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One of the best parts of the buying experience with the Klokov Barbell was the fact that I bought it on Amazon.
Not kidding, this has to be the best barbell currently listed on Amazon, and it was shipped Prime. So, I ordered on a Wednesday evening, and two days later, it showed up on my doorstep.
One thing you'll notice is the unique shape of the shipping container.
Rather than the typical tube, Klokov Equipment has started using a thin box with foam surrounding the entire bar.
Although the box was a bit ripped up when I received it, the bar didn't have a scratch on it. This is primarily due to the custom foam used throughout the entire barbell, not just the sleeves like many companies use.
If you're going to spend above $300 on a barbell (or any money), I think the company has an obligation to get the barbell to you in pristine condition. This shipping box and foam is the best way to ship a barbell I've seen yet.
The box was also easier to open than any of the dented in and smashed tubes I've ever received. In my opinion, a company that pays attention to the small things likely does the big things right.
Klokov Equipment is a new company.
I say this to start the review because there has already been a Klokov Bar released, and it was by Again Faster (which since has gone bankrupted and then sold to X-Training Equipment.) It was also one of the most hyped up, yet underwhelming pieces of strength and conditioning equipment in recent history.
Dimitry Klokov is one of the greatest strength athletes of all time. But, just because Klokov is a great athlete does not mean equipment holding his name will be great. Unfortunately, the original Again Faster Klokov Bar was pretty disappointing. It rusted quickly, had shoddy knurling (the center knurl was often sharp enough to grate cheese) and there was little uniformity between bars.
Although many people reviewed the bar and labeled it as one of the best available, I am happy to say I did not succumb to the hype and viewed the bar for what it was: a cheap Chinese-made bar with a high price tag.
The new Klokov Equipment Klokov Bar is not this way.
The Klokov Bar I'm reviewing today is outstanding and quite honestly gives other high-end weightlifting bars a run for their money.
To start off, I'd like to look at the bar as a whole. Being in the equipment review business, I see a lot of 20 kg steel bars. Although there's creativity allowed, there's only so much you can do to set a barbell apart from others in terms of looks.
Personally, I'm a fan of things that are timeless. There's not a whole lot of need for flash and color in an instrument as precise as a barbell. The Klokov Bar has taken many of the things others have done well and built upon them.
For instance, my personal favorite barbell is my 2014 Eleiko Olympic WL Training Bar (I reviewed it here years ago.) One of the things I like so much about it is the attention to detail including the serial number permanently etched into the shaft. Klokov Equipment has decided to do something similar that gets two BIG thumbs up from me:
Not only has Klokov included a serial number, but they took what Eleiko has done one step further by including a permanently etched image of Dimitry Klokov's signature which I think is a nice touch.
It's very easy to cross the line from "wow, that's a nice touch" to "that's overdone and tacky" and Klokov Equipment has added just enough to remain clean, yet unique.
Moving on to the sleeves, we see that Klokov Equipment has paid attention to the details. One of the areas of a high-end barbell whether for powerlifting or Olympic Weightlifting (mainly weightlifting) that stands out is the noise the sleeve makes when bumpers are slid on. This may seem silly, but most of the best barbells in the world have a slightly ribbed pattern on the sleeves. This not only causes the bumpers being slid on to have a unique sound, but it also keeps the bumpers on during multiple reps.
Also on the sleeves is an advanced version of something Rogue Fitness introduced to the industry with the Rogue Bar 2.0 and that is a machined groove holding thick blue rubber band that causes the Klokov bar to stand out from afar.
When I first saw the band, I thought it looked cool, but outside of looks I didn't see many functions for it. However, When I brought the bar onto the platform I quickly realized what a great idea it was.
When I warm up, I'm not very gentle with my bars. They're made of metal and should to be able to withstand me dropping them to the platform from waist height. I haven't ever had problems, but I've always wondered if repeatedly doing so could hurt the bar; this is also something I've seen many of the Chinese Weightlifters do as well.
The rubber band acts much like a bumper in protecting the sleeve from impact when dropped to the ground. Once again, a small detail that is unnecessary, but definitely welcomed.
Moving to the other side of the sleeve, we see a stainless steel jacket enclosing the rotation system. Within the stainless steel jacket and sleeve are both needle bearings and a bushing. This is pretty unconventional as most bars have either one or the other, but the spin on the Klokov Bar is both smooth and consistent, exactly what you want.
A fast spin is not always the best spin. Although many companies will try to market to you otherwise, it's simply not true. What I look for in watching a barbell spin is how it stops spinning. Does it slow to a stop or stop rather suddenly? The longer it takes to slow to a stop, the more consistent the rotation system will be.
To achieve this consistent spin, the Klokov Bar employs 10 bearings total (5 in each sleeve) which is similar to Eleiko in their top bars. It's become quite apparent that Klokov Equipment has attempted to create a bar that competes with Eleiko at a lower price point.
The other feature that is similar to Eleiko is the chrome plating. Although the Klokov Bar uses chrome, it's not nearly as shiny as Eleiko's although that shouldn't indicate anything negative or positive about either. Klokov Equipment just decided to go with a satin luster versus the gloss that Eleiko uses.
One thing the Klokov Bar does not have is Swedish Steel. Does the claim that Swedish steel is superior to other steel ring true? Neither I nor anyone else has ever proven it, so I sometimes feel it's more of a marketing idea than anything else.
The Klokov Bar does feature some of the strongest steel of any barbell on the market, boasting 235,000 PSI tensile strength. Just as the Arms Race was a competition to see who has the most firepower, the barbell industry is currently one in which companies are trying to outdo each other regarding shaft tensile strength.
The strong shaft (sometimes I feel weird saying things like that, but there's no other word to use) has been etched with an aggressive knurl that is suited more for competition than training.
Knurling is very much a personal preference. I like a passive knurl and therefore prefer Eleiko's Training Bar knurl to the Klokov Bar, but if I were in a competition preparing to pull for a PR, I'd want something that stuck, and this does just that.
The knurling is much more like Eleiko's competition offering than the training bar that I have, which for many is what they prefer. In the case of the Klokov Bar, you're getting a made-for-competition bar at a much lower price point than what other's offer (outside of Rogue.)
Here's a close-up of the Eleiko Training Bar's knurl for comparison:
The Klokov Bar also features something I wish every bar had that for whatever reason many companies neglect.
Let me paint a picture for you: You're setting up to do your sets of 5x5 back squats, and you place your bar in the rack because that's what you do with barbells, you use them. You set up under the bar to squat, walk out, do two reps and then on the third rep the bar slips down your back slightly and puts you out of position. You finish the set, no harm no foul.
What if, there was a way to prevent this by putting something in the middle of the bar that helped grip your shirt or skin when squatting? This my friends is called a passive center knurl and the Klokov Bar has it.
A passive center knurl should be just that, passive. It should provide just enough tack to stick to your shirt, but no so much that it leaves you with scrapes.
This is one area that the original Klokov Bar got completely wrong and I'm glad to see Klokov took notes before approval of this one.
Finally, as with all of my most recent barbell reviews, I had to measure the diameter and weight of the bar for accuracy. Although this is a bit over the top, a bar that measures as stated will likely show that the company is stating facts when referring to bar how the bar should perform now and over time.
Klokov Equipment states a 28 mm shaft diameter which they are spot on with.
The bar also has a stated weight of 20 KG with a guarantee of +20 g/-10g. Being a bar made for competition, this is ultra important, and I was happy to find that the bar is the stated weight.
One thing that did surprise me was when I placed the Eleiko Training Bar on the scale for comparison.
As you can see, the Eleiko is not a true 20 kg and weighed this after cleaning the bar and recalibrating the scale multiple times. Granted, this is a "training" bar, but it also costs nearly a grand. Although this shouldn't change your lifts much, it was still slightly disappointing.
The Klokov Bar is a definite contender with Eleiko considering it's price point.
Would I rather have an Eleiko or the Klokov Bar? This is difficult to answer because I love both. The Eleiko holds one the most renowned names in the strength world and has also been my go-to bar anytime I do classic lifts.
The Klokov Bar however both spins and feels great in hand, AND it's $700 shipped which is quite honestly one of the best values available for a weightlifting bar that could actually be used in competition.
I will say this, the fact that the Klokov Bar can even be used in comparison to the Eleiko says a lot. In my opinion, the Klokov Bar is most like the Rogue EU Weightlifting Bar which is an OUTSTANDING barbell that I've previously owned.
If you decide to buy the Klokov Bar, you will have a bar that competes with the best at a great cost. I'm in the process of writing a new barbell guide, and at this point, I believe the Klokov Bar will hold the best value category for Olympic Weightlifting bars. This is a big deal considering its competition.
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