Now in business for eight years, Elite Archery has quickly developed a reputation for developing bows that maximize shootability while achieving more than respectable speeds – a reputation it has built on and solidified in recent years. The Hunter and Answer were followed by last year’s Energy series bows, which somehow bumped the speed up a notch while increasing the qualities that put Elite on the map: an extremely smooth draw cycle and a shot that was super quiet and shock free.
The question is how to follow that act, and Elite’s answer to the question is the Synergy. A stable shooting platform is the starting point for any truly shootable bow. To that end, the Synergy’s riser is the same design as that of the Energy bows, including Elite’s Riser Cage, first introduced last year. Compound bow risers are typically offset around the shelf, weakening the structure. Elite reduces this inherent instability with the Riser Cage, which partially bridges that space to increase strength and stability while adding little if any weight.
At the heart of the Synergy’s smooth performance is the Synergy Cam, a new cam that follows Elite’s tradition of twin-track cam systems. These cams are module specific in half-inch increments for maximum efficiency. Elite suggests that when changing draw length, a draw board is helpful for re-setting the limb stops. Most shooters will probably opt to have this done by a local dealer, but Elite does provide a very good owner’s manual for the do-it-yourselfer.
Also contributing to this bow’s quiet, smooth-shooting properties are two string leeches on the string and on the cable, a cable rod dampener, a new-for-2015 string suppressor and past-parallel limbs with an Ultra-Quad on each limb. Limb bolts and bezels are improved for this year as well. Four set screws must be loosened before moving the limb bolts to change draw weight, then retightened, and Elite warns against moving the limb bolts more than two full turns.
Fit and finish is something I often describe as excellent on the bows we test, for the simple reason that many of the bows we test are high-end, flagship models. Having said that, Elite bows manage to stand out when it comes to fit and finish and, for that matter, overall appearance. I make no apologies for valuing good looks in a bow. The deer may not care, but I do. I don’t want an ugly truck, an ugly shotgun or an ugly bow. The polished wood grip, the inset logo, the LimbSavers, strings and hardware in complementary colors; the ceramic-based Pro Kote coating on the cams, modules, suppressor rods and cable rods and even the embossed serial number all contribute to the Synergy’s classy good looks.
Shooting the Bow
Elite bows are tapped and drilled with two sets of sight-mounting holes, providing the option of mounting a sight slightly lower or higher, as well as slightly further out or closer in. This is a small but welcome feature, in many cases allowing the shooter to move the sight so the sight ring fits concentrically inside the peep of his or her preference (as opposed to requiring purchase and use of a different peep), as well as giving greater latitude for vertical adjustments if necessary.
Elite’s risers easily accommodate most rests, including the HD Ultra-Rests we use for testing. Set up was easy and tuning the bow for good arrow flight went quickly. The new limb bolts work well – I hadn’t noticed a problem with Elite’s limb bolts in the past, but those on the Synergy, though a little tight initially, turned smoothly with little effort and no slipping or chattering once they were initially loosened.
Elite recommends shooting 100 times or so to let the string settle in, which I did before even putting the bow on the Hooter Shooter.
The grip is among the first things most of us are going to notice when we first pick up a bow. The polished wood grip of the Synergy not only contributes to the bow’s appearance – shooters who like a sideplate-style grip will find this one more comfortable than most. Full wood grips are available from Elite as an option for shooters who prefer the wider grip.
A glance at the draw-force curve makes it clear that the Synergy contributes to Elite’s reputation for extremely smooth-drawing bows. At some point a writer runs out of superlatives, and I’ve probably used most of them in describing Elite’s bows in recent years. As with Elite’s other bows, there are no discernible humps, bumps or drop-offs in the draw cycle. It starts out smooth and stays that way, remaining at peak draw weight for a short time and then sliding easily into a wide valley, though the draw stops ensure a solid back wall.
Writers often refer to a bow’s “steadiness” at full draw. This is a somewhat subjective quality, depending at least in part on factors such as conditioning and achieving perfect draw length; nonetheless, I do believe that some bows are more inclined to be rock-steady at full draw than are others, and Elite bows are in that category, the Synergy being no exception.
At 4.4 pounds the Synergy cannot be described as a light bow. At the same time it is well balanced and not overly top-heavy, qualities that can make a bow feel significantly lighter or heavier than their nominal weight might indicate. Then, too, a certain amount of weight contributes to a bow’s steadiness while reducing noise and vibration.
“Dead in the hand” is an over-used descriptor despite the fact of its impossibility, but the Elite Synergy is one of a handful of bows that comes very close to living up to that hyperbole. There is an almost undetectable vibration at the shot and, as you’d expect for a bow this stable and shock free, it’s very quiet. Elite clearly doesn’t chase the speed record, opting to emphasize shootability. At 325 fps IBO, the Synergy is a good example. Shooters interested in blazing speeds will look elsewhere. The growing number of hunters who value quiet, forgiving and pleasant-shooting bows that achieve speeds adequate for any hunting scenario will take a close look at the Elite Synergy. I’m betting – along with Elite Archery – that a lot of them will buy one.