Canyon DJR 6500 Spinning : The Review
(AKA Gladiator Titan, Trabucco Exceed / M&W Ocean Wolf / Bulldog Razor / Akios Cresta AK90)
Today's review is of the Canyon DJR-6500 spinning reel. I spoke about it briefly at the beginning of the year and promised a full review later on, but I needed to do the Van Staal bailed review first, and now here it is.
The reel was released in January 2012 and hailed as being a $300 reel that is equal to or better than Stella and Saltiga reels. Here is a quote from the site of one of their distributors:
"The biggest feature of this DJR-6500 is the price tag! While offering the same, or even more performance than other reels that can cost over $1,000 Canyon's DJR-6500 is only $299"
Great news! Who wouldn't want a reel that's better than the Japanese super spinners at one third of the price? But we'll leave this for now and go straight to politics.
Canyon claimed that the reel is assembled in New Jersey, USA, from superior Japanese and American made parts. I immediately recognised the reel as being a Chinese shelf reel that you can order in bulk and have your name printed on it for $80 a reel, and I posted a note about it after receiving many enquires, but Canyon were quick to post this on their site
That's cute indeed, except that it's all lies. You have probably seen the photos I posted of this reel being sold under other names such as M&W Ocean Wolf, Trabucco Exceed, and Bulldog Razor.
I could have bought one of those reels and compared it to the Canyon, but I decided to go a step further
There you go. This is the original OEM reel direct from China in its raw state with no branding of any kind on it. Cost me $80 plus shipping. I bet no one expected that I could get one of these, but through my network of contacts in the industry I got it just to make sure there will be no more rubbish claims.
You might have noticed the slight difference between the Canyon and the OEM reel at the heel of the reel's housing. The Canyon has a plastic guard there, while the OEM has a one piece housing with an angular heel. Here are the two reels side by side. The OEM reel on top and Canyon on the bottom
Let me explain how that OEM business works. The maker offers several options for bulk orders. Different handles, colour schemes, spool cosmetics, drag knobs, and in this case a choice between two types of housings, and Canyon went for the one with the plastic guard at the rear. To prove it here is a screen shot from Canyon's own website just before they decided on the final options, and you can clearly see that their reel originally had the one piece housing with the angular heel before they changed to the current one with the plastic guard
Link on Canyon's site HERE
Here are the caps that are screwed in to the side opposite to the handle's. Canyon's on the right, the OEM on the left
On the scale
Both exactly 6.5 grams, proving that they are the same part just in a different colour.
The spool hub of both reels with the identical washers, Canyon on the right and OEM on the left
On the scale
Again, exact same weight to the one tenth of a gram.
The rotor complete with the bail
In this case there was a 0.1 gram of difference in weight that would be some grease here or there. 0.1 of a gram is 0.003 oz by the way.
Spools complete with the drag
Speaking of drag, in the following photo Canyon's drag components are on the bottom, OEM on the top
Again Canyon's drag components are 100% identical to the OEM Chinese reel.
Closeup of the washers, Canyon's on the right
No upgraded washers in the Canyon as was claimed on the web. The washers are exactly the same and the slight surface difference you can see in the photo above comes from the fact that I've fished the Canyon many times over the past 6 months while the OEM is virtually unused.
Beneath the spool, Canyon on the left
Again, same main shaft and same everything to the littlest screw
In the above photo the parts of the Canyon are on the right and the OEM on the left: Main retainer, O ring, screws, anti-reverse clutch components, and pinions are the same.
Again identical visually and in weight to the one tenth of a gram.
The engine of the reel: The drive gear. A few side by side photos, Canyon's on the right
On the scale
I've explained the different housing earlier, but to add to that, here is a side by side comparison photo, Canyon on the right
As you can see in the photo above the blue arrows point to the identical bridge and moulding marks on both reels, and the red arrows point to the identical cut-outs in the necks of both bodies. Not that I need to prove it any further after showing photos of the Canyon from their site when they had the one piece housing as in my OEM, but just letting you know how to positively identify parts for your future reference.
Ball bearings, right Canyon's main bearing, left OEM's main bearing
As you can see the model number and inscriptions on the bearings are identical between both. All the bearings are similarly identical between both reels, I just chose the main bearing as an example.
There you have it people. No superior parts, no Japanese frames, no American components, and not even a drag upgrade or a decent re-lubing job. I found the exact type of lube in the same amounts in both reels and I can tell with confidence that the Canyon reels are sold as they arrive from China without touching a single screw on them.
When I first spoke about the reel, Canyon and their retailers got on the defensive and started posting the usual panicky hallucinations. According to them I really wanted their $80 Chinese reel so bad that I started smearing their name when I wasn't offered one, and also Shimano and Daiwa were losing sleep because Canyon's spinner was going to kill their sales of Stellas and Saltigas so they hired me to spread lies. Well, a quick search would show that this exact same methodology was used against me in the past by other tackle retailers whom I outed, which makes me wonder when are they going to come up with fresh stuff that actually works?
Then, they said that the naughty Chinese baddies have copied their reel -others used that one in the past as well-, and this scenario is quite laughable indeed. We are supposed to believe that while Canyon were (according to their claims) finding secret suppliers of superior parts to make their reel, some Chinese spies found out about the reel's design and parts and started making the copy of that unknown and unproven obscure Canyon spinner, and they actually beat Canyon and released the fake reel into the markets first! M&W released the reel with their own name at least 6 months before Canyon released theirs as could be confirmed with a search of the web forums.
And lastly they began posting pictures of big fish next to their reels in an effort to impress people into buying them, which makes one think of two things. One, there are videos on youtube of people catching sharks on a plastic barbie reel and a massive sailfish on a Shimano Sustain. Does that make barbie reels and Sustains shark or sailfish reels? Second, we've established that Canyon lied. Why would their fish photos have any more credibility than their words?
Now let me explain what exactly are you reading here. You've known me for many years and you know my style in writing. I don't just tell you that the reel worked or that it didn't. I try to explain in simple terms why it did or didn't, and I take a little space to talk about laws of physics, metallurgy, mechanics, manufacturing techniques etc., which makes my reviews very large in size. The reason I do so is that I want to share with you the little I know so that you'd be able to figure out what to look for and make better buying choices even when buying gear that I never reviewed. I'm not going to be doing this forever and one day it will come to an end, and the thing that would make me the happiest is if I believe that I managed to add a little bit to your knowledge. And this is exactly what I'm doing here but with a twist. There is money in your pockets, and as long as that remains the case some people out there will try to get that money by any means, honest or not. People believe lies because they are inherently good and they assume that others are as decent as they are themselves, but that's not always the case. I want you to question things and when the story doesn't add up I want you to begin thinking that maybe you are being taken for a ride. You didn't really need to see the reels' parts side by side in order to figure out the truth. Simple logic refutes the "copy" story as demonstrated above, and the fish photos are too desperate it's quite sad. And when someone tells you that a frame maker in Japan makes bodies for their reels, shouldn't you think that it doesn't sound like a business model that could exist in Japan? We know that Shimano and Daiwa keep small operations in Japan to make their premium reels, so would they create special moulds and make economy frames to sell to Canyon? Would Japan have little workshops in alleys where they produce cheap parts for reel makers? That's obviously a business model that perfectly fits China but can't exist in Japan, and therefore that rubbish story should have been automatically rejected. People who lie to sell gear exist worldwide. I've seen them come from the US, Spain, China, Algeria, the UK, and on a much worse scale Australia. Keep your eyes open and don't take anyone's word for anything, not even me, because who knows what I'm really up to? Only believe your own eyes and common sense, and this is the best advice I can ever give you.
My advice to Canyon though would be to stop misleading their customers. I know from readers' feedback that Canyon are friendly and they treat their customers well, so they are not really a bad business. If you decide to lie more you will only be hurting yourselves, and feel free to make empty threats about suing me. Before posting this I bagged all the parts and airway bills and receipts and dropped them with a draft of the review at my lawyer's place and got the green light to post. It's time you make a choice to stand up and change direction. And to all other tackle retailer/manufacturers out there- I can't be bought, bullied, or harassed because I have honour and the power of truth. If you sell re-branded tackle as your own I will say. If you lie about where the tackle is made I will say. If you make a proprietary frame and fill it with 95% OEM Chinese parts I'll show every part from the original source. Just don't try it as long as I'm around.
Now we're done with the politics side, let's talk about the reel itself. When I spoke about it earlier this year I specifically said that my comments have nothing to do with the reel's performance a not a word was said about that performance. Now the reel has been with me for 6 months and taken as a side show whenever I went fishing or testing other gear I can speak about it. In a nutshell there isn't anything about it that isn't typical to low cost Chinese reels. The drag is pretty sticky and it becomes disruptive when you go over about 8 kg (17.6lb) of drag pressure. Cleaning and a smear of drag grease eases this up a little but the stickiness comes back quickly. The anti-reverse is quite bad indeed. It developed back play gradually and although the mechanical back up stop never had to come into action, that back play is felt as you yank your jig and it's not an assuring feel. The handle is strong and the gears held up well with good wear rate. The body developed some corrosion in the area underneath the plastic guard at the heel of the gearbox that was easily cleaned. I suggest covering the metal in that area in grease before use. Finally the line roller's finish chipped as could be seen in this photo
Not yet as bad as to cause line damage but if it develops further it would hurt.
All in all not a bad reel to use for a season or two if cared for well. If the price goes down to a reasonable $110 I would even consider it a good value for money, but at $300 no way.
I hope you've enjoyed this
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June, 28th, 2012