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Reel Review

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

Casting Range: The Revo STX has a relatively deep spool that's somewhat average in overall weight. It can comfortably cast baits down to about a quarter of an ounce, but if pitching is your game, the low end range is more in the neighborhood of three eighths of an inch for best performance. There's nothing wrong with any of these numbers, just don't expect the STX to support finesse casting applications very well. The fact it can cast baits down to one quarter of an ounce makes it slightly above average for a baitcaster targeted at general purpose casting duties.

Access to the reel's spool is through the non-handle sideplate, held in place by this spring loaded screw.

Brakes: The Revo STX comes with what Abu refers to as their Infini brake system. In a nutshell this system is a combination of magnetic and centrifugal brakes. Daiwa's MagForce V is perhaps the most advanced magnetic braking system available as the rotor on the spool moves in and out of the magnets depending upon the spool's spinning speed therefore assisting you dynamically. Abu's implementation of magnetic brakes on the STX is less dynamic. By turning the external dial on the non-handle sideplate you move a set of magnets in and out towards the spool. The more magnetic brake assistance you want, the closer the magnets are to the spool but this brake force is constant through the cast.

It's a two handed operation to open the sideplate - one to hold the locking screw in the out position, the other to twist the sideplate and remove it.

To test the magnetic controls, I turned the centrifugal brakes completely off and went through the range of adjustments on the non-handle sideplate dial. I had tied on a 3/8 ounce casting plug with my STX mounted on a St. Croix Legend Extreme LCX71MHXF LEX (7'1" medium heavy rod with an extra fast tip). With the external dial turned to max, the magnetic brakes serve to really choke off your cast. More so than I remember experiencing on any reel I've used to date.

Can you tell the difference between the settings of three brakes on and all off? I had difficulty with my aging eyes.

With the external dial adjusted to the halfway mark, the STX showed marked improvement in casting distance and I was able to put the plug anywhere I wanted within one hundred feet. With the dial turned to zero, I had to use a lot of thumb control so I feel confident in saying you can effectively back the magnetic brakes off completely.

The magnetic brakes are very easy to adjust via the external dial on the non-handle sideplate.

To test the centrifugal brakes, I reversed the process turning the external dial to minimum, and flipping all centrifugal brakes on. In the case of centrifugal brakes, my comfort level is with Shimano's system where start up is usually controlled and the brakes seem to back off as the spool slows down usually affording you good distance on your casts.

Weight wise, the Revo STX comes in at 6.4 ounces - that's low for an aluminum framed reel.

With the STX's centrifugal brakes turned completely on, I experienced a similar "choked off" feeling to my cast, but not quite as severe as with the magnetic brakes turned completely on. I then backed off the centrifugal brakes to half on, half off and experienced similar casting ability to the magnetic brakes set at half force. Switching to two out of six centrifugal brakes on seemed to be ideal for me.

The spool's weight is a bit more pedestrian.

What I did not test were settings where both systems were engaged because I didn't feel the need for it. Where I imagine this dual adjustment coming in handy is if you're an individual that prefers the feel of centrifugal brakes - the set it and forget it mentality. So you find your ideal setting with the centrifugal brakes, and turn the external dial to zero so no magnets come into play. At some point out on the water either you change baits, the wind picks up, or just something changes to where you need a little more brake assistance - so instead of opening up the sideplate to access the centrifugal brakes, you turn the dial and engage the magnets for fine tuning.

All STX's come with an 80mm handle.

The thing is, if you turn the centrifugal brakes completely off, you can already adjust the magnets through a rather wide range, so why not do that to begin with - unless as I stated earlier, you simply prefer centrifugal brakes most of the time. There is a slight difference in feel with one brakeset system versus the other, but honestly my feeling is the Infini Brake system is an unnecessary complication.

Performance Ratings for Abu Garcia Revo STX

Retrieve (1-5)
Drag (1-5)
Power (1-5)
Casting Range (1-5)
Brakes (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Features: The Revo STX scores very well in our new, detailed Features Rating section hitting all the scoring cues save for the reel cover. It has both external and internal brake adjustments, micro clicks on both the dragstar and tension knob, two bearings per knob and even two bearings on either side of the levelwind worm gear!

Eva knobs are the norm with the STX.

Features Ratings for Abu Garcia Revo STX

Ext Brake Adjust? (1-2)
Levelwind Bearing (1-2)
Knob Bearings (1-3)
Micro Clicks (1-3)
Reel Cover (1-2)
Oil (1-2)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Design/Ergonomics: The most notable change debuted in these 3rd Generation Revo baitcasters is their reduction in weight. The STX now weighs a mere 6.4 ounces which, for an aluminum framed reel is about as low as you might hope. The non-handle sideplate on this reel is unbelievably small and when combined with the reel's weight, together these factors make the STX one of the most comfortable reel platforms to palm.

As are two bearings per knob.

There's been a lot of debate, and criticism in our discussion forum of fans and detractors complaining about the gearbox on the handle side of the Gen 3 reels in general and how it gets in the way with how they grip their combos. If I had never caught on to some of those discussions, I never would have noticed the gear box or the discomfort it reportedly causes.

Breaking down the reel is relatively simple so long as you're able to locate this hidden screw which likes hidden behind the reel's spool.

This is obviously a matter that each individual angler is going to have to assess for themselves. The best way to do that of course, is to mount the reel on the rod you intend to use it with or at least one with a similar reel seat and judge how it feels for yourself. Unfortunately in this day and age of the vanishing local tackle store, it's not something everyone can easily do.

Four screws keep this reel together - each a different size.

Next Section: Back to the brakes









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