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Reel Review


 

Abu Garcia Elevates the Revo SX with Their Gen5 Refresh

 

Date: 4/16/23
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Abu Garcia
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.50 - BEST VALUE AWARD

Introduction:
I began fishing Abu Garcia's Revo platform around 2009, during the platform's second generation, but it wasn't until the third generation of these reels that they really began to endear themselves to me. By the time the fourth was revealed, the enthusiast bug had taken hold. 2023 marks the debut of the platform's fifth incarnation. Abu Garcia has really enhanced the fit, finish, and fishability of these reels. Of course, with change comes questions, so let's take a closer look both in the lab and out on the water to see what this fifth generation platform is all about. Here's our look at Abu Garcia's 2023 Revo SX.

 

Abu Garcia Revo5 SX Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 12/130
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 15.2 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
6.7
7.3
9
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
13.5 - 28
14.5 - 31
18 - 38
Weight 7.5 oz
Spool Weight 20 g
Handle Length 90 mm
Bearings 9+1
Bearings per Knob 2 bearings
Levelwind Bearings 1 bearing
Rated Max Drag ~25lbs
Origin Made in Korea
MSRP $169.95 - $189.95


Introducing Abu Garcia's Gen 5 Revo (Revo5) SX

Impressions: I'll admit, when it comes to the Revo platform, my interest usually begins at STX. That preference is consistent with my choices in Shimano beginning with Chronarch, and Daiwa beginning with Zillion. It is the tier of casting reels that best suits my raison d'etre. But with rising costs and shrinking tackle budgets, compromises are inevitable. Thing is, with Abu Garcia's platform realignment, thanks to the introduction of Zenon, SX is really positioned where STX used to be - a step below the top end of the platform (STX is now the top, non specialty Revo).

 


When it comes to the Revo platform, my interest usually begins at STX

 

Seriously though, with internal debates over hierarchy out of the way, Abu Garcia's fifth generation Revo SX has a much different aura than SX of previous years. When I first unboxed it, the reel's matte gray finish reminded me of the recently introduced Zenon MG-X which served to instantly elevate the SX's status in my demented, enthusiast mind. Gone are the EVA foam knobs, replaced with oversized levers of a rubberized compound (PVC) - much more comfortable in shape, size, and texture. The swept handle is still aluminum, and not carbon, but expecting more at this price point would probably be unreasonable, right?


However, this generation Revo SX has a much different aura than SX of previous years

Of course, my real interest was which brake system was underneath the hood. Did Abu Garcia go full magnets to keep costs down? Did they carry over their dual braking system from previous generations? Perhaps they did the unimaginable and equipped the SX with full centrifugal? A quick investigation beneath the non handle sideplate revealed the answer to my question - IVCB 6 - in the SX! That alone completed SX's transformation in my mind from G-League prospect to the main show. The only remaining question is, will this be a two handed, 720, McClung-esque debut or a more subtle layup. Only one way to find out.


Matched with my Trika C73M

Real World Tests: When hunting for the right rod from my arsenal upon which to mount this new SX, I couldn't get over the Zenon MG-X like vibe I was getting. So I reluctantly unsheathed my Trika C73M and bestowed upon it, the responsibility of revealing what the new Revo5 SX was capable. I say reluctantly because, for testing purposes, I usually try to keep the matchmaking within the same price tier, but that Abu matte gray looks too fun on the Trika rods. As for fishing line, those responsibilities befell upon two candidates. I spooled the Revo5 SX with some 50lb Daiwa JBraid as its mainline and used a variety of leaders depending upon the application I had in mind but mostly settled on some 12lb Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon.


IVCB-6 brakes in SX!

Casting: What I enjoy about Abu Garcia's IVCB braking system is the free and easy manner with which it enables me to present my bait. Start up inertia is always very good so it doesn't take much effort to execute an effective cast. Where this brake system is a little more difficult to tame is when making quick, snap of the wrist type of casts, and casts into the wind. In these instances, a quick adjustment of the brakes or even the spool tension knob is in order, or if you're lazy like me, just use a bit more thumb control to help tame the spool.


The Revo5 SX is equipped with 9 bearings plus a roller bearing

A good indicator of how easy the spool on the Revo5 SX starts up is the fact I was able to cast a 2.5" Berkley MaxScent Power Bait tube with a quarter ounce head fairly competently. I'm pretty sure if I had thinner gauged line and an even lighter powered stick than the Trika C73M, my assessment of "fairly competent" would improve a great deal. One thing is for sure, compared to previous generations, the IVCB-6 braking system elevates the casting capabilities of the new SX, to another level.


The super low profile of the Revo5 SX

Retrieve: There was a time, maybe only a decade ago, maybe longer, when you could lineup several casting reels of varying price points, pick them up one at a time, spin the handle, and feel the difference in operation as you moved up the line in price point. Not so much today. If the reels are made with the similar frame and sideplate compositions, just about everything can be considered smooth. There are always exceptions with the degree of smoothness in the uber upper echelon of casting reels, but with reels between $99 to $300, those differences are not so apparent anymore.


Wait, what are these red highlights about?

This could be due to the fact the majority of manufacturers are using the same basic construction for their reels only changing the number of bearings, the brake systems, and handles as you move from one price point to the other. Abu Garcia is certainly guilty of this. I bring this up here because what seems to distinguish one manufacturer from the other, these days, in the "retrieve" category of our evaluation, is the available gear ratios. With reels designed for general purpose use, three options is the standard and usually something in the 6, 7, and now 8 range. It used to be 5, 6, and 7, but now 8 is the new 7 and so on.


It's the 9:1 retrieve ratio SX Rocket (RKT)!

Abu Garcia, always one to push the limits in retrieve ratio since the introduction of their Rocket platform, offers the SX in a 9:1 gear ratio. I discovered the new, SX Rocket upon researching the reel on TackleWarehouse and our Editor in Chief, always a fan of the faster retrieves, scooped one up right away. Distinguished from the rest of the SX pack with red highlights, I personally, think this is a low key big deal (if there is such a thing). Even the fastest STX is only an 8.1:1 reel. The SX RKT is $20 more than its siblings, but a good option if you want a more affordable, super fast retrieve Revo.


Inside the Revo5 SX is a nice, large main gear of brass

Next Section: Revo SX Gear Ratio and Drag... 

 

   

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