Bells of Steel Rackable Curl Bar – Not What I’d Hoped For

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bos curl bar featured image

video review

Key Points

  • I’ve had this bar for over a year, and I DO NOT like it at all.
  • While the finish looks really cool on the Bells of Steel website, it’s pretty bad in real life.
  • The sleeves are defective and out of the box, and they make a terrible clicking sound.
  • When I tried to contact Bells about the issues, they never responded.
See more details and current pricing on the Bell’s of Steel site
Bells of Stel Rackable Curl bar in use
Me using the Bells of Steel Rackable Curl Bar

My Quick Take

The first thing I noticed about this bar when I took it out of the tube was that the finish was messed up and sloppy across every section of the bar. From the sleeves to the shaft, there were problems everywhere.

The finish is not the only issue with this bar. It’s also poorly made. Both sleeves make a weird clicking sound as they spin. And they barely spin in the first place.

Last is the “cheese grater” knurl. It’s way too sharp for most people. I’m sure it’s fantastic at grating cheese, but it’s not ideal for human skin.

It’s not even applied well. It’s messy and uneven at best. Not to mention, an EZ curl bar doesn’t EVER need a hyper-aggressive knurl pattern. Medium knurl works just fine!

So, a few months ago, before writing this review, I emailed the owner of Bells of Steel to let him know of the issues I found with his bar. While he was very responsive when they originally sent the bar, it was radio silence as soon as I pointed out problems.

Since I never heard from them, I made a trip to their Indianapolis showroom to see their products for myself and ask about the issues with this bar. Every other piece of gear in their showroom had similar issues. I was highly disappointed in all of it.

GymCrafter score: 4/10

  • Weight – 33.5lbs / 15.2kg
  • Diameter – 1.1″ / 28mm
  • Length – 74.6″ / 1,895mm
  • Loadable Sleeve Length – 9.5″ / 250mm
  • Knurl – Medium
  • Knurling Marks – N/A
  • Centre Knurl – No
  • Shaft Finish – Black Cerakote
  • Sleeve Finish – Titanium Plated
  • Tensile Strength – 100,000 PSI
  • Max Capacity – 700lbs / 318kg
  • Warranty – Limited Lifetime Warranty

What I Like About The Bells Of Steel Rackable Curl Bar

I’ve used EZ bars for well over 20 years, and for most of that time, all that was available were short 48″ish long bars. That makes them hard to load. It also limits what you can actually do with them.

Making an EZ bar a rackable length opens up a wide array of movements you can’t do with a short bar. It also makes loading plates on and off the bar much easier.

When I received this bar, the first thing I did was put it on the j-cups of my rack and train with it. It will easily fit on most standard racks.

Bells of Steel curl bar resting in rack with plates loaded on it.
Here I racked it off to the side so you can see how much space there is on the sides to make your walk out or unrack easier.

What I Don’t Like About The BOS Curl Bar

Cerakote is a great way to add color and design to metal products. It was first used on barbells by American Barbell as a way to add color to their multi-purpose California bar.

Cerakote can be done right. To give credit where it’s due, Rogue does a great job with it. But that requires a lot of thought and planning. Bells of Steel did neither on this bar.

The Cerakote is blotchy, splattered, and unevenly applied on the curl bar I received from them. It’s too thick in some areas and clogs the knurl in others. It’s so bad that I immediately contacted Bells of Steel when I received the bar.

They assured me it was not normal, and their other bars weren’t like that, but when I visited their Indianapolis showroom, I found otherwise.

Virtually every Cerakote product in that showroom had the same issues.

Poor finish on the Bells of Steel rackable curl bar
This splotchy application of the Cerakote is across the entire bar.
closeup of cerakote on bells of steel barbell
A close-up of the Cerakote issues.

Bells of Steel is the only company I know of that uses titanium to coat its barbell sleeves. On their site, it looks really cool. It’s too bad that the titanium finish quality is as bad as the Cerakote next to it.

The titanium on this bar (and others in their showroom) is uneven. It’s faded in spots and heavily applied in others. It looks terrible, even from across the room.

There’s not much else I can say here except it’s one more instance of photos online not representing what you get in real life.

Faded titanium on bells of steel curl bar
The faded and uneven titanium on the sleeves was like this when I opened the bar.

Sometimes, I’m willing to overlook finish issues if the product under that finish is well made. This one is not.

The first time I loaded plates on the sleeves (which are ribbed – there’s zero need for ribbed sleeves on a curl bar), I gave the plate a spin.

Instead of a nice, even, smooth spin, I heard a clicking noise. Something is bound up inside the sleeve.

To make matters worse, it happens on both sides. That tells me it’s not an anomaly. It’s how this bar is made. And no bar should make this noise when the sleeves are spinning.

It’s so bad, I had to record it so that you can hear for yourself:

This is how the bar was out of the box. Adding lubricant did not fix this. You can also see how uneven the titanium is as the sleeves spin.

One of the big marketing callouts on the Bells of Steel site is their “cheese grater” knurl pattern on many of their bars. If you’re a big, tough gym rat, that’s what you want, right?

There’s certainly a place for an aggressive knurl pattern. But it’s not on a curl bar. And it’s not on any bar meant for the general public.

Unless you are a long-time powerlifter with calluses to match, it’s best to keep your hands away from cheese graters unless it’s Taco Tuesday!

Every time I gripped this bar when testing it, I hated the knurl. Keep in mind that I prefer a medium knurl pattern on all but my dedicated powerlifting barbell. If you feel differently, you may like this knurling.

I don’t.

PXL 20240416 222410458 scaled
The knurl is not only too sharp, but it doesn’t cover nearly enough of the bar.

Who This Curl Bar Is Best For

If you are a Bells of Steel fan and want a rackable curl bar, this might be an option.

Outside of that, I don’t recommend this bar to anyone.

Alternatives To The Bells Of Steel Curl Bar

Virtually ANY other rackable curl bar would probably be better than this one. I’m currently training with the Rep Fitness stainless steel rackable EZ bar, and like it a ton better than this one. You can read my complete review of that bar here.

Bells of Steel Rackable Curl Bar - Not What I'd Hoped For
bos curl bar

0/5, do not buy. The quality on this bar is some of the worst I've seen. No response from the company when I reached out with the issues, either.


  • It's rackable


  • Finish is terrible on the bar and sleeves
  • Sleeves make a weird clicking noise
  • Sleeves don't spin well
  • Knurl is too aggressive
Photo of author


Tim Steward has been training at home since he got his first weight set from Sears in junior high. Over 30 years later, Tim has helped thousands of people build home and garage gyms that they love and use regularly. He also holds CPT and Nutritionist certifications with the ISSA and is an NCCPT nationally accredited trainer. When Tim is not training or writing about home gyms, you can find him at the dog park with his two Australian cattle dogs, Anny and Beans.

8 thoughts on “Bells of Steel Rackable Curl Bar – Not What I’d Hoped For”

    • I had such high hopes for them, especially after some positive YT reviews. Ever since GGR was bought out, you can tell their only focus is pushing products and makinh money, not actually giving honest reviews of anything anymore.

  1. I’ll make this very long story short. I ordered the Tower weight stack July 4th, since then UPS lost three of the six boxes, it’s taken numerous phone calls to Bells of Steel with consistent errors on their part and UPS to try and correct the problems. Parts are missing, and now, Aug. 7, nothing has been resolved because Canada is closed. No one in their Indiana store wants to help.

    • I had a terrible experience in their Indianapolis location. It’s basically a powerlifting gym that’s fully equipped with BOS stuff. The 3 guys I met when I went there had zero interest in helping me with BOS stuff. They were clearly there to run their little gym and that was it. Sorry you are having a bad experience. The more I deal with them and the more I’ve heard customer feedback, the more they go on my do not buy list. I hope it all gets resolved eventually!

  2. This place sucks. I can’t believe Brandon and Coop recommend it. Thanks for the honest review, you’re the only one I see telling the truth about this imported crap.

    • I think that’s a little harsh. Yes they have quality control issues. Yes their stuff is made in China to hit a price point. Yes they focus on non-functional things like fancy coating to set themselves apart instead of spending that money on better made products. But all that said, there is a huge customer base for companies like this. It’s how Titan Fitness has been successful.

      Not everyone is a gym rat. Not everyone cares about how smooth the sleeve spin is. Not everyone cares about how pretty welds or finishes are. A lot of people just want a cool bar for their garage gym that holds weights and allows them to lift. And they can’t spend hundreds of dollars to do that.

      Low prices come at a cost. That cost, in gym equipment, is quality.

      Would I buy any Bells of Steel stuff for my own gym? Probably not. But I do regularly recommend it to people on tight budgets. I think their racks and benches are great examples of decent low cost items.


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