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WTF?!? : The Megabass Racing Condition 256 (continued)

What's more important to me, however, on a finesse spinning reel is how smooth that drag is during a sustained pull and the RC 256's felt drag washer delivers with a very smooth, stutter free performance both in the lab and out on the water. In fact, out on the water, I had the drag set to maybe two or three pounds of pressure, very light, and I experienced no difficulties whatsoever.

Never one to miss out on the opportunity to brand a reel, see the "M" atop the reel?


The M-Drag on the RC 256 performs well ...

Despite the RC 256's good performance out on the water, yet another disappointing aspect of this reel is that there is no bearing supporting the reel's spool. Instead, there is a metal bushing. The disappointments continue to mount on the RC 256 and it's increasingly difficult to not only consider this a premium grade spinning reel, but a Megabass product at that.

... thanks to a quality felt drag ...


... but time for another "but" ... there is no bearing to support the spool.

Availability: The RC 256 is reportedly, produced in limited quantities only. MSRP in Japan is 59,800. As a reference, the Daiwa Exist 256 is 64,730 JPY (and can be found for less), the latest Stella 2500S is 67,500 JPY, and the Opus-1 and Opus-1 Nero can be found for right around 70,000 JPY (not including the metal case). All these reels feature bearing supported spools and line guides, and all these reels are made in Japan. Flip over the RC 256, take a look at it's foot, and reveal that its origin is made in Thailand.

We expect more out of a Megabass Reel - especially one that commands the RC 256's price tag.

Daiwa owns the factory, or maybe even several factories in Thailand and un-named sources on the inside say for some products, quality coming out of their Thailand factory exceeds that of Japan. I happen to believe this. Take the Daiwa Steez baitcasting rods. I much prefer the Thailand made rods than the Japanese Compile-X versions, especially when you factor in the price.

And finally, a high end offering from Megabass that's not built in Japan.

But the issue here with the RC 256 is, it's bearing the Megabass name along with the associated Megabass price tag. These two factors combined make me expect more. It's fine to have the reel made in Thailand because it is quite obvious, this is a very well assembled reel. I have no qualms about this reel's performance. What I do question is absence of components that will make this reel perform over the long term together with the associated price tag.


Megabass Racing Condition 256 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A nicely assembled reel 9
Performance Wonderful out of the box 9
Price Considering the reel's origin, out of line 2
Features Missing bearings in two key areas to be considered premium 3
Design (Ergonomics) It's a Megabass 9
Application A good finesse application spinning reel 7.5

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:


+ Smooth operation - Missing two key bearing placements
+ Lighter than any aluminum spinning reel of comparable size in Daiwa's lineup (as far as we know) - Made in Thailand with a Made in Japan price tag
+ Exquisite design  


Conclusion: Whether Megabass built this reel from the ground up or borrowed off an existing Daiwa platform (more likely), the fact that it is missing two key components found in just about every quality spinning reel (witness the recently reviewed  Shimano Ultegra 2500s) and the fact it seems to be commanding a Made in Japan price for a Made in Thailand product, with the final clincher that the reel bears the Megabass name has me severely disappointed.


It's fine that this reel is made in Thailand. Its performance out of the box is very very good. But to continue and demand the Made in Japan price tag and overlook two key bearing placements? Enough is enough.

Shimano can place bearings to support the spool and line guide in a reel costing one quarter that of the RC 256. Evergreen International can design a reel from the ground up, offer bearings in the right places, and have it built in Japan for about fifteen percent more (for just the reels), and of course both Daiwa and Shimano offer their top end, Made in Japan with a magnesium body, spinning reels for near the same price as the RC 256.

In the case of Megabass's RC 256, "WTF" may have to revert to its original meaning. We've come to expect more out of this company.

I'm as big a fan of the Megabass limited edition reels you might find. I've always appreciated their stylings, and performance has rarely let me down. The RC 256 is an exquisite reel in appearance, and out of the box, it is about as smooth as they come. But the absence of key, quality indicators, together with the reel's price for a not made in Japan product are simple facts that I cannot overlook. Were this reel half of its existing price, I could probably forgive these oversights and might even own two. As it stands, if we had an award for Ultimate Disappointment, the RC 256 from Megabass would win this award hands down.










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