Lew’s KVD Review

Baitstick Score
Product
Performance
Price
8
IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE….

The Lew’s KVD reel is a solid choice from the range of spinning reels on the market today. The KVD offers some of the best features and value that Lew’s has to offer while remaining at a price still below $100. The aluminum construction of the reel makes it a good investment for the money, and it performed well in our testing.

The KVD is part of a group of reels from Lew’s priced just below the $100 mark and in some ways it can be hard to differentiate the KVD within the Lew’s product line up in this price range.

Still, the KVD is a good performer and one that should not disappoint anglers, whether someone new to fishing looking for a higher performing reel below $100 or a more experienced angler looking for a solid investment to add to the arsenal.

Baitstick Pros:

Well built reel, aluminum construction

10 bearings make this a very fluid smooth retrieving reel

Good casting range

Good value for less than $100

Named in honor of Kevin Van Dam and anything named Van Dam packs a punch

Baitstick Cons:

Not a tremendous difference with the KVD in a few areas from other sub-$100 reels from Lew’s

KVD is about $10 more than the Mach Crush but has one less bearing inside the reel, 10 bearings for the KVD versus 11 bearings in the Mach Crush. Higher bearing count doesn’t necessarily make a better reel but the bearing difference also doesn’t help clarify the value in a higher priced product.

Overall…

The KVD fared well in Baitstick testing and is a reel that will fit well into an angler’s rotation or as a stand alone day-to-day workhorse. In situations as the single go-to reel, the price point of the KVD makes it a reel that should be expected to last several years if taken care of properly and cleaned regularly.

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Line Capacity* (lbs)8/120 - 12/190
Gear Ratio6.2:1
Weight* (oz)8.6 - 9.8
Number of Bearings10
Additional FeaturesAluminum body and sideplate and C40 carbon rotor Stainless steel main shaft with brass pinion gear Adjustable aluminum handle
OriginChina
MSRP$89.99
*Depending on Model

Inside the retail box, an angler will find the KVD reel inside a clear plastic bag. But that’s all that was inside the retail box purchased by Baitstick. There was no printed manual, no parts diagram, and no spare spool. There was also no apparent box inserts or padding for the reel to be kept in place and to prevent it from sliding inside the box during shipping from the Lew’s manufacturing facility in China.

Once out of the box, the Lew’s KVD created a good first impression, looking sturdy and solid with first handling. The first couple of turns of the crank on the handle were impressively smooth. The bail was fairly quiet and easy to flip as would be expected with a factory fresh product.

In order to enjoy a day of fishing on the water with the KVD it is necessary to tighten the drag and reel handle at the attach point, as well as add preferred line to the spool.

Field Testing the KVD

During field testing of the KVD, Baitstick found the reel to perform well and at the expected levels for the price of the reel and value promoted by Lew’s. The KVD performed well with the casting performance assessment and showed good catching range, comfortably casting an ⅛ ounce jig 50 yards with braid. With the retrieve performance assessment, the KVD’s 10 bearing-based mechanics showed a fluid smooth retrieving reel and showed good line lay upon retrieve. And the KVD has a well designed and comfortable handle. During the drag performance assessment, Baitstick found it easy to adjust the KVD’s drag, placed as expected on top of the spool. The drag performed without issue under different line pressure, both with slow and steady pulling on the line and with explosive jerks of line during fishing.

KVD in Comparison to Other Sub-$100 Reels from Lew’s

The KVD is part of Lew’s gameplan to expand its product line up with higher-end performance, while keeping affordability part of the overall value from the company. The KVD’s price of just under $89 is meant to keep the reel price still below the $100 boundary that many anglers hold as a limit of how much should be spent for a quality reel.

The release of the KVD is timed with the introduction of the Mach Crush reel priced even more closely to, but still below, the $100 mark. The two reels together fall into a price lineup that also includes the Customer Speed Spin also just below $100 and the Mach 2 priced at $80. With four reels filling up the space between $80 - $100, anglers may find the Lew’s lineup to be somewhat crowded and wonder where the KVD value falls in the mix.

The good news is that the KVD shares much of the advanced feature value that Lew’s has put into the reels at the premium end of its broader product lineup. The KVD shares the aluminum body construction of all the reels in the $80 - $100 price range. It also shares the C40 carbon material for the rotor construction (though the Custom Speed reel has a rotor made of C60 carbon). In addition, the KVD along with the Mach Crush and Mach 2, has internal gear and shaft components made from a mix of aluminum and brass components, while the Custom Speed reel has all aluminum core gear and shaft material.

The KVD shares several other features with the reels priced $10 above it and $10 below its $90 price point. The KVD shares the 6:2:1 gear configuration of the Mach Crush (<$100) and the Mach 2 (<$80), as well as the monofilament line capacity of 8/120 - 12/190 pound/yards depending on the model selected. Compared to the Mach Crush, the KVD shares a similar total weight range depending on models selected. All products share Lew’s one year limited warranty.

The KVD separates itself, however, from other Lew’s reels, with slightly higher ranges for recovery per turn on retrieval over the lower priced Mach 2 (31-35” versus 30-35” depending on the KVD model chosen). In addition, the KVD has a different max drag range of 14 - 18 pounds versus 8 - 18 pounds for the Mach 2 depending on the models selected.

There are differences between the KVD and the higher priced Mach Crush. The KVD has one less bearing in its internal design, with 10 total bearings for the KVD versus 11bearings for the Mach Crush. The KVD also lacks the sealed carbon multi-disc drag offered with the Mach Crush.

With all of the similarities across Lew’s products - yet some clear features separating closely priced products - the question still remains where the KVD stands as a unique value for customers choosing between the different models.

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LEW'S SPINNING REEL MODEL COMPARISON
 Custom Speed
Spin Series
Mach Crush
Spinning Series
KVD
Spinning Series
Mach 2
Spinning Reel*
New ModelNoYesYesNo
Price$99.99$99.99$88.99$79.99
Body MaterialAluminumAluminumAluminumAluminum
Roto MaterialC60 CarbonC40 CarbonC40 CarbonC40 Carbon
Gear & Shaft MaterialAluminumAluminum & BrassAluminum & BrassAluminum & Brass
Gears5.2:1 – 6.2:16.2:16.2:16.2:1
Bearings10111010
MONO/LINE CAPACITY6/90 – 12/1908/120 – 12/1908/120 – 12/1908/120 – 12/190
Weight* (oz)7.5 – 10.48.6 – 9.88.6 – 9.86.9 – 9.9
Max Drag*8 – 2414 – 1814 – 188 – 18
Recovery per turn*25 – 37”31 – 35”31 – 35”30 – 35”
DRAGSealed Carbon Multi-DiscSealed Carbon Multi-DiscDuraMax™ Drag SystemDuraMax™ Drag System
Warranty1 Year Limited1 Year Limited1 Year Limited1 Year Limited

The Takeaway

The KVD is a solid choice for a new angler looking to make an investment in fishing and buying a reel that can support different fishing in different locations. For more experienced anglers looking to add to their line up, the KVD represents a reliable go-to addition and a reel that can be pushed into heavier daily use. Paired with a quality rod, the KVD and it’s sub-$100 price enables the reel to be a part of a rod-reel combination that can go quite far in meeting the value found in higher priced reels and combos. As with anything, the care and cleaning will extend the life of the product and heavily determine if the KVD lasts only a couple of seasons with heavy use or is capable of helping anglers over years to come.