Shimano Ultegra Reels Review: Are These Surf Reels Worth it?

Last Updated on May 8, 2022

Shimano has brought some serious improvements in its surfcasting reels recently. This is evident in Ultegra XTD/XSD and Ultegra CI4+XTC/XSC which provide the new advanced technologies.

The Ultegra series can be said as very underestimated reels that provide a lot of the additional technologies and benefits of the higher end Shimano models without the higher price tag.

Since Shimano also develop cycling gears, Ultegra can be said to a case where they have started to cross the names over between cycling and fishing products. Cyclists say that Ultegra means “Ultimate Integrity”. What do you think about it in reels?

Shimano has added two new technical features that improve distance casting performance of these reels.

  • Super Slow 5 holds 50 wraps of line per oscillation onto the spool.
  • The parallel body of reel aligns perfectly on the rod providing a smoother line flow from reel.

These new features, combined with Shimano’s AR-C Spool and Aero Wrap line lay ensure you maximize your casting distance.

How does a slower line oscillation benefits? What is better in super slow 5 comparatively?

The speed of line moving up and down the spool on the cast is reduced by slower line oscillation. This improves casting accuracy and distance by reducing the drag on the lead and minimizing the friction as line leaves the spool.

  • Standard Shimano oscillations of up to 19 wraps per cycle exceed the industry standard.
  • Shimano Slow oscillation of up to 49 wraps per cycle outperforms almost anything else ever seen.
  • Now, Shimano has 2 Super Slow Oscillation systems – Super Slow 10 (100 wraps) and Super Slow 5 (50 wraps).

Shimano Ultegra Reels Features & Comparison

Here are the features and specifications of Ultegra reels. This table also highlights the difference between Ultegra XTD/XSD and CI4+XTC/XSC. I have also added a spinning reel series of Ultegra to give you an idea what cast reels offer extra.

Ultegra XTD/XSDUltegra CI4+ XTC / XSCUltegra FB
Big pit/carpBig Pit Carp / SurfSpinning
Models14000, 5500140001000, 2500, 3000, 4000, 5000
Bearings1 S A-RB + 3 Shielded
Stainless Steel + 1 RB
5 S A-RB + 1 RB1 S A-RB + 4 BB + 1 RB
Line layAerowrap II
+ Super Slow 5 + 2-speed
Aero Wrap II
+ Super Slow 5 + 2 Speed
HandleSingle machined aluminiumSingle machined aluminiumSingle machined aluminium
Cold forged aluminiumCold forged aluminiumCold forged aluminium
Prices Check Price Check Price Check Price

Shimano Ultegra Reels Review 2022

Ultegra CI4 14000 XTC Reels

shimano ultegra ci4 14000 review

Family Type: Big pit carp/Surf

Bearings: 5 S A-RB + 1 RB

Roller bearing Handle: Single machined aluminum

Body material: CI4+

Spool Material: Cold forged aluminum

Technologies: Aero Wrap II, CI4+, G Free Body, Hagane Gear, Hi-Speed Drag, Parallel Body, Super Slow Oscillation 5, XProtect, XShip

The latest technology has been used to produce this reel, and now we have a large and powerful reel that is easy to handle in bad weather, which is light, durable and reliable. The new Shimano Ultegra CI4+ XTC 14000 is super light and have some level of sealing which older models were lacking. These reels are lighter than Penn’s long cast Spinfisher.

The Ultegra Ci4+ has Super Slow 5 Oscillation in the 14000, and slow oscillation in the 5500. Besides the line lay, the most important features for surf casting are probably the Hagane Gear, X-Protect water resistance, and Carbon Infused Graphite (Ci4+) construction.

Carbonic polymer CI4 + is a very lightweight and incredibly tough material for long-term cycling. Such material is directly available for the production of reel bodies. You will feel a significant weight loss as soon as you take that reel. Some may say that the weight of a carp reel is not important. When the reel rod is used for a long time, and you want to hit it, the lighter assemblage is definitely more pleasant and you will get longer throws. You will certainly appreciate the low weight even with longer fish big fish.

The Hagane gearbox, along with the cold-forged cold-rolled X-Ship, can easily and seamlessly handle every powerful fish and the distance from which you pull your final assembly.

Reverse control is located on the underside of the reel body. The lever is small, but thanks to its small body you can easily and reliably find it even in cold weather in gloves.

The Ultegra Ci4 XTB 5500 is a bit large compared to the Saragosa 6000SW and a better choice for distance. The Saragosa has some sealing for waves and is not as delicate as the Ultegra. Distance is nearly as good running 30# PP with a 10’6 Legend. You can reduce fatigue with a lightweight setup and use 20-30lb test line for distance.

Ultegra 14000 XTD Reels

Ultegra 14000 XTD Review

Family Type: Big pit/carp

Bearings: 1 S A-RB + 3 Shielded Stainless Steel + 1 RB

Roller bearing Handle: Single machined aluminum

Body material: XT-7

Spool Material: Cold forged aluminum

Technologies: Aero Wrap II, ARC Spool, DynaBalance, Easy maintenance, Floating Shaft II, Hypergear, Instant Drag, Parallel Body, Super Slow Oscillation 5, Super Stopper II, XShip

The Ultegra XTD has taken the carp world by storm since it’s launch earlier in 2016. The modern carp angler will definitely adore the matt black ‘stealth-like’ visual appearance of this reel and the technology and price almost defy logic.

The two new features combine to improve casting performance on this model. The Super Slow 5 oscillation retrieves 50 turns of line per full oscillation onto the spool. This produces a noticeably smoother line lay.

Also, for the first time, there is Shimano’s new Parallel Body design that reduces line slap when casting by aligning the spool parallel to the rod butt.

In practical fishing situations, the new superfast Instant Drag only requires one full turn from off to maximum lock making fish-playing easier. The new Ultegra XTD offers everything that reel carp anglers have been demanding of for years that make it destined to become one of Shimano’s best selling Big Pit reels over the next few years.

There are XSD models of Shimano Ultegra available in some part of the world. There’s no difference between the two versions other than the color difference.

  • The XSD is aimed at Surf fishermen. S for the surf.
  • The XTD is made for Carp anglers. T for the turf.

Carp anglers seem to be concerned about fishing fashion and like black colored reels. XTD with its black color seems to address this appeal.

The drag in both reels is most likely the same. However, the carp reel feels like has a quicker version of Instant Drag than the surf reel (because it was carp anglers who wanted a quicker Instant Drag – it plays a part in their way of fishing).

Ultegra FB Reels

Ultegra FB Review

Family Type: Spinning

Bearings: 1 S A-RB + 4 BB + 1 Rollerbearing

Handle: Single machined aluminum

Body material: XT-7

Spool Material: Cold forged aluminum

Technologies: Aero Wrap, ARC Spool, CoreProtect, G Free Body, Hagane Gear, Power Roller, S ARB, XShip, Waterproof drag.

Ultegra FB reels features extremely durable Hagane gear that provide excellent strength and efficiency.

These FB reels feature Coreprotect to provide excellent resistance to water without creating a feeling of heavy rotation. It protects the 3 key areas of reel e.g. roller clutch, the body, and the line roller.

The G Free Body technology enhances casting comfort and reduces fatigue by shifting the Ultegra FB reel’s center of gravity closer to the rod.

The stiff XT-7 body provides the perfect support and protection for the X-Ship system, shielded A-RB bearings and Hagane gear to perform to their maximum efficiency and effect.

ModelMono Capacity
PowerPro Cap
Line Retrieve
Max DragGear RatioPrices
3176.0:1 Check Price
35206.0:1 Check Price
39246.2:1 Check Price
35206.0:1 Check Price
41246.2:1 Check Price


Shimano Ultegra vs Stradic

Shimano Stradic offers more high-end Shimano’s reel technologies. Stradic is spinning reel series of Shimano whereas Ultegra ci4+ and XTD are cast reels. However, Ultegra FB models are spinning reels.

Both, Shimano Stradic FK and Ci4+ offers Hypergear, One Piece Bail, Power Roller, and Rigid Support Drag which is not present in any Ultegra model.

Ultegra cast reels feature Parallel Body and Super Slow Oscillation which are not offered in any Stradic spinning model.

Ultegra FB is very basic spinning reel as compared to Stradic models. It lacks the features such as Super Stopper II, Floating Shaft II, DynaBalance and Hypergear that are present in Stradic and even other Ultegra models.

Shimano Ultegra vs Nasci

Ultegra is a better reel as compared to Shimano Nasci in terms of technologies it offers. Sahara doesn’t have water resistance features of CoreProtect. Ultegra features another extra feature of Aero Wrap II. The custom designed pitch of worm gear oscillation system creates optimal oscillation speeds. This provides superb uniform line lay to reduce the loss of energy during the cast.

Moreover, Ultegra has 5 ball bearings as compared to 4 in Nasci. All being said, Nasci is cheaper as compared to Ultegra and is a good entry level reel.

Related Post

There are 3 comments

  1. Shimano needs to offer the Super Slow 10 instead of the Super Slow 5 oscillation if they want serious long distance surfcasters to take them seriously .

    The Super Slow 10 casts considerably further than the Super Slow 5 .


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *