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Drill spool 2

Spin spool more

Q: Is Super Free reel of Shimano better than non-SF reel?

A: SF reel is better, but question is how better are they.

What is Super Free spool of Shimano?

   It is the design which completely separates pinion gear and spool in casting. By separating spool and pinion gear, spool has less frictions, and spins more. In early 80's ABU Garcia introduced spool design which is separated from shaft, and it completely detach from pinion gear when clutched. (Ultra cast design) Therefore, the spool design having no friction with other parts during casting itself is not innovative. However, Shimano's further advanced castability achieved by reduced-weight spools, and nice looking wiffle spools introduced at the same time as Super Free made it so famous.

non-SF desig (left) and SF design (right)


Super Free Design:

With SF reel, by clutching off the reel, pinion gear (blue in picture) will move right enough to detach pinion gear and shaft completely. Now contact in red will be eliminated. Pinion gear is still held by ball bearing in green.

    Super Free design eliminates spool frictions from two sources. The first one is between pinion gear and spool shaft. The key of the SF design is that pinion gear is supported by outer ball bearing, not by spool shaft. Therefore, inside of the pinion gear should not be tight enough to align shaft and gear together. Actually, with SF design, spool shaft and pinion gear has about 0.01" gap between them when reel is clutched off. With non-SF design, it remains at about 0.001" and the pinion gear will always contact with the shaft because it is not supported by any where except pinion holder.

Normal Design:

With non-SF design, pinion gear will still be on shaft and has frictions between spool shaft. The gap between shaft and gear need to be minimal because the pinion gear is set position by spool shaft.

    The second friction eliminated by SF design is from the third bearing on the spool shaft. With non-SF design, pinion gear is aligned by spool shaft, which is held by the third bearing. Without it, gear cannot maintain the dimension with master gear and will wear very fast.

   From easy testing to time the duration of spool spin when hit by finger, SF spool spins about 3 times longer than non-SF spool. SF spins 12-14 seconds, instead non-SF spool spins 3-4 seconds with genuine oil lubrication. It indicate that the friction is about 3 times larger for non-SF design than SF design.

Does SF design really make difference in casting?

  SF design improves castability in relatively limited situations. Because we will not cast without brake systems and we add friction (brake) to the spool anyway, the trivial difference of friction between pinion gear seem to have limited effect on castability. Assuming that friction from the pinion is stable during casting, we can achieve the same brake profile by adjusting cast control for most cases. The only situation the difference of design make difference in performances is when the best brake setting has a cast control setting which is less than frictions from pinion. In this case, non-SF design reels have more friction brake than needed, and will not cast well. When it will happen? Mostly it is with slower casting speed, like pitching. In pitching, cast control should be loosen to allow line go with less inertia from lure. Otherwise, non-SF and SF could achieve the same castability, if other factors are the same.

My SF reel cast better than normal spool Chronarch.

  That is mostly because of the differences of spool inertias.  SF spools of Chronarch SF  have less inertia than that of Chronarch 100A, because of lesss line capacity and holes to reduce the weight of the spool. The inertia of spool is very influential to the castability, and less inertia directly means the better castability. See the Drill Spool 1 for the details about the inertia and weight of spools.



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