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Catching Some AIR, Bearings with HedgeHog Studio


Date: 2/10/13
Tackle Type: Bearings
Manufacturer: HedgeHog Studio
Reviewer: Cal






Few topics fuel the collective curiosity of our superTTuning crowd as fervently as the discussion of bearings. Despite the fact many of today’s reels come equipped with adequate enough components to get our casting and retrieving duties done, the term “good enough” is rarely adequate amongst our readership.

Few topics fuel the collective curiosity of our superTTuning crowd as fervently as the discussion of bearings.

From our early tuning recommendations of Office of ZPI’s SiC ceramic bearings to the noisy TG Rocket Bearings, to the current popular brand, Boca, most options for today’s superTTuners are pretty much straight up replacements promising better performance through higher tolerances and more free rolling materials. What else can they do? A bearing is a bearing, right? Maybe not.

A recent introduction by Hedgehog Studio is what they are calling their “Air Bearing”.

New from where else? Japan, is a company by the name of Hedgehog Studio. They follow in the same vein as Office ZPI designing, manufacturing, and selling superTTune parts for your reels. A recent introduction by this company is what they are calling their “Air Bearing” – a slightly different take on bearing design built primarily with the finesse angler in mind.

Air bearings feature micro-balls.

What makes a bearing for a standard reel different from one tuned for finesse? Well, Hedgehog Studio has developed a specialized, high precision housing to encase micro sized, ceramic balls based on the theory that smaller balls have a lower start up inertia therefore making it easier to cast lighter weight lures.

Installed in a Chronarch 201E5 and checking out how loud these bearings are... not bad.

If this is the case, why haven’t we heard about other designs from other companies prior to Hedgehog Studio’s Air Bearings? Well, they may very well be out there, but one of the downfalls of such a design is durability. While bearings of this design perform well with lighter weight lures, standard and even heavier duty presentations tend to tear them up. Hedgehog Studio, by sourcing materials and manufacturing local to them in Japan, claim to have resolved this issue. These bearings are of such high precision Hedgehog Studio states you can even run them dry.

HedgeHog Studio claims you can run these bearings dry, but we like to lubricate.

Hedgehog Studio sells these bearings in kits packaged especially for your Shimano or Daiwa reels. The list of compatible reels is long and in March of 2013, they will be adding sizes compatible with Abu Garcia reels as well. Each kit contains two bearings (one for each side of the spool) and they sell for close to fifty dollars ($50) a set.

HedgeHog Studio has their own brand of lubricant, Alchemy Oil.

Need a spool in removal tool? HedgeHog Studio's take reminds us of a chain tool for a bicycle.

Also available through Hedgehog Studio is a pin tool to facilitate removal of the holding pin on many reels’ spool shafts, and their own lubricant specially formulated for fishing reels, Alchemy oil. These sell for $50.50 and $27 respectively.

HedgeHog Studio AIR Bearing Kits

Kit Specification Compatible Reels
AIR Bearing Shimano 1030&1030 Kit Aldebaran Mg, Calcutta, Antares, Scorpion 1000XT, 1500XT, Metanium Mg
AIR Bearing Shimano 1030&830 Kit Aldebaran BFS XG, Calcutta 50 series, Stephano
AIR Bearing Daiwa 1030&830 Kit Pixy PX68, PX69XPR, TD Zillion JDream/HLC/PE Special, Millionaire Ringa HLS/SSS
AIR Bearing Abu Garcia Coming March 2013

On our initial free spool tests we went from 8 seconds of spin on our stock Chronarch 201E7 to 16 seconds on our Air Bearing equipped Chronarch 201E5! Does that peak your interest? Can’t wait to get your hands on these bearings? Although the Air Bearings are not yet listed on their site, our friends at JapanTackle.com carry the HedgeHog Studio product. Another option is to simply go direct by emailing the company at supportcenter@hedgehogstudio.com.









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