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Dormisch-Absi R2 reel

By Magnus Angus

Dormisch-Absi R2 reel

Made in Patagonia, Argentina. Machined from a combination of aluminium including 7075, the strongest aluminium. All but the counterweight has a matt hard-anodised finish. All surfaces and edges are machined smooth and beautifully finished.
Dramatic reel, a hub-less spool set on a canted arm. Then pick it up! At 110 grams (3.88 oz), it’s one of the lightest 5/6 reels I’ve handled.

The R2 is not a dinky little thing, the spool is wide (about 3.25” or 85mm) broad and deep enough for a WF5 or 6 line plus conventional backing, even the handle is large. The R2 looks and handles like a man-sized reel, so my head says it should weigh a couple of ounces more, but hand says not.

Dormisch-Absi warn that removing the spool for the first time can be difficult. It is. The spool fits very tightly indeed – absolutely no play whatsoever – which is good. Pulling and pushing the spool out for the first time involved some huffing and colourful language. Once the spool is extracted for the first time things get easier, the o-ring seal relaxes, leave the reel for while and back to huffing. I doubt the R2 is aimed at anglers who change spool frequently (that’s me!) if speed is an issue simply take the spool off once and changing is quick and simple.

Without the spool the body is skeletal. The spool simply plugs in to a rim, held in place by a couple of snug o-rings. The rim runs on a ball race, turn the rim and the ‘clicky’ drag clicks, heavier drag in the out direction, slightly lighter on the way in. Drag tension adjusts by turning the whole back. Drag range is not large, more a check really, it checks any hint of over-run on the way out, and puts some pressure on a running trout. The rim is fully exposed, smooth returns on the edges, perfect for palming.

The R2 features an adjustable reel foot, change the angle and tune the balance. Frankly, it’s so light it matters little, if this weighed 220 grams it would be a different matter. Compared with two top class European large arbour reels with similar line capacity –160g (5.64oz) and 190g (6.7oz) – this is a featherweight, that made for more feel and feedback from the rod.

The R2 arrived set for left-hand wind, converting to right-handed involves a few minutes with a screwdriver – not difficult and only needs done once.

Available direct from Dormisch-Absi: reels are $350 (£180) with a lifetime warranty; spare spools $175 (£90) in a choice of eleven colours. Good value for a light, stylish, functional reel and, of course, there won’t be many about. The modern minimalist design and simple functionality appeal to my tastes. I’m not a huge fan of reels that click, but since this click is part of the drag function I can learn.

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