I know it sounds cliché – at least it does to me as I mumble the same phrase to myself every October when the time comes to start testing hot-off-the-line flagships – but I truly mean it. How in the world do bow manufacturers continue to improve on perfection?
In truth, I thought we hit the pinnacle of bow design a half-decade ago. In fact, I wrote an article in which the following sentence appeared: “This is the pinnacle of bow technology, and I’m not sure how much further these savvy engineers can push the horizontal performance envelope.” Since penning that statement, I eat crow each and every year.
Recently, I completed a test of Bowtech’s new-for-2018 masterpiece, the Realm. Set at 60 pounds and a 29-inch draw length, the Realm sent my 414-grain Easton Full Metal Jacket arrows down range at 295 fps, and they hit with 79.99 pounds of kinetic energy. Impressive, but that’s not the half of it. This rig draws with a silky smoothness even the most seasoned archer will appreciate. Transition to letoff is smooth, and the bow’s platform, which appears longer than it actually is, is unbelievably balanced. Mix in the ultra-forgiving 71⁄8-inch brace height, and you have an undeniable recipe for accuracy. At the shot there is no detectable in-the-hand vibration, and general bow oscillation is also nil. This is the type of bow you just can’t stop shooting, and the more you shoot, the more confidence you gain. Of course, none of the above is possible without some serious new innovations.
Dubbed by Bowtech as a “SmartBow,” the Realm provides the shooter three qualities every archer longs for in bow performance: accuracy, control and stability. The Overdrive Binary Cam System is a dream to tune and provides the shooter with a sense of bow control that can’t be denied. Customization can be found in the bow’s Powershift Technology — a Bowtech innovation that allows the shooter to flip between “performance” and “comfort” settings simply by flipping a disc; there’s no bow press needed.
Note: I shot the bow a number of times at both settings, and while there is a noticeable difference in the draw cycle between the two, the bow is so perfectly synchronized that even when set at the performance setting, the rig pulls with undeniable ease.
I was also pleased to see an all-new limb-and-pocket design. The CP Dual Lock System enhances bow stability, and while the look is still undeniably Bowtech, the new design is wider and beefier. The system locks the solid-core limbs to the pocket and to the bow’s unique and aesthetically pleasing (at least to this bow tester) riser.
Aiding in noise and vibration reduction is the Orbit Dampener, which can be strategically placed to offset the weight of added accessories. This dampener is very easy to remove and reinstall via a 9/64 Allen wrench.
One final hat-tipper was the Clutch Performance Grip, which was designed by Bowtech to increase overall comfort and reduce torque. Mission accomplished. I found the flat-backed grip to be skinny, but not too skinny. It fit my hand perfectly and was obviously designed for shot-to-shot consistency.
In short, Bowtech, at least in this bow tester’s opinion, has hit a home run with its racy new flagship, and I can’t wait to get it into the woods.
Draw Length: 25 to 31 inches
Draw Weight: 50, 60 and 70 pounds
Brace Height: 71⁄8 inches
Speed: 340 FPS
Axle-To-Axle Length: 30¾ inches
Mass Weight: 4.3 pounds
Featured image: Bowtech