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Rod Review

Putting Value Back in American Made - Kistler's KLX 7' Medium (continued)


Features: As one might expect from a rod at this price point, the KLXBBC70M is a pretty no-nonsense, minimal thrills product. It does feature the afore mentioned split rear grip made of cork, Fuji K-Series Alconite micro guides, a Fuji ECS reel seat, Kistler's standard, open ended hook keeper, all built on a solid quality blank rolled by North Fork Composites and assembled in Kistler's headquarters in Magnolia, Texas.


Still the most simple and reliable hook keeper I've used to date.


The KLXBBC70MM does not come with a rod sleeve, and I rate the grip, guides, reel seat, and effectiveness of the hook keeper all slightly above average. The cork in the rod's grip is not perfect, but the gaps and pits are very minimal and there's no filler material to mask these natural imperfections. I prefer the open ended design of Kistler's hook keeper because it makes it easier to secure Texas rigged baits and even drop shot weights than the standard closed loop variety of keepers.


Features Ratings for Kistler Custom Rods KLXBBC70M

Grip (1-5)
Guides (1-5)
Reel Seat (1-5)
Hook Keeper (1-5)
Rod Sleeve (1-5)


Design/Ergonomics: One thing we usually look for in a Kistler Custom Rods product - at least since their "Lighter than Air" campaign with the Helium rods is a rod that's light in weight. The KLXBBC70M is very light at just three point four ounces (3.4 oz), and with a balancing torque of just 0.15 ftlbs, it's very well balanced for a seven foot rod as well.


The butt end of this rod is capped with a foam knob.


In a rod this simple, I'd have preferred to see a full rear grip rather than the split rear. The split rear grip thing is just overplayed these days. Otherwise, there are no colors on this rod other than the unobtrusive logo, so overall, it is very effective as a simple, affordable, fishable tool.


Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Kistler Custom Rods KLXBBC70M

Grip (1-5)
Colors / Graphics (1-5)
Balance (1-5)
Weight (1-5)

Kistler customizes the locking mechanism on the reel seat with a foam hood that proves more comfortable to hold than Fuji's stock knob.

Application: The KLXBBC70M is a good stick for moving bait presentations and light duty plastics. It's difficult to expect much more out of this rod given how light in power it is, but if you're looking for a stick to throw smaller jerk baits and lipless cranks, this rod will handle those duties fine as well. Want to try your hand at drop shotting with a baitcasting rod? The KLXBBC70M is a good choice for this as well provided you have a reel that will cast the lighter drop shot style rigs. I found it ideal for smaller square bill cranks like Luhr Jensen's Speedtrap and Megabass's FX Knuckle 60.


Application Ratings for Kistler Custom Rods KLXBBC70M

Lift & Drop

Kistler Custom Rods is reshaping their offerings moving towards building everything in the US. We like the ZBone series and know the KLX promises to introduce another generation of anglers to the Kistler product.


Kistler Custom Rods KLXBBC70M Ratings Summary (?/10)

Construction/Quality No frills, simple, clean build 8.9
Performance Lighter than your average medium powered rod, but casts well and has good backbone 8.4
Price A Made in the USA stick from a Made in the USA blank with better than average components for under $200? wow 8.5
Features A solid, but basic feature set 6.8
Design & Ergonomics Light and well balanced will always score well with us 8.0
Application A good general purpose rod for light duty applications and/or a very good choice for moving baits like small squarebill cranks 7.2

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:


+ The story with this rod is its Made in the USA value - Only available factory direct
+ Simple Clean Build  
+ North Fork Composite Blank  
+ No cheap or questionable components  


Conclusion: In this current economic climate where companies are sourcing offshore labor to compete with falling market prices, it's somewhat refreshing to see a company like Kistler Custom rods buck this trend. After several years of sourcing their product overseas, Kistler is now doing what they can to move everything back. We saw this with the high end ZBone sticks, but the problem there was the ZBone is a high end rod priced beyond what most people can afford.


The KLXBBC70M easily wins our Best Value Award.


What Kistler has done with their new KLX series is create a stick right smack dab in the middle of the hottest price point for a fishing rod where consumers are looking for affordable quality. Up until now, that usually meant sacrificing where the rods were built or what components the rod is built from. Not anymore - the KLX is built from product by arguably the best OEM blank company in the world in North Fork Composites, and outfitted with the industry standard in rod components - those manufactured by Fuji. Lastly, each KLX is hand built right in Kistler's factory in Magnolia, Texas. The KLXBBC70M retails for $159.99 and is hands down a TackleTour Best Value Award winner.


Interested in a KLX rod? Visit Kistler Custom Rod's Website for more information on how to order.










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