The Titan Fitness v2 Safety Squat Bar is a monumental improvement over Titan's first version, which was widely considered to be an all-around terrible bar. The camber angles were completely wrong, the yoke was too wide, it had a lot of whip, etc…
Thankfully, Titan ditched it all together and brought to market a safety squat bar that many people will immediately connect with.
That's because it resembles the highly-respected Elitefts SS Yoke Bar… and when I say it resembles the bar, I mean it's essentially a carbon copy…
…Well, not entirely. There are a few differences between the bars: some that I like, and some that I don't, but overall, they're very similar.
The most attractive quality of this bar, in my opinion, is the price. Currently priced under $300 shipped, it offers one of, if not the best values for a safety squat bar (that doesn't suck).
As a long-time user of the Elitefts SSB and the Crepinsek SSB, the v2 SSB from Titan has been an intriguing option to me.
Having owned the bar for around six months now, am I converting to it as my daily driver? The short answer is no, but I think this bar has several qualities that make it a great option – in fact, I think it's one if, if not the best safety squat bar for most people.
Let's dig in.
Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar
For as much grief as Titan has garnered in the past for their quality control, their reputation as a copycat company, etc… one thing I have to commend them on is their willingness to listen to customers and incorporate that feedback into future designs.
The safety squat bar v2 is a great example of that.
Titan went from being the laughing stock of the SSB market to becoming one of the biggest contenders. Now, if you have a problem with Titan cloning products (some American-made) and then producing them in China, this probably isn't the bar for you.
On the other hand, if you're a budget-conscious consumer who's looking for a better-than “good enough” copy of a popular SSB, you'll likely be very drawn to the Titan bar.
The price alone is hard to ignore. Consider that the Titan safety squat bar is, at the time of this review, ~$230 shipped, and the Elitefts SSB is $425 before shipping… that's a meaningful gap for a single bar.
Is there enough quality difference to defend the roughly 2x price tag on the Elitefts? Depending on some other factors, notably your stance on American-made vs. imported, it may or may not be.
My goal in this review is to help you answer that question.
Let's have a look at the overall specs of the bar, and then we'll get into the meat of it:
Bar Weight: 61 lbs
Shaft Coating: Chrome
Sleeve Coating: Chrome
Bar Length: 90.5″
Internal Yoke Width: 8″
Total Yoke Width: 18″
Handle Length: 6″ (4.5″ of actual grip)
Camber Angle: 22 Degrees
Camber Drop: 5″
Sleeve Diameter: 1.97″
Made in: China
When I first opened this bar, I was pleasantly surprised based on my initial reaction. For starters, the box was very well packed with foam cutouts that prevented the bar from moving side-to-side. Based on some of the other products I've received and I've seen others receive from Titan, this was a positive turn of events.
Secondly, the bar itself looked great aside from a dirty sport on the left end-cap and some just plain gnarly looking welds on the sleeve connection. To be fair, my Elitefts welds look very similar. Otherwise, the bar looked very nice cosmetically with the chrome finish, logo'd pad, etc…
Now, keep in mind this was all based on my initial reaction. Once I actually handled the bar and got under it a few times, I started noticing some things that, compared to higher-end models, were lacking.
Let's break those down.
Balance and Camber
When you think about the qualities of a safety squat bar, balance and camber angle have to be at the top of the list. The Crepinsek and Elitefts SS Yoke Bar are considered to be two of the most well-balanced traditional SSBs on the market. For some reason, it's been difficult for other companies to replicate that. I'm not sure if it's some super-secret recipe like Bush's baked beans or if companies have just been too lazy to figure it out, but comparable balance has evaded companies for a long time.
The Titan SSB however, does a nice job in matching at least some of those qualities, namely the angle of the camber. When comparing the Titan and Elitefts bars side-by-side, you can see that the angle itself is virtually spot on. What you also may notice, however, is that the drop of the camber (i.e. the height of the bend), is shorter on the Titan SSB by about an inch (5″ vs 6″). It's hard to tell if this contributes to the bar feeling less balanced (which it does) or if it's mainly the padding, which I'll detail below.
To put it in perspective, I've never had a concern doing Hatfield squats on the Crep or the Elite bars (especially the Crep). With the Titan bar, I'm not as comfortable performing them because it feels as though the bar may roll down, even though it's unlikely that it actually would. So, if you're someone who does a lot of Hatfield or handless safety bar squats, this is something to consider.
Padding is another important factor of an SSB, yet it's one that still eludes a number of manufacturers. They're either too firm, too thin, too thick, too wide, etc… I would say that Titan has done a pretty good job here, but it's noticeably different from the Elite bar in terms of feel, despite it looking very similar.
The first thing to point out is the foam itself. As you can see in the picture (left), it uses a full piece of a carpet-pad-like material. This differs from the Elite bar (right), which uses an inner layer of a pool noodle-like material and an outer layer of the “carpet pad.” While the Titan SSB is pretty comfortable, it's definitely firmer than the SS Yoke from Elite.
Another big difference between the two bars is the thickness of the pad, which I think plays the biggest role in the balance equation. The Elite bar has a pad thickness of around 1.5″ whereas the Titan SSB has a thickness of just over 2″. This extra ~0.5″ is enough to effectively move the load further back by the same amount, which results in a different balance. I believe this is why I sometimes feel the bar is going to fall backward when I'm not using the handles. This is not the case with the Elite bar or the Crepinsek bar.
Regarding the vinyl cover, it's adequate, but nothing to really write home about. It's a little thin and it's not as soft as the Elite, but it gets the job done.
The sleeves on the Titan Safety Squat v2 are one of its best features. A common downside to specialty bars is sleeve design. They're normally smaller in diameter and powder-coated. With the Titan sleeves, you get sleeves sized to an Olympic bar and you get a chrome finish.
The benefits are two-fold. Firstly, with 1.97″ collars, you can use any traditional barbell collar to secure the weights. On other specialty bars, including the Elite SSB, you need to use special collars to fit the bar. I use Proloc collars, which can be used on either diameter, but if you already own standard collars, this may save you from having to buy a separate pair.
Secondly, the chrome finish looks better over time. With powder coat, including the clear coat on the Elite bar, plate-slide will quickly scratch up the sleeves. The Elitefts bar tends to look pretty beat up over time. That said, however, the chrome used on the Titan Bar will be prone to oxidation eventually. You can mitigate this with some 3-in-1 oil, but at some point, you'll likely notice some amount of surface rust. Mind you, all of this is cosmetic.
Something interesting that I noticed about this bar after looking at it for a while was that the left sleeve was obviously not level. I took a level to it and, as you can see, it's tilted downward by a fair amount. My right sleeve is level, however. I took this to Instagram when I first noticed this, which led to dozens of people going out to measure their SSB sleeves. Nearly every single person who sent me photos had some issues with leveled sleeves… and not just from Titan. Elitefts was right there with them. I measured my Elite bar and both sleeves are level, but this seems to have more to do with the way SSBs are made in general than anything else. Even with the unleveled sleeve on my Titan bar, I can't tell a difference when actually using the bar… and I tried to really focus on it. It's just something interesting to point out.
Lastly, the welds… they're ugly, which is fairly common for both SSBs in general and some other Titan products. Cosmetics aside, I don't think you'll have to worry much about them failing.
The handles on the Titan SSB are slightly better than the ones from Elite, in my opinion. They screw into the yoke in exactly the same way, but as you can see in the image below, the Titan handles offer a slightly longer thread. The greatest benefit of having removable handles is that you can perform movements like the JM press. By using a 3/4″ eyebolt with a carabiner, you can also throw in some different handle styles like grenade grips, etc…
Like the Elite bar, the handles are fairly short, which I definitely prefer over long handles. This is primarily a matter of preference, as there are some people who enjoy the longer handles more. The shorter grips feel a little more natural in my opinion, whereas the long handles I've found to be more awkward. They've always reminded me of those custom choppers with the huge handlebars… like, that can't be comfortable… right?!
Where I think the Titan handle outshines the Elite handle is with the actual grip. They're contoured very similarly to Elite with individual finger slots, but the edges are more pronounced. Compared to the softer edge of the Elite, it gives me a better feeling in the hand… feels more locked in.
Titan Safety Squat Bar Pros & Cons
- The price of ~$230 shipped is very compelling, especially in comparison to other quality SSBs.
- The chrome finish is an improvement over powder coat and clear coat, particularly on the sleeves. Still, some care should be taken to mitigate oxidation.
- Olympic-sized sleeves allow for the use of standard collars, which may save you some money if you had to buy specialty collars for other bars.
- The handles are comfortable and removable, which makes it possible to perform certain movements that you can't do with fixed/long handles.
- The angle of the camber is spot-on in comparison to the Elitefts SSB, although the drop distance is shorter.
- Overall, the pad is pretty comfortable, but it does lean towards the firmer side.
- The pad is too thick, in my opinion. Having a 2″ pad makes it sit further back and higher on the neck, which makes it feel as if it could fall backward when performing Hatfield or Handless squats. If Titan can get this reduced to 1.5″, around the thickness of the Elitefts SSB, I think they would have a better-balanced bar.
- The Vinyl on the padding feels thin and somewhat stiff, especially in comparison to Elite.
- Unlevel sleeves are a common occurrence, which may or may not affect the balance of the bar. To be fair, other SSB manufacturers seem to also have this problem. I would check your bar just to make sure it's not egregious.
Overall, I think the Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar v2 is a legitimate low-cost contender to the Elitefts SS Yoke Bar.
Do I think it's a better bar than the Elite?
In fact, I think the Elite bar is better in every category except for the clear coat finish and the slightly softer edges on the handles.
The question is whether or not the $200+ price difference is worth it to get the Elite over the Titan SSB…
I would say it depends.
Are you price-sensitive? If so, pick the Titan. You'll be getting a nice safety squat bar that checks a lot of boxes and does a good job of getting close to Elitefts.
If you want the best balance, if you have the budget, and if you don't mind some sleeve scarring, get the Elitefts SS Yoke. You'll be getting arguably the best traditional safety squat bar on the market with a longstanding reputation as such.
Either way, the Titan SSB v2 is a legit bar and it represents a heck of a value.
If you want to read more about power bars or powerlifting equipment in general, check out my ultimate guide to building a powerlifting home gym.
If you have any questions about this bar or safety squat bars in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you own the Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar v2 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,