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Reel Review

Not just “Smoke” and Mirrors, possibly the best Quantum Baitcaster yet?


Date: 3/9/11
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Quantum
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.80 - EDITOR'S CHOICE!

Introduction: Quantum continues to introduce new baitcasters that redefine the company when it comes to refinement. Last ICAST the company garnered a great deal of press for their new Smoke reels which are designed to be lightweight aluminum based baitcasters with all the bells and whistles, yet retail for a very reasonable price. It all sounded too good to be true, and we took a close look at this new series of reels to see if there really is more than just smoke and mirrors here. 


Quantum PT Smoke 100 Reel Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 12/135
Gear Ratio 6.3:1, 7.0:1
Measured Weight 6.2 ounces
Measured Max. Drag 14.2 lbs measured max drag (15lbs. published spec)
Number of Bearings 7PT+1RB
Features Ceramic drag system, polymer-stainless PT bearings, multi-coated finish, ACS externally adjustable centrifugal braking system, titanium coated line guide, Ultralight skeletal "V" spool, quick release side cover
MSRP $199.99


Is this the Quantum reel you have been waiting for? The Smoke is designed to be an ultralight aluminum reel


Impressions: Over the years Quantum has introduced a number of quality reels and continues to separate themselves from the pack when it comes to not just design but raw technologies. They came out with their own lubrication, affectionately dubbed “Hot Sauce,” and who can forget the big push to make use of ceramics. These and other design elements have proven that Quantum is above all not afraid to dance to their own beat when it comes to reel design. Something which I view as a very positive thing considering that over the last ten years it seems the lines that make most reel manufacturers distinct from one another has actually become blurred when it comes to features and designs that used to set them markedly apart.


KVD introduces the Smoke reels to us at ICAST 2010


Last ICAST Quantum pulled out all the stops with a display introducing their new Smoke reels, the demo showed a number of their prototype reels on top of a platform that was literally smoking with the surrounding water vapor. At first glance the Smoke reels looked very clean in design and the reels featured a stealthy look and feel with a matte finish and some serious porting throughout.




This reel also felt lightweight in hand yet very solid, an oxymoron perhaps, but rather than use magnesium or carbon based materials Quantum decided to go a different route and see just how light they could get an aluminum based reel to be. They introduced two different versions the 100 and 150 class reels with the major difference being the gear ratios and the line capacity. The 150 class reels features higher capacities of 165 yds. of 12lb. versus the 135 yds. of 12lb. line on the standard SL100SPT.


The Smoke reels on display at ICAST


Shortly after the show we procured both versions of the Smoke reels and inspected the baitcasters in the lab. We found the construction on the reels to be extremely refined, and the tolerances both inside and outside the reel were on par with reels costing over a hundred dollars more. This is one of the benefits of using a rigid material like aluminum, and the frame successfully holds the gearing securely in place even under pressure. The materials used within the reel are also very high quality, from the frame itself to the handle and drag star, which both are aggressively styled yet make use of minimal amounts of material in an effort to cut down on the overall weight of the reel.


In the lab our inspection of this new reel begin, notice the cosmetic differences between the 100 and 150 class reels


The Smoke 100 and 150 reels feature the same basic profile but there are subtle differences in the designs starting with a larger spool on the 150 models which is designed to give anglers more capacity for applications requiring longer casts or harder running fish.


The handle and drag star feature porting for weight reduction


The front face of both these reels also differ from one another and the 100 class reels feature a more traditional design with porting above and below the levelwind which help give the reel an aggressive look but also effectively reduce some weight. The 150 removes the ported design of the top bar and adds a second metal crossbar right above the levelwind. Below the levelwind instead of two separate ports there is a single opening that runs across the entire span of the center frame.


The reel with the handle and drag star removed


Next Section: The real world tests begin









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