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Reel Review


 

So much Hype - The Beast that is the Daiwa Zillion 2021

 

Date: 2/19/21
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Zander






Total Score: 8.66 - EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD

Introduction: Daiwa gets things started in 2021 with the launch of their new Zillion SV TW, a much anticipated complete overhaul of their Zillion Series. This new reel comes with a ton of "Hyper" marketed features and we take a deep dive into the reel's new design and performance to see if just how well the new reel stands up to all the hype.

 

Daiwa Zillion SV TW 2021 Casting Reel Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 8/100, 10/80
Retrieve Ratio
6.3:1
7.1:1
8.5:1
Line Per Handle Turn
26.3

29.7

35.7

Weight 6.7 oz (6.3oz - JDM Version)
Spool Weight 12.7 g
Handle Length 90 mm
Bearings 8BB +1RB
Bearings per Knob 1 bearing, 1 bushing
Tested Max Drag 12.3 lbs (11 lbs rated)
Origin Made in Thailand (JDM Version - Made in Japan)
MSRP $349.99

 


The new Daiwa Zillion SV TW has finally arrived and it comes with all the hype that you might expect from a major platform change

 

Impressions: While the Tatula is the best selling Daiwa baitcasting series in the U.S. it is the Zillion that has always been the company's premium workhorse reel, and has been much more accessible than the flagship Steez Series. At the end of 2020 Daiwa Japan introduced the new Daiwa Zillion SV TW (2021) model and U.S. anglers knew that it was just a matter of time before the reel would arrive stateside.

 


The new Zillion looks very different from previous generation reels, and with a more compact footprint and silver metal finish it actually looks a whole lot like a Bantam or Metanium

 

Daiwa knows how important the Zillion is as both a brand-maker and as a display of their latest technologies. The series was really due for an overhaul and the R&D team had been working on this platform refresh for multiple seasons. Marc Mills, Daiwa's Field Marketing Manager explained how important this refresh was and stated “the Zillion has been a really popular name for Daiwa going back through the years but over the past seven or eight years the design has stayed largely the same. This year we’ve really made a lot of changes and technology advancements in the reel - a new shape to the reel, improved palmability, new braking system, new gearing, and so much more. This is a special reel for us.”

 


The new Zillion now has features that you would find in the higher end Steez, including the SV Boost Spool

 

When the new Zillion was unveiled it was met with a wide range of feedback from anglers. The new reel certainly didn't look like the Zillions of the past, and to many anglers the tapered edges and matte-silver finish actually made it look like a Shimano branded baitcaster at first glance. Daiwa seems to have been going with a silver styled finish this season with the new Zillion, Steez Limited, and Alphas SV TW all sporting finishes with varying degrees of silver paint and black highlights. Look closely and all these reels bear signature Daiwa elements like the Zaion star drags and the TWS (T-Wing System), but the signature colored highlights found on previous generations are now absent. The company is likely reserving these colored highlights for future variants.

 


The new Zillion has more a simpler more elegant profile than other reels and even the cast control knob has been moved to the lower corner of the reel giving the sideplate a cleaner and smoother look and feel

 

Of all the new reels introduced by Daiwa Japan at the end of 2020 I like the Zillion's more gunmetal looking finish the best. The Alphas is more of a straight silver channeling previous generation reels, while the Steez is darker but has a lot of metallic flake in the paint, and the Zillion is the most understated matte-silver of the three. It does have a coating over the surface so it isn't raw matte like on many previous Steez reels, making it a little more slick to the touch, but also more scratch resistant.

 


During our tests we paired the Daiwa Zillion with a wide variety of rods, including the G.Loomis NRX, where it looked even more like a Shimano pairing

 

The Zillion comes loaded with all the "Hyper" marketed features like we first saw in our Limited Edition Daiwa Steez preview. These include Hyperdrive Digigear, Hyper Tough Clutch, and for the first time a Hyper Armed Housing. That is a lot of "hype-r" in one small package and while I feel that Daiwa has gone too far in their marketing terminology I was eager to see whether all this translated into real-world performance. 

 

My first impression when I inspected the new Daiwa Zillion was that it featured a considerably more compact form factor than the last generation, with cleaner lines, and much more solid feeling ergonomic frame.

 


Time to see how the Zillion actually casts and retrieves in some real world applications

Next Section: Time to sort the reality from the hype... 

 

   

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