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Reel Roundup

 

Do You Believe in Magic? Our $99 Low Profile Casting Reel Round Up (continued)

Speaking of buttery feels. One way a manufacturer can increase how smooth a reel feels and performs when you crank the handle is to have a bearing on either end of the actual drive shaft. The two spots where this is accomplished is in the actual frame where the base of the drive shaft is nestled, and then within the handle-side plate on the outside edge of where the rollerbearing is located.

TackleTour $99 LoPro Reel Roundup : Bearing Specifications

Mfctr >
13 Fishing
Abu Garcia
Daiwa
Lew's
Okuma
Quantum
Shimano
Model >
Origin C
Revo X
Fuego CT
SS LFS
Cerros
Accurist S3
SLX

Total

7
8
6
10
10
9
4
Spool Shaft
1
1
-
1
1
1
-
Non-Handle Sideplate
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
Tension Knob
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
Levelwind
-
2
-
1
-
1
-
Frame @ Pinion
-
-
1
-
-
-
1
Knobs
2
2
-
4
4
2
-
Drive Shaft (Base)
1
-
1
1
1
1
-
Roller Bearing
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
Drive Shaft (Sideplate)
-
-
1
-
1
1
-

In fact, while disassembling these reels in an attempt to locate all their bearings, I mistook this second drive shaft bearing for the rollerbearing/clutch in a couple of reels. Only three of the reels in this roundup had this second bearing, Daiwa's Fuego CT, Okuma's Cerros, and Quantum's Accurist S3.


A bearing at the base of the drive shaft is not necessary, but it is nice to have

The bearing at the base of the driveshaft was present in all but two reels. Abu Garcia's RevoX and Shimano's SLX do not have a bearing at the base of their drive shafts.


Not all reels have this bearing, but it is adjacent to the roller bearing/clutch just in side the sideplate, and helps to support the drive shaft

What the RevoX does have that no other reel in this roundup comes with are two bearings in support of the levelwind worm gear. Standard practice here is to use plastic bushings. Lew's and Quantum are the only other manufacturers to address support of the wormgear with a bearing (one each). The remaining manufacturers user the afore mentioned bushings.


Bearings at the levelwind worm gear are also, usually bypassed. Plastic bushings are often used here. This wormgear is supported by one bearing (left) and one bushing (right)

Another performance bearing that is not universal amongst these seven reels is the one located on the handle side of the spool along the shaft and behind the pin used to engage the pinion gear. One could argue if you have a bearing on either side of the shaft within the sideplates, this middle bearing is not necessary unless you're concerned with flex in that shaft. Shimano and Daiwa appear unconcerned as their reels do not have this bearing. The other manufacturers all include this extra support bearing.


If you've ever taken your spool out of your reel, you've likely seen this bearing. Granted, not all reels have it, but it is common.

Lastly, one set of bearings we tend to make a big deal about here on TackleTour but are in all honestly, totally superfluous to a reel's performance are the bearings located under the handle knobs. I prefer them in my reels because they enhance the feel of the reel while you're cranking away, but for actual support at this juncture, bushings are adequate and really, expected on a reel at this price point. Daiwa and Shimano agree providing no bearings under the knobs of the Fuego CT or SLX.


Handle knob bearings are of course superfluous and easy to install yourself if the knobs are removable. But manufacturers can easily inflate a reel's bearing count by placing them here

On the other hand, Lew's and Okuma must be trying to get on my good side. They provide two bearings of support under each of the knobs on their value reels. 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, and Quantum have hedged their bets providing one bearing per knob on the Origin C, RevoX and Accurist S3 respectively.


Each of these 7 reels feature aluminum frames

Material World: The real point of curiosity that sparked this article was the proclamation by a few manufacturers about their use of aluminum instead of composite material for their value reel's frame. I wanted to find out which manufacturer was using what and if there was an honest difference in performance. That's the origin of this article. The result? Each of the seven reels in this article is built with a frame made from an aluminum alloy. Sure, the alloys are likely different, but the point here is they are all metal frames. They also all have graphite or composite sideplates, a graphite or composite dragstar, and an aluminum handle.


Sideplates are all graphite or composite material

The only real difference in choice of materials for these reels is the main gear. 13 Fishing makes use of an aluminum alloy main with a special, Japanese Hamai cut, while all the other reels come with a brass gear. This would lead you to assume 13 Fishing has the lightest gear, which it does, but only by 5 grams over Shimano's SLX. 5 grams is roughly three sixteenths of an ounce (3/16oz). Quantum had the next lightest main gear at 15 grams and Abu Garcia the heaviest at 25 grams.

TackleTour $99 LoPro Reel Roundup : Material Specifications

Mfctr >
13 Fishing
Abu Garcia
Daiwa
Lew's
Okuma
Quantum
Shimano
Model >
Origin C
Revo X
Fuego CT
SS LFS
Cerros
Accurist S3
SLX

Frame

Al
Al
Al
Al
Al
Al
Al
Sideplate
Graph
Graph
Graph
Graph
Graph
Graph
Graph
Main Gear
Al
Brass
Brass
Brass
Brass
Brass
Brass
Dragstar
Graph
Graph
Graph
Graph
Graph
Graph
Graph
Handle
Al
AL
Al
Al
Al
Al
Al

Drag Composition: Another material worth discussing surrounds how each manufacturer accomplishes the task of creating a smooth and consistent drag for their reels. The following table breaks down the total number of drag washers inside the main gear of each reel, the number, by type, of washers in that mix, and lists the material makeup of the washer nestled between the main gear and the ratchet gear.


Drag washers nestled within the reels' main gear are a mix of different materials

TackleTour $99 LoPro Reel Roundup : Drag Composition

Mfctr >
13 Fishing
Abu Garcia
Daiwa
Lew's
Okuma
Quantum
Shimano
Model >
Origin C
Revo X
Fuego CT
SS LFS
Cerros
Accurist S3
SLX
Rated Max Drag
18
18
13
15
11
18
11
# of Washers
2
6
2
2
2
7
2
Metal
1
3
1
1
1
4
1
Carbon
1
1
1
-
1
1
-
Composite
-
2
-
1
-
2
-
Felt
-
-
-
-
-
-
1
Washer behind main gear
Carbon
Carbon
Carbon
Carbon
Carbon
Carbon
Carbon

As you can see, the strategies are quite different. Out on the water each of these reels performed fine with smooth and consistent drags all around. It's really quite impressive the performance manufacturers are now delivering at this price point.


The washer between the main and ratchet gears is universally carbon fiber

Next Section: Rounding it all up...

 

   

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