’13 Pendlay NB Bar


MSRP $449 – Free Shipping!

Looking for a Olympic Weightlifting bar, and not interested on dumping $900+ for a top of the line barbell? Look no further.  This bar is half the price, but not half the value.

Because we are bar snobs and prefer lifting on top-of-the-line competition barbells, we weren’t expecting much from the Pendlay NB Barbell.  We were wrong.  Initial impressions about the overall look and finish were better than expected.   The 28mm diameter was true to size, and the zinc plating finish was excellent. The high-quality German needle bearings provide good rotation, so the barbell spins easily.  During testing we found this needle-bearing bar to spin about 70% as much as the Eleiko competition barbell.  Lastly, we verified the weight and found it to be within .1kg of 20kg.

Next It was time to put it to the test.  First we noticed that the Pendlay NB barbell has decent knurling for a good grip. Not extremely sharp, but far from slick.  When lifting, the lifts felt smooth and overall well balanced.  Turnover in both Snatch and the Clean were predictable and sharp.  During squats, the bar’s oscillation was predictable, which provided the right feel to correctly time the bounce.

So what are the drawbacks, and why are others twice the price?  It’s in the details.  Because we love the Eleiko competition barbell so much, we use it as the benchmark to compare all others to.  Here is where this bar falls short:

First, and most importantly, it is marketed as “being designed by Weightlifters for Weightlifters,” yet there is no knurling in the center of the bar.  This is  very odd.  All Weightlifting barbells used for competition and almost all training bars have the center knurling.  It is the major downfall of this bar, especially when doing heavy jerks, push presses, or squats.  The center knurling helps to keep the barbell on your neck and allows maximum power transfer from the body to barbell without slipping off your shoulders, especially when you are sweating or training without a shirt.

LengthSecondly, the length of the bar measured between sleeves is narrow.  This photo of the 2009 Pendlay bar (2009 NB), 2013 Needle-bearing barbell (2013 NB), and an Eleiko competition barbell (ELEIKO) demonstrates that the 2013 Pendlay NB Barbell is the narrowest, with the Eleiko Competition barbell being the widest.  How does this impact you as a lifter? Well, it plays a role in oscillation. The narrower it is, the less whip there will be.  This could explain why this barbell felt a little “dead” when Cleaning and Squatting.  Plus, if you are a tall lifter who Snatches collar-to-collar, then you will be limited by not getting a full-width grip.


When training with a competition bar, there will be no surprises come meet time. LinesThe marking lines found on this bar are consistent with the 2009 Pendlay NB barbell, however inconsistent with the Eleiko and Werksan IWF Certified barbells.  If you are training on the same bar everyday, then this is of no consequence, but if you go to a competition and they use a IWF certified barbell, then the markings will be slightly different and will affect the way the lifts feel. It’s marginal, but in a competition, every lift counts.  If you train on this bar and have plans to compete, then be sure to take a cloth measuring tape and measure the width of the lines and your grip. Write it down and keep both measurements and tape with your gear.  Come competition time, measure the bar you will be lifting on and make the necessary adjustments.


Next, the machining tolerances on the diameter of the sleeves is a bit small. sleve One possible reason is to accommodate many different brands of discs in a multitude of training environments, but when we loaded it with top quality, competition discs  which are manufactured with extremely tight tolerances, we found them to be slightly loose fitting. When dropping a loaded barbell from overhead, the discs tended to slide around more than usual and required more of an adjustment between reps.  Now, if you are a lifter who uses clips, then this is a moot point.  Professional weightlifters normally don’t use clips to save time, and they appreciate minimal adjustments to the discs after each rep.

Our comparison Pendlay 2009 Needle bearing barbell has held up well over the past five years, with the only issue being some fluid leaking from the bearings.  On this 2013 model the company maintains they have addressed that issue.  Our long term test will have to confirm that.  During our time with this barbell, none leaked out.

Even with its slight drawbacks, if you are not a professional weightlifter, you will most likely not notice the difference of bar whip, width, or location of the lines.  For most lifters, it will serve your needs well.  It also comes with a lifetime warranty and is manufactured here in the USA, so parts or repairs won’t cost a fortune to ship overseas.  For the price, it’s difficult to overlook and probably the best bar at its price range.





Weight: 20kg             Length: 2200mm            Grip: 28mm

Sleeves: 50mm         Finish: Zinc plated       IWF certified: No

Manufactured Location: USA

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2 Comments on “’13 Pendlay NB Bar

  1. Do you actually have this in stock? As MD is no longer manufacturing?

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