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Enthusiast Reel Comparison

An Apples to Apples Casting Comparison : The 2004 & 2005 Limited Edition Daiwa Liberto Pixy Reels...is there an advantage?

Date: 9/12/05
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Daiwa Japan
Reviewer: Cal

Introduction: In December of 2004, we reviewed Daiwa Japan's ultra light Daiwa Pixy and extolled the virtues of this incredibly light and capable baitcaster. Our test model was the 2004 Limited Edition Pixy featuring a yellow pearl finish. The only difference between this version and the standard silver model was just that, the finish. In late April of this year, the 2005 Limited Edition Pixy debuted sporting a lighter Duralumin spool instead of the traditional GIGAS resulting in a reel that overall, is even lighter than its already feathery predecessors. How could this be possible? If true, how would it affect performance?

Our 2005 and 2004 Limited Edition Daiwa Liberto Pixy's

Daiwa Pixy Specifications

2004 Pixy 2005 Pixy
Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 4/110, 6/80, 8/65 4/110, 6/80, 8/65
Gear Ratio (actual retrieve) 5.8:1 (21 inches per turn) 5.8:1 (22 inches per turn)
Measured Weight 163 grams /5.7 oz 159 grams /5.6 oz
Measured Max. Drag 3 lbs (tested) 3 lbs (tested)
Bearings 8 + 1 roller 8 + 1 roller
Features MagForce V, GIGAS Spool, Air Metal Frame (magnesium) MagForce V, Duralumin Spool, Air Metal Frame (magnesium)
MSRP ~$330 ~$340


Impressions: The most obvious and notable change in the 2005 Daiwa Liberto Pixy is its color. The new, limited edition Pixy, sports what can best be described as a frosted red finish that possesses a very unique, tactile sensation. It's almost like holding bare metal. Conversely, the glittery, glossy finish of the 2004 Pixy is very slick and smooth possessing an almost plastic like feel in your hand. We welcome the new texture of the 2005 Pixy.

A closeup of our 2005 Limited Edition Daiwa Liberto Pixy sporting a frosted red finish.

The Comparison: The first factor that bears investigation between these reels is their difference in weight. For this delicate operation, we weiged component by component until we came up with our answer. After that, we subjected our reels to a series of casting and pitching tests but ended the performance tests there since all other components of the reel (i.e. drag & retrieve) are identical. Here's what we found:

Detail shots of the 2005 Limited Edition Daiwa Liberto Pixy. Note the forged handle (top right) and Duralumin spool (bottom left).

The Spools: Early information on the 2005 Pixy was that the new, Duralumin spool was going to be lighter than the GIGAS and probably not compatible with the other Pixy models. We pulled the spools out of each reel and discovered the 2005 Duralumin spool, weighing in at 14 grams is in fact, 1 gram lighter than the 15 gram GIGAS spool. However, the spools are indeed interchangeable, so for those suffering from "anoreelia" (know as the incessant need for lighter and lighter reels), it is plausible one might find a way to acquire the '05 Duralumin spool to help shave a gram off of the weight of your earlier model Pixy's. This is assuming of course the weight difference translates into better performance. More on that later.

Detail shots of the 2004 Limited Edition Daiwa Liberto Pixy. Note the stamped handle and decorative bolt (top right) and the original GIGAS spool (bottom left).


The Handles: The difference in material for the spools explains one gram of the four gram weight difference, but were did the other three grams go? As we proceeded to disassemble our reels, the answer presented itself: the handles. The handle for previous model year Pixy's is stamped aluminum compared to a forged aluminum handle for the '05 Pixy. The actual handles together with their knobs were identical in weight at 22 grams. The actual difference came with the lock nuts where the '05 Pixy's came in at 1 gram and the '04 Pixy locknut weighed in at 4 grams. There were our mysterious 3 grams. Ok, we know the next question lurking in the minds of our anoreelia inflicted readers. Yes, the 85mm ZPI Carbon handle complete with Daiwa Cork knobs and bearings weighs in at 20 grams - 2 grams lighter than either of the original 80mm Pixy handles.


Performance: For those interested in actual performance, we spooled each of our Pixy reels with 14lb Berkley Fireline and mounted them on several different, yet matching rods for the ultimate head to head challenge.


The two 4" Gary Yamamoto Cut Tail worms used in our casting tests with our two Pixy reels.

4" Finesse Worms: For our first casting test, we pulled out two, Gary Yamamoto 4" cut tail worms. These worms tipped our scales at right around 3 grams a piece, for those keeping track... that is a hair under 7/64ths of an ounce. We mounted our Pixy's on two G.Loomis CR721 IMX casting rods and rigged our test worms weedless both with #2 straight shank, light wire, Gamakatsu worm hooks. We were able to cast these worms using a rolling, sidearm cast distances of up to forty feet. Performance was virtually identical.


The 3.5 gram Megabass Live X Smolt.


UL Jerkbait: Our second casting test was made with the very light and challenging to cast 3.5 gram Megabass Live X Smolt suspending jerkbait. These little baits are easily cast with spinning gear but with conventional baitcasting gear, it can be a difficult endeavor especially if headwinds are involved. We transferred our two Pixy's to two, identical G.Loomis MBR842C GLX rods, tied on our ultra-light jerkbaits and had at it. We were able to overhand cast these baits with both rigs distances of up to forty-five feet. Again, performance was virtually identical with the '04 Pixy, occasionally outcasting the '05. We attribute this to the fact our '04 Pixy has actually been used and is broken in where as our '05 Pixy is hot off the assembly line in Japan. Bottomline? Another draw.

The 1/16th ounce rated Luhr Jensen Speedtrap.


Crankbaits: From our ultra-light jerkbait tests, we moved to more traditional crankbaits pulling out two of the smallest in our collection, the 1/16th ounce Luhr Jensen Speedtrap. These baits actually weighed in at 5 grams which translates to slightly over an eighth of an ounce, so the ratings here are misleading. Nevertheless, we moved our Pixy's over to our two Kistler Helium LTA He70MLC's to see how far we could sling these baits and whether or not we'd notice any performance differences between our so far, identical Pixy reels. With this setup, we sent the crankbaits flying to distances in excess of fifty feet. As with the ultra-light jerkbait tests, our '04 Pixy would occasionally let go and send our crank noticeably further than our '05 Pixy but not on a real consistent basis. Again the difference between a reel that is well broken in and one that is fresh from the factory.

The 5" Senko-Lite weighs in at 2 grams lighter than the original Senko


Senko-Lite: For those not familiar with this product, the Senko-Lite possesses the same look and profile of the original but with slightly less mass and density. In fact, at approximately 9 grams (roughly 5/16ths of an ounce) it's 2 grams lighter than the original and therefore sinks a little slower, and is not quite as easy to cast. For this last test, we moved our Pixy's over to two heavy action G.Loomis MBR844C GLX rods. This is not a rig one would normally envision when purchasing a Daiwa Liberto Pixy, but this ultra-light reel and heavy action rod combo weighs in at 10.5 ounces and turns out to be a very lethal pitching combo. Once again, pitching our Senko-Lites out to about forty feet and more, we were unable to discern any real differences between our two Pixy reels.

Our 2004 and 2005 Daiwa Liberto Pixy reels mounted on matching GLoomis MBR842C GLX casting rods

Conclusion: The 2005 Pixy possesses some definite cosmetic differences over its predecessors, and when grasped in either hand, one can perceive the very slight difference in weight - a sensation that subsides when mounted on actual, identical rods. But to say this new, limited edition version with the Duralumin spool sports any real world performance enhancements over the others is simply not true. This is not to say the 2005 Daiwa Liberto Pixy Limited Edition Reel is not without its positive points. Quite the contrary. We prefer the more sculpted, forged handle together with the new tactile sensation the 2005 reel possesses. We're just left wanting more. Just the same, if red is your color, then by all means, this Pixy worth consideration. Until next time, keep collecting!










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