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Reel Review

See Things in Black and White with the Generation 3 Abu Garcia Revo S (continued)

Retrieving:   Something I really like about the Revo S is the solid feel it has.  In the past, I have used some cheap to mid priced reels that just didn't cut in in terms of having that nice rigid feel.  The Revo's frame is comprised of an X2-Craftic alloy frame, offering light weight, rigidity, and improved corrosion resistance.  The white graphite side plates feel quite good, with no noticeable flex or wobble, even under high-torque applications.

The efficient gearing is both powerful and smooth.

Gearing on the reel is rated at 6.4:1.  In this age of super fast gear ratios, I still prefer the versatility of a more moderate ratio.  The Revo S gearing is great for a variety of baits from worms to crankbaits.

Speaking of the gearing, the new D2 gear design improves efficiency and durability.  This is not a super powerhouse reel, but I never felt like it lacked for power during testing.  It delivers this power with impressive smoothness, and coupled with 7 stainless ball bearings plus 1 roller bearing, does so with a very connected feel.

The main gear is made of brass and appears free of wear after a fair amount of use.

Drag:  The Revo S boasts an impressively strong drag system.  The carbon matrix drag offers an advertised 20lbs of maximum stopping muscle, quite eye opening for such a compact package.  A scale was unavailable to solidify this claim, but at the max drag setting there are gobs of stopping power, so I have no doubt the drag is at least close to the claim.  Drag performance is not only super strong, but also smooth through all settings.  Line pulls out with no hesitation, and startup inertia is not an issue.  Adjustments are made easy and precise via a clicking drag star.

Side plate popped off and spool removed....

Ergonomics:  As a whole, the Revo S is quite a small package.  It sits extremely low to the reel seat, making it very easy to palm comfortably.  The only real downside to the small body and lowrider stance, is that the gear box at the base of the handle protrudes quite a bit.  Zander first brought this up with his review of the new generation Revo Premier.  While the reel is indeed easy to palm, when engulfing the whole reel in my hand the gear box touches my fingertips.  This isn't a huge issue as far as comfort goes, but can be a minor annoyance.

The large, low hanging gear box certainly stands out.

The time I notice it most is when using a bait that requires twitching, such as a topwater or jerkbait.  During these times I firmly palm the entire reel, and I find myself splaying my fingers out around the gearbox for maximum comfort.  Another small ergonomic gripe is with the square knobs.  I remember having the same style knobs on my Abu Garcia Pro Max baitcasting reel back in the early 1990's.  While I don't hate them, I don't love them either.  A more contoured, rounded knob style with a bit more of a texture pattern would be welcome.

The handle and drag star are both bent or “swept” inward.  This makes the package the slightest bit more compact, and probably increases cranking power as well.  Hey, it looks cool too!

For maximum comfort, I often work my fingers around the gear box during retrieves.

Durability:  Over the course of a few months of fishing, the Revo S still feels smooth and solid.  Casting, retrieving, and just the overall feel remains like new.  Opening up the reel to inspect the gearing revealed no wear or abnormalities.  When the time comes for a little lube on the main gear, the reel features a maintenance port on the bottom of the gear box.  This allows for easy, quick lubrication.

Located on the bottom of the gearbox, the maintenance port is protected by a small hatch. Simply remove a small screw, and the hatch can be removed to expose the gearing inside.

Application, Warranty, Price: The Revo S will be a fairly versatile reel for most anglers.  With it's modest gear ratio, it will be a wise choice for many Bass fishing techniques.  The increased corrosion resistance of certain parts also makes it a decent choice for inshore saltwater anglers.  Saltwater anglers will also appreciate the powerful drag system for stopping a big bull Redfish.

As mentioned earlier, if you want a reel for casting lightweight lures, this probably isn't the best reel for you.  While it will work okay, I desired a bit more performance casting these baits.

At an MSRP of $129.95, the Revo S is an attractive value for the performance you get.  At that price it gets right in the face of the Shimano Citica G, priced at $129.99.   After purchasing your Revo, you can have peace of mind that Abu Garcia has it covered for a year against faults in materials or workmanship.

The Revo S reel foot and bottom side.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Generation 3 Abu Garcia Revo S Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The reel is built well, but uses just graphite sideplates. 7.5
Performance Smooth and solid on the retrieve, and the drag is very strong.  Casting of most average sized lures is good. 7
Price A nice price for a nice reel. 8
Features Some nice features for the money. 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Even with the gearbox, still a pretty comfortable reel to use since it's so compact.  I'd rather see more ergonomic grips, though. 7
Application Gets the job done with most techniques, and has the guts to do so.  Not the best finesse reel, though. 7.5

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Quality build - Casting of lighter lures could be better
+ Strong drag - Square knobs could be more comfortable
+ Smooth and solid feeling - No exterior palming-side cast control like on the more expensive Revo reels.
+ Compact size - Gearbox may annoy some
+ Clicking drag and cast control  
+ Versatile gear ratio  
+ Affordable  

Conclusion: Even though it is considered the base of the Revo family, the S model is a solid piece of equipment that has a nice level of refinement and performance.  This review was actually my first time ever using a Revo reel, and it opened my eyes to a brand I really didn't consider much before. It's nice to see that Abu Garcia seems to be serious about upping the level of performance throughout the Revo line, not just reserving it for the higher end models.  I was fully expecting a reel that was fair at best and just generally underwhelming.  The Revo S will not blow you away, but it should leave you happy and maybe even a little surprised.

This landlocked Snook sure surprised me while throwing a small swimbait for Bass in a tiny local pond.

With an eye catching paint scheme and compact design, the reel becomes even more enticing.  For me, a reel can perform great, but if it lacks in the looks department I am just not interested.  Thankfully, this was a nice execution of both form and function that will look good on just about any rod you own.  What doesn't black or white go with anyway?

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