In the process of putting together a home gym, I didn’t want to buy everything from Titan. In hindsight, that was probably for the best. My issues with Titan are still a factor, but that wasn’t the only issue. Another was that because Titan is out of stock on things so often, buying bumper plates from them, at least as a set, wasn’t really an option. You can’t buy what they won’t sell.
Plus, I hadn’t heard good things about Titan’s bars, so I decided to not play around and turned to Rogue.
I picked up the Rogue Ohio Power Bar (45 lbs model) first, then later picked up a 260 lbs set of bumper plates.
So, let’s get into my thoughts.
Why the Ohio Power Bar?
I’ll be honest, I know jack about bars. I know how to use them, but I don’t really understand much else about them. So, I hit up YouTube and looked at videos about them. Garage Gym Reviews had plenty to say on the subject. Coop over there is kind of a bar nerd, and he suggested Rogue bars. One he recommended was the Ohio Power Bar.
Luckily, I had a chance to get some hands-on time with one at my commercial gym. While not all of them were the Ohios, enough were that I got the chance to do a number of lifts with them. I found them to be solid, useable bars with good knurling that wasn’t so aggressive it felt like I was lifting torture implements.
The one different choice I made was by going with the black zinc coated bar. Since mine is outside, I wanted to mitigate rust as much as possible. I’m still concerned about the bearings inside, but that’s going to be a problem either way, so… *shrug*
Why the Rogue Echo bumper plates?
This question operates on multiple levels that need to be examined. First, why bumper plates? Then, why these bumper plates.
Why bumper plates?
When it comes to plates, you can either get bumper plates or actual iron. I’d intended to go with actual iron since I’m not doing any Olympic lifts and they tend to run a little cheaper than bumper plates.
However, I started looking more and more at doing strongman movements, which often includes dropping whatever implement you’re using. Because that sometimes puts strain on the weights, I figured bumpers were the smarter purchase.
Yeah, I workout at home, and it’s unlikely the dirt would do anything to metal plates, and it’s not like the plates would damage the dirt, I’m not sure that’ll always be the case. My wife and I are looking at buying a house in a year or so, and one thing I’d like is somewhere to do some lifting that’s at least mostly indoors, even if it’s in a garage.
As such, bumpers made sense.
Why Rogue Echo bumpers?
While shopping for bumpers, I looked at a lot of different models. To me, the Echo plates were competitive in several categories. While not the least expensive option, they were still fairly affordable. That was a big one, to be sure.
However, the Echo plates aren’t as thick as some less expensive options, which means I could fit more on the bar. While that’s not exactly an issue right now, it may be down the road. Bumper plates are considerably thicker than traditional plates, which means you can’t load up as much weight on the bar. Since I’m trying to plan for the future…
Additionally, the Echo bumpers are made to comply with the International Weightlifting Federation standards. That makes them a standardized diameter, which means I can use other 450 mm bumpers and everything fit, more or less.
These were generally more affordable than most others that qualified under that standard.
Thoughts on Bar
The bar is what it is. It’s exactly what I thought it would be when I ordered it. It holds the plates, is comfortable enough in my hand, and has aggressive enough knurling that I’m not worried about it slipping out of my hands.
Honestly, if everything could be this straightforward, life would be grand.
That said, I might have gone with the Rogue Echo Bar or their 2.0 if they came in a 45 lbs variety. Yeah, we’re talking about an only a pound, but this is a comfort thing. Plus, I like the nice, round 5 lbs numbers in my lifts.
However, both the 2.0 and Echo 2.0 bar comes in a bit cheaper than my Ohio Power Bar. If you don’t care about that one pound, go with them. Either way, though, I doubt you’d be disappointed.
As for the zinc coating, I can’t comment. There hasn’t really been enough time to test how it withstands wear and tear.
Thoughts on Echo bumper plates
I purchased a 260 lbs set for a few reasons. Mostly, it was the biggest set they had in these and sets got free shipping.
Makes sense, right?
Now, these plates are great. The 45 lbs plates aren’t massively thick, which is nice. The metal insert slides nicely onto the bar and they’ve taken the little bit of wear and tear I’ve given them.
However, the process isn’t perfect. In order to sort of pad out the set, Rogue includes plates that aren’t really needed, like 35 lbs and 15 lbs bumpers. The 15 lbs plates are especially extraneous because they’re not usually included in most sets people are used to.
If Rogue had left those plates off, they could have included a couple more 45’s and been a bit more useful. They could have then made up the difference in weight with some standard, metal 5 pounders, which I had to purchase separately (I also got a pair of 2.5 plates as well).
That said, it’s not like the plates are going to waste by any stretch. While I wouldn’t have purchased them if I bought bumpers individually, both bumper pairs have been used in my workouts.
Another issue is the lack of 55 lbs bumpers. Rogue makes competition sets that actually are narrower than the Echo bumpers, and those go up to 55 lbs bumpers.
Ideally, the Echo line would also include larger bumpers like 55 pounders. I get that they might be a little thicker than both the 45’s and the competition 55’s, but it would still be nice.
That said, none of those are dealbreakers. I love these bumpers. At worst, I’ll simply get some 55 pounders from one of the other lines. And, honestly, it’ll be a while before I absolutely have to go with 55 pounders.
Alright, let’s talk about Rogue shipping.
First, shipping from Rogue came in pretty much ideal condition, with one box’s corner bumped in a bit but otherwise everything else undamaged. Each plate came in their own box, with the 12 boxes banded together in six bundles (I also got two J-hooks since I didn’t like the looks of Titan’s).
Unlike Titan, they all arrived at the same time, so there was that.
The one criticism I can offer is that Rogue’s website gets wonky on shipping. It routinely shows shipments coming earlier than they actually are based on when the order is processed. In other words, it doesn’t actually pull data from UPS’s site but calculates it on its own until things reach a certain point, usually when the original estimate is late.
As such, I advise you to use the actual tracking number provided to gauge where the item is.
That’s about it.
The truth is, Rogue knows how to ship items quickly, efficiently, and without boxes being all jacked up.
On the other hand, Rogue charges a whole lot more, so they kind of have to handle it better.
Would I purchase again?
No, seriously, I would. In fact, I already have made another purchase from Rogue despite Titan offering the same product for less, though admittedly, Titan being out of stock on the item had something to do with it.
The plates are awesome, the bar is awesome. While my next bar is likely to be a much cheaper bar, that’s mostly because it’s going to be used and abused, and I don’t want to damage an expensive bar.