TESTED: Quantum EXO EX15PTi – Hybrid technology

IT seems that everything these days is getting smaller and lighter. Compare a 2003 vintage laptop computer or mobile phone with a current model and you’ll find vast differences in size and weight. Ditto with outboard engines – a 200hp four-stroke from a decade ago is a massive chunk of metal compared with the svelte models of today.

Even fishing reels aren’t immune to this trend towards downsizing. American tackle company Quantum, distributed in the local market by Jarvis Walker Brands, has applied some interesting technology to its recently launched Exo range of reels. Using the mantra “Metal Where It Matters”, the Quantum technicians have basically shaved every gram of unnecessary metal from the reels, replacing it with super light composite materials. In load bearing areas, where the strength of metal is vital, Quantum has used an ultra rigid aluminium alloy. The result is what Quantum says is an “exoskeletal hybrid construction”. In layman’s terms, it’s an extremely light and futuristic looking spin reel.

I’ve been using the smallest reel in the Exo range, the EX15PTi, for about six months. This is basically a 1500 sized threadline suitable for light estuary and freshwater work. I’ve matched it with an ultra light custom-built Samurai SP101-C spin stick. This featherweight outfit is an absolute pleasure to fish with, being both responsive and effective.
I initially spooled the little Exo with 3lb fluoro but recently re-spooled it with 4lb Daiwa TD-Sensor braid. Matched with a 4lb fluoro leader, I’ve found the Exo/Samurai combo to be ideal for casting small hard-bodies around structure for bream and bass. Although an ultra-light outfit, the reel’s smooth and precise drag, coupled with the rod’s surprisingly gutsy mid-section, make it an effective fish-fighting combo.

Quantum has used some innovative materials in this reel. I won’t go into the technical details – you can find out about stuff like C4LF, the CSC drag system and the MaxCast II spool design at the JW website – but suffice it to say that the idea is to reduce weight while maximising strength and performance. The reel itself has proven to be reliable and well built. There’s little or no play or flex, even under load. It has so far operated smoothly with no issues relating to corrosion, undue vibration or clunkiness.

The EX15PTi weighs 6oz, or just over 170 grams. Most of the other 1500 sized reels I use are well into the 250 gram weight range, making the little Quantum a class leader in regard to overall lightness.

The Exo range incorporates five models – size 15 through to 50. I can see the 30, 40 and 50 sizes being popular with beach anglers wanting to use lighter outfits while the 25 would doubtless be effective when lure casting for everything from barra to snapper.

Personally speaking, I like the Exo’s cosmetics. This is a fairly futuristic looking product but Quantum has been careful not to bling it up too much. Some reels, usually cheapo copies of high end products, just look silly with all the vents, holes, flash paintwork and chrome they feature. The Exo, on the other hand, looks stylish and modern. It matches perfectly with new era rods that incorporate “skeleton” grips, for example.

For what is essentially a mid-priced product, the technology and innovation that’s gone into this reel is pretty amazing. I can see elements of the Exo design in other Quantum reels, like the nifty looking Smoke threadline. It will be interesting to see where the brainiacs at Quantum take things – I’m predicting we’ll continue to see the evolution of light, user friendly but extremely powerful spin reels. Quantum’s Exo, together with products from other leading reel brands, points the way to what should be an interesting future …
The EX15PTi retails for about $249 and should be available at any decent tackle store.

Find out more about the Exo range, as well as other Quantum reels, at

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