I used to be an Abu guy, used the 5500, 6500, and the 7000, along with their spinning reels. Personally, I don't even look at the casting reels anymore. Too many maintenance issues with them.
Everyone is always talking about how much they are a "quality" reel, yet I see 10 times the amount of threads on how to repair or replace parts on Abu reels than all other companies combined. Scroll through the reel section and see what I mean. Bent spools, bent frames, broken pawls, broken worm gears, broken feet, etc. Search on the site for repairing Abu reels and see how many results you get. News flash, it's not because Abu sells THAT many more reels than other companies do.
Abu round reels are a good reel for the recreational fisherman. They'll catch big fish. Most any reel will. They are NOT good reels for hardcore fisherman that have high demands on their equipment. Just my honest opinion.
Spending $75-$150 on a reel and then spending another $50 to put better bearings and a better drag in it before you even hit the water is is pointless to me. Buy a $150 or $200 reel in the first place and be that much ahead.
How many threads are there on repairing Shimano or Daiwa reels? How about Avet or Okuma? I don't know if I've seen one honestly. And for the Penn haters, well, there are hardly any threads on the repairs for them....
Shimano and Daiwa get my FIRST look EVERY time I'm shopping for reels. Never had a reel from either company fail me in any way, or need to be "refurbished" every few years from wear and tear.
That's definitely NOT something I can say about Abu Garcia.