades. It’s a deeply mountainous knurl that bites in all the right ways. If you’re just starting out in powerlifting, you may find it to be a little “extra.” I still don’t find it overly sharp, however. When I grip the bar, I’m not offended. It provides an excellent grip that sets in nicely, especially on deadlifts and low-bar squats. Quite the opposite of the original stainless power bar from Rep, I don’t see myself benching with this bar a ton since I prefer a less aggressive knurl on that lift. This is just my preference though – this bar is capable of handling each of the squat, bench, and deadlift very well.
When I used the bar for the first time on deadlifts, I came away thoroughly impressed. It reminded me very much of the Vulcan Absolute Stainless Power Bar (see below). The knurl left a noticeable pattern on my hand, but again, it wasn’t particularly sharp to me. It similarly felt very secure during low bar squats and it gave me that tactile sensation that I appreciate.
I’m excited to continue to use this bar and collect some further thoughts for my comprehensive review.
In the meantime, check out some of these comparisons (Rep knurl on top in each).
Rep Aggressive Stainless vs. Vulcan Absolute Stainless
To me, these bars are dead ringers. The knurling is very comparable, as you can see in the photo above. As previously mentioned, the Vulcan bar retails for $599.99 vs. the $379 of the Rep bar. Both offer full stainless (shaft + sleeves), but the Rep bar offers smooth sleeves, which is a big benefit to me (less noise).
I absolutely love the Vulcan bar – It’s stunning and it’s a top performer. But… is it worth the extra money? The pricing gap is fairly wide, but I’ll reserve judgement until I use this bar from Rep more.
Rep Aggressive Stainless vs. Rep Original Stainless
As you can see in this comparison, these bars are very different. The aggressive version is significantly more aggressive than the original stainless power bar. I’m a fan of having two power bars: one aggressive and one medium. If that’s something you’re into also, you could easily knock it out with these two offerings from Rep and only pay shipping once.
Rep Aggressive Stainless vs. Kabuki Power Bar
The Kabuki New Gen Power Bar is a gold standard in the eyes of many. Contrary to popular perception, however, the Kabuki bar is very mountainous. It isn’t ‘volcanoed’. I own the electroless nickel Kabuki bar, and it’s a very nice bar. It’s also $669.99, making it almost $300 more than the Rep bar.
My very early gut reaction is that I would pick this bar from Rep over the Kabuki. Upon my initial observations, I like the knurl more on the Rep bar personally. I also love the smooth sleeves on the Rep bar. The Kabuki bar offers finely grooved sleeves, and it takes the award for being the loudest bar in my collection.
Again, the Kabuki bar is great, but ~$300 is a hefty premium.
Rep Aggressive Stainless vs. Rogue Stainless Ohio Power Bar
I recently sold my black zinc Rogue Ohio Power Bar to upgrade to the stainless variant. That bar actually arrives today (10/8/19), and I will be updating this section with my thoughts. Ahead of that, and based on my experience with the black zinc version, the volcano knurl of the OPB will differ quite a bit from the mountainous knurl of the Rep Bar.
Being that I prefer the mountainous variety, I’ll be interested to see if my position has changed.
Overall, the Rep Fitness Aggressive Stainless Power Bar is making a very solid first impression. For $379, you’re getting a fully stainless steel power bar with superb knurling and smooth sleeves. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.
I will be posting my detailed review in the coming weeks, but if you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to drop a comment or reach out to me on Instagram.