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Old 26-10-2014, 05:36 AM
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Martin Lo Martin Lo is offline
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Shimano Brenious BFS review and servicing guide Pt1

A review and service guide of Shimano Brenious – SW Baitfinesse casting reel.

Foreword.
I recently acquired a of the newly released Shimano Brenious for good friend and rod builder Josh. Having his reel arrive first left me in a difficult position on possessing a new reel yet having to wait for my own. This reel follows hot on the heels of the Aldebaran XG BFS catering to a growing baitfinesse crowd. However this real is dedicated to the bream species and hence designed for saltwater use.

After consulting Josh we decided that I will conduct initial servicing and give it a few test casts with a few benchmark rods we have...during both the servicing and testing, results were rather surprising.



Initial overall inspection.

The Brenious based on the Shimano 50E platform (Curado, Chronarch, Core, Scorpion, Aldebaran) looked pretty much as expected. With little departure from the originator of this platform being the Aldebaran 50mg7 albeit the inclusion of the updated star drag however constructed of plastic.

Although designed for the entry/mid market reel, the handle could do with a colour match to the rest of the reel. The only aesthetic feature of this reel is a solitary purple accent on the CC cap. This reel spells shimano workhorse and a perfect candidate for aftermarket mods.



The finesse modifications can also be seen in the narrow, almost half width spool.


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To function with the spool, a worm drive with a narrower pawl travel is installed.



Lastly modifications to the standard 50E platform SVS is a smaller 8 pot brake weight holder akin to that of a Aldebaran BFS XG reviewed here earlier in the year. (TackleTour)



I decide to conduct the service and mild tune using the stock components of the Brenious so the owner can decide on capability shortfalls for a stage 2 tune to address.


Inspection and servicing notes.

Depending on the task and environment I conduct either a field strip or a complete strip. With the field strip only the minimum parts are removed and are quickly replaced before working on the next part. With the 50E platform being a very familiar one and eager to cast it, I first decided up and quick fieldstrip and service.

1. Spool

Quickly opening the sideplate which swings open and retained,

COMMENT: a great feature for braking systems with no external adjustments, something Daiwa's with their magbrake does not require but something the shelf reel clone companies should pay attention to...and clone.

Popping the spool out I changed out 4 of the red brakes and installed 4 clear brakes which are smaller and lighter to allow the caster more minute brake force variations and ability to go closest to a true free spool yet maintain a modicum of control.

Shimano marketing material states the spool is of the S3D design using uniform thickness spool to provide a higher degree of balance. Although an engineering triumph whether or not it translates to improved performance is yet to be seen.



Next using a dremel along with a mild polishing rouge the tips of the spool is polished:



The inner race of the brake case is polished with a improvised polishing tool.




COMMENT: Note how the brake race extends further than usually seen in the 50E, more on that later. Also as far as internally adjusted centrifugal brakes go Shimanos VBS is the lightest, simplest and quite frankly still the best. In comparison to the Doyo/PF reels weight/mag plate and the Banax/quantum/13/okuma dial type centrifugal brakes, Shimano's SVS has less moving parts and recesses to retain debris this also makes it the best option for a SW application. Sometimes simplicity is the best form of sophistication, and a great choice for this particular reel.

Spool bearings.

Flushing spool bearings is usually the single biggest improvement of casting with a stock reel. On most Shimanos, there is no requirement to fully open the reel or use tools.
One under the CC cap, and another in the palm plate. Out they came and into acetone bath. Then the bearings are installed on a skewer, attached to a dremel and spun in the acetone followed by a spin dry.




Given the purpose of the reel I left the bearing shields on and lubed with ZPI F-0 bearing oil.


Noticed these reels like the Curado E series are made in Japan.

After noting several significant modifications to the regular FW 50E reels I decided to conduct a more thorough dissassembly, starting with the handle/drag star, the only departure from the norm is the SW style knob cap as first seen on the Exsence DC in my '12 Exsence review.

http://www.tackletour.net/viewtopic....304653fe190cd2




Under the handle sideplate:



The first thing to attract my attention was the large 7.7:1 main gear, with both it and the pinion made of brass. The next thing was the configuration of the drag washers.
Rather than the usual drag washer ring set against the rim of the main gear like other 50E platforms a large washer covers the entirety of the main gear with a reduced size pressure plate fitted.

COMMENT: What this does is increase mechanical advantage in the startup of the drag as line is pulled. Probably reasons for design is due to the intended line class of this reel and the requirement of SW fishing were initial drag startup needs to be smooth even at higher pressures.

The end result? 3.2kg max drag force with a very smooth startup and sustained drag. Its great to see the main players of reel manufacturing produce functional designs rather than generate unusable figures for the sake of a marketting headline. With a tested drag of just over 7lbs, this reel will absorb runs and control fish better than so may 22/24lb drags.

The drag material in the main gear is composed of a carbon fibre type with the washer between the main gear and the mechanical anti-reverse plate composed of dartanium.

On reassembly the carbon drag washer was degreased and relubricated with Cal's drag grease from Dan Erskines.

Further Dissassembly




Removing more of the pinion assembly reveals a pinion gear with a sealed bearing. This is handy especially for a reel intended for saltwater use.

COMMENT: The pinion bearing seems to be exclusive to the Daiwa and Shimano. Puzzling is why the rest of the brands using OEM shelf references have yet to duplicate this feature. Although it requires great tolerancing in the frame and sideplate, it is one of the main factors contributing to a smooth retrieve. This can be seen with the double bearing supported pinions on X-ship and equivalent Daiwa reels, their smoothness under load nets a markedly improvement over previous platforms. Perhaps in the next iteration of reference reels from Doyo and Banax will bring about this change.


The main crankshaft bearing is securely isolated from the outside by means of a thicker marine type grease with no hole in the frame leading to the outside. A practical design given its intended use.

Labyrinth spool rim.

Remember the protruding brake case mentioned earlier? Well that is part of the Brenious' labyrinth spool design.


Designed to keep fine line, particles and delay the intrusion of water, an overlap of the spool and frame on both sides of the spool material is provided with the extended brake case and an extra part on the handle side of the frame.



COMMENT: The use of the labyrinth spool rim, brass gears, the sealed pinion bearing, sealed and greased shaft bearing and the sealed knob cap all points to a serious effort in producing a genuine baitcast reel designed for operations in adverse coastal environs. Too often “Inshore ready” reels have touted an optional coating from an OEM manufacturer as a “Proprietaiory” corrosion proof armored alloy, it's great to see genuine modifications to improve the life of a reel for saltwater use. We're likely to see more saltwater adaptations in coming reels such as the Morethan.

Prior to assembly, parts of the clutch mechanism was polished on friction surfaces and grease was reapplied. Now the Brenious was ready for cast testing!

CAST TESTING

Lately it seems every reel review states a “free running, easily controlled spool, hard to backlash” only later to reveal a casting test using 20lb braid.

Instead I decided to put the Brenious brakes to test using 8lb dropshotting fluorocarbon line

Test Setup:
My intend was to test the brenious complemented with tackle available to all readers whether it be the US, ZA or AU.



Phenix Recon 2 C712L Baitfinesse rod – This rod is the same a rod used in TackleTours Baitfinesse comparo between the Aldebaran BFS XG and the T3 Air, albeit 5” longer. Rated 1/16 – 3/8oz and 4-10lb

Line: Yamamoto Sugoi FC 8lb dropshot line. Although the grey casting or sunline sniper would be easier handling, the ability to manage stiffer line will be a good test of the reels braking abilities. Again Sugoi FC is a line readily available in all countries.

Bait: 1/16oz lead head jig + 3.5” Yamamoto SW Ika. - The Brenious was designed for saltwater specifically for the bream hence the jig and trailer combination was chosen not only as a difficult bait to cast with regular reels but also a highly effective bream bait that can either slow fall or swum effectively. Total weight is around 2.7g.

Reel settings- Although its fun and challenging to cast on free spool in all manners in an effort to standardise the test the Brenious was set to the same standard as reels tested before.

CC set so the bait falls 1m in 1s in free spool, brakes set on ½ of maximum (4 red brakes)
Side casts only.

Results

An area I use for practise casting is 40ft exact (12m approx) on the settings stated it the Brenious/Recon combo easily reach the full 40 ft ( a fence) with little requirements to control the spool by thumbing. Casting harder or reduction brakes to 2 red brakes yielded 48ft but required slight attention to the spool.

These are distances usually reserved for spinning setups and indeed a Recon2 light spinning setup yielded similar but with troubling line memory. For usage of heavier fluorocarbon (straight through) the Brenious would be a great alternative for light sw in structures.

Satisfied with casting at a bream size bait I was tempted to go lower, still adhering to the SW fishing theme I lowered the weight using the the same 3.5” SW Ika but paired with a single Owner #1 twistlock SOS hook.



On the same settings as with the 1/16oz jig casting distance reached 25' on a gentle side cast however with weights of this category I decided to reduce it to first 4 then finally 2 clear (and lighter) brakes again setting the CC to fall at 1m per second on freespool.
On this setting care in a smooth cast was required along with more attention towards the end of the cast however 40' with accuracy to place the bait was achievable on a serviced stock reel on 8lb hard fluorocarbon.


Part 2. TBC

Part 2 with include the testing of the brenious in retrieving and on the water tests. Stay posted!

Footnote: for AU readers.

The Brenious release in Australia is yet to be announced however the rest of the tackle in the test are available with stockists:
Compleat Angler Melbourne, Geelong and Nedlands (WA) as well as stockist in Brisbane and Sydney.
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Last edited by Martin Lo; 26-10-2014 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 26-10-2014, 07:25 AM
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The Essence will be my Christmas present, the Brenious will be my birthday present. Can't wait.

Thanks Martin, this post will be handy when I get it. Do you a guide for servicing the Exsence somewhere?
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Old 26-10-2014, 08:05 AM
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Martin Lo Martin Lo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiSCrEANT View Post
The Essence will be my Christmas present, the Brenious will be my birthday present. Can't wait.

Thanks Martin, this post will be handy when I get it. Do you a guide for servicing the Exsence somewhere?
I don't have an Exsence DC until a LH unit is available end of Nov. with X-Ship, a clicking drag and the DC unit servicing is similar albeit a little more complex. From memory, the DC unit needs to be removed to access the palm plate bearing and among the 3 in the handle side along the shaft, only the outer one is related to the spool.

That said, built for casting bigger lures with limited line capacity, the Exsence could really use more drag to turn a fish. The use of ceramics combined with the DC whirl should provide an interesting soundtrack as well as a crazy casting distance.
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Old 26-10-2014, 08:32 AM
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I read that changing the spool bearings in a DC reel doesn't change much. Or at least casting distance. One guy did a test and said it was an extra 5 feet, but the easiness of casting was better.

I know you use Boca bearings, but what do you think of Hedgehog bearings? I think they're pretty nice on my Tatula. Much better than the stock bearings.
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Old 26-10-2014, 09:27 AM
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Martin Lo Martin Lo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiSCrEANT View Post
I read that changing the spool bearings in a DC reel doesn't change much. Or at least casting distance. One guy did a test and said it was an extra 5 feet, but the easiness of casting was better.

I know you use Boca bearings, but what do you think of Hedgehog bearings? I think they're pretty nice on my Tatula. Much better than the stock bearings.
Actually I've used a heap more Hedgehog bearings than Bocas,
Of all the brands I've used so far my favorite has to be ZPIs with the polymer cages
http://www.office-zpi.com/httpdocs/j...cbb/sicbb.html They are very quiet in comparison.
Unless you have a busted bearing I don't think higher quality bearings make too much difference in terms of distance, just ease of cast.

Aerodynamic drag and your cast brakes all contribute more to slowing down your lure than friction from your bearings.
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Old 17-01-2015, 08:50 AM
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http://www.breammaster.com/forum/sho...990#post645990

Here's part 2 concluding the review of the Shimano Brenious.
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