Hot New Compound Bows for 2018 — Part 1

Looking for a new compound bow in 2018? Here are seven racy flagships you need to test drive.
Hot New Compound Bows for 2018 — Part 1

Mathews TRIAX

Built for the bowhunting woods, Mathews’ all-new flagship, the TRIAX, packs a lot of punch into a compact, maneuverable package. Measuring just 28 inches axle to axle and weighing 4.4 pounds (without accessories), the TRIAX spits arrows downrange at a blistering 343 fps. I found this bow, with its 6-inch brace height, to be insanely accurate, and it is, without question, the quietest, most dead-in-the-hand bow I’ve ever shot. Powered by the ultra-accurate Crosscentric Cam, the TRIAX’s 3D Damping technology utilizes the manufacturer’s Enhanced Harmonic Stabilizer to eliminate post-shot vibration around all three axes stemming from the point of contact. The distance of the new EHS has been lengthened in all three directions from the grip, which drastically reduces noise and felt recoil. The grip is flat-backed, streamlined and, for a Mathews grip, skinny. It seemed to melt perfectly into the palm-swell area.

The TRIAX is offered in a number of finishes, including the popular Optifade Subalpine and Optifade Elevated II patterns. The rig is available in module-specific draw lengths of 24.5 to 30.5 inches and draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 pounds. Rock Mods, which were introduced two years ago, offer 75 and 85 percent letoff options.

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Hoyt Carbon RX-1

Offered in a number of Hunting, Custom Hunting and Accent Color options, Hoyt’s new Carbon RX-1 is a racy, pleasing-to-the-eye engineering marvel. Its carbon riser is warm to the touch and, like all the bows, in Hoyt’s 2018 REDWRX line, the RX-1 was built to perform and survive in the most extreme conditions possible.

At 32 inches axle to axle, the Carbon RX-1 hits speeds up to 340 fps, boasts a 6-inch brace height and comes in at a fighting weight of 3.9 pounds. The bow is offered in peak draw weights of 40, 50, 60, 65, 70 and 80 pounds, and the powerful ZT Hyper Cam comes in three different draw-length options (24.5 to 28, 27 to 30, and 29 to 31). No press is required when making draw-length adjustments. The ZT Hyper Cam also promotes an unbelievably comfortable, strain-free posture at full draw. I found I was never reaching for my peep by leaning or arching my head. This is thanks to the distance between the ZT Hyper Cams at full draw. The cam-to-cam distance at full draw creates a flatter string angle and brings the peep to you. This is without question one of the most comfortable bows I’ve ever shot.

New Shock Pod vibration dampers greatly reduce vibration at the shot, and the grip on this 3.9-pound beauty, dubbed the X-Act, promotes consistent and proper hand placement.

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Bowtech Realm

The minds at Bowtech cooked up a sweet rig for 2018, and the Realm is already being heralded for its ease of tune, undeniable accuracy and hushed shot. One of Bowtech’s SmartBows, the Realm showcases an all-new CP Dual Lock system that locks the solid core limbs to the pocket, and the pocket to the riser. This system creates immoveable stability, which was very evident at full draw. Once the dual draw stops contacted the inner cable, this bow held like a rock and was extremely accurate downrange.

Measuring 30.75 inches between the axles, the 4.3-pound Realm sports a radical new riser design that is undeniably Bowtech, and the rig’s 7 1/8-inch brace height further promotes accuracy and forgiveness. The new Clutch Performance Grip seems a tad wider and a bit more flat-backed than the grip on last year’s Reign Series, but I found it highly comfortable. The grip also gives archers additional customization with expanded colors and styles. Also a hat-tipper is the introduction of the new Orbit Dampener, which can be strategically placed to offset the additional weight of added accessories.

The 340 fps Realm is draw-length adjustable between 25 and 31 inches, is available in draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 pounds, and comes in a number of popular finish options. And, of course, the Realm is fitted with Bowtech’s legendary OverDrive Binary Cams and Powershift Technology.

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Prime Logic

It just makes sense, doesn’t it? A 31-inch axle-to-axle bow with a 7-inch brace height that was designed for jaw-dropping accuracy. Enter Prime’s aptly named Logic. This 4.3-pound bow sends projectiles downrange at a respectable 330 fps and is without questions one of the most balanced bows at full draw I’ve ever had the pleasure of shooting.

Built off the Centergy’s platform, the Logic helps you aim steadier for longer. The big difference of course is the bow’s length. The Centergy measured 33.25 inches between the axles, and the Logic measures only 31. In addition to its compact size, the Logic also boasts split limbs. A first for Prime, these innovative limbs are short and fat, and they showcase a wider stance. To prevent loss of stability and function, Prime came up with a new Compression Axle System — a system that allows Prime to compress the entire system around the split limbs at the tips to make it as ridged as possible. The result is a very stable system that will only boost Prime’s reputation for accuracy and durability.

The Logic is available in peak draw weights of 40, 50, 60, 65, 70 and 80 pounds, and in draw lengths between 24.5 and 30 inches.

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PSE Carbon Air Stealth EC

Measuring a balanced, bowhunter-friendly 33 inches from axle to axle, the Carbon Air Stealth EC is engineered on an all-new stiffer and stronger monocoque carbon riser and is, according to PSE, the company’s most advanced carbon bow to date. I would agree. The bow feels great in the hand and incredibly balanced at full draw. This was a bit surprising as the bow, with its 6-inch brace height, boasts a mass weight of just 3.2 pounds, but it’s a tack driver downrange.  I credit much of this to the perfect marriage of the bow’s axle-to-axle length and super-stable riser.

Featuring PSE’s new Flex Rod System, titanium hardware and premium LiveWire strings, the EC sends arrow downrange at 334 to 342 fps, depending on set draw weight and draw length. Available in peak draw weights of 50, 60, 65 and 70 pounds (max 10 limb bolt turns down from peak) and featuring a draw-length range of 25.5 to 31 inches, the bow is powered by PSE’s legendary Evolve Cam System(ECS) and HL module. Letoff options on this system are 80 and 90 percent, and the bow is available in Black, Mossy Oak Country and Kryptek Highlander.

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Obsession Fixation 6M

Sporting a new riser designed to reduce bow flex during the draw cycle, Obsession’s new beauty, the Fixation 6M, showcases the smooth-shooting (and, yes, we tested it) Obsession DE Cam. It quickly became apparent that the manufacturer’s claim that the bow “generates exceptionally smooth shooting while giving up very little in speed” was very true. The cams are smooth, the bow is balanced and we easily attained killer accuracy.

Boasting a 6-inch brace height and an IBO rating of 354 fps, the Fixation 6M, which measures 32.25 inches from axle to axle, is available in peak in draw weights of 40, 50, 60, 65 and 70 pounds. Standard draw lengths are 23.5 to 30 inches with half sizes available. Boasting a friendly 80 percent letoff, the bow is also available in an SD (Short Draw) DE Cam option for draw lengths between 23.5 and 26 inches. Pushing the scale to 4.5 pounds, the bow is on the heavier side, but even with attached accessories it didn’t feel overly heavy or at all unmaneuverable. Color options seem infinite — just take a glance at the website.

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Elite Archery

Is it possible to build a bow and not fit it with a single rubberized dampener? Elite thinks so. Enter the all-new 2018 Ritual. This 33.25-inch bow was built by Elite to be efficient and maximize energy. In fact, according to Elite, the bow boasts an 88 percent efficiency rating. I don’t know the formula the manufacturer used to come up with that number, but I will say that the bow is, at 335 fps, respectably fast and is completely dead in the hand at the shot. As far as noise, I would without question toss this rig into the church-mouse-quiet arena.

The grip on the Ritual, which offers a 6.75-inch brace height, is similar to the grip found on last year’s Option series, the biggest difference being some changes to the shelf area. Elite did this in an effort to promote a more comfortable, natural hand placement. I call it a win.

Weighing 4.3 pounds, the bow’s weight is comparable to most current industry flagships, and draw weights range between 26.5 and 31 inches in half-inch increments. Peak draw weighs are 50, 60 and 70 pounds. (You can get a 65-pound rig, but you’ll need to go through Elite’s Build Your Own program.) The riser features a Dual Cage design, which promotes stability, and the Elite Two Track Cam system has been clean-sheeted to perfectly sync with the Ritual’s specific geometry. The bow is offered in a number of color options.

For more information, visit www.elitearchery.comWhat's new in bowhunting

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