In the past, when Rep Fitness upgraded a product, they simply released a “V2” version. So, in early 2023 when they discontinued every barbell they made, I knew something different was about to happen.
Enter the completely new lineup of Rep Fitness barbells, redesigned from the ground up.
The Double Black Diamond power bar is one of those new barbells. It’s also the best power bar that Rep has ever made. And that’s saying a lot since their stainless steel power bar V2 has been my #1 recommended bar here on GymCrafter for years.
*I normally train with a barbell for 6 months prior to reviewing it, but that’s not the case with this bar. Because of how much I liked their previous bars and how impressed I am with this one so far, I’m writing this review with less than 6 months of use. Once I have put in 6 months under this barbell, I will post a video review on our YouTube channel and make any needed updates to this article.
The Short Version
The Rep Fitness Double Black Diamond power bar is the best power bar that Rep Fitness has ever made. With an aggressive knurl, multiple finish options, and tolerances that hang with the best barbells from any manufacturer, it’s really hard to go wrong with this bar.
The Double Black Diamond power bar now sits as our “smart pick” over on our recommended barbells page. The “smart pick” is the one we recommend most people buy as it sits perfectly at the intersection of price and value.
It’s not the highest-end or most expensive bar on that page, but it’s the one that deserves the most attention as it’s the bar I recommend to anyone looking to live within a reasonable budget while getting as much as they can for their dollars.
This barbell features an aggressive mountain-style knurl that is ideal for powerlifting movements. While I thought the knurl on their power bar EX was a bit too aggressive, they’ve reduced the pitch (steepness) and increased the TPI (teeth per inch) on the Double Black Diamond bar just enough to make it comfortable while still being aggressive.
The Double Black Diamond also comes in 6 different finishes, so if you don’t want to spend the extra on end-to-end stainless steel, you can get the same amazing bar for less money.
The knurl application is top-notch as is the application of the finishes. This is definitely NOT the case with most Cerakote™ barbells.
To top everything off, Rep adds the best-looking endcaps in the industry as well as some laser engraving which makes this mid-priced barbell look and feel like something much more expensive than it is. I am 100% confident that if you need a power bar, you’ll absolutely love this one.
Want to start training with one right away? Head over to Rep Fitness to get your Double Black Diamond bar now!
Looking for other barbell recommendations? Check out our recommended barbells page.
Unboxing video coming soon
Full review video coming 4-6 months after the unboxing video.
- Bar Use – Powerlifting
- Weight – 20kg (44.1lbs)
- Length – 86.6″
- Loadable Sleeve Length – 16.3″
- Shaft Diameter – 29mm
- Sleeve Diameter – 50mm
- Bushing/Bearing – Bronze Bushings
- Sleeve Style – Smooth
- Knurl Style – Deep Mountain/Very Aggressive
- Center Knurl – Yes
- Knurl Markings – IPF
- Material – Steel or Stainless Steel
- Shaft Coating – Cerakote or None (Stainless Steel)
- Sleeve Coating – Duracoat™, Hard Chrome, or None (Stainless Steel)
- Whip – Low
- Static Rating – 1,500lbs
- Tensile Strength – 200ksi
- Tolerance – 1%
Double Black Diamond Power Bar Pros & Cons
6 finishes offer a range of prices
Available in end-to-end stainless (our preferred finish)
Aggressive mountain-style knurl
Lower pitch and TPI knurling make the aggressive knurl comfortable
The knurl application is excellent
Smooth sleeve spin
Laser engraved branding
I’d prefer a passive center knurl
Stainless is hard to find in stock
Cerakote dulls the knurl slightly
Cerakote and Duracoat will fade and rub off over time
Knurl may be too aggressive for some
What I Like About The Double Black Diamond Bar
The difference between Rep’s new lineup of barbells and their old one is vast. When I first saw these new bars, I knew Rep had done something very right.
Knurl Type & Quality
When Rep introduced their deep knurl power bar EX a few years ago, it got a lot of good press. Some of that press was from me. It’s a great bar with a very deep and extremely aggressive knurl.
But after some use, I grew to dislike the knurl on that bar. It was too deep. And it was certainly too sharp. Deadlifting with it absolutely destroyed my hands.
So when I saw the Double Black Diamond bar advertised as having “aggressive, mountain-style knurl” I was prepared not to like this bar either. I don’t have the callouses that much more serious powerlifters do.
Fortunately, Rep reduced the pitch (steepness) of the knurl on the Double Black Diamond bar and also increased the TPI (teeth per inch). By making the knurl points slightly less sharp, smaller, and closer together, it makes for an aggressive knurl that doesn’t rip the skin off of your hands.
6 Available Finishes
The Rep Fitness Double Black Diamond bar is available in 6 finish options:
- Black Cerakote™ shaft with black Duracoat sleeves™
- Black Cerakote™ shaft with green Duracoat sleeves™
- Black Cerakote™ shaft with blue Duracoat sleeves™
- Black Cerakote™ shaft with red Duracoat sleeves™
- Stainless steel shaft with hard chrome sleeves
- End-to-end stainless steel
end-to-end stainless steel
But even better than the color options are the price differences. Not everyone will want to spring for the end-to-end stainless option ($449.99 MSRP). The $329.99 MSRP price point of the colored variations makes this bar much more accessible than their old flagship power bar which only came in stainless.
In my article detailing the pros and cons of Cerakote™ for a barbell finish, I talk about even application problems as well as how Cerakote™ can often ruin the knurl on a bar by filling it in.
Rep not only applies the Cerakote™ right, but the reduction in knurl sharpness is minimal. In fact, I can see a lot of people preferring the knurl on the Cerakote version more because it’s just a touch less aggressive and therefore more comfortable to use.
Duracoat™ is also a great choice for a colored sleeve finish. It chemically changes the color of the metal and it is not an applied coating. This makes it look amazing and last a very long time.
All in all, there are zero issues with the finishes on this bar. It’s applied with precision and there are no blotches or other problem areas as you see on some less expensive Cerakote™ barbells.
All that said, it’s important to note that ALL applied finishes, including Cerakote™ and Duracoat™, will fade and rub off over time. The only finish that will not show this type of wear is stainless or bare steel.
Overall Build Quality
You know how when you close certain car doors they make a very specific and solid thud that tells you the car is extremely well made? Well, that sound describes the Black Diamond Bar too.
From the laser engraved branding to the knocked-off corners of the sleeve’s shoulder, this bar screams high-end. The enameled metal end caps are another great example. You just didn’t see attention to detail like this in Rep’s previous barbell lineup.
Sleeve spin should get its own section, but that’s yet another indicator of just how well this bar is made. The tolerances on this bar should leave no questions about its quality. They also set this bar above most of its competition (more on that below).
What I Wish Was Different About The Double Black Diamond Power Bar
As much as I like this bar, there are a few things that could be tweaked.
Aggressive, Not Passive, Center Knurl
The center knurl on a barbell is there primarily to keep the bar locked to your back during back squats. It’s one of the main differences that set power bars apart from Olympic lifting bars.
If this bar is dedicated 100% to the big three powerlifting movements (bench, squat, deadlift), having a center knurl that’s as aggressive as the rest of the bar can be beneficial. The aggressive center knurl on the Double Black Diamond bar is perfect in that situation.
But if you are doing other movements, a passive center knurl is a better choice, and what I prefer in a primary barbell. The military press (barbell overhead press) is a great example.
More than once, I’ve grazed my chin, nose, and forehead with the center knurl of a bar while overhead pressing. With a passive knurl, that’s not an issue. With the very aggressive mountain-style knurl on the Double Black Diamond, that can be a painful and bloody problem.
Of course, many of you will tell me to be more careful. And that’s one option. but even then, I’d still like to know that if I’m not, I’m not going to scrape a layer of skin off the tip of my nose!
Stainless Steel Is Rarely In Stock
I’m sure this will change, but at the time I’m writing this review (early Nov, 2023), the end-to-end stainless option for this bar is sold out. And it has been for some time.
If budget isn’t a concern, all stainless steel is the best option for this barbell. I wrote a fairly in-depth article about why I prefer stainless, but the short version is the feel they provide is second to none.
With a stainless bar, there is no coating between your hands and the bar. In practice, that makes a fairly noticeable difference.
You can also get this bar with a stainless shaft and hard chrome sleeves (another excellent option and one that’s in stock). That’ll save you $20 and it’s in stock a lot more often.
The Knurl May Be Too Aggressive For Some
Wait, didn’t I just spend the first half of this article extolling the virtues of this bar’s knurl? I did.
But that doesn’t mean everyone will like it. Average home gym owners typically prefer a volcano-style knurl that’s a bit easier on their hands. If you don’t lift a lot, or you don’t have callouses built up on your hands, you may also find this knurl to be a bit too much.
If you are concerned about the knurl on your bar causing pain or being too uncomfortable to use, there are two options…
First, Rep will be releasing their Single Black Diamond power bar soon. The Single Black Diamond will be the exact same bar but with a medium-depth volcano-style knurling. I’ll update this article with a link once it’s released.
Second, Cerakote tends to slightly “fill in” the knurl on a barbell. While many people look at this as a negative, it’s actually a great way to get this amazing bar with a bit less sharp knurl. That’s a perfect combination for many people.
You can see in the two images above, both of Double Black Diamond bars, how the knurl with a Cerakote™ finish looks just a tad “rounded off”. While some people dislike that (and if that’s you, go for the stainless version), others will really appreciate the very slight reduction in aggressiveness.
The Double Black Diamond vs. The Competition
The $300-$450 price range seems to be the sweet spot for price vs. value. That means a lot of competition. This barbell has some seriously good peers to be compared against.
Rogue’s Ohio bar, in one of its 1,027 different configurations, is the single most recommended barbell on the internet. Most sites list it as their #1 choice. If it’s not #1, it’s usually top 3.
Is it a good bar? Yes! It’s a really good bar. Is it as good as the Rep Double Black Diamond? No. Is it the single most overrated barbell in the home gym industry? I think it is.
The Double Black Diamond bar has better knurl, better endcaps, better bar spin, tighter tolerances, and a lower price than the Ohio Power Bar.
These two images tell an important story. The Rep image is from their Delta bar, a $179 budget bar. The Rogue image is from their $500 stainless steel Ohio Power bar. You tell me which one is better made.
Rogue simply does not have the best manufacturing tolerances across almost all of their bars. The word sloppy comes to mind a lot when I use a Rogue bar.
Drop an Ohio Power Bar and you’ll hear it rattling a few miles away. Drop the Double Black Diamond and it makes significantly less noise… Because it’s got much better manufacturing tolerances and a better internal design.
The only thing that could possibly be considered as “better” with the Ohio bar is that Rogue is made in the US and Rep is not.
That’s really important to some people and I’d never discount that for people who care about it.
In Coop’s review of the Double Black Diamond power bar on the GGR YouTube channel, he literally says that the Rep bar is the better of the two bars, but he prefers US-made stuff so he would go with the Ohio bar.
If you are willing to buy an inferior product because of where it was made, go for it!
Of course, American Barbell crushes Rogue in quality and workmanship, so there’s that. If you want made in the US, I highly recommend American Barbell, not Rogue.
If made in the US is not a huge factor for you, then the choice between Rogue’s Ohio Power Bar and the Rep Double Black Diamond Bar is easy. Rep all the way.
I included this bar in my comparisons for two reasons. First, the knurl is closer to the Rep bar than the standard Ohio Power Bar. Second, there are a lot of Ohio Aggro fanboys out there, so I know I’ll get emails asking me to compare them anyway!
The Aggro Ohio bar is basically an Ohio Power Bar with the most aggressive knurl possible. In my opinion, it’s way too aggressive for anyone not growing thick, reptile-like skin on their hands.
If you’ve been powerlifting every day for the last 20 years, your hands can probably handle this Rogue bar’s stupidly aggressive knurl. If not, you’re not gonna have any fun using the Aggro bar.
I think the Double Black Diamond is superior to every version of the Ohio Power Bar including this one.
For the longest time, the Texas Power Bar was the best power bar you could get. And, for many years, it was the only one with an aggressive knurl. There are some very loyal Texas power bar users who’ve been lifting with this bar for years.
Because of that, it’s always been disappointing to me that the Texas bars are probably the most poorly made power bars at this price point that I’ve used in the last 5-7 years.
The sleeves move freely in every direction (and they move a lot!). The tolerances are the worst of any bar I’ve tested in recent memory (outside of some Amazon budget bars). And talk about loud! These bars and their rattling sleeves make so much noise!
The knurl on the Texas bars is sloppy at best. Nothing is crisp. Nothing is consistent across the bar. And wow is it sharp! This is another bar that I don’t think many average lifters would enjoy using.
If you lift in a dark, gritty, cobweb-filled basement with rusty iron plates and chains around your neck, you are a Texas Power Bar customer. Buy one, you’ll love it!
If you prefer something made with quality and attention to detail, I’d wager good money that you’ll like the Rep Double Black Diamond Power Bar better.
The American Barbell Chewy bar is the reason why we don’t rate the Rep Double Black Diamond Power Bar as our #1 pick on our recommended barbells page. The Chewy bar is the best power bar on the market today.
And for $625, it should be! The Chewy bar is made from the highest grade stainless steel, has the best and most unique sleeve construction of any barbell out there, and the knurl…. Oh, the knurl!!!
This is one of those cases, though, where we are not comparing good vs bad. The Rep Double Black Diamond is an amazingly good bar. The Chewy bar is just better. If money isn’t a concern, the Chewy bar is the bar you should buy.
But. if you are anything like 95% of the people I know, money is always a concern. And that brings us back to the Rep Double black Diamond bar and why we rate it as our “smart choice” for recommended barbells.
Alternatives To The Double Black Diamond Power Bar
So, the Double Black Diamond isn’t the bar for you, but it’s close? Here are a few alternatives that might fit the bill for you…
The American Barbell Grizzly Bar is a comparably priced power bar that’s made in the US. If having your bar made in the US is important to you, this is your best option.
The Rep Fitness Delta Basic Bar is your choice if budget is your primary concern. No, it’s not as nice as the Double Black Diamond, but at $179.99, no one expects it to be. What it is is the best power bar you can buy at that price point. There isn’t anyone else even close. See why I say that in my full Delta bar review.
The $300-$500 power bar market is the most competitive of any category of barbells. And there are a lot of really good bars there. If you buy from a reputable manufacturer, you are bound to get a pretty good bar that you’ll enjoy using.
But if you aren’t a “pretty good” type of person, and you want the absolute most for your money, the Double Black Diamond Power Bar is where it’s at. It could easily be your one and only bar that lasts you for your entire training life.
I heard that Rep’s stainless steel bars rust. Is that true?
With their previous power bars, the ss power bar v2 and the ss power bar EX, there were reports of rust. And there were enough reports of rust that I tend to believe them.
I own both of those bars and have zero rust on either. I do clean and maintain my bars regularly, so that probably makes a difference, but I think the bigger difference was where you lived.
I am not a metallurgist, but I can tell simply by looking at the new bars next to the old (and next to my American Barbell Chewy bar) that Rep has stepped up their stainless game.
I would not be concerned about rust on these new bars at all.
I don’t like that Cerakote dulls the knurl a little.
Then don’t buy the Cerakote version.
There are only two ways to ensure the best, most direct connection to the bar with nothing changing its feel: Buy bare or stainless steel. Otherwise, every single finish that can be applied, including Cerakote, slightly dulls the knurl.
If your primary concern is color, go with Cerakote. If it’s feel, go stainless. You can’t have both.
Do they make a bar with a 2,000 lb load capacity?
No. And they don’t need to.
First, no one can do anything with a barbell that would be better with a 2,000 lb bar vs a 1,500 lb bar.
Second, if you need a bar that can hold more than 1,500 lbs, you’re not shopping at Rep. You need to go to Eleiko and look at $1200-$1500 IPF spec power bars.
Rep Fitness Double Black Diamond Power Bar
The Double Black Diamond Power Bar is Rep's flagship powerlifting barbell. Available in 6 different finishes, all with an aggressive, powerlifting friendly knurl, the Double Black Diamond is a great choice for a garage gym.
- Great knurl
- Precise construction
- Multiple finish options
- Knurl may be too aggressive for some