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

Last Updated on February 2, 2019

Shimano has really worked to improve their surfcasting reels in recent years. This is proven by the new advanced technologies offered by Ultegra CI4+XTC/XSC and Ultegra XTD/XSD.

The Ultegra models can be described as a very under-rated series that offers a lot of the benefits and added technologies of the higher end model without the high 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 places 50 wraps of line onto the spool per full spool oscillation
  • Parallel Body aligns the reel perfectly on the rod ensuring a smoother flow of the line from the 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?

Slower line oscillation reduces the speed the line travels up and down the spool on the cast. This results in less friction as line leaves the spool and reduced drag on the lead, which improves casting distance and accuracy.

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

Shimano Ultegra Reels Features & Comparison

Here are the specifications and features of Ultegra reels. This table also highlights the difference between CI4+XTC/XSC and Ultegra XTD/XSD. I have also added 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 2019

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. Probably the most important features for surf casting, besides the line lay, are the Carbon Infused Graphite (Ci4+) construction, X-Protect water resistance, and Hagane Gear.

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 good choice for distance and is a bit large & clumsy compared to the Saragosa 6000SW. The Saragosa is not as delicate as the Ultegra and has some sealing for waves. Distance is nearly as good running 30# PP with a 10’6 Legend. Reduce your line to 20-30lb test for distance, and reduce fatigue with a lightweight setup.

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 matt black ‘stealth-like’ visual appearance of this reel is perfect for the modern carp angler and the technology and price almost defy logic.

There are two new features on this model that combine to improve casting performance. The Super Slow 5 oscillation wraps 50 turns of line onto the spool per full oscillation cycle. This produces remarkably smooth line lay.

Also, for the first time, there is Shimano’s new Parallel Body design. This aligns the spool parallel to the rod butt which in turn reduces line slap when casting.

In practical fishing situations, the new superfast Instant Drag only requires one full turn from off to maximum lock making fish-playing easier. Destined to become one of Shimano’s biggest selling Big Pit reels over the next few years, the new Ultegra XTD is the reel carp anglers have been dreaming of for years.

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

  • The XSD is the one aimed at Surf fishermen. S for surf.
  • The XTD is aimed at Carp anglers. T for 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 provide excellent efficiency and strength because of the extremely durable Hagane gear.

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

The G Free Body technology in Ultegra FB reels shifts the reel’s center of gravity closer to the rod. This helps to reduce fatigue and enhance casting comfort.

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

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. This worm gear oscillation system with a specially designed pitch 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.

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There are 1 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 .


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