A Baitcaster with No Ball Bearings – The 13 Fishing Concept Z
||Buyers & Press Only
Introduction: Without a doubt the most interesting
reel at this year’s ICAST was the Concept Z. Leave it to the innovative team at
13 Fishing to disregard the “rules” of what a baitcaster has typically been and
introduce what they are calling “the world’s first high-performance reel with
zero ball bearings.”
The most innovative new baitcaster, the Concept Z
No Balls? Quite
the opposite actually, it takes major cahones to throw caution in the wind and
create a reel with no ball bearings. There have been reels with no bearings in
the past but they haven’t been high performing reels that offer casting distance
and accuracy mandated in a high-performance reel. Advances in technology is
changing that and 13 Fishing employs high-tech space age polymer Concept Zero Bearings
(CZB for short) which are engineered and manufactured right here in the USA.
Matt Baldwin, Head of Product Development,
explains how the reel has no ball bearings whatsoever
Traditional ball bearings have moving parts that
can corrode, break down, and lose performance over time. CZB technology allows
the Concept Z to maintain its peak casting performance because the material is
not prone to corrosion.
Due to this reduced friction this CZB design and
technology make for a very quiet casting reel, giving anglers a very new
experience. I compare it to how I felt the very first time I drove a Tesla Model
S, this thing just glides!
Under the sideplate you can see the space age
polymer material that replaces the bearing, no moving parts to break down here
The Concept Z is hard to miss with a bright orange
painted frame with black handles and EVA knobs. The reel features an aluminum
frame and weighs in at only 6.1 ounces. Inside the reel anglers will find proven
13 Fishing technologies paired with the Concept Zero Bearings including the
Arrowhead line guide, a dead stop anti-reverse, and Japanese Hamai cut gearing.
A look at the CZBs on the spool
As you might expect with a space age polymer
material that does not corrode this reel is designed for saltwater use and
features a saltwater protection process called Ocean Armour 2. The Concept Z
also has a souped up Bulldog drag capable of dishing out 22lbs of pressure.
The reel is officially colored "Tequila Sunrise"
and is one reel that you will not miss on the water
So what will lack of ball bearings cost you? A
surprisingly reasonable $200 dollars only. The Concept Z is very aggressively
priced for a reel that features proven ergonomics, quality gearing, a saltwater
capable drag and those slick, and innovative, Concept Zero Bearings.
This stealth project has been in the works a long
time and at first the company just sought to produce a reel at the performance
range of Concept A, but as time went on they found they had truly created
The entire Concept Z reel is the baitcaster that I
am most excited to actually fish coming out of ICAST, if anything just to see
how well they will hold up over time. The company is also going to
make the technology available to other reels in the Concept line. 13 Fishing
will sell the CZB bearings separately so that anglers can modify their reels,
and each CZB will retail for 11 dollars.
Even more cool? 13 Fishing will be selling the
CZB bearings separately so anglers can soup up their existing Concept reels
Matt shows us the new CZB technology, and this is
without a doubt the reel that I am most excited to fish in the coming season. No
performance loss due to debris, no corrosion, reduced noise? The Concept Z and
CZB design is seriously revolutionary
The CZB bearings are all labeled so that anglers
know exactly which one is designed for which location in the reel. Once again 13
Fishing is doing a fantastic job catering to enthusiasts! Without a doubt the
most interesting new baitcaster at this year’s ICAST, the Concept Z shows us
that it is possible to build a reel with no bearings that you actually want to