Whether you’re looking for an all-purpose barbell for your home gym or just need something you can bench press with, finding the right barbell for your needs and price range can be a challenging search. The Cap OB-86B Olympic bar is a durable and affordable all-purpose bar you can use for CrossFit, Olympic lifts, and powerlifting. Because of its all-around value and versatility, this product earns five out of five stars.
Pros and Cons
- 1000-pound capacity makes it suitable for most people
- Diamond knurling is medium-depth for longevity
- Attractive black oxide bar finish
- Very affordable even though it’s a high-quality bar
- Accommodates standard two-inch Olympic plates
- No center knurl, so it can be hard to center the bar
- Some users report the bar arrives with a greasy finish
This is a fairly standard Olympic barbell. It is seven feet long and weighs 45 pounds. Some user reviews have confirmed that the bar, when it arrives, is exactly 45 pounds. It’s important that the bar weighs exactly 45 so users can make sure their weight totals are correct. It also has a 1000-pound capacity, which is enough for most people. This capacity is extremely important for safety, since lifting more weight than a bar is rated for can cause the bar to break and to potentially injure the user. A bar with a lower rating may also be more likely to bend when loaded with heavier weights, and you want the bar to stay straight for maximum performance.
One feature that’s important to look at with any barbell is the quality of the knurling. This bar has medium-deep knurling, which allows for a very secure grip. Less deep knurling can wear off or simply not allow a lifter to grip the bar securely enough. Secure knurling is especially important for deadlifting since you need to have a very secure grip when getting the bar off the ground.
This barbell has no center knurl, though, and that may be either a good or a bad thing depending on what type of lifting you are likely to do. A bar that has center knurling may help you keep the bar in place on your back when doing back squats, or on your chest when front squatting. However, if you are doing a workout where you will be doing a large number of cleans that involve racking the bar across your chest, a center-knurled bar may cause abrasions, and a bar like the Cap barbell is a better choice. Ultimately, your preferences regarding center knurling are what matters.
Lastly, another feature of this bar that is important to mention is its chrome sleeves. The smoothness and diameter of sleeves is an important consideration, since, in Olympic lifts like the snatch, the plates and collars need to be able to spin. This bar has standard chrome sleeves that accommodate standard plates, and users generally report that the weights spin with no problem.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the most important features of this product, we’ll review it in detail. This review will focus on the suitability of use for Olympic lifting, and for powerlifting. It also will look at durability and overall value.
Suitability for Olympic Lifting
Both Olympic lifting and powerlifting use 45-pound bars, but certain features, like center knurling and the ability of the plates to spin on the bar, can help you determine whether a given bar is better for one discipline versus another.
As noted briefly above, the fact that this bar has no center knurling means that it won’t scratch up your chest if you’re doing high-repetition work with power cleans or other lifts involving racking the bar across your chest. Knurling is designed to improve grip, so the rough surface isn’t designed to repeatedly rub against skin. Therefore, the Cap barbell is a good choice for high-rep Olympic lifting workouts, or CrossFit workouts involving these lifts.
Additionally, the smooth chrome sleeves make this bar an excellent choice for Olympic lifting. Smooth sleeves in general are a good thing for lifting, but this becomes especially important in Olympic lifts, where the plates and collars need to be free to spin.
Suitability for Powerlifting
This bar is the correct weight and size for powerlifting as well as for Olympic lifting. While you can absolutely use this bar to power lift, one thing to keep in mind is the fact that the lack of center knurling means that it may be slightly harder to keep the bar in place for squats. Knurling adds a little bit of extra grip, which can become important when you are very sweaty or if you’re lifting a heavier weight that is more likely to slip.
Center knurling isn’t necessary for benching, but some people prefer having it as a visual to make sure that the bar is centered. Ultimately, while the lack of center knurling may be slightly disadvantageous, you can still use this bar to powerlift.
Durability, Value, and Versatility
Despite its low price, this bar is made to last, and many users note that it can stand up to heavy use across CrossFit, Olympic lifting, and powerlifting disciplines. According to many users, it will not bend over time, which is an issue sometimes seen with cheaper bars. Additionally, the depth of the knurling is made to withstand frequent and heavy use as well. Ultimately, this bar, despite its affordability, is high-quality, and thus is an excellent value.
How Does It Compare?
Now, we will compare this product to two other Olympic barbells in a similar price range: the Body-Solid Olympic bar and the USA Sports Olympic bar.
This bar comes from another well-known manufacturer of affordable weightlifting equipment. This barbell may be a good choice for those who want a specific finish, as buyers can choose either an all-silver bar or an all-black bar. However, this bar has two major disadvantages: it is only 44 pounds, which is a pound away from standard bar weight, and it is only rated to hold 600 pounds. However, if you aren’t planning on competing, and if you are someone who does not lift very heavily or plan to do so, this bar may be a good choice for you. Since the Cap barbell is the standard weight and is rated for a higher weight, it is a better choice for heavy lifters or those who want a standard-weighted bar to practice for competition.
This bar, like the Body-Solid bar, comes in an all-black finish that some users may find aesthetically pleasing. While it is less expensive than the OB-86B, it is only 44 pounds, and it is only rated for 600 pounds. Some users complain about the sleeves being uneven and about the bar weighing less than the advertised 44 pounds. The USA Sports bar may be a good choice for the casual lifter who is not planning on lifting heavy, but for most uses, the Cap barbell is safer due to its higher weight rating.