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Complete list of all current ICAST 2014 coverage
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Glide Week : Riding the S-Wave!
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First look inside the new Curado I baitcaster
 


 


Reel Review


Not Built to Suffer Fools Gladly : Daiwa's Z200/Z2020 Platform (continued)

JDM vs USDM : A topic of discussion that comes up quite often in our forum is the question of differences between same model reels made for the US market and Japanese market. The Z200/Z2020 is one such reel. Externally, these two reels are near identical, but with a 14 gram difference in weight something else must be going on. Through our investigations above, we already know of two differences - the number of bearings under each knob and the fact one reel has an audible drag clicker (JDM version) when line is being pulled out of the reel while the other is silent. But what about the weight difference? Why is it there? We took to the lab for further investigation.


Yet their line capacity is identical.

Spools: Upon initial inspection, aside from color treatments, both spools appear identical. But when you lift one up, and then the other, you can sense as difference in weight. We put them on our scale to verify and sure enough we found the Z2020SH's spool was seventeen grams (17g) while the Z200HL's spool weighed twenty one (21g). A four gram difference in weight just in the spools!


Their handles are near identical save for the fact the JDM version (top) sports two bearings under each knob, while the USDM version sports one bearing and one plastic bushing. However the knobs on both models are removable in case you want to swap parts out.

Handles: We've discussed the fact the Z2020SH sports two bearings under each knob while the Z200HL sports one bearing and one plastic bushing, but does this effect their relative weights? Other than the difference in bearings, the handles look more or less identical. There's a cosmetic difference in the end caps on each handles knobs, but that's about it. Our scale reveals the Z2020SH's handle assembly weighs twenty-seven grams (27g) while the Z200HL's handle assembly weighs thirty grams (30g). Three grams just in the handle and we'd have thought the plastic bushings would have made the weight difference in favor of the Z200HL.


USDM 6.4:1 (left) vs JDM 7.2:1 (right).

Main Gear: Getting further into the guts of each reel, we pulled out the main gears. It's very interesting to see the differences in this critical component between the Z2020SH and Z200HL. Looking at the drag assemblies, it's easy to see why the reels tested differently - their drag stacks are not the same!


Note the direction of the lefty gears (left) versus right (right).

We assumed they were but upon further inspection you can see the Z202SH's drag looks more like a Shimano setup with a single drag washer inside the main gear. Upon closer inspection the metal washer above the drag washer is a very specialized piece with a rubber o-ring serving as a gasket to protect the drag washer and a very tiny pin in the washer's side that presses against teeth on the inside face of the main gear. This is how Daiwa enables the audible drag in the Z2020SH. It is a very intricate design!


An inside look at the Z2020SH.

The weight difference between the Z2020SH's gear and that of the Z200? Four grams. Forty-three grams (43g) for the Z2020SH and forty-seven grams (47g) for the Z200HL. Once again, the JDM version is lighter.


Somewhere in this assembly is a difference of 3 grams.

Frame Assembly: So through the main gear, handle, and spool, we've uncovered a weight difference of eleven grams. We're still missing three grams somewhere. All that's left to weigh are the remaining components attached to the main frame of each reel. We placed these remains on the scale and discovered the weight difference is indeed in there - somewhere. Ninety-one grams (91g) for the Z2020SH and ninety-four grams (94g) for the Z200H.


Daiwa vs Shimano, from left to right : Curado 300 E, Z200HL, Curado E5, Pluton.

Daiwa vs Shimano: We already discussed the fact that the Z200/Z2020 and Curado 300 are not targeted at the same customer. Their relative price points are just too far out of whack. But that never stops people from asking how the two compare physically. We put the following table together to do just that and naturally, we took it a step further by throwing in the Chronarch/Curado E platform in together with the Pluton.

Daiwa vs Shimano : The Reels

Model
Weight (grams)
Tested Drag (lbs)
Width (mm)
Length (mm)
Height (mm)
Z200
277
20
69.5
82
47
Z2020
265
15
69.5
82
47
Curado 300 E
294
15
68.5
89
46
Chronarch/Curado E
218
13
68.5
73
41.5
Pluton
336
14
66
64
49

Surprisingly, the width of all three reels are really close. Where the differences in ergonomics lie are in the height of each reel off the reel seat. Naturally the Chronarch/Curado E wins here but the reason this platform is in the matrix to begin with is these are marketed as 100 sized reels with 200 sized reel line capacity. Naturally this begs the question how do all three (or four if you count the Pluton) platforms compare in terms of line capacity.

Daiwa vs Shimano : The Spools

Model
Spool Weight (grams)
Outside Dimension (mm)
Inside Dimension (mm)
Spool Width (mm)

Storage Volume (cm3)

Tested Capacity (.32 mm dia)

Z200
21
38
21
25
19.69
205
Z2020
17
38
21
25
19.69
205
Curado 300 E
19
36.5
9.5
28
27.31
280
Chronarch / Curado E
13
34
16
25
14.84
160
Pluton
20
38
21
25
19.69
205

The above matrix lays everything out in pure numbers. As we pretty much assumed all along, there is no real industry standard for what a "200" sized reel is in terms of line capacity. Each spools' storage volume defines their comparative potential for storing line, but this is if each spool is filled to the exact same level. Realistically, there's a lot of variation as to how far each angler fills their spools. Just the same, this value may be rather obscure to a lot of readers, so we hit our local tackle shop, picked out a bulk spool of line, and filled each of these reels to the approximate same point taking note of how much line we were able to put on each reel.


From left to right, Z2020SH, Curado 300 E, Z200HL, Curado E5, Pluton.

The results hardly define one reel as better than the other. They just serve to illustrate each reel is different. The Z200/Z2020 and Curado 300 platforms are almost the same size, yet the Curado 300 holds much more line. Well, that's because the Curado 300 has a deep spool. Shallow spools have a faster start up inertia hence the Z200/Z2020's surprising performance with lure weights down to one quarter of an ounce. Do you really need this type of performance from a reel of this size? In other words, you can spin the numbers, advantages and disadvantages any way you want to serve your argument.

Ratings:

Daiwa Z200HL / Z2020SH Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality This is a very refined reel. Top notch construction and quality components throughout 9
Performance Better than expected both in terms of casting ability and max drag, a powerhouse of a reel that feels exceptionally refined 9.5
Price Currently Daiwa's most premium low profile non-limited edition baitcaster, and yes it comes at a price 5
Features A low profile Pluton with Magforce 3D 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) It's built to be big and feels like it but I was hoping for more line capacity 7.5
Application If your hands are comfortable gripping this reel, there's almost nothing it cannot do... almost 9

Total Score

8.08
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:

Plus

Minus
+ Finally a large capacity low profile reel from Daiwa - You have to not mind large reels
+ Low profile Pluton and then some - Just a little more line capacity would be nice
+ Casting range is very impressive - This reel's price point hurts
  - No SH Lefty version available in US Market

  

Conclusion: Through it all, there is one very important thing to take away from this article. The Z200/Z2020 is a very fine performing reel especially when it comes to casting. For a reel of this size to be able and cast and pitch lure weights down to a quarter of an ounce is truly impressive. There are differences between the JDM and USDM version of the reel, but out on the water, we were unable to discern any true benefit one reel had over the other with maybe the exception of the 14 gram weight difference.

 


Finally a large capacity, low profile casting reel from Daiwa.

 

For me, the final evaluation of this reel comes down to a combination of two things - ergonomics together with application. Used as a standard black bass reel in applications such as fishing plastics, reeling in big baits, working cranks, basically any application where you are holding your combo and using the reel to work your lure, the Z200/Z2020 is fine. But in applications where you really need to hold the rod and reel combo tightly in your hands and rip your lure in the water, the Z200/Z2020's sheer mass and volume make it a difficult proposition long term. If you have large hands and a strong grip this will probably not be a problem, but if you find reels like the Curado 300 and Revo Toro cumbersome, you'll likely feel the same way about this reel.

 


Why is it so expensive? All metal construction, Daiwa's latest technology, and finally, Made in Japan at a time when many that once were are now are being made elsewhere.

There is one final point many will gripe about regardless of this reel's performance and utility and that's its price point. At six hundred fifty dollars ($650) this is not a fishing reel for the casual fisherman. Why does it cost so much? In an era where most manufacturers - including Daiwa - are moving production of their reels to other countries such as China, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, and more in an effort to keep costs and ultimately retail prices down, the Z200/Z2020 platforms are made in Japan. This pedigree comes at a cost and that's all there is to it. If you find this pedigree important, you need to accept this. If not, simply move on. The Z200/Z2020 is not built to suffer fools gladly. Rather it is built in such a way as to dare you to find a weakness. Bravado like this can only mean one thing and that's TackleTour's Ultimate Enthusiast Award.

Looking for the Z200HL? Try Hi's Tackle Box and if your looking for the Z2020 Try Japan Tackle


 

 

 

 

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