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Reel Review


 

Quantum Breaks the 8.0 Barrier with Speed Freak

 

Date: 3/9/16
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Quantum
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.11 - GREAT

Introduction:
Quantum has been making big strides in recent years offering solid performing reels at prices that don't break the bank. Maligned for years over reels that were too heavy or just didn't perform as advertised, their recent Smoke and Exo introductions are helping the company turn things around. Several years ago, their Smoke introduction gained an Editor's Choice Award right here on TackleTour. Today, we look at a slightly souped up version of this same reel - introducing the Smoke Speed Freak by Quantum.

 

Quantum Smoke Speed Freak Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 12lb / 135yds
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 17.1 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
8.1
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
12 - 33
Weight 6.8 oz
Spool Weight 15 g
Handle Length 90 mm
Bearings 10+1
Bearings per Knob 2 bearings
Levelwind Bearings One
Tested Max Drag ~24 lbs
Origin Made in Korea
MSRP $199.99

 

Quality/Construction: Quantum's Speed Freak casting reel is a 100 sized baitcaster finished in black with red highlights. The sideplates are a mixture of glossy and matt black while the frame and thumb bar are mostly matt black. With the mixture in finishes, there are a lot of seams and joint lines on this reel, but they are all aligned perfectly. The EVA foam knobs are tight to the handle, but the handle does have a small degree of backplay along with some play into and away from the reel.


Introducing Quantum's Smoke Speed Freak.

Quality Ratings for Quantum Smoke Speed Freak

Finish (1-5)
Frame & Sideplate Tolerance (1-5)
Handle Tolerance (1-5)
Knob Tolerance (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
5
3
5
18
20
9.0


The Speed Freak has a retrieve ratio of 8.1:1!

Performance: I fished the Smoke Speed Freak on a number of rods and with both braid and nylon monofilament to get a feel for how it handles a variety of applications. Most of the photos in this article show the reel mounted on a G-Rods International medium heavy baitcasting rod.


It comes standard with a nice long handle and EVA foam knobs.

Retrieve: Aluminum gears typically deliver a more connected feel during your retrieve as opposed to a reel with brass gears. This is because aluminum is a stiffer metal than brass. Couple this with the fact the reel has an aluminum frame and handle-side sideplate, and a buttery smooth retrieve is the last thing I'd expect to feel with this reel.


Brakes are adjusted through this external dial.

Nonetheless, Quantum does a really nice job of masking those tendencies and delivering a very smooth feel with this reel when you turn the handle and thanks to that aluminum frame and sideplate, the reel does so all the while providing a very solid feel in your hand.

Performance Ratings for Quantum Smoke Speed Freak

Retrieve (1-5)
Drag (1-5)
Power (1-5)
Casting Range (1-5)
Brakes (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
4
3
3
4
19
25
7.6


A look at the Speed Freak's Drag array that delivered 24lbs of peak pressure in the lab.

Drag: Quantum is using what they refer to as a new CSC Carbon fiber, stainless, and ceramic drag system in this reel. The maximum drag specifications of the original Smoke reels was 15lb. With the new drag system in the current generation of Smoke reels, Quantum has upped this specification to a whopping 25 pounds of maximum pressure. We were able to confirm up to 24 pounds of pressure on the Machine so 25 pounds is not out of the realm of possibilities for someone with stronger fingers and able to tighten that drag down another click or three.


Fig 1: The Sweet Drag Performance chart above shows the consistency in drag performance of our
Quantum Smoke Speed Freak.

Of course, our concern has always been just how sweet (smooth and consistent) is that drag and if you look at the chart above, you can see the Speed Freak performed fairly well in this department as well. The tighter you fasten down that drag or the harder your catch pulls, it appears the more inconsistent the drag performs, but considering the reel's range, performance is good.


A little square bill action out on the CA Delta.

Unfortunately out on the water, I wasn't able to test this reel's capabilities with any extraordinary situations or catches. We were hoping to get into a striper run on the California Delta, this past fall, but once again the fish eluded me this year.

Sweet Drag Performance for Quantum Smoke Speed Freak

Lock - 8
Lock - 6
Lock - 4
Lock - 2
Lockdown
Avg % Change
Start Up
2.7
3.3
5.6
10.3
11.1
Sustained
2.7
3.7
6.2
11.7
17.4
Lowest Value
2.3
3.1
5.1
9.8
10.8
Change in Startup vs Sustained
.9%
12.1%
15.3%
12.9%
56%
19.4%
Biggest Drop from Sustained
16.6%
16.7%
17.5%
15.6%
37.6%
20.8%
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.

Next Section: It is all about the Speed


 

 

 

 

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