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  1. #1
    vegan LegosInMyEgos's Avatar
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    R4 power rack review

    Overall I think its a decent power rack, but for the price, the things that suck about it make it not quite worth $960. For the price I paid, I expected not to have the inconveniences that that rack has.

    My main issue is with the safety pins, which are a complete bitch to load, and the J-hooks are just too long, and it makes unracking a pain in the ass because the bar will roll inside the J-hook. Will get into these things a little more once I list what I like about it.

    Pros

    - 1 Inch spacing makes for a decent benching experience (although the J-hooks ruin benching in the rack imo)
    - The addons like the Dip bar and plate storage are excellent
    - Pull up bar that can be put at a custom height and a fat bar too
    - Comes with 4 pegs for band work
    - pretty sturdy
    - 43 inches of working space inside the rack allows me to never need to worry about having enough space

    Cons
    - The PHUCKING safety pins. I know that 43 inches of working space is a lot, and that a pin that goes through 43 inches is going to be reasonably heavy, but the cylindrical cover for the metal safety pins makes setting the pins at each height take over a minute for each one. The are a bitch to remove, and the metal rod scrapes against the hole when you're trying to do it. Its fully functional once its in, but for what I paid for this rack, I expect a much better system than this.
    - The J-hooks. They are too big, the bar rolls around in the J-hook and the only way to unrack is to press the bar against one of the sides. Its less of an issue for squats, but it absolutely sucks for benching.
    - The width of the rack only gives about 3 inches clearance in each direction when deadlifting if you don't want the plates to hit the rack. This isn't so much a design flat as it is just an inconvenience, and it makes me a little scared that I will ruin the bar deadlifting in the rack.

    Gonna upload a video too and explain things more clearly and in more detail.
    Last edited by LegosInMyEgos; 02-09-2013 at 06:51 PM.
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  2. #2
    Keeping it simple 817boy's Avatar
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    I figured w/ 43 inches between front and rear uprights that setting the safties would be a pain. I really dont see why they went w/ such a big rack, i dont see why anyone would need longer than a 36inch rack. See if BWTG can make you quick adjustable safeties for it.

    Most powerracks have 43 inches between the side uprights, so i dont see why this suprised you. You could always DL outside the rack.

    For benching, well now you can get a bench press station like you talked about in those other 2 threads you made. I have not seen/used Rogues J cups so i cannot comment on them.

    You could always return the rack (not sure how much money you will lose doing this).
    With a very important purchase like a power rack if i wasnt 100% happy about it, I would sale it/return it if i couldnt fix what i didnt like about it.

    Look forward to your video, also post some pics up if you get a chance.
    It surprises me how many people refuse to buy equipment from Elitefts because its too expensive but they will buy equipment from their competitors, then continue to go on EFS website regulary to educate themselves for FREE
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  3. #3
    Halfrican DamonB82's Avatar
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    The long jhooks shouldn't be an issue, just roll the bar to the front of the jhook, then unrack. I deal with it on my elite rack and it's never bothered me.
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  4. #4
    vegan LegosInMyEgos's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 817boy View Post
    I figured w/ 43 inches between front and rear uprights that setting the safties would be a pain. I really dont see why they went w/ such a big rack, i dont see why anyone would need longer than a 36inch rack. See if BWTG can make you quick adjustable safeties for it.

    Most powerracks have 43 inches between the side uprights, so i dont see why this suprised you. You could always DL outside the rack.

    For benching, well now you can get a bench press station like you talked about in those other 2 threads you made. I have not seen/used Rogues J cups so i cannot comment on them.

    You could always return the rack (not sure how much money you will lose doing this).
    With a very important purchase like a power rack if i wasnt 100% happy about it, I would sale it/return it if i couldnt fix what i didnt like about it.

    Look forward to your video, also post some pics up if you get a chance.
    What does BWTG stand for, lol?

    Ya, the safety pins are the #1 thing thats wrong with this rack imo. Its not even the length though, if rogue wanted to make a little more expensive pins, that easily could have made safety that can be inserted from the back of each leg one at a time. I agree that 36 inches would have been enough, but it was either the 30 inches for the R3, or the 43 inches for the R4, and I think I needed a little more than 30.

    They do sell this, although I don't like the idea of having to buy a $165 piece of equipment that should have come with the rack. http://www.roguefitness.com/strap-safety-systems.php .

    Like I said, overall its not a bad rack, but not quite work what it costs imo. the J-hooks aren't going to take any lbs off my squat, and while the safeties are a pain to set, they won't take any lbs off my squat either, so I will deal with what I have I guess.

    The bench will probably suffer a little based off the size of the J-hooks, and I'm sure if I can get smaller J-hooks, but as you mentioned, my long term plan is not to bench in the power rack anyway.

    Anything that fit my desired specs 100% would have likely cost 2x as much and taken 10 weeks to get me to me.

    Ya bro, will upload some pics and the video later tonight.



    Originally Posted by DamonB82 View Post
    The long jhooks shouldn't be an issue, just roll the bar to the front of the jhook, then unrack. I deal with it on my elite rack and it's never bothered me.
    Its an individual thing I guess. I am an extremely mental lifter, anything not right in my mind can take upwards of 5% off a lift.
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  5. #5
    vegan LegosInMyEgos's Avatar
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    I uploaded this earlier, for everyone who just wants to see what I have got so far. I plan on doing a review on the bodysolid cable machine, the valor bench, and whatever adjustable I end up getting when I get the chance.



    I'm gonna upload a specific review later tonight as I said.
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  6. #6
    Keeping it simple 817boy's Avatar
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    BWTG stands for Black Widow Training Gear, a guy based out of NY. He makes his own equipment. He makes custom orders all the time.

    http://www.blackwidowtg.com/

    *****://www.facebook.com/BlackWidowTG


    I would also seriously consider getting a mono lift attachment for your rack, This might help your bench press Jcup problem, but maybe not so not sure its worth the risk. There are two companies that make em
    Crepinsek Strength (I would choose this one over the other, even though its more expensive)
    http://www.1500lb.com/safetypowerhooks.html ($465)

    Edge fitness systems
    http://www.edgefitnessystems.com/Mono-Lift.html
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Edge-F...90593644315096
    It surprises me how many people refuse to buy equipment from Elitefts because its too expensive but they will buy equipment from their competitors, then continue to go on EFS website regulary to educate themselves for FREE
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  7. #7
    Fuscular jlockleOSU's Avatar
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    Yes the pin/pipes are a pain. It should not take a minute each to set them up. I've used an R4 and it took about 10 seconds to set up each.

    Grab pin in right hand, put through one side of rack until ~3" of the pin is sticking through. Take pipe in left hand and put over ~3" sticking out of the pin. Push the pin the rest of the way through with right hand while holding pipe with left hand.

    Number the holes and this will make the process easier. I did it with a silver sharpie.
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  8. #8
    Registered User KBKB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LegosInMyEgos View Post
    - The PHUCKING safety pins. I know that 43 inches of working space is a lot, and that a pin that goes through 43 inches is going to be reasonably heavy, but the cylindrical cover for the metal safety pins makes setting the pins at each height take over a minute for each one. The are a bitch to remove, and the metal rod scrapes against the hole when you're trying to do it. Its fully functional once its in, but for what I paid for this rack, I expect a much better system than this.
    You might consider the strap safeties.

    Rogue has some flip-down safeties too for their Monster Racks. You could check to see if they have any yet for the R4. (I thought I read somewhere that they were working on some for the R-series racks.)
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  9. #9
    vegan LegosInMyEgos's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 817boy View Post
    BWTG stands for Black Widow Training Gear, a guy based out of NY. He makes his own equipment. He makes custom orders all the time.

    http://www.blackwidowtg.com/

    *****://www.facebook.com/BlackWidowTG


    I would also seriously consider getting a mono lift attachment for your rack, This might help your bench press Jcup problem, but maybe not so not sure its worth the risk. There are two companies that make em
    Crepinsek Strength (I would choose this one over the other, even though its more expensive)
    http://www.1500lb.com/safetypowerhooks.html ($465)

    Edge fitness systems
    http://www.edgefitnessystems.com/Mono-Lift.html
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Edge-F...90593644315096
    I contacted the black widow guy, he pretty much told me he is busy as phuck with orders and doesn't have time to mess around with custom orders when he has plenty of easy orders.

    I can look into the Edge Fitness guy again, the mono looks interesting.

    Originally Posted by jlockleOSU View Post
    Yes the pin/pipes are a pain. It should not take a minute each to set them up. I've used an R4 and it took about 10 seconds to set up each.

    Grab pin in right hand, put through one side of rack until ~3" of the pin is sticking through. Take pipe in left hand and put over ~3" sticking out of the pin. Push the pin the rest of the way through with right hand while holding pipe with left hand.

    Number the holes and this will make the process easier. I did it with a silver sharpie.
    I might have been exaggerating a little bit, but its more than 10 seconds, at least for me, maybe I have downs or something.

    Ya, I marked the relevant bench/squat holes with tape, otherwise it would have been a pain in the ass.

    Originally Posted by KBKB View Post
    You might consider the strap safeties.

    Rogue has some flip-down safeties too for their Monster Racks. You could check to see if they have any yet for the R4. (I thought I read somewhere that they were working on some for the R-series racks.)
    I actually posted earlier that I was thinking about getting them. I thought they were available for the R series racks, maybe I'm wrong, I will check.
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  10. #10
    vegan LegosInMyEgos's Avatar
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    Video is gonna have to wait until tomorrow actually. My Grandma was scared that the snowstorm was gonna explode her house or something, so she is sleeping downstairs and I don't wanna risk waking her up making a video.
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  11. #11
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    I just wonder why you bought this specific rack in the first place. Many of the cons you listed are noticeable when researching which rack to buy. What other racks did you consider, and why did you end up choosing the R4 over the others? I can think of at least 3-4 racks that are in the same price range, or even a bit lower that have better features. I'm honestly curious here.

    Also, I'm puzzled why you deadlift inside the rack itself...
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    He is doing a reverse band deadlift. Unless he could anchor his bands to the ceiling that would be kinda hard to do outside the rack.

    You can also use the band pegs to pull against bands in the rack.

    Edit: LIME I would set the rev bands for deaths, bench, etc where it deloads at the top. You can do this on deads by using the pin/pipes. See vid @1:25

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    Originally Posted by jlockleOSU View Post
    He is doing a reverse band deadlift. Unless he could anchor his bands to the ceiling that would be kinda hard to do outside the rack.

    You can also use the band pegs to pull against bands in the rack.

    Edit: LIME I would set the rev bands for deaths, bench, etc where it deloads at the top. You can do this on deads by using the pin/pipes. See vid @1:25

    Right. I retract that one statement. Somehow I bypassed the one post with the vid.
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    Originally Posted by Paulie_G View Post
    I just wonder why you bought this specific rack in the first place. Many of the cons you listed are noticeable when researching which rack to buy. What other racks did you consider, and why did you end up choosing the R4 over the others? I can think of at least 3-4 racks that are in the same price range, or even a bit lower that have better features. I'm honestly curious here.

    Also, I'm puzzled why you deadlift inside the rack itself...
    which racks are those?

    The only racks I saw that had the features I needed (1 inch spacing) were the EFS racks, and a texas power rack. Both were pretty close to my rack in price (ETF a few hundred more), and the texas power rack had less working space than I wanted. The texas rack and the EFS rack would have taken much longer to get me as well.

    Originally Posted by jlockleOSU View Post
    He is doing a reverse band deadlift. Unless he could anchor his bands to the ceiling that would be kinda hard to do outside the rack.

    You can also use the band pegs to pull against bands in the rack.

    Edit: LIME I would set the rev bands for deaths, bench, etc where it deloads at the top. You can do this on deads by using the pin/pipes. See vid @1:25

    I could do that, but I was mostly just deadlifting with the rev bands for ****s and giggles that day.
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    Hopefully I can find some better J-hooks and pins that are compatible in this rack, and then there will really be nothing I can't do in it.
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    I have the same rack with the strap safeties. The straps are really only useful for spotting on squats, and dropping the straps out of the way very fast so you can walk through the sides or set up for deadlifts. For bench, the straps are not very useful because they sag. I prefer the pipe/pins when benching. The straight pipe is a much better spot. My friend taught me a trick for the j cup with bench, which is to roll the bar up to the edge and lift off from there. I have to agree that overall the spotting for this large rack is a hassle, but that is what we should have expected when we were weighing out our options. I only found out that maybe I'd want something slightly smaller after the fact though. I have the monkey chin, and would recommend that if you're into parallel pullups. Other than that, it's a nice rack with a good number of addons.
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    Originally Posted by natlajoie View Post
    I have the same rack with the strap safeties. The straps are really only useful for spotting on squats, and dropping the straps out of the way very fast so you can walk through the sides or set up for deadlifts. For bench, the straps are not very useful because they sag. I prefer the pipe/pins when benching. The straight pipe is a much better spot.
    Have you seen this Sorinex video? What surprised me when I first viewed it is that the straps are set up to be higher at the end near your head.

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    Originally Posted by LegosInMyEgos View Post
    Hopefully I can find some better J-hooks and pins that are compatible in this rack, and then there will really be nothing I can't do in it.
    could just make some lift offs using a bolt with a welded down washer, you choose how deep it is this way.

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    Registered User natlajoie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KBKB View Post
    Have you seen this Sorinex video? What surprised me when I first viewed it is that the straps are set up to be higher at the end near your head.
    I don't set my straps like that for benching. I just set the strap height the same on each side. Don't get me wrong the straps can be used for bench, it's just that the straight pipe spots work way better. The way those straps are being used in the Sorinex video is not efficient and seems to defeat the purpose and adds in unneeded dodging. The guy is running away from the bar instead of just setting it down! Also, I don't know many people that fail by their heads unless they aren't aware of proper bench form. The straps have positives and negatives. One positive is fast removal without having to remove the whole system. Another is easy on the bar knurling. Negatives would be sagging, and it might not be as fast for adjusting if you have to remove the metal place holder. There are two holes on the metal attachment which allow for a little micro adjustment or just a place to keep the strap out of the way and off the ground. I think the straps are good for everything, except benching really. I used to own a Rogue yoke with safety spotter arms, which was sold to buy the power rack, and I'd recommend those over the straps for benching. However, for myself owning both straps and pin/pipes, I can't justify an extra purchase for safety spotter arms unless I also wanted to lift outside the cage with a spot.
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  20. #20
    The Weider Whisperer matrix563's Avatar
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    dude can you shoot a video with better lighting? its really hard to see anything
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    Do your J-cups look like this? http://www.roguefitness.com/spx-j-cup-set.php I have that type on my squat stand and they are fine. I think you will get used to them.
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    Originally Posted by jlockleOSU View Post
    Yes the pin/pipes are a pain. It should not take a minute each to set them up. I've used an R4 and it took about 10 seconds to set up each.

    Grab pin in right hand, put through one side of rack until ~3" of the pin is sticking through. Take pipe in left hand and put over ~3" sticking out of the pin. Push the pin the rest of the way through with right hand while holding pipe with left hand.

    Number the holes and this will make the process easier. I did it with a silver sharpie.
    Yeah, I used a silver sharpie too. I have the R-6, and while I generally love it, those safeties annoy me. I got mine before the dark horse came out or the Monster racks, so I would have gotten something different.
    I love the rack, my only two criticisms being the safeties and I would like thicker hardware, but it wasn't available at the time. As a note, I use chain safeties on my rack as well, which I prefer to the rods.
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    You might want to take a look at the racks from 1500lb.com. The safeties are easy to move and they make attachments (welded bolt lift offs, regular j hooks, and rotating j hooks) that have 1 inch spacing features. They also make the poor mans monolift and a full monolift attachment. The racks are available in gauges ranging from 11 to 4 gauge.

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    Legos: I hear you on the pin/pipe spotters. They're clumsy. In my opinion:

    Straps >> Spotter Arms >> Pins

    I personally like the straps a lot - they should probably have made it the default option as you say.



    I use to use a bench with hooks about the same length that were angled up which meant it was a complete pain (couldn't roll it to the end, always had to lift off from an uncomfortable position too far back).

    On the Rogue hooks I just roll the bar to the end each time and it's in the perfect position for me. If it really irks you, maybe you could put a thicker piece of UHMW on the back stop? This would effectively shorten the hook length.


    Originally Posted by KBKB View Post
    Have you seen this Sorinex video? What surprised me when I first viewed it is that the straps are set up to be higher at the end near your head.
    I like the straps for benching but I do find this set up a bit weird. I tried it but I didn't like it. I have it just a little higher near my head and when I get stapled I just hold my breath and roll out from under the bar rather than scoot away and the bar doesn't move.

    Originally Posted by 817boy View Post
    I figured w/ 43 inches between front and rear uprights that setting the safties would be a pain. I really dont see why they went w/ such a big rack, i dont see why anyone would need longer than a 36inch rack.
    The one big advantage of the extra interior space is that you can share this rack or set up multiple stations. e.g. You can have one bar set up for pressing outside, one inside for squatting. You can set up both bench & squat stations or you can use one 4' bench and bench end to end without having to change weights. You can have two squat stations. And so on.

    For me, this saves time, either when I'm training with my wife/partner or when I need to train early and quickly. For most individuals, it's probably unnecessary.
    Last edited by Porphyry; 02-12-2013 at 08:41 AM.
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    Originally Posted by Porphyry View Post
    If it really irks you, maybe you could put a thicker piece of UHMW on the back stop? This would effectively shorten the hook length.
    Sounds like a good solution to me...
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    FWIW, Rogue will be releasing 'quick spotters' topped with UHMW in about 5-8 weeks. I am going to grab a set for my 30inch R3 - something to think about if you hate the pin/pipe so much.

    Also, OP, did you not consider the 30inch R3? If you aren't going to have multiple people working on the rack the 30incher seems like the perfect compromise as I think the working space in the R4 is overkill.
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    Sorry, been really busy. I made a video review of the rack, but like a few others said, the lighting sucks. I'm gonna have to wait until I get a couple of lamps or some light source for the gym before I can do a proper review. Its impossible to see what I am referring to in the videos.

    Originally Posted by natlajoie View Post
    I have the same rack with the strap safeties. The straps are really only useful for spotting on squats, and dropping the straps out of the way very fast so you can walk through the sides or set up for deadlifts. For bench, the straps are not very useful because they sag. I prefer the pipe/pins when benching. The straight pipe is a much better spot. My friend taught me a trick for the j cup with bench, which is to roll the bar up to the edge and lift off from there. I have to agree that overall the spotting for this large rack is a hassle, but that is what we should have expected when we were weighing out our options. I only found out that maybe I'd want something slightly smaller after the fact though. I have the monkey chin, and would recommend that if you're into parallel pullups. Other than that, it's a nice rack with a good number of addons.
    I agree mostly with this. I noticed that trick for the j-hooks too.

    Originally Posted by owasM View Post
    could just make some lift offs using a bolt with a welded down washer, you choose how deep it is this way.

    Is that sturdy? Looks like it could roll off pretty easily, but I could be wrong.

    Originally Posted by matrix563 View Post
    dude can you shoot a video with better lighting? its really hard to see anything
    . I can when I get better lighting, lol.

    Originally Posted by BuckWyld View Post
    Do your J-cups look like this? http://www.roguefitness.com/spx-j-cup-set.php I have that type on my squat stand and they are fine. I think you will get used to them.
    Ya, those are them. I am gonna used to them, but I still don't like them.

    Originally Posted by Muscle Mania Matt View Post
    Yeah, I used a silver sharpie too. I have the R-6, and while I generally love it, those safeties annoy me. I got mine before the dark horse came out or the Monster racks, so I would have gotten something different.
    I love the rack, my only two criticisms being the safeties and I would like thicker hardware, but it wasn't available at the time. As a note, I use chain safeties on my rack as well, which I prefer to the rods.
    Do you happen to know why rogue decided not to number them?



    Originally Posted by Porphyry View Post
    Legos: I hear you on the pin/pipe spotters. They're clumsy. In my opinion:

    Straps >> Spotter Arms >> Pins

    I personally like the straps a lot - they should probably have made it the default option as you say.



    I use to use a bench with hooks about the same length that were angled up which meant it was a complete pain (couldn't roll it to the end, always had to lift off from an uncomfortable position too far back).

    On the Rogue hooks I just roll the bar to the end each time and it's in the perfect position for me. If it really irks you, maybe you could put a thicker piece of UHMW on the back stop? This would effectively shorten the hook length.




    I like the straps for benching but I do find this set up a bit weird. I tried it but I didn't like it. I have it just a little higher near my head and when I get stapled I just hold my breath and roll out from under the bar rather than scoot away and the bar doesn't move.



    The one big advantage of the extra interior space is that you can share this rack or set up multiple stations. e.g. You can have one bar set up for pressing outside, one inside for squatting. You can set up both bench & squat stations or you can use one 4' bench and bench end to end without having to change weights. You can have two squat stations. And so on.

    For me, this saves time, either when I'm training with my wife/partner or when I need to train early and quickly. For most individuals, it's probably unnecessary.
    UHMW?

    Originally Posted by Vmango View Post
    FWIW, Rogue will be releasing 'quick spotters' topped with UHMW in about 5-8 weeks. I am going to grab a set for my 30inch R3 - something to think about if you hate the pin/pipe so much.

    Also, OP, did you not consider the 30inch R3? If you aren't going to have multiple people working on the rack the 30incher seems like the perfect compromise as I think the working space in the R4 is overkill.
    I would have considered the 30 inch rack, but I didn't realize there was a version that actually had 30 inches of working space until after I ordered. I thought it was only 24 inches, which would not have been enough for me.
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    Originally Posted by LegosInMyEgos View Post
    [b]

    Is that sturdy? Looks like it could roll off pretty easily, but I could be wrong.
    no risk of it rolling off, you have to push it from the bottom to do so.
    mark rippetoe uses a simmilar thing in his rack.

    i like it not having much of a lip, no chance of catching it.
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    Originally Posted by LegosInMyEgos View Post
    [b]

    UHMW?
    Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene. I guess technically just saying UHMW (without the polyethylene) doesn't make any sense but that's what everyone calls it.

    It's the hard abrasion resistant plastic you already have on your hooks. If you bought a thicker block and replaced the existing 1/4" UHMW block on the back stop it would shorten the hook length.

    You could probably also just use a use a 1" piece of wood or metal as a spacer and then put the old 1/4" UHMW piece back on top of that.
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    Originally Posted by Vmango View Post
    FWIW, Rogue will be releasing 'quick spotters' topped with UHMW in about 5-8 weeks. I am going to grab a set for my 30inch R3 - something to think about if you hate the pin/pipe so much.
    Man, I hope you're right.. I feel like I've been waiting for the new spotters for the R3 FOREVVER. This pin/pipe thing is getting old.
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