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Reel Review

Bringing exotic beauty and performance together in the new Quantum Energy PT-XMetal

Date: 2/5/04
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Quantum
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 8.75

Introduction: This is the reel we've all been waiting for. The brand new Quantum Energy PT-XMetal, which first caught our attention last July at the 2003 ICAST show. With the addition of this souped up reel the popular Energy PT series of reels now sports a total of four finely tuned reels in it's growing lineup. How different is the new XMetal, and what advantages does it offer anglers? We couldn't wait to wet some line and start analyzing this new performance tuned reel.

Quantum Energy PT-XMetal (E860PTxm) Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 12/165, 14/135
Gear Ratio 6.2:1
Weight 9.6 oz
Bearings 7BB, 1RB
Additional Features CNC machined aluminum frame, X-Metal aluminum side covers, Continuous Anti-Reverse™, ACS™II adjustable centrifugal cast control, Ceramic drag system, Maxcast™ Titanium-bonded skeletal spool, Quantum Hot Sauce™ lubrication, Ceramic-Zirconia levelwind system, Super Free Spool pinion design, Scratch-resistant vacuum deposition coating, Extra-hard PT gears
Price $199.95

Impressions: Our first peek at the Energy PT-XMetal was at the ICAST 2003 where Quantum had it displayed in an enormous booth alongside their latest and greatest rods, reels, and accessories. Since we are very familiar with the rest of the Energy PT baitcasting series from past reviews, we couldn't wait to discern the differences this new variant offered. When we received the XMetal the first thing we did was take it out and put it side by side with the previous Energy PT versions. It was exactly what we expected, the E860PTxm was the obvious winner in overall look and feel. With the titanium-bonded skeletal spool and star-drag along with the X-Metal aluminum side covers which feature a solid scratch resistant vacuum deposit coating, the Energy reel is both attractive and exotic. The detail in design was very impressive, but are all these enhancements just skin deep?


Introducing the newly evolved Energy PT-XMetal


Materials: The Energy PT-XMetal brings new materials and processes to enhance its overall design. The XMetal aluminum side covers feature a vacuum deposition coating which has been upgraded for the E860PTxm with a new process. The layers of coating are much more refined and thicker, providing an armor-like barrier that's far less prone to scratches. The XMetal side covers story doesn't end there. The actual material composition of the side covers is also not just basic aluminum. The E860PTxm side plates are manufactured from a special aluminum that is diecast then precisely machined to match the frame and components to the tightest tolerances. At this point we began to get the feeling that while the XMetal certainly has the beauty it just might have the brawns to back it all up, for the real test begins as we took a look at the heart of this beast.


Complete Rig for Quantum Energy PT-XMetal Tests

Rod AiRRUS Co-Matrix (AC661MH)
Reel Quantum Energy PT-XMetal
Line 12 lb Sufix ProMix


Field Tests: The Energy PT-XMetal baitcaster has all the Performance Tuned attributes of the Energy PT reels and a few more additions that help put it on top of the PT foodchain. To fully assess the Energy PT-XMetal, Team TackleTour put the new baitcaster to the test fishing in lakes for bass and also brackish waters for stripers since light saltwater use was highlighted in the owner's guide.


The reel endured a thorough inspection before and after our field tests, the result: Refined and Reliable


Casting: The E860PTxm casts extremely well and produced a smooth and long lasting free-spool spin during our timed lab tests. We tossed many different types of lures and the results were virtuous. The Titanium bonded skeletal spool is attractive, sound, and uniform, allowing even rotation around the ever so smooth pinion it glides on. The external centrifugal cast control is and has always been a plus because you have a quick and easy access to adjustments while you're fishing. If you change lures, instead of opening up the side cover, you just select the amount of braking power by using the precise ACS II dial.


Overall the XMetal was a capable caster, one that was both well refined and fluid in feel. The casting distance was slightly better then the previous generation PT reels, while accuracy remained the same. The additional casting distance is attributed to the combination of the molecular bonding "Hot Sauce," and the new hybrid eight bearing system, but most importantly by the reduction of friction afforded by the ultralight titanium bonded MaxCast spool which is supported on a super free pinion. By bonding titanium onto the skeletal spool Quantum has effectively increased durability and reduced friction buildup on all edges of the spool.


The low profile design is ergonomically fit and palms nicely, perfect for tossing plastics and for tugging reaction baits


Retrieve: The new Energy baitcast reel is smooth when it comes to retrieves, surprisingly even smoother than the previous E600PT that I continue to fish with on a daily basis. All this is made possible by the addition of bearings, now adding up to a total of 8 Polymer-stainless bearings, and with tighter tolerances in design there is less room for vibration. The result is a reel that feels accurate and polished generating solid power and generous line pickup with each turn of the crank.


When we hooked up on larger fish, the E860PTxm felt really nice in our hands and absolutely solid!!! The new X-Metal side covers are much better, and with the one piece CNC machined aluminum frame, the reel never flexes or feels sloppy under pressure. One thing that was noticeable was a tiny amount of play in the handle, but the anti-reverse is flawless, exhibiting an instant halt without any backwards movement of the spool. The ceramic drag system employed in the previous versions is still considered advanced and required no tweaking when carried over to the XMetal.


Dismantling and displaying the components of the E860PTxm, notice the huge brass gearing


Durability: After moving the manufacturing of the Energy PT series baitcasters to Japan, the entire line of reels are now much more refined.  It also seems like the change brought better processes that help produce a overall higher quality reel. New bearing design has led to a reel that not only is more reliable but feels a whole lot more accurate. This is most noticeable when we were ripping baits in shallow water for stripers. The constant jerking of these oversized rippers can do a real number on inferior reels, sometimes causing them to vibrate or become louder as reduction of lubrication effectiveness leads to gear stress, and louder overall operation. We were glad to see this simply wasn't the case after days of field testing with the XMetal. Better gearing, enhanced bearings, and hot sauce all add up to form an effective barrier against gear damage as a result of reel stress.

Aside from that, the X-Metal side covers also do a great job at absorbing aggression from the angler, the fish, and the environment. The layers of coating are much smoother and well-bonded, providing great protection to the reel. After many days of field testing with the E860PTxm, the results are indeed favorable and the reel showed no signs of debility.


Left-Handed Model: Many anglers were wondering why there isn't an Energy PT reel in a left-handed model. Well, the time has come and soon we will be able to purchase a left-handed Energy PT-XMetal baitcast reel. The introduction of the new E861PTxm will make the Energy PT series even stronger than before, allowing anglers the choice to retrieve with their preferred hand.


Used many times for Striper fishing in brackish waters without any corrosion the XMetal proved to be a strong performer capable of taking on Largemouth and Stripers


Warranty: Quantum's products are warranted for 1 year from the date of purchase against defects in workmanship or materials.


Another great benefit to owning a Quantum product is that they provide their users with a "48 Hour Warranty Service" because their objective is to keep everyone fishing.  Two advantages to this service: 1) Quantum will either repair or replace your product in 48 hours and ship it back to you, 2) the warranty on the product being sent back to you will again have a 1 year warranty period from the date sent. Thus your reel will carry a full warranty just like it's new.


Quantum Energy PT-XMetal (E860PTxm) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality An already rigid aluminum frame is now matched with a new tougher side cover provides one solid reel.  The new process to apply the finish is now finer and well-bonded 9
Performance With tighter tolerances and additions, the E860PTxm showed high performance in all categories and only showed slight play in the handle and not in the anti-reverse system 9
Price Added features for added performance, the price will only increase unless some other parts are sacrificed, which none were 8
Features The reel comes with performance tuned features that are useful and enhances our cast, retrieve, and much more 9
Design (Ergonomics) Low profile design allows an easy and comfortable grip while palming, the handle knobs are ergonomically fit.  The added features did increase the weight by an un-noticeable 0.4oz 8.5
Application Fishable in freshwater for all types of fish, and now we can even use it for light saltwater use 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Attractive L Enhancements added 0.4oz
J Performance Tuned L Slight play in handle, but not in the anti-reverse system
J Quality construction  
J Solid side covers  
J Smooth  

Conclusion: The 2004 Quantum Energy PT-XMetal is a quality baitcast reel that is attractive but still very functional in design. Its titanium-bonded star drag and spool give this new Energy PT reel a real glow, while the added bearings and durability enhancements deliver a one two punch in terms of performance. Built in Japan with better processing, tighter tolerances, and eminent quality control, these reels cast a mile, deliver fluid retrieves, and proffer a flex-free solid aluminum frame and X-Metal side covers for a solid hookset every time. The Energy PT-XMetal series ups the ante by being actually going through Quantum Performance Tuning... twice!  With stunning good looks that would make Molly Simms blush, the XMetal showed us that it does indeed have the personality to match, making this all round reel yet another "PT" triumph in design and execution.









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