Shimano introduced Stradic CI4+ FB in 2016 just one year after the Stradic FK. They share lots of features like Hagane gear, Xship and Core Protect, but of course there are new ones also. If we read the details on the box we can see that the reel is a lot lighter comparing to the FK. But actually it is not so fair to compare it to the FK just because it was introduced before the CI4+ FB. The base model is the Stradic CI4 FA which is the model of 2014.
The Shimano Stradic CI4+ FB
The drag knob (2.4.) has a rubber sealing – a special protection gasket – which makes the drag waterproof. The Stradic CI4+ FB has a cold forged aluminium spool. On the bottom of the spool there is the drag click. The drag itself contains three felt washers (2.1.) and three metal key washers (2.2.). The maximum drag power is 9 kg in the Stradic 2500 CI4+ FB. The drag washers are fixed with a retainer (2.3.) in the spool.
Under the spool you will find the plastic drag click ratchet (3.1.) and the spool washers. After removing the spool washers, we can find the set screw (3.2.) in the bearing bushing which we must remove before the next step. We can also see the synthetic spool bushing (3.3.). The rotor nut plate (3.4.) also appears with its two screws.
On the next picture we can see the drag click ratchet (4.1.), the spool support (4.2.), the ratchet spring (4.3.) and a washer (4.4.), the bearing bushing (4.5.) with its set screw (4.7.) and the spool bushing (4.6.) – which can be changed to a ball bearing (4.9.) – and finally, you can see the spool washers (4.8.), two pieces in this reel.
The Magnumlight rotor is where this reel saves a lot of weight, thanks to the Ci4+ material. The other parts are familiar from the former models, but there is an innovation too.
The bail trip lever (6.1.) lays under the spring (6.3.). The bail spring with the bail spring guide is placed in the seat (6.2.). A little amount of waterproof grease is always helpful here to prevent wearing. And the innovation I mentioned before is that the line roller is not on this side like on the previous models. This feature gives a more stable rotation, and adding extra weight is not necessary to balance the rotor. The bail spring guide has a synthetic bush in the bail arm (6.4.), this is where the bail spring guide is connected.
The click spring and pin (7.1.) are in their place. A little amount of waterproof grease is helpful on this side also.
On the next picture we can see the line roller support (8.1.) and its washer (8.2.). Do not forget to put it on the support before inserting it into the bail arm. The “Power Roller” line roller (8.4.) is supported with a built-in ball bearing. It has two bearing spacers (8.3.) on both sides and a line roller plate (8.5.) in the bail arm which is fixed with a screw (8.6.).
The line roller has a thin channel, where the line runs during fishing. The key word is thin. These reels are designed to use with light lines. In size 2500 if it is used with 0,20 mm braid or larger diameter, you will hear some strange noise. If you use lighter line, the noise is going to disappear.
The roller clutch (9.3.) and it’s reinforce (9.1.) are fixed with 3 screws. There are 6 rollers in the holder (9.4.) with 6 springs to hold them in the right position. In the clutch there is a water proof set which contains a rotor ring and a roller clutch inner (9.5.), and a sealing (9.2.).
If we open the main body, we are going to find nothing new comparing to the FK.
The cold forged Hagane drive gear (11.2.) is supported with two A-RB ball bearings (11.3) and 3 washers (11.4.). The main body (11.1.) is made of CI4+, which makes it light and stiff.
The pinion gear (12.1.) is supported by two shielded A-RB bearings (12.2. /12.3.). This technical solution is a must in quality reels nowadays. On the top of the next picture the worm shaft (12.5.) runs on two synthetic bushing (12.7. / 12.9.). The idle gear (12.6.) of the worm shaft is a synthetic gear. On the right side of the worm shaft you can see a washer (12.8.), the synthetic bushing (12.9.). The front worm bushing (12.7.) is an asymmetric one so it is not possible to change it to a bearing. But on the other side the plastic bushing (12.9.) can be changed to a bearing if we would like to upgrade our Stradic CI4+. Do not forget to add a washer between the bearing and the worm shaft retainer. The other two idle gears (12.11.) are supported with the idle gear shaft (12.12.). On the top there is the oscillating guide (12.10.), which will support the main shaft assembly (14.1.).
The idle gears (13.) – placed in the side plate – are synthetic which nowadays is not so strange, these gears are not under heavy load. Reels like Stradic FK shares the same techniqal solution.
The oscillating pawl cover (14.4.) is fixed to the main shaft assembly (14.1.) by a screw. The oscillating pawl (14.2.) runs on a slider bushing (14.3.). This is a technical feature which can be found in most of the reels in the middle-priced line-up. This bushing is higher than the regular bearing with its width. If you want to change it to a bearing it is necessary to add some washers but with normal use it will work fine with the bushing.
To upgrade the bottom bushing (15.1.) – of the worm shaft – to a bearing can give you better performance especially under load. The bushing is the same size as the bearing (15.2.), so it is very easy to change them. Just do not forget to add the washer (15.3.) between the bearing and the retainer(15.4.).
On the next picture from left to right, you can see the original bushing, the bearing, and the washer on top of it.
When removing the drive gear (17.1.), you can see the worm shaft (17.2.) and the main shaft assembly (17.3.) which rides on an oscillating guide (17.4.). The idle gears (17.5.) are synthetic which is maybe strange for the first sight, but these gears are not under heavy load. These synthetic gears are lighter and they are quite silent too. Until now I have never seen a Shimano reel where these idle gears caused a failure. But I have to mention that in high end reels like the Stella or the Vanquish metal idle gears are used.
The side plate (18.1.) is fixed with 4 screws to the main body (18.2.). The ball bearings of the drive gear are pushed in their places, the gears are greased.
The Stradic CI4+ has a single machined aluminium handle (19.1.) which is directly screwed into the main gear that helps to eliminate play during turning the handle. The rubber knob (19.3.) gives a comfortable touch and runs on a ball bearing (19.7.) with a washer (19.6.) and on the other side on a synthetic bushing (19.5.). The bushing can be changed to a bearing easily. The knob is closed with a cup (19.4). The handle screw cap (19.2.) will close the side plate. An O ring is responsible for the sealing to prevent water or dust coming in to the drive gear or the bearing.
After upgrading 3 bushings to 3 bearings and spooled with braid the Shimano Stradic CI4+ 2500 FB weights nearly 201 gr. The factory standard is 190 g without line.
Shimano Stradic CI4+ FB summary
The Shimano Stradic CI4+ 2500 FB is made with 6 S ARB ball bearing and one roller bearing. They are placed in the following places and sizes:
Spool: no bearing
Spool shaft: synthetic bushing which can be upgraded to a bearing size 7×11×3 mm
Line roller: built-in ball bearing
Pinion gear: 7×14×5 mm and 5×8×2.5 mm
Main drive gear: 7×11×3 mm and 7×13×4 mm
Worm shaft: one asymmetric synthetic bushing front and one symmetric bushing on the bottom (latter can be upgraded to a 3×6×2.5 mm bearing)
Oscillating pawl: synthetic bushing
Handle knob: one 4×7×2.5 mm bearing and one synthetic bushing (latter can be upgraded to another 4×7×2.5 mm bearing)
The Stradic CI4+ is made in 8 different models. They are available from size 1000 to 4000 and with three different gear ratios, 6,0:1 , 5,0:1 and 4,8:1. Size 1000 has 3 kg of drag power, size 2500 and 3000 have 9 kg, 4000 have 11 kg of max drag. These reels are made in Malaysia.
Techniqal features used in Stradic CI4+ reels:
- Hagane Gear
- Magnumlite Rotor
- X- Ship
- Core protect
- ARC spool
- S ARB bearings
- G Free Body
- Stainless steel, one-piece bail wire
- Aero Wrap line lay
In March 2019, when I am writing this article, the price of the Stradic CI4+ FB amounts about 140 Euro. The reasonable price, the techniqal features used and the possibility of upgrading with 3 plus bearings make this reel very popular. With this upgrade you can reach 9 + 1 bearings with ease which makes the Stradic CI4+ a perfect platform of reel tuning. But it has its limitations of course. The worm shaft’s front bushing cannot be changed to a bearing, and the slider bushing in the oscillation pawl is also not a regular size of a bearing. After one year of normal use I haven’t found any problem with the gears or the bearings. Do not forget to use light lines with it or if you hear some strange noise from the line roller try to change to a lighter one.
Thanks for reading my article. If you have any question or comment please feel free to contact me.