: NOTE: Redington reel lack of design consistency
02-28-2003, 08:31 PM
Having recently won a pair of RS2 9/10 reels on ebay, I decided to compare the two side by side, and frankly was quite surprised and unhappy with what I found. The two reels were purchased at different times, about a month apart, and from different vendors. I have made the following observations about these reels:
1. Handle material is different; the "older" reel has a wooden handle, while the newer one has the same plastic handle as the Orvis Battenkil LA reels. Automatically, I wonder if this newer reel is the "Orvis" edition I have seen mentioned in print.
2. Drag components appear to be significantly different between the two reels, with the older reel having what appears to be a larger drag plate and more sophisticated drag, in general. Perhaps this is inconsequential; perhaps the difference in appearance has nothing to do with the actual drag performance. Perhaps Bill Clinton really did only breathe in second-hand pot smoke. So, by default, the internal components of these two reels are essentially incompatible with each other. The housings themselves are the same. I have the feeling that the "older reel" is in reality a newer version of this model, particularly since the drag on the reel with the plastic handle is identical to that on my AL 11/12, which is now discontinued.
3. Spools are different in appearance, though overall dimensions are, to the best of my scrutiny, the same. Regardless, the main shaft dimensions are different, and that fact combined with difference in drag components means that the spools are not interchangeable. Well, that's a bummer. I would have liked to be able to use both spools for the same reel, and had the second main body for a back-up. Guess that was wishful thinking.
I fished with the "older" RS2 this month in the Keys and was pleased with the performance; hopefully the second reel is as good. I realize that these are inexpensive reels compared to some, but even so I would hope that the designs were consistent if they're marketed under the same model name. It would have made sense for them to release the upgrade as the RS3 or something similar if there's a significant difference in drag performance.
One other thing that troubles me is that Redington has been slowly but surely gaining a reputation for goofy products. I've been into several fly shops, and have spoken with fly shops in various areas of the country, that either have a very low regard for Redington products in general or have had insurmountable trouble with their customer service (interestingly, I've heard the same about Orvis). While I've been pleased with their reels in general, and have a pair of their rods, I wonder if there's a better alternative as far as reels are concerned in roughly the same price range, or maybe $50 more. If there's one thing I dislike, it's product inconsistency. Get it right the first time, or release future models as a revision or totally different model, but don't call it all the same thing.
Anyone have any comments or feedback?
I have a LA 78 and a Teton Tioga 10. The LA is a beautiful reel and a great drag. It does need to be babied though. Thourough rinse after each breath of salt air.
The Tioga is in the same price range and has been a workhorse for me for over 4 years now. Little lube every now and then and it keeps on ticking. No complaints at all. I've begun to learn that the gear you think the least about is the best gear going. Leaves more time to worry about with the fish are "thinking".
03-01-2003, 09:54 AM
I own an LA 9/10 w/spare spool - a little fussy but it works well. I fished 40 days total last year and it took more of a beating in the back of the Jeep than anywhere. I oiled it up at seasons end put it away.
Herself has a pair of RS2's that are interchangable (Orvis closeouts) - they came with both handles. I like the wood, she likes the plastic - say "Le Vee"
my next purchase will be the Tioga for 10#...Do the LA spools interchange on the standard housing? I know they once did.
Dreaming of an Able...
03-01-2003, 01:33 PM
The older Redington reels had wood handles and (I think) a stainless steel bushing in the spool. Problem was, the wood handle would swell up and seize when it got a good soaking and the stainless steel bushing would also seize up sometimes. Just before Redington sold out to Orvis, they changed the hanlde to plastic and the bushing to bronze.
I suspect the inconsistencies in your reels (other than mentioned above) are probably due to one being made by Redington and the other being made by Orvis. Being manufactured at two different facilities resulting in diminsional as well as cosmetic differences. Although it would not surprise me to find that Orvis had made a significant design change if they were unable to buy the exact same bushing or something like that.
A friend of mine has an older LA13/14 and Redington sent him the parts to change the handle. (not sure about the bushing) This was before the sell out. Talk to Redington. Their reels have a lifetime warranty, even though they have been discontinued. The reels sold by Orvis had no warranty at all.
03-01-2003, 05:56 PM
I'm going to give Redington a call Monday morning and ask them about all of this; I'm sure they have some reasonable explanation. In any event, I may gradually (i.e. over the next few years) make a change to Lamson reels, such as the Velocity series, for everything 10-wt. and under. I've fished with one of these reels before, and currently own a Litespeed (same guts as Velocity, different look, more expensive) that's never given me trouble. For the 12-wt. outfit, I may look into the new Tibor large arbor. Expensive, but very nice. This will certainly double as my off-shore outfit, because the drag disc in that new Tibor looks like it could stop Jaws dead in his tracks.
03-01-2003, 07:46 PM
Be advised that, unless they have changed the design, the Lamson Velocity reels have a two piece spool. It is glued together!:whoa:
03-01-2003, 08:00 PM
It is?:confused: I'll have to pull the litespeed out of my gear bag and have a look at it to see if that spool is 1-piece. Even so, have you heard of anyone having the spool break or something similar?
03-02-2003, 10:30 AM
Originally posted by flyfisha1
In any event, I may gradually (i.e. over the next few years) make a change to Lamson reels, such as the Velocity series, for everything 10-wt. and under. I've fished with one of these reels before, and currently own a Litespeed (same guts as Velocity, different look, more expensive) that's never given me trouble
That's what you would think, but compare the drag mechanism in a Litespeed 4.0 to the one in a Velocity 4.0 and you will see that the former is beefier.
03-03-2003, 07:04 PM
Greg, that would probably explain part of the price difference between the two series. Just took my Litespeed 3.5 out to have a look at the spool; upon close inspection it appears to be one solid piece of machined aluminum, but it's hard to get a good look at the outside of the arbor since the reel is spooled with backing and a 9-wt. SA striper line. Either way, I've never had any trouble with this reel, nor did I ever have trouble with the Velocity I owned (lost it in a move, which really pi$$ed me off). Either way, these are good reels. Not knocking Redington's reels per se, but in future I think I'll look elsewhere.
03-04-2003, 07:29 PM
The Waterworks-Lamson people say that the Litespeed spools are one-piece spools. I agree: the Velocitys are very good reels as well, and if there was a truly large one for longer/larger spey lines, I would buy a few. But I very much like the Litespeeds as well: I think that they are ideal "large arbor" reels in terms of dimensions and weight. They are also pretty tough.
03-04-2003, 07:39 PM
Greg, I agree: Lamson reels are durable and perform well. Too bad I decided to switch over from Redington; I just got an e-mail from an outlet with new reels at less than 50% of retail in many cases. Oh well...
03-19-2003, 03:51 PM
Interesting development: I have just gotten off the phone with the owner of a store that's a dealer for Redington, among practically every major brand of tackle. I was asking him about the comparisons between the RS2 and the now discontinued AL series, of which the major difference is the fact that the former uses bushings, while the latter uses bearings (more maintenance required than with bushings). We got on the topic of the relatively-poor drag design of these reels, and he told me that he offers customers the option of replacing the stock composite drag system with a larger and better cork drag; all that's required is the machining of one part. This modification voids the warranty, however it provides a drag that is far superior to the standard composite drag that these reels come with. Cost of the modification: $25 plus shipping charges. This in effect takes the performance of the reel up a notch, and is probably worth the cash. So, since I have a pair of 9/10 reels, I'm going to get the drag changed on one of them and see what the difference is. This guy is right aroung the corner from Redington, and works in close conjunction with them, so I tend to believe his POV. Incidentally, he says that Redington's new Breakwater series is bullet-proof, with an enormous cork drag, similar to the Tibors and for much less money. This is coming from a Tibor dealer...
03-19-2003, 04:21 PM
I have heard the new Breakwaters are excellent as well. Just wish reddington could keep one reel model on the market for more than a week....not encouraging
Regarding the Velocity - even if it is a glued 2 part you need not worry about it breaking down. My V4 gets plenty of days between SWFF and tackle blasting Chinooks and runs like brand new. Also own a litespeed and lamson customer service is generally out of this world.
I have heard that the ALs will rust up on you if you don't baby them but that they are quality reels. Nice to look at too!
A friend broke a reddington rod and the replacement they sent had the cheapest cork I have ever seen on a fly rod - no kidding. Kind of turned me off to their products...
03-19-2003, 04:34 PM
I have an AL, hope it does not fall apart, but for $ 74, ($200 list) I don't really care, as long it lasts one season.
This was a good deal, he who is patient and waits for purchases can be handsomely rewarded.
03-19-2003, 05:09 PM
I should clarify: the RS2 can be modified for $25, while the AL series cost $50 to mod (something to do with the size of the cork drag disc they use and the machining process). I'll probably have the AL 11/12 modified when they figure out how to do this; at this time only the RS2 series can be modified.
03-26-2003, 07:06 PM
Since i worked part time at an orvis store i had the chance to buy a bunch of the al's in 3/4 and 9/10's. used the 3/4 out west in oragon for steelhead in small rivers and streams, had no problems. Also use the 9/10's at the jersey shore for stripers, blues and albies no problems as of yet. one even got slammed on a rock jetty when i slipped. took a chip out of my arm, didn't even scratch on the gold 9/10. I heard the off shore guys have some problems with the 11/12's though.
03-26-2003, 07:09 PM
Since i work part time at an orvis store i had the chance to buy a bunch of the al's in 3/4 and 9/10's. used the 3/4 out west in oragon for steelhead in small rivers and streams, had no problems. Also use the 9/10's at the jersey shore for stripers, blues and albies no problems as of yet. one even got slammed on a rock jetty when i slipped. took a chip out of my arm, didn't even scratch on the gold 9/10. I heard the off shore guys have some problems with the 11/12's though.
03-26-2003, 07:28 PM
Bob - I've got an 11/12 AL that I really like, particularly compared to the RS2. Yes, it weighs more, but it looks so much nicer and has smoother drag than the RS2, in my experience. Wish they would have left that reel on the market. When I called the tech-support guy at Redington and asked if there was any specific reason that the AL had been discontinued, he told me that "just like Mazda introduces new models of cars every year, we introduce new reels." Apparently, and from the tone of his voice, he had been asked this question a few times before and was obviously irritated by it. My thoughts are: hey, these are fly reels, not cars; if you have a quality product and it sells, stick with it! Now, if there were an inordinate number of warranty claims on the ALs that was costing Redington a ton of time and money to correct, I can see discontinuing them. But just like you, I've seen the ALs get the crap beat out of them and keep running.
The RS2 reels are great for the money, so long as you get one of the "current versions" with the slotted screw that holds the drag-adjustment knob in place; otherwise, the model featuring the "slotless-screw" on the drag-adjustment knob is flawed (according to Redington) and costs more to fix should anything break on it. I know the RS2s have a great reputation for durability; all the same, until Redington picks one model and stays with it for more than two years, I'll be buying Lamson and Bauer reels.
03-26-2003, 08:39 PM
Is the AL 9/10 without the slotted the screw on the drag adjustment knob a problem like the RS stated above ? Thats what it looks like I have . Oh well for $ 74 what the heck, if it destructs I will get the large arbor reel I really wanted.
So far though no problems with the Redington. AL it seems sturdy.
03-26-2003, 09:04 PM
the 'originals.' Just purchased three of the 13/14's at $95 each.
03-26-2003, 09:26 PM
Fred, you might give Redington a call and see what they can tell you about the different versions, how they compare, and what the warranty situation is like on them. I think that they'll take care of any issues with no hassle, and again these are certainly sturdy reels, so I wouldn't imagine that there would be too much need for concern about durability. I must admit, I wasn't aware that there were multiple versions of the AL. I wonder which one I have? :confused:
03-26-2003, 10:55 PM
I'll do a close "eye ball"inspection and see what's to see .... if anything. Suspect they're the same reels, just (maybe?) the Orvis name on the new ones. Doubt Orvis would screw with a winner.
03-27-2003, 12:32 AM
I have 2 AS 13/14 Redingtons that I bought for the capacity they have and have had no problem with them. Also I have an AS 11/12 that has been flawless as well. Give the reel the maintenance it needs and it will last a long, long time.
I strongly suspect the reason the AS and AL series reels were discountinued had to do with Redington divorcing itself from Orvis. I don't think Orvis allowed them to divorce and still make the AS and AL series reels because Orvis probably owned the design for them. And I don't think Redington would allow Orvis to produce and sell a reel that Redington had designed.
The reason I suspect this was what happened to them is that both the AS and AL went out of production as soon as the Redington-Orvis divorce was finalized.
03-27-2003, 06:09 AM
Ahhhh... very interesting... what a shame, though, that the reel had to be scrapped because of that. Oh well... get 'em on e-bay while you can, unless you know of another source.
"The reason I suspect this was what happened to them is that both the AS and AL went out of production as soon as the Redington-Orvis divorce was finalized."
Take a look at the new offering from Redington :smokin:
03-27-2003, 11:18 PM
The new Redington is a very fine reel and in many ways an improvement over the AS and AL reels. However, it costs more and it is not made in the 11/12 or 13/14 sizes that I am aware of. And these two sizes are needed for the extra long belly spey lines that have belly lengths of 85 to 100 feet. I am hoping that Redington begins to offer it in the 11/12 and 13/14 sizes with backing capacity like the old AS reel.
My AS 13/14 holds a GrandSpey 10/11 and 210 yards of 30lb backing, and it is rated for a WF14 Saltwater line and 450 yards of 30lb backing.
My AS 11/12 holds a GrandSpey 8/9 and 220 yards of 30lb, and it is rated for a WF12 Saltwater line and 350 yards of 30lb backing.
The new 9/10 Redingtons do not have enough room for my 8/9 GrandSpey and sufficient backing. It would hold the 7/8 GrandSpey with backing though.
03-28-2003, 12:25 AM
Ahhhhhh...just buy a Big Game 4.5N! :devil:
No argument on sizes available, but when the reel was being 'finished', last spring, it was suggested the larger sizes would follow. As a whole, I think it's a very good design which is why I suggested inspecting it.
03-28-2003, 08:50 AM
Originally posted by flyfisha1
...Redington's new Breakwater series is bullet-proof, with an enormous cork drag, similar to the Tibors and for much less money. This is coming from a Tibor dealer...
... the dealer I referred to in this post also carries Bauer, Loop, Lamson, and others. The Breakwater may finally be the reel that Redington has been looking for. I believe that these reels are still made overseas (Korea?). For the $280-300 that these reels retail for at present, I'll spend my money on a US-made Bauer or Lamson... same price, lighter, and proven performance.
And, for those who like Redington products.
I just asked John Brazelton of Redington about availability of the new Brakewater in 11/12 and 13/14, specifically - he says Redington dealers have them in stock. If they don't, I suppose you could take it up with the shop owner or Redington.
03-28-2003, 09:38 PM
Yes, the Abel is a great reel; however, do we really need a reel that costs as much as our favorite 2-handers? Hmmmm...... I remember a time not long ago when Hardy was considered to be one of the primo reels, and the Pfleuger Medalist was the mark of a knowledgeble fly fishermam. My, how far we have come.
Glad to hear the new Redingtons in 11/12 and 13/14 are now availbable. The new Redington is a definite improvement over the AS and AL Redingtons. And they are half the price of the Abels.