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Shimano Breaks the Mold with the Upcoming Calcutta D

Date: 6/18/12
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Team TackleTour




Introduction: Shimano prepares to revamp their popular round reel series with the new Calcutta D which sports a brand new profile as well as a few unexpected feature additions that are designed to alter the look, feel, and overall performance of the reel. The Calcutta B and TE series have also become popular among both freshwater and saltwater anglers that prefer a more traditional round reel layout. The Calcutta D is not an evolution of these current reels, it is more of a revolution, and features a completely new design.


This ICAST Shimano will introduce the new Calcutta D

The Calcutta is one of the most popular round reel series of reels on the market, delivering a blend of performance, refinement and value as well as rock solid reliability even in harsh saltwater environments. While many would consider the Calcutta a saltwater series it actually started out as a freshwater bass reel in the early 90's with larger 300, 400, and 700 sizes only coming out in following years, ultimately progressing to the higher end CTE Series. With plenty of line capacity and a reliable Dartanium drag these reels also found popularity among big bait anglers tossing full sized swimbaits for bass or plugs for top of the food chain species like Muskies. This upcoming ICAST Shimano is preparing to introduce the new Calcutta D which is designed to combine the classic performance and reliability of the originals with a number of new enhancements in casting reel design including X-ship and X-Drag. Anglers can expect all the usual Shimano goodness like HEG gearing and the proven VBS cast control system. 

Notice the Calcutta D has no conventional drag star

The first thing that anglers will notice about the new Calcutta D is the gold finish is now replaced with a silver finish that is very similar to what we saw on the Trinidad A. Rather than expose the bare aluminum the reel is now coated with Shimano’s E.I. surface treatment which protects the reel from corrosion.

The non handle sideplate side is smaller than the handle side for weight reduction and better ergonomics 

The frame on the Calcutta D is no longer symmetrical and is now similar to the Torsa where the non-handle side is smaller than the gearbox handle side. When you look at the front of the reel you can actually see the top bar slope downwards on top of the levelwind where the non-handle side is about 15% smaller in diameter. This is all part of Shimano’s S-compact body design which allows the reel to have a smaller overall form factor making it both lighter and more ergonomic.

The top is sculpted to match the angle of the drop to the non handle side as well as provides a comfortable grip surface when palming

Like on Shimano’s spinning reels the X-Ship design delivers smoother winding power and improved rigidity both when cranking free and under load, and on baitcasters that implement this feature it also delivers the added benefit of improved freespool.

The X-Drag knob is positioned on the outside of the handle bringing the entire handle closer to the body of the reel

The Calcutta D will sport a long power handle fitted with septon grips and anglers will also notice that the drag star has been replaced with the X-Drag knob. Shimano has not yet released too many details regarding this new drag system but there are some things that we can observe. This is not just the replacement of a drag star with a drag knob, look at the actual placement of the knob, it is placed after the handle as opposed to before the handle on a traditional implementation.

The Calcutta D will make use of Shimano's E.I. finish for extra corrosion resistance

This design brings the handle closer to the body of the reel and further down the shaft which should improve rigidity by reducing lateral torque and by further minimizing wobbling in the handle to facilitate the instant transfer of cranking power. To see how this all plays out in reality and how adjustment of this system actually feels, as well as the system’s max drag pressure ratings, we will need to wait to check out the actual reels, but we like the fact that Shimano continues to find ways to innovate and differentiate through design.

The Calcutta D has a long handle ad makes use of the company's oversized Power Grips

Shimano will introduce the Calcutta D in 200, 300 and 400 sizes with 5.7:1, 5.6:1, and 5.1:1 retrieve ratios respectively. Each reel comes with a 5 bearing design (2A-RB, 2SS + 1A-RB) and will retail from $339.99 to $379.99 depending on size and model. In comparison to the current generation Calcutta TE reels the new Calcutta D reels have also managed to shave off some weight. The current Calcutta B 200 weighs 10.1oz. while the higher end Calcutta TE 200 weighs in at 10.4oz. and the larger CTE300 weighs in  at 12.5oz., compared to the new Calcutta D 200 which weighs 9.4oz. and the larger CT300D manages to come in well under 12oz. at a very impressive 11.6oz.. In terms of line capacity the new reels offer almost identical max capacities to that found in the current generation.   

The 300 size still looks compact and uses the same oversized grips from the current Calcutta CTE300

With the Calcutta D we are seeing homogenization of the company’s U.S. and JDM offerings. The original Calcutta and JDM Conquest Series reels really delivered when it came to refinement and performance and the new Calcutta D looks to do the same with an updated design that really breaks the design mold to deliver the refinement that angler’s have come to demand from the series with improved performance, ergonomics and durability. With the arrival of design elements like X-Ship and X-Drag to baitcasting the new Calcutta D is also designed to deliver both superior casting and improved drag performance for everything from largemouth to dorado. In terms of availability these reels should be available about two months after their official unveiling at ICAST, which is right around the corner in July, and e-tailers like Tackle Warehouse will start taking orders on July 11th, and we expect that product will be in stock at or around the same time.     









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