Like many of you information crazy anglers out there,  I am always on the lookout for information regarding new product.  Hopefully, this quick un-boxing can help you as an angler make an informed decision regarding potential purchase of this reel.  Please note the intent of this writing is not to pass definitive judgement or draw final on the water performance conclusions.

This is Shimano’s newest bait cast reel to the US market the Chronarch CI4+, which took home 2013 ICAST “Best of Show” award in the Freshwater Reel category.  This reel utilizes an all new frame and body design for the US market.  This particular model is the 150HG right hand retrieve 7.6:1 gear ratio rated at 32 IPT (Inches Per Turn) and carries a retail price of $269.99.


Let’s open her up.  Inside the box we have the reel, schematics, instruction manual, additional brake shoes, and oil.


New maintenance procedure specifically for the SVS Infinity Braking System:  Much like any precision mechanical device, Shimano recommends proper lubrication of the brake contact surfaces at regular intervals to decrease wear on the brake blocks.


Schematic exploded view and Bill of Materials for the Shimano Chronarch CI4+ 150 HG

This reel features an 8 bearing system in total 7 S-ARB (Shielded Anti Rust Bearings) + 1 ARB Roller Bearing.  Shimano’s ARB bearings go through a proprietary process that is designed to make them more corrosion resistant than an off the shelf stainless steel bearing.

The bearings in this reel are located:
2 – There is 1 bearing and bushing under each handle knob (est. 4X7X2.5 based on Boca Bearing’s Metanium specs)
1 – bearing located on the palming side plate to support the left side of the spool (3X10X4)
2 – bearings are located under the cast control cap (3X10X4 and recessed 5X9X3)
1 – bearing is located on cranking side of the main frame body to support the pinion gear (8X12X3.5)
1 – bearing is located under the main gear (5X9X3)
1 – Anti reverse roller bearing (Super Stopper II) supporting the main crank shaft

Astute observers will notice the omission of Shimano’s assist stopper feature (most likely to save weight) from the above schematics. This feature  is present on reel platforms such as the Chronarch/Curado 200E, but not others such as the Core.



This reel is an introduction of the CI4+ material into a low profile bait cast reel.  Essentially, advertised as a more ridged composite than their original CI4 (and XT-7 graphite material) used on some of their other reels such as the 2009 Stradic CI4.

The frame and both side plates are all advertised as being constructed with this material.

Shimano’s CI4+ can be viewed as analogous to Daiwa’s Zaion composite material.  Individual advertising claims aside the predominant advantages of going with such a material are essentially going to be weight reduction over a standard aluminum chassis reel.  As well as,  the ability to be structurally comparable to a magnesium framed reel while also bringing in the ability to be corrosion proof  (i.e. this reel is officially approved for use in saltwater or brackish water environments by Shimano).

Worthy of note:
Out of the box fit and finish on this reel was excellent.
The the handle is swept in slightly and has Septon knobs.
The drag star is plastic and the cast control does not feature an audible click.
The famous Shimano “handle back play” is slightly present.
Handle Length is ~85mm from center post to center post.



True to specification this reel comes it at ~ 6.5oz


This reel features X-Ship:

Essentially all of Shimano’s modern low profile bait cast reels utilize a bearing supported pinion gear they call “Super Free”.  This feature has been around for well over a decade.  What this bearing does is keep the pinion gear in alignment with the spool shaft after the clutch is disengaged and keeps the pinion gear out of contact with the shaft. This basically allows for longer free spool times and longer casts.

Now in addition to this single bearing Shimano adds an additional support bearing  and optimizes placement of both gears.  Thus, both ends of the pinion gear are bearing supported and this feature is called “X-Ship”.  The purpose of this feature is to keep the gear train in line and mitigate energy loses due to friction caused by deflection when the gear train is under load.   What this should effectively translate to the angler is increased mechanical efficiency which we as anglers observe as “Cranking Power”.  More specifically, “Cranking Power” while under load like when you have a big fish one the end of the line.



Flipping the reel over you can see that this reel is manufactured in Japan.  Which is printed on the handle side plate instead of the embossed implementation you typically see on the underside of the reel foot on other Shimano baitcast reels (here that specific area has been ported out).



The palm side plate shows the dial for adjustment of the SVS Infinity system.  I counted 38 clicks from starting position.


The spool of the reel can be accessed by rotation of this switch on the underside of the palm plate toward the front end of the reel.


The side plate can then be rotated downward (Counter Clock Wise when looking at the reel side plate directly) and subsequently fully detached from the frame.


With the side plate fully removed you can see that the brake system has 4 brake shoes (note: there are 6 on the JDM 2013 Metanium) that you can toggle between the on an off position by sliding sideways.  This differs from the operating condition for Shimano’s traditional VBS braking system.  As the spool accelerates during a cast the outer portions of the brake shoes rotate outward causing the entire brake shoe to rotate and come into contact with the tapered ring on the interior of the side plate.  The traditional VBS system has brakes which move to come into contact with a ring outbound from the central axis of rotation. Each system will have its own inherent advantages and disadvantages. As simplistic and reliable as the VBS system is, the new SVS infinity offering greater range of adjustment, as well as, the ability to externally adjust braking parameters on the fly.


The above photo is a good example of how the  brake shoes swing outward.  When toggled in the “on” position the shoe itself rotates about its small holding bar.  When in the “off’ position small hooks at the bottom of each brake shoe are locked into holding features on the brake hub.

This SVS infinity system is coupled with Shimano’s Magnumlite spool which is machined from A7075 aluminum.  This is a great lightweight spool that has low start up inertia and part of the reason why I enjoy other reels with the same spool like the Core50mg7.  The addition of the new SVS Infinity braking hardware is sure to add a bit more weight than the VBS system would.  Note that the entire spool assembly weighed in at 14.5g

Spool Line Capacity on this reel is listed as:
Mono: 10lb/120yd, 12lb/110yd, 14lb/90yd
PP Braid: 20lb/150yd, 30lb/135yd, 40lb/105 yd


Lots of grease was on the side plate bearing for this particular reel.

Shimano_Chronarch_CI4+_150HG_SVS_ Infinity_Detail
Noticeable space is present around the SVS Infinity adjustment dial when detached from reel


Noticeably absent is a tapered titanium level wind insert. (Found on reels such as the Calais DC and Core 50mg7)


In hand this reel has a comfortable and compact form. Being a 150 sized reel it is bigger than a Core50mg7 (shown on right) yet smaller than a Curado 200E(Chronarch 200E) (Shown on Left)

Coloring of this reel is a shade lighter than what you’d find on a Core.  Also notable is that clicking over the handle there’s a district change of feel due to the full implementation of CI4+ material for both the frame and side plates. Not necessarily a good or a bad thing just different. Compared to say the magnesium frame on this core 50mg7 or this aluminum framed Curado 200E you certainly do not get the same in hand metallic feel.


Left: 200 Sized Spool Assembly
(ID:  0.632″  OD:  1.325″  Width:  1.133″  Weight:  13.8g)

Center: 150 Sized Spool Assembly
(ID:  0.654″  OD:  1.325″  Width:  0.985″  Weight:  14.5g)

Right: 50 Sized Spool Assembly
(ID:  0.694″  OD:  1.245″  Width:  1.000″  Weight:  11.2g)

Taking things a small step further. Much like other domestic Shimano baitcast reels easy interior serviceability is major plus.  (Note: I left the handle and SVS system fully assembled and handle side plate bearings in place for this quick look)


Secondary bearing under the cast control knob is held in place axially in the handle side plate as shown


This reel is rated out of the box at 11lbs max drag by using Shimano’s Dartanium II (Cross Carbon) Drag Washers


Shown above are the main gear and pinion gear for the Chronarch CI4+ 150HG


HEG, Micro Module and  X-Ship:

One small item i noticed is that HEG is not explicitly stated on the box nor is Shimano’s Micro-module gearing.

HEG  is found in a majority of their modern bait cast reels. Essentially, this is Shimano’s design approach to eliminate flex and increase leverage in the gear train.  They accomplish this by increasing the size of the drive gear and pinion while using a structurally rigid one piece frame and stamped handle side plate.


Micro Module gearing is found on the latest JDM Antares and JDM 2013 Metanium and is essentially a reduction of teeth size on both the main gear and the pinion gear.  This is done to increase the number of gear teeth in contact with each other while mitigating roughness during retrieve.  The cut of the gearset present in the 150HG does not represent this feature.

In either case, it is most likely the marketing intent that the gear set for this reel falls into the blanket term “X-Ship” for use in baitcast reels. At the time of this writing, all of Shimano’s “X-Ship” detailed definitions I could find strictly appertained to their spinning reels. I will seek to clarify this at a later date.

In summation,

  • Out of the box the fit and finish of parts on this reel is excellent for this Made in Japan reel
  • Palm-ability and weight are respectable for a reel of this size
  • In hand clutch depression and cranking feel for the CI4+ material is discernible from traditional aluminum and magnesium framed reels
  • Inclusion of the new SVS infinity braking system allows much wider and external range of adjustment than traditional VBS
  • The inclusion of “X-Ship” should make this baitcasting reel more mechanically efficient when cranking under load compared to those that do not have this feature
  • This reel is rated as saltwater safe by Shimano so long as all maintenance parameters are followed





Time to spool up and get this bad boy out on the water.






I hope this post has helped some of you out.

Looking to try one of these new reels?

Try Tackle Warehouse or Tackle Direct


6 thoughts on “The Shimano Chronarch CI4+: An Unboxing

  1. Excellent write up and pictures.. love the detail that you go into. Keep up the good work and cant wait to see the performance review 🙂

  2. great pictures !!!
    what do you think – is there too much grease out of the box in the reel?

    as i take my chronarch 151 ci4 out of the box a had the feeling,that the run was not as smooth as i expected.

  3. I have noticed with my new reel that the line guide does not follow the line when the line is feeding of the spool. Is that normal for this reel. I have several other brands such as ABU GARCIA and the guide follows the line coming of the spool.

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