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Enthusiast Review

Daiwa Bradia : Enthusiast Value or JDM Clearance? (continued)

Retrieve: Retrieve ratio on the Bradia is the same as that of the Certate 4.8:1. This ratio actually varies a little depending upon the size of the reel and certainly actual rate of retrieve is going to be different amongst each reel in the lineup as well because the spool sizes all vary but the manufacturer specification on the Bradia is just under twenty eight inches.

This T-shaped knob is comfortable enough, but feels very out of place on a reel of this size. Personally, I prefer the old school "I" shaped knobs.

The reel itself is pretty decent in smoothness, but I don’t care much for the foldable handle or t-shaped knob. Granted, the knob is comfortable to hold, but it feels out of place on a reel that is so small. I’d prefer an “I” shaped knob. Likewise in an era where one-piece machined handles are becoming the norm, the foldable handle on the Bradia really detracts from the overall look and feel of the reel.

The anti-reverse lever is located on the bottom of the reel and as expected is easy and sure to actuate.

The reel’s anti-reverse is sure and solid and the anti-reverse lever is easy to actuate in cases where you’d prefer to backreel rather than rely on the reel’s drag system. All these components operate smoothly and without a hitch.

One unexpected feature of this reel is the very cheap looking and feeling drag knob at the top of the spool - does this look like a $300 reel to you?

Drag: Speaking of drag, the Bradia 2500 is rated up to 7 kilograms of maximum drag pressure which equates to roughly fifteen pounds. Ratings vary widely depending upon which model you acquire but overall smoothness of the drag is acceptable. The only way I was able to test this was to back off on the drag and let the two pound fish we were hooking run a little. We couldn’t find any higher quality fish to really put this reel to the test, but I encountered no indications to make me think the Bradia’s drag would perform anywhere worse than acceptable.

Otherwise, drag performance is smooth and reliable.

Another area of complaint, however, is in the actual dial for adjusting the drag. The knob is a cheap looking plastic piece more suitable for a sub $100 reel than something retailing for over $300 and a real sore point with me. Each turn of adjustment is met with a familiar and reassuring series microclicks, so that’s good, but I simply cannot get over how cheap the actual dial feels in your hand.

Daiwa's latest AirBail design makes for a very durable reel.

Durability: One saving grace of the Bradia’s stark appearance is the finish has good durability. In fact the only spot on this reel where durability may be of concern is on that drag knob I mentioned earlier. All other components, exposed or otherwise feel up to par especially including the oversized bail arm.

If you pursue a Bradia through US channels, just be aware you'll likely be foregoing any opportunity at warranty service - this has obviously never stopped us.

Availability & Pricing: Now the tricky part. The Bradia, as it stands from Japan is still priced right around $300 depending upon the exchange rate and any active sales. In fact, at the time of this writing, JapanTackle.com has all Bradia spinning reels at twenty percent (20%) off. However, the reels that made their way to the States via that accidental or otherwise, warehouse sale were being blown out for somewhere between $150 - $200, but be aware, none of these reels purchased locally are likely backed by any kind of warranty whatsoever. If purchased through JapanTackle.com and a warranty issue should arise, they can likely help you broker warranty service.


Daiwa Bradia 2500 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Aside from the plastic drag cap, a good quality reel 7
Performance Smooth and reliable 7
Price JDM or USDM price? ... we'll score it in the middle 7
Features A scaled down Certate 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Stark and plain 6
Application A good general purpose, freshwater spinning reel 7.5

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


J If you look around, available in the US for a significant discount L Cheap looking, plastic drag knob
J Smooth enough L I do not care for the handle and t-knob


Conclusion: Should you jump at the chance to own a piece of JDM equipment mysteriously and miraculously made available locally? Certainly only you can decide if it’s worth the costs and risks involved. The Daiwa Bradia as it stands, regardless of intended market or current availability, for me, is just an ok reel. It’s far too stark to inspire that usual enthusiasm over a high dollar reel, and thanks to the foldable handle and plastic drag star cap, I have a hard time imagining this reel as a high dollar piece of tackle to begin with. Honestly, the only thing that comes to mind when I hold this reel in my hand is “why”? If importing from Japan, I’d much rather spend just a little more (in the case of the 2500 size, only $5 more) and get the Luvias. If purchasing locally, depending on the actual cost, I’d lean towards the Fuego or Tierra and get a factory warranty.


At the JDM MSRP, I'd pass on this reel... for the USDM blow out price? Not for me.

I find it interesting that this reel suddenly became available in the US by some kind of warehouse mistake or misfortune. This has happened before. About seven years ago, a large supply of CVZ Millionaires and TDS 103HL reels were blown out in the US market shortly before these reels were discontinued in Japan. From what I've seen and felt, the Bradia is not worthy of the JDM market - not at virtually the same price as the Luvias. I think it's more likely this reel did not sell in Japan, and rather than discount it heavily over there, Daiwa Japan has found a way to dump them in the US. Is that good or bad? Many will jump a the opportunity at such a bargain, but personally I don't see the value.









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