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Reel Review

Shimano Stradic MgF, a fat free, magnesium hybrid contender

Date: 04/22/03
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Vador

Total Score: 7.91

Introduction: As promised...here is the long anticipated review of Shimano's latest spinning reel release! The Stradic MgF! That's "Mg" for "Magnesium" for all you chemistry geeks out there. One thing that's great about Shimano, is that they have a well rounded selection of reels of all types and all levels to choose from. The Stradic MgF fits in two notches below the famed Stella (8.2oz @ $489) and one step under the Sustain (10.7oz @ $229). While we know this new magnesium reel is light we take a look at the MgF's capabilities across the board.

Shimano Stradic 2500MgF Specifications

Weight 8.2oz. (230g)
Gear Ratio 5.2:1
Bearings 5 Ball Bearings + 1 Roller Bearing
Line Capacity (lb/yds) 6-150 / 8-110 / 10-95
Additional Features Fluidrive® II Gearing System, Dyna Balance®, Super Stopper II, Floating Shaft™, Magnesium Rotor, Spare Hybrid Spool with titanium coated lip, Titanium Power Roller® line twist reduction
MSRP $159.99

Impressions: The new Stradic MgF is very handsome! It appears a little bulky in the profile view and would lead you to believe that it's heavier than it actually is. Don't be fooled though! It's the weight savings that are the premier attractant here over the make-over. This beauty is just 8.2oz (230g), compare that to the Daiwa TD-Z 2000 which costs 499 dollars and weighs 8,6oz! The paint job is high quality, silver with pearl, and is both very glossy and scratch resistant. The polished metallic spool is decorated with some gold highlights as well. The spool boasts a shiny gold titanium coated lip which is slick in feel and helps reduce friction at the cast. But one simply marvels at the overall weight of the reel which is noticeably less then competing reels of the same size.


Introducing the lightweight StradicMgF


I opted to test the Stradic 2500MgF rather than the 1000MgF simply because the only difference between the two is the line capacity which is only relative to the spool. The size and weight are identical excluding line weight at max capacity. By selling one frame with 2 different spools Shimano is able to target both bass and trout fisherman with essentially the same product, similar with what Daiwa opted to do on their smaller Capricorn reels. 


The breakaway handle is handy but does generate some play in this reel


Interestingly the StradicMg is built much along the lines of the older Shimano reels rather then the new S-Concept reels, and does not boast many of the new advancements of the new Stradic FH reels.


Shimano offers the Stradic MgF in the following models:

1000MgF = 8.2oz. (230g) 4/155, 6/105, 8/75

2500MgF = 8.2oz. (230g) 6/150, 8/110, 10/95



Complete Testing Rig for Shimano Stradic Mg Field Tests

Rod 2002 G'Loomis Escape (3pcs) 7', 4-8 lb., 1/16 - 5/16 oz., Fast Action
Reel Shimano Stradic 2500MgF
Line 6 lb. Maxima Perfexion

Salt Water?:
 The first thought in my mind was, "Mg + NaCl +H
2O = Corrosion."  Here in the bay area, we have some good lakes that are quite brackish, and at first I didn't want to take any chances. When I questioned Shimano USA about this, they told me that they were not sure what would happen to the Stradic's magnesium parts when fished in salt water, but they did tell me about a new feature on the guards. Those black covers on the bail assembly and on the rear are coated with an anti-corrosive clear coat. The clear coat does a good job blocking salt penetration but the coating was prone to scratching and to our dismay when in contact with rough surfaces began to peel off. 


A new bail and coated lip set the MgF apart from the old Stradic


Back to the question at hand...is it ok to fish this reel in salt water?  It looks like Shimano utilized a common manufactured magnesium, 'AZ91D', which includes about 5% to 10% aluminum with some zinc and manganese added in. This type of magnesium is made to be somewhat resistant to corrosion already. But the truth is this entire reel is not magnesium, only portions were implemented with Mg. The only part actually utilizing magnesium on the Stradic is the rotor. The rotor is coated with a thick clear coat which should keep any salt water "splashes" from damaging it.           


The key to the reduced weight is the magnesium rotor


While we understand this reel isn't recommended for saltwater we still tested it in brackish water, and in our 250 gallon test tank, and after 6 hours of splash simulation the reel still looked good as new. No pitting from the salt was evident anywhere on, or in the rotor housing. Good job to Shimano on making a magnesium reel that can actually take a beating.


Punishing the StradicMgF with 6 hours of splash testing with salt impregnated water on the tank, amazingly the reel did just fine

The beautiful low profile bail is smooth and makes preparing to cast as simple as it should be. I found that because of its compact size, the bail is especially easy to reach for. After just a few casts, it becomes a no-brainer. My favorite part about the bail besides it's looks, is a noticeable improvement on the smoothness of the bail locking system, which rarely locks up in that peculiar spot when the handle and the bail gear come into sync.


The hybrid spool makes use of plastic for lighter weight


The line flows off the wide diameter spool smoothly thanks to the titanium coated lip. The MgF is not as good at spooling line as the new S-concept reels from Shimano, and doesn't utilize super slow oscillation for line lay, but still manages to make line flow evenly and quickly off the spool on each cast. Line twist was not a problem at all under testing with the 6lb test Maxima.


The StradicMgF sports a nice streamline body and few plastic components


Retrieving: A total of 6 bearings means your getting a pretty smooth ride here. The Stradic MgF's lightness combined with the smoothness of the reel make this a unique feeling reel. I guess the best way to explain it is, it's "unexpected". You pick it up and say, "wow it's light for it's size!" and then you think, "and really smooth too!"  Under fast retrieve, there is no wobble in the spool. The line spools on the reel smoothly and evenly even without Shimano's slow oscillation technology.  But, here I should also note a unique feature of this Shimano hybrid spool. The spool has a little notch in it; a space reserved for your knot.  This way the line is rolled on perfectly without a lump even when you get down to the last few yards of line (God forbid).  My only gripe in this category, is the slight, but noticeable play felt in the handle, but this is a common fault of many breakaway handles, that don't offer the same rigidity of machined aluminum.


The Stradic MgF has the near exact same drag knob as the old Sustain
(here we switched them out)


Drag:  The drag is well..."a drag". This is probably the biggest disappointment on this reel for me, and the major area that can be most improved with Shimano's new S-Concept drag system. The drag performance is extremely important. My test is, if you had unexpectedly hooked the fish of your life attached to your 4lb test line, you should be able to get it in with proper use of your drag. The drag on the Stradic MgF is the same type of drag that you would find on older Shimano models. Like many simple designed drags, it's accurate in the tight stages of the first half turn, but after that you're left with much less even pressure that in the heat of the fight, you find yourself giving the fish all or nothing. The fact is, this reel is $160, and I expected a drag that performs like $160, and utilizes the latest Shimano technology available.



Shimano Stradic 2500 MgF Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The unique blend of metals make this reel special because it's light in weight.  I think that there is too much play in the handle. The clear coat on the bail assembly covers are starting to flake off.  7.5
Performance Performance is excellent with the exception of the drag. Great casting, fast and smooth retrieve! But not as smooth as the new standard Stradics that cost 20-30 dollars less. 7.5
Price Hard to find a reel this size as light in weight for the price. In this price range however, there are several choices. But if magnesium is your cup of tea this is a good choice 8.5
Features Lots of the standard Shimano features + the Mg rotor and Hybrid spool.  Nice addition adding the collapsible handle. Wish the reel utilized some of the new s-concept features 8
Design (Ergonomics) Balance is exceptional. Smoothness is exceptional.  Looks are great. Once again...would be perfect if it had more s-concept features and a reinforced magnesium body for further weight reduction. 8
Application A good all round and light weight spinning reel that will keep you casting all day....actually resists saltwater quite well...though we still don't recommend it for everyday saltwater tackle 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Light weight Magnesium rotor L Does not feel as "solid" as it should considering the price level
J Beautiful looks, fantastic paint finish L Clear coat on the bail assembly covers is starting to flake off
J Very smooth retrieve L The drag performance is not up to par for a reel at this price level
J Collapsible handle for easier storage  
J Beautiful low profile bail with flawless performance  

Conclusion:  If you're searching for that perfect match for your new light weight setup, the Shimano MgF is a good choice. The style and quality paint on the reel are top notch. Casting is flawless. Here's the rundown... Light weight magnesium: good. Performance: good. Price: just ok. Features: needs refinement. I honestly had no problem forking out $160 bones for it at first, but after plenty of testing, it's just not $160 caliber. I think it's a good deal when you can find it for about $110 to $120. The fact is, there are better choices out then you are willing to spend $160. I think the Stradic MgF would be worth it's cost if the new S-Concept features were implemented. If light weight is your primary concern then this magnesium hybrid is worth your consideration, but if you can deal with just a ounce or two more then the new standard Stradic FH (with S-Concept) is the better choice as it is more refined, has all the latest technology, and can be fished in all conditions.


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