I have two samples of the XKR in front of me, 5/6/7 and 7/8/9, as far as I can see these are identical, but for their size. Pretty reels which, the makers say, are ‘triple anodised.’ I’m not sure how that works, but work it does. I see touches of gold inside the holes on the rim, in the cut-outs on the spokes, lifting the visual impact – the effect is very attractive indeed, and applied with a light, tasteful touch!
The XKR uses a captive-nut to link spool to body. That method of attaching is very secure and allows little or no play between the spool and body. The body is half-frame and fits into the rim of the spool top and bottom, so the rim of the spool is fully exposed. Under very heavy stress half-frame reels can flex and cause the spool to run on the body – I can’t make this reel flex at all.
Inside the large arbour spool, Sonik has specified a shallow vee section, wind backing on there and it fills the vee from the centre – so there’s less tendency for crossed loops and tangles in the backing. The line channel is fairly deep but looks to me like that vee could have been deeper.
On the outside, there’s a large, metal drag-knob on the back, and a good-sized metal handle on the spool. The spool is counterbalanced conventionally by a fairly tall weight attached opposite the handle. Under the ‘bonnet’ a small one-way bearing acts as a clutch, engaging a smooth disc-drag when line goes out and allowing the spool to spin freely when line comes in. The XKR clicks nicely in the outward direction, and is silent on winding in. Changing drag direction is easy: undo a nut and turn over the bearing.
At 216g (7.6oz) the 7/8/9 reel is a middle-weight reel for an #8 line, slightly heavy for a #7, fine for a #9. Personally, I’d class this as an #8/9 reel. That said, this could come in handy on the butt of a short, double-handed rod, a Switch rod perhaps, so then maybe that #7 rating might make sense.
The 5/6/7 model weighs in at 191g (6.7oz), which is too heavy for a modern single-handed #5 rod; the way I like a rod balanced, that weight might be OK on a 10ft #7 rod, and the line capacity seems to suit a #7 line more than the lower line-sizes – unless you have a very generous supply of backing!
The drag seems to be reasonably well covered and these are well anodised – in freshwater these should be long-lasting, practical reels and should stand up to light saltwater fishing. Attractive reels, nicely made and finished.
Price: #5/6/7 – £129.99
#7/8/9 - £134.99
From: Sonik stockists.