The SoCal Econ Bar & Plate Set is the foundation of my home gym and provides an entry-level barbell and bumper plates for Olympic-style weightlifting(weightlifting). The package includes a Rogue Beater Bar, two spring clips and 160 pounds of Rogue Hi-Temp rubber bumper plates. This set gives you a total of 205 pounds of weight, which is a good base.
The two main lifts in weightlifting are the snatch and the clean and jerk, both of which involve taking the loaded barbell from the ground/lifting platform to overhead. This is the reason the bumper plates are made out of rubber, rather than cast iron. Once the weight is above your head, you generally drop the weight and guide it, rather than lowering it under control. By using rubber plates, you are less likely to damage the floor where you are lifting.
Right away, you will notice the cost of this set is almost double the cost of most 300 pound weight sets available at your local sporting goods dealer or big box store. This is due to the specialized bumper plates and the fact the bar was manufactured to withstand the shock from dropping the weights from height.
The barbell is designed with standard 2-inch collars, so you can purchase Olympic-sized cast iron weights as you build your strength. Watching for clearance sales and on craigslist, you can pick up cast iron weight sets inexpensively for this purpose.
I have owned this set for over two years now and have used it regularly since early 2009. Since I am 6 feet 8 inches tall, my set has taken a lot of abuse. When I drop the barbell, it is from a height of nearly nine feet. My bar and weight set shows signs of use, as you would expect after over two years of use.
The Rogue Beater Bar is 31mm vs the standard olympic diameter of 28mm. This bar only has one ring interrupting the knurling(texture) on the bar. The mark in the knurling matches the standard width used on most powerlifting bars.
The knurling on the bar feels great. There is enough of a bite in the texture to make chalk optional if you aren’t going for a personal record; at the same time, the knurling isn’t so deep it digs into you when you’re using the bar for back or front squats. Center knurling would be nice for doing things like high pulls, but this bar was designed for general use and it excels at that.
Doing cleans & snatches, I have never felt like the bushings slowed down the turn-over. My max weight for either of those lifts so far has been 145 pounds, so there may be more resistance at higher weights. For my use, though, it has been great.
The finish on the barbell is a black zinc coating. Unfortunately, the durability of the finish isn’t too great. It’s probably the same as a heavy duty spray paint. My leg hair is pretty wiry, but it looks like someone took a brillo pad after the barbell where it rubs my legs during the first pull/deadlift. There hasn’t been any rust accumulating there, but you can see where my legs are for lifts.
The spring collars are nothing special, although they do seem to have uneven tension. One holds the bumpers in place, even if I have an uneven drop and it shoots off in one direction. The other, however, is loose enough the plates move on a wild bounce. But these are not meant to be rock solid. If you have a few extra bucks, pick up an extra set of them and double up on each side or spend some serious bucks and get one of the heavier duty collar sets for high-rep work.
These Hi-Temp bumpers are made from rough rubber, so they aren’t as pretty as some of the bumper plates you can purchase in a variety of shiny colors. This is good, though, ’cause I’m not afraid to use them on my driveway or anywhere else. They’re made to be abused and they look the part. The only problem I’ve had was caused when dropping the bar from overhead with only the ten-pounders loaded. This caused the metal cuff to pop lose from one side of the plate, but it popped right back on when I stomped on it and I haven’t had it happen since.
I highly recommend this set if you are interested in learning Olympic lifting or Crossfit. Buy now from Rogue Fitness.