If you are looking for garage gym gear on a budget, the internet is usually no help. Most sites want you to buy mid-tier or higher products, so that’s all they review. “Serious” home gym sites don’t review or even look at entry-level gear because it’s beneath them.
So, if you’ve been looking at the new Rep Fitness Delta Basic bar, you’ve probably noticed there isn’t much out there about this bar other than what Rep says themselves.
Let’s change that.
Radial play: 7 pts.
Lateral play: 10 pts.
Ribbed/Smooth: 5 pts.
Smoothness: 10 pts.
Bushing type: 5 pts.
L/R consistency: 5 pts.
Corrosion resistance: 5 pts.
Durability: 3 pts.
Application: 5 pts.
Feel: 0 pts.
Grip: 5 pts.
Feel: 5 pts.
Terminations: 5 pts.
Consistency: 5 pts.
You can see a detailed explanation of our barbell scoring process here.
Delta Basic Bar Review, The Short Version
The Rep Fitness Delta Basic bar is, hands down, the single best sub-$200 barbell we’ve ever tested. Available in a bright chrome finish, this barbell has features you normally only find on much more expensive bars. If you are on a budget and need a barbell, this is probably the bar you should buy.
Finding a good quality entry-level barbell that will last has always been challenging. Most offerings on Amazon are mediocre at best. And most of the options, until this point, have been downright disappointing.
Until recently, my #1 recommended budget barbell has been the CAP barbell OB86. While it’s not a bar I’d ever use myself, it was the best bar I could find under $200. And I bought and tested every sub $200 bar I could find.
Well, Rep Fitness has changed all of that with the introduction of their new Delta basic bar. While there are a few things I’m not a huge fan of, you simply can’t get a better bar in this price range.
Most basic barbells do terribly at three things: finish, sleeve spin, and knurl. The Delta bar kills it in 2.5 of these categories. The knurl is a medium volcano knurl and is expertly applied. The sleeve spin is butter smooth, something you never ever ever find in a budget barbell!
The finish is okay. Bright chrome isn’t my favorite, but it’s all you can get at this price point. On the whole, it’s evenly applied, but there are a couple of blemishes you can see in the unboxing video below.
Does the Delta bar sound like a good fit for your gym? Head over to Rep Fitness to get yours now!
Not sure the Delta bar is right for you? Check out our recommended barbells page here!
- Bar Use – Mixed-Use; Powerlifting
- Weight – 20kg (44.1lbs)
- Length – 86.6″
- Loadable Sleeve Length – 16.3”
- Shaft Diameter – 29mm
- Sleeve Diameter – 50mm
- Bushing/Bearing – Brass Bushings
- Sleeve Style – Smooth
- Knurl Style – Volcano/Medium
- Center Knurl – Yes
- Knurl Markings – Dual (IPF and IWF)
- Material – Steel
- Shaft Coating – Bright Chrome
- Sleeve Coating – Bright Chrome
- Whip – Medium
- Static Rating – 700lbs
- Tensile Strength – 135ksi
- Tolerance – 1%
Delta Bar Pros & Cons
Buttery sleeve spin
Medium-depth volcano knurl
Dual knurl rings
Best value at this price point
Could be packaged better
Several small finish blemishes
Bright chrome finish
What I Like About The Delta Bar
There’s a lot to like about this bar, especially when you consider its price point. But there are a few things in particular that really stand out to me about this bar.
Rep’s previous basic barbell offering had bolt-on sleeves that didn’t spin at all. To me, that’s a non-starter. A barbell’s sleeve must spin for safety reasons.
The brass bushings on the Delta bar give its sleeves a buttery smooth spin that is as good or better than bars I’ve tested at 2-3 times the price.
There are two impressive things about the knurling on this bar.
First is the quality of the application. The knurl terminations (where the knurl meets the smooth part of the bar) are crisp and defined. The knurl itself is evenly applied and consistent across the entire bar.
Second is the knurl itself. The Delta bar has a medium-depth volcano knurl that’s grippy without eating up your hands. It’s also the perfect amount of aggressive for the average lifter. I’ve heard from more than a few readers how much they hate knurl which is too aggressive.
They will not have that complaint with this bar.
Recently, Rep opened two distribution centers in the US. This has allowed them to fulfill US orders incredibly quickly. This one was no exception. I ordered the bar on a Wednesday evening, and it was delivered that Saturday.
The Delta bar retails at $179.99 (you can check its current sale price here). There simply isn’t another bar out there at this price that is this well-made.
What I Wish Was Different About The Delta Bar
All entry-level products have things that could be better. All of them. And the Delta bar is no exception. While none of these issues is a deal-breaker for me on a budget-priced bar, they are issues nonetheless.
Dammit, Rep, please fix this!!!
Every single Rep bar I’ve ever ordered has come in a shipping tube with significant damage. The Delta bar is no exception.
Not only was the tube cracked, but the bar literally fell out of one end of the tube when I picked it up from my driveway.
With that said, I will also add that I’ve never received a Rep bar that has shipping damage on the actual bar. They do a nice job of placing a protective covering on the bar so that even though the tube itself gets damaged, the bar does not.
So while I’ve gotten lucky (and it is luck, I’m shocked none of my bars have come damaged since the packaging is always in terrible shape), I would love to see Rep start using a heavier gauge cardboard shipping tube-like American Barbell and Rogue use.
I want to start by making something clear… Bright chrome is the best finish you can get at this price point from any manufacturer. There just isn’t a better option that would allow the price to remain as low as it is.
Bright chrome bars usually have a few spots where the finish isn’t perfect. On my Delta bar, there are 3 blemishes on one of the sleeves. They are small and inconsequential, but they are still there. After just a couple of weeks of use, you’ll see scratches and nicks on just about any bar you can train with.
To be fair to Rep, these spots could also be shipping damage. Hard to tell for sure, but in either case, there they are.
Low-quality bright chrome also tends to chip and peel easily. The good news is that when I compare the finish on the Delta bar to a really crappy Body Solid bar I have, the Delta bar clearly has a much higher-quality bright chrome finish than the Body Solid bar.
I’ve trained with the Delta bar for almost 6 weeks, and there have been no issues with the finish. I’ve banged it around and used it in a pretty rickety landmine too. Still no durability issues. Even so, this isn’t a “lifetime” bar. That chrome will start to come off eventually.
The Product vs. The Competition
I’ve mentioned several times that I compared the Delta bar to quite a few other budget bars. Here are the most common competitors you’ll see and how they compare to the Delta bar.
The OB86 has been a go-to in the budget barbell world for many years. And at $129, it was always the best choice for the price. If you need to save the extra $50 over the Delta bar, it’s not a bad choice.
The finish isn’t as nice and will wear very quickly. They moved to a black color instead of bright chrome, and that black wears off easily.
The sleeve spin is also not great on the OB86. Smooth isn’t a word you’d think of when spinning the sleeves on the OB86.
The knurl is a bit rougher than the Delta bar, but that’s because it isn’t applied as well. It’s rough not by design but because of the application.
There’s an ongoing debate about whether or not the CAP OB86 is the same barbell as the Body Solid OB86. There shouldn’t be, as they are distinctly different barbells.
For me, the Body Solid OB86 is a complete waste of money.
The sleeves on this Body Solid bar bolt on and do not spin. Never buy a barbell like this.
This is a great example of a low-quality, bright chrome finish. Mine was already missing chips of chrome when I unpacked it. Not to mention, the finish also ruined the knurling on this bar because it was applied so poorly.
The sleeves sound like they’ve never been within a mile of any lubrication when they spin (although at least they DO spin).
The knurl would probably be just fine if it wasn’t ruined with the chrome finish. But as it sits, it’s not even close to the Delta bar’s knurl quality.
Oh, and here’s what Titan hides behind a tab on this barbell’s page:
TITAN MAKES NO WARRANTY WHATSOEVER WITH RESPECT TO THE EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING ANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED BY LAW, COURSE OF DEALING, COURSE OF PERFORMANCE, USAGE OF TRADE OR OTHERWISE. BUYER ASSUMES ALL LIABILITY IN USE OF THE EQUIPMENT.
So, they basically won’t even come out and say it’s safe to use as a barbell. Yeah, that’s not good.
I’ve lost count of how many people have emailed me to tell me how bad the XMark bars are. They are only sold on Amazon, and they hit some pretty attractive price points. But even if they were free, I’m not sure I’d ever get one again.
I tested 3 different XMark bars several years ago (Blacksmith, Lumberjack, and Voodoo). I sent them all back. They weren’t worth writing reviews about (I train with these products before reviewing them, and I didn’t want to waste even one training session using these bars).
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a million times more… Never buy gym gear that’s only sold on Amazon.
Alternatives To The Delta Bar
So you like the idea of the Delta bar but want something it doesn’t offer? Here are a couple of alternatives that hopefully address those additional needs.
The CAP OB86 is your best option if the $179.99 price point of the Delta bar is too high. It’s usually on sale for around $50 less than that on Amazon. Don’t expect to be blown away, but it’s the best you can get at that price.
The Rep Fitness Black Canyon multi-purpose barbell would be an ideal choice if you want to step up a bit from the Delta bar. It runs about $70 more at retail. What you get is a much nicer finish (bright zinc at $249 and black chrome at $269), grippier knurl, better quality bushings, a longer warranty, and a much higher static rating.
Let’s be honest. Most people cannot tell the difference between a $180 barbell and a $680 barbell. Even if they can, they usually don’t notice a difference that’s worth $500 of their money.
But do you know what everyone can tell the difference between? A crappy budget bar only sold on Amazon and a well-made basic bar like the Delta. There’s a huge difference!
Am I saying not to buy an expensive bar? Nope. I train with a very expensive bar every day and wouldn’t have it any other way. But if I was on a tight budget, I would not hesitate to pick up the Delta bar.
In the last 6 weeks of training with it, I never once turned my nose up at it. Not once did I think it could be better for the price. Not once have I had any second thoughts about recommending it as the GymCrafter best budget barbell pick.
So, if money is a concern and you need a barbell, the Delta bar is the ideal solution.
How long will the bright chrome finish last?
That depends on a lot of variables. But maybe a callback to your childhood will answer the question for you…
When I was a kid, I had a cheap no-name bike from KMart. My best friend had a really sweet HARO. Both bikes were bright chrome. My bike developed rust spots the first summer I had it. My friend’s bike never developed them.
The second summer I had my bike, the chrome started coming off. By the third summer, I needed a new bike. I wouldn’t be surprised if my friend still has that HARO, and it’s probably in pretty great condition.
The Delta bar is that HARO bike.
Is the knurl aggressive enough for deadlifting?
Yes! First, it’s a myth that you need razor-sharp, mountain-style knurling to deadlift. For most people, that’s just painful, not helpful.
The Delta bar knurl is medium aggressive. Enough for great grip. Not enough to hurt or tear apart your hands.
That said, if a more aggressive knurl is important to you, you should probably not be looking at basic barbells.
What if mine arrives damaged?
One of the reasons I go with Rep so often is their customer service. I’ve had several product issues over the years, and they have always made it right. Always.
If your bar shows up damaged, contact Rep immediately. Take pictures too.
Rep Fitness Delta Basic Bar
The Rep Fitness Delta Basic bar is a multi-purpose, entry-level barbell with features only found on higher end bars.
- Quality construction
- Smooth sleeve spin
- Medium knurl
- Knurl may be too passive for some