Steez, Daiwa Japan's New Flagship Low Profile Baitcaster
You can be certain that I
will disassemble, clean and re-lube a new enthusiast reel shortly after using it
a couple of times on the water, and my new Daiwa Japan Steez baitcasters
were no exception. I not only wanted to convert the reels over to my favorite
reel oil/grease, but was also curious about major changes and improvements that
had been made in the design and construction of the reel. The fact that Daiwa
has introduced the reel in the US (and other markets) also has some very
interesting possibilities. Daiwa USA will eventually carry replacement parts,
and I wanted to get an early start at identifying component compatibility with
other low profile models. So, here is an inside look of the new Daiwa Steez.
Time to take a detailed look
inside the Daiwa Steez
Steez and TD-Z spools both have an outside edge diameter of approximately 34.0
mm and are approximately 25.3 mm tall (and by comparison the Alpha ito spool is
only 32.8 mm in diameter.) The spool is made from A7075 Aluminum Alloy, which
allows it to spin-up very quickly.
After an email with Cal, I
could no longer resist the temptation to put the Steez spool into a TD-Z103ML
and make a few test casts. In general, the Steez spool casts much better than
the stock TD-Z spool fitted with ZPI SIC ceramic hybrid bearings, which was
quite impressive. In addition, I also quickly noticed some of the braking
effects of the ito tuning on the spool, when casting into a cross-wind. (Brake
and spool tension controls worked very well, and adjustments were not critical
at all while casting my ¼ oz test weight. I intend to continue testing this
potential TD-Z upgrade in the future.)
The tapered +R inductor
sticks out approximately 2 mm further on the Steez spool, than it does on the
TD-Z spool when retracted. In addition, the brake magnets in the palm plate of
the Steez are much thinner and are a little further apart than those on the TD-Z
palm plate. My mind began to race, as I was already thinking of the
possibilities of Daiwa stocking spare Steez spools with the introduction of the
Steez to the US market.
Spool and inductor (left) and Steez Spool and inductor (right)
There has been some
discussion on the forum about the amount of line that can be spooled on the
Steez. So, I spooled the reel with 8# Trilene XL (.010” average diameter), and
then measured how much line it held (when filled per the Daiwa diagram). I
measured that the spool held 128 yards of the XL, which is almost identical to
what my stock TD-Z 103ML spool held. Next, I spooled another Steez with 8#
PLine CX Premium (.009” average diameter) and measured the line it held at 143
yards, which is also identical to what another stock TD-Z spool held. (I spooled my last Steez with 125 yards of 14# Shooter.)
The inductor and magnets
in the brake are not the only changes related to the spool. The Steez palm
plate spool bearing is 3x10x4 mm, which is different than the vast majority of
the other Daiwa low profile reels (which are 3x8x4 mm). The larger bearing size
should improve overall spool performance while casting and cranking under load. The bearing retainer size was increased to accommodate the larger bearing. The
bearing mounted on the handle side of the Steez spool is still 5x11x4 mm, which
is the same size as the majority of the other Daiwa low profile reels.
of TD-Z Spool (left), Steez (middle) and Alpha ito (right
The Frame: The
Steez “super metal” magnesium frame and handle side plate are noticeably lighter
and smaller than the TD-Z, and I did not measure their actual weight for
comparison. However, there were several significant differences that I observed
on the frame components (and their configuration), when compared to the TD-Z and
other Daiwa reels:
Plate with Spool Bearing (left) Compared to TD-Z Bearing (right
The Drive Shaft Retainer mounted to the frame now has two (2) tabs that keep
the Yoke Plate in position when disengaging/reengaging the reel. This is a
notable addition, since the extra tab helps maintain Yoke Plate alignment
during rotation (especially with the increased force on the Yoke Plate from
the Yoke Plate Spring) and ensures the bearing beneath the plate remains
rigidly fit in its socket. In addition, the extra tab will also help during
reel reassembly, while mounting the Clutch Cam Spring.
The “blind hole” in the frame for mounting one side of the Clutch Cam Spring
has been made deeper and more robust, which is similar to the configuration
of the Big Bait Special. However, it is also a lot harder to remount the
spring during reassembly, due to a heavier spring force.
The Yoke is slightly bigger and heavier and it appears to be similar to that
used in the Big Bait Special.
The Drive Shaft appears to be made from the same material as the Alphas F,
which has proven to be extremely light and robust. (Additional shaft and
configuration changes are described later.
The configuration of the Yoke Plate, Clutch Trip Plate, and Drive Shaft
Retainer is slightly different from the TD-Z. In general, they are not
quite as large, but still seem to be well mounted and as thick as those used
in the TD-Z. I was left with the impression that the moving parts on the
Steez frame positioned and mated even better than the TD-Z, especially after
removing the factory lube and replacing it with Hot Sauce grease. In
addition, the fairly open design seems like it will be very easy to add lube
to the reel during a mid-season mini-lube.
Handle Side of Frame
There have been two other
configuration changes on the Drive Shaft that are of major benefit:
The new shaft fits
through the Drive Shaft Retainer that is mounted to the frame, instead of
being slid into a slot in the retainer. This change obviously supports the
shaft and retains the lower bearing better, and provides for smoother
cranking performance by maintaining better alignment on the lower end of the
shaft (drive and pinion gear alignment).
The end of the shaft is
also e-clipped to the Shaft Bearing (Ball Bearing D) while mounted into the
frame, which eliminates any lateral (in/out) play on the shaft. The lower
bearing is still the same size as the other Daiwa low profile reels.
However, the new clipped bearing configuration does have a downside, and
that is the e-clip that is installed on the end of the shaft is somewhat
difficult to remove. You must be careful not to damage the outer race of
the bearing even though it is protected by a washer under the e-clip.
Inside the Steez continued