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  1. #1
    Registered User Unbreakable09's Avatar
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    Powerblock U-90 Review

    Here's a little background before I get started with the review. So a couple weeks back, I scored a nice deal on a pair of Powerblock Elites (5-130lbs) with a stand for $350. At the time, I planned on just immediately flipping the Powerblocks for about twice as much since I had the Ironmasters. As soon as I got home, I put the Powerblocks on craigslist for $650. Until they were sold, I figured I would use them to see what I was missing out on, since I bought the IMs without testing the Powerblocks. My first workout with the Powerblocks was on a chest day, and I was hooked ever since then. I mixed my workouts with both the IMs and the PBs, and I enjoyed the PBs much more than the IMs, which was unexpected to say the least.

    Since I didn't want to be compulsive, I continued to mix my workouts with both sets of dumbbells for a couple weeks so I could come to a firm conclusion. In the end, the PBs won my favor. I sold my IMs on craigslist and proceeded to use the Elites. Now, the problem with the elites was the fact that I got them from a fitness club. They were not in the greatest condition, but not in bad condition either. You could tell they were a little mistreated though. I decided that it would be in my best interests to sell the elites so that I could buy a new set of PBs with a warranty. I had a couple of bites on my CL ad, and sold the elites for $600. Five minutes after selling the elites, I went onto the Powerblock website and purchased the U-90s with a stand.

    Seeing as how there appears to be no reviews of this set, I figured I might as well offer one. Starting off with shipping, the service was very fast. I ordered the U-90s over the weekend, and they shipped the following Monday morning. The facility they ship from is in Minnesota, and I'm in Northeast Ohio, so it only took two days to get here with UPS Ground. The shipment came in 5 packages: Two packages for the U-50s, two packages for the U-90 Stage II kit, and one package for the stand. The packaging was more than enough and the equipment was well protected. All of the equipment is wrapped in a plastic layer and completely covered by a very thick styrofoam shell. While the packaging was great, companies like Ironmaster offer much more protection. I give shipping/packaging a 9/10. Here's some pictures of the packaging:





    The gear was in perfect condition; no scratches, dents, etc.. As you can see, the color-coded rails go along both sides of the block, not just one side. They also go all the way across. In addition to that, the color isn't composed of a plastic piece, but of a powder-coating on steel, which is a great improvement upon durability and aesthetics. Here's a couple pictures of the U-90 Stage II kit:




    Aesthetically speaking, the U-90s are much better on the eyes than the Elites. So for those of you who hate the block shape, this might appease you. Here's a picture of the dumbbell handle/U-50:




    More on the next post.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Unbreakable09's Avatar
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    Here's a close-up of the actual handle, because I know a couple people were interested in knowing what it was like. As you can see, it has the thick wrist padding of the Elites/Classics, but the Ergo-Grip/Tapered ends of the Sport 9.0s for the handle. In my opinion, this is the best of both worlds. I find it to be very comfortable, much more comfortable than the Elites. There is a little more space inside this handle than with the Elites, which will be a plus for those with bigger hands/thicker wrists. The handle gets a 10/10 for me.



    Moving on to the stand, it took about 30 minutes to assemble, and I was in no rush. Assembly consists of 18 screws/bolts and an allen wrench. The bottom piece is made of a thick, sturdy plastic as opposed to metal like on the Elite/Sport stands. Also, the stand is black, which I think looks better also. Both types of stands are durable though. I give the stand a 10/10.





    One huge plus for the U-90s, which should not be taken lightly, is the fact that it comes with a LIFETIME warranty. Also, the warranty is NOT voided if you drop them. Additionally, the U-125 Stage III Kit is coming out in about a month, so I won't be stuck at 90lbs each for long. Here's the warranty information and the owner's manual for good measure. Warranty gets a solid 10/10 for obvious reasons.




    Now it's time to move on to the actual function and performance of the dumbbells themselves.

    The U-90s are much quieter than the Elites/Sports due to the urethane coating. They make hardly any noise at all. For those of you who are afraid of waking the neighbors due to rattling/clanging weights, fear no more. You could workout with these without waking up someone who is sleeping in the same room. Noise gets a 9/10. They don't get a 10/10 because they are not completely silent, like hexes, but that's a lot to ask for from an adjustable of this nature.

    The U-90s slide out much more smoothly than its iron colleagues. I never saw the sliding out of the Elites as an issue when pulling them out, but now that I have the U-90s, I can tell that they slide out much more smoothly, thus aiding with the reduction of noise.

    The selector pin is indeed much different than the metal one from the Elites/Sports. Some people thought this this might be an issue, but it is not at all. The pin slides in just as easily as the metal one, if not more easily. Even the selector pin is smoother/quieter than the other models. It takes less than 5 seconds to change from 30-90lbs, as always. During the workout, you do not have to worry about the pin falling out at all, even if you were shaking the blocks like crazy for some reason or swinging them up and down (like cleans). The magnets are very strong, and one cannot just casually pull it out as if it were nothing.

    The Powerblocks are capable of doing every exercise possible except for two-handed tricep extensions and maybe pullovers. An easy remedy for the two-handed tri-extensions? One-handed tri-extensions. Wrist curls and reverse bicep-curls are able to be done and are not awkward.

    The blocks feel very balanced. I do not find them to be bottom heavy with the adder weights in place.

    Well, there's my review. I tried to comment on everything I could think of, but if anyone has questions that weren't answered in the review I'd be glad to answer them. In my opinion, these blocks were worth every penny, and I'm excited for the Stage III kit to come out.
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  3. #3
    Registered User yitmy's Avatar
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    Nice review! If you set them on the floor is the selector pin easy to adjust or would you recommend the stand?
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    Registered User Unbreakable09's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by yitmy View Post
    Nice review! If you set them on the floor is the selector pin easy to adjust or would you recommend the stand?
    If you have a flat floor, they should be easy to adjust. With that said, I highly recommend the stand. It makes life a lot easier, plus you can adjust the weight at waist level. It's not a necessity though.
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  5. #5
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    nice review.
    i sold my IMS /120 kit and now i have the power block 9.0.
    im happpy w/ thems
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  6. #6
    Still lifting pumping4life's Avatar
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    Really great review.

    Dammit! Makes me want to trade in my Sport 9.0.
    If God had wanted us to be weak, He wouldn't have given us iron.

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    Registered User mike_terror's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by pumping4life View Post
    Really great review.

    Dammit! Makes me want to trade in my Sport 9.0.
    Great review! repped.

    How much was the total cost for your order? if you don't mind
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  8. #8
    Registered User Unbreakable09's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mike_terror View Post
    Great review! repped.

    How much was the total cost for your order? if you don't mind
    $867 with shipping. Only like $30 more than the other models.
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  9. #9
    Registered User julces's Avatar
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    i got the 9.0 for $350 tomorrow aii pickup stage 2 for 220
    that is 570 total (2nd wind stores illinois)
    the price for the u90 is 650 w/tax
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    Registered User Unbreakable09's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by julces View Post
    i got the 9.0 for $350 tomorrow aii pickup stage 2 for 220
    that is 570 total (2nd wind stores illinois)
    the price for the u90 is 650 w/tax
    Pretty good deal on the U-90s there, and the Sports as well.

    It's $727 shipped for the U-90s, and $687 shipped for the Sports without a stand. So $40 difference online.
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    Thumbs up

    Excellent thorough review. Always nice when folks take the time to do this.
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    7 fun meals a day :D xephonics's Avatar
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    I'm curious, what made you like the PBs more than the IMs?

    I'm gonna get IM's eventually, as they are the only adjustables that go up to 165lbs, and they work well with powerhooks, but I am curious what made you like the PBs more.
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    these dumbbells cost USD$1,105 plus shipping to buy in australia
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    Originally Posted by qaz123 View Post
    these dumbbells cost USD$1,105 plus shipping to buy in australia
    Don't feel bad, they cost about the same price in Canada.

    I went down to the US to get mine, but after seeing how nice the urethanes are I might need to make another trip!

    Great review BTW!!!
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    Originally Posted by mtl View Post
    Don't feel bad, they cost about the same price in Canada.

    I went down to the US to get mine, but after seeing how nice the urethanes are I might need to make another trip!

    Great review BTW!!!
    It always that same problem for us =(
    either pay for shipping, or buy it locally where the retail price is much higher
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    Originally Posted by xephonics View Post
    I'm curious, what made you like the PBs more than the IMs?

    I'm gonna get IM's eventually, as they are the only adjustables that go up to 165lbs, and they work well with powerhooks, but I am curious what made you like the PBs more.
    Here's a something I posted in the Powerblock vs Ironmaster thread, but I'll paste it into this thread as well: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=121996341

    I have the privilege of owning both Ironmasters and Powerblocks at the moment. I bought the Ironmasters new awhile ago, and I scored a deal for the Powerblocks about 2 weeks ago. I got the Elite set that adjusts from 5-130lbs. So, seeing as how I own both, my opinion might have a little more substance.

    The Ironmasters really are sturdy. I've test-dropped them several times, once from like 3 feet up, and they took it like a champ. The screws didn't even loosen up a bit and there wasn't a scratch. They make absolutely no sound once they are tightened; there's no rattle at all. You can shake them or throw them around, but they'll still stay tight. They feel like real dumbbells. Aesthetically speaking, the Ironmasters have the edge on the Powerblocks, but weights are weights. Also, the paint chips easily on the Ironmaster weight plates.

    Those youtube videos are slightly deceiving. Does it take forever to adjust the weight on the Ironmasters? No, but it is not that fast either. Those videos only show them changing one side of one dumbbell. They have to do that same thing three more times. It takes about 20-25 seconds to change each dumbbell, and even longer if you're exhausted from previous sets or adding on a much heavier weight. Sometimes, while you're taking out the screws, a plate will accidentally come out of place due to the screw and fall which is really annoying.

    As for Powerblocks, they definitely have the speed advantage over the Ironmasters, and everyone knows that. It takes less than five seconds to change from 30lbs to 90lbs. They are not as durable as the Ironmasters, but they aren't fragile either. They are capable of being dropped, but it's not recommended to do it habitually. They also just came out with the Urethane Powerblocks that are capable of being dropped without voiding the warranty, plus the warranty is lifetime, like the Ironmasters.

    Aesthetically speaking, for most people, Powerblocks don't look that "cool". Honestly, in my opinion, I like the block look, but I can understand why people don't like it. The new Urethane set looks more aesthetically pleasing.

    The Powerblocks do rattle, which is a turn-off for some people. For me, I like the sound of metal clanging a little, which I didn't realize until I had the Ironmasters (I used spinlocks previously). The rattling sound isn't very loud, it's actually quite mild. It doesn't rattle too often either. I played with the new Urethane set in a fitness store about a week ago, and the Urethane set is basically silent. If you hate rattling but want fast adjustments, the Urethane set is perfect for you.

    As for Powerblocks being "awkward", I just don't agree. I've tried every exercise, including wrist curls and reverse bicep curls, and they work fine. It doesn't feel weird at all. The only exercise the Powerblocks can't really do is the two-handed tricep extension, and there are plenty of other tricep exercises to replace it (like one-handed!!).

    If I had to pick one set to go with, it would be the Powerblocks. The speedy change time of the Powerblocks is a huge plus for me. When I'm exhausted from previous exercises, it is kind of annoying to spend almost a minute readjusting the weight. For me, the Ironmasters are sturdy, quiet, glorified spinlocks. If I'm going to pay $100s for an adjustable dumbbell, I want it to adjust fast, because that's one of the main points.
    They are both great products though.
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    Just out of curiosity, when you get the 125 lb add-on, will it fit on the stand? These things are slightly bigger than the other sets.
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    Originally Posted by smitty67 View Post
    Just out of curiosity, when you get the 125 lb add-on, will it fit on the stand? These things are slightly bigger than the other sets.
    It will fit on the stand, but like the Elites with the 130lb add-on, the dumbbell will hang off the top of the stand a little.
    Carpe diem
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    Registered User Induce's Avatar
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    I've been trying to find a used pair of powerblocks to buy. I have a wanted ad on craigslist. Unforunately I missed the sale period during christmas on the powerblock website, I heard they were on sale for half price. I'm thinking of calling them up and seeing if I offer 2/3rd the price they'll accept. I can dream.
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    Well, even though I bet they can be found cheaper, I was in Play It Again over the weekend and they had 3 different sets of these for sale. Two of which where new, so they may be carrying these now. Kinda like they carry Body Solid products. At least around here.
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    thanks for the explanation m8
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    Excellent review, repped.
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    Very nice review!
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    Originally Posted by pumping4life View Post
    Really great review.

    Dammit! Makes me want to trade in my Sport 9.0.
    I'm not going to lie...me too! But at the same time, I talk myself out of it. My Sport 9.0 kit is still pretty new and in excellent condition. Just makes no real sense why I should sell it.
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    Anyone else curious how they are going to expand the set to 125? Seems more logical that they'd add 4 more 5 pound plates to each side and take it to 130 instead. Are the last plates going to be 1/2 weight or something?
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    Registered User Induce's Avatar
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    The only sale the powerblock website has right now is "if you buy the Sport 5.0 and the Sport 5.0 stage II. The stage II is normally $199 and now it is $79."

    Btw I just bought a set of selecttech 52.5lb adjustable dumbells w/stand on craigslist for $150. Not bad.
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    Great Review

    Thank you very much for the top notch review with excellent photos! I'm ordering mine as soon as they are back in stock. These will work great with P90X.
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    thank you for the review on the urethane powerblocks. I'm considering a set of the U-50's. Any ideas if the Urethane is thick enough to prevent use of plate mates?

    I'm also curious if the U-50 set will be upgradeable with either a stage II kit or perhaps a heavier set of handles. There seems to be very little information available about the new Urethane product line.
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    Originally Posted by Induce View Post
    The only sale the powerblock website has right now is "if you buy the Sport 5.0 and the Sport 5.0 stage II. The stage II is normally $199 and now it is $79."

    Btw I just bought a set of selecttech 52.5lb adjustable dumbells w/stand on craigslist for $150. Not bad.
    This is what I did. I got the Sprt 5.5 with the Stage II kit - So far I love them.
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    Originally Posted by Mr_Dove View Post
    thank you for the review on the urethane powerblocks. I'm considering a set of the U-50's. Any ideas if the Urethane is thick enough to prevent use of plate mates?

    I'm also curious if the U-50 set will be upgradeable with either a stage II kit or perhaps a heavier set of handles. There seems to be very little information available about the new Urethane product line.

    I have the U-90's. Plate Mates do not work on them.
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