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TTPreview Article

A Step Forward, An Inside Look at the New Shimano Curado I


Date: 3/2/14
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: The Shimano Curado was first introduced in 1991 and since that time has represented Shimano’s workhorse baitcasting reel. These low profile baitcasters have certainly evolved over time, increasing in both features and refinement. Officially launched last week at the Bassmaster Classic Expo we were excited to get the reel back home and on water. We were able to get only two days on the water before California finally received some much needed rain. With the storms rolling in we kept the momentum going and headed into the lab to break down the Curado and take our first look inside the new reel.


The Curado I comes to the TT Lab. This new reel weighs in at 7.4oz. and feels solid in hand with an aluminum frame and reinforced graphite sideplates


Curado I Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 8/180, 10/155, 14/110
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 17 cubic centimeters
Retrieve Ratio
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
Weight 7.4 oz
Spool Weight 16 grams
Handle Length 84 mm
Bearings 5 S-ARB + 1 RB
Bearings per Knob 2 bushings
Tested Max Drag 15.4 lbs
Origin Made in Malaysia
MSRP $179.99


The side of the Curado I is aggressively styled, all the way from the swept handle to the angular gearbox


Looking at recent history the popular Curado “D” delivered extreme reliability while the “E” made a nice leap forward in ergonomics. For many anglers, even die-hard Shimano fans, the 2011 Curado G was a step backwards. Not only did it share the same bloated profile and similar build of materials as the lower-end Caenan, but the Curado E was painted white and introduced as the Chronarch E Series, replacing one of the best Chronarch’s to date, the D Series which felt solid and refined yet ultimately proved simply too expensive to manufacture. This opened the door for many competitors and Shimano knew they had to deliver something big with the Curado Series.


Unlike the Chronarch 150CI4+ the Curado I has a cast control dial hidden in the front of the non handle sideplate so that it is flat for palming comfort

The first thing you notice about the new Curado I is that it is no longer green. So long "Green Machine," the new reel features a silver and grey pearl finish that reminds us of the venerable Curado D, and looks right at home next to Shimano’s high-end reels including the Metanium. The Curado I also has a much more aggressive profile than the last reel, with angles that all seem to flow forward, including the enlarged gearbox. Even the SVS infinity cast control knob is placed strategically in front of the non-handle sideplate, making it possible to make adjustments while still palming the reel.


Under the "Escape Hatch" we find the SVS Infinity cast control system

Accessing the Curado’s spool has never been easier, and we were excited to discover that Shimano gave the Curado I a flip down sideplate called the “Escape Hatch.” Simply flip the switch positioned on the underside of the reel forward and the spring loaded non-handle sideplate will pop out and downwards, revealing the spool and inner workings of the cast control system. This eliminates the risk of accidentally dropping the sideplate in the field, but thanks to the externally adjustable SVS cast control system there is also now much less reason to access the spool in general.


The non handle sideplate remains attached at all times

The SVS Infinity Cast Control blends the reliability and consistency of a centrifugal casting system with an easy to adjust external control. The swinging brake weights are positioned on the end of the spool and adjustments on the control dial place additional friction on the system during the cast, controlling spool speed efficiently during each cast, functioning similarly to the systems found on the premium Metanium and Antares baitcasters.


The drag star is made out of aluminum and houses a reliable spring loaded audible clicker


Our initial thoughts on the system are very positive, and we found it was easy to make adjustments to fine-tune for casting everything from deep diving cranks to weightless rigged plastics. The small numbers, one through six which are found on the dial, provide a good visual indicator of the current setting. There isn't more resistance placed on the dial the further you adjust as rotation only moves the brake pipe forwards and backwards via the gear system that is concealed within the non-handle sideplate.


An inside look at the new Curado I reveals the small toothed gearing

Not only is the system easy to adjust on the fly but it allows for very long distance casts when dialed back, as well as very easy to control pitches when more precision is required. X-Ship also plays a factor here as bearings support the pinion gear on both ends, helping to maintain proper alignment with the drive gear and reduce friction between the spool shaft and gearing. An added benefit to this design is that the gears stay in the same position under pressure, delivering a smooth powerful feel, similarly to how the design works on the Company’s big game Calcutta and Tranx reels.


The Curado I's S3D spool features thinner more consistent walls to improve balance and reduce vibration


Next Section: A look at the "Cross Carbon Drag"









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