Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

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uljersey
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Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby uljersey » Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:00 pm

This reel has been the subject of quite a bit of buzz since it's debut, much of it positive. There are several in depth reviews of it's performance on YouTube, but not much in the way of what makes it tick. I documented the teardown of mine and am sharing it with you here. I'm aware that this forum is the realm of 'enthusiasts' so let me be clear about my purpose for this ... I'm putting this out for information purposes only. I'm not trying to influence anyone either for it or against it. I will say that you may be surprised (as I was) at some of the features of this reel, don't be so quick to dismiss it just yet.

I paid $45 and change US for mine from Aliexpress. It arrived well packed and intact. Nothing remarkable during the unboxing .... The reel itself, a schematic, a quality control tag written in Chinese and a reel bag. Par for the course I suppose, aside from the bag. Nice little touch there, take it for what it's worth. The Reel Grips are mine, I'm not a fan of skinny metal handles. The reel itself weighs in at 7.3 oz. It's advertised as "carbon frame and side cover". There are two spool options when ordering, the shallow BFS spool and a deep spool. I opted for the shallow. The spools are both available for purchase separately. Fit and finish were fairly impressive, no excessive gaps or molding deformities noted. Mine felt 'chunky' and somewhat sluggish when reeling it out of the box before spooling it. I got it too late in the season to really get much quality fishing time on it. Mine was mounted on a 6'6" L power rod intended for smaller cranks from around 1/8 to 1/4 oz. Out of the box it did fairly well in the short time I did get to fish it but it was apparent there was room for improvement. I did get freight trained by something large, but never hooked up with it. The first red flag was the stutter of the drag on startup, not a good thing on light line applications.
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Let's get to the good, the bad and the ugly ... First is it features a swept metal drag star and cast control cap. Both are clicker type. The handle is a swept 90mm featuring two bearings per paddle. Not bad for a reel at this price point.
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Not so good ... gobs of grease on the A/R bearing. I've never seen that intentionally done. What were they thinking ? Going further inside reveals a completely different grease on the internals. Red on the A/R and blue inside. Points taken off for the A/R but I'll call it even for the inside grease job as I always tear down a new reel and lube it to my liking anyhow.
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Plastic worm shaft drivetrain gearing. Common these days. Note the tiny brass bushings inserted into the clutch cam spring holes in the frame. Nice touch there as those holes would get wallowed out quickly after some time likely causing engagement issues. Further disassembly reveals another pleasant surprise, a bearing on the worm shaft. Not in and of itself a big deal but I wasn't expecting that on a sub $50 reel. The other end is supported by a bushing. The quality of the machining on the shaft itself as inspected under a magnifying lamp showed it to be acceptable.
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Good - brass main gear and pinion. Bad - thick paper/cardboard (?) drag washer. That needs to go !
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Let's address that pitiful drag. I'm a stickler for a smooth drag. I don't care about maximum drag strength, especially on light line applications. I want it butter smooth throughout the entire range especially at startup. That's why I go through the trouble of lapping (fancy talk for flattening) the metal washers in a drag stack. I do it to all of my reels, I haven't found any yet that couldn't be improved upon regardless of make or price paid. It's tedious, time consuming and boring but you only have to do it once. Basically what you achieve is uniform and consistent contact between the metal and fiber washers at all ranges of the drag. This all but eliminates stuttering and jerky drag engagement which can lead to breakoffs, especially if a brute slams your bait out of nowhere. I'll take you through the process ...

I use 3M double sided foam tape to affix the washer to a handle of some type. This is a handle from a cheap 4 in 1 screwdriver. Note it's sitting on a combination sharpening stone. You can tape sandpaper to a piece of tile or glass or use a diamond hone. As long as it's flat it really doesn't matter.
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Firmly press down on the handle and take the washer for a few laps around the stone or whatever flat abrasive surface you choose. Use a figure 8 pattern, then a few ovals, X's, etc. to mix it up. Where you see the shiny areas are the high spots where material has been removed. The dull spots are the low areas. Drag washers are stamped from sheet steel, they may look flat to the naked eye but this is proof they're not. Follow the progression from the first picture to the last to see the final result. I go one step further and polish the washer using a felt wheel and jeweler's rouge on a dremel after the lapping. This isn't necessary but still an option. Regardless of whatever you choose, thoroughly clean and dry the washer of all traces of polish or other foreign material before reassembly.
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Stroke of luck here ... Smoooooth Drag has a washer in their inventory that is a direct drop in replacement (stock # 40 A) ... it is .5mm thinner than the original but that does not affect the drag adversely. The carbon fiber washer, a dab of Cal's grease and a lapped washer have transformed this sad drag into a winner. Hat's off to Smooooth Drag, they are tops in customer service 8-)
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On to the spool & braking. The stock spool bearings were ditched in favor of ceramics for obvious reasons ... no need to elaborate there. The spool weighed in at 12 grams minus the bearings. Simple magnetic brake, the brake clicker knob locks in the chosen setting securely. The side plate detaches via an external latch that slightly protrudes from the bottom of the side plate. I would prefer a screw for a bit more security but there is no slop with this setup. We'll just have to see how durable this is after some time.
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After a thorough cleaning, proper lubrication and a some minor component upgrades it is measurably a much better feeling reel. Weather and work schedule are keeping me from proving any gains in performance at this time but I will update this thread as I get some more time on the water with it. Overall, especially for the price point, I have to say it's fairly impressive. Is it up there with Daiwa, Shimano, Abu, etc. ? ... of course not, but like I said in the beginning don't be so quick to dismiss it either. It's a fine choice for several situations ... those on the fence about BFS, those on a budget or those perhaps looking for a workable BFS rig to keep in the car. For trout, panfish and small bass it should do very well.

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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby LgMouthGambler » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:26 am

Excellent job. I really enjoyed that read. Can't wait to hear how it performs for you once you get back out on the water. Thank you for taking the time to do that. =D>
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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby Fishing4Fun » Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:13 am

Wow! Well written and very informative even for this guy to understand! Thanks for putting this together!

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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby uljersey » Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:19 pm

Spent a couple of hours in the cold and rain (the sacrifices we make in the name of science :lol: ) throwing a variety of baits ranging from 3 grams (approx. 1/16 oz) up to 6 grams (approx. 3/16 oz) The rod was a Kuying Teton TTC 662L, which is a 6'6" L powered rod. Nice review here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGy1yfn2vvI The rod is rated for 3 - 8 lb line and a lure range of 2 - 10 grams.

The line spooled is Sufix Performance Braid 10 lb test which is .008" in diameter with a leader of 4 lb. Sufix Elite mono which also has an advertised diameter of .008". The braid is fresh and not quite broken in and softened yet which likely will affect casting distance.

Here are some of the baits thrown today ...
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Here are my post 'super tune' impressions ... stated distances are guesstimations 8-)

Casting performance has drastically improved. Different baits of equal weights obviously will behave differently. The 1/8 oz. Rattle Trap was easily bombed 70'+ while the Bagley balsa of roughly the same weight had a significantly shorter, but still respectable showing at around 50'+. The plastic Bomber crank with internal rattles had a bit more distance than the Bagley, no surprise there. The longer minnow type baits did equally well.

Getting down to the single hook Nano crank and the 1/16 jighead/tube combo resulted in the shortest distances at roughly 35'. Keep in mind this is a L power rod and not a UL so I expected somewhat shorter distances on the smallest baits. Despite this and most important to me was the fact that the reel was quite capable of casting all of these without backlashing. I did have a few overuns while dialing in the brake and cast control settings in an effort to maximize the potential, but once a particular bait was dialed in the performance was consistent throughout dozens of casts. Another factor that may have had a negative influence on overall casting distance was the fact I was using a leader. In spite of the thin lines involved there still is a knot that has to make it through all of those tiny rod guides and that surely adds resistance. I have some 4 lb Sufix Advanced copolymer line on order for this reel, that will be another day of experimentation when I get that together.

The reel's braking system proved itself very capable, with noticeable differences in performance between single clicks of the brake dial. The addition of ceramic spool bearings was obviously the biggest factor in the improvement, and they are nothing more than just generic ceramics sourced from ebay, no top name brands or anything like that were used. The reel was smooth and quiet, not an earthshaking revelation after only 2 hours but a positive is a positive and I'll take that any day.

I'm well under $100 invested in the reel & the upgrades so far and I have to say I'm happy. I still need to actually catch some fish with it to present a complete evaluation, so consider this a work in progress. I'll update as time goes on.

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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby Strewth » Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:09 pm

Thanks for the very informative and factual evaluation. Some Chinese companies, such as Tsurinoya, are clearly starting to produce some decent gear at low prices. I have the Tsurinoya Proflex 2 C632UL rod for UL baitcasting work and rate it very highly. Nice action, excellent cork and Fuji reels seat and guides for 65USD shipped. Goes really with a Steez A and a Megabass IS Finesse spool for 2g and up.

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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby iabass8 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 3:11 pm

I got one of these earlier in the year to pretty much just throw tiny poppers on a ml majorcraft. I put different knobs/bearings on it, flushed the bearings and the reel has been super fun to fish. Braking is really consistent. Mine has an odd buzz sound that I can't pin point. It isn't the gears or pinion. It's only audible from time to time. I got it for 35$ on a whim so I'm pleased.

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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby LowRange » Sun Dec 16, 2018 4:10 pm

For those who do not want the red and black there is the Tsurinoya Hurricane. It is the same reel but is black and bronze colored and does not have the metal knobs.
https://youtu.be/peWN2YUWC3Y

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uljersey
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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby uljersey » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:21 pm

Finally !!! I got some action on the new rig. Went bank beating for a couple of hours today, the fish were cooperative and I got 10 fish - all smaller bass. I got them on a variety of baits ... 1/8 oz Tiny Trap, 1/8 oz Micro Chatterbait tipped with a 2" grub and a 3/16 oz Johnson ThinFisher blade bait. I needed to see how the reel and especially the drag performed under load. I had no issues whatsoever, the drag performed as well as I'd hoped it would and the rod was a joy to fish. I pinned most every fish I hooked up with, a few light biters got away but what are you going to do ? ... Now that I have caught some fish and have a performance baseline established, the only thing that remains to be seen is the long term reliability of this reel. Will it hold up and maintain it's performance over the course of a season ? We'll find out soon enough. It's winter here, as long as the water stays liquid I'll try and get out when I can but realistically it won't get sustained hard use until April. As mentioned before this is a work in progress but so far it's been positive.
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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby DirtyD64 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:09 pm

Great review!!! I enjoy hearing about these products, BFS is confusing to get into and great detailed information like this is gold. Thanks again. Do you think the UL powered rod would be better set for 1/16 with small plastic???

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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby uljersey » Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:27 pm

DirtyD64 wrote:Great review!!! I enjoy hearing about these products, BFS is confusing to get into and great detailed information like this is gold. Thanks again. Do you think the UL powered rod would be better set for 1/16 with small plastic???


Yeah, I would say the UL would be the better choice for what you described. My setup can do it, but most likely not as well as a UL would.

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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby jvang » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:37 am

Does anyone know the spool bearing size for the XF-50? Thanks in advance.

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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby uljersey » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:51 am

jvang wrote:Does anyone know the spool bearing size for the XF-50? Thanks in advance.


I’ll post them later tonight when I get home from work.

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Re: Tsurinoya XF-50 Budget BFS Reel Teardown & Evaluation

Postby uljersey » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:53 pm

Bearing sizes are listed as follows - I.D./ O.D./Thickness (height) in millimeters.

Spool bearing 1) 5 X 11 X 4
Spool bearing 2) 3 X 10 X 4


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