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Okuma Helios SX Review

In this review of the Okuma Helios SX spinning reel, we will look at the new features that were released in the summer of 2016 that make the Helios SX an even lighter and tougher reel.  Okuma has leveraged new technologies and materials to make the Helios SX a very durable and extremely lightweight reel.  The secret to their success is the use of the C-40X carbon fiber that injects long strands of carbon fiber with resin together to create a product that is 25% lighter and up to 50% stronger than their graphite peers.

The Okuma Helios SX replaces the previous Helios model and is now available in 3 standard models ranging from the 20 (2000 series) to the 40 (4000 series) with weights of just 7.1 to 9.2 oz that is super lightweight!  There is a fourth model, the HSX-40S that is the high speed retrieve model that moves from the 4:5.1 gear ratio up to a 5:8.1 gear ratio and increases the retrieve rate by 21%.

If you are looking for an extremely lightweight yet strong and responsive reel, at an economical price then I would recommend that you either get this reel or keep on reading.

Features

Light weight C-40X carbon frame and side plates – By using a new long strand carbon fiber technology that Okuma refers to as C-40X, they are able to produce an extremely lightweight (25%) lighter than their graphite counterparts and 50% stronger design.  An additional benefit of this design is that it is 100% corrosion resistant.

C-40X Cyclonic Flow Rotor – The sleek and modern design of the cyclonic flow rotor not only looks cool but the ported design allows for more even and increased air flow over the rotor which means that it will dry faster and reduce the chances of corrosion.

TCA: Torsion Control Armor – TCA or Torsion Control Armor reduces the twisting effect that we sometimes feel on a reel.  By utilizing two arms like the fork of a bicycle, a much stronger arm is created without having to add unwanted weight.  By eliminating the twisting, it keeps all of the internal components lined up for a smooth retrieve, under load the pinion gear wants to lean forward and this design all but eliminates that.

Carbon Fiber Drag – The Helios uses a carbon fiber drag system with a multi ratcheted drag knob on top of the spool that provides for a very smooth and strong drag for the weight of the reel.

8HPB + 1RB stainless steel bearings – The Helios uses 8 corrosion resistant main bearings and one corrosion resistant roller bearing.

Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing – This makes sure that when you go to set the hook you will not have any slop on the reel.

ALG: Precision AlumiLite alloy – Okuma has used and AlumiLite alloy for the main gear as well as the oscillating gears and as the name would suggest this is a lightweight aluminum alloy material that delivers on the name.

Rigid, machined aluminum, anodized handle. – In design and testing, it was determined that a lighter weight handle could be achieved with the aluminum alloy that with a carbon fiber handle.

Heavy duty, solid aluminum bail wire – The Helios uses what is called a CDB or Centrifugal Disc Bail design that combines an aluminum bail wire with a new design that uses a heavy brass disc to create a very smooth and well balanced bail operation.

RESII: Computer balanced Rotor Equalizing System. – When you combine the RESII with the Torsion Control Armor you get an extremely smooth and silky feel to the retrieve.

 Features at a Glance

  • Light weight C-40X carbon frame and side plates.
  • C-40X Cyclonic Flow Rotor
  • TCA: Torsion Control Armor
  • 8HPB + 1RB bearings.
  • Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing.
  • Brass pinion gear.
  • AlumiLite alloy main gear and oscillating gears.
  • Precision Elliptical Gearing system.
  • Machined aluminum
  • Heavy duty aluminum bail wire.
  • RESII: Computer balanced Rotor Equalizing System.

One of the things that I really thinks sets the Okuma Helios apart from other reels is the two sideplate design.  Think of this the same way that you would think of the front fork of a bicycle.  If you only had support on one side of the wheel then you would have some wobble. By supporting it on both sides, you create a tremendous amount of stability.  The same is true when you look at this reels design.  By using the two sideplates, all of the stress is evenly distributed and you get a very solid and smooth retrieve with no wobble and or twist.

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.  Helios comes in a standard and high speed model, the high speed is designated by the letter S as the last digit in the model number.

MODELGEAR RATIOBEARINGSWEIGHT (OZ.)LINE RETRIEVEMAX DRAG PRESSUREMONO LINE CAP (yd./lb.)BRAIDED LINE CAP (yd./lb.)
HSX-205.0:18HPB + 1RB7.121.9"13-lbs106/4
100/6
80/8
130/10
110/15
HSX-305.0:18HPB + 1RB7.324.8"13-lbs220/6
170/8
120/10
180/15
130/20
HSX-404.5:18HPB + 1RB9.225.2"13-lbs245/8
175/10
155/12
215/30
150/40
HSX-40S5.8:18HPB + 1RB9.232.1"13-lbs245/8
175/10
155/12
215/30
150/40

For the inshore fisherman I think that you will really appreciate what Okuma has done with the Cyclonic Flow Rotor.  At first I thought that this was just another marketing name that was being thrown about, but upon closer inspection and use in the field I can see that there is truly value here.  The way that the spool is ported and the rotor is designed allows for a lot more airflow around the spool.  What this means is that if you are fishing inshore from either a kayak or wade fishing and you tend to get your reel very wet, that it will dry much quicker and thus reduce the chances of water getting into the reel.  While this is not a substitute for a fully sealed reel it is an excellent design innovation.

Pros

  • Corrosion Resistant
  • Super Lightweight
  • Smooth Retrieve
  • EVA Knob

Cons

  • Not fully sealed

Alternatives

If you are looking for a carbon fiber body, then the Okuma Helios SX is a great reel especially when you consider the price point.

I would have to say that I think I actually like the Okuma Helios SX better than the Pflueger Supreme XT but with that said you need to take a close look at the Pflueger as well.  One of the things that you get with the Pflueger Supreme XT that you do not get with the Okuma Helios SX is a sealed carbon fiber drag system.  Read the full review on the Pflueger Supreme XT Here.

If you are a Shimano brand advocate then you would want to take a look at the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ which is a great reel but the brand name is going to cost you almost twice as much.  This is a great reel as you would expect from Shimano but when you put the two of them side to side and compare how silky smooth the Okuma Helios SX is, you have to ask yourself, is it really worth the extra $100, I’ll let you be the judge of that. Read the full review of the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ HERE.

In Conclusion

Okuma has done an excellent job with the new version of the Helios SX spinning reel and consistently seems to be integrating new technology and designs.  When you look at some of the unique features such as the dual side plates that provide incredible stability and nearly eliminate all torsion of the reel, combine that with the cyclonic flow rotor that speeds drying and a very smooth carbon fiber drag system, you have a winner in my mind.

For the price it is hard to go wrong if you are looking for a lightweight reel that will take care of all your inshore fishing needs for the trout, reds and snook.  If you want carbon fiber, then this is the best deal I have found as it runs 20% – 50% less than other models from Pflueger and Shimano.

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