[Edit: 17 Nov 2015. I’ve added more details as parts wear and get replaced. I’ve also edited some details. The edits are marked in brackets such as this.]
The Shimano Calcutta Conquest had not changed much of its design and engineering since its early days. It’s the embodiment of Antoine De Saint Exupery’s quote in his book Wind Sand and Stars “…perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away…” Thus so the Conquest had unchangingly endured until this 2014 model.
Now with X-Ship bearing support for its pinion gear, Micro Module Gear for its drive train, SVS infiniti braking, S3D spool manufacturing and a new S Compact body. These were proven technologies in 2013 on various other Shimano models but finally they are presented all together in this one reel!
My first impression of this reel is that it looks very small for a 200-sized round baitcaster. It also lacks heft that the old Conquest exudes – a quiet defiance that screams I’m a tank, and so I weigh like a tank, the former model instils confidence like the old pre 1990s body armour would. This latter model is like the “new” Kevlar flack vest – light. It shook me a bit, to think the new Conquest is gonna be a less capable reel after a diet and a tech update and owners of the older Conquest will surely notice this difference. Furthermore, not all weight reduction is good – rods that were perfectly balanced with the earlier CQ200 have become a mite tip heavy when mated with this latest incarnation so a butt cap counter-balancer becomes a great idea if you had one fitted when you built that rod to mate with an earlier CQ200.
But let’s move along and unpack this reel to find out more…
External views of this reel
The new packaging is discretely done in matt back with gold hotstamped lettering.
This reel is really tiny, other than the full sized handle. The Cast control knob however is huge. It makes for better fine adjustment than a smaller knob. However, it looks like its design is isolated from the rest of the reel. It doesn’t reflect any design element on the reel except for a silver bevel.
The flat thumb rest lacks a third row of ported holes that older Conquest models bear. But the asymetrical, minimalist look was the design element that first drew me to give this reel. I did a second look, which eventually led to the purchase. Gone too is the gold anodised spool with its drilled holes, although once spooled with line, this will not be noticed much.
Right out of the box, freespool was a dismal 5 seconds with all brakes off and the spool tension knob set just to eliminate endplay. When I took the spool out to inspect, I found the spindle dripping wet with oil. Cleaning off this excess brought freespool time closer to 20 seconds on an empty spool. Very decent for an out of box reel.
It has a cast control knob! Horrors I don’t want DC in my reel! But phew! it’s not DC control, it’s actually fine adjustment for the centrifugal braking system Shimano calls SVS infiniti first seen on the Antares.
The palming sideplate still retains the familiar concentric rows of ported holes which had attracted many to the original conquest. This model sports a deep countersunk look which is not gold tinted. The SVS port also reflect the same design. However a third row of very fine holes on previous Conquests were abandoned on this which leaves a feeling that there is less effort paid to fine machining on this reel than its predecessor.
Ported holes on the star drag has their countersunk holes gold anodised over. It just reinforces to me the feeling that this reel was put together without as much attention to details as its older ilk.
Because the palming sideplate has been reduced in size, the Level Wind Guard needs to be numerically carved out of the block to extend outwards. Both Level Wind Guard and Level Wind Guide have gold tint anodising instead of chrome. Together with black anodised spool, it makes for a muted, sombre look. Let’s hope the anodising will last as a moving levelwind will surely wear the colour out in short order especially if fishing at muddy or dirty water.
Spare brake pellets and a bottlet of Bantam reel oil comes with this model. No wrench was supplied, neither was any bottle to hold the pellets unlike the old days when even the lowly Calcutta provided a plastic bottle to hold the spare pellets and wrench.
Instead of a leatherette reel cover, Shimano supplied a microfibre pouch that can pack the complete reel, but only when it is disassembled from the rod.
A discreet “escape hatch” lever is tucked behind the palming side plate, activating a spring-loaded sideplate to flick open for changes to be done to the number of centrifugal pellets. Sliding another catch allow the spool to be removed. This slides smoothly and fits with close tolerances, attesting to the precision plastic moulding put into this reel.
However, shutting of the sideplate hatch gives a very unrefined and crude action that mars the pleasant feeling from fitting the spool back.
The reel cranks so smoothly at this stage that I’m at a loss of words to describe the sensation. “Buttery smooth” seem an absolutely insufficient term to even start to describe its smoothness. There was no freeplay, no clicking sound, not even the sense of friction anywhere when cranking this reel. I’m impressed that Shimano had managed to take the already smooth cranking Antares HG micro gear another step further in this reel!
[Edit 17 Nov 2015. After a year’s use as a crankbait reel, fighting large cobia, shark and grouper, the micro gears on this reel appear to be holding up well – It cranks smoothly like all my reels despite the tiny teeth. However, with the launch of the HG model this year, my need for speed got the better of me and I swapped out the drive and pinion gears for the HG set. The newer gears have coarser pitch teeth. When I reassembled the reel with this new drive set, I’m amazed how buttery smooth it felt.
On hindsight, I realise that the micro pitch gear had gotten worn and as it wears, it got rougher. But it was no rougher than all my other reels, so I never noticed the degradation until this new drive set was dropped in.]
Some tools and kit I used in doing this reel
Before you embark on stripping the reel, check that you have the necessary tools to do the job. I know I’ve said it before and I’m gonna sound like a broken record but I’m gonna say it again. It can be really frustrating to be halfway through stripping a reel only to find that you are in want of a tool to complete the job. You then go out to buy the tool and come home to find the dog had scattered your reel parts to the four corners of the room and some part is lost… Now it’s hard to stay angry with the dog so instead of blaming yourself, be prepared. Get your tools and kit in order before embarking.
Sleek! No screws to be seen anywhere!
Shimano had done well to eliminate any visible signs of screws from the outside of this reel, save one securing the Handle Locking Cap, the plastic viewing window, and one holding the right sideplate. With that, it also means you got to have precise, fine tools to do the job right or risk scratching your frame. The main screws tucked inside of each sideplate are size 3.5 slot screws. But to access that, you need a long straight shaft screwdriver. A small Size 0 Philips head screwdriver is also needed and a size 11mm box wrench to remove the handle nut.
You also need your tweezers, greases, oils, towels and degreasers.
Now that your tool kit is in order, let’s crack it open to take a look at the insides.
Always have the reel’s schematics with you when you strip down a reel
It may seem silly to have one beside you when your fingers are oily and greasy, but often, it’s because I have the schematic with me that I could figure how to strip or reassemble the reel. Since the CQ201 and CQ200 are laterally inverted versions of the same reel, this step-by-step will apply to you too. But do note that the lefty models tend to have counter-rotating screws etc, so don’t force if you find that some screw etc doesn’t want to come out! If you are afraid of soiling your original schematic, make an enlargement of it on A3 size paper just for servicing use.
In this step-by-step, I’ll be using my own terms to name the parts in English. But I’ll also include the Schematic #number with my part name, so you can refer to what I’m describing with certainty.
Although it fits with precise tolerance, I was surprised that the sideplate #87, #88, #89 and #90 for Conquest 2014 was made of moulded plastics! How can it hold up to heavy cranking? How much torque will be wasted to plastic flex? These were thoughts of regret that crept through my head when I saw this, but was quickly dismissed when I spooled in line – I’m blown away by the way the reel cranked in line under load… I wound in a spool of 30lb Sufix 832 from a donor reel. When cranking in the line taut under a decent amount of drag pressure of the donor reel, I felt no need to put in any more effort to crank, than I would any solid framed reel. In fact, it was so smooth that often I imagined the drag on this CQ200 had slipped, only to realise that it had not, but rather the reel had so much torque and was so creamy smooth to make the task seem impossibly easy.
Inside of the spool tension cap #24 with ratcheting click adjustment. Nothing much to do here, except to add a drop of CorrosionX to the metal parts.
There’s no spool support bearing under the cross pin so all spool bearings can be removed for servicing without the need for a special spool pin remover.
Hedgehog Studio’s Kattobi Air Ceramic Bearing Replacement
I got me a pair of Hedgehog Studio’s Air Ceramic bearings which are much higher specced than the already highly specced stock bearings. [Edit 17 Nov 2015. The packaging shown below for Hedgehog bearings are not what would come from Hedgehog Studio. They are repackaged bearings from Daz Fishing.]
I chose to replace the stock bearings even though they were very good because the ARB bearings had permanent shields which made it difficult to properly clean and service the bearings after use. These Hedgehog bearings are open and makes servicing them a breeze.
Left spool bearing #31 is held in place by a circlip #30. Remove the circlip #30 under a clear plastic bag to avoid losing the flying clip.
Right spool bearing #31, behind the Cast Control Knob #24, is also retained by a circlip #30. Beneath that is small pinion support X-ship bearing #33 which is separated from the spool bearing by a black plastic sleeve #32.
You can only remove the right spool bearing #31. You can’t pry out the Pinion Support X-ship bearing #33 unless you had removed the Pinion Gear #59.
Shielded vs Open bearings
The top two are Hedgehog Studio Kattobi Air Ceramic bearings. The bottom two are Shimano’s stock ARB bearings. The open Hedgehog bearings are easy to clean out and that is important if you want a smooth spinning bearing.
[Edit: 17 Nov 2015. The Hedgehog Studio Kattobi Air Ceramic bearings have worn out. It’s probably running above its rated RPM as I had been casting 30g metal jigs with this reel. I’ve dropped back the stock bearings for now. When that too gets worn, I’ll be replacing them with the Hedgehog Kattobi ZR or ZHi bearings instead.
All other bearings are still smooth and serving well.]
Take pictures as you strip the reel
Here I see that the belvielle springs #21 for the drag are opposed. Also, the dual sided washer #20 has its copper side facing the belevielle washer #21. Take a lot of pictures as you strip your reel so that you know how the parts fit together when you assemble them.
The disassembled reel
The beauty of a round baitcaster is its simplicity. Here’s all the parts that I need to strip out from this reel – it’s a fraction of the parts found in a low profile baitcaster and even lesser compared to a spinning reel.
I’d like to say something here about marine grease. It is NOT the only lube I use, and I don’t use it for everything. I do not use this to lubricate my drag stack. I also do not allow it to get into my anti-reverse bearings and my spool bearings. In fact, I use it more as a coating over metal parts to protect from galvanic corrosion after saltwater use, and I use Cal’s Grease for my gears and drag. I use Quicksilver 2-4-C not because of any special preference, but because I have leftovers from servicing my Mercury outboards.
Putting it back
I start by giving all metal surfaces a coat of 2-4-C marine grease. I pay special attention to the areas that get waterlogged and out of reach after a rinse down, like this slot for the Quick-Fire II Clutch Bar.
Coat the insides too, taking care to get the screw holes coated with 2-4-C Marine Grease. A paintbrush will get the job done easier.
Snap on the black plastic pad #70.
And the clutch bar guide #78. Then attach the three self tapping screws #69 to hold the black plastic plate #70 to the frame.
Slip on Quick-Fire II Clutch bar #79.
Grease and insert Clutch Cam lever #68 into Quick-Fire II Clutch bar #79.
Secure with self tapping screw #69. CAUTION: Parts are moulded plastic, do not overtorque.
Big Pinion support bearing #23 have shields that can’t be replaced. I’ll not bother with removing the shields now, but I dropped a drop of CorrosionX to lubricate the balls within. The dimensions are 12mm x 8mm x 3.5mm (OD x ID x thickness) [Edit 17 Nov 2015: My apologies, I typed 12mm x 8mm x 4.5mm in my original post. That was incorrect. I’ve amended the size. Many thanks Stephen Lew for highlighting this]. Eventually when this corrodes, I will replace with a greased bearing without shields, or a fully ceramic bearing which is corrosion proof.
Drop the long end of Clutch Pawl Spring #67 into hole in the black plastic pad #70.
There’s a tiny plastic roller #66 that’s attached to the Clutch Pawl #65.
Grease and attach to Clutch Pawl Spring #67.
Drop Clutch Cam #64 over the stud on Clutch Pawl #65. Do not attempt to fit Clutch Cam #64 into its seat at this stage.
Place Clutch Cam Retainer #63 over Clutch Cam #64. Note how the posts are oriented at an incline. Lightly thread in the two retaining screws #62. Now twist Clutch Cam #64 to load Clutch Pawl Spring #67 and to seat the cam into its seat. Then tighten the two screws #62.
Grease Yoke #61 and Micro teeth of Pinion Gear #59. Take care not to get grease into the hole in the pinion #59 or your casting distance will reduced by a quantum. Mount Yoke #61 over two posts of Clutch Cam Retainer #63.
Insert two Yoke Springs #60.
Drive Shaft #44 has a spring loaded #45 plastic pins #46 on the end. Generously grease to prevent them flying too far away if they should pop off during assembly.
Seat in white plastic Idler Gear #47 to catch on these plastic pins #46.
Grease and drop in Retainer Plate #49, take note the side facing out has rounded edges.
Oil with CorrosionX and drop in Small Drive Shaft Bearing #33. The dimensions are 9mm x 5mm x 3mm (OD x ID x thickness)
Secure with retaining screw #51 and place Drive Shaft Assembly aside.
Oil both Worm Gear Bearings #56 with CorrosionX and seat within Level Wind Guard #58. The bearing dimensions are 6mm x 3mm x 2.5mm (OD x ID x thickness).
Grease Worm Gear #57 and seat with bearings.
Slip on Line Guide #71.
Seat Level Wind Guard assembly #58 to frame #76.
Drop Washer #55 in.
Grease and install Level Wind Guide #52.
Grease and seat Gearbox Extension Plate #50.
Seat Drive Shaft #44 Assembly into its housing. Be patient as close tolerances make it slip in ONLY when all points are accurately juxtaposed.
Secure with two retaining screws #48.
Drop in plastic Small Idler Gear #54.
Secure with E Clip #53.
I’m surprised that even the Levelwind Pawl #72 is not spared the dieting regimen and is now hollow!
Drop Washer #73 into Pawl Cap #74. Then drop in Levelwind Pawl #72 with the crescent blade facing out.
Gently tighten Pawl Cap #74 while you give Drive Shaft #44 a turn. Do not fully tighten until Line Guide #71 starts to run in sync with the Drive Shaft’s #44 turning.
Spool Return Ratchet #43 has one side with a dot hammered in.
[Edit: 17 Nov 2015 After a year of hard use, this Spool Return Ratchet had pitted and worn. I will be replacing it with the part from the Ocea Conquest 200, which is a Stainless Steel part. The Part number on the Ocea Conquest schematic is #51]
Grease lightly with Cal’s Grease and install in Drive Shaft #44 with the dot facing out.
Clean and install Dartanium Drag Disc #42.
Lightly grease all sides of Main Drive Gear #41 with Cal’s Grease, taking care to get grease in between the Micro teeth and install.
Drop in X-Carbon Drag Disc #40, then lightly grease Drag Pressure Plate #39 with Cal’s Grease and install.
Carefully coat Right Sideplate with 2-4-C marine grease to prevent corrosion, but take care not to get any grease into the Antireverse Clutch Bearing #36.
Oil Small Pinion X-Ship Support Bearing #33 with CorrosionX and install. Bearing size is 9 x 5 x 3mm (OD x ID x thickness)
There’s a Delrin plastic separator #32 to keep Spool Bearing #31 apart from Small Pinion Support X-Ship Bearing #33. Install with these notches facing the Small Pinion Support X-Ship Bearing #33.
Lubricate the Hedgehog Ceramic Spool Bearing #31 with your favourite dry lube and install. Due to their tight tolerances and micro balls, these Ceramic bearings spin best on the lightest oil.
Snap in Retainer Circlip #30.
Drop a drop of CorrosionX to oil the threads and install Cast Control Knob #24.
Oil Anti Reverse Clutch Tube #38 with CorrosionX and mate its castellated end with key slots in the Drag Pressure Plate #39.
Lightly grease Copper Washer #22 and install.
Drop two drops of CorrosionX into the Antireverse Clutch Bearing # 36 and fit Right Sideplate over Frame.
Apply marine grease to the threads of 3 screws #80, #77 and #75 and secure the sideplate.
Seat plastic See-Through Window #35 sharp end first.
Secure with short screw #1.
Drop a few drops of CorrosionX oil and work it into the Big Drive Shaft Bearing #23 (12 x 8 x 4.5mm OD x ID x thickness) and install.
Drop in copper washer #22.
Grease and install Belvielle Spring Washers #21 with their concave sides facing each other.
Grease and install Double Sided Washer #20 with the copper side facing Belvielle Springs #21.
Grease the threads of Drive Shaft #44 and screw in Star Drag Nut #19.
Before you put in the Star Drag Spring #18, temporarily fit on the Star Drag #16 to ensure the Star Drag Nut #19 and Drive Shaft #44 aligns with its key slot. Remove and place in Star Drag Spring#18.
Grease and install Washer #17. Also take this time to grease Handle #10 and Handle Nut #3.
Oil Insides of Star drag clicker mechanism #13, #14, #15 with CorrosionX and install Star Drag #16, taking care the keyed slot aligns with Drive Shaft #44 and Star Drag Nut #19. Maintain pressure to keep from springing apart.
Place in Handle #10 that you had already pre-greased.
Secure with Handle Nut #3. Note there are two dots punched into the Handle #10. They are used to align the Handle Nut #3 so that the Handle Lock Cap #2 can fit in.
Oil the Handle Lock Cap #2 with CorrosionX and install. If it is difficult to fit in, remove and align Handle Nut #3 such that one point of the nut is pointed at any of the two dots. Do not Force Handle Lock Cap #2 into its home as it will become impossible to pry out without damage.
Secure Handle Lock Cap #2 with Screw #1 whose threads you lubricated by marine grease. Install S3D Spool #81 and Palming Sideplate #100 and your reel is assembled. Finally wet a rag with some Simple Green and wipe away excess grease from the outsides of the reel.
Your reel is serviced! Enjoy!.
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