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Shimpo Vl Lite Vs Ts Prodigy Vs Bailey St Vs Pacifica Gt 400

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Hi everyone,

I have been doing lots of research around buying my first wheel and need a bit more advice.
I have been upping and upping my budget as I researched more but I have reached a max and now, and feel more lost..yet need to make a decision. If anything thought this may be helful info to regroup in one thread.

I do intend to keep this wheel for long. I am not able to find any used wheels in my area (IL and surroundings) and don't mind the idea of buying new tbh.

I know most advise to get nicer wheel but that is not an option now. I have already pushed my budget. if I find myself at some point absolutely needing a nicer wheel, given the lack of used wheels in my area, I figure i can always resale my lower end one and upgrade fairly easily. I honestly don't anticipate I will.


I don't work with more than 3-5 lbs clay at this time and don't expect to go past that for a good while. 


Started with artista/aspire: too small. Moved up to clayboss, which few loved but was not well rated throughout my research.. Moved on to the following list (ordered by current lower price first)

Wondering if the below is accurate and if anyone can comment on pedal feel/precision/speed.


1/Shimpo VL lite: Lots of proponents of the shimpos but feel like it is mostly for the whisper. Some people mentioned that this one was lower quality and maybe not as good as the general shimpo line. A lot mentioned lower torque and possibly straining. Tabletop option. Apparently this one is belt driven vs other shimpo being direct drive. Not sure this truly matters. Pedal speed change less smooth than TS?. Made in China

2a/ Pacifica GT400: a few people mentioned it is quiet and solid and liked theirs. Seem to be used in school but a few recommend strongly against it due to issues with theses. Larger 13" wheel head (all others are 12"). 2 yr warranty only (5 yrs on all others).

2b/TS prodigy: I like the pan design.. No reverse switch, and I feel like I may miss that. Some had noise issues which I am concerned about. Often rated has having better torque than other comparable models.  and being generally solid. No free rotation. If it is stopped, it won't move. Pedal less abrupt than whisper.  People tend to think it is too big for smaller people (which I am). Do not like the pan design on the higher end models.made in US.

3/Bailey ST: a lot of people seems to like their baileys, I do like the pedal design but it is been commented as not being very sensitive. Not keen on the large pan design. 10 yr warranty on bearings/pedal electronics (5 yrs on the rest). The ST is smaller than the ST-X but also cheaper.


I understand at that at a certain point, it would be best to try these... 
Being in Chicago, I could only find one location with displays and they only have the shimpo.  So it not an option apparently....If anyone knows of somewhere I could try the other ones in this list, I would love to know.

I have been leaning towards the TS prodigy but I am worried I may regret not having the reverse switch. I feel like I may enjoy having the option as I am sometimes more comfortable with my left hand. Noise issue also a concern. I like quiet.
Other choice is the shimpo VS lite, which I will get to try later this week.


Any one able to weigh in on this?
Anything else I missed as far as differences?

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You're going to get a million different opinions here, and they're all just that- opinions. The only way to know which one is best for you is to try them out. They'll all work just fine, it's simply going to be a matter of personal preference. And really, no matter which one you buy you'll get used to it in no time.


You seem to be looking at wheels in the $800 range. For another $300 you could get a really great wheel that you'd never need to replace.


As for the TS, I'm not sure what you mean by it won't free spin. I have 11 TS wheels, and you can turn all of them by hand just fine, just like any other wheel.


Do you ever use a reverse switch? If it's not part of your typical throwing routine, then you don't need it. I haven't reversed any of my wheels in over a decade.

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I've been throwing since October, so take what I say with a grain of salt.


In our studio we have 2 Bailey Pros 50R and 1 Shimpo VL lite and we like the Baileys more. It should be noted that the Bailey's St and Pro50R have the same mechanical parts. What differs is the pan and shelf

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I think most all of the wheels at Lillstreet are Brent, but it would be worth a call to see if they have anything else. I've got 11 Thomas Stuart wheels in my shop in Grayslake if you want to come up. I will admit they're noisier than some, but we run 10 at a time during class and still have conversations. Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove has a good variety of wheels, including Pacifica. Fine Line in St. Charles is another place to check, and Terra Incognito in Oak Park.

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Thanks everyone for their input! that is very helpful... I really went back and forth between the TS prodigy and the VL Lite.

Here is where i am at. 


I ruled out the shimpos because of the made in china part. I like to put my money in locally made products.

I ruled out pacifica based on low warranty

I stuck with skutt/TS and Bailey.

I am now considering upping my budget to get the Bailey PRO-50r which seems to be a good combination of quiet and quality with 10 years warranty for under 1k. I never considered that the drainable, large pan could be less messy. In my set up, sounds like it could be good.

I am not considering brent because they are higher priced, and frankly I wasn't a super fan from classes I took.

The 14" inch wheel on the TS higher end models is not something I want, which on top of the maybe noisier wheel helps make the decision.
it also did not look like TS pans had the same type of drainage and clean up door as the baileys. (could be wrong)


I did find learn a lot in this process.

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The large splash pan will keep your studio MUCH cleaner, which is why I don't like the Prodigy. That little pan isn't nearly as good as the big pans on their other models. The built in one-piece aluminum pans are the best. Super heavy, super sturdy. The TS wheels do not have a drain hole or cleanout door, nor are they necessary. You just pop off the wheel head and scoop out the trimmings and sponge it clean. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi everyone, it has been a few weeks and wanted to provide some more feedback for the future buyers that may want some feedback.

First of all, the assembly required for the Pro-50r was a lot more than I expected.

I kind of thought it would be assembling the top to the bottom.. nope it was full on installation including the belts.


Second, I was missing 2 parts which made the installlation annoying. By the time I was done, I had to undo it all because the belts were off and needed to be redone. Instruction were not easy to follow. I actually suggested them to do a video.


For the wheel. I am happy with my choice. My studio is a small part of another room in my house (5x10ft), which is basically sectioned off like an isolation chamber: full on plastic all over  the walls and as a separation curtain and vinyl floor to avoid damaging wood floor below. The large static splash pan is awesome and much easier to clean than anything I have ever have to deal with. The wheel is slow. It is powerful but I often find myself pushing to get more speed. Easy to get used to, just something I still need to learn. I am used to having to hold off the pedal. 


Now last thing, It turns out the wheel is going clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. I am still trying to figure out how to reverse it, i know it is possible but I haven't quite understood how. There was no manual so that is annoying.

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<snip> Now last thing, It turns out the wheel is going clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. I am still trying to figure out how to reverse it, i know it is possible but I haven't quite understood how. There was no manual so that is annoying.

I'm not familiar with these wheels, but the description on Bailey's website indicates that there is a reversing plug that is used change wheel direction.  If you can't figure it out, Bailey offers great support of their products.  Give 'em a call and ask them to provide you with a manual too.



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Artika, as SD mentioned, flip the plug under the wheel by the motor and that will change the direction of the wheel.


I have a Bailey Pro and found that there where no pilot holes to attach the screws for the belt guards. Luckily I have a set of door hinge drill bits that center in a hole along with an adjustable depth control. It would have been too easy to drill through the pan without these.


I thought I had a couple of parts missing as well but I found them in the big box fill of styrofoam peanuts just before I was ready to trash the box.

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  • 3 years later...

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