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TT Exclusive: The First Look Inside the Shimano Calcutta D

Date: 7/8/12
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander




Introduction: With ICAST just days away the team has our bags packed and is heading back to Orlando, Florida to check out all the new product that will be officially unveiled for the coming season. This year a number of reel manufacturers provided a preview of their products to the media and retailers and one of the most eagerly anticipated new reels is the new Shimano Calcutta D which we previewed two weeks ago. 


Consider this an appetizer for ICAST 2012, the first look inside the inner workings of the soon to be released Calcutta D


The Calcutta D is a major departure from previous generation reels in terms of features and refinement and the S-Concept design gives this reel ergonomics that are a far from ordinary. When we checked out the pictures from the factory our interest was peaked, not only with the sloped design which makes the non-handle side 15% smaller in diameter, but also the brand new drag system which replaces the traditional star drag with a low profile knob positioned outside of the handle.


The new Calcutta D features a smaller form factor


As Shimano started to build their booth up in Florida we got a call from Reel Product Manager, Kenichi Iida, who let us know that one of the reels was being sent overnight to our lab for a closer look in advance of the official debut in just days. Suffice to say we were counting the hours waiting for the UPS delivery!


The non handle side is smaller and felt very comfortable to palm, the angled edge on top provides a comfortable resting spot for your thumb


Once the reel arrived we put it through the basic lab evaluation. Though this reel is designated as a 200 size reel it features a smaller form factor. Compared to the previous generation Calcutta B models the new reels are 15% lower in height and sit lower on traditional reel seats, 11% narrower, and just over 10% lighter.


The new reels will be made in Japan


The all aluminum construction on this reel is impressive and the new Calcutta both looks and feels extremely refined, and is noticeably smoother than the Calcutta B. With the handle moved closer to the body cranking under pressure exhibits a powerful and fluid retrieve that is completely devoid of any play or wobble whatsoever. 


Key to the X-Drag design is bringing the handle closer to the frame and gearing


The X-Drag knob is a lot easier to operate than I expected and it is easy to simply use your thumb or index finger to adjust the drag pressure. When we first learned about the X-Drag I was also concerned that the small knob would not provide enough leverage to tighten down the drag.


Unlike a traditional handle an extra flange extends into the reel to apply pressure to the drag washers


This concern quickly evaporated as I found the knob easy to adjust at both ends of the spectrum. A reassuring micro-click helps provide positive feedback when making the adjustments and we found we were able to make fine adjustments on the fly. On the drag tester we were able to achieve just under 12lbs. of drag pressure out of the Calcutta D at maximum lockdown. 


Inside the reel we get our first look at the gearing


The reel looks more compact than the previous generation reel and it feels more solid as well. One of the reasons that it feels so solid is that there is no non-handle sideplate. Say what? That's right when we looked at the side of the reel we found that it was completely solid and directly part of the frame. So how do you access the VBS braking system? It was time to crack open the reel and find out.


The inside of the handle-side sideplate is also fully coated for corrosion resistance

Next Section: A look at the new Calcutta D's drag









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