P R O D U C TT P R E V I E W
TT Exclusive: The First Look Inside the Shimano Calcutta D
Calcutta series has always been known for elegant simplicity in design. This is
one of the reasons why the reel is so popular among anglers that fish both fresh
and saltwater because it not only is extremely reliable but also easy to perform
routine maintenance on.
The drag system exposed
The Calcutta D is no different and
there are only four screws on the handle side to remove to access the entire
reel once the handle has been removed. To remove the handle anglers need only
use a coin to remove the locking screw and then unscrew the X-Drag knob.
Underneath and connected to the handle is a flange that extends downwards to
apply pressure onto the internal drag washers.
The entire gearbox assembly lifts
right out of the frame
The Calcutta is able to deliver a
very smooth drag with a wide range of settings by sandwiching six composite and
steel washers within the gearing. The entire gearbox on the Calcutta D is
mounted on a composite housing that cannot corrode. The entire assembly can be
lifted out of the one piece aluminum frame which exposes the spool.
With the gearbox removed we can
finally access the spool
Removing this assembly is the only way to access
the spool. By pulling out the spool anglers will find the VBS system with six
adjustable brakeweights. Anglers will need to commit to the adjustments they
make since it is not possible to change the brakeweight settings on the fly
without a quick access sideplate. The benefit of this design is the solid feel
we experienced earlier as well as extra protection from corrosion for the spool
bearings as well as the frame.
The VBS system is located on the
other side of the spool
The entire frame and sideplate, inside and out,
are coated with Shimano's E.I. surface treatment which protects the reel's bare
aluminum material from corrosion and abrasion. This coating gives the reel a
brilliant silver finish that feels smooth yet is not slippery when gripped.
Inside the frame is the fully
isolated spool bearing
The Calcutta was one of the easiest round reels
that we have ever broke down, and we could easily perform a major service on
this reel in the same time it takes to just break down some competing round
reels currently on the market.
Simple and elegant, the new
Calcutta D is among the easiest and fastest reels to disassemble and maintain
With the reel re-assembled we were able to make a few casts inthe parking lot
before the sun set. The biggest question over the long term is probably how the
X-Drag performs in the field as well as the hidden VBS system, and we really
look forward to putting the reel through the paces in the field when we get back
from Florida. From what we have seen thus far this new Calcutta stays true to
what makes this series so popular and yet manages to up the ante significantly
when it comes to cranking power, drag design, corrosion resistance, and palming
ergonomics. One of the things we really appreciate about Shimano is that they
are constantly looking at ways to innovate and push the design envelope. This
ICAST they could have easily added the X-Ship and E.I. coating features to the
existing Calcutta series and called it a day, instead they are taking a risk and
are rolling out an asymmetrical reel with a completely re-thought out drag
concept. Fearless design is always a gamble but it helps move the entire
industry forward, and with an appetizer like this we cannot wait for the main
course that is ICAST 2012. See you in Florida!