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Reel Review

Pushing the Envelope, the Daiwa Steez EX Spinning Reel


Date: 5/30/13
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Zander


Introduction: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Daiwa Steez lineup of reels and rods? For most anglers the answer probably is “expensive,” and once they get that out of the way there are a slew of other descriptions that can follow including “lightweight, high performance, refined, beautiful, enthusiast, excessive and even exclusive.” There is no doubt that the Steez series caters to the high-end segment of the tackle market and while these products are a major investment they have found a surprisingly strong following among not just die-hard Daiwa fans but anglers looking for the ultimate in light and ultra refined reels.


Daiwa's new flagship spinning reel the Steez EX

The new Steez EX reel marks the first time that Daiwa has employed their proprietary carbon composite Zaion material in their flagship spinning reel, and this coupled with a host of other hi-tech features all adds up to a reel that attempts to push the design and performance envelope further than spinning has gone before. Let’s find out whether or not Daiwa is successful or not in this endeavor.  

Taking a closer look in the lab

Daiwa Steez EX Spinning Specifications

Line Capacity (Mftr Rating) 6/135 : 8/110 : 10/90
Retrieve Ratio 5.6:1
Weight 7.4 oz (tested)
Bearings 12 + 1
Drag 14.1lb Max as tested
Origin Japan
MSRP $749.95

The Steez EX features the usual Daiwa features including the hollow air-bail

Impressions and Quality: The previous Steez reel was among my favorite reels and made use of the same basic features that make so many of the high end Daiwa reels so great, just with a higher level of refinement. To achieve this augmented refinement and such a low overall weight Daiwa relied on their entire portfolio of hi-tech features housed within a magnesium frame. Magnesium is difficult and expensive to work with but when implemented correctly can be used to create extremely lightweight reels with a distinct “feel.”

Look closer and the details are impressive, no normal screws here

Daiwa is a master of this, and perhaps more so than any other reel manufacturer is able to coax the highest level of crisp “feel” and tight tolerances from use of this material. The downside of using magnesium? Besides the fact that magnesium is high cost it is also not as corrosion resistant as many other metals, and simply does not play well in saltwater environments. To overcome this Daiwa turned to their Zaion material which basically a carbon composite that is light, durable and corrosion proof.

A look at the mechanical bail return mechanism

There are two Steez EX reels with the differentiator being line capacity, and both come with a moderate 5.6:1 retrieve ratio. The company has implemented the same Mag Seal technology we first observed on their Saltiga revamp, and both the body and line roller on this reel benefit from this feature. In total the reel comes loaded with 13 bearings (7 CRBB/5BB + 1RB) and the ABS spool comes with a titanium nitride spool lip and the reel is finished with the familiar Daiwa Air Bail which is constructed out of a hollow stainless tube. I always laugh when I read specs like “free neoprene bag” because a reel that costs as much as the Steez EX does sure as heck better come with a way to protect this investment.

The entire frame and rotor on the Steez EX is constructed out of Zaion carbon composite instead of magnesium

Quality Ratings for Daiwa Steez EX Spinning

Finish (1-5)
Frame & Sideplate Tolerance (1-5)
Handle Tolerance (1-5)
Knob Tolerance (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Even the body's mag sealed housing is finished with carbon fiber

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