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shorefisher

The bearing game

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I was just wondering if someone knew how the bearing game is played. For example the more bearings a reel has, one would assume that it would be better. But clearly this isn't necessarily the case. A Pflueger President ($59) has 10 bearings a Quantum Incyte ($59) has 11 while a Shimano Symetre ($69) has 5 or a Shimano Stradic ($169) or Daiwa Fuego ($220) both have "only" 7.

Are the bearings better utilized on the Shimano's and Daiwa's?

Better quality?

Do they add bearings unnecessarily to the lower end chinese reels (Pflueger, Quantum) to simply be able to claim more for marketing?

I realize that there are hundreds of other components that differentiate these reels but I was just focusing on the bearings.

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I am glad you asked this, I was wondering the same and I am looking forward to seeing what responses you get.

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More bearings =/= better reel

So you're saying that the Incyte with it's 11 bearings is a better reel than a Stradic with it's measly 7 bearings? I think there has to be more to it than that.

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Since the spinning reel has no high or even medium rpm parts my opinion is that ball bearings only add to a feeling of smoothness and do nothing for casting.

Bait casters are a bit different but I belive that only 2 or 3 bearings add to castability. All the others make the reels seem smoother but do little or nothing for castability.

Some of the bearings might make the reel last a bit longer with less wear than a bushing.

The roller bearing is critical to instant antireverse.

As I recall I recently read that all makers used the same quality ball bearings. I believe Reel Mechanic contributed this but I'm not sure.

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it's obvious to me that adding unnecessary bearing would increase the weight of the reel by some amount, at least that was said on Tackletour.

As far as I'm concerned, more bearings doesn't necessarily help much if you're looking at bearings alone. Revo SX/STX have like double the amount of ball bearings on a Curado, but what's the difference? More chances of bearing failure if low quality bearings are used I'd say.

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One good bearing placed in the right place is better than a gazillion bearings all over the reel.

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Are the bearings better utilized on the Shimano's and Daiwa's?

Better quality?

I know that some Shimano and Daiwa reels have treated bearings that are supposed to be rust and corrosion resistant.

My low end Daiwa and Shimano's that have 3 bearings are better quality than other brands that have 5 to 7 bearings. I think those other companies add a lot of bearings on their low end stuff but sacrifice on other parts of the reel. More plastic parts, cheap springs, gears and drag, etc. Give me Daiwa and Shimano with less bearings any day. ;D

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More bearings is better if the bearings are of the same quality.  The low-end reels with 11 bearings use very cheap bearings, and say, a Citica with only three bearings is going to use higher quality bearings.  Reels with just a few bearings use them to cover the most important spots, i.e. spool support (which directly influences casting distance).  I would say that maybe 80% of the performance increase bearings provide can be contributed to the spool support bearings.  I will take a reel with 3 quality bearings in the key areas versus a reel with low grade bearings placed throughout the gearbox.  Manufacturers have the market broken down, and they know that the average consumer purchasing that $50 reel isn't a tackle junky...they know in this market segment just having a high bearing count will sell reels.  There aren't very many anglers in this demographic that know the aforementioned information.  

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More bearings is better if the bearings are of the same quality.  The low-end reels with 11 bearings use very cheap bearings, and say, a Citica with only three bearings is going to use higher quality bearings.  Reels with just a few bearings use them to cover the most important spots, i.e. spool support (which directly influences casting distance).  I would say that maybe 80% of the performance increase bearings provide can be contributed to the spool support bearings.  I will take a reel with 3 quality bearings in the key areas versus a reel with low grade bearings placed throughout the gearbox.  Manufacturers have the market broken down, and they know that the average consumer purchasing that $50 reel isn't a tackle junky...they know in this market segment just having a high bearing count will sell reels.  There aren't very many anglers in this demographic that know the aforementioned information.  

Very well put Natural.

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More bearings in a spinning reel help with the torque it takes between the crank, (oscillation gears), and the rotor, to get the rotor turning and the spool oscillating. The bearing counts that are used makes getting all this turning easier (especially on larger reels 3000 series and up).

So in some cases more bearing count is better in spinning reels.

When it comes to LP casting reels, the bearing count over 3 (spool support) is to clean up the feel of the crank. In round reels with engaged level winds more bearings will help with the casting efficiency of the reel. Because the spool rotation also drives the level wind...

Now with all this said, you also have to take into account the weight factors that bearing counts bring into play.

Mfg's are using ABEC3 tolerance bearings in the initial builds (all reels).

In casting reels a slight edge can be had with a bearing upgrade to ABEC5 (no actual need to go higher except for ego).

In spinning reels the mfg's are using quality built bearings, and the only thing that is needed is to keep them properly cleaned & lubed (using a quality lubricant)...

It's really that simple....

Just my .02¢ from the bench....

Tight Lines All!!  

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Do they add bearings unnecessarily to the lower end chinese reels (Pflueger, Quantum) to simply be able to claim more for marketing?

Why do you think these are lower end "Chinese reels?" Both are American companies that have their reels built there (high end Pfluegers are made in Korea). I don't know much about Pflueger's bearings, but I've never heard anything bad about them. Quantum's hybrid bearings are very highly regarded.  

BTW, wherea reel is made doesn't have much to do with where the bearings are made. Revos are "made in Korea" but their bearings are German made.

Truth be known, Shimano and Daiwa probably get their bearings from companies that supply other reel manufacters and sewing maching companies.  

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Do they add bearings unnecessarily to the lower end chinese reels (Pflueger, Quantum) to simply be able to claim more for marketing?

Why do you think these are lower end "Chinese reels?"  Both are American companies that have their reels built there (high end Pfluegers are made in Korea).  I don't know much about Pflueger's bearings, but I've never heard anything bad about them.  Quantum's hybrid bearings are very highly regarded.  

BTW, wherea reel is made doesn't have much to do with where the bearings are made.  Revos are "made in Korea" but their bearings are German made.

Truth be known, Shimano and Daiwa probably get their bearings from companies that supply other reel manufacters and sewing maching companies.  

Pflueger President -10 bearings -made in China -$59

Shimano Stradic -5 bearings -made in Japan-$179

That was what I was talking about with the lower end "Chinese" reels and the difference in bearing counts. The Japanese reel is 3 times the cost but only half the bearings.

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Micro,

BTW, wherea reel is made doesn't have much to do with where the bearings are made.  Revos are "made in Korea" but their bearings are German made.

The same can be said about where the bearings are made. All of the mfg's of bearings follow the ABEC scale.

You can Google ABEC and find the article...Here is the just of it all..

The ABEC scale is a system used throughout the manufacturing industry for rating the manufacturing tolerances of precision bearings, developed by the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee (ABEC) of the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA). Bearings are rated using an odd number between 1 and 9. The higher the number, the greater the manufactured precision of the bearing. Bearings manufactured within tighter tolerance ranges provide greater accuracy of shaft rotation and contribute to higher speed capability. However, the ABEC rating does not specify many other critical factors, such as smoothness of the rolling contact surfaces, ball precision, and material quality[1].

There are no required materials to meet the ABEC specifications required to be rated on the scale, but the bearings must be made to a certain accuracy and precision. Bearings not conforming to at least ABEC 1 are not precision bearings. ABEC and ISO precision gradings are used for bearings throughout the industry.

The scale is designed to allow a user to make an informed decision about the type of bearing they are purchasing. High rated bearings are intended for precision applications like aircraft instruments or surgical equipment. Lower grades are intended for the vast majority of applications such as vehicles, mechanical hobbies, skates, fishing reels and industrial machinery. High ABEC rated bearings allow optimal performance of critical applications requiring very high RPM and smooth operation. High ABEC rated bearings do not make equipment go faster however they allow high precision equipment to operate at their optimum speed and efficiency

Hope this helps some.......

Oh BTW Shimano® purchases ball bearings form all over the world, the only ones made to their specs are the one way roller bearings in the AR and they are made in Japan.

Tight Lines All!!

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Made in China, made in Thailand, made in Korea, made in Malaysia, etc doesn 't mean a product is lousy or of bad quality ( not many years ago Made in Japan meant lousy and bad quality didn 't it ? ), it only means where the product was made. Made in any part of the world with low end components means low quality no matter where it was made.

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Pflueger President -10 bearings -made in China -$59

Shimano Stradic -5 bearings -made in Japan-$179

That was what I was talking about with the lower end "Chinese" reels and the difference in bearing counts. The Japanese reel is 3 times the cost but only half the bearings.

The Stradic is made in Malaysia, not Japan.  There is no denying that that you pay a premium for the Shimano name.   And bearings are cheap.  The question ought to be why don't you get a significantly better reel for 3 times the cost.  

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Pflueger President -10 bearings -made in China -$59

Shimano Stradic -5 bearings -made in Japan-$179

That was what I was talking about with the lower end "Chinese" reels and the difference in bearing counts. The Japanese reel is 3 times the cost but only half the bearings.

The Stradic is made in Malaysia, not Japan. There is no denying that that you pay a premium for the Shimano name. And bearings are cheap. The question ought to be why don't you get a significantly better reel for 3 times the cost.

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Pflueger President -10 bearings -made in China -$59

Shimano Stradic -5 bearings -made in Japan-$179

That was what I was talking about with the lower end "Chinese" reels and the difference in bearing counts. The Japanese reel is 3 times the cost but only half the bearings.

The Stradic is made in Malaysia, not Japan. There is no denying that that you pay a premium for the Shimano name. And bearings are cheap. The question ought to be why don't you get a significantly better reel for 3 times the cost.

I am playing devil's advocate so that I can learn. Don't mistake what I'm saying as my opinion either way. What I'm interested in is learning from some of you that are far more experienced.

That being said, Micro are you saying that a Stradic is not significantly better than a Pflueger President? I frankly had no issues with my President until it's watery grave but I've never owned a Stradic so I'm not in a position to say.

Reel mechanic had some great bearing specific information but as someone who works on reels all the time are there dramatic differences in the part quality say between the two listed above?

Thanks

-Shore

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That being said, Micro are you saying that a Stradic is not significantly better than a Pflueger President?

I don't think it's $100 better. I think a big portion of that $100 is for the name alone.

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Reel mechanic had some great bearing specific information but as someone who works on reels all the time are there dramatic differences in the part quality say between the two listed above?

Being as I don't service Pflueger I can't compare the two reels. But with all of the other brands I do service I have never noticed anyone part being of better quality/materials over another.

Tight Lines!!!!  

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i've been wondering about bearings for awhile now. in an effort to understand this more, i just pulled out the parts diagram for my revo SX. the SX is supposed to have 10 ball bearings plus one roller bearing. however, i can only count 5 in the diagram. what am i missing?

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