The new Carbon Element RKT is the third generation of Hoyt’s carbon riser bows, which began with the radical-looking Carbon Matrix in 2010. Last year Hoyt tweaked the Matrix and added the Element to its carbon line-up. The Element boasted an impressive array of new technology including XTS Pro Arc Limbs, FUEL cams, a newly designed lower-friction in-line roller guard, Stealthshot damping material, Silent Shelf (a soft rubber-like coating on the shelf to deaden sound), and an offset stabilizer. The Carbon Element RKT (along with several other bows in Hoyt’s 2012 line-up) features Hoyt’s new Rocket Cam, touted as both faster and smoother than the FUEL cams that powered Hoyt’s higher-end bows last year. The Rocket Cam is essentially the latest incarnation of the Cam & 1/2 system that Hoyt introduced to the market to much acclaim in 2003, a system that links the top & bottom cams with a control cable to reduce timing issues.

Basic specs for the Carbon Element RKT remain the same with the exception of the 330 fps ATA speed vs. the 323 fps rating for last year’s Carbon Element and (not coincidentally, I’m sure) a slightly skinnier 63⁄4-inch brace height for the Element RKT vs. the 7-inch brace height of the original Element.

Shooting The Bow

Hoyt Carbon Element RKTBeauty may be in the eye of the beholder (and I find this to be one sharp-looking bow), but fit & finish are a little less subjective, and the Element RKT I examined out of the box takes fit & finish of a bow to a whole new level. Light weight is something not every bowhunter considers to be a priority, especially among those hunters who spend most of their time in treestands. In fact, some will argue that heavier bows are steadier in the hand and more forgiving. Bowhunters who appreciate a super-light bow (and I happen to be among them) will be impressed with this bow’s 3.6-pound weight. I was almost reluctant to put sights and a stabilizer on this bow. It is nicely balanced, though, partly because of Hoyt’s distinctive shoot-through design, and also because of the unusual position of the stabilizer bushing, which is offset 3⁄4 inch to the left for a right-handed shooter. Hunters who shoot their bows with quiver attached can really appreciate this feature.

The profile of the Rocket Cam contributes to a draw that is a little less aggressive than the FUEL cam while at the same time, in conjunction with a slightly skinnier brace height, boosting speed. It was a good trade-off; I’m not a fan of extremely low-brace-height bows, but the 63⁄4-inch brace height of the Carbon Element RKT is generous enough for the great majority of shooters, and the extra speed takes this bow up a notch in terms of performance. Hoyt’s bows in general, and the newer carbon bows in particular, are widely known for their “dead in the hand” feel at the shot, and I’d have to concur with that sentiment; shock and vibration are non-issues, and this is a super-quiet bow.

The integrated Silent Shelf padding is a great idea and is superior to the moleskin or felt most of us stick onto our riser shelves. It not only greatly reduces the sound of any contact with the arrow, but it virtually eliminates the sound of drop-away rests clacking against the shelf.

Whenever the subject of a carbon riser comes up, someone is sure to mention its warmth. It’s an accurate observation, and it’s a quality likely to be valued by anyone who has ever carried a bow in very cold weather. The grip on this bow is very comfortable, and I suspect most bowhunters will like it. I have a pet peeve about “sticky” grips (which I think magnify any tendency to torque the bow), so I might opt for one of Hoyt’s custom grips, probably the side plate model. Then again, since the carbon riser is warm anyway, I might just shoot this bow without a grip. No doubt the roughly $1,400 price tag on the Carbon Element RKT will put it out of the budget range for some bowhunters. Bowhunters determined to own the best bow they can find, though, will definitely want to take a close look at this one.

Hoyt Carbon Element RKT

Peak Draw Weight: 63 lbs.

Full Draw Hold Weight: 12.3 lbs.

Arrow Weight: 385 grains

Arrow Speed: 272.9 feet per second

Sound Level: 56.6 decibels


Letoff: 80%

Brace Height: 6.75 inches

Weight: 3.6 lbs.

Axle-To-Axle Length: 32 inches

Options: Draw Length 24.5-26, 26-28, or 28-30 inches. Draw Weights 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 pounds. RH or LH models.

Six finishes including Realtree AP, Black Out, Half and Half, Bone Collector, Realtree Max-1, and Vicxen.