Henry Gilbey
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Major Craft X-Ride XRS-962ML 9'6'' 10-30g lure rod review - around £250.00

If you read my fishing tackle reviews on this blog then you have most likely figured out that I am head over heels in love with what for me is just about the most perfect lure fishing rod I have ever had the pleasure of using - the Major Craft Truzer 9’6’’ 10-30g (review here). I am sure that in due course I will come across a lure rod that freaks me out even more, but in the meantime this thing continues to amaze me how awesome it is, whilst at the same time leaving me wondering how a lure rod could actually suit me any better. However good I think the 9’6’’ Truzer is though, there’s the small matter of it costing a little north of £350, and whilst I happen to think that at £500+ it would still represent value for money, £350+ is not exactly small change….....

What if I told you though that there is another Major Craft rod out there that to me feels essentially identical to cast and fish with as the 9’6’’ Truzer, yet it costs over £100 less to buy? I accept that around the £250 mark is also not exactly small change either, but for this amount of money you are getting what I feel is just about the perfect sort of lure rod for how so many of us go about our bass fishing - the Major Craft X-Ride XRS-962ML 9'6'' 10-30g. There’s not much point me writing about how this 9’6’’ 10-30g X-Ride performs all over again when to me it seems to fish the same as the Truzer, so I would urge you to read my review of the 9’6’’ 10-30g Truzer here, and below I will detail a few of the (mainly fixtures and fittings) differences between the rods.

I must admit I had no idea that Fuji Torzite rod guides were quite so expensive when the 9’ Truzer first turned up here last year (review here). I had heard a bit about these new guides and I was interested to fish with them on a lure rod, but I got one hell of a shock when I went looking at the prices of these newish guides - they ain’t remotely cheap, indeed there may well be an argument that the difference in price between the X-Ride and the Truzer is mostly due to Major Craft’s use of these Fuji Torzite rod guides on the Truzers and the more regular Fuji K-Guides on the X-Rides. There’s a bunch of info about Torzite guides here.

Am I seeing a massive advantage from having Torzite guides on a lure rods? Well I really like the guides, they are working just fine, and they do seem to be both light and tough, but I can’t tell you that by having them on a rod it’s suddenly performing that much better. Same with those Daiwa AGS guides on their 9’3’’ Morethan rod that I reviewed here - lovely rod, those carbon fibre AGS guides seem to be great, but are there a load of performance benefits to be had? There may well be and I am simply not good enough to pick up on them, but what I am getting at here is that the Major Craft X-Ride is over £100 cheaper than the Truzer, and as much as I am in love with the Truzer, it would be remiss of me to say to you that I am noticing a performance jump via the Torzite guides.

The X-Ride has Fuji K-guides on the rod, with some very small guides towards the tip, and whilst I know this might worry a few of you out who are more used to seeing slightly larger guides on a rod, I still have yet to catch a single FC/GT leader knot (see here) in any single ring on any single rod that I have fished with - and that’s a fair few rods now since I first started using this particular leader knot only, including a rod such as the Skyroad Wind (review here) that has some truly tiny tip section guides on it. I see no point in worrying about small rod guides when lures go out there so well and knots don’t catch, and my basic understanding is that smaller guides affect the action less. This X-Ride is one hell of a lure rod, indeed it’s the sort of rod that I pick up and waggle and it just “speaks” to me - please, please take me out fishing.

The other main difference between the two rods is the handles. The length from butt to reel foot on the 9’6’’ Truzer is as perfect as it can be for me (30cms), and I love the cork grips. The handle is a little bit longer on the X-Ride (38cms from butt to reel-foot) and the grips are regular duplon which of course are great to fish with. In a perfect world I would prefer a slightly shorter handle on the X-Ride, but I also know how quickly I got used to fishing with it and I am not remotely bothered.

So which one would I go for, the Truzer or the X-Ride? I am working on the assumption here that both rods are built on either the same or at least remarkably similar blanks, so I guess it comes down to how much the angler wants to spend, and how much those Torzite guides and handle characteristics mean to you. Either way this Major Craft X-Ride XRS-962ML 9'6'' 10-30g lure rod is one serious bit of kit, indeed I can’t believe that such a high-performance rod can be had for around the £250 mark here in the UK. I am going to sit on the fence and say to you that I’d be more than happy owning either rod, because I truly would.