The REP Curl Bar is an excellent curl bar with premium features at a great price. This bar is available in rackable and non-rackable variations and comes in two finish options, including stainless steel. The bends are comfortable and effective, and the long sleeves offer great loading potential.
Who It’s Right For
Things to Consider
Raise your hand if you like getting a juicy arm pump!
I know I do.
Whether using dumbbells, barbells, curls bars, or something else… there’s no shortage of options when chasing biceps gains.
One of my favorite tools for the job is the curl bar, and the REP Curl Bar has become one of the best EZ bars on the market.
Available in two sizes and two finishes, users can select based on price, rackability, and desired finish.
In this review, we’ll be checking out the Stainless Steel Rackable REP Curl Bar, which I have owned since its release in 2019.
You’ll get an up-close and personal look at the features that I like, those that I think could be improved upon, and how it stacks up with the Rogue Curl Bar.
Let’s dig in.
REP Fitness Curl Bar
The curl bar from REP Fitness is among the top choices for a high-quality and budget-friendly curl bar.
What I really like about this bar is that it’s offered in four different options:
- Rackable in Stainless Steel
- Rackable in Hard Chrome
- Standard in Stainless Steel
- Standard in Hard Chrome
Depending on your needs, budget, and general preferences, there’s likely an option for you among these choices.
As with all REP products, their curl bar ships for free. Considering the shipped price is less than some competing bars before shipping, it represents a solid value.
Overall, I think there are a lot of positives with this bar, but there are a couple of areas that could be improved.
Let’s take a look at the specs, and then we’ll jump into the review.
- Bar Weight: 35lb (rackable) / 30lb (standard)
- Shaft Diameter: 30mm
- Knurl: Medium
- Knurl Coverage: 4 sections of 70mm knurling
- Shaft Coating: Stainless Steel or Hard Chrome
- Bar Length: 6’2″ (rackable) / 4’7″ (standard)
- Shaft Length: 4’3″ (rackable) / 2’9.5″ (standard)
- Sleeve Length: 10″
- Sleeve Coating: Stainless Steel or Hard Chrome
- Spin: 1 Needle Bearing/1 Bushing
- Made in: China
Overall Build Quality
The REP Curl Bar is available in 30lb (non-rackable) and 35lb (rackable) variations. It uses a 30mm shaft diameter, which I love compared to thinner diameters. The bar has tight tolerances and is generally well-made.
Overall, the build quality on the REP curl bar is solid. You can immediately tell that it offers a beefy construction considering it weighs more than many other curl bars. For instance, the rackable version (35lb) is on par with the Rogue Rackable Curl Bar but heavier than the Titan Rackable Curl Bar (31lb) as well as several others that are sub-30lb. The 30lb non-rackable REP Curl Bar is also heavier than most competing bars.
One area of build quality on this bar of potential concern is that, although limited to very isolated areas, the stainless surface has shown some signs of oxidation. I’ve also experienced this on my stainless Power Bar EX and I’ve seen it on other copies from other users. Again, it’s very isolated (on my copy) and purely cosmetic, but it is one of the reasons I recommend actually going with the hard chrome version of this bar. More on this below.
The sleeves have a couple of nice features that I’ll share below and the knurl machining is good on the whole (see below section). Ultimately, this is a very well-made curl bar that I have high confidence in long-term performance.
This bar has a medium knurling pattern that feels appropriate for a curl bar. It’s well-machined and consistent throughout, but the coverage could be extended through the bends.
The Knurling on the REP Curl Bar is what you may expect on this type of barbell. It’s characterized as a medium-depth knurl, meaning it will provide ample grip without being too aggressive or too passive. It has a relatively tall flat/hilly profile, which overall feels good in the hands. Grip strength is rarely a limiting factor with this style of bar, so it’s an ideal pattern, in my experience.
One area that I think could be improved upon is the knurling coverage. The REP Curl Bar has four sections of knurling, which includes two sections on each side of both bends. While the sections measure 70mm (2.75″), which is adequate for most users, I would really like to see full coverage through the bends. In other words, instead of having four 70mm sections, have two sections totaling approximately 200mm (~8″) to include the bend itself. This would ensure all contact points of the hand are met with knurling regardless of positioning through the bends.
The overall machining of the knurling is quite good. There are a few areas on my copy where some edges of the individual knurl points aren’t as consistent, but this is a very nit-picky observation that has virtually no effect on the bar’s performance.
Keep in mind that the stainless steel finish will provide a better overall feel compared to that of Hard Chrome. This is because hard chrome is an applied coating that will fill in some of the knurl depth and remove some of the “bite.” Again, grip strength isn’t a huge consideration on a curl bar, but if you want the rawest feel, go with the stainless option.
The bends on this bar are shaped nicely to provide a comfortable lifting experience with reduced wrist strain. Furthermore, they’re more effective at targeting the biceps than the shallower bends commonly found on less expensive bars.
One of my favorite qualities of this bar is the bend profile. They’re comfortable and effective. In general, this is one of the most critical areas of a curl bar, and I think REP did a really nice job with it.
Curl bar bends, AKA cambers, can come in different shapes and sizes. Some curl bars, often referred to as ‘super’ curl bars, offer very dramatic and steep bends. Other types of curl bars may include shallower bends which, in my experience, don’t target the biceps as well.
The bends on the REP Curl Bar are ideal because you get great isolation on the biceps and your wrists are in a very comfortable position. They’re very reminiscent of the Ivanko Curl Bars, which are considered by many to be the gold standard. Interestingly enough, the REP Curl Bar is modeled very closely to these Ivanko bars, which also include the four separate sections of knurling.
If you’re looking for a well-balanced, comfortable, all-purpose curl bar, you’ll very likely love the feel of this bar because of its camber profile.
This bar has some of my favorite curl bar sleeves. The smooth surface greatly reduces plate noise, and the 10″ length provides more loading potential than most. The sleeves spin well using one bearing and one bushing in each.
The sleeves on the REP Curl Bar are another big winner, in my opinion. If you’ve been reading my reviews for any amount of time, then you know that I love smooth sleeves. In my experience using several REP barbells, they offer some of the quietest sleeves on the market. Unlike grooved sleeves, which produce a very audible zip noise when sliding plates on and off, the smooth sleeves on this REP bar create very little noise.
The sleeves themselves are also finished in whichever shaft finish you purchase. For instance, the stainless steel version includes a stainless shaft AND stainless sleeves. This is a nice benefit even if the sleeves don’t get as much direct hand contact. My sleeves have held up beautifully with no signs of oxidation.
Another interesting feature of the REP Curl Bar is that each sleeve includes one needle bearing and one bushing. I say interesting because most curl bars are only bushing-operated. Since spin isn’t a primary consideration on a curl bar, having a needle bearing is cool, but not entirely practical. I will say the spin is very nice and fluid – I just don’t think it’s all that beneficial in the grand scheme.
Looking at the rest of the competition, the sleeves on the REP Curl Bar represent a clear advantage in my eyes.
Rackable vs. Non-Rackable
When assessing a curl bar, one of the biggest considerations is its rackability. The biggest benefit of a rackable curl bar is that it’s… well… rackable. This means you can throw it up on your squat rack like a traditional Olympic barbell and load weight much easier. A non-rackable curl bar is often loaded on the ground or on a bench where one hand loads the weight and the other hand counter-balances the load until equally loaded. This is less efficient and generally leads to an inferior user experience relative to a rackable curl bar.
Another benefit of having a rackable curl bar is that it makes some movements easier to set up. Wait, you mean you can use a curl bar for more than just biceps curls?
For example, with a curl bar, you can perform skull crushers, upright rows, and more. Having the ability to rack your curl bar makes these movements more efficient. Take the skull crusher for example. You can set your bar at a height that makes it very easy to unrack and subsequently re-rack after a heavy set.
A rackable curl bar also makes biceps curl variations easier to set up. For example, some preacher curl benches are more accommodating of a rackable curl bar. It’s also easier to set up a rack preacher curl using the Abmat Preacher Pad.
The downsides of a rackable curl bar are that they’re most expensive and they take up more space. If you’re shopping on a budget and/or you’re space-constrained, a non-rackable curl bar is likely your best option.
All products from REP ship for free from two different US warehouses: One on the East Coast and one on the West Coast.
Which Version of the REP Curl Bar Should I Buy?
When deciding which version of the REP Curl Bar to purchase, first ask yourself if you need a rackable or non-rackable bar.
Once you have that determined, you can then move to which finish option you want. This might be based on budget, aesthetic, knurl feel, or a combination of the three. The stainless steel rackable curl bar, for example, is $100 more than the hard chrome.
Having owned the stainless steel rackable version for two years, I definitely recommend it, but I feel that the hard chrome rackable bar is actually the better buy. As mentioned earlier, grip isn’t nearly as big of a factor on a curl bar as it is on an Olympic bar. Because of that, you don’t necessarily need a raw finish to maximize performance and feel. Sure, stainless will feel better, and it will likely look better over time as well, but I’m not sure the $100+ premium is worth it on a curl bar.
Below is a breakdown of the four curl bar options from REP Fitness:
|Rackable – Stainless
|Rackable – Chrome
|Standard – Stainless
|Standard – Chrome
REP Curl Bar vs. Rogue Curl Bar
Arguably the biggest competitor to the REP Curl Bar is the Rogue Curl Bar, which is also offered in four options. Included below is a comparison table, but I’ll also summarize the main differences here.
Currently, Rogue offers an e-coat and a Cerakote version of their curl bar. E-coat will perform similar to hard chrome, with the primary difference being aesthetic. Cerakote will prevent oxidation similar to stainless, but without the raw feel. All are good options for a curl bar, in my opinion. The question is do you like the silver look (REP) or the black look (Rogue) more.
Rogue bars all include grooved sleeves, which as I mentioned above, I am not a big fan of. Their loadable sleeve length is slightly longer at 10.5″ vs. 10″ on the REP, so this is a consideration if you’re pushing the limits in terms of weight. Another note is that Rogue uses bright zinc as a sleeve finish and the bar operates via bushings only, which is totally fine.
The bends on the Rogue Curl Bar are similar to the REP bar, so comfort and isolation will be very comparable. The Rogue bar, however, does include much more knurl coverage, which I find to be beneficial. It also includes a stronger, 5-year warranty, and it’s made in the USA.
Another thing to consider is that the REP bar’s diameter is 30mm compared to the 28.5mm on the Rogue bar. I prefer the thicker diameter on a curl bar, however, as there are some benefits to overall arm growth and muscle activation with a thicker grip. Still, either bar will accept Fat Gripz to take it a step further.
Ultimately, the Rogue Curl Bar is a very nice bar, but it is more expensive… even without shipping. At the end of the day, both are great curl bar choices, but it’s hard to beat the current value of the REP Curl Bar.
The REP Curl Bar is very well-reviewed at Repfitness.com as well as through several people I’ve spoken to who own the bar. With dozens of 5-star reviews, here are some of the things people have said:
Pros and Cons
In summary, I think the REP Curl Bar is a great bar. Its popularity is well-deserved and it represents an excellent value, in my opinion. I’ve owned this bar for over two years now and I expect to own it for many more to come.
If you’re in the market for a curl bar, I definitely recommend giving one of the REP Curl Bars a look.
REP Curl Bar Rating
The REP Curl Bar is one of the best and most popular curl bars on the market. It has a great bend profile, smooth sleeves, and other solid specs. The bar is available as rackable or non-rackable and you can pick from stainless steel or hard chrome. For the money, their aren’t many out there that are as nice.
Is The REP Curl Bar Worth it?
If you're looking for a high-quality curl bar, the REP Curl Bar is a great option. REP offers rackable and non-rackable bars in either stainless steel or hard chrome. With solid specs, great user reviews, and a strong price point, it's a worthy investment.
Are Curl Bars Effective?
Curl bars are one of the best specialty bars for targeting the biceps. You can effectively use a curl bar for standing biceps curls, preacher curls, spider curls, and more.
Are Curl Bars Only for Biceps?
NO! You can use curl bars for triceps movements as well as shoulder movements, including skull crushers, upright rows, and more.