Hot New Bows for 2010

May 21, 2010

Hoyt MaxxisHoyt Maxxis

If you liked last year’s AlphaMax, and it seems that everyone did, you will love the new Maxxis. It does everything the AlphaMax did but does it just a little bit better. While the bow doesn’t take us a colossal leap up the development ladder, it does keep us moving in the right direction. Specifically, the Maxxis features limbs that go well beyond parallel at full draw so the bow produces as close to zero recoil as is possible from something this fast. The Maxxis is a tiny bit faster than the AlphaMax, but as we stated, the real difference is in the angle of the limbs.

There is one other feature on the Maxxis that is new for 2010. The In-Line Roller Cable Guard reduces friction, making the bow faster and more efficient. So all the other things you liked about the AlphaMax are evident in the new Maxxis. For example, the bow has the same 7-inch brace height, roughly the same weight, and the same XTR Cam & 1/2 Performance System. It has an IBO speed of 323 fps and is equipped with the hard rubber 180 Grip. Approximate retail is $800.

(801-363-2990; www.hoyt.com)

Bowtech Destroyer 350BowTech Destroyer 350

BowTech always impresses us with its technology. Every year this manufacturer comes out with something that shakes up the bow design world, and 2010 is no exception. The new Destroyer 350 highlights all three of BowTech’s 2010 technologies.

The new Overdrive Binary cam system features a split bus harness and a splined axle that sits in a bracket on the outside of the limb tip. The axle is driven by the turning cam so it turns with the cam. Because the splined axle is actually cam-shaped, the end of the axle, where the harness is attached, moves (not just turns) during the draw of the bow. The system provides another way to improve the way the bow stores energy.

The next technology that impresses us is the FLX-Guard cable guard. It is a roller cable guard system mounted on a small flexible limb. As you draw the system flexes inward toward the centerline of the bow and then snaps back outward before the fletch would otherwise hit the harnesses. The result is less sideways torque when drawing and shooting the bow. In theory, it also reduces the sideways movement of the string to make the bow tune better.

Finally, BowTech also released a new limb that features a carbon core. The limb is lighter, and according to BowTech, it spreads the stresses of the limb out over the entire cross-section increasing durability and reliability.

The Destroyer 350 is a rocket, with a 6-inch brace height and IBO speeds from 342 to 350 fps. It is just under 321/2 inches long and has 75 percent AMO (80 percent effective) letoff. The bow features a string suppressor for quieter shooting and carries a retail price that falls into a range from $900 to $950.

(888-689-1289; www.bowtecharchery.com)

PSE OmenPSE Omen

PSE was the first company to feature a bow with dramatically flexed limbs that went beyond parallel at full draw. That bow, the X-Force, was amazingly quiet and comfortable to shoot despite its sizzling arrow speeds. That was several years ago, and now nearly every bow company has a bow that goes “beyond parallel” at full draw. Yet PSE didn’t rest on those laurels but instead continued to develop new cams and new bows to take advantage of this technology.

One of the latest is the new Omen. It is a wicked-fast—dare we say deadly fast—bow with a low 51/2-inch brace height and the same easy-shooting limb design. It features the UF hybrid cam and America’s Best custom bowstring and harnesses. Did we mention fast? Oh, boy, hide the women and children, this thing nearly produces enough arrow speed to disturb the atmosphere with vapor trails and suck small children into its vortex. That may be a little overly dramatic, but it is fast with an IBO speed rating in a range from 358 to 366 fps. We have a hard time registering those numbers. The bow is 335/8 inches long and has a suggested retail price of around $950.

(520-884-9065; www.pse-archery.com)

Bear Attack bowBear Attack

We have never wanted to get attacked by anything, save for our once youthful desire to be run down by a band of rabid cheerleaders, but this new bow may be the exception. The Bear Attack features all the things we liked about the Truth bow series, but with a few improvements. We’ll start with the notable differences and then work through the feature list.

First, you will notice the radically curved limbs. Bear calls them the Max Pre-Load Limbs. They, like most of the limbs on the 2010 Hot Bows list, go well beyond parallel at full draw resulting in a recoil-free shot. The bow also features a new limb pocket that assures positive limb alignment and the Bear Contra-Band HP string that eliminates stretch and peep rotation. You will also find features that were made popular on the Truth series bows, notably the E-Cam single-cam and the Dual Arc String Suppressors. This year Bear offset the string suppressors to make them more effective at snuffing out string vibration. The bow is 31 inches long, has a 7-inch brace height and an IBO speed rating that ranges from 332 to 340 fps. Suggested retail price is around $750.

(800-694-9494; www.beararcheryproducts.com)

Mathews Z7

Mathews has always been a technology leader. If you look at many of the common designs in today’s bow market, many of them find their roots at Mathews. The prevailing use of parallel limbs is another example of this leadership. So it is not surprising that in this year of the “beyond parallel” limb bows, Mathews also has a great offering of their own.

The new Z7 is the flagship from Mathews this year. Four features characterize this bow. First is the Grid Lock riser with more than three dozen cutouts to save weight while still maximizing strength and stiffness. Second is the new Reverse Assist Roller Guard. This cable clearance system works the opposite of all other roller guards. The harnesses actually push against the rollers from the string side, rather than pulling against them from the riser side. This permits less roller guard force and lower friction.

The Z7 Solo Cam is the third obvious feature on the new bow. It is smoother than many of the cams on the market today, yet it still produces solid speed with an IBO rating of up to 332 fps with a 7-inch brace height. Finally, the Dead End String Stop string suppressor stops string vibration after the shot. The bow is only 30 inches long and carries a suggested retail price of $899.

(608-269-2728; www.mathewsinc.com)

Alpine Silverado NitrousAlpine Silverado Nitrous N20

Alpine realized that there is a challenge that must be overcome when creating low-brace-height bows with parallel limbs; this requires a short limb, and when you pack all the energy needed into a short limb, you are asking for trouble. To solve this problem, they chose to move the limb pocket back so the limb remains full length, but its attachment point to the riser simply changes. It is obvious what we are talking about when you look at the bow.

The limbs of the Nitrous N20 are offset toward the front of the bow so they have the effect of being short, but they don’t concentrate stresses like a short limb. The result is the desired brace height and parallel limb configuration with longer limbs. It adds up to greater limb reliability. This also allows Alpine to produce good speeds from a neutral, shootable riser design. With the Velocitec Hybrid Cam, the Nitrous produces an IBO rating of 320 fps. The bow is 35 inches long and has a suggested retail price range of $650 to $700.

(208-746-4717; www.alpinearchery.com)

Elite JudgeElite Judge

Elite has been coming on strong ever since the company hit the market just a few short years ago. Under new management since early 2009, the company continues to make innovation a priority. Elite bows were always fast—right from the start, but they are also surprisingly quiet and comfortable to shoot. There are many fast bows on the market today; Elite keeps gaining ground because they know the importance of going beyond the speed to give bowhunters additional benefits.

For example, the new Judge features Revolution binary cams that can never go out of time. It is also fast with a 6-inch brace height, but the string suppressor keeps the string off your sleeve and arm. The bow also features parallel limbs and a narrow grip. We started out by talking about arrow speed, and we’ll end by talking about arrow speed. This 35-inch bow produces an IBO speed rating of 343 to 347 fps. That is smoking-fast. Suggested retail price is $869.

(877 503-5483; www.elitearchery.com)

Martin Firecat TR2Martin Firecat TR2

Martin has been around for a long time. In fact, they have been making bows and accessories since 1951, making this one of the oldest companies in the entire hunting industry. Companies don’t last 59 years if they aren’t producing good products and delivering top-notch service.

Value is important, too. In this time of ever-increasing bow prices, Martin offers some good options. One of the best values on the market right now is Martin’s own Firecat TR2. It sells in the middle $500 range. That’s right, a top-line bow with a “5” in front of the price tag. Nice to see that again.

There is nothing second-rate about the TR2 either. It is fast—its IBO speed rating is 335 to 345 fps—with a 7-inch brace height. It is 33 inches long and weighs 3.6 pounds. But the numbers aren’t the only thing impressive about this bow. It comes with many features such as Martin’s vibration dampening system, its custom-made string and harness system, a roller cable guard, and a string suppressor. As stated, the Firecat TR2 sells from $550 to $600.

(800-541-8902; www.martinarchery.com)

Martin Jaguar Take DownMartin Jaguar Take-Down

We have already made a point of stating that Martin has been in business since 1951. The compound bow has only been around since the mid ’70s, so what was Martin selling for the first half of its existence? Traditional bows, among other things. Martin has a long history as a traditional bowyer, so it should come as no surprise that the traditional bow we chose to feature this year in the Hot Bows article comes from Martin.

The Jaguar Take-Down ($150) mixes old with new: a machined aluminum riser and laminated recurve limbs. The bow is 60 inches long and, when properly set up, will produce a 7-inch brace height. The limbs easily remove from the riser, and you can use standard flipper or springy rests and even install sights if you desire. It is a good blend of traditional and modern—a fine way to break into the sport of traditional archery.

(800-541-8902; www.martinarchery.com)

Darton Pro 3800Darton Pro 3800

Every year when we report on Darton’s newest bow we open the same statement, but it remains just as relevant each time. So here we go again: Rex Darlington is the inventor of the hybrid and binary cams. These are the cam styles that now dominate much of the industry. You would certainly have to think that the guy who invented the entire technology can certainly maximize the design to produce a bow with perfect arrow flight.

The latest high-performance bow from Darton is the Dual Sync Pro 3800. The cams on this bow are slaved together so they can’t go out of time. But because they are symmetrical, binary-style cams, achieving level nock travel is much easier than with other designs. Darton uses a split harness that balances the loads applied to the limb tips to further control nock travel (sideways nock travel). The Pro 3800 features two string suppressors, one above and one below the nocking area to perfectly control how the arrow comes off the string while eliminating string vibration. Now for the interesting part, give all these shooter-friendly features, the Pro 3800 is still very fast with an IBO speed rating of 345 to 350 with a 6-inch brace height. Suggested retail is $830.

(800-356-6522; www.dartonarchery.com)

Sims ProtonSims LimbSaver Proton

We all know LimbSaver best as the company that produces the nifty rubber modules that you attach to various parts of your bow to make it shoot more quietly. Three years ago, LimbSaver also began making bows. With the forward-limb, pocketless designs, LimbSaver grabbed a lot of attention right from the start. This year, the company is adding the new Proton.

The HEAT modular hybrid cam is the engine for this bow, and with a 7-inch brace height, it produces an IBO speed rating of 330 fps. The Proton also features split limbs with a new adjustment system that permits you to carefully coordinate the adjustment of both limb pairs to keep them exactly equal, or for special tuning situations to set one pair higher than the other. It is a precise system that Sims calls PowerLock Adjustment Technology. We already mentioned the forward mounted limbs on LimbSaver bows. The Proton utilizes this same technology that spreads the stresses over the entire limb while still permitting parallel limbs and a moderate brace height. The bow is 321/2 inches long and has a suggested retail price of $750.

(877-257-2761; www.limbsaver.com)