Premium bumper plates are a dime a dozen these days. There are some fitness equipment retailers that sell some pretty crappy gym equipment who offer "premium" or "elite" bumper plates. They often have flash brand names printed all over them backed up with some pretty wild claims. But how do you know if they really are "elite" or "premium".
The short answer is I don't know.
But this is what I can tell you. Everything is made in China, or some other country that has an abundance of cheap labour. China can make some great quality stuff. The computer I am typing this article on was made in China. But China can also make some pretty terrible stuff. We have all had a laugh at some of the classics.
So how do you know what quality you are getting from China? Well I can tell you the only way to find out is to roll the dice. You have to buy a container load and try it out. No use getting a sample. They will just send you high quality stuff, then deliver crap for the big job.
To give you an indication of what sort of gambling man I am, I have never rolled the dice. Not once! Why? What do you think happens to a container load of dud gym equipment? If you think the manufacturer will refund or send replacement equipment out for a first, second, third etc time purchase you are dreaming. That is when the manufacturer stops answering phone calls and emails. You are on your own.
That equipment, more often or not gets sold.
Our reputation speaks for itself. We have never imported any gym equipment other than established international brands with excellent reputations for quality - Ironmaster, Powertec, Barbarian Line, Megatec, ATX.
Our weight plates, barbells, dumbbells and accessories were initially sourced through Maxim Strength - a commercial gym equipment manufacturer in Adelaide. They needed quality gear to complete their gym fit outs. These guys weren't fitting out Big Bob's Backyard Pumphouse. Since they custom make a lot of equipment, they supply high performance facilities like sports institutes and top level footy clubs. The gear was that good, people started asking for it, but there was no brand. So Maxim came up with Power Maxx.
Over time our volumes increased and we started dealing directly with the manufacturer. As I say to people, they are a bit of a punish to deal with, but the consistency of quality can't be beaten. That is why we have stuck with them for nearly 10 years!
So back to the bumpers, our supplier manufactures for other high end companies around the world. So when it came to some high end bumpers, we just asked for the ones that had the best mix of quality, performance and price. We didn't want to pay extra to make them look fancy, we just wanted a good solid bumper plate that would do the job.
Unlike our competitors, this manufacturer won't send us second rate rubbish. They don't want to lose our business. Plus Ironmaster was that impressed with the Power Maxx weight plates, they got the factory to manufacture their own line of Ironmaster Olympic plates. So not only would they jeopardize our business, they would risk Ironmaster's business too.
Just like all the gym equipment we sell, our premium bumpers are the result of relationships that we have built up over 10 years. People buy our products because they know we sell quality. This puts us in a good position with our suppliers, so they want to work with us as we bring them consistent orders. It has a snow ball effect.
Over the years we have seen many competitors drop their standards in pursuit of a quick buck. But this can ruin a reputation forever. As I said above, I am no gambling man when it comes to quality. So that means you don't have take the gamble either.