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Reel Review

A brand new reel with a brand new taste... The Quantum Catalyst PTi

Date: 5/16/02
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Quantum
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 9.16 + Editor's Choice Award!

Introduction: You asked for it, they listened, and now it has been released.  The Quantum team has put much dedication and hard work into a brand new ultra-stylish and high performing spinning reel.  This lead to the birth of Quantum's Catalyst PTi that sports many innovative designs that not only will improve your fishing experience, but will also prolong the life of your reel.

Quantum Catalyst PTi (CT20PTi) Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 4/180;6/140, 8/100
Gear Ratio 5.2:1
Weight 9.6 oz.
Bearings 8
Additional Features TiMAG II system, MaxCast Longstroke aluminum spool, spare aluminum spool, Ceramic Magnum drag system, Low-friction Continuous Anti-Reverse II, Hot Sauce, TRU-Balance, Oversized Twist-Reducer line roller, soft contoured handle knob
MSRP $89.95

Impressions: When you pick up the Quantum Catalyst PTi reel you will be amazed on how well this spinning reel was designed.  That's how I felt when I first received and analyzed the Catalyst PTi.


The Quantum Catalyst PTi is stylish, has a solid construction, and sports innovative designs


With a quick visual inspection this Performance Tuned(PT) reel has noticeable unique features.  First is the thin bail wire.  Wait!  It's not a traditional metal bail.  The new Quantum PT spinning reels utilize their latest and the industry's only Nickel Titanium bail, which is part of Quantum's TiMAG II bail system, plus a magnetic bail return that triggers everytime for soft easy bail returns.  The Catalyst PTi uses an all metal construction with a ThinLine body design made from a single piece of aluminum that's compact and lightweight.  The solid aluminum frame is integrated with a side cover that does not have any screws on the exterior wall.  To add a final touch to this truly piece of art work the frame uses a special vacuum deposition finish that's scratch and corrosion resistant and gives the Catalyst PTi an awesome slick appearance.


TiMAG II System: Want a bail wire and return mechanism that won't fail?  Quantum developed the TiMAG II system that is very reliable.  The TiMAG II system consists of the industry's only revolutionary titanium bail that's durable and elastic plus a bail return system that uses magnets instead of springs.


The TiMAG II bail system uses a Nickel-Titanium alloy bail and a magnetic bail return mechanism that's flawless


The TiMAG II bail is created from Nickel Titanium.  When this strong and flexible titanium is bent it bounces right back into its original form.  This means that the bail will never be twisted out of shape and the reel will always be balanced.  Other benefits from using a Nickel Titanium bail is that it's thinner, lighter, and corrosion proof.


Springs, as we all know, have a tendency to fail over time, especially under heavy usage.  That's not a problem to Quantum's TiMAG II bail return mechanism that uses magnets because each time the polarity applies the equal amount of force to make the bail snap back into position.  These magnets will not lose polarity, stretch, or wear out.


Quantum's TiMAG II system is so reliable that it's backed by a Lifetime Warranty.


TRU-Balance Design: TRU-Balance is a computer designed system that virtually eliminates wobble and vibrations when retrieving.  Computer designed offset rotor arms are used to counteract the bail's inertia to allow maximum smoothness during your retrieves.


Complete Rig for Catalyst PTi Tests

Rod St. Croix Legend Elite (ES66MF)
Reel Quantum Catalyst PTi (CT20PTi)
Line 4lb & 8lb Trilene XL

Field Tests:
As always, we like to match up the tackle that fits and feels best together for the tests.  After the combination has been paired we took the Quantum Catalyst PTi and the comparable competitors out to local lakes for some action from different species of fish ranging from largemouth bass to hard hitting trout, and even small sized stripers that really gave the Catalyst PTi a great workout.  Here are the results in each of the categories below.  

Since the Catalyst PTi comes with a free aluminum spool, changing lines for different types of fish was made simple.  With both 4lb. test and 8lb. test line rigged with the appropriate lures, casting was outstanding!  Casting light spinners for trout or heavier lures for bass, the Quantum Catalyst PTi out-performed its competition on both distance and accuracy.  This is mainly due to Quantum's MaxCast Longstroke aluminum spool that is wider in diameter and has a smooth lip, plus the way the line was previously retrieved onto the spool - less twisted line equals further casting distances.


The Longstroke aluminum spool and lip design are just two of the many features that make casting long distances possible


Retrieving: The Quantum Catalyst PTi is a great looking reel, but appearance isn't everything.  What's inside counts too. The guts of the CT20PTi is what really make this reel a winner in the retrieving category.


First the Catalyst PTi is extremely smooth. This is due to the fact that it contains 8 polymer-stainless hybrid bearings, and along with Quantum's Hot Sauce and their specially engineered brass alloy gears make the Catalyst PTi silky smooth. We noticed a tiny amount of backplay in the handle but it is so minor that it will not affect sets or your fishing experience for that matter.


Quantum's ThinLine aluminum frame design.  Also notice that there aren't any screws on the side cover


Next the power of this Performance Tuned spinning reel is quite muscular. The brass alloy gears not only improve the smoothness but also gives the Catalyst PTi cranking power.  The brass alloy was designed to be tougher, precise, reduce distortion, and much more. In addition the one piece ThinLine aluminum body and side cover is so solid that when you are retrieving under heavy load there is absolutely no flex in the reel's frame.


The Drag: When using light tackle for larger fish a high quality drag system is a must. The Catalyst PTi ran through a series of natural tests given my Largemouth Bass, stocked Trout, and aggressive Stripers. Two words that define the drag system... Precise and Smooth! Quantum's Ceramic Magnum drag system sandwiches the spool between Teflon and stainless steel discs to obtain absolute stopping power.  Also the spool rotates on the Teflon bushing that keeps the drag smooth and consistent when the fish decides to make a run for it. The ceramic drag system is also tougher and dissipates heat better than normal drag washers being used in other reels.  The ability to finely adjust the drag in the smallest increments is a big plus!


The Bail: How durable is the TiMAG II bail?  Titanium wire is widely used in everyday products such as prescription glasses frames to medical applications such as surgical components to the aerospace industry because Titanium is lightweight, easy to machine, flexible, and it's extremely durable. You can bend Titanium and it will bounce right back into it's original shape.



Nickel Titanium alloy bail wire that's lightweight, flexible, and durable


Pure Titanium can be brittle, but when it's combined with other metals the compound formed is stronger than ever. Quantum's choice of alloy is Nickel Titanium.  This Titanium alloy provides all the benefits and characteristics as described in the previous paragraph.  The Nickel Titanium bail on the Catalyst PTi is tough, lightweight, and flexible.  No matter how gentle you are with your fishing tackle or if you are the type who drops your gear for another, using the Catalyst PTi that employs the Nickel Titanium bail will allow you to fish without the worry of breaking or bending your bail.


Warranty: Quantum's products are warranted for one year from the date of purchase against defects in workmanship or materials.


Another great benefit to owning a Quantum product is that they provide their users with a "48 Hour Warranty Service" because their objective is to keep everyone fishing.  Two advantages to this service: 1) Quantum will either repair or replace your product in 48 hours and ship it back to you with a free hat, 2) the warranty on the product being sent back to you will again have a 1 year warranty period from the date sent.  Thus your reel will have a full warranty just like it's new.


To further add value to Quantum's Catalyst PTi, the TiMAG II system is backed by a Lifetime Warranty.


Quantum Catalyst PTi Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solid ThinLine body design allows zero flex, flawless TiMAG II bail system, the other Performance Tuned features, and the all metal construction make this reel very durable and long lasting 9
Performance Outstanding performance!  This reel excels in all the categories 9
Price Great price for a durable reel that's designed to out-perform it's competitors 10
Features Many good features that enhance the reel, plus a FREE additional aluminum spool, not graphite 9.0
Design (Ergonomics) Designed to be as light as possible and the soft contour rubber handle knob allows you to fish an entire day with minimal fatigue  9.0
Application A reel that has many strengths that allow it to be used for different types of fishing 9.0

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Solid construction L Tiny amount of back-play
J Flawless bail system  
J Great price!  
J Precise drag  
J Performance Tuned parts  
J Smooth retrieve  

Conclusion: When holding the Catalyst PTi in your hands it gives you a gentle soft feeling but it's actually an aggressive performer when battling fish of all different sizes.  The slick and solid construction of the Performance Tuned spinning reel by Quantum is a true winner.  The addition of an innovative failure-proof bail system adds a great deal of value to the Catalyst PTi in terms of performance and overall durability.  The direct result from the many  hours of design, rework, and tweaking produced a super smooth and powerful reel that's pleasurable in your hands.  The Quantum Catalyst PTi is a superb reel that has a good combination of performance, features, price, and high quality construction.  The test results were so good that we awarded the Catalyst PTi TackleTour's Editor's Choice Award for being an outstanding product!










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