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Reel Review

Daiwa’s Zillion Type-R, Rev up to High Speed (continued)

Durability: The original Zillion reels have held up well over time but when examined closely I noticed that a number of my original reels have started showing signs of boat rash, but the scratches are very difficult to see on the stock sliver finish. Like a black car scratches are a lot easier to perceive on the finish of the Type-R. Though the paint has held up well overall the reel did take some damage in the aluminum hulled boats we used in the Amazon.

A Butterfly Peacock taken on a jig with the Type-R

Aside from a few white scratches on the non handle sideplate the reel exhibited no performance altering durability issues. The Type-R continues to remain smooth and no maintenance was required even after an entire season of use. Anglers that are weary about the durability of the magnesium based Steez can count on the aluminum based Type-R to deliver both sophistication and toughness.

A battle scar from the Amazon

Price and Applications: So far it has pretty much been pedal to the medal for the Type-R but here is where the reel hits a speedbump. Retailing for a whopping $399 dollars the Type-R is $110 dollars more than a standard Zillion reels and $100 dollars more than the Zillion Coastal. When the red Zillion 50th Anniversary reel was available it retailed for $299 dollars each and featured the same 11BB + 1RB bearing count and ultra fast 7.3:1 retrieve ratio. So why is the Type-R so much more expensive?

Each component on the Type-R is metal, no plastic here

The Type-R does make use of some higher quality materials including the carbon fiber swept handle as well as the souped up “Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag.” The Type-R’s gearing has also been machined to a higher level of refinement and the reel pays a little more attention to weight reduction through porting on the frame of the reel. All in all the Type-R is the most refined Zillion that Daiwa has ever released for the domestic market but the high price makes this somewhat of an exclusive offering.

All the knobs look and feel high quality

Daiwa Zillion fans will likely pony up the cash for this reel but at 400 dollars the Type-R is getting dangerously close to Steez territory, and anglers really need to ask themselves if they would prefer a magnesium reel from Daiwa’s flagship series instead. Fans of other brands will likely look at the Type-R as yet another overpriced Zillion. As with many high end Daiwa reels the Type-R caters to those anglers that demand a high level of refinement, are looking for something a little more exclusive, and are willing to pay to own such a premium product.

The Type-R is made in Japan

If you are looking for a reel to pull double duty and be fished in saltwater the Type-R is preferable over the Steez, but if you are looking for a low profile baitcaster exclusively for saltwater the more affordable Zillion Coastal is the better choice as it utilizes more corrosion resistant bearings. The Type-R is a good reel for most freshwater applications and is good for pitching, flipping, reaction baits, as well as topwater baits. The high speed retrieve makes it easy to cover a lot of water quickly and the reel delivers an excellent balance of both speed and power.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Daiwa Zillion Type-R Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Zillion Type-R has all the DNA of previous generation Daiwa reels and makes use of high quality materials including aluminum and carbon fiber 9
Performance The Type-R delivered in all categories and is the smoothest domestic Zillion I have fished to date and has an excellent drag system 9
Price Ouch, at 399 this reel is really getting close to Steez territory and is out of reach for many anglers. Daiwa fans will still purchase this premium reel but anglers that are not die-hard Zillion fans will probably find the reel too expensive. If this reel was $349 dollars this reel would have crossed into "Editors Choice" territory 6
Features The Type-R is loaded with features and has all of what makes the Zillion series so good plus a souped up drag... finally! 9
Design (Ergonomics) The Type-R weighs in slightly lighter than other Zillion reels and the enlarged knobs are a welcome addition 8
Application The Type-R is good for flipping and pitching as well as tossing reaction baits. This reel can be used in inshore applications as well and I absolutely loved this reel in the Amazon (Definitely Amazon Approved). If you are looking for a Zillion reel for saltwater the Coastal is still the better choice when price is considered 8.5

Total Score

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

+ Excellent build quality, this reel has the DNA of all the other Zillion reels and some extra tuning - Want to drive this reel? It will cost you. It is getting close to Steez territory
+ Finally the drag we have been waiting for in a Zillion  
+ The carbon fiber swept handle is a nice touch  
+ Great for power fishing  

Conclusion: While the Zillion Type-R’s raw specs are black and white we find that this new reel is more colorful than you would expect from gazing on its sleek black exterior. Sometimes a little tuning can make a product feel like a completely different offering. In the case of the Type-R the Zillion DNA is ever present but the boost in performance is evident, especially when it comes to retrieve smoothness and the maximum stopping power of the drag.


The Zillion Type-R may be expensive but it delivers plenty of refinement and performance, this might just be the best high speed Zillion yet!


If the standard Zillion reels is the Porsche 911 of Daiwa’s lineup the Type-R is the 911 Carrera S. I found the Zillion Type-R to be a true luxury product. The original Zillion reels will get the job done and if you are looking for a workhorse reel then the standard Zillion 6.3:1 and 7.1:1 reels will suit you just fine. But if you are looking for more than a method to transport your lure from point A to B the Zillion Type-R is a reel that is truly fun to drive, ummm…. I mean fish.


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