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djtrekker

upgraded baitcast reel bearings

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I recently bought two nice baitcast reels after trying a less expensive reel. The lower model is a Lews Laser MG, only $80. My question is, is it worth it to upgrade the bearings in a cheaper reel to boca bearings? With two other reels, I doubt I really need the cheaper as a backup, but I thought I'd ask this forum. I guess I'm looking for feedback on what folks think about upgrading bearings, does it really make a difference, and how?

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In my opinion it depends on how the reel initially performs.  With few exceptions I change my bearings to Bocca orange seal.  I have found over the years that a less  expensive reel's performance can be like night and day.   For example, I purchased a Diawa Tatula R when they first came out.  It sated "alright" but after I changed the bearings I was casting a 1/4 oz plug 75+ feet with little effort.  I then ended up purchasing three more, changed their bearings and was extremely happy.  Changing breaking a in the curado, and even the Tatula is very easy.  That's makes the decision on whether you want to change the bearings, especially in a new reel a lot easier.

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The  "Laser" models are graphite framed reels and in my opinion upgrading bearings would be throwing money away. I say that with all honesty, put the extra money toward an aluminum framed reel and then upgrade the bearings. If you upgrade the bearings in the graphite framed reel and you get a small amount of flex, it will throw the gears slightly out of alignment and the reel will be junk with good bearings. Leave it be and when buying your next reel go for one with an aluminum frame. 

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Don't waste your money, instead get a better reel.

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2 hours ago, smalljaw67 said:

The  "Laser" models are graphite framed reels and in my opinion upgrading bearings would be throwing money away. I say that with all honesty, put the extra money toward an aluminum framed reel and then upgrade the bearings. If you upgrade the bearings in the graphite framed reel and you get a small amount of flex, it will throw the gears slightly out of alignment and the reel will be junk with good bearings. Leave it be and when buying your next reel go for one with an aluminum frame. 

Ill second this opinion. ^^^

The "better" Lews reels start at $99 retail with a solid aluminum frame. I haven't actually put aftermarket bearings in my reels but I have read this type thread several times here and its a pretty common answer that if there is no mechanical issue your not gaining much if anything. 

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I wouldn't worry about upgrading the bearings on the laser reel. The only time I worry about upgrading bearings is if they are going bad and making noise or if I'm trying to throw lighter stuff. Usually I just use spinning tackle for that though myself. If you are confident in taking it apart then a good flushing and relying of the stock bearings should help the reel throw baits a lot better

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You might remove and flush out the existing bearings and see how the reel performs.  It might surprise you.   I have installed upgraded spool bearings (orange seal bocas) on an old Daiwa Procaster from the early eighties and it made more of a casting effort change:  Less effort, same distance.  Easier to cast lighter weight also.  The spool will free wheel forever but  If I tried to cast as hard as I did with the old bearings, I could not get my thumb on the spool fast enough and major backlash.  I like the change it made in my old reel;  I believe casting distance will improve with practice, but if you are looking to gain a lot of extra distance I would not worry about changing new bearings

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It's honestly not worth it in just about any reel. The only reels that I've noticed a real difference in were my finesse reels. That's because they have very light spools and the faster bearings aid in startup of the light spool when using light lures under 1/4oz. That said I have cleaned stock bearings that will spin almost as long as a dry boca will. An aftermarket bearing allows you to achieve the same distance with less effort. You aren't magically going to gain 30ft on every cast.  I've put bocas in every reel I've owned. That's ranging from $80 reels to $600 reels. So I have plenty of before and after on the water experience with each reel. None of them made me say "oh wow" that's a big difference. For an all purpose reel throwing baits 1/4oz + it's not something you need to do to a reel.

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11 hours ago, iabass8 said:

No

nuff said

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In my opinion it all depends on what you are looking to gain by upgrading.  If you are looking to cast considerably farther, then no I wouldn't bother upgrading. You may gain a little distance but not enough to justify the cost of full Boca ABEC 7 orange seal.....these aren't cheap.  I would just flush the existing bearings and then apply one drop of light oil. By doing that you'll be surprised by the improvement.

With that being said I have upgraded all the bearings in my reels also.  These range from cheaper Lews to Shimano Aldebaran.  My reason being is that I fish out of a Kayak and a large portion of my casts are made while sitting down.  As rippin-lips said, the upgraded bearings aid in getting the same distance with less effort.  Which helps considerably when casting while sitting down. 

 

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Here's my thoughts on this subject, after spending a lot of cash buying and installing "upgrade" bearings: read rippin-lips post. He got it exactly correct.

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I have to agree with the majority.  Don't expect much...if any...increase in distance.  I've often had a bearing upgrade done when sending reels out for cleaning...and sometimes upgrading.  Never went to a football field for before and after measurements, but on water casting seems about the same.   Might be an improvement with a finesse reel, but I'm not good enough with very light lures yet to notice any gain.  I keep trying, tho.  :D

I've had bearing upgrades done on all the reels I've sent out the last few times.  Figure it can't hurt.  Then I know the reel is the best it can be, and I am the limiting factor.  I do find with some reels that a bearing and supertune allows me to run with less braking.  Always a plus.  Less braking equals same distance with less effort.

 

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