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Reel Review

Is the Revo MGX the New Lightweight King? (continued)

Through several days of casting big baits for Peacock Bass, I really put this reel through far more than it would ever expect to endure while being used to present baits for black bass - even if you tried to employ this reel as a dedicated swimbait reel for not only are the baits I was using (wood choppers, half ounce jigs, and two-piece swimbaits) big and heavy, the pace at which you work these reels really puts unusual and extreme strain on your equipment.

Working peacock lures puts incredible strain on the frames of your reels. In the case of the MGX, the locking screw for the non-handle sideplate worked loose after several days of use.

The Abu MGX held up through several days of this abuse but about two thirds of the way through the trip, on a long cast of a big, heavy wood chopper, the reel's non-handle sideplate worked loose during a cast. As this happened, the spool's flying brake arms extended out to follow the sideplate and two of the brakes were sheared off as I stopped the sideplate from falling off with my hand.

We didn't catch it in time and only noticed when the sideplate came off during a cast!

The Abu MGX features a screw on the handle-side of the reel that extends from one end of the reel to the other. The purpose of this screw is to lock the non-handle sideplate in place. But due to the torque placed upon the reel from the extreme casting and violent retrieve of the peacock bass lures, this locking screw somehow worked loose the end result of which is what I described above.

The result? Our IVCB brakes were sheared off from the loose sideplate.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. The MGX had easily grown to be one of my favorite reels of the trip. It was light, cast those big baits wonderfully, fit in my palm just right when mounted on the Kistler ZBone, and had the perfect line pick up to work that big chopper on the surface all day long. It was almost effortless.

A little locktite should alleviate this issue, but really, fished in its intended application - as a finesse baitcaster - this issue should not materialize.

After the accident, I immediately retired the reel, thinking it was done for the trip because the brakes and therefore the spool were compromised. Thing is, after about a day and a half, I couldn't take it anymore - I was missing my MGX - so at my next opportunity, I took it back out on the boat as a spare, and when push came to shove, I tried it again, broken brake arms and all.

A nice paca courtesy of the MGX and Kistler Zbone LE.

Funny thing is? It cast just fine! Even with only two functioning brake arms, I was able to fish the MGX the remainder of the trip and as long as I was conscious of checking the sideplate's locking screw from time to time, I did not have another accident similar to the first. The screw did work its way loose again several times, but I managed to catch it in time to retighten and avoid another accident. If I had some Locktite and a flathead screwdriver with me on the trip, one, or both of these items would have easily resolved the issue.


Abu Garcia Revo MGX SHS L Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A well made reel 8.5
Performance Wonderful caster 9
Price In line with other Mg based reels 7
Features IVCB brakes perform well. Sideplate locking mechanism could use a second look 8
Design (Ergonomics) Very comfortable reel to palm and it has all the clickies 8.5
Application A good general purpose reel - not just finesse 9

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 the real deal, this reel can cast - No lefty for USDM - yet
+ Lighter than a Steez and Pixy!? - Due to the sideplate failure this reel didn't quite hold up to the abuse of the Amazon, but it was close... however, we did not deduct points for this because we were using it outside of its intended application as a finesse reel.
+ Very comfortable to palm  


Conclusion: Through all the ups and downs with this reel and the months of testing, the question most will want to know ,"is it a Steez or Pixy killer?" If I'm not mistaken, I believe the MGX represents Abu's most expensive Revo. So I guess in that sense, it is fair to compare this reel to the Daiwa Steez. Certainly the MGX is less expensive than the Steez and the braking system is probably easier for those unfamiliar with baitcasters to learn, but the MGX is no where near as refined as a Daiwa Steez.


A fatty Clear Lake Bass.


The casting tests at TT Headquarters demonstrate the MGX is not on par with Daiwa's Pixy reels either in terms of casting super light baits though this reel is certain "finesse" capable. Head to head comparisons were not conducted with the Aldebaran or any of Shimano's Core varieties.


The MGX is built as a finesse reel, but it managed to subdue this 13lb Peacock Bass alright and if it weren't for the sideplate issue, we'd have easily certified it for the Amazon.


So how should we classify this reel? How about calling it one of the better interpretations of the Revo we've fished to date? It is light, casts extremely well, has a good drag, and mechanically, it was able to hold its own in the abuse of the Amazon pulling big wood chopper lures through the water and winching in its fair share of mean spirited Peacock Bass! The Revo MGX may be built with finesse applications in mind, but we think it makes an even better general purpose casting reel.


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