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Reel Review

The Verdict on refreshing an enduring classic, introducing the Shimano Chronarch B

Date: 9/19/05
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.66

Introduction: After a decade of active duty the original Chronarch series of reels finally underwent a major revision with the introduction of the new "B" Series a year ago. New technologies, advancements in reel design, and high performing new materials are now available, and Shimano redesigned this proven performer to address the ever changing needs of baitcasting aficionados. The challenge was to build upon what was not necessarily broken, after all, improving a timeless classic is no easy task and the real question is... did Shimano get it right?

Shimano Chronarch B (100B) Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 10/130, 12/120, 14/100
Gear Ratio 6.2:1
Line Retrieve per crank (in) 26
Weight 9.0 oz.
Bearings 6BB + 1RB
Additional Features A-RB bearings, Lo-Mass Spool, High Efficiency Gearing, Dartanium drag, Septon handle grips, Super Free, Super Stopper, Ion plated finish, recessed reel foot, Escape Hatch sideplate, VBS, cold forged handle shank, aluminum frame and sideplates
MSRP $269.99

The Chronarch A redefined baitcasting as we know it when it was introduced over a decade ago in 1993. The original quickly became a top seller thanks to a comfortable profile, quality construction, ease of use, and top notch performance. Over the years new variants were introduced including the SF and Mg models, but the basic profile and ergonomics of the reel remained unchanged. Anglers including myself have turned to the Chronarch time and time again as one of the most trustworthy baitcasters on the market. For many stateside anglers the Chronarch100Mg represented the top of the line Shimano reel, as the Calais was just too heavy for their tastes. While very advanced when first introduced, over the last five years competitors have introduced more refined reels, many of which sported higher bearing counts and new-fangled cast control systems. Yet through it all the Chronarch continued to hold it's own, proving that a quality design and construction is still paramount when it comes to standing up to the test of time.


The Chronarch B features a more aggressive profile and exciting new finish


Enter the Chronarch B. The engineers at Shimano had a wide range of new technologies and manufacturing processes available to them, but rather than simply cram all this into an entirely new product they went into this project with a simple goal, to listen to Chronarch owners and tackle the areas where they would like to see improvement as well as address the growing number of applications with which the Chronarch was being used. They then went to the drawing board to create an evolutionary design that attended to these issues without changing the essence of the original.

The Chronarch B sits lower than the original design but is slightly longer and heavier

The result of all this research and hard work is the departure of the magnesium version from the B version in terms of profile, and the introductions of both the sub-series BPV version, which is a "Power Version" equipped with a 5.0:1 gear ratio, and the BSV "Saltwater Version," which features a deeper spool for more line capacity and oversized SV power grips for fighting saltwater species. For our tests we took a close look at the 100B version.


Complete Rig for Shimano Chronarch 100B Field Tests

Rod GLoomis MBR783C
Shimano Crucial CRC-C70M
Reel Shimano Chronarch 100B
Line(s) 12lb. Yozuri Hybrid


The Field Tests: Its difficult to make a comparison with a reel that you have fished, and grown to know like the back of your hand, over the course of the last ten years. We made sure to take our time to give the Chronarch B a fair shake. Over the last 12 months we have fished the new "B" reel in various lakes and the California Delta, targeting a combination of largemouth, spots, and stripers.


One word.... "Sleek"


Casting: The original Chronarchs were never the longest casting reels but were always among the most steady performers. It was with the original Chronarch that most anglers first fell in love with Shimano VBS (Variable Brake System). The Chronarch 100B continues to make use of VBS, but upon first inspection of the reel it becomes apparent the implementation of the sideplate has changed. The familiar flip down screw latch is gone and the sideplate is completely devoid of any access keys. Instead of the screw latch the Chronarch 100B features a switch in the back of the reel that instantly unlocks the "Escape Hatch" sideplate, allowing it to pop outwards and swing open. We were happy to see that the sideplate remains attached to the body at all times. The spool is held in place with a screw down hub, and through this you can easily access your VBS brakeweights.


The Chronarch B is among the easiest and most consistent casters we have tested to date. The large opening provides excellent thumb access to the spool


Once we dialed in our VBS settings we immediately began to see some of that original Chronarch magic shine through in the new reel. The Chronarch 100B casts brilliantly, and is just as consistent as the original, but with the ability to achieve a faster startup and potentially longer cast. The key to this superior performance is a new Lo-Mass drilled spool and a reduced mass VBS hub which work together to reduce the overall weight of the spool, increasing freespool and reducing start up inertia. We were able to cast 90-100 feet with a 1/2oz test plug in nominal wind conditions, but what we liked best was the predictable consistency the reel showcased. Unlike some other competing reels the Chronarch 100B delivers an easy "cookie-cutter" cast each and every time. The same can be said about the reel's short distance flipping and pitching ability. Verdict: They got it right


Flip the conveniently located switch down and the "Escape Hatch" opens to reveal the VBS system

Next Section: Retrieve, Ergonomics, and Ratings









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