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Reel Review


3 Generations, 2 Brake Systems, 1 Solid Reel : Abu Garcia's Revo STX

 

Date: 6/16/13
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Abu Garcia
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score:7.93 - GOOD

Introduction:
Casting reels priced in the range of $180 - $210, give or take a few dollars, seem to be the real sweet spot amongst majority of consumers looking to spend a little money for quality, but not looking to let things get out of hand with super high end gear. Not long ago, this was the segment of the market dominated by certain little green reel, but back in my tackle “wonder years”, this was the price point for that reel’s more refined sibling, the Shimano Chronarch. Thanks to a host of contributing factors, this specific segment of the bait casting reel market has seen quite a bit of turmoil in recent years and over the last four to five a familiar name has re-risen to the top. Twenty to thirty years ago, Abu Garcia’s product was once regarded as the best “money could buy” and thanks to their Revo-lution, the company is once again making product to which the every day angler is paying close attention.


Introducing Abu Garcia's third iteration of the Revo STX.

We are now in the third generation of Abu's Revo-lution and so far, both the Premier and S models seem to have delivered on expectations. Thanks to recent surveys on our Facebook page and discussion forums, however, it appears consumers' thirst for knowledge and information about the entire Revo lineup has not yet been quenched. No, it sounds like the reel most people want to read about sits smack dab in the middle of the Revo lineup, resting comfortably within that $180 - $210 price range. We just happen to have been fishing this very reel over the last several months and here now is our take on Abu Garcia's workhorse bass reel, the Revo STX Baitcaster.

 

Abu Garcia Revo STX Specifications

Rated Line Capacity (spool volume)
12lb/145yds (1.986 cubic inches)
Retrieve Ratio
6.4:1
7.1:1
8.0:1
Inches Per Turn (IPT - calculated bottom of spool to top of spool)
16 to 32.5 inches
14 to 29 inches
12.5 to 26 inches
Weights
Reel
Spool
6.4 ounces (all models)
16 grams
Bearings 10 HPCR + 1CRRB
Casting Brakes Centrifugal + Magnets
Handle Length 80mm (all models)
Origin Korea
MSRP $199


The Revo STX is very solid and refined in hand.

Quality/Construction: Straight out of the box, the Revo STX is a very solid and refined reel in hand. There were no unusual gaps or blemishes in the sideplates or frame of our test model, but we did notice there was some play in the reel's handle when pushed into and pulled out against the reel's body. The movement is internal to the reel as if the main gear has some wiggle room. Otherwise the knobs were nice and tight to the handle and there was no backplay in the handle.

 

Quality Ratings for Abu Garcia Revo STX

Finish (1-5)
Frame & Sideplate Tolerance (1-5)
Handle Tolerance (1-5)
Knob Tolerance (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
4
4
4
4
16
20
8.0


It features a swept handle and dragstar.

Performance: The primary testing grounds for our Gen 3 Abu Revo STX was the California Delta. I purchased two of these reels to test and fished them with braid, fluorocarbon and nylon monofilament to get a sense of their versatility. If you're a regular reader of our site, the first thing you're going to notice is that both reels are right hand retrieve models instead of my preference, left hand retrieve. I actually purchased these reels as loaners to my brother for a trip we were to take together last Fall, but those plans fell through so I moved the reels into my regular review rotation. I actually fish both styles of reels, but my brother can only operate the right hand retrieve models.


A look from the back shows how low this reel sits on the rod, but also, how far the gear box extends to compensate.

Retrieve: The Revo STX comes in three different retrieve ratios (6.4:1, 7.1:1, 8.0:1). I only acquired two models to fish, but by measuring the spool's inside and outside diameter, we're able to calculate the IPT range you can expect from each model which will of course vary depending upon how much line you have out. These numbers are presented in the reel specification table at the beginning of the article.


The gearbox looks even bigger from this side, but it did not bother me at all while fishing.

In terms of actual feel during the retrieve, the STX is smooth but lacks that rock solid feel you get from some reels. I attribute this to the reel's weight and carbon sideplates. On average, heavier reels just feel more solid in hand during retrieve, and composite materials in the frame and sideplate only serve to further separate you from that rock solid feeling. It's the price you usually have to pay if a reel that is light in weight is your preference or goal.


Fig 1: Our Sweet Drag Performance chart shows how consistent the STX's drag performs at several different adjustment points.

Drag: Looking at our Sweet Drag Performance Chart above, you can see the drag on the Revo STX is very smooth and consistent. There is some fade at higher settings (top two curves, light blue and purple) and at the harder pulls (third column of curve), but overall the peaks an valleys are minimal.


The STX is specified at 20lbs max drag - we managed 10.09.

The maximum drag advertised by the manufacturer is 20 pounds. The max we were able to generate on the Machine with a finger tight drag star was a split hair over 10 pounds. If this rating is important to you, then it's something of which to take note, but for my style of fishing, how consistent a drag performs is far more important than a maximum rating. Even in situations where I do want to lock down my drag, for bass fishing, 10 pounds is more than sufficient.

Sweet Drag Performance for Abu Garcia Revo STX (2.5 Turns to Lockdown)

Full Turn
Full + 2
Full + 4
Full + 6
Lockdown
Avg % Change
Start Up
0.43
1.02
1.72
2.56
10.09
Sustained
0.40
0.95
1.66
2.52
9.62
Biggest Drop
0.20
0.77
1.42
2.26
8.58
Change in Startup vs Sustained
6.3%
7%
3.7%
1.7%
4.7%
4.7%
Biggest Drop from Sustained
50.3%
18.9%
14.3%
10.2%
10.8%
20.9%

Power: It's no secret high speed reels with power are the exception to the rule rather than the norm. Even then, if you take two models of the same reel one with a relatively low speed retrieve ratio and the other with high, the low speed reel will win out in terms of power. But in fishing it's not so much a matter of which reel has more power, but rather does the reel you're using have enough? The Revo STX, even in super high 8.0:1 retrieve ratio has enough power.


All Revos are engineered in Sweden.

This is not a reel I would choose for deep diving cranks, or really even swimbaits, but unless your initials are KVD, who really uses an 8.0:1 or even a 7.1:1 reel for these applications anyway? What these two reels do support well are pitching and flipping applications where you need to be able to pick up line quickly and either hold your catch in place or direct it away from cover. The Revo STX handles these situations just fine.


If you're casting and pitching, baits from about three eighths of an ounce on up are comfortably within the STX's range.

Next Section: Casting Range and Brakes


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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