For the better part of five years, I’ve tinkered with my fishing reels trying to get a little more performance, a little more distance, a little more longevity out of them. Reel upgrades started for me out of necessity. If I could take an $80 reel and make it perform like a $200 reel for $40 or less, it was a win in my book. I’ve tried a lot of the bearing offerings on the market over the years but recently found a new company I hadn’t yet seen: Spool Speed Bearings.
About Spool Speed Bearings
From Spool Speed: Spool Speed ABEC 7 SI3N4 Ceramic Bearings are the best performance enhancement and the perfect fit for most Shimano, Daiwa, Lew’s, Abu Garcia, 13, Ardent and many other Hi-Performance fishing reels. Producing precision smoothness and maximum casting distance, Spool Speed SI3N4 Ceramic bearings are unequaled in performance and a super easy DIY install.
Here are some of the benefits:
* Over 50% Lighter than Stainless Steel .
* Corrosion FREE
* Increased casting distance with less effort
* Shorter retainers and smaller ceramic balls and thicker polished inner races have been specifically designed into Spool Speed Bearings making them fishing reel specific and the Worlds Fastest 100% Fishing Reel Bearing!
* Designed to be 100% front load, without side load reinforcement which allows use of shorter retainers to separate the balls. This makes them exceptionally free spinning and fast!
* Removable seals included
In order to test the performance of the Spool Speed Bearings I needed two identical reels so I could control all variables the same. I used my Shimano Chronarch MGL reels (not that they needed upgrades but I happened to have two identical ones). I spooled both reels with 12 pound mono from the same spool of line. In one reel I added the two bearing kit for the Chronarch. The other I left stock.
With the Spool Speed Bearings in the test reel, I started casting for distance. I marked my spots and then did the same test with the control reel. After checking the distance differential, I gained 29.5 feet more on my cast with equal settings across the reels. With a little more dialing and an unequal setting, I could gain a little more (about three feet). The bearings did exactly as advertised and allowed for the spool to spin more freely and allow more line to escape before friction slowed the spool.
The installs on the Spool Speed Bearings are easy as well. You might want to use a pair of fishing forceps to remove a retainer clip or pull a bearing out as the work can get to a small scale quickly. I would also recommend a small screwdriver (Phillips) and a small ratchet set just in case. I was able to remove and replace the bearings in about five minutes. It doesn’t take long at all.
Another huge benefit of the Spool Speed Bearings is the price. Having installed upgraded bearings in my reels over the last five years I am used to paying between $30 and $40 per set. The Chronarch set runs under $20 from Spool Speed. ABEC 7 bearings for $20 or less in many cases is a huge win and a great way to make a budget reel feel a lot better.
Room for Improvement
My biggest wish list item for Spool Speed Bearings is actually a reel interface so I can size my bearing needs without having to measure or make a call. A drop-down selector tool or something of the like would make the DIY crowd who are new to reel upgrades much more comfortable. Of course, Spool Speed offers a number to call and they can get you set up (which is what I did) but in case I get the urge to order at midnight while surfing the web, I need that interface.
I’d also love to see some install videos added to the website to help the new guys understand just how easy the process is. I’d suggest some of the mainstream reels and do some close up shots.
To find a bearing that performs as well or better than higher priced options is always a plus. To find a way to make your fishing budget go farther with simple upgrades like the Spool Speed Bearings is a valuable tool for any angler. To learn more about Spool Speed Bearings, you can click here.