With each passing year we often wonder how bow manufacturers are going to improve on their already impressive lines of bows and archery accessories. Just when it seems things can’t get any better we get new bows that are faster, quieter, and more vibration free than their predecessors. 2010 is no exception to that. Below we have assembled the ultimate list of 2010 bows including the already popular Mathews Z7, Bowtech Destroyer, Hoyt Carbon Matrix, Elite Judge, and many more. We hope you enjoy it!
Alpine Nitrous N20, Assault and Eclipse G2
Alpine came out with a version of the latest trends in limb technology, calling it the LXP for Lateral eXtreme Pocket. The primary job of this new pocket system is to move the limbs forward – away from the archer to produce the desired goals of a moderate brace height with parallel limbs and a neutral riser, and do it without compromising reliability.
Alpine’s Velocitec is a hybrid cam with outward-moving grooves on the take-up tracks of the cams. They move the harnesses away from the center of the limb as you draw the bow. The cams take up the harnesses on both sides of the string to help balance the draw force equally across the limb tip to reduce cam lean, but then this system takes that goal a step farther by employing angled grooves that move the harnesses to the side during the draw for even greater stability.
Alpine puts the new 3G Velocitec and LXP system to work on three bows in their new line. They are the Nitrous N20, Assault and Eclipse G2. All three of these bows feature dead-straight neutral risers, and the aforementioned 3G Velocitec. The Assault is a full-fledged speed bow. It has a 6 1/8 inch brace height, is 34 inches long and produces an IBO speed of 328 fps. Approximate retail is $690.
The Nitrous N20 is much longer than the Assault and has a higher brace height. In fact, it is almost 38 inches long. It is still fast with an IBO speed of 320 fps with a 7 1/8 inch brace height. If you are in the market for a long, stable bow, you should definitely check out the Nitrous N20. Approximate retail is $610.
The Eclipse G2 is very similar to the Nitrous N20, but is sized for women and youth shooters with shorter draw version of the Velocitec. It is fast for a youth/women’s bow, pumping out 298 fps with a 300-grain arrow at 60 pounds and 27 inches of draw length.
Approximate retail: $610.
Bear Archery Attack
One of our favorite bows at the 2010 ATA show was the Bear Attack. Bear’s run of great bows started with the Truth and has continued right on through to the Attack. Though it is not particularly smooth to draw, on release it is pure magic. We loved the solid feel of the bow during the shot. It was quiet, produced almost no recoil and was plenty fast. Features usually define a bow, but like us, you need to shoot this bow to appreciate it. All the magic happens when you let the string go.
The Attack has two arc-shaped string suppressors, one by the sight window and one under the grip. This combination effectively squelches all string vibration and a high percentage of the bow noise. The Attack has Bear’s time-tested single-cam system, a custom string and harness system, a comfortable grip and limbs that go past parallel at full draw. These features are similar to what you will find on many other bows on the market this year.
Suggested retail price is $749.
Bear Archery Assault
The Assault has many of the same features as the Attack but is shorter and has a slightly higher brace height for greater forgiveness. It has a “grip-less” design, you hold directly onto the riser for the narrowest possible handhold. The bow produces an IBO speed of 320-328 fps with a brace height of 7 1/4 inches. Again, the E-Cam single-cam powers this bow. It is just 30 3/4 inches long.
The Assault has a suggested retail price of $549.
Bear Archery Strike
As mentioned, Bear has bows for every price range with solid features. The next bow is even more affordable than the Assault. The Strike lands in a price range that almost all today’s archers will agree is “affordable”. It has a few less features – you have to give up something. For example, there are no Max Pre-Load Quad Limbs and the standard Perimeter Weighted Single-Cam replaces the more powerful E-Cam. However, the bow still sports dual string suppressors and flared quad limbs. The Strike is 30 inches long, has an IBO rating of 302 to 310 fps with a 7 3/4 inch brace height.
Bear Archery Charge
Bear Archery built its reputation on the quality of their affordable bows. In fact, many of us pushing 50 cut our bowhunting teeth on the Bear Whitetail Hunter. This year, Bear continues that legacy with a bow named the Charge. It has an MSRP of $299 and an IBO speed rating of 300 to 305 fps. That is not earth-shattering speed, but it is solid. The Charge is 30 inches long and has a 7 3/4 inch brace height. The bow is very similar to the Strike, but without the string suppressors.
Bear Archery Apprentice
The Apprentice is a very nice, high-performance youth or women’s bow. It is available in regular camouflage or pink camouflage. At just 2.9 pounds, it is very light and at just 27 1/2 inches, it is also very short. The Apprentice has a low six-inch brace height to gain maximum speed from limited draw weights. A full 12 inches of draw length adjustability make this a great bow for a growing young shooter. We love youth bows that grow as the young archer grows. The maximum draw weight on this bow actually changes with the draw length (it goes down as the draw length decreases). At just $279 suggested retail, the Apprentice is a great investment in the next generation of bowhunters.
Hoyt Carbon Matrix
This review would not be complete without including the new The Carbon Matrix from Hoyt. We loved the videos of the truck driving over the bow with no damage. To prove their point, Hoyt had a big bad 4X4 parked on the bow in their booth at the ATA show. Once you get by all the carbon tubes and the price tag, it still comes down to how it shoots. Man, this thing really does feel good. At the shot, the bow doesn’t jump or vibrate at all. It is just very dead and dead is good when talking about bows.
There is not a huge weight savings here despite the carbon riser, but it sure does suppress vibration. The tubular carbon riser also makes the Carbon Matrix a very durable bow, as evidenced by the videos.
Suggested retail price is $1,600
Hoyt’s new flagship is the Maxxis. After last year’s AlphaMax, it was hard to imagine any bow being able to live up to the reputation. We wondered what Hoyt could possibly come out with for an encore.
With the success that Hoyt has had with the AlphaMax, we were a bit skeptical that they could come out with something that would rival it, let alone trump it. We really felt like the Maxxis would be a letdown by comparison, or at the least, a mildly interesting sequel. We were happy to discover that the Hoyt brand didn’t take a step backwards with the Maxxis. It is actually a slightly better bow. It is a little faster, a little smoother and with limbs that go past parallel at full draw, a bit solider in the hand.
The limb configuration on the Maxxis eliminates all hand shock during the shot. The bow literally won’t budge when you shoot it, even with an open hand. It is almost eerie, as if the bow didn’t even go off. It is also reasonably quiet. We have pulled our old Hoyt bows out to see they stacked in terms of feel and performance. We were shocked by the difference. The old bows immediately went on the wall as collector’s items, never to see a tree stand again. The new Hoyts are that much better. On the Maxxis you will find a string suppressor, a moderately aggressive hybrid cam and a split roller guard. The AlphaMax is no longer the best bow that Hoyt has ever made – the Maxxis is.
Suggested retail price is $749.
Hoyt’s new AlphaBurner has the magic word in its name. Any time the word “burner” shows up in the name of a bow, we know to expect raw speed. This one has a 6-inch brace height and an IBO speed pushing the 340 fps mark. This is Hoyt’s fastest bow to date. The AlphaBurner is the AlphaMax with its tail on fire. It has the same basic riser design, but with a more reflexed riser for a lower brace height. It is 34 3/4 inches long and carries Hoyt’s aggressive Spiral X Cam & 1/2 system. The Spiral X is reasonably smooth given the amount of energy it stores.
The Vicxen is a new women’s bow that famous outdoor television personality Vicki Cianciarulo uses and promotes. This bow features the same extended pocket design found on the AlphaMax and the Cam & 1/2 Plus performance system. The bow is 33 inches long and features good speeds. At 70 pounds and 29 inches of draw, the Vicxen puts out arrows at 306 fps.
PSE X-Force Axe
PSE’s X-Force was the first bow with what has become a common sight: heavily pre-stressed, curved limbs that go well past parallel at full draw. At the shot, they fly straight up and straight down to cancel vibration. X-Force bows have consistently been very fast and surprisingly quiet and comfortable to shoot.
For this year, PSE came out with additional bows utilizing this same aggressive limb X-Force preload technology. The latest in the line is the new Axe 6. It is a very fast hybrid cam bow, with a full six-inches of draw length adjustment using rotating inner cams instead of detachable modules. It is super fast – it’s number one attribute – but also comfortable to shoot.
Suggested retail price is $749.
PSE X-Force Omen
We will start with the speed: 358 to 366 fps IBO speeds. That is right; those are the numbers - incredible numbers. The Omen has a low 5 1/2 inch brace height but the string suppressor keeps the string from whipping far enough forward to snap a strawberry on your wrist. So it is shootable. The UF Hybrid cam is big and aggressive. It stores a lot of energy in the stout heavily pre-loaded limbs. The Omen is 33 5/8 inches long.
Bows with low brace heights aren’t for everyone, but this one shoots well. The arrow is gone so fast that you barely have time to flinch. No, you may not shoot this bow at the next indoor target shoot, but it is plenty accurate enough for typical bowhunting distances and really shines in situations where a flat trajectory is rewarded.
Suggested retail price is $949.
PSE X-Fore Vendetta
Both the Vendetta XL and the XS feature the trademark X-Force limb design with the heavily pre-stressed limbs that permit a past-parallel shape at full draw. They also employ the innovative L6 Hybrid cam used on both models. It permits a high degree (six inches) of draw length adjustability. You can also get the Vendetta in a smaller size, just 29 1/2 inches long with a 6 1/2 brace height and an IBO speed rating of 322 to 330 fps using the same L6 cam. They don’t get much smaller than this bow.
It also costs less with a suggested retail of $599.
Elite Archery GT500
2009 was Elite’s first year under a new management group whose goal was to ramp up the company’s marketing and grow the business without sacrificing the strong performance that had made Elite so popular with its core following. The GT500 was the first new bow for the newly reorganized company and it was (and remains) a strong product. It became very popular.
Typical retail prices is around $800.
Elite Archery Judge
The new Judge basically the GT500 with a lower brace height – so it is noticeably faster. We shot the Judge at the ATA Show and have shot the GT500 many times, the bows have the same fit and feel. They are both impressively quiet, smooth and with a good solid feel during the shot – not vibration through the riser. The only thing we can say about the bow that might be good or bad depending on your preferences is that it is a bit top-heavy. It likes to tip forward after the arrow is gone – not all bad. At least the bow is falling away from the arrow during the shot, not into it.
The Judge has a sleek, streamlined riser and a string suppressor. It is a little bit of a longer bow than most the hot new bows. Longer bows are more stable. They have to be, it is just physics. If you like liked the GT500, you will also like the Judge.
Suggested retail prices range from roughly $1,000 to $1,200.
Martin Archery Firecat-TR2
Martin has always been known for innovation and most recently it has become known as the company that offers that innovation at the best possible prices. The new Firecat-TR2 offers both. One of their new concepts this year is the helical track in their improved cam systems. The track moves the harnesses outward away from the string as you draw the bow. This better balances the forces acting on the limb tip to fend off limb tip torque and cam lean.
Upon shooting this bow, we were struck with the fact that it is very stable and quiet and more than acceptably fast. Of course, with a suggested retail price of $599, the value was also immediately obvious, as well. Coupled with the FireCat-TR2’s 7-inch brace height, the Hybrid Duo Cam System produces an IBO speed of 235 to 245 fps. The bow is 32 1/4 inches long and weighs just 3.5 pounds. Additional features include a roller cable guard, a string suppressor, custom string and harnesses and vibration dampening modules in the riser. You can get all the accessories (roller card, cams, suppressor) in full camouflage for a complete camo package or all black. Both look cool.
Martin Archery Pantera
Martin has started to gain a reputation as a value leader. The new Pantera is a perfect example of that. It is a very smooth performer with a single-cam that rolls easily, yet produces more than enough speed for any bowhunting situation. It features a string suppressor, roller cable guard, riser mounted vibration suppressors and parallel limbs. Now here is the part that really grabs out attention. In a market dominated by bows costing over $700, the Pantera has an MSRP of just $499.
Just a few short years ago, this would have been the fastest bow on the market. Today it is plenty fast, but others are much faster. Still, for the price, it is hard to beat the Pantera.
Mathew Archery Z7
Mathews was the first to use parallel limbs and they are certainly not the last, but on the new Z7, they take that concept to the limit, pushing the limbs past parallel at full draw eliminating all hand shock. Mathews as the first to use a roller cable guard and have actually improved and advanced that design element this year with a roller guard that pushed the harnesses away from the riser rather than holding them toward it for improved efficiency. Don’t overlook the stiff, lightweight Grid Lock riser. It is also definitely new. By removing as much material as possible, without compromising the necessary strength, this riser is as light as possible. It is a lot to pack into a short bow.
Mathews was the first with bow mounted string suppressors and they continued to maintain that design on this new bow. With this proven leadership, it is no wonder that each year we look to the new products from Mathews to see what the other companies will be doing the following year. This year, we don’t believe any of these advancements are truly earth-shattering, but it is hard to keep move the bar a foot at a time when you are trying to jump it. Move it a few inches each year and after a while, very few others can keep up. Mathews certainly did that with the Z7. It is not a ground-breaker, but it is an improvement on the status quo and a very solid performing, shootable bow.
Suggested retail is $899.
Mathew Archery Monster 7
Last year Mathews introduced their version of the two-cam system. The Monster was born as a blazing fast, pure speed bow. It had a low brace height, two cams and highly flexed past-parallel limbs. This year, Mathews toned the Monster back a little with a 7-inch brace height and called it the Monster 7. It is still amazingly fast with an IBO speed rating of 342 fps. It is 33 1/2 inches long and features the same AVS dual cam system.
Suggested retail price is $899.
Mathew Archery Conquest Triumph
For those bowhunters and target shooters that seek a longer, more stable platform, Mathews offers the Conquest Triumph. It is 39 inches long, one of the longest bows on the market today, but it is also fast with an IBO speed rating of 325 fps with a 7-inch brace height. It features the Triumph Solocam single-cam system and the same style of highly sculpted riser found on the Z7. Additional features include a V-Lock limb pocket and parallel limbs.
With a suggested retail price of $1,299 is expensive but it just may be the ultimate target bow (or accurate hunter) on the market.
Mathew Archery DR2
The new DR2 has the look of the Mathews bows from the past. It has the more vertical limbs, and it is equipped with a perimeter weighted single-cam similar to the style made popular in the late 90s. But to show its link to modern times, it has a roller guard, Quick Change Axle, Sphere Lock limb pockets and string suppressors. It is 33 inches long, has a 7-inch brace height and an IBO speed of up to 320 fps.
It is lightweight, at under 3.9 pounds and carries a suggested retail of $759.
Mathew Archery Passion
“This is my passion…” You have probably seen this bow advertised on TV by many of the pretty women of the hunting industry. The Passion is a dedicated women’s bow made from the ground up specifically for the task. It is short (just under 30 inches long) and fast (325 fps with a 70 pound draw weight and 29-inch draw). Granted, few women will pull 70 pounds but that gives us something closer to the standard IBO spec to which we can compare this bow. Given the fact that the true IBO speed is measured from a 30-inch draw bow, (longer draws are faster) that makes the performance of the Passion even more impressive. It comes in some very sharp looking colors such as teal, pink, electric pink and even camouflage!
Suggested retail price is $869.
Sims Limbsaver Proton
The Limsaver Proton has several of the features on last year’s line of Limbsaver bows. Notably, it has a similar extended pocket, center cradle limb design that was the basic function of prior Limbsaver models. But the Proton takes the limb pocket design one more level up the design ladder. It features an interesting pocketless design that requires a 1-inch wrench to adjust draw weight in discreet two-pound increments over a 10-pound window.
The grip is very narrow that felt very good when we shot it. We were also impressed with the speed and quiet performance of the Proton. The low-mounted string suppressor serves dual purpose. First, it stops string vibration when the string hits brace during the shot. Second, it serves to move the harness to the side (you will notice the harness actually rides again the side of the suppressor) to better equalize the forces acting on the limb tip for greater limb tip stability, minimal cam lean and better arrow flight. The Proton is 32 inches long, has a 7-inch brace height and achieves IBO speeds of 330 fps with the HEAT modular hybrid cam.
It took us an hour to figure out how this bow actually works – well to understand the Overdrive Binary Cam, at least. Not being bow designers, we are like innocent children listening to the Sunday school teacher when Bowtech’s engineer talks. We eat it all up. Apparently, you need to feed a little harness to binary cams at the end of the draw to keep them synchronized.
Traditionally, companies have done this by running the end of the harness back to the cam to wrap around a small eccentric let out lobe. The only problem with this approach is the fact that you can’t split the harnesses and span the limb tips to better stabilize them against twist during the draw and shot.
With the Destroyer 350, Bowtech spreads the harness forces out to both sides of the limb tip so the limb won’t twist at all during the shot. If the limb twists much, you get less than perfect arrow flight. To do this, Bowtech attached the ends of the harnesses to the axles. The axle themselves are offset and geared into the cams so as they turn they feed harness back to the cams, just as they must for proper sync. Pretty amazing bit of engineering, really.
The Destroyer 350 also features a flexible cable guard (FLX system) with rollers at the end. It bends in during the draw to keep the harnesses more inline with the center of the bow. This reduces the amount of torque acting on the riser through the cable guard so the bow pivots less during the draw. The Destroyer also has a new carbon limb design that is more efficient. It is the most advanced bow Bowtech has ever made, and that is saying something.
Suggested retail for these bows is $949.
Quest has four bows in the line this year. The most distinctive new feature (available on all four) is a new finish process, called DuraFuse, that allows for a very durable, sharp finish with color options not seen on any other bows. For example, the GFade pattern has camouflage on the limbs and on the top and bottom of the riser. There is a black finish in riser’s center that diffuses out to the camo. This is a very cool look that is also reasonably functional for those who often hunt from ground blinds. But even if you never set foot in a blind, it is an impressive look.
Quest Archery Primal and Heat
Everything that G5 does, from their broadheads and sights, to their Quest bows, they do with precision and quality in mind. Engineering and precision are G5’s (and Quest’s) strength. You will find these important qualities in their new Primal.
The Primal features the Sync binary cam system that produces a very smooth draw and excellent arrow flight characteristics. Like all binary cams, it produces good nock travel while staying synchronized easily. The I-Glide cable guard is also very innovative. The harnesses slide within ceramic-coated holes, eliminating moving parts. The bow has a string suppressor and factory-installed Bow Jax limb silencers. Finally, you have the option of purchasing the bow in a color pattern we really like. G-Fade Durafuse finish creates a smooth color transition from full black at the grip to full camo at the ends of the riser and out into the limbs; it is a cool bow.
Suggested retail price is $699.
Quest Archery Hammer
This is Quest’s most economical bow. The Hammer is a single-cam bow with a conventional cable guard system (not the I-Glide) and a string suppressor. It features IBO speeds of 312 to 315 fps with a forgiving 7 1/4 inch brace height.
It is a solid bow and at a suggested retail price of $399, it is a great value.
Quest Archery Smoke
The Smoke is also a single-cam design but it has a higher IBO rating of 320 to 324 fps with the same a 7 1/4 inch brace height. So it is both fast and forgiving. It also features a string suppressor and a conventional cable guard system with Alpine’s Mach 5 Cable Slide for reduced friction and increased arrow speeds.
The Smoke comes with limb silencers and is priced reasonably at under $499 suggested retail.
Diamond Archery Iceman FLX
The Iceman features Center Pivot riser technology and short parallel limbs. This allows Diamond to put a hinge at the butt of the limb, rather than locking it solidly in a pocket. As a result, the entire limb bends uniformly, from butt to tip, spreading the stresses for greater reliability.
Features include a string suppressor to stop string vibration and noise and a single-cam system with a rotating module that makes draw length adjustment easy. The Iceman also features the same FLX Guard that we wrote about in the review of the Bowtech Destroyer 350. This bow isn’t super fast, but it is very sweet, with a smooth draw and a rock-solid back wall. It is also very stable through the shot with its parallel limb design.
Suggested retail price of $799.
Mission Archery Maniac
One of the qualities we see in the Mission line is the commitment to flexibility and adaptability in almost all the six bows that Mission makes. You will sure see this in the Maniac. It will fit almost anyone while still delivering good performance. It is a good introductory bow for a teen-aged archer and an equally good upgrade for someone who has been bowhunting many years.
Here is what you will find: limb-mounted string suppressors, Zebra Hybrid string and harness system, parallel limbs and a highly adjustable dual cam system. As you increase the draw length from 22 to 30 inches, the peak draw weight also increases. We have not seen a bow with more adjustability than the Maniac. It is no slouch, as mentioned. With a 7 1/8 inch brace height, it produces IBO speeds up to 310 fps.
The bow is 41 inches long and has a suggested retail of $449.
Athens Archery Buck Commander
One of the new television shows on the air right now features a spin-off from the very popular Duck Commander show; it is called the Buck Commander. This new bow from Athens Archery takes its name from this show. It is a good-looking bow, all black, that performs well and feels good in the hand. It will do well for Athens.
The Buck Commander features a set of binary cams for a good combination of speed and consistent nock travel. The bow comes in two lengths, for those who like options. I was struck by the looks of the bow and the solid back wall. It shot quietly, due in part, to a string suppressor and a pair of limb-mounted Bow Jax silencers. If you are studying the Athens line, the new Buck Commander is simply a version of the popular Accomplice line.
Suggested retail is $749.
Darton Archery Pro 3800
Darton has great products but you just don’t hear much about them, but company owner Rex Darlington is actually the inventor of the hybrid cam and the binary cam. Wow! Don’t let the lack of PR make you think that Darton bows somehow come up short on quality or performance. They definitely do not. After shooting the Pro 3800 at the ATA Show, we are certain it is the best bow that Darton has ever made.
It is very quiet and very stable in the hand during the shot, but it was also very fast. Not surprisingly, one of the leading features of this bow is its cam system. The Dual Sync system is a binary cam where the harness is split to terminate on matching tracks on both sides if each cam to better stabilize the limb tips for perfect arrow flight. The Pro 3800 also features two string suppressors for quiet, accurate shooting.
Suggested retail price is $830.
Rytera Archery Nemesis
The Rytera Nemesis is a sleeper. It is one of the best bows we shot at the ATA show. Martin makes Rytera bows so there is a lot of experience behind this brand. As mentioned, the Martin line is focused on value, the best bow they can produce at a good price. The Rytera line, on the other hand, is where Martin can shoot for the stars, no compromises. This attention to detail shows up in features such as Speed Bearings, super hard axles, custom strings and an elaborately machined truss-style riser.
Suggested retail price of $799.
Strother Archery SR-71
Owner Kevin Strother has been designing bows for more than a decade for other companies and has now set off on his own with Strother Archery. His new designs will definitely benefit from all those years of experience. The new SR-71 is the flagship for this new line. It showcases a new method for constructing limbs to allow Strother to hold tighter tolerances to assure consistent accuracy. The SR-71’s hybrid cam produces a high degree of energy storage for amazing speeds with a 6-inch brace height. Throw in the industry standard string suppressor and parallel limbs and you have a stable, fast shooting bow.
Suggested retail price is $829.