If you are interested in picking up a jump rope, look no further than the Buddy Lee Rope Master — my favorite jump rope and my top pick on my comprehensive Best Jump Ropes article.
I wanted to specifically write a detailed review about the Rope Master as I’ve had some questions about the rope over the past year. The Buddy Lee Rope Master is the real deal — it’s one of the best jump ropes on the market and it will deliver you about as smooth and fluid a jump rope experience as any jump rope you can get your hands on.
You may be exposed to the Buddy Lee Jump rope from the various viral buddy lee videos on the web, showing jump rope master (and ex Olympic champion wrestler Buddy Lee) taking skipping to the next level.
Buddy Lee is not just a jump rope master, no…he has a line of Jump Rope products that are well loved by jump rope enthusiasts, including me.
Here’s a video of Buddy Lee using one of his ropes:
Why the Buddy Lee Rope?
These days there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different jump rope models to choose from. I don’t claim to have tried them all, but I’ve tried dozens and dozens of jump ropes, and spend hundreds of dollars buying different Jump Ropes. I’ve also spent a few years learning how to better jump rope.
Here’s a video of me working on some jump rope training before Boxing work:
Buddy Lee Jump Rope Models
There are 5 Buddy Lee jump rope models available: Buddy Lee Basic Magic Speed Rope, Cross Speed Rope, Rope Master, Super Sonic, and Aero Speed.
Comparison of Buddy Lee Models
Here’s a comparison of the 4 Buddy Lee Rope Models.
Magic Speed Rope: Your basic cheap jump rope. Unlike the other BL models, this does NOT have any metallic swivel bearings but a basic eyelet that rotates. It has the nice vinyl BL cord.
Rope Master: Long hard-plastic handles with patented replaceablesteel swivel bearings and vinyle rope cord. The longer handles make this one the best suited for jump rope tricks and general jump roping. It also seems to be Buddy Lee’s favorite that he actually uses.
Super Sonic: Steel Cable speed jump rope with 90 degree swivel bearings. This one is good for Cross Fit / Double, Single, or Quadriple Unders. This one is recommended for maximum speed and is the fastest of the bunch. Rated at 7 rotations and the fastest BL Jump rope.
Aero Speed: Speed jump rope with aluminum handles. This one works for anything: Cross Fit, Speed Jumping, Double Unders, and tricks. It uses the vinyl cord which gives more feedback than a steel cord, though less rotations (slightly slower). One of my favorite ropes.
Which is The Best Buddy Lee Jump Rope Model?
This entirely depends on what you are looking for. As for ‘best’ my pick is the Rope Master due to the longer handles, swivel bearings, and nice vinyl cord. For rope tricks and general ‘everything’ jumping, I rate this as the best model.
However, the Aero Speed rope has a ‘better’ build with the nice (lighter) aluminum handles. I only wish the Aero Speed had longer handles like the Rope Master. For speed skipping and cross fit, go with this one. It’s the best quality one.
I’m not so sold on the Super Sonic — I don’t like steel cables. However, if you are a cross fitter or trying to do double or triple unders, this one is best suited for you.
The Hyperformance Cross Speed Rope is basically the Rope Master with shorter handles and the Magic Rope is just your generic cheap jump rope. While these are good ropes, I feel there is no point to buying one of them over the other Buddy Lee models listed.
Buddy Lee Rope Master Review
The Rope Master is my favorite model. It’s a slick well-rounded model that is especially suitable for fast jump roping with tricks. I have the Aero Speed and I still prefer the Rope Master (though I have a few complaints).
Rope Master Features
- Swivel Bearing System (reduces drag, friction and tangling; helps you turn the rope in all directions without problems)
- 9 inch handles, made with high density plastics, for better arm extension (best for Freestyle Jumping)
- Ability to easily adjust rope size in seconds
- Replaceable Swivel Bearings and Rope
- PVC rope cord designed for speed jumping
Using the Rope Master
I find the Rope Master a pleasure to use. It’s heavy enough where you can feel the handles and control the rope, but light enough where you don’t feel the handles, even after and hour long jump rope session.
The biggest claim to fame with the Rope Master (besides Buddy Lee doing all manner of impressive jump rope tricks in his YouTube videos with the same rope) is the patented swivel bearing system. In reality, it’s basically just two steel rings, one ring connecting to the rope via a twist-in screw, and the other attached steel ring connected to a bearing system that screws into the handle.
This swivel bearing is removable and replaceable, which is a good thing as it WILL wear out in time, especially if you expose it to water and high humidity.
The rope cord is a thin (but not too thin) PVC cord. I’ve read some complaints by people who don’t like the cord, but I quite love it. The rope does stretch a bit at the highest point of your rope rotation, but this gives you the ability to better control the ropes as you move it. However, the rope will NOT last long if you do skipping on concrete or other abrasive surfaces.
You are best on hard rubber or wooden floors. Either way, you WILL need to eventually replace the cord, which is why I recommend you buy a second BL replacement cord to swap in. I estimate you will get 6 months of hard use or a couple years of casual jumping out of the cord. Less if you jump rope on concrete.
As for actually using the BL, it’s a smooth experience. The ropes does what it claims and you can whip it around in various angles easily without tangling or slow downs, due to the swivel bearing.
The 90 degree style connections that the Speed Rope / Cross Fit style ropes allow for faster rope rotations than the non-90 degree connectors of the Rope Master, BUT the non-90 degree connectors allow you better control when it comes to Freestyle Jump roping. You can more easily perform extension moves and cross over /cross under movements with this connection. This is why I recommend the Rope Master over any of the Cross Fit or 90 degree connector jump ropes.
I have used many, many jump rope types over the past couple years: 90-degree connector jump ropes with steel cables, 90-degree connector jump ropes with PVC/vinyl cords, non-90 degree connector plastic corded jump ropes (i.e your regular cheap jump ropes), wooden handle jump ropes, heavy thick PVC Muay Thai jump ropes, and just about everything in between.
I still prefer the Buddy Lee Rope Master as the best of the bunch.
With the BL, I find it’s easier to do trick moves (such cross overs, the EB, the Toad, the Crouger, the Awesome Annie, 180 rotations, 360 rotations, and more) due to the aerodynamic cord, the long hard plastic handles, and the straight non-90 degree swivel bearing system.
If you really whip the Rope Master around fast, you really get that whipping sound that can impress any observers. Toss in a few basic tricks such as Cross Overs, Side Crosses, and a few dance moves when you skip and you look like you know your jump rope shit (even if what you are doing is basic tricks).
What I Like About the Buddy Lee Rope Master
There are a lot of awesome things about the Buddy Lee Rope Master that I love. It’s really an awesome rope to use for general jump roping and for freestyle jump rope. It’s hard to explain why in words, but take my word: just buy the damn thing and try it out.
Here are the specific points why I find this rope the best (and easiest):
- PVC Vinyl Cord is flexible and allows for seamless control and turning during fast jumping routines
- Swivel Bearings allow easy jump rotation, especial while moving around on the floor
- Long Plastic Handles allow for easier cross type movements with the rope (cross overs, side crosses, etc)
- You can easily adjust the rope size
- Swivel Bearing and rope are replaceable
- The padding helps absorb sweat and solidifies your grip
- It Allows for Awesome Freestyle Jumping and handles movements very well
What I Don’t Like about the Buddy Lee Rope Master
While there’s a lot that I love about my BL Rope Master, after using it for over a year in Thailand and having bought several replacement swivel bearings (not to mention a second Buddy Lee Rope Master), there some complaints I do have about the rope.
- The Swivel Bearing WILL rust in high humidity or if exposed to water and not dried. This could easily be prevented if they were made from aluminum or stainless steel.
- The foam pads are cheap and start to fall apart / crack after a few months.
- The hard plastic is not shock proof — I put a crack in mine when I lost my grip during a jump session and the side of it hit concrete. The handle did not shatter and still works perfectly, but there is a crack line on the side of one handle now.
The biggest complaint is the swivel bearings rusting here in Thailand. I’m not sure how (probably because I just threw my BL rope into my gym bag with all my wet boxing gear or it was exposed to some water due to rain or maybe just the high tropical humidity), but at this point and after SIX months of owning it, the swivel bearings are completely rusted over and will not even rotate.
This rendered my Buddy Lee rope completely inoperable. I’ve had to buy the replacement swivel bearings and swap out the old ones to fix this problem (which is easy to do, though you’ll pay about $10 USD for the replacement.
Again, I wish the BL swivel bearings were aluminum or stainless steel, which would prevent the rust. All I can say here is that KEEP THEM AWAY FROM WATER or MOISTURE.
Regardless of this defect, the Rope Master is still a great rope to use. SO good in fact I recently bought a second rope as backup.
How Long Will Your Buddy Lee Last?
The handle itself will likely last for years. The rope and swivel bearings anywhere from a year to a couple years, depending on what sort of surfaces you jump on, how much you jump rope, and the level of humidity in the air.
Typically, the first parts that break, in my experience are the swivel bearings and the foam pads on the handles. I still have my original rope.
Here’s a look at my Buddy Lee Rope Master after 8 months
As you see, the Swivel Bearings are completely gone. In fact, I just bought replacement swivel bearings because the rust was so bad the bearings would not turn any more. This is because in Thailand, there is high humidity which seems to have rusted the swivel bearings.
In more dry climates (i.e. non tropical ones), you likely won’t have this issue unless you get the swivel bearings wet and do not dry them. Also note that after 6 months, the foam pad on one of the handles split. It’s not really a big deal, though I wish BL built a more firm pad and made it a bit longer (1 inch is pretty short).
The rope, so far, is fine with no breakage, even after 8 months.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Buddy Lee Rope
Make sure the rope is correctly sized to your height. It’s fairly easy to size: simply hold both handles in front of you with the bottom of the rope at your feet, and step on the rope while pulling both handles towards one of your shoulders. The end of the handle/s should roughly touch the center of your pecs / nipple when you pull them upward towards your body. Read my Ultimate Guide to the Best Jump Ropes for more about how to choose the perfect sized rope.
Beginners have longer ropes while more advanced users will want shorter ropes for faster rope rotations. If in doubt, go with the longer rope size.
Jump on wooden surfaces and rubberized surfaces to extend the life of your jump rope. The Vinyl rope that goes with the Buddy Lee will wear out MUCH faster if you skip on concrete and other abrasive surfaces. You’ll only get a few months out of the rope if you do.
Buy an extra rope and swivel bearings to extend the life of your Buddy Lee. The rope will wear out in time, as will the bearings. Fortunately, you can easily replace both which are sold as replaceable parts. For less than 14 bucks, you can completely replace the parts that wear out (swivel bearings and rope), essentially giving you a brand new rope. Considering you will pay anywhere from 20-30 bucks for new Rope Master, replacing the worn out parts essentially gives you a new rope for half or a third of the cost.
You can order them here:
Keep your Buddy Lee away from water and moisture. If the swivel bearings get moist, make sure you dry them out ASAP, or they might just rust. Too much rust and they will stop rotating, at which point you’ll have to replace them or have a useless rope.
Boil Your Rope to Straighten it Out Ever Few Months. Your rope will become tangled in time, especially if you don’t take care to keep your jump rope straight (say you crumple it up or throw it into a bag). It’s easy to fix this though — simply throw your rope (rope only, NOT the handles and the swivel bearings) into a pot of boiling water and let it sit there for a couple minutes. Pull it out and let dry — the rope will be straight again.
Learn your basic Jump Rope Tricks. Simply jumping up and down is boring. If that’s the extent of your jump rope ability, there’s a LOT more you can learn how to do, both with foot work movement and rope tricks. You can easily learn basic jump rope tricks by watching YouTube videos.
I recommend at the least you learn these basic tricks:
- Side Swings
- Cross Overs
- Under Cross Overs
- Side Cross Overs
- The Squat
- 180 Turns
- 360 Turns
Once you’ve mastered these basic tricks, you can really start to string them together with the Buddy Lee rope with lightening speed — and you’ll look a bit like Buddy Lee if you do!
Once you master the basic tricks, you can take a crack at the more advanced tricks:
- power jumps
- The EB
- The Awesome Annie
- Rope Catches
The Final Word
If you want to learn how to skip, or you want to improve your skipping, or you want to get good at skipping (and learn tricks), do yourself a favor and buy the Rope Master.
It’s the best rope I’ve ever used. The perfect model would be the Rope Master, IF the handles were made from aluminum (like the Aero Speed model) and the swivel bearings were made from a non-rust-able metal.
Regardless, it’s the best rope I’ve used and the rope I first turn to.
One of the best all round Jump Ropes on the market. Handles well and allows for lighting fast skipping with fluid turns. The long handles make this rope well suited for Freestyle Jump Rope (tricks), but the rope also works fantastic for general jump rope.
The only complaints are the cheap foam padding which falls apart after a couple months and the non-stainless steel swivel bearings which may rust in high humid climates and / or if exposed to water and non dried.
Ease of Use
How It Handles