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Reel Review

Daiwa's New Workhorse, the TD Zillion: US and Japanese models compared

Date: 2/11/07
Tackle Type: Reels
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Cal & JIP

Total Score: 8.91(US) - 8.87(JDM)

Introduction: In July of 2006, just before ICAST, we introduced you to Daiwa's new flagship low profile baitcaster, the Steez. We had high hopes Daiwa would bring their new flagship stateside, and they did not disappoint us. What we also discovered at ICAST, is that Daiwa had plans to bring over more of their Japanese market offerings further blurring the line between this and their US Market products. One such product is the new TD Zillion low profile baitcaster. Today, we bring to you our much anticipated review on what may become the workhorse of the Daiwa's line of bass reels.



Introducing the Daiwa Zillion 100SHA


Introducing the Daiwa Zillion 100SHL


Daiwa Zillion 100SHA(USA) [100SHL(Japan)] Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 14/125 [.360mm/110 yds]
Gear Ratio 7.1:1
Measured Weight 8.6 oz [8.2 oz]
Measured Max. Drag 8.8 lbs
Number of Bearings 6 + 1
Handle Length 89mm
Size of Spool/Sideplate/Knob Bearings 5x11x4 / 3x8x4 / [4x7x2.5]
Features Mag Force Z, Aluminum Construction, Large Capacity Spool, Clicking Drag and Cast Control Knob, CRBB's, Saltwater Safe
MSRP $249.95 [~$280]


Designed with fine details all around


Impressions: Though the differences appear to be minimal between the US and Japanese market versions of this reel, our test products consist of a US version TD Zillion 100SHA and a Japanese market TD Zillion 100SHL. These reels have the familiar look and feel of the former TD-Z line. In fact, the palming sideplates for the former TD-Z and the current Zillion are interchangeable, but note the spools are not (the Zillion's spool is slightly larger in diameter). Moreover, the Zillion features an aluminum construction and a larger gearbox all combining to give this reel a more solid feel and heft than that of Daiwa's former flagship reel.


The Zillion features a deep, flat spool for greater line capacity


The Zillion 100SHA features the same knobs as the TD-Advantage


Both versions of the Zillion are aggressively styled featuring red highlights and ported detailing throughout. Perhaps the most obvious of these highlights are the two vertical lines along each sideplate. These highlights are actually raised pieces of aluminum provided, presumably to guard the reel against boat rash when laid down on the deck of your boat - a nice touch, and a bit more integral than Shimano's solution on the Metanium XT/Chronarch B.


This low profile baitcast reel is very comfortable to palm


Another nice design touch for this reel is the extra long 89 millimeter cranking handle and the micro-click adjustable dragstar and cast control knob. Daiwa made few compromises when putting this reel together. Although both US and Japan versions of the Zillion appear to be identical, there are a few cosmetic differences. The Mag Force Z control dial on the Japan version has more detailing. "Team Daiwa Zillion" is printed on the handle-side sideplate on the US model while no TeamDaiwa is printed on the Japan version. Lastly the handle knobs are different. The Japanese model uses a solid ergonomic grip knob with Zillion printed on them while the US reel uses a knob we've seen on other baitcasters such as the TD Advantage and Fuego.


The SHL features a 7.1:1 gear ratio translating to about thirty (30) inches of line retrieved per turn of the handle on an average cast


The US Zillion has "TeamDaiwa Zillion" imprinted on the handle-side sideplate


Next Section: Let's see what this reel can do...









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