I read many, many threads on here and other forums, yet I'm still confused when it comes to making a final decision for an actual purchase. I'm looking for a power rack and a FID bench (how original!). I live in France, and serious home training equipment are very scarce here, either new or used. There are few foreign websites I can order from, mostly located in Germany, Niederlands and UK. Right now my budget is tight, about 800 euros, and my planned workout space is tight too. Besides I plan to move in the near future, so I don't want something too cumbersome. Yet I need those equipments, as I can no longer find any gym in the rather big town I live in, having both correct equipment and, well, a bearable phonic environment, without stinky stupid "music" and sticky stupid commercials (it's really sad how this s##t has become the de facto norm, and "purists" like me are now treated like weirdos – I got excluded from two clubs in less than a year because of this, and it's been almost a year I have stopped training, it's seriously depressing, I need to get back to it and fast!).
The cage of my dreams, among those I could get shipped fairly easily, is the Barbarian Line 2012, which seems very sturdy, has an excellent pull-up bar and no particular defect, but it's definitely too big and too expensive (700 euros, or 949 with the pulley option) to consider at the moment, especially since I would have to also buy an olympic bar with 50mm plates (I already have standard bars and 28mm weights). So my idea is to buy the entry level yet well regarded Powerline PPR200X, and upgrade later when I have more money and space (I wouldn't lose much money if any, as power racks are so rare and the Powerline cage is sold on a french website for 50% more than on german websites).
But (it's where it gets complicated) from what I've read here, the bench that would be best suited for me would be the BodyCraft F320, considering my height (1m69, about 5'5"), and no online seller has both the Powerline rack and the BodyCraft bench. Those that sell the Powerline cage have the BodySolid GFID31 and GFID71 benches, one of them also has BodyTrack benches, known here as Lamar.
h t t p : / / w w w . weberfitness.de/65dee2fcaeb22db139e42448176c2074/art/PR-200X-PL
h t t p : / / w w w . weberfitness.de/65dee2fcaeb22db139e42448176c2074/art/GFID-31-BS
h t t p : / / w w w . simpleproducts.de/de/Profi-Power-Racks/Kraftstationen/Body-Solid-PPR200X-Power-Rack
h t t p : / / w w w . simpleproducts.de/de/Profi-Hantelbaenke/Flach-/-Schraegbaenke/GFID-31-Flat/Incline/Decline-Bench-grau
h t t p : / / w w w . simpleproducts.de/de/Profi-Hantelbaenke/Flach-/-Schraegbaenke/GFID-71-Flach-/-Schr
h t t p : / / w w w . simpleproducts.de/de/Hantelbaenke/Flach-/-Schraegbaenke/BT-513-Flach-/-Schr
h t t p : / / w w w . simpleproducts.de/de/-Body-Track-Hi-Professional-BT413-Massive-Kombibank
Shipping costs on both those websites are relatively low : 50-60 euros for a bench + a rack. The second website, though, the one selling BodyTrack/Lamar, has a very poor reputation on french forums (several people said they never received what they had ordered and were even insulted on the phone), it would be quite risky to order there.
All those benches seem to be too long and/or too high for me and/or my workout space (about 150cm max depth). Yesterday I replied to an ad for the GFID71 sold 200 euros (like new, still not mounted), but had to reconsider when I read the measurements again and read reviews here (guys way taller than me sold it because it was too long for them). The GFID31 is shorter but would be definitely too high for bench press. I haven't found as much information about the BodyTrack models (actually none about the BT413) but they seem quite big too.
And there's only one online seller proposing the BodyCraft bench as well as power racks in my price range, but they don't have the Powerline model, instead they have the BodyCraft F430 (quite highly regarded here, but twice as expensive, and I have two issues with it : it's too wide for my standard bar to fit, and I don't trust the "pop pin" system of the safeties as much as the "saber" or "box" types — I just don't get what the point is to have beefy safety bars if they are connected to the main frame with much smaller pins, which appear like a weak link) and the PowerMark 475R, which as I eventually found out is the same as the BodyMax CF475, which is not very well regarded (even though it looks like the Powerline rack, it's said to be made of much lesser quality materials and to have poorly made welds and joints — too bad as the pulley system is cheaper yet seems better made than the one that goes with the Powerline rack, and dips bars are available, which the Powerline doesn't have at all).
h t t p : / / w w w . helisports.be/benches/BodyCraft-F320-Halterbank.html
h t t p : / / w w w . helisports.be/squat-en-press-racks/BodyCraft-F430-Power-Rack.html
h t t p : / / w w w . helisports.be/squat-en-press-racks/PowerMark-475R-Power-Rack.html
Shipping cost would be about 75 euros for the bench alone, and 130-150 for the bench and a rack.
Another option would be to buy the Powertec rack and bench, both having a generally good reputation, but I also read some negative comments, besides it would be much more expensive (489 + 299 euros) and for such a price I wouldn't be quite satisfied, especially with the rack, knowing that the Barbarian Line can be had for not much more. And the shipping costs (calculated according to the price of the order) are quite huge on this website (160 euros, up to 195 if the order totals more than 1000 euros).
h t t p : / / w w w . megafitness-shop.info/Kraftgeraete/nach-Marken/Powertec/Powertec-Power-Rack-black--1136.html
h t t p : / / w w w . megafitness-shop.info/Kraftgeraete/nach-Marken/Powertec/Powertec-Utility-Bench-Multibank--1121.html
This website also has those very interesting looking and attractively cheap racks
h t t p : / / w w w . megafitness-shop.info/Kraftgeraete/nach-Marken/Heavy-Duty/Heavy-Duty-Power-Rack-I--2523.html
h t t p : / / w w w . megafitness-shop.info/Kraftgeraete/nach-Marken/Heavy-Duty/Vorteilspaket-Komplett-Station-Power-Rack-I-inkl-Latzugstation-und-Zubehoer--2531.html
h t t p : / / w w w . megafitness-shop.info/Kraftgeraete/nach-Marken/Heavy-Duty/Heavy-Duty-Power-Rack-II--2522.html
h t t p : / / w w w . megafitness-shop.info/Kraftgeraete/nach-Marken/Heavy-Duty/Vorteilspaket-Komplett-Station-Power-Rack-II-inkl-Latzugstation-und-Zubehoer--2530.html
...but from what I've read here those are in fact poorly build chinese products that should be avoided, too bad!
So, to sum it up :
- I can order the Powerline rack (279 euros) with the BodySolid GFID bench (215 euros), and find a way to accomodate its seat height (or buy a flat bench later on and keep it for dumbbell exercises), cheapest solution as the shipping cost would be minimal, about 60 euros ;
- I can order the Powerline rack (279 euros) with about 50 euros for shipping and the BodyCraft bench (225 euros) on another website with 75 euros for shipping ;
- I can order the BodyCraft bench (225 euros) and the PowerMark rack of questionable quality (325 euros) with about 130 euros for shipping ;
- I can break the bank (unintended pun! — well, "bank" is german for "bench"...) and order the Powertec rack & bench (788 euros) with 160 euros shipping ;
- I can wait until Hell freezes over, which I'm unfortunately very good at...
Finally, another question which has been debated many times on this forum... I'm still pondering whether a leg attachment for any of those benches or a pulley attachment for any of those racks would be a worthwhile addition. I think I'm gonna renounce the pulley attachment for now, since, again, the budget and space are tight (and the one going with the Powerline rack is said to be mediocre). But I feel like the leg curl is an important exercise, as no other exercice works the rear thighs thoroughly (I do like stiff legged deadlift, but as far as I know it only works the bi-articular portion of the crural biceps ; I discovered recently the "inversed sissy squat", which does replicate the flexion movement but seems hazardous for the knee joint, and is tricky to practice without anything to firmly maintain the ankles). I read quite consistently that leg attachments for FID benches are generally poor and neither will be on par with a dedicated machine (which I can't afford right now), but still, among the models mentioned earlier, from BodyCraft, BodySolid and Powertec (& Lamar / BodyTrack), which ones can be considered OK in a pinch, and which ones are absolutely worthless?
Many thanks to those who will take the time to read my convoluted thoughts and attempt to give me helpful insights!