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Reel Review

Sustain-able performance over the long haul? (continued)

You’re not going to need much power in a 1000 size reel, but here again the Stradic and Sustain felt eerily similar while the Stella further distanced itself in terms of performance. Edge: No match…the Stella’s frictionless retrieve wins hands down.



This is the grease from the factory


Ergonomics: The new Sustain has just a little less character than the previous model, mostly because it looks so similar to other reel’s in the Shimano lineup. Gone are the unique flat coverplate on the other side of the handle, and the wooden knob. While the reel may not exhibit the same exclusive character of its predecessor it makes up for it with improved ergonomics.


We inspected and cleaned the gearing


The Sustain trades in the round wooden knob for ergonomic Septon grips that go from a barrel knob to a power paddle depending on reel size. I’m very happy to report that the company did stick with the forged aluminum handle, which is one of the major differentiators from the Stradic. The reel features S-Concept design, and is also one of the reasons why it is so similar to the Stradic in profile. The Stella FB on the other hand is the only reel in the Shimano lineup to feature SR-Concept, which features computer aided design, SR guard fins, and a new one piece bail.


The Sustain makes use of both aluminum and graphite in the frame


Those familiar with the Stella series will notice that the series has really been split into two sub-series now. The FB reels emphasize refinement and lightweight, while the FA series focus on power and durability. No surprise then that the Stella FB only goes up to 4000 size, while the FA starts at 5000 and goes all the way up to 20000 size! The Sustain like the Stradic is available in 1000 to 8000 sizes.


The rotor on the Sustain is graphite, though you would never know it with the quality finish


All in all the Sustain reel features an overall smaller profile than it’s previous design, due to an aluminum frame coupled with a graphite sideplate and rotor. Over the last two seasons that the new reel has been in existence it has remained unchanged ergonomically, but has benefited from a slight bump in drag pressure thanks to improved drag washers.


The rotor spins smoothly and is well balanced


In overall ergonomics all three of our test reels were all very good. We didn’t have any complaints about the layout of any of them, and the Stella really had an unfair advantage due to the magnesium construction which made it the featherweight of the bunch. Weighing in at only 6.2oz the Stella is 1.6oz lighter than the Sustain 1000 and 1.7oz lighter than the comparable Stradic. But wait…this is in the 1000 size, what if we step up to the 2500 size?


Testing the retrieve


Next Section: Who wins ergonomics?









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