I have recently experienced the difference quality can make. I purchased some 2.5Kg Ivanko collars with a mechanism that allows the user to tighten the plates down and remove all rattling type motion. Immediately I could lift more. Perhaps because of better mental focus, or perhaps the stability of the weights has a bigger effect than I thought on the muscles trying to coordinate and balance the lift.
In any event, this caused me to re-evaluate the poorly made and rusty Olympic bar I have been using. There is a lot of play between the plate loading sleeve and the bar, etc. And, the sleeves don't turn very well either. So I've been on a quest for a new bar. The $1000+ models with "German needle bearings" are out of the question as I just can't afford that. I would like to spend under $150, but would go higher if I can understand what exactly I am getting for the money.
Therein lies the dilemma... There are dozens of different models and no reviews of them. I've seen the $80 cheapies in sports stores (and Sears, etc.) and they are no better than what I have. What I need to know is, is the Hampton bar with the brass bushings worth it? Is the Troy $250 1 1/4 diameter bar really that great? Or even the Troy $350 "Texas" bar... What makes it worth $350 when Troy itself says even their inexpensive non-Troy-branded bars are top notch?
Thanks in advance for any advice!