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iceintheveins

Bearing Upgrades. Worth It?

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I have been thinking of replacing the stock bearings in my baitcast reels, two curados and four pro qualifiers. Would upgrading to say hawgtech bearings give me enough of a casting distance increase to be worth the price?

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Since you are asking the question, you must not be happy with the performance that you are getting out of your reel now. The first question that needs to be asked is......have you been studious about maintaining your factory bearings? If not, there is a chance that they are ruined and then the answer is yes, a new set of quality bearings will be a definite improvement over your trashed bearings. I know the one time that I replaced factory bearings with ceramics I noticed a big improvement in how easy it was to get my lure out there. I chalked the improvement up to ceramics being great and not realizing at the time that my factory bearings were trashed because of a lack of maintenance on my part. BTW, I sold the ceramics to a member here because as Ghoti says, I like for my reels to be seen and not heard. The ceramics were annoyingly loud IMHO.

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Abec 5s are about as good as you need for fishing. Casting distance won't improve too much but casting effort will decrease.

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Got the bearings in my one Curado 51E at a good price because the seller didn't like the noise either.  I'm just the opposite.  I don't mind hearing the bearing noise.  I feel it helps with my thumbing.  So far any time I have had a bearing upgrade it was because I was getting the reel supertuned, so I don't know exactly how much difference a bearing only upgrade makes.  I do know that I can use fewer brakes afterwards.  It seems to be easier to get the normal distance, but personally I don't seem to get much more distance than with a good set of factory bearings.  Some have commented how much more distance they get so YMMV.

 

I've got 2 Curado 51Es.  Mike cleaned the new one, and the used model he supertuned and did a bearing upgrade.  I can run the supertuned with only one brake on, but feel it could cause me some trouble so I went back to 2 brakes on.  Casting distance seems to be pretty equal, but I have never tested both reels on the same rod using the same lure.

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I upgraded my two Chronarch 50e reels with

HawgTech bearings. Noisy? Yeah, but I really

love the performance improvement. The noise

doesn't bother me, anymore. Kinda neat in 

some ways, to be true.

 

Now I didn't send my reels in for a major cleanup.

But the price of the ABEC 7 bearing was great,

and I'm quite happy with the results.

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Once you put a pair of hedgehog air or zpi spool bearings in you'll never go back. It especially helps with finesse baits and pitching baits.

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Got the bearings in my one Curado 51E at a good price because the seller didn't like the noise either.

.

Dale, if I am not mistaken, I sold you the ceramics that you are referring too. That was Jan 2014. Glad to see that you are still using them.

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If the noise bothers you then you could try abec7 stainless steel bearings like big green fish or hedgehog ZR.  Hedgehog Airs are also more quiet than regular ceramics.  I have Airs in a lot of my reels and love the ease of casting/pitching and added accuracy I get.  They are expensive though.  Never tried the zpi, but if Matt endorses them I'll bet their great.

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If the noise bothers you then you could try abec7 stainless steel bearings like big green fish or hedgehog ZR. Hedgehog Airs are also more quiet than regular ceramics. I have Airs in a lot of my reels and love the ease of casting/pitching and added accuracy I get. They are expensive though. Never tried the zpi, but if Matt endorses them I'll bet their great.

I have had the Hedgehog ZR's and they were very free spinning. I guess that's the term I am looking for. I had to apply more brakes than normal to keep the spool under control when I installed them. I still think if your reel came with a quality set of bearings, they are all that is needed if they are maintained properly.

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Once you put a pair of hedgehog air or zpi spool bearings in you'll never go back. It especially helps with finesse baits and pitching baits.

 

Pitching is something I've only done in my yard, and it was several years ago.  I'll have to take your word for   It is something I have read several times before.

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Dale, if I am not mistaken, I sold you the ceramics that you are referring too. That was Jan 2014. Glad to see that you are still using them.

 

I wondered, but at my age I'm lucky to even have a memory.  Forget about it being like a steel trap.  Too bad it isn't like my Dad's was.

 

Yes, I am still enjoying the bearings...and the reel.  People mention how much easier it is to cast light lures on the 50 series Shimanos, but I seem to be better with my Daiwas.

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The answer to the OP's questions lies in expectation, and current condition. If you have had the reel deep cleaned and bearings flushed and lubricated properly, the difference new bearings will make is minimal. The reels in question are also candidates for Super Tuning. Cleaning and Tuning are both better bangs for the buck and should be the first steps in improving reel casting. Increased distance is secondary to the improved accuracy that results from improved free-spool due to the ease of casting. An ABEC 5 ceramic hybrid run dry gives the best performance. Anything else is overkill or counter. 

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People mention how much easier it is to cast light lures on the 50 series Shimanos, but I seem to be better with my Daiwas.

I don't doubt that. I read about guys going down to 1/8oz with no problems with their 50 size Shimano's and factory spools but I can't do it effectively and definitely not to my satisfaction. Now put a shallow spool in there and it's a game changer. Don't feel bad about your memory. I am only 45 and I amaze myself at the simple things that I forget.

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I swapped out the stock bearings on my T3 with some Hedgehog Studios Kattobi Air bearings and that was totally worth it. They're quieter, smoother, cast easier and even farther than before, and I think they're probably more durable to boot.

 

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Since you are asking the question, you must not be happy with the performance that you are getting out of your reel now. The first question that needs to be asked is......have you been studious about maintaining your factory bearings? If not, there is a chance that they are ruined and then the answer is yes, a new set of quality bearings will be a definite improvement over your trashed bearings. I know the one time that I replaced factory bearings with ceramics I noticed a big improvement in how easy it was to get my lure out there. I chalked the improvement up to ceramics being great and not realizing at the time that my factory bearings were trashed because of a lack of maintenance on my part. BTW, I sold the ceramics to a member here because as Ghoti says, I like for my reels to be seen and not heard. The ceramics were annoyingly loud IMHO.

I hear that John. Boy, did I hear that. Yesterday I took 2 of my Chronarchs, E6's. While I was fishing I noticed one was really noisy. It occurred to me that this was the one I had put ceramic bearings in. Hadn't used the reel in about a year. Well, this morning I cleaned and lubed the stock bearings and put them back in. Out to the backyard to check. Casts quiet as a whisper. No ceramics for me.

Hootie

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I have been buying the ceramic ABEC5's from these people for years  http://www.vxb.com/SRCH.html?Store_Code=bearings&Search=fishing+reel+.  Since the lions share of my reels are Curado's, I buy them by the sleeve.

 

I've tried the high dollar full ceramic and never found enough of a difference to warrant the difference in cost over the stainless with ceramic balls.

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All the "Ceramic" bearings we refer to are hybrids (steel cage & ceramic balls). A full ceramic bearing is crazy expensive. The ABEC rating drives the price more than the ball material. That, and the relatively low sustained speeds of a reel are why anything above ABEC5 is overkill. 

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Ohh boy, another thread where I can hurt some feelings, lol.

Unless you are into having upgraded parts for the fun of it, or the OE part has failed, there's little point to replacing bearings. You want to throw lighter weights, get a lighter spool. Better drag, upgrade the washers. Lose some weight, get carbon fiber handle. Heck, bearing upgrades don't even look pretty like an anodized dress up part.

There are a couple applications where a dry bearing setup is an advantage, but more for cold temps, not performance. But, in all, a bearing upgrade is fairly inexpensive, and for some, it's easier than cleaning the OE bearings.

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To a degree and with some of the newer, better quality reels, I would agree.  However, The bulk of my Curado's are the green ones they were making before they came out with this new one.  Dick's Sporting goods had a clearance price and an extra managers special on them right after they got the new ones which had them at $56 each.  I bought everyone they had LH and RH, about 10 of them, plus I already had about 1/2 dozen or so.  Some of these reels probably have a 1/2 million cast on them with the ceramic bearings and when I change to one that has not been used or used very little with the factory bearings, there was very noticeable difference.  Even the ones that were still almost new cast better when I changed them to the ceramic.  May be just the quality of  VXB's bearings but there is a noticeable difference in these reels.  

 

I have a couple of the new Curado's I haven't bothered to change because I've seen no need, they cast great, so I can't say if ceramics will help them any or not.  These I've never even taken down to clean yet.

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I've treated ceramic bearings with a TINY drop of TSI 321 to quiet them.

 

 

oe

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Totally stock, though not out of the box. It's a couple seasons old in this vid. This is one of the slower ones. I kept the three fastest. It's all in HOW you clean the bearings.

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Since you are asking the question, you must not be happy with the performance that you are getting out of your reel now. The first question that needs to be asked is......have you been studious about maintaining your factory bearings? If not, there is a chance that they are ruined and then the answer is yes, a new set of quality bearings will be a definite improvement over your trashed bearings. I know the one time that I replaced factory bearings with ceramics I noticed a big improvement in how easy it was to get my lure out there. I chalked the improvement up to ceramics being great and not realizing at the time that my factory bearings were trashed because of a lack of maintenance on my part. BTW, I sold the ceramics to a member here because as Ghoti says, I like for my reels to be seen and not heard. The ceramics were annoyingly loud IMHO.

 

I give my reels a deep clean once a year unless something else warrants a cleaning (dunking in murky water or grit gets in it which I don't allow anyway except a couple times by accident) and I clean the bearings probably three times a year with a mild degreaser, then an acetone followed by isopropyl soak. Last time I added blowing them out with an air compressor too. My reels cast well I just noticed a decline in the Curado casting two trips ago, and flushing did help them a little, it's back to about normal.

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The answer to the OP's questions lies in expectation, and current condition. If you have had the reel deep cleaned and bearings flushed and lubricated properly, the difference new bearings will make is minimal. The reels in question are also candidates for Super Tuning. Cleaning and Tuning are both better bangs for the buck and should be the first steps in improving reel casting. Increased distance is secondary to the improved accuracy that results from improved free-spool due to the ease of casting. An ABEC 5 ceramic hybrid run dry gives the best performance. Anything else is overkill or counter. 

 

I'll take your word for it. How much do you charge for a super tuning and cleaning?

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Cleaning is $22 by itself and is included in the Super Tune @ $34. Members here get 20% off those prices. Carnontex drags for those are $8 if you want to do that to. It's a nice upgrade for these reels. Feel free to email or call if you have any questions.

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Cleaning is $22 by itself and is included in the Super Tune @ $34. Members here get 20% off those prices. Carnontex drags for those are $8 if you want to do that to. It's a nice upgrade for these reels. Feel free to email or call if you have any questions.

 

Thank you, I might send them in this year when I'm done in November.

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