REVIEW OF CAP BARBELL OB-86B & OB-86PBCK
Since some other gyms and a lot of other people in the fitness world follow us on Twitter and Facebook and glance our little blog once in awhile I thought I would start doing some reviews on some products that we use here in the gym. This article won’t mean much to those working out here but it will worth a ton to anybody out there shopping for a new bar and looking to find a good review of the CAP bars.
The first review I’d like to do is on the new bars we just got in. Nothing like new toys in the gym! Our gym is small and we just beginning to really grow and get into serious strength training and Olympic lifting and we have added quite a few new members and moved some people up from beginner to intermediate/advanced status and gotten them working on the bars. So we decided to order some new bars and they came in the other day.
First and foremost if you or your gym, like ours, has a few crappy old bars, the old style bolted end bars that are usually about $120 from Dick’s or the type that come with a $200 weight set, moving up to the quality of bar in the CAP OB-86 is a night and day difference!!! Seriously, your lifting world is about to change. Really, upgrading from a low buck bar to a good quality bar from any manufacturer will be a huge improvement in your gym. This is an investment!
We were going to purchase some York bars as the price was a little better, but then we found out that there were some problems with them not living up to their weight ratings and problems with the warranty and the bearings. In addition to product flaws and a shaky warranty, York was out of stock of their block oxide bars “for an unknown length of time” so we had to end up canceling an already placed order and getting a refund so we could order the CAP bars.
We didn’t really have the money or truly have the need to buy $400 bearing bars and we needed an economical yet high quality bar and I can assure the OB-86B and the OB-86PBCK are just what we were looking for! The bars are very similar except for three features and those differences are the center knurling, the color scheme and the weight rating. The 86B does not have center knurling and the 86PBCK does. One bar, the 86B has a black oxide middle section and chrome sleeves and the 86PBCK is all black, the bar is black and so are the sleeves, which makes it very easy to pick out which bar you want to use just by a quick glance. The other difference is their weight capacities as the 86B is rated at 1,200 pounds and the 86PBCK is rated at 1,500 pounds.
The grip on these bars is perfect! I’ve used a “Texas power Bar” and destroyed my hands and we have had the crappy low buck bars for a couple years that have terrible grip and seriously the grip on the CAP bar is perfectly in between. The knurling is deep enough to give you a good bite and a super firm hold that will not require much, if any, chalk, but it will not rip your hands apart. We bought both the OB-86B and the OB-86PBCK (with the center knurling). The smooth black oxide finish on the bars still sticks to your back, even with no shirt on, without the center knurling and the bar with the center knurling seriously digs in for when you’re drenched in sweat or when doing center grip lifts like Sumo High Pulls. I had originally wanted all the bars with the center knurling but then read an article suggesting the OB-86B without center knurling that said “because there is nothing worse than scraping your chin or nose or throat doing Thrusters or Olympic lifts” and instantly recalled a workout not long ago when I scraped my Adam’s Apple on a bar with center knurling while doing Clean and Presses and it was a horrible experience, so we got some bars with it and some bars without it.
The sleeves are without a doubt nice, not to mention the chrome looks very striking against the black bar. The fit on our bumper plates is so much nicer than the old beater bars. And boy do they spin! The oil impregnated and sealed bearings on these bars are so smooth and so quiet! Even when you drop the bar you won’t get that huge “clank” that you get from a low budget bar, it just lands with a solid “thud”. And no more pins on the end of the bar that come lose or need to be tightened! These bars will never fall apart, never come lose and never need tightening!
Whip vs. Static Lifts
This bar does not have the greatest whip but we are just starting out with Olympic lifts and we are just beginning to understand timing the whip and using it, so this basic bar is perfect for us. Because the bar does not have a lot of whip or bend to it, it is great for static lifts like bench presses and squats, although it still bends just little under very heavy loads but we are not a powerlifting gym so we don’t have any people trying to bench 450+ pounds or squat 600 pounds so this is again the perfect bar for our gym.
To sum it all up this bar is fantastic! And you truly cannot beat the price! The bar came highly recommended from http://www.christiansfitnessfactory.com and it is the bar we went with and we love it. If you are a smaller gym like us or are just starting out and have no super heavy weight powerlifters or big Olympic lifters then this bar is perfect for all your needs from the bench to the rack to the floor. It has just enough whip to start knowing what that feels like and it is stiff enough for static lifts. And whether you decide on the OB-86B without center knurling or the OB-86PBCK with it, you will not be disappointed!