I got an email last week that Sorinex had bumpers in stock. In the summer of 2020, finding bumpers in stock is like finding an oasis in a scorching desert. I had a pair of 45-pound Recon Lite Bumpers ordered within 90 seconds of opening the email.
At that moment I had about 300 total pounds of weight in my garage. Great for all my Olympic lifts and supplemental work. Not so great for deadlifts and squats. Anything heavy I was still having to do at the school. Not the end of the world, but still an inconvenience.
So I bought these bumpers with a “Buy now and figure it out later” mentality. Seriously, didn’t look a single thing up, no research, nada. All I knew was Sorinex generally makes really good equipment and I needed a set of plates.
So… How are they?
First, let’s take a look at some of the specs so you know exactly what to expect from these bumpers and then I’ll give you my first impression of them after a few workouts.
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Sorinex Recon Lite Review
The Recon Lites have a diameter of 17.72″ which is standard for an Olympic Bumper. For comparison, my Uesaka Bumpers have a diameter of 450mm, which after some google math I learned was exactly the same. This is critical if you’re going to have weights sharing the bar.
The absolute last thing you want is one plate to “stick out” further away from the bar. This causes the weight to hit the floor unevenly. Not good for your bar or your plates and ultimately leads to an overall bad lifting experience.
The Center Ring, or the sleeve as Sorinex refers to it, is made of Stainless Steel. Stainless steel is one of the best materials for your center ring to be made out of. It also has a standard diameter and will fit perfectly on your Olympic Bar.
What is different, however, compared to higher end bumpers is the center ring is very thin. Higher end bumpers have a much wider steel hub. This helps keep the weight balanced as it rotates and makes the plate more durable.
The issue that I’ve seen in the past with bumpers with a thin center ring is they tend to become loose and come away from the bumper itself. Time will tell if this becomes an issue with the Recon Lites.
A durometer rating on a bumper plate is essentially a rating to tell you how much bounce the plate has. The higher the number, or rating, the higher the material’s hardness. The higher the hardness, the less the bumpers bounce and the louder they are when they hit the ground.
The Sorinex Recon Lite has a durometer rating of 85, pretty close to the 78 average on my Uesakas. This matched up pretty well with my very scientific study consisting of picking them up and dropping them and noticing they bounced about the same.
This puts the Recon Lites on the scale right around Medium Hard to Hard.
In my opinion, this is about the sweet spot for bumpers. I don’t want a bumper that is going to hit me in the face after it hits the ground and I don’t want a bumper that sounds like it’s putting a hole in my floor. These are going to give you a bounce right about to the knee and they’re going to be loud, but not more so than what you’d expect from a bumper plate.
These bumpers are made of crumb rubber, better known to some of us as recycled rubber. This is pretty normal for an economy level bumper plate. Higher end bumper plates are generally composed of virgin rubber.
So, what’s the difference and how does that affect the Recon Lite?
Virgin rubber is fresh, so to speak, rubber that has not been used for any other purpose. Bumpers made of virgin rubber tend to be more durable than crumb rubbers. Virgin rubber also allows for plates to be made much thinner as well. All competition plates will be made of virgin rubber.
Crumb rubber is made of recycled rubber, most often from crushed-up tires. This material is cheaper which is reflective of the price of crumb rubber plates. Generally, they’re not as durable and even more noticeably, they are typically much bigger than virgin rubber plates.
I will finish with this though, for a crumb rubber bumper, the quality seems to be really good. In my experience, crumb rubber plates “feel” cheap. These plates seem to be very well made.
One Year Limited. Here is the official limited warranty details from Sorinex:
“Sorinex Exercise Equipment Inc. (Sorinex) offers a Lifetime Warranty on all structural steel material, equipment frames, and welding integrity when used as intended as applicable to the original purchaser (non-transferable).
The customer bears the responsibility of contacting Sorinex with the pertinent information as the condition of the equipment. If the issue is determined to be covered under warranty Sorinex will be responsible for replacement of defective products/parts. Sorinex will supply return packaging and shipping or cover on-site labor costs provided by a certified Sorinex Equipment Repair Specialist.“
My advice when dealing with limited warranties is to deal with reputable companies (Sorinex definitely is) and don’t do dumb stuff with your bumpers that it’s not designed to do. In my experience if I follow those two rules then my equipment is usually taken care of if it proves to be defective.
Made In USA
Many economy bumpers are made in China, in fact, a large majority of rubber bumpers and rubber flooring come from the same 3 factories in China. This makes a bumper made in the USA pretty cool to see.
The difference in plate width compared to my Uesakas was immediately noticeable. My Uesakas are just over 2″ in width (52.95mm) and the Recon Lite 45 is almost double at 3.75″. There is also a pretty significant difference is width if you get different weights. A 25lb for example is 2.25″ wide and a 10lb is 1.375″.
With the plates being so wide it does make it much harder to pick them up with one hand to put them on the bar.
If it’s the first plate on the bar I generally hold the bar up off the floor with one hand and slide the plate on with the other. This was not happening with these bad boys and I have pretty decent grip strength. They still have that brand new plate ‘slickness’ to them at the moment so it might get a little easier, but I honestly doubt it.
For me personally, I’m going to be using these bumpers for squats and deads. I’ll stick with my Uesaka plates when doing Olympic Lifts. After trying the plates out for a few lifts, they’re going to work perfectly for that purpose.
What if you want to do Olympic Lifts with them?
I’ve done some snatches, snatch balances and power cleans with the plates thus far. If you are a recreational lifter, I think you’ll be pretty pleased with these plates. They seem very well made, have a good bounce and are very budget friendly.
I’m admittedly a bit of a snob when it comes to my bar and bumpers. I spent a good deal of money on my plates and I’m very spoiled with the spin and overall feel of those plates.
It’s hard to describe the difference between the Recon Lites and my Uesakas. The best way I know how to describe it is the Recons feel like dead weight on the end of the bar. They don’t have great spin and therefore don’t feel as smooth and balanced as you’re rotating and catching the bar.
Having said that, if you’ve never used high end bumpers, you may not even notice that as an issue.
This is where the Sorinex Recon Lite really shines. I got my pair for $138. That makes them cheaper than any of the plates on Bumper Plate Buying Guide. Even with shipping and taxes, they came in well under $200. That’s a pretty hard price to beat for a pair of 45-pound bumper plates.
The other thing I want to make a note of as well is these plates showed up at my door 8 days after I ordered. I know we are spoiled these days with fast shipping, but I was amazed at how fast these things showed up.
To give you a comparison, I ordered a pair of 10kg bumpers from another popular online brand on July 5th. It is currently August 31st and I just got an email this morning saying that they are shipped. Not here… just shipped. I’ve heard lots of similar stories from friends, so kudos to Sorinex for coming through quick.
For me, all weightlifting equipment, from barbells to lifting shoes are simply tools. There are companies that make good tools and companies that make cheap tools. Outside of that, it comes down to having the right tool for the right job.
If you are looking for a well-made budget-friendly bumper that will be great for general lifts and will do the job for Olympic lifts – the Sorinex Recon Lite is a great choice. Sorinex has a great reputation for making quality equipment and my first impression of these bumpers is that they are no different.
If you are thinking about getting serious with your Olympic lifting, I’d recommend getting some higher end plates. However, if all you need are some plates that be dropped and aren’t going to tear up quickly, I think you’ll be really happy with these.