’14 Eleiko Sport Training Discs
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2014 Eleiko Sport Training Discs
Eleiko has one of the best names in the industry for good reason: they make high-quality weightlifting equipment! Eleiko barbells are synonymous with excellence, and these discs live up to that reputation.
Weightlifting Discs, commonly referred to as bumpers or bumper plates, are designed specifically for the sport of weightlifting. During training and competitions, bumpers will be dropped from overhead thousands of times. The discs are expected to endure this abuse without damaging the platform or the barbell while being durable and maintaining their integrity and functionality for years to come. With these almost unreasonable expectations, its understandable why weightlifting discs can be costly or fail prematurely.
Because of the recent surge in weightlifting and crossfit, there are many lifting discs currently available for sale. So what’s the difference between superior and inferior discs?
When I first look at a bumper plate, the first thing I inspect is the hub, or center of the disc. The hub is the first indicator of overall quality. On high-quality discs, the hub is machined or cast out of metal and manufactured an integral part of the disc. Economy and low-end discs tend to use a thin metal sleeve thats pressed into the rubber center, which will loosen and inevitably fail.
Eleiko Training discs have a beautifully machined metal center hub that is manufactured with tight tolerances. This means that the inside diameter, or the hole in the center of the disc, is very, very close to the exact size of a barbell sleeve —providing a snug fit. The hub is machined so well that sliding the plates on and off a loaded barbel is extremely easy with that familiar metal on metal zipping sound.
Why is a snug fit important? The immediate benefit is because I don’t like using collars or clips while training. They are irritating and make loading and unloading more tedious. Unfortunately so does running back and forth after each rep to adjust a plate that’s sliding off the bar. When the discs fit snugly, they barely move when dropped from overhead, requiring little or no adjustment between reps and the elimination of those tiresome clips.
Secondly, a tight fit keeps the discs upright when a loaded barbell sits on the platform. When a barbell is loaded with chintzy plates it won’t stop shifting from side to side and clips then become mandatory to hold the wobbly plates upright and keep the bar at the proper starting height. This too is annoying.
There’s also the critical safety issues with loose fitting bumpers. When a barbell, loaded with correctly fitting discs, is dropped from overhead, the bounce is very predictable; With cheap discs it’s not.
I have witnessed barbells, loaded with improperly fitting discs, dropped and literally shoot across the room in random directions, sometimes hitting that lifter or someone else close by in the leg. This happens due to the discs not being perpendicular to the barbell; the force is then transferred diagonally, not vertically like they are supposed to.
Another terrible side effect is when a lifter tries to predict how the bar will land when following it down from overhead, and unexpectedly the bar kicks in a different direction and hits his or her hand and a causes a severe injury to a finger or wrist. In future attempts to avoid this, an inappropriate habit ensues— letting go of the barbell from overhead and just walking away before it is settled. This is also dangerous (and disrespectful) not just for the lifter, but all athletes in the vicinity.
The inconveniences and safety issues aside, a well-fitting disc aids in longevity of the equipment. Less disc wobble equals less barbell wear and tear. When the discs are loose, as the dropped barbell strikes the floor, the disc will slightly tilt to one side. This, after repeated use, will cause the inside edges of the disc to leave grooves in the barbells’ sleeves, at the same time making the hole in the disc larger and more elongated. The resulting wavy texture on the barbell sleeve not only makes the discs even looser, but will progress to the point that if you try to put a loaded barbell on the floor, even with tight collars, a wobbly bar is unpreventable. Besides the warped sleeve, additional barbell damage will result internal bearing and retaining clip stress. The unnecessary wear and tear will continue, and eventually result in disc and / or barbell failure.
Eleiko Sport Training discs are manufactured to very high standards, yet they are not IWF certified. IWF certification simply means that the actual weight of each disc must weigh within 10g of the specified weight and the overall size of the disc meets certain dimensions. These strict calibrations are required for all discs that will be used in international competitions to maintain the integrity of world-records. With training weights this is not a concern. High-quality training discs such as these are still manufactured within decent tolerances resulting in the discs being very close to the advertised weight. The advantage of a disc not being certified is they cost much, much less. Non-certified, training weights of this calibre are still suitable for local, even national level meets. And, of course, daily training.
We weighed all 70 of our discs. The results: only a few were within 100g, while most were either exact or less than 50g of the specified weight.
Eleiko utilizes a Drop Machine which repeatedly drops the bumpers to simulate years of use. The Sport Training discs tests were done from a 3 meter height to a cement platform. The president of Eleiko told me they tested these discs intentionally on concrete, not a rubber or wood platform to simulate worst case scenario. Bumper plates manufacturers would never recommend lifting on such a hard surface and expect their equipment to remain undamaged, but after 3000 drops, they held up flawlessly.
Before I write a review, we put that product to use in our gym to form honest opinions and a verdict. Because bumper plates are a significant investment, our evaluation of the The Eleiko Sport training discs was prolonged to expose any potential deficiencies and gauge performance. When I first saw a photo of the Sport Discs without the hub bolts (that frequently loosen and fall out), I was optimistic that Eleiko had finally made a reasonably priced, maintenance-free disc that would last as long as the ones we still use daily from the 80’s. Without first reviewing them, we still purchased 8 complete sets. They have been used daily for the past 6 months.
When we began to use the new discs, some of the lifters noted that they bounced fairly high when dropped compared to other models. Some people might see this bouncy effect as a downfall, but I believe it to be a positive and here’s why: Back in the early 90’s York Barbell came out with a Competition Set for the first time in years. After lifting with 80’s era Eleiko’s that were fairly bouncy (except the 25’s), when we trained with the York’s we immediately noticed that the discs didn’t bounce much, hardly at all, especially the 10kg’s. I admit it was convenient not having to wait for the bar to stop bouncing or to have to follow it all the way to the floor and stop the repetitive bouncing that the Eleiko discs did. Everyone in the training hall was excited about these new discs how they hit with a thud and how you didn’t have to readjust or chase them around. As time passed, the York discs eventually began to fail. Cracks around the hub and the outside of the disc became more evident. Eventually, after a decade of use they had to be retired to the squat rack, because any more dropping during normal lifting and they would be destined for the dumpster. All the while the 80’s version of the Eleiko discs were still bouncing and still to this day in perfect shape and in daily use. Using the York and other hard rubber discs also had other side effects: the lack of bounce resulted in those platforms and barbells having more damage and abuse from the harder impacts. Yes, the Eleiko Sport Discs do bounce a bit more than others; however, that will protect your platform, barbell and discs. It’s too early to tell, but hopefully 10 years from now they will still be bouncing and in perfect shape.
The plates are beautifully done and the colors are vibrant. If you look at the plate in just the right light, you can see a rainbow from the milling of the metal hubs. The feel and finish of the plates is important when training with them daily. When the finish is glossy, like the previously mentioned York’s or mid 90’s Uesaka’s, they will have a bolder, fresher color and appear new for years to come; however, the shiny finish is slick and makes it difficult to pinch grip and pick up. The Eleiko Sport discs have a matte finish along with a slight texture in the rubber casting. The texture, in combination with a protruding ridge that’s about 1 inch down on the side of the disc, is reminiscent of vintage discs. This is one of my favorite features. The lip makes them very easy to pick up from a vertical rack with one hand.
The discs come in the usual 4 sizes: 10kg, 15kg, 20kg and 25kg. the width of each size varies, starting at 34mm for the 10kg to 62mm for the 25’s. In a weightlifting competition it’s never been, and probably never will be a case where an excess of 5 reds and a collar need to be loaded, so width of competition discs is irrelevant. In training, however, it’s a different story. There are occasions where you might need to load in excess of 5 reds. Because these discs are thinner than Eleiko Competition Discs, you can fit more on the barbell. This might be of no use to some, but just in case you have someone who squats big or likes to use a lot of various sizes, thinner bumpers are an advantage.
These discs are fully colored exactly like any IWF certified competition discs. I love this feature. Looking across the room at any platform, I can see exactly how much is loaded on any barbell with just a glance. Having non-colored discs is a nuisance. I would constantly be asking how much is loaded because it’s impossible to count, and to see it in a video is hopeless.
Based off of their great feel, classic looks, no maintenance design, reasonable price, factory warranty and excellent performance, choosing these as a training discs is a no brainer. I don’t need to buy more, but I want to.
Feature: 2 Year Warranty
Diameter: 450 mm
Hole: 50 mm
Weight: 25 kg, 20kg, 15 kg, 10 kg
Color: Red, Blue, Yellow, Green
The Eleiko Sport Training Disc is made of high quality synthetic rubber