The Drag: One look at the PX68’s schematic and we already knew what to expect under the hood. The new Pixy sports a modern, multi-disc stacked drive featuring two eared metal washers, one metal keyed washer, three fibrous discs, and one composite keyed washer. The new stack is rated at 4kg (8.8lbs) of pressure but tested out at 9.5 lbs of drag in our lab. Up to about six pounds of pressure, performance was smooth and silky, but when approaching lockdown pressure at about eight pounds or more, the drag began to studder.
... and a standard, stacked, multi-disc wet drag!
The modified Pixzilla drag washers and the new PX68/68L drag washers are interchangeable - to a point
As a comparison, our in-house tuned Pixzilla tests out at seven pounds though we've heard performance marks at up to twelve if you take the time to buff and polish the metal washers. Our original, stock Pixies tested out at mere three pounds of pressure back in 2004 and 2005.
And that point ends at the height of the two stacks (PX68/68L - left, Original Pixy gear with upgraded drag stack - right)
Yes, there really is something different as the original Pixy sideplate will not fit over the new Pixy's drag stack
As for compatability, Pixy fans may be happy to know that the new stack fits easily within the existing drive gear of the older version Pixy but will be disappointed to discover the new stack is actually slightly taller than the old one. How is this possible if the reels share the same frame and sideplates?
A look at the underside of the two sideplates reveals the answer (PX68/68L left, Original Pixy right)
The new PX68/68L's handle sideplate is cut back to make room for the new drag
To check we took the 2004 handle sideplate and tried to install it over the 2010 Pixy’s machinery. It was little surprise to us that the sideplate would not go on cleanly. Clearly the taller drag stack was interfering with older sideplate.
As compared to the old sideplate shown here
The gears themselves are slightly different with the PX68/68L's (left) cut to enable a faster retrieve (6.8:1 vs 6=5.8:1)
Looking closely at the insides of these respective components we can see the part numbers remain the same, but the 2010 version does sport a new carved out area to accommodate the taller drag! It is a very subtle change, but one you can see right away when comparing sideplates adjacent to one another.
The result is a slightly larger gear
The PX68/68L's gear (bottom) is also made of a seemingly harder material
Main Gear: Going back to the two reels’ gears it looks like the 2010 Pixy sports a new brass composite gear versus the original Pixy’s aluminum alloy one. That extra bit of retrieve ratio is achieved by a gear that is slightly taller than the old one, and undoubtedly consisting of more teeth as well.
The shaft on the new Pixy's spool is only 3 mm so they need to house a smaller bearing in this adapter to have it fit into the existing Pixy frame ...
While we had PX68 taken apart, the other bit of intrigue was to investigate the worm drive beneath the levelwind and see if Daiwa Japan upgraded the plastic bushing to a bearing – a necessary upgrade to achieve Pixzilla status on an superttuned Pixy. Viewing this part on the schematic, it appeared the upgrade was unlikely. Additionally, taking a look at this part while still held in place pinched between the worm drive gear and the reel’s frame, it appeared as if nothing had changed.
Note the thicker shaft and larger bearing on the original Pixy spool
But of course we had to verify so off came the c-clip and out popped the worm drive to verify that yes indeed, the plastic bushing remains. It appears there is room for upgrades afterall on this new Pixy.
Unfortunately, Daiwa Japan did not upgrade the wormshaft bushing to a bearing on the new Pixy
Conclusion: Reassembling the reel and putting everything back into place, the one performance test we can easily do in the lab is the traditional spin of the spool. The PX68’s spool, right out of the box, spins for an impressive ten seconds or more. This is with the tension knob adjusted so side to side play on the spool just disappears. By comparison, our old, trusted Pixzilla’s spool spins for six seconds tops. Might this be a prelude to easier startup and prolonged spins of the spool out on the water? There’s only one way to find out.
The new Pixy PX68/68L ... Perhaps a prelude of what's to come in North America?