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Rod Guides Question

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So I was checking out some rods I just bought and someone mentioned that some rod guides can be over 100 dollars and it got me thinking. What are the types of guides and what benefits do some have over others? does it increase sensitivity?

I read weight saving is a huge part of the deal and also the design of the guide can improve casting distance. So my question is aimed towards the ring material. I am sure longevity is contemplated but then again why would someone prefer to put SiC guides if AlumOx can get the job done? if possible could someone put a list or link me to one where the guides are listed in better to worst or vice versa or just explain what benefits one has over the other?

Part of the reason I got so interested is I just purchased an okuma flipping stick and it caught my attention that the guides are AlumOx, my other rods have zirconium and are not as expensive as the okuma one. Thanks. 

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First guides can cost as much as pennies to many dollars.  Durability and cost of materials can make up some of the differences.  Also sometimes the difference is not so much the quality as the name the manufacturer gives it. One brand name may be no more or less durable than another brands offering.  Weight can equate to sturdiness, but obviously a single foot guide will need to be made of stronger material than a dual foot one. That does not mean it is any stronger or heavier overall.  Also some guides have inserts that are more durable in order to accommodate using  braid which can be more abrasive to a guides surface. Sometimes perceived quality is just marketing. And then you have the other end of the spectrum.  My custom rod builder showed me a set of guides the other day that were 'holographic" the ring actually worked like a prism changing from greens to purples to who knows what else. I guarantee he spent more money on those guides than the high quality rod blank he put them on!! Seriously if he had not shown them to me I would have never believed they existed.  I hope a rod builder will stop in and give you some more specifics.

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All moden ceramic inserts from reputable companies will hold up to any of the lines used for bass fishing today.  The metal inserts,  not so much.  Each company calls their ceramics by different names.  Hardloy, Aluminum Oxide, Nanolite, Duralite, Alconite, Zirconia, SiC, Torzite, Gold Cermet.  Many of the above mentioned are one version or another of AluminumOxide.   The differences in them are hardness, slickness and density or weight.  Some are stronger and the rings can be made thinner, therefore reducing the weight.  Just as an example: Alconite rings can be made thinner than SiC, therefore the same sized ring will weigh less, however,  the SiC ring is harder and slicker. Torzite rings can be made even thinner to the point you can actually go one size smallet than you would if you were using SiC.

Cost if the guide is driven by frame material, frame finish and ring material.  Frames are made of either stainless steel or a titanium alloy.  Frame finish can be as simple as polished SS or black paint or, as mentioned above, a chemical holographic finish, chrome plating to TiChrome.  The Titanium alloy frames typcally have no additional finish added.  The titanium frames shine when trying to reduce weight or you need a corrosion proof guidefor saltwater use. 

 

Hope this was coherent as I tend to ramble at times.

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So in short, I really shouldn't worry about the guides that much these days? I guess the companies that put the nicer stuff on their rods are trying to compete for pennies when it comes to performance. Thanks yall.

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The only guides I take offense to are the ones with metal rings.   Fenwick/Abu/Berkley uses lots of that style.  The guide of most concern for wear is the tip.  I've replaced many many SS ringed tips due to grooving.  The only time you have to be concerned with a ceramic grooving is if the ring gets cracked.  Then it will usually just fall out and requires guide replacement. 

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In my experience with most grades of guides with braid, which is tougher on guides than mono or FC, it is rare for any guide to groove.  But it is not rare for tiptops to groove, which is why I always use SIC, Alconite, or zirconium for tiptops.  I would use all SIC, but in some cases you cannot get the model, finish, or size that you want in SIC.

One aspect not yet explained is that the lighter the guides on  a rod, especially on the tip, the more sensitive the rod will be.  It is not that some materials are more sensitive than others, it's simply that lighter means more sensitive. Period.  It happens that many of the lighter materials are more expensive, like titanium used in frames.  You've probably seen micro guides, guides that have inner ring diameters of a few millimeters.  The reason for this is twofold.  First, small is light, so they are good for sensitivity.  Second, some believe that with the right height of guide, and a very small ID, the line gets controlled quicker and casts farther.

Also, not all titanium guides are created equal.  While Fujis and Alps are just about indestructible, there is a brand whose titanium A frame spin guides are almost fragile.

Interestingly, you can sink well over  a hundred dollars in a full set of spinning guides, Fuji Torzite to be exact.  Are they that much better than the more normal ~ $50 for a set of titanium Alconites?  I personally don't think so.

Another interesting thing is that most factory rods have a lot of sizes of guides, getting progressively smaller as you go out to the tip.  It has been found that that is not the best setup for guides for weight (sensitivity) or casting distance.  The best way is to have only about 3 guides getting progressively smaller, (spinning rod) then have the rest of the guides the same, small , size out to the end,  Why do factories keep doing it in a less efficient way?  Because they feel that customers expect the guide train to look like that and would not as likely buy what might be counterintuitive to some.  

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