This Kabuki Strength Power Bar review will tell you all you need to know about the popular Kabuki New Generation Power Bar.
This is a truly special barbell. Its specs and performance are beyond anything else on the market. It’s the best overall powerlifting barbell that I’ve ever used, and has been my daily use bar for the past several months.
That said, this barbell is NOT for everyone, mostly because it has a high price that matches its high-end features. BUT, it is the perfect barbell and worth the investment for a certain type of lifter.
By the end of my Kabuki Strength Power Bar review, you’ll know if this bar is the right choice for your needs, wants and budget.
Read on to learn all about this bar’s specs, features, pro and cons. But first, here’s a quick summary of my thoughts on this bar in case you’re in a hurry:
- Weight: 20kg
- Use: Powerlifting
- Shaft Diameter: 29mm
- Tensile Strength: 250k+ PSI
- Steel Used: Proprietary
- Shaft Finish: Available in Zinc, Black Oxide or Bright Nickel
- Sleeve Finish: Matches the Selected Shaft Finish; Grooved Sleeves
- Outer Knurl: Aggressive (Proprietary)
- Center Knurl: 4.7” wide (120mm), Aggressive (Proprietary)
- Rotation System: 2 Oilite (Oil-impregnated) Bronze Bushings per Sleeve
- Mounting Hardware: Snap rings
- Ring Marks: IPF
- Whip: None/Stiff
- Bar Length: 86.5”
- Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.5”
- Sleeve Collar Width: ~1” [exactly 1.04” (26.5mm)]
- Distance Between Sleeves (Shaft Length): 51.5”
- Manufactured: USA (Portland, Oregon)
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
- Price: $599 for Zinc Version; $649 for Black Oxide Verion; $699 for Bright Nickel Version
- Shipping: Rates vary on location (international shipping available)
About Kabuki Strength & the Kabuki Power Bar
The Kabuki Strength Power Bar is such a special piece of equipment in large part because Kabuki Strength is such a special company.
The company was started by Chris Duffin, an elite powerlifter, who wanted to make elite-quality products. This, combined with his educational and professional background in engineering, metallurgy and precision manufacturing, are what have made him successful in building a company known for both innovation and being the “best of the best” in terms of quality and performance.
Knowing this background, it was no surprise to me when I reached out to Kabuki Strength for more information, to learn that years of research and development have gone into the production of the barbells (including not just the New Generation Power Bar, but also many of their other specialty bars).
Since they invest so much time and energy into their barbell production, they keep some of the specifics about materials, treatments and processes as a trade secret. I asked about some of these things, since I know a lot of barbell nerds out there would love to know how exactly Kabuki produced this bar and with what type of steel alloy, etc.
However, they understandably can’t divulge a lot of that info. Their competitors would be able to use it to copy what they do, without putting in the same investments.
I’ll include a direct quote from Kabuki Strength’s product development manager, which gets across how much effort they put into creating their barbells:
I will say this about our approach to manufacturing barbells: We research, test and destroy constantly in an effort to produce high quality bars that preform at the top of the market for the most demanding customers. The specifications given on our website are what customers are used to seeing from similar manufactures but in no way encompass the whole picture of what goes into creating a product from nothing. We take great pride in what we produce and will continue to look for the best materials and processes needed to keep our products performing at the peak of the strength and fitness industry.
The knurling is the standout feature of this barbell. It’s what makes it truly special. Specifically, there are two aspects of the knurling that make it so impressive:
- The knurl pattern and how it feels in your hands
- The knurl durability, which is basically indestructible
I’ll talk about both of these points, and others, in the following sub-sections.
You will NOT find another barbell on the market with knurling as resistant to dulling and damage as the Kabuki Power Bar. Watch the video below of Kabuki Strength owner Chris Duffin demonstrating how the Kabuki Power Bar literally eats away the competition with regard to knurl durability:
As the video shows, the Kabuki Power Bar’s knurling remains unscathed when spun against a competing barbell, while the competing bar’s knurl is completely stripped away.
Kabuki performed more extensive testing to compare the knurl durability of the Kabuki Power Bar to two competing powerlifting barbells, in a quantifiable manner. I’ve put the results in the table below — You can see how the knurl on the Kabuki Power Bar is WAY more durable than the competition, by many orders of magnitude:
|Test Bar||Rockwell Hardness (RC)||Knurl Wear (Seconds) to Fail|
|Competing Bar 1||Not reported||5|
|Competing Bar 2||Not reported||7|
|Kabuki Strength Power Bar||51||>300*|
In this testing, the knurl on the competing bars was completely chewed through within a matter of a few seconds. Whereas it took a full 5 minutes (300 seconds) to just partially wear down the Kabuki bar’s knurl. That’s insane!
How is this level of durability achieved?
It mostly comes down to the “hardness” of the barbell. Hardness of steel is measured using the Rockwell scale, which is based on how much of an indentation a diamond pointed indenter makes in a piece of steel, under a heavy load. The shallower the indendation, the higher the Rockwell hardness rating.
The Kabuki Power Bar has a Rockwell hardness of 51 HRC, which is very high for a barbell.
This high Rockwell hardness rating is achieved with Kabuki’s proprietary heat treatment on the steel during the manufacture of the barbell. Rockwell hardness is also related to tensile strength, which explains why this bar’s tensile strength is also super high.
Knurl Pattern / Intensity
The knurl pattern on the Kabuki Power Bar is distinct from the competition in a positive way. It provides a satisfying feeling (crisp and grippy, but not uncomfortable/painful) in the hand that lends itself to good performance on most lifts.
Here’s what makes its knurl pattern unique:
- High knurl point density: The Kabuki Power Bar has a high density of knurl points — much higher than the number of points per square inch on the average power bar.
- Peaked points; not too deep, not too shallow: The knurl points are peaked (mountain-style) as opposed to flattened (hill-style) or pitted (volcano-style). Despite having a peak, the knurl points are not extremely deep. This is a good because it greatly reduces the sharpness compared to extra deep knurl. The combo of the moderate peaks and the high density of knurl points gives you an unbelievably solid grip because there’s so many points of contact against your hand. And while the moderate peaks give it some “teeth”, it doesn’t “bite” too hard into your hand. You’ll feel it, but it’s not painful.
In terms of ranking the intensity of the knurling, I’d consider it “aggressive” but not too “sharp.”
The center knurl has same knurl pattern and intensity as the outer knurl. I’ve tried squatting shirtless with it several times with heavy weight (365 lbs+ high bar). I definitely felt an uncomfortable sting, but it didn’t break my skin like I’m sure the Rep Deep Knurl bar or the Texas Power Bar would. Still, I’d recommend wearing a t-shirt when squatting with the Kabuki Power Bar, which is what I do now. If you want a power bar you can comfortably squat shirtless with, look at the Vulcan Absolute Power Bar v2.0.
The Kabuki Power Bar’s center knurl is 4.7” (120mm) long, which is pretty standard length for a power bar. It’s plenty of space to grip onto your upper back on squats. It’s also within the range IPF requirements.
There’s one small but cool little feature Kabuki included on this bar that you won’t see anywhere else (unless/until someone copies it): Double ring marks in the center of the center knurl. This makes it easier to align yourself with the exact center of the barbell.
It’s helpful on squats, but I really find it even more useful when setting up on bench to make sure I’m looking directly up at the double rings before I unrack. If you’re even slightly off center on a heavy bench press set, you’ll feel it, so anything that helps avoid that is great.
The knurl depth and pattern is consistent through its coverage of the barbell shaft. It feels the same wherever you grasp it. This is in contrast to some other bars where the knurl is slightly softer or shallower at different points due to inconsistent quality controls.
Knurl “termination points” refer where the knurled portions of the shaft borders the non-knurled portions.
The knurl termination points on the Kabuki bar are clean on all segments of the shaft. The knurl does not blur between the knurled and smooth portions.
The only place you could say the termination points aren’t clean are on the double markings in the center of the center knurl. However, these are not true termination points. Kabuki purposely made the knurl continuous through the center knurl segment; they didn’t want any smooth ring portions, as that would reduce the grip sensation on your back during squats. Rather, it appears they just ran the knurl tool over the double markings multiple times to create the visual markings.
Gap Before Sleeve
There is a 1/2″ gap between the knurling and the sleeve, on the barbell. In other words, this small portion of the shaft is smooth.
Sometimes, this can be an indicator of a low quality barbell, as it means less knurling is needed during the manufacturing. Obviously, that is NOT the case with the Kabuki Power Bar, as it is a premium barbell offering.
Rather, Kabuki decided to leave the very end of the shaft smooth because it allows for the installation of the sleeve. The sleeve needs to slide back over the knurl to install the internal washers, but the thickness of the knurl catches on the bushings and stops it.
Rather, Kabuki decided to leave the very end of the shaft smooth because it allows for the installation of the sleeve. The sleeve needs to slide back over the shaft to install the internal washers. If the knurl went all the way to the end of the shaft, the thickness of the knurl would catch on the bushings and stop it.
Having the gap does not impede function on a power bar so this is not a performance issue. That said, I personally prefer the aesthetic of a knurl that extends to the sleeve, but understand why it couldn’t be done with this design.
There may be a (very small) minority of lifters who like full knurl because they have terrible shoulder mobility and need to grip the bar shaft all the way to the sleeves on squats. However, those lifters might be better off with a shoulder friendly specialty bar like the Duffalo bar or the Transformer safety squat bar.
Tensile strength is the amount of tension, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), that the bar can withstand before fracturing. It is the common spec used by all barbell manufacturers to give an idea of the barbell’s overall strength.
The Kabuki New Generation Power Bar is rated at 250k+ PSI, which is significantly higher than ALL other power bars on the market. The typical power bar is around 200k PSI. The second and third strongest bars on the market are rated at 240k PSI (Vulcan Absolute Stainless Steel Power Bar) and 221k (Vulcan Absolute Black Oxide Power Bar – see my review).
NOTE: Although the Kabuki website lists the tensile strength as “250,000+ PSI”, the actual spec they treat it to is 258,000 PSI. I asked them why they don’t just list it as 258k and they told me the following: “250k is just a nice round number and if there is ever any variability, we can guarantee that it is over 250k and this difference would be extremely negligible for these purposes.” In other words, the bar is 258k for practical purposes — and that’s the number you should use when bragging to your friends how much stronger your power bar is than theirs. ;-P
While tensile strength is important, it’s not the only thing that matters. There’s also “yield strength.” Yield strength is the amount of tension that a bar can withstand before it permanently deforms, or bends. This is a bit more useful than tensile strength, since a barbell is far more likely to deform during training than it is to fracture.
Unfortunately, I don’t know of any company that lists their bars’ yield strengths, including Kabuki. However, you can reasonably assume that the yield strength of the Kabuki Strength power bar is proportional to its tensile strength. In other words, its yield strength is likely much higher than all other power bars’ yield strengths.
To back this assumption up, Kabuki Strength has performed drop tests with the Kabuki Power Bar and two other competing barbells. They loaded the same amount of weight on all bars and dropped them from the same height onto the pins of a rack. In this testing, the Kabuki bar had an impressive 3x less deformation in the bar at 34,000 Newtons (force measurement).
They also tested different weights/heights to see the minimum number of Newtons required for each bar to start deforming — The Kabuki bar experienced deformation starting at 26,000 Newtons, which was significantly more than the other two bars (20,000 N and 18,000 N).
|Test Bar||Tensile Strength (PSI)||Deformation Induced at (N)||Deformation at 34,000 N (Inches)|
|Competing Bar 1||190,000||18,000*||0.520 or ½”|
|Competing Bar 2||205,000||20,000||0.235 or ¼”|
|Kabuki Strength Power Bar||258,000||26,000||0.110 or ⅛”|
This is a practical demonstration of the Kabuki Power Bar having yield strength that is way above the competition, just as its tensile strength handily beats out the rest of the power bar market. You can see the drop test in the video below, starting at the 3:18 timestamp.
Of course, you shouldn’t be dropping this bar onto the pins with heavy weights on purpose. Since, any barbell will permanently deform given enough force. However, knowing the Kabuki bar’s high level of strength gives you the confidence that:
- You can max out the weight on the barbell without having to worry about permanent deformation.
- If you do accidentally dump the bar on the pins, the bar will either remain totally straight or have minimal deformation compared to other bars — Again, it depends on how much weight, from what height, the types of safety bars/straps you have, and how the bar impacts. Bottom line: This bar is more resistance to deformation than any other 29mm power bar on the market.
Long story short, this bar is very stiff.
However, I’d like to discuss bar stiffness in more detail. In order to do this, it’s necessary to understand two related but distinct concepts:
- Flex (static bend): Flex refers to how much a bar bends while it’s at rest (e.g. after you unrack the bar for squats, when you’re just standing still with the bar on your back, before squatting down).
- Whip/oscillation (dynamic bend): Whip refers to how much a bar bends dynamically, or oscillates up and down, when there is momentum in the bar (e.g. coming out of the bottom of the squat as you transition from squatting down to squatting up).
From the research I’ve done, it seems that the amount of flex (i.e. static bend) that a barbell will experience depends primarily if not exclusively on the diameter of the shaft diameter.
Contrary to popular opinion, the hardness of the steel, its tensile strength and its yield strength do not affect the flex/static bend. So, assuming you have two bars that only differ in yield/tensile strength and hardness, they will both flex the same amount when the same weight is loaded on each (again, this assumes the bars are not in motion).
The video below demonstrates this concept and this page has some additional info if you’re interested:
All of this is to say that the Kabuki Strength Power Bar’s high tensile strength and hardness don’t affect affect its flex/static bend. Rather, the main factor that determines its (or any barbell’s) flex/static bend is the diameter of it’s shaft, which is 29mm in this case.
HOWEVER, tensile strenth and hardness do appear to have an effect on bar whip (i.e. oscillation/dynamic bend).
As such, the Kabuki Strength Power Bar has less up and down oscillation during the motion of a lift compared to other bars on the market because it has such high tensile/yield strength and Rockwell hardness. More specifically, this means the Kabuki Power Bar will feel very stiff when:
- quickly changing the direction of the bar (e.g. the transition from lowering the weight down to lifting the weight up on squats and non-pause bench)
- when lifting the bar explosively (e.g. fast deadlifts; or the second pull in power cleans)
This video below (from 0:11 to 2:25) talks more about how tensile strength and hardness affect bar whip:
There are 3 finishes to choose from for the Kabuki Strength power bar. Your chosen finish will apply to both the shaft and sleeves.
The 3 options include zinc, black oxide and bright nickel. I’ll talk about each in detail, in the sub-sections below:
Zinc (specifically bright zinc, as opposed to black zinc) is the lowest priced finish option at $599.
Zinc is one of the most common barbell finishes on the market. It offers a high amount of corrosion resistance to protect against rust — much more than black oxide.
Zinc is applied as a plating atop the underlying steel alloy. It is a relatively thick plating, so it will partially fill in some of the space and take away slightly from the grip, especially compared to black oxide which has no added thickness since it’s a conversion coating.
Generally, zinc bars have a bit of a slicker feel than many other finishes. In some cases this is due to the thickness of the plating (though that’s usually only if the knurling is softer/shallower to begin with, which it’s not on this bar). Some of the slickness is also related to the texture of the plating itself. That said, I cannot personally comment on the feel of the zinc plating on the Kabuki Power Bar since I don’t own the zinc version.
In terms of color, it has a blue-silver hue to it.
The zinc will last a long time. It won’t chip unless there are any hard impacts. However, it will lose some it’s shine over time, especially compared to the bright nickel finish.
Black oxide is the mid-priced finish option at $649.
Black oxide is another common finish. If you see a black barbell, chances are it’s either black oxide or black zinc.
It has a low amount of corrosion resistance. As such, it’s not well-suited for high humidity enviroments. If you buy this version, you’ll need to be okay doing regular maintenance to prevent rust. If you can do this, the finish is great — It will last and maintain it’s color with only minimal fading over time (it fairs much better than black zinc bars, which can get a greenish hue over time).
Black oxide is different than both zinc and bright nickel in that it’s a conversion coating and not a plating. A conversion coating is a finish applied to the bar that reacts chemically with the steel, effectively changing the top layer of steel molecularly. So it doesn’t actually sit on top of the steel like a plated finish.
There’s a big benefit to this: It adds no depth to the gaps between the knurl points, and it gives you a very natural feeling grip — close to a bare steel grip feel. In comparison, bright nickel and zinc are both (relatively) thick plated coatings.
Since it’s a conversion coating and not a plated finish, you can’t “chip” black oxide. However, it can potentially scratch it from hard metal on metal impact or sliding. You can avoid or at least minimize scratches if you handle the bar with care.
Bright nickel is the highest priced finish option at $669.
This is a very rare finish, but that’s primarily because most manufacturing don’t have the right sized equipment in their facility to plate an entire barbell with bright nickel.
It’s the most corrosion resistant finish of the available options for the Kabuki bar. It may actually make the bar more corrosion resistant than stainless steel! I found that hard to believe at first, but Kabuki cites some convincing resources on the topic. Also, in the several months I’ve owned and been using the bar as my go-to — including a few months where I did no maintenance — there has been zero corrosion.
The feel of the finish is nice. It’s a little slicker than a stainless steel bar, but that’s really only noticeable on the smooth parts of the shaft. The knurl portion doesn’t have a noticeably smooth feel.
The bright nickel is much harder than the zinc plating, which makes it significantly more durable. It’s much less likely to chip, scratch or fade over time.
The bright nickel plating is actually applied thicker than the zinc, which also contributes to it’s greater durability. Of course, this also means it fills up the gaps between the knurl points slightly more than the zinc does. However, this does not give the knurling a dulled down feel, which can be the case on other bars that use thick coatings (in those cases, though, the knurl is much milder to begin with).
The color has a bronze-silver hue to it, which almost looks gold in yellower lighting. It has a very shiny sheen to it, which it will maintain long term; longer than the zinc bar will keep it’s shine.
The Kabuki Power Bar uses a snap ring assembly. This is standard for most quality barbells, whether they’re power bars, hybrid bars or Olympic weightlifting bars.
Each sleeve has 2 Oilite bronze bushings per sleeve. Oilite bushings are oil-impregnated, meaning that they’re self-lubricating and you shouldn’t ever have to add oil to them to keep them spinning smoothly and consistently over time.
The sleeve assembly could be tighter. Specifically, there is a noticeable amount of lateral sleeve play. Moreso than most of my other barbells. In practice, this isn’t a big deal. While it can make the barbell a bit noisier, it doesn’t affect performance. Still, for the price, I would want the sleeves to move less.
The sleeves have very fine grooves on them. The grooves are actually finer/shallower than the grooves on the average finely grooved bar — See the comparison between the fine grooves on my my Force USA Patriot Barbell vs the very fine grooves on my Kabuki Power Bar:
Even with the minimal grooves on the Kabuki Power Bar, you still have a little bit of fiction to keep the weights from moving around without a clip — at least compared to totally smooth sleeves like on my Rep Deep Knurl power bar EX.
However, the friction these very fine grooves provide is hardly anything compared to deep grooves like on my Vulcan Absolute power bar, which makes it practical to do heavy work sets with no clips; something I wouldn’t do with either smooth or finely grooved sleeves. Conversely, it’s easier to add and remove plates on smooth and finely grooved sleeves.
All that said, sleeve texture 100% comes down to personal preference. In my case, I like deep grooves the most, followed by fine or very fine grooves, with smooth sleeves coming in last place.
The sleeve diameter measurement is absolutely perfect. It comes in at 1.96” (50mm) on the calipers, which is the standard for any power bar. This ensures any Olympic weight plates will fit on the barbell, including calibrated steel powerlifting plates which have a very narrow 50mm opening (compared to bumper plates with a 50.4 mm opening, and regular cast iron plates which can have a 51mm+ opening).
The 2 Oilite bushings in each sleeve make the Kabuki Power Bar’s rotation slow but smooth. That’s exactly how it should be for a power bar. Fast spinning barbells are generally undesirable for powerlifting, since your technique can get thrown off on a slow, heavy lift if the sleeves are moving too fast.
I’ve never felt any motion in the bar from the sleeves spinning on a lift with this bar. If they spin during a lift, you can’t feel it on your back, or in your hands on bench or deadlift.
To get a better idea of the rotation, check out this clip of me spinning the sleeves with plates on:
And here’s another clip of me spinning the sleeves without plates on:
I love the end cap design on this barbell. It’s unique and looks super sleek. The end caps are made of brushed stainless steel and have the Kabuki logo pressed into it. It’s very striking and shows Kabuki’s commitment to the bar’s aesthetic.
I noticed that the end caps aren’t 100% locked in place against the snap rings. So you can rotate them around with your finger. At first I thought this might be a minor design flaw, but it’s actually intentional. I reached out to Kabuki and they clarified that this is on purpose. They designed it this was because they didn’t want the friction of the end cap against the end of the bar impeding the rotation of the sleeve.
Bar Dimensions & Weight (Accuracy)
Overall, I’m impressed with the bar dimensions being true to their listed specs. Most importantly, this includes:
- Barbell shaft diameter, which is 29mm
- Barbell sleeve diameter, which is exactly 1.96 inches
Also of note is that the bar’s main length specs are on point as well:
- Loadable sleeve length is exactly 16.5 inches
- Total bar length is exactly 86.5 inches
- Shaft length is exactly 51.5 inches
The bar weight spec is 20 Kg. I weighed mine and it came in at 20.08 Kg, which is a mere 80 grams over. Seeing a cool 20.0 Kg on the scale would’ve been nicer, but this is smaller margin of error than any other bar I currently own.
The amount and frequency of barbell maintenance depends on which finish you get. The bright nickel version requires the least maintenance, with a little more maintenance required for the zinc bar and the most maintenance needed for the black oxide version.
Regardless of which bar you have, you should periodically brush it down with a stiff nylon bristle brush. This will remove any dead skin, dirt and chalk from between the knurling.
It’s also a good idea to get some 3-in-1 oil to periodically apply it to the bar (by brushing it into the bar shaft and sleeves). The frequency at which you’ll need to apply the oil varies greatly depending on the finish.
Below, I’ll give my maintenance guidelines for oiling and brushing to remove debris:
- If you have the black oxide bar, I’d recommend brushing the bar down at least once a week. This finish is least resistant to oxidation. You don’t want the debris to stay on the bar for too long, since it holds moisture and thus accelerates oxidation. You should oil it each time you brush it down.
- The zinc barbell doesn’t have to be brushed as often since it’s more resistant to oxidation. About once a month should be sufficient. Though, you can certainly do it more frequently to keep it looking clean and ensuring your grip isn’t affected by excessive buildup. It doesn’t take long to do a quick scrub. I’d recommend oiling it maybe once every three months.
- The bright nickel bar can go much longer without since it has the highest oxidation resistance by far. In fact, Kabuki suggests it may be more resistant to oxidation than stainless steel, which I can believe after using it for several months — Although I don’t like to admit it, I have gone multiple months without brushing it, while using the bar regularly. There was absolutely no signs of oxidation. Still, I’d recommend brushing it more frequently just to keep it looking nice and maximizing the grip by getting all the gunk out. As of the past couple of months, I’ve been brushing it other week for this reason. But in general, brushing once a month is good goal. In terms of applying oil, I’ve only done it once so far. You’d be fine if you applied oil just once or twice a year, in my opinion.
Kabuki Strength is a small but quickly growing company. Almost like a startup. As such, there is a lead time for the barbell order to be fulfilled. Generally, you’ll have to wait 3-4 weeks to receive it from the time you order it.
Kabuki Strength uses some of the most robust barbell packaging I’ve seen.
The tube it came in was super thick and the end caps were very securely attached. Nothing got shifted out of place or started coming apart during transit, which can happen with less secure packaging. The barbell looked like it just came off the manufacturing line when I opened it up.
Shipping costs vary depending on where it’s being delivered. The closer you are to Portland, Oregon for US customers, the lower it will be. I checked several locations throughout the US and it was usually between $45-55 (shipping to Portland was ~$30 when I checked).
Expedited shipping options are available for higher rates if you for some reason need the bar shipped as quickly as possible (this won’t shorten the initial fulfillment time, though).
They do offer international shipping, which is more expensive than US shipping, as you’d expect. The exact amount varies by location.
Kabuki Strength offers a lifetime warranty for this power bar. It covers any manufacturing defects. They’ll replace or repair the bar in the unlikely case your bar wears prematurely or otherwise malfunctions. This, of course, does not cover misuse/abuse, such as bending from dropping the loaded bar on pins.
NOTE: When I originally looked at their product page, they had it listed as a 5 year warranty. However, I checked with Kabuki and they told me that they originally had a 5 year warranty, but have since extended it to a lifetime warranty, which is great!
Price / Value
At $599-$669, there’s no getting around the fact that the Kabuki New Generation Power Bar is a very expensive item. In fact, the only power bars you’ll find that are more expensive are the power bars from the world-renowned company Eleiko — known for quality and VERY high prices.
You can get excellent power bars for hundreds of dollars less than the Kabuki New Generation Power Bar…
…Does that mean this bar isn’t worth the price? No! But it does mean it’s only the right value for a certain type of lifter. It should be:
- Someone who’s 100% serious about heavy strength training and/or powerlifting. It doesn’t make sense for someone new to training, who may not even stick to it.
- Someone who can part with the money. Only consider the bar if you can part with the cash.
- Someone who’s looking for a bar that can last a lifetime (and even be passed to the next generation).
- Someone who plans on using it as their main barbell. A big investment like this only makes sense if you’ll be using it frequently.
This bar also makes sense for serious strength/powerlifting gyms that want to make their lifters very happy!
Pros & Cons (Summary)
I’ve already covered the pros and cons within the sections above. However, since not everyone will read my Kabuki Power Bar review in-depth, I’ll briefly summarize the pros and cons below:
- Without a doubt, it has the most durable barbell knurling on the market. This is thanks to the proprietary heat treatment used, which gives the steel a 51 Rockwell hardness rating. Spinning the barbell on a lathe machine against a non-Kabuki bar results in the Kabuki bar’s knurl remaining unscathed while the other bar’s knurl is completely eaten away.
- The knurl pattern and intensity makes for a great feeling grip on squat, bench press and deadlifts (very grippy; aggressive, but not painful or overly sharp).
- The bar feels incredibly stiff thanks to its 250K+ PSI and 51 Rockwell hardness rating.
- All dimensions match the advertised specs.
- Slightly longer than average loadable sleeve length (16.5”) which lets you load on more plates. This is particularly useful if you use thicker bumper plates, where you can actually fill up the entire sleeve — in which case, every additional fraction of an inch helps.
- Surprisingly useful feature of light double markings in the center of the center knurl. This helps you align yourself perfectly on-center for bench and squats.
- Three quality finish options that will satisfy different lifters’ preferences: zinc, black oxide and bright nickel. I chose the latter and am very happy with it.
- Quality materials and manufacturing in the USA!
- Noticeable lateral play in the sleeves
- The sleeves are noisier than most other bars (a result of lateral sleeve play — see point above)
- Very high price point, ranging from $599 to $669 depending on the finish, plus S&H.
Is the Kabuki Strength Power Bar Right for You?
You should consider the Kabuki Power Bar if you’re serious about powerlifting-style training and want a premium quality product that you’re willing to pay a premium price for.
It makes the most sense to buy it if you plan on making it your go-to bar for your main lifts. It’s great for this purpose because it performs well and feels good in your hands on squat, bench and deadlift. It’s also solid on most barbell accessory work, too.
That said, it’s probably wise to also have a cheap beater bar if you want to do heavy rack pulls (to prevent any bending from heavy drops) and landmine work (to prevent excessive scratches on the sleeves to keep your expensive bar looking nice!).
The Kabuki Power Bar doesn’t make sense for beginner powerlifters/strength trainees since it’s a luxury bar with a luxury price tag. You should know that you’re serious about getting strong before you make such a big investment, in my opinion. The only exception is if you’re rich and want top tier equipment when starting your strength journey — in which case, go for it!
It also doesn’t make sense if you do a lot of Crossfit style training and/or Olympic lifting, since this is a powerlifting barbell. Hybrid barbells and Olympic weightlifting barbells are obviously superior for those applications.
Hopefuly my Kabuki Power Bar review has helped you decide if this is the best barbell for you!
If you’re ready to buy, remember to use my Kabuki discount code KOTG5 for an extra 5% off. If you still have questions, be sure to ask me in the comment section.