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Complete list of all current ICAST 2014 coverage
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Glide Week : Riding the S-Wave!
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Abu Garcia Raises the Speed Bar with their Rocket!
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Daiwa’s Steez EX 100XS offers a Deadly Combination of Both Speed and Precision
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First look inside the new Curado I baitcaster
 


 


Reel Review


The Verdict on refreshing an enduring classic, introducing the Shimano Chronarch B (continued)
 

Retrieve: I've always felt that Chronarch's excelled in applications where a lot of line recovery was necessary. For example, they would not always be my first choice for plastics work were I put a greater emphasis on precision and feel, as lures are crawled back over structure. These fluid reels were worth their weight in gold when it came time to work crankbaits or burn spinnerbaits, when a solid and powerful gearing combined with a more fluid retrieve made it easier to work these fast moving lures when searching for fish. The Chronarch 100B keeps to that tradition with an emphasis on both a silky retrieve and sheer power. The Chronarch 100B has the exact same ratio (6.2:1) as the original but for those anglers that prefer deep water cranking, slow-rolling big blades, or heaving massive swimbaits the BPV versions present a slower but more powerful 5.0:1 ratio.

 

The VBS system can be adjusted through the hub, just like on a Calcutta TE

 

The Chronarch 100B is just a tad smoother than it's predecessor but does feel more powerful when there is a fish on the end of the line. New larger gearing combined with a rigid setplate and sideplate allow for a brisk retrieve while providing plenty of torque. We experienced this firsthand when we tested the reel in the O'Neil Forebay targeting stripers. Stripers over 5lbs in weight would do a real number on our classic Chronarch 100A and SF reels, necessitating an aggressively adjusted drag setting to allow the fish to run as we tired the fish out to the point we could gain ground. With the Chronarch 100B we were able to put less emphasis on the drag and put more pressure on the fish by strategically muscling the stripers with more fish moving toque afforded to us via the HEG gearing. In terms of retrieve the Chronarch 100B feels like a combination of a Calcutta and original Chronarch A sandwiched together into one low profile package. Verdict: They got it right
 

The Chronarch B owes it's dependable casting to a reduced mass VBS hub, a Lo-Mass drilled aluminum spool, quality AR-B bearings, and the proven VBS system

  

Drag: Its no surprise that Shimano spec'd Dartanium for the Chronarch 100B drag system. This proven material which was once only available on the Calais is now used on both the Chronarch 100B and the Calcutta B series of reels. In our lab the Chronarch 100B was able to deliver 12.3lbs of maximum drag counter pressure. This exceptional drag performance beats most reels by a minimum of 20%. Shimano also does a good job on the adjustment side. The reel uses the same drag star as the one found on the original but adds a clicker for more precise adjustments. Whether it was a largemouth or a striper there were few fish over the course of a year that really taxed the Chronarch 100B's drag. Verdict: They got it right

 

A clicking drag adjustment provides more feel for precise adjustments

 

Ergonomics: When it comes to ergonomics the Chronarch 100B is certainly more avant-garde in appearance than the older version. The Chronarch 100B features an aggressively angled front and sculpted lines throughout. The reel is a bit longer than the original, mostly due to the angled front section. The Chronarch 100B features even wider spool access than the 100A thanks to beveled edges. In terms of palming the sideplate is more comfortable on the Chronarch 100B now that it is sculpted, but the front of the reel is not as easy to get your fingers around since it arches up to form the pointed facade. Because the Chronarch 100B is longer than the original it also is not as straightforward to position the entire palm of your hand around the base of the reel. In addition to being longer, the reel also weighs in at a portly 9.0oz in comparison to the lighter 7.9oz original Chronarch 100A and 8.4oz Chronarch 100SF. The reel's handle remains the same cold forged shank we have grown to love, but now incorporates the more comfortable Septon grips which are less slippery when wet. Overall the reels ergonomics are similar to the original in normal casting operation, but fall short when it comes to palming. Verdict: They got it wrong

 

The Chronarch B proved to be a exceptional Striper reel, being both smooth when ripping jerkbaits and powerful when it came time to winch heavy swimbaits

 

Durability: The Chronarch 100B makes up points in the durability department. Like the Stella FB reels, a lot of thought was put into ensuring that this new generation of Chronarchs could also stand up to the test of time, not only in terms of performance but also physical outlook. Anglers that have Chronarch's that are a few seasons old no doubt have experienced paint scarring and boat rash on their reels simply due to normal abuse in the field. The originals featured a thick paint job encased beneath an even thicker clear coat. But as with all painted surfaces these layers of protection eventually always succumbed to prolonged contact. While the older reels have a soft feel the Chronarch 100B has a slick silky feel, one that is devoid of paint or clear coat layers. The Chronarch 100B features the same Ion plated finish first employed on the Stella. This finish is more scratch and corrosion resistant than paint, and has a premium look and feel. As if that wasn't enough the Chronarch 100B also has two small metal plates that protrude over the top of the reel to reduce the chance of scratches from impact. Verdict: They got it right

 

The Ion plated finish and raised bumper plates will help keep the Chronarch B looking good through all the abuse anglers will put it through

 

Price & Applications: Shimano now makes a Chronarch B for just about any freshwater and inshore application. For those that are seeking Chronarch level performance in a lighter package the 50Mg version is fantastic. In terms of price the Chronarch B should really be compared to the previous SF model which retailed for 229.99. The new reel costs 40 dollars more at 269.99. Is this forty dollar premium really justified? The new reel bests the original in every way aside from the ergonomics department. Feature and performance-wise the engineers at Shimano have packed in all the latest technologies into a reel that is designed to provide another decade of performance. Lately Shimano has been raising the price of each of their refreshed baitcasters, as well as transitioning the performance positioning in their lineup. For example, the new Curado D is intended to deliver performance that surpasses the previous generation Chronarchs, and the Citica D does the same over the prior Curados. But in the case of the Chronarch B where does it go in terms of performance positioning? The reel gets into the Calais's weight class, but doesn't match up with the flagship's refined elegance. When it boils down to it we think the Chronarch B's enhancements are worth the 40 dollar premium, we just wish the added cost of ownership wasn't there. Verdict: They got it half right

 

Ratings:

Shimano Chronarch B (100B) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Overall build quality of this reel is excellent and really does up the ante. We love the ion plated finish 9.5
Performance Overall performance in casting, drag, and retrieve all surpass the original 9.5
Price The reel is worth the extra 40 dollar premium over the original, we just wish that the price increase wasn't there so anglers would be getting more for the same money. In terms of overall price versus the competition the Chronarch B holds its own nicely 8
Features This reel is loaded with top notch features. The new easy access sideplate is quick and easy to use and the proven Shimano features like Dartanium drag and Septon grip are welcome 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) The one area we wish could have been improved. The new Chronarch B should have been easier to palm and lighter than the original 7
Application Application-wise the new Chronarch B can do it all and for those looking for more power or line capacity the BPV and BSV make the family of reels even more multi-talented 9.5

Total Score

8.66

  
Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Top notch performance L Heavier than the original
J Smooth and refined L Not as palming friendly as the original
J Powerful gearing L Increase in cost over original
J Durable Ion plated finish  
J Exceptional drag  

    
Conclusion:
 ....and the verdict is that Shimano got it right, for the most part. The original Chronarch's are a tough act to follow, and I would hate to have to be the one charged with improving on a proven timeless classic. I liken the Chronarch B redesign to the contemporary BMW redesign, in which Chris Bangle, the design boss of the BMW group, infuriated thousands of BMW traditionalists with the introduction of sharper-edged format to the company's automobiles. Few BMW enthusiasts could deny the new generation of car's performance and handling characteristics, but getting used to the radical new design took time. While Bangle continues to come under fire from purists that fear that their beloved Bimmers have been ruined, the fact remains that the Z4 (the first BMW to be "Bangle-ized") sales are scorching, up over 250% against the previous generation Z3. Will this be the same story with the Chronarch B? Personally I am fond of the look of the new reel, and the performance is exactly what I have come to expect from a quality Shimano. Areas that could have been improved are the unfortunate increase in weight and elongated profile. The new reel should prove to be a winner, but it remains to be seen if the new B series has what it takes to endure through another decade. Overall I like the new reel and fish it regularly, it brings a smile to my face every time I grasp the Ion plated exterior and crank away on the smooth and powerful gears, but every once in a while I can't help but miss my old 100A and SF.

 

                                    


 

 

 

 

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