This is for sure the case amidst not only the fly fishing industry but every industry.....look at cars...is this years version with minor changes, maybe even cosmetic/aesthetic and a few moved switches and dials and a color change all that different from last years? AND....even if something is a complete remodel...is it necessarily better than it's predecessor - sometimes maybe - but often not the case. I have had pickups from the same brand and in many cases the older versions were superior to the new versions in almost all aspects. BUT...new designs are meant to enhance user experience and as such are hyped to be "latest and greatest" always has been and always will be to sell product....it's interesting too that consumers brought this on themselves...they always expect newer, bigger, better, stronger, faster....demand it....more style...more current....more, more....makers must produce to meet this demand and expectation.....imagine if consumers were just totally happy and satisfied with a product and expected no more ever.....heck, even 75 year old toothpaste brands keep introducing new whitening, flavorings, better this and that's....some people just brushed their teeth for 50 years with it contently. To this point, I have often wondered....why do makers keep these new intro products coming....and arguably the answer is always new tech....new insights...new style...new science....new whatever.....but really isn't it simply to keep up with the Joneses'.....stay competitive among their competition....?? Stay in front of consumers ? Ironically, our sport could be different...and it somewhat is....bamboo for instance.....there is no new science (to my knowledge) and likely never will be in bamboo....they are still selling the same tapers and same construction as they did 50+ years ago....makers didn't release anything new every few years....they haven't changed their standard line of products ever....oh maybe a new cosmetic or or an extra side to a hex....but same exact process and material.....still selling, just the same as it was 50 years ago. Meanwhile, carbon tech, weave, material science, resins, taper design, all continue to "play" with the material for moderate at best, if not microscopic changes with each introduction....I subscribe that the rods today are so far advanced that until they develop self casting rods....there are very limited changes available for improvement.....I do not expect to see any groundbreaking, game changing, introductions happen in my lifetime....better rods overall today than once were? Absolutely. An embarrassment of riches in choices for specialized usage? Yup. Game changing....year to year? Nope. Realistically, every seasoned angler on the planet could productively fish their rods of choice from yesterday or today for the rest of their days and be perfectly fine....never likely change the outcome of their enjoyment or fishing satisfaction....but, as humans, we have the innate desire to advance...to progress....to more....it's the demand of "more". I like to experience new stuff too....but is it always better....or just different? Rods, I have found, are usually more different...than better....relative of course....but specialized by intended usage and incremental in advancements....they simply become ANOTHER good fly rod......nobody is going to discover fire or electricity in the fly rod space. Tom Morgan may have been on to something when he said a good fly rod will always be a good fly rod. Luckily for us, there are plenty of good fly rods out there, decades of them,....and, they continue to produce "more".Prudent approach. I am excited by the Centric reviews, as I was by the Radian reviews. Two things sold me on the Radian. One, I saw a customer review of the Radian model in which I was interested, on the TA site, and it was heaping praise on the rod. Two, I cast that same model, and I was hooked (a little fishing pun, there).
There is a lot of hyperbole when a new rod series launches from certain manufacturers. I think it takes some time for the consumers to sort out which are the best models; the cream will rise to the top, and as a group we will figure out which models are best. And, of course, in spite of all that, sometimes even the agreed upon stars of a series won't do it for you, which is why it's best to know yourself and your preferences, and view the fly shop reviews through your own filter.
As an example of the Radian and popular models, the 905 and 906 were kind of the stars of that series in reviews, but the 1004 proved to be very popular with consumers, though not as much talked about.
EDIT: And another thing...
Sometimes when a new rod series comes out, I have a hard time differentiating between words that are actually written about the rod, and words that are written for the aggrandizement of the reviewer. I think some shops try to "out-prose" the others; it's more the reviewer coming off as more sophisticated than the next guy, and it leads to overstatements about the rods. I mean, seriously, is the Centric 906 that much better than the Radian 906? That Radian 906 is a pretty damn good rod, had a production run of 7 years, and was still highly regarded and sought after by the public. I think that many fly shops and reviewers, in attempting to come off as more authoritative, inflate the actual attributes of the rod. As a for instance, go back and look at rod reviews from 20 years ago. You'll see some of the exact same phrases applied then as you do now. If you just go by the language and the hyperbole attending some of these rod introductions, there have been no actual improvements to fly rods in at least the last two decades. We didn't suddenly start being able to place a fly in a teacup at 50'; that's been going on since the turn of the century.