If there's one thing that Shimano got totally wrong when they designed the great TLD-25 in my opinion under-estimating the capability of the reel; it was The Handle! Considering what this reel can do, Shimano decided to put on a puny handle on a short bar that doesn't inspire any kind of confidence when you're hooked in to a decent fish. In fact it's my main complaint with this reel so I decided to see what I could do about it!!Standard TLD-25
After a search through the internet I eventually found ebay store Fishincomfort http://stores.ebay.com/FISHINCOMFORT
and decided to place a bid on a T-Bar Power handle. These are available for various reels, the two speed TLDs, Daiwa reels and various models for Shimano and Penn
I went ahead and ordered one and in 12 days it arrived safe and sound in my mailbox, obviously I couldn't resist getting it fitted on to my Shimano TLD-25, and that's where I came across an initial stumbling point. Even though i was turning the screw in the handle anti-clockwise (put in their temp for shipping reasons) in order to mount it to the black bar (it is not shipped assembled to keep dimensions down), nothing was happening. I must admit I thought maybe it had a reverse thread so I tried the other way, but then I realised I should try gripping the piece of shaft that was sliding a bit near the bearing and they presto! the bolt backed out nicely!
The assembly has two metal bearings to allow the handle to spin nicely adding up to the overall quality of this upgrade.
These are the manufacturer's specs:New Light Weight 9 degree Articulated T-Bar Handle
The complete handle includes an aluminum handle blank and knob and weighs about 4 oz. The knob incorporates a 9 degree offset to provide increased torque. The knob is constructed of 6061 Aluminum and incorporates a ball bearing in the shaft. This hollow aluminum knob is extremely light weight and incredibly comfortable. The 6061 aluminum handle blank is about 3" in length. This is about 33% longer than the original handle blank. This extra length provides for additional torque.
So back to fitting it on the TLD25, I removed the small black philips head screw which serves as a locking retainer to stop the special shimano nut from coming undone, and using the special tool provided with the reel, I removed the securing nut and fitted the upgraded handle, before reversing the process to secure the new handle in place.
Oh boy! Now we're talking....this feels like a totally different reel and I can't wait to try it out with a fish on....true to the item description the handle is offset and the bar is longer than the original.Conclusion
If you own a TLD25 this is a worthwhile upgrade investment.....couple this to upgraded drag washers from smoothdrag.com and you've got a reel that will be set up for the bigger fish that you may encounter. Match to some Momoi Diamond 30 or 40lbs line and go out and have fun!