I have always said that a rod is a rod is a rod. The Reaver is the exception. The design of the Reaver has to be applauded. I thought Cork would never be replaced but the shape and contour of the handle is both comfortable and practical. I don't know what it's made from but nymphs bouncing on the river bed are easily detected with takes vibrating up your arm. The first guide is located just 7 inches from the handle insuring mono doesn't cling to the rod in wet conditions, it also makes it easier to catch and control the line when a fish takes. I used this rod today in very windy conditions. Line was easily controlled using two 2.5mm beads. I must say it was a bold but calculated move by the Syndicate team to change the appearance and design of such a simple tool that has been the same for hundreds of years. The Syndicate Reaver will be casting my nymphs for years to come.