Daiwa's Last Holdout, the Alphas, Has Been Assimilated
If there's a reel manufacturer who's not shy about tinkering with their platforms, it's Daiwa. Most manufacturers keep their reels on a three to five year refresh schedule, and for the most part, Daiwa adheres to this philosophy, but they also occasionally sneak in a variant to the primary platform during in between years just to keep anglers on their toes. Case in point? There has been a new Alphas variant each year since at least 2018. 2020's Alphas Air TW was perhaps the most significant because it marked the manufacturer's departure from the platform's roots with a new non-handle sideplate design and assimilation of the reel into the t-wing family.
Daiwa's original Alphas platform (left) is no more. Introducing
the Alphas SV TW
The only thing to rival Daiwa's fondness for variants is their use of buzzwords in the description of their product. Somewhere along the line the word "Air" became code word for "finesse" among Daiwa's casting reels, so while the Alphas Air TW was actually a somewhat significant introduction, in the larger scheme of things, it was actually a somewhat quiet for the specialized nature of its intended application.
With the new line guide comes some changes to the reel's overall
design including a cleaner looking non-handle sideplate. Handle length is 84mm
Just before 2020 came to a close, we had our first look at the 2021 Steez Limited SV TW 1000. At the end of that preview article, we mentioned Daiwa made a few other early introductions as well. One of those additional introductions is an Alphas, based off the same platform as the 2020 Air TW, but built to support a more general scope of work. For 2021, Daiwa
has now introduced the Alphas SV TW 800.
A comparison of widths
Alphas is Assimilated: I admit I skipped the 2018 AIR Stream and 2019 CT SV70, the last two Alphas variants built off of the original frame introduced mid 2004. It endured so many years, I took it for granted that Alphas would always be there in its original shape and form while longing for the manufacturer to just bring back that original phase shifting purple paint. The Alphas is coveted for its small form factor, so I thought it was safe from assimilation. T-wing enabled reels tend to widen at the front to accommodate the innovative line guide, so any change to accommodate the T-Wing would compromise that original spirit that made Alphas so popular. Of course, Daiwa finally found a way to make it work.
Like many other modern
Daiwa reels the Alphas is now made in Thailand
I procured a
Alphas SV TW 800XHL
directly from JapanTackle.com and when it arrived I immediately unboxed it to check out the reel's shape. The first thing I noticed was the reel looked normal. Meaning there was no widening at the front to accommodate the T-Wing line guide. When I looked a bit closer, I noticed platforms on either side of the line guide in the reel's front plate. This modification allows the guide its freedom of side to side movement without without the need for that tell-tale wider front.
Illustrating the flattened platform in the SV TW's front
plate (left) as compared to the original Alphas design (right)
I immediately checked a couple of T-Wing reels I had in
the lab (Steez A TW, Tatula SV TW), to confirm my finding only to discover these reels also had that platform and while the widening at the front of these two reels were not as pronounced as that I recall from the original Tatula frames, they were still wide. The Alphas SV TW 800, on the other hand is even more narrow than the original Alphas.
Next Section: A lower case T-Wing...