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Rod Review

 

Kistler's New Flagship ZBone LEXF Casting Rod (continued)

Features: Kistler Custom Rods is never one to shy away from alternative grip materials and with the ZBone LEXF, they are using a very interesting reconstituted cork mixed with some EVA foam end caps. The rod's guides are by Fuji and are their KSeries Micro Guides with stainless steel frames and SiC inserts. The reel seat is also by Fuji (ECS) and the open ended hook keeper is by Kigan. The LEXF-3MH-70 comes with a custom rod sleeve made from the same nylon web material popularized by a couple rod sleeve companies. This one features a very tight weave used to mitigate against the micro-guides. Unfortunately the guides do still manage to pop through on occasion, but otherwise, this sleeve is great for storing the rods in your locker fully rigged up.

Features Ratings for Kistler ZBone LEXF-3MH-70

Grip (1-5)
Guides (1-5)
Reel Seat (1-5)
Hook Keeper (1-5)
Rod Sleeve (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
4
5
4
4
5
22
25
8.8


A close look at the unusual rubberized cork grip material.

Design/Ergonomics: The weight of this 7'-0" medium-heavy powered rod is an astonishing three point seven ounces (3.7oz). You'd figure with a rod this long and light, that it'd be tip heavy but the balancing point for this stick is a modest eight inches from the midline of the reel seat and translates to a balancing torque of only 0.15ft lbs. Far less than the average of our 26 The Search for One rods back in 2010.

Lab Results for Kistler ZBone LEXF-3MH-70

Model
Avg RoD (2-32 oz)
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Kistler ZBone LEXF-3MH-70
1.91
X-Fast
3.7
8
0.15
MBR783C GLX2000
1.72
Fast
4.8
5
0.11
TSFO 26 Rod Avg
1.69
--
4.92
7.65
0.19


This keeper by Kigan is popping up on more and more rods.

The rod's grip feels just like natural cork and the graphics are very subdued. The rod's blank is left raw and unfinished and the only color on the stick are the translucent red thread wraps around the guides. The rod's label is left at the back end of the rod in the split of the rear grip, so there are no graphics to distract or annoy you above the reel seat other than a "Made in the USA" sticker.

Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Kistler ZBone LEXF-3MH-70

Grip (1-5)
Colors / Graphics (1-5)
Balance (1-5)
Weight (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
4
5
4
5
18
20
9.0


There's one of the guides!

Application: Our Search For One campaign is defined by rods like the Kistler ZBone LEXF-3MH-70. This stick really can do it all. Whether you're throwing spinnerbaits or lipless cranks, switching over to rip some minnow baits, tying on a jig or Texas rigged soft plastic, or pitching unweighted plastics under a dock or up against a tree stump, you can do so with confidence using a stick like this. It's soft enough in the top for moving baits and about as sensitive as it gets for vertical bait presentations.

Bass Rod Application Ratings for Kistler ZBone LEXF-3MH-70

Rip/Jerk (1-5)
Steady (1-5)
Lift & Drop (1-5)
Drag (1-5)
Twitch (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
4
4
5
5
4
22
25
8.8


The recycled cork on the end of the rod is capped on both sides by some EVA foam.

Ratings:

Kistler ZBone LEXF-3MH-70 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Clean and precise work 9.47
Performance It's difficult to put this stick down 9.2
Price Can't be perfect everywhere - Flag Ship models usually come at a price and ZBone LEXF is no exception 5
Features Everything including a hook keeper AND a useful rod sleeve 8.8
Design (Ergonomics) Light yet not tip heavy 9.0
Application Rods like this define our Search for One campaign 8.8

Total Score

8.38
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
+ Old school, high end sensitivity - Flagship products normally come at top end prices and this stick is no exception to that rule
+ Light and balanced  
+ Extremely good stick for pitching  

 


Thanks to that old school feel, Kistler's ZBone LEXF wins this Editor's Choice Award.

 

Conclusion: The $500 bass rod is slowly going by the wayside. More and more companies are building $200 - $300 rods that are really all that you "need". But the true enthusiast is always willing to pay disproportionately more for a small percentage of better performance. It is people like this who will appreciate a stick like the ZBone LEXF-3MH-70. This is a stick with a lot of old school, top end graphite performance on a minimal build to the point where it almost - almost - feels like you're fishing with just a bare blank. Maybe Kistler's next iteration will simply be a split reel seat and spiral wrapped guides - no grip - because that's just about the only way we can see making a stick like this any better. For now, it's no surprise that the ZBone LEXF-3MH-70 wins this Editor's Choice Award.

 

Looking for a Kistler ZBone LEXF-3MH-70? Try TackleWarehouse

 

 

 

 

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