Pendlay weightlifting bars

Why did I ever wait so long to buy myself new bars?

Weightlifting legend Tom Hirtz advised me, "A good bar is critically important. This is your sport. Don't wreck the experience with a shit bar. Save money and buy cheaper bumpers, but go with a decent bar."

I purchased two bars from Pendlay, 20KG and 15KG, bushing class. This is one of the best investments I have made in my training life. I'd been getting along with a used bar that was probably geared for typical gym use, like most bars are.

Weightlifting bars are specially engineered for the sport. They can take being dropped with a lot of weight on them. They can take being slammed into racks. They bounce, bend, spring and generally have more life to them.

The Pendlay bars were the best value I could find. There are some comparable deals out there, but Pendlay impressed me with their professionalism, serious pride in workmanship, attention to detail (Read the specs on the bar on their site. It's more information than you need, and much more than anyone else goes into. I like that.), their reputation among old timers, their reputation for standing behind their warranty, and their value for the price. And their bars are made in the U.S.A.

They claim they are the only barbell company in the world using a single-piece collar construction. Their bars are capped on the ends, and if you uncap them, it voids their lifetime warranty. That's great, because if you've ever lost a bar to the ends unscrewing until the threads wear out, like I have, you know this means the difference between the bar being usable and a piece of garbage.

The Pendlay bars are zinc-coated, which they claim will absorb into the bar, making it resistant to chipping. That's big.

These bars are works of art. They're truly beautiful (okay, if you're a gym geek, they are). The dimensions and finish are consistent throughout. They feel terrific in the lift. They are responsive and can take abuse. The grooves on the ends are hard enough that they're wearing down the centers of my bumpers, instead of the other way around. I really feel like I am getting a lot for my money with these bars. I don't notice any difference between Pendlay and bars in weightlifting gyms or even competition.

I have heard Pendlay can occasionally have slightly sharp edges on the knurling that you might need to file down with a metal file. This was not my experience. The knurling is pronounced, but not to a detrimental degree. That said, I am skinning my hand-to-thumb knuckles from rubbing the knurling when I pass the bar back down to the platform from jerks. But I can avoid it with awareness. I'm just having a hard time remembering to do that.

Although their website is slick, the online ordering process is pretty Beta. It'll take you a few screens more than you're accustomed to nowadays. But the bars arrive on time and well packaged. My transaction was completed without a hitch, and I can't stop talking about how nice it is to lift with these bars.

One thing I'd like to see from a bar maker, though, is a 15 KG bar that is the same diameter as the 20, for those of us who want to use a lighter bar for some things, but do not have small hands.

Note - Pendlay now offers a higher class of bar which uses needle bearings instead of bushings. They cost a bit more. I don't see anything lacking in my bushing bars, but perhaps it would make a difference with really heavy weight.

Bushing class bars, both 20 and 25 KG, $299. Also a 10 KG Junior bar for $269. Shipping not included. When you order, be sure to check out their specials. I picked up a couple of bumpers for a good price.

Pendlay HD NexGen Olympic Bar


Leonard said...

Thanks for your review. I am pondering purchase of a bar. One I am thinking about is this Pendlay bushing bar. On Roguefitness, it is advertised as being fairly stiff, but having some whip. On Pendlay's site it is adverised as having moderate whip. The bushing bar that is. They have the bearing bar, which is supposed to have more 'whip', it is made of a higher nickel content, which aids, they report, in flexibility, along with strength, and with a quality to the steel that it returns to its straightness repeatedly.

Have you tried this bearing bar?

And, do you find that the bushing bar has 'moderate whip' with your exercise? Or does that more show up with high weights, I mean like 400 pounds.

What bar do you use for squatting? THe Pendlay? I saw that you have a safety squat bar. Is that your chief squat bar? How do you like it? Have you used the PEndlay for squatting?

Questions, hope you do not mind.

The Mighty Kat said...

Hi again Leonard,

I welcome questions and comments, so thank you.

Like I said on, what you need will depend on what you're doing with it.

I haven't tried the bearing bar. I researched and pondered as you are doing and finally opted for the more economical option, and I'm very happy with it.

As far as measuring whip, look at who is throwing that term around. Both Roguefitness and Pendlay may be using different terms to describe the same measure of flex, because there is no standardized scale. However, I trust that Pendlay has made a precise science of measuring the whip they produce in their bars, so I trust that compared to others, it is moderate. I can tell you with what I do, it's a delightfully subtle yet highly effective whip that enhances my training. It always returns to its straightness.

Again, I have a friend who had a Pendlay actually bend right off the bat, but Pendlay does offer a lifetime guarantee, so I wouldn't consider a purchase a big risk.

I do use my Pendlay for most of my squatting. I have no problems with it.

But again, weight this with what you're doing and how much load you're using. If you're putting 400# or more on the bar, it may make a difference.

Do drop me a note when you get whichever bar you do, and let me know what you think of it.