American Barbell California Bar
- Manufacturer: American Barbell
- Purpose: Multi-Purpose
- Bar Weight: 20 kg
- Gender: Men
- Tensile Strength: 190, 000
- Yield Strength: N/A
- Knurl Type: Medium
- Center Knurl: No
- Knurl Marks: Dual / Multi-Purpose
- Shaft Finish: Cerakote
- Shaft Diameter: 28 mm
- Sleeve Finish: Hard Chrome
- Sleeve Type: Smooth
- Rotation System: Bushing
- Made In: USA
- Warranty: Lifetime
Read below to get a detailed look at the California bar including product details, features, a full Garage Gym Lab review, real user feedback, and more.
American Barbell California Bar
The American Barbell California Bar is well-suited for people looking for a barbell that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you’re looking to perform Olympic lifts, power lifts, CrossFit, or others, the California Bar is a nice option, at a good price, backed by a strong reputation and warranty.
I personally own and use this bar – it’s one of, if not my favorite multi-purpose barbells that I’ve used.
Here are some further details about the bar:
The knurling on the California Bar is on the mild-to-medium side, which is typical of bars made by American Barbell. The profile is relatively flat, but it provides ample grip. Because of this, it’s ideal for a variety of lifts. If you’re looking for a bar that will allow for higher volume or one that generally won’t tear up your hands, this one is a good option.
The bar does not include center knurl, which is relatively standard in the multi-purpose bar arena. This makes the bar comfortable to use in the front rack position and with high bar back squats.
It also comes with dual knurl marks as you would expect, which indicates true multi-purpose use. You can perform Olympic weightlifting movements and powerlifting movements, along with other general-purpose lifts.
This bar offers a 28mm shaft, which differs from a lot of other multi-purpose bars that have a 28.5mm shaft. The slightly thinner shaft will create a little more whip on the bar and it may also appeal to those with smaller hands and/or those who pull with a hook grip. The tensile strength of the shaft is 190,000, which is consistent with similar bars on the market.
The shaft is finished in a Cerakote coating, which makes it very resistant to oxidation.
The sleeves on the California Bar are among the most unique in the industry, and this goes for several other American Barbell bars as well. They use a beautiful recessed weld on the sleeves as opposed to a standard friction weld used by other companies. Functionally, this won’t make a difference, but aesthetically, it’s one of the nicest you’ll find.
Another quality of these sleeves is that they’re smooth and finished in hard chrome. The hard chrome is a very common finish for barbell sleeves. The smooth surface will largely come down to preference, as some people prefer grooved sleeves. The benefit of a smooth sleeve is that they’re quieter to use. The potential downside is that they may not keep the plates on the bar as well as a grooved sleeve. If you’re using collars, however, this is a non-issue.
The sleeves utilize composite bushings to spin, and they’re very smooth. Both should come to a gradual stop and both should spin fluidly. This has certainly been the case with my version of the bar. Lastly, the end cap is affixed with a heavy-duty snap ring.
This is one of the nicest looking bars in my collection. The Cerakote comes in several color options: zombie green, elite blackout, concrete gray, and navy blue.
I own the zombie green color, and I really love it. It matches the Garage Gym Lab color scheme nicely too. The only downside is that the Cerakote, coupled with the milder knurling, makes it a little more challenging to see the smooth parts of the bar. This just takes a little more concentration to ensure I’m lining up properly on the center part of the bar.
The recessed welds are simply awesome. Without question, American Barbell’s unique take on sleeve welds creates a beautiful aesthetic.
The end cap looks clean with the red/black design, and the smooth sleeve in general really catches the eye.
It’s an all-around beautiful looking bar.
Features & Highlights
- Cerakote Finish – Cerakote is a high-quality finish option that has been made popular on barbells due to its outstanding resistance to rust and corrosion. Originally created to be used on firearms, Cerakote has been shown to withstand abuse and harsh environments. If you train in a humid environment like a garage gym, Cerakote is a great option. The potential downside to Cerakote is that it’s applied on top of the shaft, which tends to remove some of the raw feel of a bare steel, stainless steel, etc.. shaft.
- 28mm Shaft – The 28mm shaft on the California Bar generates a little more whip on the bar as compared to 28.5mm shafts of other multi-purpose bars. If you pull with a hook grip and/or you have smaller hands, you may also prefer this thinner profile. Also, if you’re performing mainly Olympic Weightlifting movements, you may prefer the thinner shaft since it will perform more like a true Oly bar. You can also use it effectively for overload training on the deadlift since it will act more like a deadlift bar than a rigid 29mm power bar.
- Smooth Sleeves – The smooth sleeves will generally create less noise when loading/unloading plates compared to a grooved sleeve.
- American Made – This bar is 100% made in America.
- Strong Warranty – The California Bar comes with a limited lifetime warranty from American Barbell.
From the Manufacturer
The California Bar is our first dual-ring barbell built specifically for functional fitness athletes. It has the nuances and sought after specifications of a top-quality 28MM weightlifting bar and is also durable enough to withstand daily use in other lifts and programs.
The California Bar is finished with Cerakote for a look, feel, and performance that is unparalleled in the fitness industry today. The bar shaft is made from precision ground alloy steel and the strength of the shaft is tested with every shipment of raw material to ensure we have a consistent 190,000 PSI tensile strength. This attention to detail also allows for excellent whip and long-term performance of our bars.
The bar sleeves are precision machined and each sleeve is coated with hard chrome for protection against dropping and impact. Sleeves rotate around high strength composite bushings used in aircraft and automotive industries for smooth rotation.
After many years of producing some of the finest Olympic barbells in the world, American Barbell is proud to introduce our latest innovation: Cerakote finished bars. Nothing ever produced rivals the corrosion and abrasion resistance of this finish. Cerakote is used by major firearm manufacturers around the world in some of the most abusive and corrosive environments. Corrosion salt spray testing has shown that this coating lasts as much as 70x longer than chrome and even stainless steel.
American Barbell’s design team has been producing innovations in bar technology for more than 18 years, and this is one of our most exciting accomplishments. Every type of bar finish has its story, and we’ve determined that our California Bar is unrivaled.
What They’re Saying at Americanbarbell.com
The American Barbell California Bar receives very positive feedback from users. With an average rating of 4.8, here are some of the things people have said at americanbarbell.com:
- “This bar is solid. The sleeves have far less side to side movement as compared to my Ohio bar. It sounds and feels SOLID when receiving cleans and snatches and the drop sounds different than all other bars I have used. It has become my go to bar for CrossFit. I am interested to see how it stands the test of time. Fine job American Barbell!!”
- “This is my everyday Barbell. I love the knurling because it provides a good grip without turning my hands red by the end of the session. The sleeves spin smoothly. My favorite feature of this Barbell is that it doesn’t rattle when you drop it. This makes it the quietest barbell I’ve ever used. Great for keeping the noise level down. “
- “The sleeve welds are perfect, and one of my favorite qualities about this bar is how quiet it is when dropped from overhead compared to other bars.”
- “Great for Crossfit. I have been doing cleans, snatches, front squats, etc with it. Sleeves have great spin.”
- “The knurling is really good. It gives you plenty of grip without tearing up your hands. I would recommend the bar.”
- “This bar is probably the nicest bar that I have ever used! I really enjoy it. The bushings spin nicely right out of packaging. I really love the cerakote finish, and found that it has a very natural feeling grip even without chalk.”
- “The California bar also has the PERFECT amount of whip for oly lifts. What really stands out on this bar is the 28mm shaft. Feels like an oly bar, works like a functional bar. Bar will last a lifetime and looks awesome too.”
- “My bar is zombie green and I love the color, however I would love to see more colors available.”
- “My only gripe, if I have to have one, is that the knurl marks are very hard to find since the knurl is so mild combined with the cerakote finish.”
- “Good. Not quite as aggressive knurling as I would’ve liked; however, it’s solid and seems well built.”
- “Bar is awesome, just a little upset that the cerakote was really sloppy, pretty scratched up on the sleeves, and it looked like somebody had black paint on their hands then handled my bar. I know American barbell is known for quality, but I guess this one slipped by. Still love American barbell and will purchase more items.”
Garage Gym Lab Review
Garage Gym Lab has reviewed this bar. You can read the full review here, or you can view the synopsis below:
The California Bar was a winner in the Garage Gym Lab 2022 Best Barbell Awards.
The below barbells were picked as alternatives to the American Barbell California Bar.