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Reel Review


Abu Garcia Elevates the Revo SX with Their Gen5 Refresh (continued)

Power: Now, the 9:1 gear ratio SX is certainly not intended for applications requiring a lot of power and torque, but that's where the other options come into play. If you're looking for an SX with more power for deep running cranks, the 6.7:1 would be my choice. For these tests, I fished the 7.3:1 and found it more than competent power wise through a variety of applications. It helps that Abu Garcia offers the angler a little more leverage than usual via their incorporation of that oversized gear. It also helps that the gear is brass and the reel's handle is 90mm long.

Zander finding success with the Revo5 SX

What I enjoy about that 90mm handle more than it's length, however, are these new, oversized, rubberized knobs Abu Garcia has developed. Their knob game has been a sore point with me over the years. I was not a big fan of the former EVA knobs and I'm sure I wrote about it on each occasion. While they were sufficient to get the job done, I just found them a hair large or to be more precise, thick. These new knobs have a larger overall shape, but are thin when you grasp them and offer a better feel when cranking that handle to turn that big brass gear.

Abu Garcia's now iconic PowerStack Carbon Drag system

Drag: Inside that big brass gear, Abu Garcia nestles their iconic PowerStack Carbon Drag system featuring a single metal washer sandwiched between two carbon washers that are keyed resembling gears you'd find in your MineCraft tool chest. The drag assembly is held steady by a plastic retainer installed within the gear to keep those carbon washers from slipping. The end result is a smooth, yet robust drag that delivers a maximum rated twenty five pounds (25lbs) of pressure. Abu Garcia has been using this drag stack since the last generation of Revo (Revo4), and it has been up to standard since this introduction.

You don't need a buttoned down drag for feisty little guys like this, but smooth operation is paramount if your leader is light!

As noted in previous reviews, I rarely, if ever, fished with my drag buttoned down and evaluate drag performance based upon how smooth they are and free from studdering. Drags, in general, have also homogenized over the years, especially if their composition features carbon matrix and metal washers. As expected, the Revo5 SX's drag delivered trouble free performance.

Zander making short work of them fishing a chatterbait on the SX

Design & Ergonomics: The one area I'm sure most will have difficulty coming to grips is the overall shape and appearance of Abu Garcia's refreshed Revo lineup. Asymmetry can be difficult to appreciate. It's a trigger for those with OCD tendencies and even if you don't have those tendencies, if asymmetry bugs you, I have news - that's OCD. At the same time, the common complaint with low profile casting reels is they all look the same or that the design was stolen from this manufacturer or that. Well, the Revo5 does not look like anyone else's design. I certainly have OCD tendencies and actually found the asymmetry of the new Revo off putting.

Asymmetry can be difficult to appreciate

However, all that changed once I mounted the Revo5 SX on my Trika C73M and nestled the combo in the palm of my hand. As that sideplate rested against my palm, my thumb instinctively came to rest over the SX's odd shaped top bar, and it was almost as if I could hear a choir singing, "ahhhhhhh." That top bar is very subtly, slightly concave to welcome your thumb in a smooth, comfortable nest. The new shape and profile of the Revo5 is exceptionally comfortable in hand. However, those who find the large gear box of the former generations intrusive will likely continue to do so with this one. It's not an issue I've had with these reels, so I can't speak to it, but the size and shape of the Revo5 on the handle side appears the same to me. It is simply inherent with Abu's oversized gear design.

I could hear a choir singing, "ahhhhhhh"...

... the moment my thumb came to rest on that top bar for the first time.

Price & Applications: Priced from $169.95 to $189.95 (depending on retrieve ratio), Abu Garcia's Revo SX platform sees a modest nine and a half percent (9.5%) price increase for the basic 6.7:1 ad 7.3:1 models. Not bad for a price point that has remained consistent since Revo's third generation ($159.99). Thing is, what most may not realize is the second generation Revo2 SX was a $170 reel.

The Revo5 SX is priced from $169.9 - $189.99 depending on your choice in retrieve ratio

Abu Garcia actually lowered the price of their reels at their third generation refresh and held that price point for about a decade. Costs were bound to catch up, and even though they have, the platform has simply returned to a previous price point - save for the 9.1 RKT variant that is $20 more than the other models.


Abu Garcia Revo5 SX Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Superb fit and finish 9
Performance Abu Garcia has really stepped it up with the SX platform. Performance is top notch 9
Price Just shy of $200 with features (namely the brake system) formerly only found in Abu's higher end models 8
Features It's almost as if Abu Garcia made a list of my grievances from past models and addressed them in the refresh 8
Design (Ergonomics) The Revo5 SX is an exceedingly comfortable reel to fish 9
Application Three retrieve ratios, including a super fast 9:1 option means there's an SX suitable for almost any application you could want - almost 8

Total Score

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:


+ IVCB brake system is much more free and easy previously equipped brakes in this platform - Similar to spiral wrapped fishing rods, that asymmetrical look might be difficult for some to overcome
+ PVC knobs are odd in appearance but super comfortable to grasp  
+ Three very useful retrieve options in both left and right hand retrieve  
+ Something about that stealth gray finish...  


Conclusion: As mentioned in the intro, I've been fishing the Revo platform for almost fifteen years now. We've had our ups and downs, most of which I'm sure have been documented in these reviews. If I can be a bit self centered here, with this new Revo5 SX, it's almost as if Abu Garcia made a list of my grievances over the years and addressed them in this generation. One of my pet peeves was their dual brake system. I found it overkill and unnecessary and gravitated towards their reels with the more free and easy IVCB brakes - done. Then it was those EVA knobs. While they were the right size proportionately, they were just too thick and not very comfortable to grasp - especially when switching around to different manufacturer's product - addressed.


It's certainly not about me, but with this new Revo5 SX, it's almost as if Abu Garcia made a list of my grievances over the years and addressed them in this generation


Of course, it's not all about me, because I didn't mind the former shape and size of the Revo platform through the years, so I had nothing to do with this new asymmetrical design - thank goodness. Thing is, while some may find the look off-putting, if you palm your reels while fishing, that little nest the top bar provides for your thumb is exceedingly comfortable. It's one of those features that you never knew you needed until you experience it.


This new, elevated Revo5 SX is an incredible value all around


Bottom line? I thought Abu Garcia's Zenon MG-X was impressive, and it is, but not everyone can afford or frankly, finds the need to spend $450 on a fishing reel. The new Revo5 SX inspires much of the same enthusiasm in me as the Zenon MG-X, but is less than half the price. Frankly, I cannot get over the fact Abu Gracia equipped this reel with IVCB-6 brakes! Given the choice, this editor would likely still gravitate towards the Zenon MG-X in a fish or stay home scenario, so that level of recognition is off the table for the SX. However, for the upgrade in features and ergonomics coupled with the minimal price increase, I certainly find the Revo5 SX an incredible value at its price point.


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