Rep Fitness Rackable Curl Bar Review, Good But Not Perfect

Last updated on September 14th, 2023 at 12:37 pm


In my opinion, if you’re gonna strength train in your garage gym, you’ll need three different barbells: A straight Olympic barbell, an open-back trap bar, and an EZ curl bar.

With those three bars and a set of bumper plates, there’s almost nothing you can’t do in your gym!

I’ve found my favorite barbells. I’ve found my favorite open-back trap bar. But the search continues for the ideal curl bar. And in that search, about seven months ago, I ordered the Rep Fitness rackable curl bar.

So, do I have a favorite EZ bar now? Did the Rep model complete my search? Let’s find out!

TLDR Review (The Short Version)

When I ordered the Rep Fitness rackable curl bar, it looked like it had everything I wanted.

Available in stainless steel? Check.
Rackable? Check.
Company with an excellent reputation? Check.

Rep fitness rackable curl bar in rack
My Rep Fitness rackable curl bar in stainless steel

Over the past seven months, I’ve used the Rep curl bar twice a week. The primary movements I use it for are curls (duh!), close-grip bench presses, barbell rows, and skull crushers.

On the whole, I enjoy almost every aspect of this bar. Almost. But there’s one thing about this bar that bothers me every single time I use it. Even after seven months, it’s still enough for me to keep my eyes out for something else.

What’s that one thing? The knurl. (What’s knurl? Check out this article.)

In short, I dislike the knurl location on this bar a little more after every use. And that makes me sad because I really wanted this curl bar to be THE curl bar! 😕

My problem (and make no mistake, it’s my problem, not something that will bother a lot of you) is that the knurl is only applied in four small sections, all narrower than the width of my hand.

When I grip the bar, my hand is about 80% gripping knurl and 20% gripping bare bar.

Does it affect my grip on the bar? Nope. It doesn’t functionally affect the bar or my use of it at all. It’s ultimately a mental issue on my part.

One of the most essential characteristics of a barbell is your connection to it. That’s why I’m such a big fan of stainless steel bars. There’s nothing between you and the bar. The connection is solid!

Knulr section of the Rep Fitness rackable curl bar
The knurl sections just aren’t big enough!

But with this bar, all I can do is think about how the knurl bothers me and feels weird in my hand. It screws up my connection with the bar. It’s kind of like having a tiny pebble in my shoe. Sure, I can still walk fine, but dammit, I’ve got to get rid of that pebble!

The problem is that I can fix the pebble issue. I can’t change the knurl location on this bar.

Does that mean you won’t absolutely love this bar? No!!! I’ve had several friends tell me that it’s a complete non-issue for them. There’s a lot to love about this bar outside of my issue with the knurl pattern.

In fact, if it wasn’t for the knurling issue, this would be THE curl bar for me. As you’ll see, even with my dislike of a couple of things, it’s still the best rackable option out there.

Specs & Technical Overview

Weight35 lbs.
Distance between sleeves51″
Loadable sleeve length10″
Available finishesHard Chrome | Stainless Steel
Hard chrome tensile strength190 KSI
Stainless steel tensile strength200 KSI

*See full specs here on the Rep website

Pros & Cons

  • Available in stainless steel
  • Available in hard chrome
  • Rackable
  • Excellent fit & finish
  • Great sleeve spin
  • Medium knurl is grippy
  • Knurl location
  • Short sleeves

Things I Like About The Rep Fitness Rackable Curl Bar

I’ve tested six different rackable curl bars. Of those six, the Rep model has been my favorite. Sure, I’m not a fan of the knurl placement. But overall, this bar checks many of my “must have” boxes, so I’m guessing it might for you too.

The Finish Options

Let’s start with the finish options. I opted for the stainless steel version. I always prefer a stainless steel bar whenever that’s an option. Just like their stainless steel power bar, I was not disappointed.

Center portion of the Rep rackable curl bar
Look at that beautiful stainless steel!

The look and feel of the completely stainless steel bar is precisely what you’d want. Great looking and has the most corrosion-resistant finish available! (yes, more than even Cerakote!).

You can also get this bar in a matte finish hard chrome for a hundred bucks less. Hard chrome, while not my favorite, is my number two preference for barbells. It seems to feel the least like there is a coating on the bar, and I’ve never had issues with its durability, either.

I love that they offer this bar at a lower cost w/ a great finish, as not everyone can fit a stainless bar in their budget! Especially for a specialty bar that isn’t going to be all that versatile.

It’s Rackable

One of the biggest pains in the ass about specialty bars is they can be very hard to load. Fixing this issue is something that many fitness companies have addressed.

They fixed this issue with trap bars by developing the open-back trap bar. This design allows an integrated floor jack that makes loading and unloading plates easy.

For EZ curl bars, they fixed this issue by making them rackable. Previous to this, curl bars were all relatively short. That meant that to load and unload plates from them. You had two choices.

rep fitness rackable curl bar compared to 48
The Rep Fitness rackable curl bar next to a short, 48″ non-rackable EZ curl bar

One was to balance the bar on your bench, grab a plate in each hand, and gingerly load them simultaneously. The other was to put the bar on the floor and lift each end as you loaded your plates. A complete chore that I would rather skip than use my short EZ bar (true story!).

You can now rack your curl bar and load plates like any other barbell by simply making the bar the same length as a standard barbell.

I’ll never buy another short EZ curl bar again.

Quality Fit And Finish

One of the drawbacks of buying barbells online is that you can’t see the small details. Specifically, you can’t tell a bar’s build quality until you’ve got it in your hot little hands.

Rep seldom disappoints in this area; their rackable curl bar is no exception.

The knurl terminations (one of the first things I look at when determining manufacturing quality) are spot on. They are clean and crisp and exactly what you’d want.

While I don’t particularly appreciate where the knurl is located, I love the feel of the knurling itself. It’s grippy without being overly aggressive. 

The sleeves spin well and freely with no weird noises or hiccups, even with no plates loaded. Plates glide on and off this bar’s smooth sleeves.

I bought the stainless steel version and love the quality and look. The gunmetal gray color of the stainless is even, durable, and polished. While I haven’t seen this particular bar in hard chrome, I’ve seen other bars from Rep in that material, and it’s always well done and without blemishes.

Sleeve Spin Is Excellent

All quality barbells have sleeves that spin. This is done with either bushings (typically on power bars) or needle bearings (usually found on high-end Olympic lifting bars).

One of the primary reasons for this is safety. You never want the inertia of a plate spinning or moving on the bar (which they do when lifting) to spin the bar in your hand. That results in a loss of control and a possibly dangerous dropped bar.

With an EZ bar, you are no longer gripping a straight section of the bar. Instead, you are grabbing angled segments. If an EZ curl bar doesn’t have excellent sleeve spin, those angled sections can quickly come right out of your hand.

They use a combination of bushings and needle bearings on the Rep rackable curl bar. At first glance, I thought this was overkill. But then I realize how important it is for this style bar to remain stable.

Bushing on sleeve of rep fitness rackable curl bar
One of the bushings in the Rep rackable curl bar.

The sleeve spin on this bar is exactly what it needs. Another indication that Rep really thinks about product design before churning things out.

Things I Wish Were Different About X

It’s been a long time since I’ve been disappointed in something right out of the box. Because I buy all my own gear, I do a ton of research before buying and typically end up with pretty solid equipment that I love.

So I was kind of surprised when I had a pretty big “I wish” about this bar before I’d even used it once. Actually, there are two things I wish were different about this bar.

Knurl Location

As mentioned above, I really like the quality and feel of the knurl. I just don’t like where the knurl is applied.

The knurl is only applied in small patches on the small, straight sections of the bar. There are four patches that allow you to have grip in the two customarily used hand positions.

Knulr section of the Rep Fitness rackable curl bar
These knurl spots just don’t fit my hands.

My first issue with this is that the patches are smaller than the width of my hand. So when I grip the bar, I can feel the edge of the knurling. It distracts me.

My second issue is that I grip an EZ bar in more spots than the standard four. I enjoy going with a wide grip when pressing with an EZ bar. I also like a very narrow grip in some cases. And sometimes, I just want to cheat my grip a little left or right.

With the way the knurl is applied to this bar, I can’t do any of that.

Shortened Sleeve Length

A traditional barbell’s sleeves average around 16″. The sleeves on the Rep rackable curl bar are only 10″.

If you only used this bar for curls, that wouldn’t be a problem. Even the strongest human can only curl so much weight, and a 16″ sleeve isn’t needed.

Sleeves of regular barbel vs Rep Fitness rackable curl bar
A standard Olympic barbell sleeve next to the sleeve on the Rep rackable curl bar.

But I’m a big fan of versatility. That means I use my gear for as many things as possible. For the rackable curl bar, that means using it for bench pressing, barbell rows, upright rows, and barbell shrugs.

Since I use bumper plates, I can see myself running out of room on the sleeves at some point. Not that it’s a huge deal, but since they made this a full-size rackable bar, I’m puzzled why they wouldn’t include standard-length sleeves.

Who Is The Rep Fitness Rackable Curl Bar Best Suited For?

If you have been looking for a rackable EZ curl bar, there’s a lot to like about this Rep bar. But is it for you?

You’ll most likely love this bar if you do a lot of direct arm work. It takes the elbow-friendly positioning of an EZ bar and makes it rackable and a breeze to load.

If you’re tired of the true pain in the ass that is loading a short EZ bar, a rackable version like this one from Rep is a game changer.

This bar also allows you to start off with it in your rack at precisely the correct position for the movement you are performing. No more picking it up off the floor to get to your starting position. If you plan to lift heavy with your EZ bar, this rackable model will really help you!

Alternatives To The Rep Fitness Rackable Curl Bar

In my search for the ideal rackable curl bar, I’ve tested six models. So far, the Rep is the best of the bunch. But each model has unique pros and cons, so let’s run through the competition and see how they compare.

Bells of Steel Industrial Rackable Curl Bar

I had high hopes for this Bells of Steel bar (the review is coming soon), but it disappointed me in several ways. The finish looks to be applied by a third-grader. The sleeves make a terrible popping noise when spinning. And the “cheese grater” knurl might be fantastic at grating cheese, but your hands might not be so happy about that.

Bells of Steel Industrial rackable curl bar
The Bells of Steel rackable curl bar.

I do like the location of the knurl, though. And if the finish were applied better, it would look awesome. In the end, though, this bar has far more cons than pros.

Fringe Sport Midas Curl Bar

If you like the looks of the Bells of Steel bar, but want something that’s actually made well with a finish you’ll be proud of, make sure to check out the brand-new Midas curl bar by Fringe Sport.

This rackable EZ curl option has a black Cerakote shaft with gold chrome sleeves. The knurl is just the right amount of medium/aggressive and is well applied.

Fringe Sport Midas curl bar

Rogue Fitness Rackable Curl Bar

Add this to the list of terrible experiences I’ve had with Rogue. Even when I end up with a decent product, the taste left in my mouth from dealing with them sours the experience. Whether it’s a shipping issue, product delay, or order processing error, it always seems to be something with them!

That said, this is a pretty solid bar from Rogue. The knurl is in the right place (cough, cough, Rep, cough, cough) and allows use for more than curls and skull crushers.

Rogue Fitness rackable curl bar
Rogue Fitness rackable curl bar

Like most Rogue bars, the finish is applied well and looks great. Their ECoat finish is one of the better black finishes on the market. Bright zinc isn’t my favorite sleeve material (that would be hard chrome), but it looks great and will last a long time. Stainless steel would be better than all of that!

My biggest gripes about this bar are the play in the sleeves (a common Rogue issue) and the knurl is too aggressive for all but the most serious gym rat.

Titan Fitness Rackable Curl Bar

This was one of the cheapest bars I tested, but it wasn’t too bad. It’s less than half the price of most other options, so it isn’t a terrible idea for someone on a budget.

I loved that the knurl was applied to the length of the bar. That knurl placement opened up some exercises I couldn’t do on any of the other bars.

Titan Fitness rackable curl bar
Titan rackable curl bar

The bar spin was okay but seemed restricted a bit. The finish looked nice, but it’s cheap decorative chrome and, in my experience, will wear and chip off over time. Typical for some of Titan’s older gear.

The weirdest thing about this bar is the pattern of bends in the bar itself. An EZ bar needs a pretty specific set of angles to allow your hands to rest naturally on the bar. This protects your elbows and shoulders and is THE reason you use a bar like this.

The Titan bar looks like it was designed by someone who has never used or seen an EZ bar before. The angles and the spacing are a bit uncomfortable, and the weird third peak in the middle of the bar was a problem when using the bar for rows or pressing.

Xpert Fitness 72″ Rackable Curl Bar

AKA an Amazon special, this is the same price as the Titan bar and only about a quarter as good. The only good thing about this bar was the reminder never to buy barbells from Amazon. Thank God they have an excellent return policy. I sent this back after checking it out for no more than five minutes.

XMark Convict Rackable Curl Bar

Way better than the Xpert Fitness model, but still a cheap Amazon-only bar. XMark does actually make a few decent budget items, but this isn’t one of them.

The finish was splotchy and poorly applied on this bar. The sleeves almost didn’t spin at all. The knurl is some of the worst I’ve used.

Again, avoid barbells sold only on Amazon if you can. Stick to bars made by reputable manufacturers who also sell directly to consumers.

The Verdict

It looks like no one has yet built my idea of a perfect rackable curl bar. I’ve tried virtually every option out there, and this article is the result of that.

I’m hoping that Rep fixes that knurling on the next version of their curl bar, but even as it sits now, it’s one of the best options you have for a rackable curl bar.

So, until something new comes out, I’ll be rocking (and racking!) this Rep model. Even though it’s not my favorite Rep product, it still gets the job done nicely!


Why do I need a rackable curl bar? Why not just the less expensive, shorter versions?

Rackable EZ bars have two distinct benefits. First, they are infinitely easier to load. This means you’ll actually use it! Second, you can set up your rack to start in the correct position. With the shorter models, you have to pick the bar up off of the floor every time you want to use it.

Should you use bumper or iron plates with an EZ curl bar?

Technically, you can use either. With the shorter, non-rackable models, it’s best to use iron plates as they are a smaller diameter. With a rackable bar, it doesn’t really matter one way or the other.

Will non-Rep branded plates fit this bar?

Yes! All Olympic plates will fit on this bar. Olympic-size sleeves and plates are standardized and not brand specific. You can use any brand plates with any brand bar as long as they are “Olympic” in size.

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Rep Fitness Rackable Curl Bar
rep rackable curl bar

The Rep Fitness rackable curl bar is one of the best rackable curl bars on the market, but it does have flaws. Specifically, the location of the knurling can be distracting to some lifters. While the knurl does provide adequate grip, it is only applied in 4 small segments on the bar. The bar is otherwise extremely well made, comes in 2 finishes, and is a solid addition to most home gyms that have a rack.

Product Brand: Rep Fitness

Editor's Rating:


  • Rackable
  • Available in stainless steel and hard chrome
  • Great sleeve spin
  • Grippy knurl
  • Comfortable to use


  • Knurl placement
  • Sleeve length

6 thoughts on “Rep Fitness Rackable Curl Bar Review, Good But Not Perfect”

  1. I have this bar and it’s awesome. The knurl has never bothered me and I’ve never wished it was in more spots. We used to have the Rogue and it had more knurl but the knurl hurt my wife’s hands (and mine if I’m honest). The sleeves also weren’t attached very well. We were surprised as Rogue is supposed to make quality gear. We think the Rep is made better and we like the knurl better too.

    • Ugh, there’s a reason you don’t see me buying any Rogue gear to review. Glad that you like this bar! It’s still my currently used bar. I think the knurl issue I pointed out is mostly in my head. Thanks for posting this comment, it’s a great perspective I didn’t include in the article.

  2. I thought the same thing about the knurl pattern, but it’s never really been an issue for me. I’ve only had the bar a couple of weeks, but I really like it so far.

    • I really think it’s mostly in my head. Thanks for sharing this, I think it’s what most folks will think about the bar.

    • Thanks for posting this. I think my review might be a little harsh and it’s nice to hear from people with this more positive opinion!


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