The $80 beater bar I purchased in 2015 has served me well. It is 31.8 mm in diameter and has pinned ends. It has some spin. The knurling is adequate. Powerlifting knurl marks. No center knurl.
Since then, I have purchased a 15 pound technique bar from Rep Fitness and a 15kg Bella Bar from Rogue. I have every intentions of purchasing a premium 20kg / 45 pound barbell, but have debated incessantly, what I should buy.
Last year at this time, I had it narrowed down to the Rogue Matt Chan, the Fringe Sport Hybrid, the Buddy Capps Texas Body Building and the Gymway Elite Weightlifting bars. All of which are excellent barbells that I would be proud to own. The clear winner at this point is the Eleiko Hybrid Bar.
I also considered the Eleiko XF bar, but was put off by the mild knurling and absence of center knurl. I am willing to pay an extra $100 for these features.
The Eleiko Hybrid Bar meets or exceeds every other barbell I have considered. First, I love the brand. Second, it is 28mm, dual marked, knurl starts at standard width from center, center knurl included and slightly more aggressive knurling. The only downside is price.
The Eleiko Hybrid bar is $699 delivered to my door. The nearest competitor, the Rogue Chan Bar is $420 + $25 shipping and handling + $33.39 tax = $478.39 delivered to my door. This $220 is essentially noise. Similar to Rogue Barbells, I could sell this in a heartbeat at $500-$600 (75% of retail). $100-$200 represents my downside risk. High end heirloom quality equipment is always cool and I have been willing to pay retail prices for used equipment in the past.
There is no urgent need to purchase. I just want one and I have freed up the funds to purchase one. I sold some dumbbells and my old rack with the intention of upgrading my barbell. There is some risk that Eleiko will charge tax or shipping in the future.
I will never be a competitive weightlifter. My beater is fine for powerlifting and if I were really concerned, I would tape the center to give it some grip against my shirt for back squats.
I may buy specialty bars in the future.
UPDATE 12/30/2021 - After endless debate and soul searching, I finally pulled the trigger on the barbell purchase. I am beyond excited. I will likely keep the beater bar as well.
UPDATE 4/25/2023 - After over a year of use, I still love this barbell and it is the ideal barbell for me. The finish has held up well. It has great spin. I like the knurling for everything (I prefer slightly more aggressive for deadlifting and have a deadlift bar).