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Reel Review

Quantum Breaks the 8.0 Barrier with Speed Freak (continued)


Power: With that incredible retrieve ratio of 8.0:1 and a relatively small gear box compared to some of the competition, this is the area where we expected the Speed Freak to be challenged, and it was. It performed just okay when I tied on a Strike King 10XD and dredged the bottom so if fishing extra deep divers with a super high speed reel is your game, the Speed Freak might not be a first choice.

The Speed Freak is ok in the power department but does not come with huge, oversized gearing.

Most anglers are more reasonable than that however and for pulling fish out of cover with a fully locked down drag and the assist of your extra heavy powered flipping stick, the Speed Freak can more than hold its own.

The 90mm handle helps a lot with leverage.

Casting Range: The Speed Freak is built as a general purpose baitcasting reel and its casting range reinforces this purpose. I was able to go down to a lure weight of about three eighths of an ounce comfortably with this reel with an upper limit of at least two ounces. With more line capacity, I'm sure this reel could handle heavier weights, but for general purpose applications, the Speed Freak performs fine.

In this era of shallow spools, the Speed Freak has a deeper than usual spool.

Brakes: The Speed Freak, and the entire Smoke baitcasting series from Quantum, features an externally adjustable centrifugal brake system with thirteen (13) points of adjustment. It is very simple to set and the dial clicks into each point of adjustment securely. You can also easily flip the sideplate open to access the brakes, but there is no adjustment to be made on the spool itself - only on the outside through the sideplate dial.

The centrifugal brakes on the reel's spool are not manually adjustable.

Features: Quantum's Speed Freak does very well in our features checklist coming with an externally adjustable brake system, one levelwind bearing, two bearings per knob and all the micro-click adjustments you could want (drag, tension knob, brake dial). It's almost as if they went down our check list and included everything we look for - well, almost. The reel does not come with a vial of oil in the box nor is there a supplied reel cover.


The Speed Freak features 11 bearings.


Features Ratings for Quantum Smoke Speed Freak

Ext Brake Adjust? (1-2)
Levelwind Bearing (1-2)
Knob Bearings (1-3)
Micro Clicks (1-3)
Reel Cover (1-2)
Oil (1-2)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

All of 6.8 ounces - not bad for an aluminum reel!

Design & Ergonomics: One issue I have ergonomically with some Quantum reels is with the non-handle sideplate. On some of their reels, that brake adjustment dial sticks out too far into the palm of my hand to make for a comfortable grip around the reel. I don't have that issue with the Speed Freak. This reel is very compact and easy to palm. Its 90 mm handle is more than long enough and the EVA knobs have a very thin and comfortable contour to them. Even the dragstar has little ridges on it to make it more comfortable to push upon to increase the drag.


One of the really comfortable things about this reel is its retro drag star with flattened edges to make it easier and more comfortable to adjust.


Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Quantum Smoke Speed Freak

Handle Length (1-5)
Knobs (1-5)
Palming (1-5)
Overall Weight (1-5)
Ease of Breakdown (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

The Speed Freak is a good general purpose reel for situations that demand a lot of line is picked up in a hurry!

Application: As long as you're not looking to throw super big baits or rely up on this reel for baitfinesse techniques, the Quantum Smoke Speed Freak is a very good general purpose reel in applications where you need a lot of line picked up in a hurry.


Application Ratings for Quantum Smoke Speed Freak

Horizontal (1-5)
Vertical (1-5)
Finesse (1-5)
Big Baits (1-5)
Topwater (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)



Quantum Smoke Speed Freak Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Excellent quality out of the package 9.0
Performance Solid performer 7.6
Price Right smack dab in the middle of what's becoming the most competitive price point for a reel of quality 7.5
Features Almost as if the reel was designed with our check list in mind 8.57
Design (Ergonomics) Super comfortable reel to fish all day 8.8
Application Have an application where you need a lot of line picked up in a hurry? The Speed Freak is worth consideration 7.2

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:


+ Comfortable to fish - Only minus I can think of is the brand's reputation. Approach this reel with an open mind and you might be surprised
+ Very solid feel  
+ Has all the clickies  

Our experience with Quantum's Smoke reels has been nothing but positive and the Speed Freak further reinforces this trend.

Conclusion: There are anglers in some parts of the country who will dismiss this reel simply due to the manufacturer's reputation for reliability from many seasons past, and we understand the perspective of being let down in the past and moving on. But our experience with Quantum's Smoke reels has been nothing but positive thus far and the Speed Freak reinforces our good experience. In this age of superfast reels, Quantum delivers a solid performer at a competitive price point that's super comfortable to fish.


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