Vulcan Standard Olympic Bushing Barbell Review

Vulcan Standard Olympic Bushing Barbell

Whether you have a home gym or work out in a commercial space, barbells are one of the most versatile pieces of strength equipment there is. With a good barbell, you can work every muscle in your body in isolation or in compound lifts that also challenge your endurance. Barbells can certainly be a big investment, but there are plenty of good quality, budget options on the market, too. If you can get a good weight set and a weight bench, your home gym will be in business.

This article is my Vulcan Standard Olympic bushing barbell review. Spoiler alert, it is a great bar at a really good price point. We'll talk about the construction of the bar, the materials, and other specs you need to know to decide if it is the right bar for you. I would be surprised if most of you had experience with Vulcan, but I hope you'll keep an open mind. As you'll see, this is a brand to keep in mind as you're shopping for equipment.

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A Quick Look at the Vulcan Standard Olympic Bushing Barbell

Quick Look at the Vulcan Standard Olympic Bushing Barbell


  • Weight: 20kg/44lbs., 15kg/33lbs.
  • Diameter: 28.5mm, 28mm, or 25mm
  • Knurling: Medium
  • Finish: Black or Bright zinc

If you've never heard of Vulcan Strength equipment, let me introduce you. Vulcan makes their equipment 100% in the USA, and their barbells are very high quality even though they're at a lower price point than some other brands. The Vulcan Standard is the company's promise behind that quality.

The Vulcan Olympic bushing barbell is an example of that quality. Aesthetically, there is not much difference from one barbell to the next for the average gym-goer. The difference lies in the construction, things like the knurl, tensile strength, and finish. All of these factors will have an effect on your experience, and the Vulcan Olympic bushing barbell delivers.

This bar has a medium knurling with no center knurl, three weight options, three diameter options, and reflexive steel which will give you a moderate whip—the ability of the bar to bend under heavy weight and return to straight. You can also choose between a black zinc or bright zinc finish. This is a versatile bar that beginning and experienced lifters alike will enjoy.

What We Like

  • Good whip
  • Multiple diameter and weight options
  • Medium knurling should give you a strong grip without ripping your hands
  • Smooth sleeve rotation
  • Grooved weight sleeves for extra security

What We Don't Like

  • No center knurl
  • Zinc finish is good, but not the best

A Closer Look at Vulcan Standard Olympic Bushing Barbell

Closer Look at Vulcan Standard Olympic Bushing Barbell


You can get the Vulcan Standard Olympic bushing barbell in either 20kg/44lbs. or 15kg/33lbs. Traditionally the 20kg/44lb. bar is for men while the smaller, 15kg/33lb. bar is for women.


The Vulcan Standard Olympic bushing barbell comes in three different diameters. You'll be hard pressed to notice the difference between the 28.5mm diameter and the 28mm diameter bars unless you're very familiar with weight lifting. Bigger hands should opt for the larger diameter. Both of these diameter options are 20kg/44lbs. The other diameter option is 25mm which is the size for the 15kg/33lb. bar.


Knurling is the part of the bar cut with a pattern to give you a better grip. There are plenty of patterns different companies use to cut the knurling, but the main thing to notice is the depth of the cut. The Vulcan Standard Olympic bushing bar has a medium knurling which is an all-purpose grip.


Most barbells are made of some type of steel, but the finish is the protective coat that goes on top of the steel to keep it from rusting or otherwise being damaged. The Vulcan Standard Olympic bushing bar has a zinc finish, which is a good finish, but not my personal favorite.

With the zinc finish, this bar will certainly be durable and rust-resistant. But zinc is a little slicker than other finishes like hard chrome or stainless steel, which can affect your grip when you get sweaty. The coating is my biggest complaint about this bar.

Bushing vs. Bearing

When you perform a dynamic lift like a power clean, you'll notice the weight sleeve on the barbell spins. This keeps the weight steady as your grip changes and protects you from injury. Bushing and bearing are the two main ways this spin is accomplished.

Bearings are smoother and give you the best rotation potential. They are also more expensive and not completely necessary if you're a casual lifter. On the other hand, bushings will spin but you'll feel a little more friction. But as I said, the bushings on this Vulcan bar should give you more than enough spin up to a couple of hundred pounds.

Vulcan Standard Olympic Bushing Barbell Construction

Vulcan equipment is 100% made in the USA with quality guarantees. The Olympic bushing barbell is made with reflexive steel which has a tensile strength of 190,000 PSI. That just means it can handle a lot without breaking.

We talked about knurling already, but there are also grooves on the sleeves that are a nice piece of craftsmanship. The grooves will go a long way to keep collars and the weights stable on the bar. And the best part about Vulcan is that their equipment comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Who Should Try the Vulcan Standard Olympic Bushing Barbell?

The Vulcan Standard Olympic bushing barbell is a versatile bar made for all-purpose use. In my opinion, anyone will get good use out of this bar, unless you're lifting really heavy. In that case, I would recommend an upgrade, and there are better options out there.

Our Verdict

If you're in the market for a well-constructed bar that can compete with premium brands at a lower price, this is the bar you've been looking for.

The price hovers around $300 depending on the price of materials. I've seen it as low as $275 and as high as $315 at different times.

Other Excellent Barbell Options

FAQs about Vulcan Barbells

Where are Vulcan barbells made?

Vulcan barbells are 100% made in the USA and the materials are also sourced in the USA, according to their website.

What should I look for when buying an Olympic barbell?

Olympic barbells are great for all-purpose use, especially in a home gym. If you're shopping for one, the key specs to pay attention to are the knurling, the weight and diameter, the finish, and weight capacity.

How can you tell the quality of a barbell?

It is very hard to tell the quality of a barbell just by looking at it. If you have access to the specs, make sure you're looking at tensile strength, material, and coating. A steel bar with tensile strength over 150,000 PSI is a strong bar, and stainless steel, hard chrome, or Cerakote coatings are what I look for.

How much is a good Olympic barbell?

You can find a wide range of prices online, but I never look for an Olympic barbell that costs less than $200, because at that price point a compromise has been made on some material on the bar. Usually there are great bars for average users in the $250-$300 range.