Having recently featured Hoyt’s Carbon Spyder 30 in a Bow Report, I was eager to test The Carbon Spyder Turbo, which is up to eight feet per second faster but touted as very similar in its draw cycle and overall feel. It’s also longer axle-to-axle, at 33 inches. The Spyder lineup was introduced in 2013, and featured Hoyt’s very successful Rocket Cam& 1/2 system and aluminum risers. Arguably the same in name only, this year’s Spyder line-up features Hoyt’s latest incarnation of its tubular carbon riser design and the all new Z5 Cam & 1/2 system.
Since they feature carbon risers, the new Spyder bows also invite comparison with Hoyt’s earlier carbon riser bows, the Element series. All Hoyt’s recent flagship bows, carbon and aluminum, are surprisingly similar in terms of weight—in the 3.6- to 3.8-pound range.The difference is that the newer carbon bows are significantly stronger and stiffer than any aluminum riser bows, and measurably stronger and stiffer than the earlier carbon bows. This is important. Hoyt has produced some ads showing trucks running over the carbon bows without seriously damaging them. Durability is good, of course, but what might be more important for those of us who expect never to run over our bows with a truck or drop them off a cliff is that “strong and stiff” translates to a bow that is less subject to torque, and that produces significantly less vibration and hand shock, not to mention noise. Those qualities mean more comfortable shooting and, theoretically at least, more consistent accuracy. As an added bonus, carbon is warm to the touch, which any bowhunter who has carried his bow afield in sub-freezing temperatures can appreciate.
The Z5 Cam & 1/2 is touted as producing the same speeds as the earlier Rocket Cam, with an even smoother draw cycle. Anecdotal evidence supports that, as does the draw force curve. In terms of speed, though, the Turbo is billed as Hoyt’s first carbon speed bow, and it is in fact faster than its predecessors. We can debate the speed at which a bow can be labeled a “speed bow,” but 340 fps is decidedly on the fast side.
The Carbon Spyder Turbo, like the other Carbon Spyder bows, features all of Hoyt’s latest, high-end technology including the five-layer laminated limbs (tested by 1,000 dry fires), AirShox, the Perfect Balance offset stabilizer bushing, Shock-Rod, and the Stealth Shot string suppressor.
The Z5 Cam & 1/2 is module-specific on draw length, which means you’ll need to change modules—and possibly cams—to significantly change draw length. There are no free lunches in bow design. If you want a smooth cam that ekes out every ounce of performance, you must give up the versatility and convenience of a more adjustable draw length.
The fit and finish is what you’d expect from a flagship Hoyt bow, and finish options include no fewer than 13 choices, if you include the 10 custom options.
Shooting The Bow
Two things about this bow prompted me to look back at my report on the Carbon Spyder 30 to see if I had made the same observations. First, the limb bolts were unusually smooth and easy to turn, with no sticking or chattering, making draw weight adjustments a no-hassle undertaking. Sure enough, I had made the same observation on the Carbon Spyder 30. Second—and OK, this is something of a nit-pick—I’m a believer in the Silent Shelf, but it does make measuring to the recommended 13⁄16-inch center shot a little more difficult.
The bow is, as I noted above, on the light side. Balance is very good, thanks in part to the offset stabilizer bushing. I’m a fan of the standard grip on Hoyt’s bows, but Hoyt’s Pro Custom Grip is an option.
These are all familiar qualities to anyone who has shot Hoyt bows in recent years. What I really wanted to know was, will the extra speed detract from the Carbon Spyder Turbo’s shootability? The answer, for me, was a definite no. The draw force curve confirms my perception that this is one butter-smooth bow. Similarly, the bow is very quiet and virtually dead-in-the-hand; vibration is imperceptible and recoil is minimal.
While I’m always willing to shave a few feet per second from a top speed to gain shootability, I’m equally willing to gain every foot per second of speed I can if there is no trade-off. If there is a trade-off in the case of the Carbon Spyder Turbo, I couldn’t find it. The extra speed appears to have been gained primarily by dropping the brace height to 6 inches, compared to the 63⁄4 inches of the other Carbon Spyder bows. Six inches is a moderate brace height; the extent to which comparatively narrower brace heights are more likely to slap the wrist or catch a shirt sleeve seems to depend largely on shooting form and, to some extent, individual anatomy, but in any case I would suggest that at any brace height of 6 inches or more, ¾ inch is unlikely to be noticeable to most shooters.
Why offer the other bows in the lineup if the Carbon Turbo is faster but equally as smooth? I can’t speak for Hoyt, but I can only guess that the Carbon Spyder 30 is built for shooters who prefer a more compact bow—in which case the loss of 8 fps is a worthwhile trade-off. The Carbon Spyder 34 (also available in a 340 fps long-draw version) will appeal to bowhunters who prefer a longer-axle-to-axle bow or who require longer draw lengths.
There are faster bows than the Carbon Spyder Turbo, to be sure. There are lighter bows, too. I am not sure there are smoother-drawing bows, apart from the Oneida Eagle that appeared in an earlier bow report and which I referenced in my report on the Carbon Spyder 30. All in all, though, the shooter who places a high value on smooth, pleasant shooting qualities, but who also likes a fast bow, will definitely be wowed by the Carbon Spyder Turbo. Add the carbon-riser advantages of light weight, a super-stable platform that is all but bomb-proof, is extremely quiet, and is warm to the touch in cold weather, and this is a bow that a lot of bowhunters are going to decide is worth every bit of the high-end price tag.
Hoyt Carbon Spyder Turbo Specs
Letoff: Not Stated
Brace Height: 6 inches
Weight: 3.8 pounds
Axle-To-Axle Length: 33 inches
Speed: 340 fps
Draw Weights: 30, 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, and 80 pounds, adjustable down 10 pounds from peak.
Draw Lengths: Cam-specific 24 to 25.5 inches, 26 to 28 inches, 28 to 30 inches.
Options: Finishes in Realtree Xtra, Realtree Max-1, Black Out, plus numerous custom and color options.
Suggested Retail: $1,499