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Reel Review

Does Daiwa's Exceler Excel or Repel?


Power: Our test reel was the middle of the pack 6.3:1 retrieve ratio model. This reel comes stock with a nice, long 90 millimeter handle that we assume is standard on all three versions of this reel. This handle gives you really good leverage over what are really status quo sized gears. There's nothing wrong with the power of this reel but at the same time, there's nothing extraordinary about it either. It is pretty much what I'd expect from any other reel with similar spec's.

The Exceler's 90 mm handle gives you a lot of leverage.

Casting Range: The comfortable lure weight range for the Exceler is anything from about three eighths of an ounce on up. This again falls in the range of average for a reel of this specification, however, with the right adjustment, what this reel does do very well is actually cast a bait. Some of the distances I was getting with standard lures like rip baits and soft bodied swimbaits surprised me.

Standard MagForce brake system here - we wouldn't expect more at this price point.

Brakes: The Exceler is similar to it's slightly older sibling the Lexa in that this reel has standard MagForce braking on it. There's no fancy rotor that moves into and way from the brakes dynamically as with MagForce Z and there's no secondary adjustment like with Daiwa's MagForce 3D system either. Instead, you adjust the external dial from one to ten, set your spool tension knob, and then let'er rip - simple, reliable, functional.

No bearings at the levelwind.

Features: Measured against our standard list of features, the Daiwa Exceler comes with an externally adjustable braking system; no bearings on the levelwind; we're assuming no bearings in the knobs but cannot confirm because the knobs are riveted onto the handle; only a clicking dragstar; no reel cover; and a vial of oil in the box with the reel. The reel doesn't get a lot of checks in this category, but we wouldn't really expect it too either considering its price point.


Features Ratings for Daiwa Exceler 100HLA

Ext Brake Adjust? (1-2)
Levelwind Bearing (1-2)
Knob Bearings (1-3)
Micro Clicks (1-3)
Reel Cover (1-2)
Oil (1-2)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

The Exceler palms just like the Lexa.

Design & Ergonomics: Our Exceler 100HLA tipped the scales at an even eight ounces. That's 0.2 ounces lighter than the Lexa 100HL we tested back in April 2013, but still pretty status quo for something in this price range. The length of the Exceler's handle is excellent, but as I've stated previously, I'm not a fan at all of the knobs. On the Lexa, you have the luxury of being able to replace the knobs. But not on the Exceler. If you want different knobs on this reel, you need to buy an entirely new handle.


Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Daiwa Exceler 100HLA

Handle Length (1-5)
Knobs (1-5)
Palming (1-5)
Overall Weight (1-5)
Ease of Breakdown (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)


Otherwise, the Exceler is a comfortable reel to palm and really feels no different than the Lexa. Breaking the reel down is also relatively simple as all the fastening screws are located on the same side of the sideplate. In fact, the internals of this reel appear almost identical to that of the Lexa.

In fact, they share they appear to share the same frame and sideplate.

Application: The Exceler slides into Daiwa's lineup and virtually replaces the Lexa as an even better choice for budget minded anglers. The biggest difference seems to be the size choices in the Lexa as compared to the Exceler and of course the very slight upgrade in serviceability of the Lexa as compared to the Exceler given the knobs on the Lexa's handle are easily removed. Otherwise, side by side in a performance comparison, the two reels feel almost identical.


Application Ratings for Daiwa Exceler 100HLA

Horizontal (1-5)
Vertical (1-5)
Finesse (1-5)
Big Baits (1-5)
Topwater (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)



Daiwa Exceler 100HLA Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality For its price point, this reel feels pretty solid 8.0
Performance The slightly wobbly handle is the only real knock on this product - no pun intended 6.8
Price For those looking for a solid product at a good price point, this is an excellent candidate 9
Features You can't expect much at this price point 6.43
Design (Ergonomics) Hard to distinguish this reel from the Lexa 7.2
Application Not great at any one thing, but good at many different things 6.0

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:


+ An excellent starter reel - 4.9:1 version is only available in right hand retrieve
+ The long handle is comfortable to fish - Still don't care for the tire tread texture on the knobs
+ Solid value at this price point  

Conclusion: Over the more than one dozen years we've been around, the perception of Tackle Tour has evolved from a site that never looks at exotic tackle to one whose sole purpose is to review the unobtainable. Truth of the matter is, we review it all. The trouble is there's just less to talk about and critique with the lower end tackle because expectations are just not very high which in turn makes the product in question more difficult to write about. The same can be said of Daiwa, a company known for uber high end tackle and one that seemed to ignore the other end of the spectrum.

Looking to give bass fishing a try and don't want to break the bank? The Exceler appears to be a sound investment.

Well, if you're not serious about fishing, $100 might be a lot to spend on a fishing reel, but the reality is, in today's market, $100 doesn't get you very much. Daiwa's Exceler, excuse the pun, excels at this price point. You can do a lot with this reel and it's built with a fit, finish, and feel, that belies the perception of "budget". With the previously introduced Lexa, the recently introduced Tatula, and now the Exceler, Daiwa is redefining their image and delivering product that performs at all price points.


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