Purchased this bar for my wife, replacing a pendlay bearing bar that had dug bearings into the shaft. I saw that fringesport is selling a gymway (company that manufactures this bar) bar with bearings for under $400 shipped. Almost automatic purchase (previous experience with their bars). Other retailers selling this bar with their label want way more for it, and some have dual knurling marks (WTF?) with overly passive knurl.
Pretty standard cardboard tube with endcaps, inside, bar was covered in plastic sleeve. Bar itself was covered in some shipping oil to prevent corrosion during transport (smells like vomit, just wipe it down, maybe use alcohol). Unfortunately a 20kg sized tube was used, so the bar bounced and slid around in there gaining a number of dents to the hubs and end of sleeve areas. Sticker tags separating from sleeve end slightly, presumably from impact. Also some play in sleeve that is not typical in gymway made barbells. More on one side than the other, which I assume is from shipping. I cannot attach images to this review so I cannot show this.
Excellent. It will not spin easily or for many revolutions out of the box, especially if just spun with hand. It has to break in. Once broken in, it will never spin fast or like crazy (controlled spin is ideal, not overly fast spin), but will spin effortlessly for a few revolutions, PARTICULARLY under load. This is because of the construction: looking down the gap between shaft and sleeve, you can see the bearing cartridges sit on a bushing, not directly on the shaft. I have other bars with this construction, and it makes for ideal spin and far more durable, bearings never dig into the shaft, or break from direct impact absorbed by shaft. The greater surface area from bearing on bushing changes how fast spin is, but in my experience makes smoother spin.
TLDR, Let it break in, spin will be ideal, bearings won't f*** up.
Equivalent to eleiko bars, maybe slightly more flex. Looking at how easily something flexes or deforms, how far it deforms, how quickly it will reach that level of flex, and then how much it retains the energy by continuing to oscillate, I rate the bar as equivalent to eleiko on all those fronts. Whether that's good or bad is subjective. I like more faster flex and longer oscillation, some people want less, lots of people can't tell the difference.
TLDR, comparable to very expensive bar
Average. It works well, grips well, deep enough, it's fine. Better than this maker usually puts on their bars, usually gymway knurls their bars way too light (maybe the worst aspect of their bars). This is much more aggressive to the point that it is functional. I prefer different type of knurl pattern, everybody likes different types of knurling, whatever. Wife likes it. It's fine.
Fringsport staff; put up decent macro shots of the knurling. Or let people post pictures in their reviews.
The matte chrome looks a lot like zinc, but doesn't have that bluish tinge. It also shouldn't wear off. It grips a lot like zinc, does have a more matte texture than polished chrome would, so hands won't slip as much. It will eventually rust though, chrome always rusts at some point. Every bar steel will eventually rust, just clean it if it happens. This does NOT feel anything like a bare steel bar though, as claimed in the description. Bare steel has amazing grip, this has average grip, which is fine. Wife is ambivalent about the coating, says it takes chalk well.
Sleeves are ribbed. This is stupid, it never stops plates from sliding, it just makes things a pain. Smooth sleeves with a tight tolerance are better. Coating is polished chrome. Laser etched fringesport logo on shaft side of hub is a nice touch if you like more labels. More play in these sleeves than other bars I've used from this manufacturer, but still less than almost any other bar I've used or seen. Again, I think this is from shipping, not indicative of tolerances or quality control.
For the price, this bar is amazing, and unless you want a stainless or bare steel bar, I would buy this over any other offerings on the market at this time. Having either bearing on bushing, or enclosed bearing construction isn't common yet, but it's the best way to do it.
This would be better (5 star) in bare steel with a much tighter, slightly deeper knurl pattern. Grip would be excellent, and the bare steel would probably never actually rust, just turn medium gray with some brown spots. People need to get over themselves with concerns about rusty bars. Fringe people, if you drop a 20kg bare steel wl bar, I'll buy it.
Packaging could be better, the bar wouldn't have been damaged if a shorter tube was used.
Also salty that I got the bar during the black friday sale, and now it's actually cheaper. Dick move.