We graded each reel on a 1-5 scale in three areas:
1. Price
2. How the reel felt and reacted as the motorcycle sped away
3. How we like handling the reel

Then we made “judges deductions” for any beefs we had about the reels.

$600 MSRP, at a weight of 7-3/8 oz, this reel is a sharp large-arbor model, with an easy-to-access (and measure) drag meter on the off-cranking side. It pays out line well, and gathers it even better.
Score 3.5 out of 5

How it “Met the Street”
Very nice. In fact, better than expected. We admit we’re guilty of considering Sage a “rod company.” But the startup on this reel was velvet smooth, and the carry-on performance at 25 mph was even.
Score 4.5 out of 5

Functional Review
We’re not always huge proponents of large profile reels, but this reel obviously was designed with purpose. Let’s call it like it is … on the way out, the line poured evenly without much vibration. And in terms of cranking back, the reel gathers line much faster than most. We like the visible meter that lets us know where the drag is set.
Score 4.5 out of 5

Not many. You can open the reel and access the spool with a few twists of a knob (well, maybe that knob could be bigger). The drag itself is self-enclosed. Tolerances are nice. The wooden crank handle is a classy touch.
Deduction: .5

Total Score: 12 out of 15

Watch More Reel Tests:

Trout Reels Hatch 3-Plus Nautilus 5 Abel Pt. 5 Ross Evolution Orvis Battenkill Mid Arbor Scientific Anglers System 2L Model 45L Bauer JM2 Bonefish Reels Sage 3400 Nautilus 8 Bauer MX4 Orvis Battenkill Large Arbor **Big Game Reels ** Orvis Vortex (VO2) 8-11 Nautilus 12 Hatch 9-Plus Abel Super 10