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Shimano updates a favorite among anglers, get ready for the redefined "Calcutta B"

Date: 1/27/05
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: When you look up conventional baitcasting reels in just about any fishing book you are more than likely to find yourself gazing upon the instantly recognizable Shimano Calcutta. The Calcutta has been a favorite among anglers for well over a decade. With a simple yet elegant design, and a well deserved reputation for quality and value, the Calcutta has certainly proven the test of time. It is with great care and consideration that Shimano redefines this legend by adding the latest technology to this much beloved series of reels.


Get ready for the soon to be introduced Calcutta B reels, chock full of new performance enhancing upgrades, but kudos to Shimano for staying true to their elegant
original design


About the new Calcutta B Series: Why mess with a good thing? Shimano believes that by redefining the popular Calcutta Series it will be able to add more value to anglers with a minimal price increase.


“With the new innovations and technology Shimano has brought to fishing reels – and to anglers - since the original Calcutta 200 started a renewed trend in round reels with simplistic design, we felt it was time to bring some of the new features and redefine the entire Calcutta series,” said Jeremy Sweet with Shimano’s product development staff. “But as anglers will see, we continued with the proven Calcutta construction and performance features, and have added features already proven in other Shimano reel series.”



To our relief the refreshed designs left the overall reel dimensions alone, and the reels stay true to their straightforward yet chic form. Shimano plans to release 10 new models over the course of the year. These 10 reels more than cover the current Calcutta offering, and anglers will be excited to see prominent new Calcutta's like the CT200GTB that offers upgraded finesse and light line capabilities. The performance and feature delta between the new Calcutta B's and the existing ultra refined TE reels is narrowing.


The new Calcutta B 100 and 200 series reels feature an easy access sideplate


Upgrades: The original Calcutta's were all about simplicity, function, and above all reliability. So what do the new Calcutta B reels really offer anglers?


A-RB Bearings: Shimano does a good job bringing technology down the line and quality A-RB bearings are used on every Calcutta B reel. These bearings are at least 10 times more corrosion resistant than standard stainless steel bearings. In addition each reel gains at least 1 bearing over its predecessor. For example the CT100B has one bearing more than the original CT100.


Dartanium Drags: This proven drag material finally makes it to the normal Calcutta Series. Delivering a wide range of settings and smooth performance under pressure, this welcome addition delivers more fish stopping power to these affordably priced reels.


Assist Stopper: All Calcutta B reels, save the 50 & 100 sizes, benefit from "Assist Stopper." This back up anti-reverse system helps reduce stress on the one way roller bearing to increase durability and the overall lifespan of the reel.


Improved Ergonomics: The Calcutta B eliminates one of our only gripes about the original...the difficulty of changing brake settings in the field. The original Calcutta's required anglers to remove the spool to access the brakeweights, but the new Calcutta B's make use of an easy access sideplate that is similar but not identical to the TE's. This allows anglers to adjust the VBS system quickly and easily. (This feature is available in 100 and 200 sizes only) In addition the new Calcutta B's feature Shimano's popular Septon grips which are soft to the touch and do not get slippery even when wet.


GTB Version: The GTB version is the flagship of the new Calcutta B lineup and gets the royal treatment when it comes to performance enhancing modifications. In addition to all the above mentioned features, the CT200GTB features a drilled crossbar to reduce weight, a massive +5 bearing count increase, and a Lo-Mass Drilled spool for improved casting capability.



Say hello to the newest Calcutta B reel, the CT200GTB, little brother of the Calcutta TE


Launch Dates & Pricing: Performance does come with a price and the new Calcutta B's will cost 20 to 50 dollars more than their predecessors depending on the model. Most of these B reels only cost 20-25 dollars more while the CT200GTB will bear a 50 dollar premium over the original CT250. So when will these reels be available? The 50B will be available in March, the 100's and 200's will be available in April, and the 400's and 700's will hit stores in early May.

Conclusion: Shimano's new Calcutta B's offer plenty of new features, and from the initial information it certainly looks as if the reels are geared towards even more specific applications. The added technology and refinement are a big plus, and with an average cost increase of less than 30 dollars it certainly would seem that Shimano is about to hit yet another home run. Whether the new Calcutta B's will be able to captivate anglers for another decade is uncertain, but I wouldn't bet against Shimano. Perhaps what is most stirring, and a relief at the same time, is that even though Shimano packed in so many new performance enhancing features they managed to stay true to the original unpretentious and tasteful round design that helped make these proven reels a fan favorite in the first place. A job well done.









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