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Enthusiast Review


 

The Thoroughly Capable, If Somewhat Uninspiring New Alphas

 

Date: 3/25/21
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 7.75 - GOOD

Introduction:
At the end of January 2021, we shared a preview of Daiwa Japan's new, Alphas SV TW 800. In that article, we took a detailed look in to the differences between this latest refresh and the original, purple powerhouse. Since that preview, I've had time to fish this reel to discover just how well the updated platform holds up and whether it answers the call to its legacy as the original Scorpion killer.

 

Daiwa Alphas SV TW 800 Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 0.285 (10lb) / 90m (110yds)
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 10.4 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
7.1
8.1
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
15 - 28
17 - 32
Weight (measured) 5.93 oz
Spool Weight (measured) 12.1 g
Handle Length 85 mm
Bearings 7+1
Bearings per Knob 2 bushings
Rated Max Drag 10 lbs
Origin Made in Thailand
MSRP 32,300 JPY (~$311)


Time for a closer look at Daiwa's new Alphas SV TW 800/801

Impressions: I referenced the Alphas's legacy as the "Scorpion Killer" because before Daiwa Japan debuted the original in 2004, Shimano's Scorpion 1000/1001 reigned supreme in its price point and category. It was in the JDM market, what the Curado was and has become here in the US and Daiwa did not have an answer. There wasn't even a JDM equivalent of the TD Advantage, or at least one that made enough noise for burgeoning Enthusiasts to pay attention. When the Alphas finally made its debut, it of course compared favorably against the Scorpion, but Shimano still won on price point. Nonetheless, what made the original Alphas so compelling was its excellent ergonomics as well as top flight performance across a range of lure weights and applications.

 


Roughly the same size as the original, there are some tweaks and adjustments as highlighted in our preview article published late January

 

This refreshed, TW line guide enabled Alphas is roughly the same size as the original with some tweaks and adjustments highlighted in the afore mentioned preview article. These differences are enough to make it rather obvious this is a brand new reel from the ground up. To be honest, although I'm happy about the original platform's longevity, given how quickly product is overhauled and refreshed these days, I'm surprised the platform's original shape endured for as long as it did.

 


What's lacking for me in this revamped Alphas is the enthusiast appeal of the original

 

Changes to the reel's shape aside, what's missing in this refresh is that enthusiast appeal. Perhaps it's the fact Daiwa chose to give it a somewhat plain and unassuming finish. We've seen the Alphas in a full array of colors including the fun scheme of the short lived USDM incarnation, TD Sol. This new TW SV 800 is presented in a kind of ho-hum silver that misses out on the spirit of the line's history. Certainly there are more important things than a reel's finish. That's why we put tackle to the test out on the water.


Winter doldrums saw me wrapping a few rods to stay creative and experimenting with some outside the tackle box ideas like triggerless and gripless casting rods

Real World Tests: I spooled it up with some 8lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon for some real world action on board two different rods: Kistler's 2021 Helium HE701ML and a North Fork Composites X-Ray 722L blank I wrapped myself. I had no real purpose behind wrapping that NFC blank other than to have something to do over the Winter and see how light I could make the rod. I put it together with the bare minimum of materials using a split spinning reel seat (so the rod has no trigger), a grip only at the butt section to finish the end of the rod, and spiral wrapped Fuji titanium framed, SiC guides. For a grip behind the reel seat, I simply used some pigmented epoxy over the blank to create a decorative design and give the blank a degree of protection. Total weight of the build is three ounces (3oz) even.


I also paired the Alphas with my HE701ML


Getting down to business

Casting: From HLC to BFS tunes, Daiwa Japan is certainly not shy about its affinity for offering variants on all their reel platforms. This latest Alphas SV TW 800, however, is a general purpose reel. It is compact in size, yes, but made for everyday duty. So I fished this reel with everything from small jigs to small and medium sized cranks to standard sized jerkbaits (think Vision OneTen).


Daiwa now conceals that original, signature brake adjustment dial

This new Alphas may not benefit from the "SV Boost" technology found in the reel's latest siblings, the 2021 Zillion and Limited Edition Steez reels, but Daiwa's standard SV system is no slouch. This reel is a very capable caster and can go down as low as one quarter of an ounce in total lure weight. So if you don't mind the larger capacity spool, the Alphas SV TW 800 can pull some finesse-like duty as well. Case in point, I managed to fish a ned rig quite easily with this reel on the NFC 722L.


Yes, Daiwa overplays the use of "Hyper" in their new design and engineering enhancements, but many of the effects are actually tangible

Retrieve: The big news for Alphas in the retrieve column is its new, 8.1:1 retrieve ratio. This ratio is quickly becoming the new defacto standard in ways 7.4:1 never could. Perhaps it has something to do with 8 being a lucky number in some cultures, or the fact the number 8 represents creation and new beginnings in some religions. Whatever the case may be, 9 and 10 point-something gear ratios are already being offered, so if speed is your game, apparently 8 is not enough.


Thanks to the 8.1:1 retrieve, I was able to catch up to this crazy rainbow that attacked my ned rig

For the Alphas, 8 is plenty and a really good ratio given the relatively small size of the reel. That extra amount of line pickup actually feels just right. Daiwa doesn't mess around either because that internal, Hyper Drive enabled gear on the new Alphas is brass and delivers very smooth performance. I'm sure the 7.1 ratio of this reel is just as useful and smooth, but of course, I only fished the one. I'm pretty sure all my original Alphas were something in the 5.8:1 range and certainly none of them were over 6.8:1.


The new Alphas comes standard with an 85mm handle

Next Section: Still a powerhouse of a little reel?

 

   

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