BajaSpecial VS New US Senator

stank

Well-Known "Member"
May 16, 2005
695
488
63
62
Norwalk, CA
Name
Dave
Boat
None
I think using the rivets reduce the weight of the frame, foot and fasteners. Have a look at the amount of machining that goes into reducing the weight of the frame and I doubt very much Penn went with rivets just to save a little money.

I love the TRQLD2s, have all four, I'm coming up on my third season with them, have not had an issue with corrosion and don't think I will. All four fished perfectly out of the box and I have had no issue with any of them

I don't see them as an issue. No reason to take if off anyway.

At that price-point there are a few cosmetic and perceived quality issues that think Penn should address, but the rivets aren't one of them.

Again, I would like to see a narrow 15 and a wide 40. Seems like all it would take in new parts would be the spool & frame, and 90% of the engineering required for these parts has already been done with the existing sizes.
 

falconer

Member
Aug 17, 2006
488
172
43
Spokane, Washington
Name
Doug Pineo
Boat
16 foot 1955 Crestliner
This thread is about Penn Baja Specials and the new Penn US Senators, which are largely the same reel except for the new reels' grooves on the spool flanges, thicker frame cross members and anodizing color. The new US Senators are as excellent a reel as the Baja Specials, and their reel feet are attached with machine screws, not rivets. Same with all three of my Baja Specials, my two Penn Metal Senators, and my three first generation Torques. Same with all of the bigger Internationals (Torques are, or were, designated as members of the Penn International line of reels).

I'm pretty sure 4 rivets and 4 of the squatty little flathead machine screws used to attach stainless steel reel feet to the anodized aluminum reel frames in recent Penn conventional reels weigh about the same. You don't see one of the Penn engineering people from Philly jumping on this thread to explain why the move to rivets on the current Torques is superior engineering. On my cheaper reels, with riveted reel feet, chasing after salt deposits with an old toothbrush is a constant issue. Salt deposits will eventually lead to corrosion. Just look at the acute angles where reel feet and reel frames meet. I totally get it in cheaper reels with diecast frames, of which I have a Torium and three Daiwa Saltists. But in a spendier reel, i.e., Penn Torques, it ain't right.

It would be fun and instructive if a Penn guy would come on here and lay a little value engineering discussion on us. All manufactured products, particularly nonessential consumer toys like fishing reels, are bundles of compromises, very occasionally struck with a lightening bolt of inspired design. However, the marketing and accounting people always exert their leverage. The Baja Special and current "US Senator", (perhaps inspired in part by earlier hotrodders at Tiburon and Accurate, Progear, Carl Newell, etc.), are an aggregate of pretty refined engineering, old-school tool and die expertise and craftsmanship, and modern CNC machining, all wrapped up in a versatile and robust package. Because they work so well, look so good, and exhibit a high degree of engineering and materials integrity, these reels represent a high point in industrial design. I think a clean example of the Baja Special belongs in the Museum of Modern Art's (MOMA, in New York) Architecture and Design Collection. They have an Ar't Hart fly reel from 1990, but it's not in the same league with the overall quality and functionality of a Penn Baja Special.

Anyhow, get either a used Baja Special, find a new-in-box one on Fleabay (they're still out there for about $240.00), or get the new US Senator. With the new versions you also get medium and wide options, as Steve noted. If you get a late production run Baja Special, it'll have the metal drag star, 6 ball bearings, and the crank arm will be stainless steel instead of the chrome-plated version on earlier examples.
 

tunanorth

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Dec 4, 2005
5,592
3,298
113
By the lake
Name
Tunanorth
Boat
Bass Tracker 16
This thread is about Penn Baja Specials and the new Penn US Senators, which are largely the same reel except for the new reels' grooves on the spool flanges, thicker frame cross members and anodizing color. The new US Senators are as excellent a reel as the Baja Specials, and their reel feet are attached with machine screws, not rivets. Same with all three of my Baja Specials, my two Penn Metal Senators, and my three first generation Torques. Same with all of the bigger Internationals (Torques are, or were, designated as members of the Penn International line of reels).

I'm pretty sure 4 rivets and 4 of the squatty little flathead machine screws used to attach stainless steel reel feet to the anodized aluminum reel frames in recent Penn conventional reels weigh about the same. You don't see one of the Penn engineering people from Philly jumping on this thread to explain why the move to rivets on the current Torques is superior engineering. On my cheaper reels, with riveted reel feet, chasing after salt deposits with an old toothbrush is a constant issue. Salt deposits will eventually lead to corrosion. Just look at the acute angles where reel feet and reel frames meet. I totally get it in cheaper reels with diecast frames, of which I have a Torium and three Daiwa Saltists. But in a spendier reel, i.e., Penn Torques, it ain't right.

It would be fun and instructive if a Penn guy would come on here and lay a little value engineering discussion on us. All manufactured products, particularly nonessential consumer toys like fishing reels, are bundles of compromises, very occasionally struck with a lightening bolt of inspired design. However, the marketing and accounting people always exert their leverage. The Baja Special and current "US Senator", (perhaps inspired in part by earlier hotrodders at Tiburon and Accurate, Progear, Carl Newell, etc.), are an aggregate of pretty refined engineering, old-school tool and die expertise and craftsmanship, and modern CNC machining, all wrapped up in a versatile and robust package. Because they work so well, look so good, and exhibit a high degree of engineering and materials integrity, these reels represent a high point in industrial design. I think a clean example of the Baja Special belongs in the Museum of Modern Art's (MOMA, in New York) Architecture and Design Collection. They have an Ar't Hart fly reel from 1990, but it's not in the same league with the overall quality and functionality of a Penn Baja Special.

Anyhow, get either a used Baja Special, find a new-in-box one on Fleabay (they're still out there for about $240.00), or get the new US Senator. With the new versions you also get medium and wide options, as Steve noted. If you get a late production run Baja Special, it'll have the metal drag star, 6 ball bearings, and the crank arm will be stainless steel instead of the chrome-plated version on earlier examples.



Mike Rice did address this issue directly, replying to your post in 2014. He does not spend too much time reading forums, though I keep him appraised of what's happening. Here is his answer from 2014.



Falconer - everyone is welcome to their opinion...here is ours.

We do not consider riveting to be a cost cutting measure. It requires machinery (operators, upkeep, etc) to rivet, whereas screws require no start up capital.

When manufactured correctly rivets are actually stronger than screws, with no risk of backing out due to boat vibration.

While riveting is commonly used on die cast and injection molded reels, it's also used on higher end reels that go head to head with the Torque series. Please reference Shimano TrinidadA/Tallica and the Diawa Saltiga reels...no screws in my samples....all rivets.

While you can't remove rivets for servicing, we do incorporate spacers between the frame and reel foot so that you can easily wash away salt that builds up in between the parts.

Mike
 

stank

Well-Known "Member"
May 16, 2005
695
488
63
62
Norwalk, CA
Name
Dave
Boat
None
While rivets are lighter than screws, what I meant was that the frame can be made thinner using rivets, as the screw-threads require much more purchase than does a rivet.

The screws may look better, but I don't think they are better.

I hadn't noticed it before, but after reading what Mike said I got out my Talica 16II and my Saltiga LD40 and they are both riveted as well, and they both look more susceptible to corrosion than the Torques, as they have tapped holes for reel clamps rather than the slots Penn uses on the Torque.

My MAK 10II-SEa has (what appears to be) a powder coated die-cast foot screwed to the frame with a Torx screws.

Of the four, the only one with a corrosion issue is the Talica, as the stainless foot developed a layer of white-rust on the first trip, but it does not look like it is related to the rivets, it is only cosmetic, it appeared after the first trip, and does not seem to be getting any worse.

There are things I don't like about the TRQ-30LD2, but for fishing 50#, I like it better than the TAC16 II, the SALD40-2 and the MK-10II SEa.
 

johndtuttle

Angler/Client
Mar 20, 2008
5,569
1,730
113
Carmel, CA
Name
john
Boat
not crazy enough yet
I've said it before and I will say it again:

1. In reels with very heavy frames (ie Penn VSX series, Okuma Makaira et al) a screwed on reel foot works perfectly fine because there is enough meat there to really hold up. We see no trouble with these.

2. When you get to lighter frames it becomes a significant worry (think Accurate, Avet, et al). The frame is so light the screws barely purchase. The screws are stainless going into soft aluminum and the risk of stripping threads is very real. Then you have a truly serious problem re-tapping the frame with a new larger screw that the foot has to accommodate as well. In addition, keeping them tight and free of corrosion is not a foregone conclusion and Accurate for one was using red loctite for a time to keep them tight...this is one solution, but has it's own problems again, with corrosion and potential stripping of screws during required, eventual removal.

3. Conversely, the riveted foot requires really no more vigilance re:corrosion but it will never come loose and you will never strip the threads. I really think it is a better method when the frame is much lighter.

So, I really think in the final analysis, for very light reels, riveted feet are the most trouble free way to go for the most guys. Keeping them corrosion free is not hard to do if you pay attention and in comparison to the amount of potential trouble a stripped thread would cause in the other case it may actually save worry.

This is why we see it in nearly every reel from Daiwa, Abu, Penn, Shimano and most Okuma in this class. Really, the reel foot is the last to have trouble after salt has chewed all kinds of stuff already in a neglected reel.

I think the only way you can really appreciate this is having serviced the same reel foot in a light frame multiple times and been there stressing whether or not you are going to strip the frame and those only 3 threads holding the foot on.

I promise you the people at the factories that use them on reels with very light frames do not like taking the reel foot on and off very often.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: kantstudien

falconer

Member
Aug 17, 2006
488
172
43
Spokane, Washington
Name
Doug Pineo
Boat
16 foot 1955 Crestliner
...and, if you put a film of marine grease on every mating surface including the tapped holes, you don't have to take the reel foot off very often.

Remembering that the thread is about Baja Specials vs US senators, and understanding that there are several tiny differences and no significant ones, thread over. I'm just glad I can keep my dozen Penn reels properly maintained. Sadly, none of us will wear these things out. However, some of us will let them go to hell, simply because we decide there are other more important priorities than taking care of our stuff. Let's go fishing!
 
  • Like
Reactions: johndtuttle

steelfish

Baja Boy..
Oct 16, 2008
753
287
63
Calexico, Ca / BAJA,Mexico
Name
Alex
Boat
dos por favor
after reading over and over that US senator narrow and Baja Special are scencially the same reel except for few cosmetical differences, I still would like to ask the next.

will the spool of the new US senator 113hn fit in the Baja Special frame?

Im asking becasue I have a speare spool for my Baja Special and it would be cool to sell it and buy the another in silver of the new US senator
 

tunanorth

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Dec 4, 2005
5,592
3,298
113
By the lake
Name
Tunanorth
Boat
Bass Tracker 16
after reading over and over that US senator narrow and Baja Special are scencially the same reel except for few cosmetical differences, I still would like to ask the next.

will the spool of the new US senator 113hn fit in the Baja Special frame?

Im asking becasue I have a speare spool for my Baja Special and it would be cool to sell it and buy the another in silver of the new US senator


Yes, the spools are interchangeable.
 

tunanorth

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Dec 4, 2005
5,592
3,298
113
By the lake
Name
Tunanorth
Boat
Bass Tracker 16
That handle change was a "running change" to the Baja Special 3 or 4 years ago.
 

Billy V

Seabass Commando
Aug 26, 2007
601
377
63
San Diego
Name
Billy
Boat
Parker 2310 DV / Kayak
My baja specials have been performing flawlessly for the last 2 seasons.
Set them up with greased drags and fished the hell out of them.

They have no problem landing 1/2 cow sized tuna.
 

lowprofile

Well-Known "Member"
Dec 11, 2011
1,006
455
83
SoCal
Name
chris
Boat
Sold it
so now that we all know the US senator and BAJA special are the same minus a few mods here and there (including size selection). Lets see some pics of fish caught on the US senators and lets hear how you have them spooled up!
 

RyanFlorida

Dorado Hunter
Mar 23, 2010
86
2
8
So. Cal
Name
Miller
Boat
High Life
OK, so remember back in June, I bought a US Senator and paired it with a Seeker G 6470 7', heres its first catch. Sorry the rod/reel is not the one in pic.

DSCN0654.JPG
 
Last edited:

tunanorth

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Dec 4, 2005
5,592
3,298
113
By the lake
Name
Tunanorth
Boat
Bass Tracker 16
Baja special and senator the same but different?


Please clarify; am not exactly sure what you are asking.
The Baja Special and US Senator are virtually the same.
The US Senator and "regular" Senators are substantially different.