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Reel Review


How Low Can Daiwa Go? The Refreshed AIRD Baitcaster

 

Date: 3/29/15
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 7.72 - BEST VALUE AWARD!

Introduction:
In October of 2013, we wrote about a surprising little cost conscious reel from Daiwa called the Exceler. This $99.99 reel was a very solid performer and a welcome introduction from a company perceived to only truly care about high end product. Well, Daiwa is attacking that perception and price point once again with a brand new introduction priced even lower than the Exceler. Here's our take on the re-imaged Daiwa AIRD 100.

 

Daiwa AIRD 100HSA/HSLA Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 12/120 : 14/100
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 15 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
6.3:1
7.1:1
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
14" - 27"
16" - 30"
Weight 7.5 oz
Spool Weight 23 g
Handle Length 90 mm
Bearings 9+1
Bearings per Knob One bearing, one bushing
Levelwind Bearings None
Tested Max Drag ~8.63lbs
Origin Made in Korea
MSRP $79.99

 

Quality/Construction: Daiwa's new AIRD comes with a dark, metallic, charcoal grey finish. Its frame and sideplate tolerances are excellent. Grasping the reel's handle and moving it around, I felt zero backplay in it, but I did get a small degree of movement when pushed into and pulled away from the body of the reel. The knobs also had a very small degree of movement into and away from the body of the reel.

 


Introducing Daiwa's refreshed AIRD low profile baitcaster.

 

Overall the AIRD has a better feel to it than the higher priced Exceler. Or more aptly described, out of the box, the AIRD feels more like a $150 reel than one priced at $79.99.

 

Quality Ratings for Daiwa AIRD 100HSA/HSLA

Finish (1-5)
Frame & Sideplate Tolerance (1-5)
Handle Tolerance (1-5)
Knob Tolerance (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
5
4
4
18
20
9.0


Rigged and ready to go onboard a Daiwa TDS casting rod.

Performance: I matched the AIRD up with Daiwa's latest take on their Team Daiwa S casting rod - the TDS701MHXB to be exact. Spooled with twelve pound (12lb) Sunline Supernatural monofilament this combo saw time on a recent trip to Lake Sonoma, CA.


Gone are the budget, tire tread knobs, and in are the Tatula-esque lowercase t knobs.

Retrieve: The AIRD is available in two retrieve ratios, 6.3:1 and 7.1:1 - both available in left and right hand retrieve. Our test model was the 100HSLA (7.1:1, left handed model), and it has a very smooth feel to it when turning the handle. If I have one criticism of the reel's retrieve, it's that the reel is not as tight as others I've fished - it's just a little loose if that makes sense. This sensation is totally within the realm of what to expect at this price point and in fact, the AIRD's retrieve is almost identical to that of the Exceler and Lexa.

Performance Ratings for Daiwa AIRD 100HSA/HSLA

Retrieve (1-5)
Drag (1-5)
Power (1-5)
Casting Range (1-5)
Brakes (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
4
4
4
3
3
18
25
7.2

Drag: The AIRD is rated at 11 pounds maximum drag but topped out for us at 8.63 pounds in the lab tightened down as far as I could get it with one hand. I don't doubt that 11 pounds is attainable with a little more finger strength to tighten the drag down a couple of more clicks.


Fig 1: The Sweet Drag Performance chart above shows the consistency in drag performance of our Daiwa AIRD 100HSA/HSLA.

More important to us, however, is how smooth and consistent that drag performs and looking at the AIRD's Sweet Drag Performance chart above, we can see the AIRD has a very smooth and consistent drag up to about five pounds of pressure, then it gets a little more erratic the harder The Machine pulls and at higher settings. Overall, a very good performance by the AIRD on The Machine.

Sweet Drag Performance for Daiwa AIRD 100HSA/HSLA (2.25 Turns to Lockdown)

Lock - 8
Lock - 6
Lock - 4
Lock - 2
Lockdown
Avg % Change
Start Up
0.71
1.08
2.26
4.74
7.85
Sustained
0.68
1.13
2.23
4.94
7.79
Lowest Value
0.50
0.92
1.86
4.48
7.05
Change in Startup vs Sustained
4.7%
4.35
1.4%
4.3%
0.8%
3.1%
Biggest Drop from Sustained
26.1%
18.4%
16.6%
9.4%
9.5%
16%
Drag on this reel was tested with the dragstar fully tightened. Then with each successive test, the drag was backed off with two short pushes of the dragstar with our thumb.

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