Re: "Classic" models better than "New" models?
I don't "dislike" some of the new models, but find them more specialized. For powerhouse rods I love the G Loomis NRX and Sage One, if I know that I will be nymphing , streamer fishing, or throwing big hoppers/chernobyls they are great. But, if the wind goes down and the Baetis start hatching, then it feels like those rods lack the versatility to change over to small dry flies.
With a GLX or RPL, I can get away with it without having to hike back to the truck and get a light dry fly rod (i.e. Circa, BIIIX, Whispercreek, etc.). Also, pretty tough to throw an effective Hopper/Dropper rig or streamer with one of those dry fly wands, if conditions warrant during the day.
In a particular genre, some of the new models are definite improvements, the Sage One is an improvement over the XP, in almost every way. The BIIIx is way better than any of the BII's. I tried like hell to fall in love with the Z-Axis and ZXL and the Streamdance rods, but they just don't "speak" to me. I still fish them at times, but still like the RPL, and GLX's better.
Probably is a designer thing. My first "good" rod was a Fenwick HMG designed by Don Greene, so that probably shaped my biases.