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Welcome Back Shimano : The 2013 Metanium (continued)

The standard, 6.2:1 retrieve ratio Metanium comes with an eighty four (84) millimeter handle while the XG (or 8.5:1) Metanium comes with a ninety six (96) millimeter handle. According to literature online, the HG ( or 7.4:1) version comes with an eighty four (84) millimeter handle. The knobs on all models are standard Shimano Septon grips contoured for right or left hand retrieve. Both handles felt fine, though I preferred the longer handle regardless of retrieve ratio.

Performance Ratings for Shimano Metanium 2013

Retrieve (1-5)
Drag (1-5)
Power (1-5)
Casting Range (1-5)
Brakes (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Drag: The dragstar on our Metaniums had an adjustment range of approximately two and a half turns. In the lab, strapped to The Machine, we were able to achieve a maximum drag of 8.42 pounds but had an average sustained max drag of 7.71 pounds.

Fig 1. Above is our Sweet Drag Performance Chart for
Shimano's 2013 Metanium. In this chart you can see that as more line is pulled out, the drag at each setting seemed to increase. For the most part, the curves are smooth save for the final "lockdown" setting.

Those numbers don't seem very big, but to us, as stated since the inception of our new Sweet Drag Performance chart, what's more important that maximum "lockdown" drag is how smooth and consistent that drag performs. As you can see in the chart above, the Metanium does very well in our Sweet Drag test.

A look inside the 2013 Metanium.

What we do find a bit odd are the small steps up in pressure at each adjustment point we measured on The Machine. When measuring a reel's drag performance we begin with the drag backed all the way off. We then turn the drag star one full turn and run our drag test. Once complete, we push the drag star twice with our thumb as if adjusting the drag while fishing. We repeat this process until we've pushed the drag star a total of six times. Normally, we get a pretty good distribution in our Sweet Drag curves at each adjustment point. This was not the case with the our Metanium. Certainly there's a lot more range in this reel's drag as is demonstrated by its performance at full lock down so our results are neither good or bad, just odd. It seems the majority of useful adjustment on the Metanium's drag are between two and two and a half turns of the drag star.

Sweet Drag Performance for Shimano Metanium 2013 (2.5 Turns to Lockdown)

Full Turn
Full + 2
Full + 4
Full + 6
Avg % Change
Start Up
Biggest Drop
Change in Startup vs Sustained
Biggest Drop from Sustained


Power: Both the standard and XG versions of this reel have plenty of cranking power and we assume the same can be said for the HG version as well. In fact, the HG version of this reel is a favorite of BASS Elite Pro, Aaron Martens. On our recent trip to Lake Biwa, Martens continued to express how fond he was of the Metanium XG (he is not sponsored by Shimano) and how he uses it for almost everything including throwing deep diving crankbaits.


Looking at the Micro gears 


I've never enjoyed throwing deep diving cranks on fast reels, but if Aaron Martens says the Metanium HG has enough power to do it, I'll take his word for it. Especially considering nothing I've experienced with the XG would make me think otherwise.


The pinion gear was very well lubed with grease.


Casting Range: This reel comes equipped with a spool that weighs a mere 12 grams. Together with the new Infinity SVS system, this super light spool really serves to open up the Metanium's casting range. On the water, matched with standard application fishing rods (as opposed to rods geared towards finesse), I was able to cast quarter ounce plugs with little effort. I'm quite certain outfitted with line and a rod geared towards a finesse application that one eighth (1/8) of an ounce should be attainable. The castability of this reel is quite impressive for a general duty baitcasting reel.


Spool weight on the Metanium is a mere 12 grams.


Brakes: In 2012, Shimano Japan debuted a new braking system in their flagship Antares reels. This new, Infinity SVS, brake system is their next generation centrifugal brakes. They're not necessarily easier to adjust, but the one key enhancement is the fact you can set the brakes on the inside, and then fine tune their adjustment with a dial on the outside!


The new SVS Infiniti brakes are still adjustable on the inside too.


There's a dial located on the bottom of the non handle sideplate. Turning this dial moves a plastic cup secured within the side plate in towards and out from the spool. This adjustment affects how far the centrifugal brakes can extend. The further out the brakes can extend, the more braking force you will have.


Strapped up to The Machine for Smooth Drag tests.


Sound familiar? Shimano's SVS Infinity brakes operate in similar fashion to Abu Garcia's IVCB braking system. I'm a big fan of these designs as the end result is incredible performance throughout your cast and casts that sail considerably further than other braking systems.


Two bearings under each knob.

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