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Rod Review

 

Completing the M1 Trilogy: Phenix's M1 MX-S72L Finesse Spinning Rod (continued)

 

Design & Ergonomics: Having recently stripped down a couple of factory fishing rods down practically to the bare blank and rebuilt them, I have a new found appreciation for the craft of building a fishing rod. Spinning rods possess a particular challenge because the reel seats are often much wider in their inside diameter than that of the super light and thin diameter blanks you're attempting to install them upon. Split reel seats are even more of a challenge because of all the different parts that need to be aligned and the decisions that need to be made (and executed) finishing the transitions between component and rod blank.


Like a good number of spinning rods these days, the reel seat locking mechanism for the MX-S72L is located at the bottom of the reel seat

Lab Results for Phenix Rods M1 MX-S72L

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Phenix Rods M1 MX-S72L
3.09
Fast
3.9
8.5
0.20
G.Loomis NRX 822S NRX
2.98
X-Fast
3.6
9.5
0.19
What the Finesse Avg
2.94
--
3.9
7.3
0.15


Upon close inspection, detailing is very intricate


At every transition between materials, Phenix installs a metal accent piece

Where the casting rods in Phenix's M1 series are wonderfully adorned, the details in their spinning rod are really remarkable. In the reel seat, at just about every transition between materials or components, Phenix makes use of a decorative winding check. This creates a super clean and precise transition actually calling your attention to that spot and how much thought went into the assembly as opposed to if the materials were simply butted up against one another without the accent. This is the type of attention to detail that made me so fond of JDM sticks.


These touches are reminiscent of JDM brands


The hook keeper is located in the traditional location above the handle assembly

Overall, the MX-S72L, is light, a tad tip heavy, but a super clean build with a tasteful color scheme free from overblown graphics or garish design elements. Phenix even put the hook keeper on this stick in the right place as opposed to that of the MX72MH. If there's anything I don't like about this rod's design, it's the trim band of recycled cork on either side of the two cork pieces on the grip, but that's nit-picking.


The rod's finish is mostly purple...


... but that color changes depending on the light

Another small detail to discuss and that's common with all of the M1 sticks is how Phenix finishes off the butt end. Because the blank tapers out to form the rear portion of the handle, it must have been a big challenge deciding how to cap off the end. Phenix is handles it nicely with a decorative badge, but that badge is held within a hard plastic frame that has a slick surface. If you're like me and line up your rods by leaning them up against a work counter or your boat in your garage while deciding on combos, rigging up, or at any point in time, that hard plastic frame at the butt end of the rod has the tendency to slide along smooth surfaces. This means your M1 stick can slide off whatever you're leaning against and come crashing down onto the hard floor. Just something of which to be aware and careful.


The frame around that decorative badge at the butt end of the stick is smooth and slippery so take caution when leaning the rod against something and resting that butt end on smooth surfaces like your garage floor


If I have to nit-pick one detail item, I'm not fond of the recycled edge detailing

Price & Applications: The M1 MXS72SL comes with a price tag of $170. A price I would consider pretty competitive all around but if you take into consideration the rod's components, then I'd say it's a little better than average. Usually, in a stick right around the $200 price range, I'd expect to find guides with Zirconium or Alconite inserts. SiC inserts will usually step you up to a $300 rod in today's market. Naturally there are exceptions, and Phenix's M1 series is one of them. It helps that the company is using proprietary guides and not product from bigger, name brand rod component manufacturers. Name brand components will always drive the price up.


Phenix's M1 MX-S72L retails for $170

Ratings:

Phenix Rods M1 MX-S72L Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Detail work is really evident in the spinning model 9
Performance A nice, sensitive stick with good crispness in the blank for the price point 8.5
Price A good value given the refinements Phenix has made in the series 8
Features Good grade of components, new blank, there's a lot to like here 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) A really smart looking spinning rod and the hook keeper is even where I prefer it to be 8
Application An excellent choice in a spinning rod for finesse presentations 8

Total Score

8.17
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
+ Good sensitivity - Use caution when resting the butt cap along smooth surfaces
+ Relatively light  
+ Super clean build  

 

Conclusion: It's a little difficult for me to wrap my head around where the M1 was originally, to where Phenix has brought this series with their latest round of improvements. It's more than the difference between night and day. It's the difference between a freezing, stormy night with frozen rain on the Bering Sea to a warm, tropical sunset on the shores of Bora Bora, Tahiti. Ok, I'm obviously exaggerating since I've never even been to the Bering Sea, but I have seen the sunset on Bora Bora a few times and the iridescent purple finish of the MX-S72L does justice to the sometimes purple sunset of that tropical destination. Unfortunately, there are no bass lakes in Bora Bora.

 


If you're looking for a spinning rod with a little different style, Phenix's M1 MX-S72L is a stick that should be high on your list of finalists

 

Phenix has a real winner with this refreshed M1 series of rods and the MX-S72L completes our review trilogy for this series. Of course, the likelihood of a spin-off or two is not out of the question but we'll let the rumor mill handle those stories. For now, if you're looking for a spinning rod with a little different but not overblown style, a good list of components, that handles well and has good sensitivity, Phenix's M1 MX-S72L is a stick that should be high on your list of finalists, and a no-brainer if you looking to complete a trio of application specific rods from the M1 lineup.

 

Looking for a Phenix Rods M1 MX-S72L?

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