Vulcan is probably one of the most underrated fitness equipment companies on the market today.
They're truly making some absolutely killer equipment. (see my review of their kettlebells here)
Today, I'm going to be reviewing Vulcan's Standard Olympic Bushing Barbell and let you know whether it's worth your hard-earned dollars.
Let's do it!
A barbell is a long piece of rolled steel with sleeves on it. Not much to look at.
But, some barbells do look better than others.
My favorites typically feature chrome, a nice knurl, and a good looking end cap.
This barbell has all of those.
There is ONE place on a barbell for a company to get creative and all too often companies don't take advantage of this.
Thankfully, Vulcan put some sort of creativity into the design of their logo, and the end cap turned out looking pretty cool. See here:
Construction and Performance
An Olympic barbell has a few different features that make them different than others.
You want a strong, yet somewhat whippy steel that returns to straight quickly. There should be sleeves, bearings, and a grippy knurl.
The problem is, although it seems simple, it takes quite a bit of work to make a top of the line barbell.
The machinery used needs to be of high quality and is often very expensive, and the details like the knurl need to take a lot of planning.
You can always tell when a barbell is cheaply made because the sleeves have a lot of side to side play, the barbell sounds loud when dropped, the spin is non-existent and the knurling is sloppy.
The Vulcan Bearing Bar isn't the greatest barbell I've ever used, but it gets a majority of the things right that need to be right in order to compete.
This is one of the first things to look at when purchasing a barbell for Olympic Weightlifting.
If you're lifting about 250 lbs in any of your lifts, a whip will be welcome.
The problem in producing a barbell is the higher the tensile strength of the steel being used, the harder it is to have a barbell with enough whip.
The Vulcan Bearing Bar uses 196 K PSI Steel which is a bit less than many competitors on the market, however, it is still high enough for the majority of people who will use it.
The whip on the bar is great, and it could be aided by the fact that the tensile strength is lower than some of the other offerings available. I would, however, have liked to see it a little bit higher for the price.
Although the tensile strength on the Vulcan Bushing Bar is a little bit lower than I'd like the see, the spin of the bar pretty much more than makes up for it.
Even though the bar is a bushing bar, it still spins tremendously well.
In the past, nearly all bushing barbells spun the same. In fact, I've reviewed many of the most popular bushing bars available today and most spin pretty lousy. The one exception I would say is the Rogue Ohio Bar.
Companies have started to recognize however that the majority of trainees don't need a bearing bar. It's an expense that is simply unnecessary for the majority of people.
Here's a video of the bar spinning for days with a 10 kg plate attached:
Recently I reviewed the Rep Fitness Gladiator Bearing Bar and found the knurl to be subpar.
Whenever you purchase a bar that is quite a bit cheaper than some of their competitors, the knurl is often the place you see the biggest differences.
The knurl on the Vulcan Bushing Bar is quite a bit better than the Rep Fitness and many of the other bars within its price range.
I found the knurl on this bar to quite good.
Although I wouldn't compare this bar to those as they hit different price points, the knurl could definitely be considered in a similar league, which is a lot to say for the price.
Here's a closeup:
The bar as you can see is coated using Bright Zinc.
I'm definitely a big fan of chrome as it resists rusts the best in my opinion, but Bright Zinc is a good, durable coating that should do well and perform admirably over the years.
The bar is 28.5 mm which is the standard size for most bushing bars, although I would have liked to see it at the smaller 28 mm.
Vulcan also offers a lifetime warranty which seems to be becoming an industry standard, but it is certainly important as long as the company stays around.
If you're looking for a good value barbell that will perform well, and not empty your bank account, I would definitely recommend the Vulcan Standard Bushing Barbell.
The price currently sits around $279 and is made in the USA (something I'm a big fan of.)
The one thing I really dislike about the bar is the name. Such a good bar needs a more identifiable name and I think would help the bar become more popular.
Have you used the Vulcan 28.5 mm Standard Bearing Barbell? What's your opinion?
Stay Strong, Live Long,