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Rod Review

Low Speed Reel Shootout: Daiwa gets Crazy with the Zillion Cranker (continued)

Ergonomics cont'd: At 8.8oz. the Zillion Crazy cranker weighs the same as the high speed Zillion 100SHA and .2oz more than the regular speed (6:3) Zillion 100HA. This weight isn’t an issue when paired with the right rod but after a full day cranking with the Zillion CC you will feel the difference in your arm and wrist versus the lighter sum 8oz. competitors.

A look underneath

The Zillion wins back some points in ergonomics with their easy to adjust external Magforce-Z anti backlash cast control system. The knob on the Zillion is easy to adjust with a single finger in either direction. The Zillion knobs are Daiwa’s familiar “soft touch” rubber barrel grips. Many anglers prefer the more traditional and lower profile knobs found on the Steez, but when it comes to cranking these larger slightly more tacky knobs help anglers maintain a good grip when retrieving larger and deeper diving baits. Like other Zillion reels the Crazy Cranker feels solid in hand and is easy and comfortable to palm but is beginning to feel a little dated alongside some of the competing reels that have recently received makeovers.

All metal here, even the handle-side sideplate is aluminum

Durability: The Zillion CC has a quality finish that fought boat rash well and also features aluminum guard fins that protrude slightly over the top of the reel to help prevent scratches in the reel’s finish. These fins don’t get in the way of palming and are just a few millimeters higher than the top of the reel. They will protect the reel if it is face down but do little to protect the reel from impacts, say if you dropped the reel on the shore. Still it is an added durability feature not found on other reels, and we welcome it.

The Zillion Crazy Cranker has a line capacity of 14/120, that's plenty enough for bass

Through our tests the Zillion Crazy Cranker seemed to get a little gummed up after time and required a little maintenance in the form of oiling the gearing. Prior to this we observed the reel starting to get a little louder and we could hear the actual gears meshing, though the reel was still considered smooth it just didn’t feel friction free.

The soft touch grips are used on the Zillion Crazy Cranker

Price and Applications: At $269 dollars the Zillion CC is at the exact same price point as the other higher speed Zillion reels but significantly more than the competition. There is a 90 dollar delta between the Curado E5 and the Zillion CC and a $70 premium over the Revo Winch. While the Zillion CC is more feature rich than both of those reels is it really worth nearly 50% more? If you are a diehard Daiwa fan that answer is easy, but if you are comparing the price and features side by side with the competition the Zillion CC is considered pricey.

The Zillion Crazy Cranker delivers exceptional cranking performance and refinement but at a cost that is significantly higher than the competition

But what if you absolutely must have externally adjustable cast controls? The Quantum Energy’s ACS II system is also externally adjustable and that reel is $80 cheaper than the Zillion CC. Many anglers would argue that the Zillion CC is one step above the others in terms of positioning and that the new Aggrest or Daiwa Advantage should be the proper contender. That is true in most respects except the low speed shootout as only the Crazy Cranker can truly be considered a low speed reel being under 6:0 gear ratio. When it comes to applications the Daiwa CC is a great deep cranking reel and I also find it excellent for shallow cranks when you don’t want to burn them. There are times when fishing shallow slow makes a lot sense, and the Crazy Cranker’s ultra low speed gear ratio actually forces you to slow down.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Daiwa Zillion Crazy Cranker Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Zillion feels more solid than many competing reels and features a rigid handle-side sideplate and a multi-disc drag. Overall excellent build quality that matches other Zillion siblings 9
Performance The Zillion Crazy Cranker performed very well in most categories. It felt very refined and was good for casting a wide range of crankbaits. When it comes to low speed the Zillion Crazy Cranker 4.9:1 gear ratio is the slowest marking this one high torque reel 9
Price The Zillion Crazy Cranker retails for 70-90 dollars more than the competition, this is a lot when you consider how good the other reels are in comparison so we rated the Zillion Crazy Cranker just fair in this category 6
Features The Zillion is full of features including a ultra low speed gear ration, the Magforce-Z cast control system, aluminum guard rails, and a eight disc wet drag system 9
Design (Ergonomics) Designed to match perfectly with the company's Zillion rods the Zillion Crazy cranker looks right at home on many rods. This reel balances out better with longer cranking sticks and doesn't feel as light as the competing reels 7
Application The Zillion Crazy Cranker really is a cranking reel and is good for slow presentations and big baits. While fast speed applications require a faster reel when it comes to sheer power the Zillion CC deliver "crazy" levels of torque! 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Top notch construction and refinement L Heavier than competing reels
J Ultra low speed 4.9:1 gear ratio L More expensive than competing reels
J Externally adjustable cast control system  
J Excellent for deep diving crankbaits  

Conclusion: You catch a fish and before you know it you start cranking a little faster, the anticipation of that next strike is often enough to get anglers burning crankbaits when what they need to be doing is slowing it down, it is in situations like this that the ultra low speed Zillion Crazy Cranker is a great choice. With a slow 4.9:1 gear ration the Zillion Crazy Cranker is just about as slow as it gets for a crankbait reel and delivers both precision and sheer power. While other manufacturers have simplified their cranking reels the Zillion Crazy Cranker is chock full of features and makes use of high quality materials in an effort to be more refined and durable over the long term. The Zillion Crazy Cranker is designed for just what it’s name implies and is a quality cranking reel capable of towing the largest lures at a crawl. Though a quality offering the Zillion Crazy Cranker does weigh more than the competition and retails for quite a bit more, making this a tough sell to any angler looking for more bang for their buck, value aside the Zillion Crazy Cranker delivers where it counts… and that is in the high torque department.


Looking for a Daiwa Zillion Crazy Cranker? Try Monster Fishing Tackle.









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