New TACFIT Clubbells: The Rundown

I got an email yesterday from RMAX International announcing their new line of TACFIT clubbells, which are now available for sale. Not even an hour following the announcement, I received a question about them through my Contact Form, and I’ve received two more in just the last 24 hours. The first one, Ryan, asked me…

tacfit clubbellsI was wondering if you’d had a chance to work with the Tacfit Clubbells yet, and if so, how they compare to the original. ¬†Your video review of the originals is great, and addresses the concerns I had about the original design (namely, broken knob screws) – Ryan

So, to answer your questions as best I can. Here’s the rundown…

I’ve been hearing about and seeing TACFIT clubbells appear in photos for awhile, though have not used them myself yet. I’ve got an *almost* full collection of the original CST-style clubbells, and don’t see any reason why I’d need to purchase any new ones apart from having cleaner/fresher clubs without any wear and tear. Truth be told, I’m kindof fond of my old, beat-up clubbells – even with their shortcomings.

From what I’ve read and heard, the new TACFIT clubbells have a few changes which make them different from the originals.

1) They’re noticeably slimmer, which should contribute to a lower risk of injury from impact (it happens) and also make the clubbell more portable (e.g. for air travel, etc.). So, if you’re a traveling clubber, you may find benefit in the more compact TACFIT clubbells.

2) RMAX also claims they have a tougher and more ergonomic knob, which according to them is “indestructible.” This is good news because the number one complaint I’ve heard about the original clubbell design has been about damaged or malfunctioning knobs. And I’ve had some issues with clubbell knobs breaking, too. So, I hope this is true!

Ronin is hot
What fur, Dad?

3) There’s also a new surface coating (thank you for listening, RMAX!), which will supposedly prevent clubbell cling-ons from getting stuck to the grip or barrel (grass, dirt, ridiculously-profuse, airborne dog fur, etc.), and hopefully will result in improved grip acquisition. My only question here is have they dealt with MY dog’s fur?

There are a few other changes, too, like a TACFIT logo, large print labeling, and probably some other things I’m forgetting. But I’ve covered the most important changes you should know about (ie that I know about).

Personally, I’m mostly curious about how the new surface coating handles sweat or training in high humidity. That’s my biggest gripe with the original clubbell design, and the only value-diminishing flaw that I point out in my clubbell review. The crinkle-coat is awful, and in certain conditions it gets ridiculously hard to hold onto them. Picture holding onto a 45 pound bar of soap with sweaty palms. But other than that, I think the original design is perfectly suitable for the vast majority of training applications. That’s not to say the original design couldn’t be improved upon (e.g. a more compact size is obviously a great improvement regardless of application).

Wrap-Up

RMAX tells us that TACFIT Clubbells are suitable for those who train on the go, and based on my initial impressions, that sounds about right. So, it seems they’re trying to fulfill a need in a very specific niche market: clubbell users who travel frequently. So, if you travel a lot with clubbells, that may be reason enough to invest in the new ones.

Of course, the big questions are: 1) if you could only choose one, which type should you get, and 2) if you already have clubbells, is it worth getting TACFIT clubbells, too? Unfortunately, I cannot tell you the answer to those questions without having a look-see myself.

So, if anyone is interested in a more exhaustive product review, and would like to send me a set or make a donation to cover the cost, I’d be happy to put together a detailed product review (along with a comparison review). In the mean time, you can check out my review of the original CST clubbell here:

The Complete Clubbell Review

Now, there are those who will buy TACFIT clubbells just because they like cool, new colors (and other reasons which I do not personally understand), but I’ll keep my plain-Jane, boring original clubbells. Thank you very much!

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12 Responses

  1. Miykael

    I heard the newest version of the standard Clubbells have a different coating than the Krinkle on the old ones. If anyone has any experience with those , I am curious about the difference. I am happy with the clubs, I have pairs of every weight(except 25,35,45) . I would like to get another 25 eventually, but that is about it. Just curious about the difference on the coating. The Tacfit clubbells look cool but I don’t really have a need for them since I don’t use my clubs outside much or travel a lot. It would be cool if Scott sent you some to review :)

    • Yeah, that’s the one thing I’m curious about, too, Miykael.

  2. Wintanclan

    Hi John,

    I am training since May with the new style TACFIT clubbells. I got a pair of 7 kg and one 10 kg in Italy from the original supplier. They are overall great to work with. Compared to shorter, non Sonnon-style clubs the leverage disadvantage is immense (and that’s entirely a good thing), so the 7 kg were harder to handle than I expected.
    The new coating is great, feels and grips like rubber, but doesn’t add bulk.

    However, here’s the rub. More than the new coating, you will immediately feel that the steel of grip area has a rough cross-hatched texture (similar to what you find on some barbells). In some situations this will improve grip, in others it wont. I feel I have to rather grip harder with this design, and that the new coating would work better on a texture with more smooth surfaces. So the perfect clubbell grip (for sweaty hands, and possibly including dog fur proofing) still needs to be invented.
    The cheese-grater feel of the grip area needs some getting used to (but you will build up the required calluses in no time). However, I now have to remember to remove my wedding ring for training, because it does get scratched by the texture.

    The slimmed design is ideal for mills, but the less flared base also means that you cannot place them upright on a soft mat or carpet without them toppling over. Which of course brings me to the knob: Hard rubber. Yeah, I’m quite sure they will not break. What does break is the hard plastic plaque glued on top of the flexible knob indicating the weight. One plaque was already broken out of the box, another broke the first time the clubbell tumbled over. But who cares about the plaque, right?

    That clubbells are a fantastic training tool is a given. Here I tried to give a brief honest review of the new design, which therefore may seem to highlight niggles.
    But that’s not how I feel overall about the TACFIT clubbells: They are great fun to exercise with, I now use them almost exclusively. Good Clubbells (CST or TACFIT) are the best investment of your workout budget, and the new TACFIT clubbells are worth every penny.

    • Thanks a ton for your review – all great info. I would imagine a cross-hatched texture would be good for heavier, lower repetition work, but might become a problem with high rep swinging.

  3. I’ve toyed with some of the newer cross-hatched grip clubbells (some of my clients have been bringing them to class) and my initial feel is that it’s nice for heavier low rep grip, but “may” be more problematic (than the crinkled grip) for higher rep work (such as in a trial by fire).

  4. Thanks John and John :) Rmax is having a sale to unloading the 25s and 45s with Crinkle Coating, but I didn’t see the email early enough(dreaded spam filter!) and the 25s sold out. So eventually I might have to buy a 25 with the crinkle coating used, since I want them to match up as far as grip. Think some Bruisers remain last time I checked with that sale at a cheap price if anyone is interested.

    • Thanks for the heads up, Miykael.

    • Pointreyes

      This is about the CST Clubbells not the TacFit Clubbells but the question was raised about the grip. Here’s my take on it.

      I have a pair of 15s with the newer cross-hatched grip and have found the new grip much worst than the Crinkle Coating grip I have on my 20s and Bruiser Jr. Only good thing about the cross-hatched grip is that I detest them so much that it forces me to work harder to move up to the 20s as quickly as possible. The wear on my hands is much worst and unlike my Crinkle Coating bells, the 15s quality are lacking in comparison. One of the knobs constantly requires re-tightening and that same bell stops with the cross-hatching about 1/4 of an inch before the knob – not a comfortable feeling. I promptly ordered the Bruiser with the Crinkle Coating, not because of the 50% off but because I don’t want cross-hatched grip on it.

      I read on the RMAX forum that it is suggested that you grind down the cross-hatch to improve the feel.

      • Thanks for the feedback. Just to make sure I understand you correctly…

        You have a pair of 15’s that are the newer TACFIT clubbbells (with the cross-hatched grip), and you have a pair of 20’s that are the older, original, CST-clubbells – correct?

        I guess what I’m getting at, is I’m wondering if the next wave of CST clubbells come with a cross-hatched grip.

        • Pointreyes

          All of my Clubbells are of the CST variety – the black ones. The RMAX 50% sale on the 25 and 45 Clubbells were advertised as:
          “This sale is for our original Clubbells with the crinkle coated handles.
          The sale does not apply to the new style handle we have now implemented on our Clubbells.”

          Does not make it clear what the new style handle is but it does appear that the crinkle coated handles are going away. I purchased my pair of 15s back in May of this year (cross-hatched handles). The 20s and the Bruiser Jr were purchased back in February of this year (crinkle coated handles).

          • That’s interesting – thanks for the clarification. I had no idea they were changing the original clubbells. Time will tell whether the cross-hatched grip surface will be better.

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