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  1. #1
    Registered User cwcmac's Avatar
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    Initial impression: Kabuki transformer bar (blemish version)

    Will append this and add pictures later. Ordered the blemish version (10% off) not to save money but because it was in stock and my shoulder has been a complete dick of late. Figured it was worth a few scratches ot get a low bar squat without continuing shoulder pain.

    From a quick look there are a couple minor scratches. Looks like the vinyl was cut short on one of the sides so it doesn't wrap perfectly around, kind of pulled over a little. Doesn't impact functionality at all. Vinyl also seems to twist a little but I suspect that is typical and not part of the blemish. Certainly nowhere close to the quality of vinyl/wrap of the EliteFTs SSB bar but seems like it will hold up just fine.

    Functionality:

    Adjustments: Pop pin and sleeve adjustments are super easy, gave me some time to play around a little. Today was heavy DL day so I didn't push too hard messing with it. There is a little slop between the bar and the pop pin mechanism. I noticed it with a warm up set with only one 45 per side, didn't notice it after that.

    Padding: Only comparison is EliteFTS SSB. Not close to as comfortable but I don't see that as a bad thing. I feel a little dig in the very outside of my shoulder blade but it does seem to be a nice reminder to keep everything tight and in proper position. A super comfortable pad with a low bar position may result in not keeping my back tight. Certainly not an issue to worry about and I always feel a little digging in my left shoulder when straight bar squatting as well.

    Sleeves: Metal tube, surprised they don't weld a cap or anything on the end. Just hollow. It holds weight, it can be adjusted to one of the four settings. Low bar squatted with the sleeves at a 2 and a 4. I like the variety and do notice a different feel. My training isn't really that specialized so this is a bonus, not a necessity.

    Settings (I have to get used to how much I pull down on the handles):

    - Hinge: Seems like it will be nice for good mornings, did a couple with no weight on the bar and it felt fine for the movement
    - Goblet squat: F if I know, I don't do goblet squats
    - SSB: Doesn't sit as steady as the EliteFTs but the movement feels similar. Didn't push weight or reps but will with my next heavy squat session on Saturday
    - High bar: Felt nice, like a high bar but I honestly rarely high bar squat
    - Low bar: Took some getting used to but it does feel pretty close to a low bar squat. Certainly need handles involved or it's falling right off your back but not a big deal and is likely how it is designed. Didn't push it too much, did a few reps of 415 and it felt easier than a typical low bar squat. The handles and slight digging into my shoulder served as good reminders to keep everything tight whether that was the design or not, it works well for me

    Handles:
    - They look excessive but work well and I understand why they are built in the way they are. They didn't get in the way at all but if you're someone that let's your knees slide in when squatting it could be an issue (or a nice reminder not to do that).

    Overall, I'm happy. The price with shipping is certainly borderline excessive but given the variety, the fact that I'm 46 and my shoulders likely won't get any younger I'm pretty confident I'll get more than my cost out of it.
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  2. #2
    Registered User C123C's Avatar
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    Nice review. Would love to mess with one of these someday and interested in your impressions further out too (ie 6 months and used consistently in training cycles) so please don't be shy to update.

    All the bar talk has had me considering pulling the trigger on a Marrs Bar - which I don't NEED at this point as I'm 47 and still okay on squatting including low bar. Was even looking around a stainless power bars that were in stock like an fool. I did break out the SSB this morning after some pulls and get some sets in with that. Feels so good. Probably will pick up the Marrs Bar anyway but maybe delay the inevitable for a bit.
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  3. #3
    Registered User MGM711's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cwcmac View Post
    Will append this and add pictures later. Ordered the blemish version (10% off) not to save money but because it was in stock and my shoulder has been a complete dick of late. Figured it was worth a few scratches ot get a low bar squat without continuing shoulder pain.

    From a quick look there are a couple minor scratches. Looks like the vinyl was cut short on one of the sides so it doesn't wrap perfectly around, kind of pulled over a little. Doesn't impact functionality at all. Vinyl also seems to twist a little but I suspect that is typical and not part of the blemish. Certainly nowhere close to the quality of vinyl/wrap of the EliteFTs SSB bar but seems like it will hold up just fine.

    Functionality:

    Adjustments: Pop pin and sleeve adjustments are super easy, gave me some time to play around a little. Today was heavy DL day so I didn't push too hard messing with it. There is a little slop between the bar and the pop pin mechanism. I noticed it with a warm up set with only one 45 per side, didn't notice it after that.

    Padding: Only comparison is EliteFTS SSB. Not close to as comfortable but I don't see that as a bad thing. I feel a little dig in the very outside of my shoulder blade but it does seem to be a nice reminder to keep everything tight and in proper position. A super comfortable pad with a low bar position may result in not keeping my back tight. Certainly not an issue to worry about and I always feel a little digging in my left shoulder when straight bar squatting as well.

    Sleeves: Metal tube, surprised they don't weld a cap or anything on the end. Just hollow. It holds weight, it can be adjusted to one of the four settings. Low bar squatted with the sleeves at a 2 and a 4. I like the variety and do notice a different feel. My training isn't really that specialized so this is a bonus, not a necessity.

    Settings (I have to get used to how much I pull down on the handles):

    - Hinge: Seems like it will be nice for good mornings, did a couple with no weight on the bar and it felt fine for the movement
    - Goblet squat: F if I know, I don't do goblet squats
    - SSB: Doesn't sit as steady as the EliteFTs but the movement feels similar. Didn't push weight or reps but will with my next heavy squat session on Saturday
    - High bar: Felt nice, like a high bar but I honestly rarely high bar squat
    - Low bar: Took some getting used to but it does feel pretty close to a low bar squat. Certainly need handles involved or it's falling right off your back but not a big deal and is likely how it is designed. Didn't push it too much, did a few reps of 415 and it felt easier than a typical low bar squat. The handles and slight digging into my shoulder served as good reminders to keep everything tight whether that was the design or not, it works well for me

    Handles:
    - They look excessive but work well and I understand why they are built in the way they are. They didn't get in the way at all but if you're someone that let's your knees slide in when squatting it could be an issue (or a nice reminder not to do that).

    Overall, I'm happy. The price with shipping is certainly borderline excessive but given the variety, the fact that I'm 46 and my shoulders likely won't get any younger I'm pretty confident I'll get more than my cost out of it.
    Just my .02 on the Kabuki blem bars, from what I've seen, the Transformer blems are the most noticeable for whatever reason. Most that I've seen have rather large scratches. I've seen PB, Duffalo, Kadillac, and Trap bars being sold as blems with hardly any signs of defects. My theory is that KS is realizing that it's easier for them to sell blem bars than it is non defect bars which would explain why some of these other bars are being sold without defect. It probably allows them a little more "room" in the production process and allows them to kick them out quicker. At any rate, a little character scratch has never bothered me provided the bar functions perfectly.
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  4. #4
    Registered User cwcmac's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MGM711 View Post
    Just my .02 on the Kabuki blem bars, from what I've seen, the Transformer blems are the most noticeable for whatever reason. Most that I've seen have rather large scratches. I've seen PB, Duffalo, Kadillac, and Trap bars being sold as blems with hardly any signs of defects. My theory is that KS is realizing that it's easier for them to sell blem bars than it is non defect bars which would explain why some of these other bars are being sold without defect. It probably allows them a little more "room" in the production process and allows them to kick them out quicker. At any rate, a little character scratch has never bothered me provided the bar functions perfectly.
    Also seems more moving parts/assembly, etc would result in more blemishes. I've only bought two that were blemish/second run. This was just to get it sooner. There's three noticeable scratches (1) on the inside of one of handle, not noticeable unless looking (2) one on the outside of the assembly the pop pin goes into, I'll do worse to it and (3) one barely noticeable on the bar where it would hit the j cups anyway

    The other was a Rogue DL bar. Over the year I owned it I never did find what would make it a boneyard bar outside of the different endcaps. Sold it for what I paid, don't compete so I figured I didn't need it, found the knurling to be stupid sharp (don't care if that makes me a sissy) and am just as happy with a 28MM bar for deadlifts. Also despise ribbed sleeves
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  5. #5
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    I have the first generation transformer bar.
    Adjusting it takes some getting use to not as easy as the second generation.
    I would of liked removable handles like the SS yoke bar as it would be easier to store and set up on a rack when using.
    With all that it's perfectly functional but really like the one you have with easier adjustability.
    Blemishes would not make a difference to me as it wouldn't effect it's functionality.
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by C123C View Post
    ...All the bar talk has had me considering pulling the trigger on a Marrs Bar ...
    How about you pick up a few and drive one up to me .
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  7. #7
    Registered User cwcmac's Avatar
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    So I’ve put in a few sessions with this bar. Gotta day, I really love it. Infinitely easier to get in and out of my rack compared to my eliteFTS SSB (which I love) but I wonder if my low bar form went to **** over the last year or two or this doesn’t mimic it perfectly.

    I’ve been doing a modified Wendler program and yesterday was the last heavy week in the cycle. Very. Lose to my 1RM so it was 1+. Hit for 7. Felt like a low bar squat but was relatively easy. Figured it was due to the bar not replicating it.

    Fast forward to today and my legs are torched like they haven’t been in a while. Question is: did my form suck and limit me before due to my jacked shoulder or does the transformer make the movement easier (which doesn’t explain my legs being smoked).

    Either way, happy as **** with this purchase. EliteFTS is the superior SSB bar but this isn’t way off and the versatility and moving in/out of my rack is wonderful.
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  8. #8
    Registered User MGM711's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cwcmac View Post
    So I’ve put in a few sessions with this bar. Gotta day, I really love it. Infinitely easier to get in and out of my rack compared to my eliteFTS SSB (which I love) but I wonder if my low bar form went to **** over the last year or two or this doesn’t mimic it perfectly.

    I’ve been doing a modified Wendler program and yesterday was the last heavy week in the cycle. Very. Lose to my 1RM so it was 1+. Hit for 7. Felt like a low bar squat but was relatively easy. Figured it was due to the bar not replicating it.

    Fast forward to today and my legs are torched like they haven’t been in a while. Question is: did my form suck and limit me before due to my jacked shoulder or does the transformer make the movement easier (which doesn’t explain my legs being smoked).

    Either way, happy as **** with this purchase. EliteFTS is the superior SSB bar but this isn’t way off and the versatility and moving in/out of my rack is wonderful.
    Well, a low bar position and and SSB position are pretty different. The low bar is lower and load is behind you compared to the SSB which sits way higher up and load is facing forward. I'm way worse at the SSB than any other squat position or bar type. In most cases, SSB numbers tend to be lower by 10%-20% than a straight bar squat.
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  9. #9
    Registered User cwcmac's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MGM711 View Post
    Well, a low bar position and and SSB position are pretty different. The low bar is lower and load is behind you compared to the SSB which sits way higher up and load is facing forward. I'm way worse at the SSB than any other squat position or bar type. In most cases, SSB numbers tend to be lower by 10%-20% than a straight bar squat.
    Agreed. I was comparing my low bar slower bar numbers to my low bar setting numbers.

    May have muddled too many things together. Ultimately, low bar feels like a low bar but easier however the following day hits hard. The SSB setting isn’t as good as the eliteFTS bar but I’m willing to accept the lesser on that for the variety and ease of getting it in and out of the rack.

    My bad not being clear I wasn’t mixing SSB and low bar numbers. I’m the same that my SSB numbers are significantly lower than my low bar
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  10. #10
    Registered User MGM711's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cwcmac View Post
    Ultimately, low bar feels like a low bar but easier however the following day hits hard. The SSB setting isn’t as good as the eliteFTS bar but I’m willing to accept the lesser on that for the variety and ease of getting it in and out of the rack.
    I'm effectively coming to this conclusion as well now, there's a certainly issues with the TB SSB setting that don't make it ideal, but I'm starting to think that it just might be good enough to not worry about other SSBs.
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