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Enthusiast Reel Review

 

Does the Founder of Megabass Japan Still Have What it Takes? : The Ito Monoblock 100XR/100XR-L (continued)

Drag: The Monoblock tested out at the specified nine pounds of maximum drag pressure in our lab and proved smooth throughout its adjustable range both in the lab and out on the water though we never really hooked into anything that severely tested the reel despite several attempts to accomplish that task with a feisty striper.


Hex-wrench screws are used throughout the reel's construction to enhance that industrial feel.

The five-legged drag star is easy to adjust on the fly though it does not include a micro-click mechanism for positive reinforcement of minute adjustments. The same can be said for the spool tension knob.

 
This 100 sized reel is very comfortable to palm.

Ergonomics: The 100-sized Millionaire CVZ reels from Daiwa are among the most comfortable round reels to palm. The Monoblock, based off this platform is no exception to this rule even with its slightly harder edges. As previously mentioned, the handle is a bit short, and the knobs are too thin, but the knurled thumbar is a big plus both in appearance and utility.


Note the ridge in the center of the externally adjustable sideplate making it all the more simple to grab hold and turn the sideplate to the desired MagForce setting.

On previous Millionaire CVZ reels with an adjustable sideplate for the MagForce brake settings, the user had to push the sideplate in with the base of his/her hand. The Monoblock features a cleverly disguised lever right in the middle of the sideplate that you can grasp and use to turn the dial one way or the other in order to set your MagForce brakes. A very simple and obvious implementation carried out just about perfectly.

 
Another look at this functional, and well executed design of the sideplate.

Design: If you're a fan of the machined, industrial look a la Evergreen International's Opus 1, then you will certainly enjoy the look and feel of the Ito Monoblock. The two reels could be siblings. Do we mean to suggest Yuki Ito borrowed inspiration from Evergreen International? No. But it is clear this look must have been and maybe still is, in vogue over in Japan during the time both reels were developed and really seems to be the natural extension of all reels Ito after the 2005 Alphas Ito Ai.


The knurled thumbar is one of Cal's favorite features.

Application: We read somewhere along the line, that the Ito Monoblock was designed as a topwater reel. Perhaps that explains the short handle. Other than that, I'm not really sure what makes this reel suitable for that specific application. I find it to be very similar to the I'ZE Light in terms of function and as rugged and durable as any other Millionaire CVZ I own - which is a lot.

 
Megabass on Megabass

During our extended journey with this reel, I fished everything from the afore mentioned big baits, to cranks, spinners, jerkbaits, jigs and plastics and found it perfectly suitable for all of the above - save for my difficulties with the knobs of course.


The short handle and narrow knobs takes some getting used to...

 

Does this mean the reel is a candidate for some aftermarket enhancements in the handle department? No. In fact, I've come to enjoy the quirky nature of this handle and cannot imagine the reel with another handle or set of knobs given how well the entire ensemble of components compliment one another.

 
...and while awkward at first, they do work, and you do get used to them

Availability: If you've got the desire and the funds, the Ito Monoblock is readily available in both left and right hand retrieve. Judging by all accounts, this will continue to be the case for quite some time because the price on this reel is rather tough to swallow. 

 

Ratings:

Ito Monoblock 100XR/100XR-L Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality I was wowed right out of the box and could find nothing out of place 10
Performance Big baits, small baits, conventional baits, it can handle them all 9
Price ouch L 2
Features Throw in corrosion resistant SiC bearings and it'd be a 10 9
Design (Ergonomics) The handle is high on appearances, but low in functionality 7
Application More than just a topwater reel 8

Total Score

7.5
Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

  
Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Beautifully designed and executed reel L Very High Cost to Acquire
J Very versatile reel L Short Handle
J Excellent enhancement of externally adjustable sideplate L Not a 200 or 250 size for big baits! ;)
J Machined from bar stock to create a solid "mono-block" of a frame  

 


Paired with the Megabass White Python, the Ito Monoblock can hold its own with any duty of which you ask it.

 

Conclusion: While the buzz over all things "Ito" may not be what it once was here in the Enthusiast landscape, the Ito Monoblock reel demonstrates that Yuki Ito still has the creative juices, and more importantly, pull within the manufacturing side to design and build yet another masterpiece. Full of the latest and greatest internals, and machined to perfection, the only thing I find myself wishing at this point, was that this reel were available in a larger size so that I could use it to toss big baits a little more exclusively. Then again, given the reel's price tag, maybe this is a good thing! Regardless, even in its present state and size, the Ito Monoblock 100XR/100XR-L more than qualifies to take yet another Ultimate Enthusiast Award home for both Daiwa and Megabass!

 

TackleTour would like to thank JapanTackle for making this review possible.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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