This week, we take a moment to review the RPM Speed Rope 2.0
At the start of the year The Rx Review put the very first, and original, RPM Speed Rope to the test. At the time, we rated it as one of the best speed ropes on the market for any CrossFitter, competitive jump-roper, or fitness enthusiast.
So when we heard a new and improved RPM Jump Rope was being designed, we were eager to put it to the test.
From my experience, the original RPM Jump Rope was one of the fastest and smoothest ropes I had ever used. And after testing the latest version of the rope (the 2.0) over the past few months, my opinion has not wavered. In fact, the RPM 2.0 has now become my favourite rope to date.
Although before I start with the detailed review, it’s probably best to not only disclose the fact RPM Fitness is an advertiser of The Rx Review, but it’s also important to give you the background about the original RPM Jump Rope for those unfamiliar with the product.
RPM Fitness released its first rope in 2012, claiming it was the ‘fastest rope on the market’. They labelled it the ‘smoothest’ and ‘most accurate’ product for double-unders, triple-unders and general skipping.
Initially some people were sceptical about the claims (myself included). However, after testing it, and seeing Shane Winsor break the world record for the most amount of double-unders (164) in a minute using the RPM Rope, it’s fair to say I became a believer.
Before long, CrossFit Games athletes like Jason Khalipa and Garret Fisher had tested the RPM Speed Rope, along with competitive Jump Rope Team, Sol Jumpers.
At the 2013 CrossFit Games, RPM unveiled their latest 2.0 Speed Rope for the first time publicly. Working in partnership with USA Jump Rope, RPM’s new rope features an all-metal design, with lighter handles and coloured options.
While the rope is still very similar to the original product, there are a number of vital improvements worth noting in more detail.
Lighter Handles: One of the few criticisms of the original RPM Speed Rope was the weight of the handles. While the rope was unbelievably fast, some users thought the handles could have been lighter and therefore reduce the amount of hand, shoulder and wrist fatigue. Using the feedback from many professional jump-ropers and CrossFit Games athletes, the latest version of the rope has remedied this issue, reducing the weight of the handles by 50%. I personally found this significantly reduced the amount of muscle fatigue I endured when doing high rep double-unders, and is probably the biggest improvement of the design.
All Metal Design: Featuring an all-metal design, the latest rope doesn’t come with the plastic caps that were used in the original RPM Speed Rope. Not only were those plastic caps easy to damage and downright fidgety, but they also increased the chance of losing important parts of the rope. The first time John got the original RPM Speed Rope, he failed to properly secure one of those caps and screws, which saw one of the small bearings fall into the garden before he even got a chance to test the rope. With the new design, that specific situation would not have happened, and could of have saved him hours on his knees searching through the bushes!
Option to Buy a Rope Cutter: I cannot tell you much a simple thing like this makes me happy. One of our criticism when we reviewed the original RPM Speed Rope was that when you ordered the rope, it didn’t come with any wire cutters to trim the cable to your preferred size. As common as a tool that may be for some, many city dwellers like myself simply don’t have a wide range of tools in their apartments. I had to wait till I had the time to get down to my local hardware store to find something to cut them, which was a little frustrating at the time. Now, RPM give you the option of buying a steel cable cutter for $14.95 so you don’t have to make that annoying trip to Bunnings or Home Depot! Meaning when your rope arrives you can use it right away!
Tested and Endorsed by Professionals: RPM did a great job of listening to feedback, and teaming up with professionals when designing the 2.0 Speed Rope. Not only did they partner with USA Jump Rope, but they also worked closely with professional jump-roper Shane Windsor, and a handful of CrossFit Games athletes to determine exactly how the rope could be improved.
Available in Colour: While I’m a fan of the colour black, the fact the original design was only available in that shade was a bit of a let down. Just like many fitness enthusiasts, I love being able to personalize my equipment. So the news the RPM Speed Rope 2.0 is available in a wide range of colours including pink, blue, green, black, gray and gold is a nice option.
Decal Option: As well as the option of purchasing a coloured rope, RPM also allows users to get a personal decal on the handles. While it has no impact on the speed or performance of the rope, it’s a nice way to personalize it for yourself, or make a gift look a little more special. The price for this ranges from $10-20.
Difficult for Beginners: There is no denying the RPM Speed Rope is one of the best, if not the best rope on the market for intermediate to experienced jump ropers. But while it is the go-to rope for people with a decent skill level, it can be a little tough for beginners who are using the rope for the first time. The lighter handles and overall speed of the rope makes it hard for beginners to establish their timing. That being said, anyone serious about CrossFit will soon improve their double-unders, and when they do, the RPM Jump Rope is the one you want to be using.
Price: The RPM Speed Rope 2.0 is slightly more expensive than their original rope. The first design sold for around US$42 with the new ropes costing around US$49. While it’s only a few dollars, it’s still close to a 20% increase in price.
Wire: The cable used in the RPM Speed Rope 2.0 was designed for accuracy and efficiency. While you should get a good life out of the standard cable, it is metal and will fray if you use it on asphalt, concrete or other hard surfaces just like any other rope. That said, there is the option of buying a coated cable from RPM, which will give you more durability than a bare cable. Although that coated cable causes more friction in the air, and therefore means it is a little slower than the uncoated cable. This is not necessarily a bad point but something to note and keep in mind. I tested both the coated and uncoated ropes and think if you’re after speed go with the uncoated.
Wire Flexibility: The reason this rope is so fast is partially due to the fact it is not rope per se but a thin metal wire. So unlike traditional ropes that you can easily wrap around your hand and throw into your bag, it takes a bit more practice learning how to pack this up. If you do it wrong you’ll end up having metal wire shoot out all over the place. To be very honest this is the most annoying and frustrating thing about the rope. Because of this I tend to throw the whole thing in my gym bag after every workout, without wrapping it neatly in its carrying bag. Yet after a while the cable began to bend and kink in some places, which slows it down if you don’t straighten it out. It’s an easy fix but my advice is to hang the rope up at home and be careful when putting it in your bag or in tight spaces.
Hurts: Remember this is a wire rope. So if you’re using the uncoated or even the coated version and you miss a double-under, you are essentially whipping yourself. It can be outright painful because the rope is so fast and so thin. I’ve experience this myself countless times and finished wods with long red whip marks all over my calves and back. My advice is don’t miss!
As I noted above, RPM Fitness is an advertiser of The Rx Review. That said, I never thought there would be a day I would put down my Rx Jump Rope. For years I told anyone that would listen that the Rx Jump Rope was the smoothest, fastest and my favourite rope of choice. Yet once I tested the RPM Rope, my opinion changed and I quickly fell in love once again. I still think the Rx Jump Ropes are amazing, but in my opinion the speed, feel and overall design of the RPM ropes puts them in a class of their own.
With all reviews, I encourage you to make your own opinion. But if you are a competitive CrossFitter or just want something with amazing speed, you would be hard pressed to pass this rope up.
All in all, RPM have done a great job in improving an already awesome product. While the original RPM Speed Rope was great, and highly rated, there were still a few ways the rope could have been improved. The latest 2.0 version of the RPM Speed Rope seems to have eliminated most of the flaws that came with the original design, such as plastic caps, heavy handles and even added the ability for some personalisation.
Yes, some beginners may struggle with the rope in the initial stage due to its speed, but it shouldn’t take long to get accustomed to the design and timing. Once you do, you will find the RPM Speed Rope to be a lot faster, efficient and less fatiguing than most any other rope on the market today. It’s so fast I’m often heard saying, “I feel like I’m cheating using this rope.”
Bottom line, this is the fastest and best rope I have ever used during a WOD.