*WARNING: No Hoyts were shot in the making of this bow review.*
Let's talk bows! On my search for a new bow, I did a lot of online research, as well as some trial shooting in an effort to narrow down my options to find the perfect bow for me.
Bows are an extremely personal thing, and ultimately, you have to like how it feels and shoots. Throughout my three years of attempting to upgrade, I've shot numerous bows, some from the list below, and others that have since been discontinued. After all the research and shooting, I finally decided to go with the Mathews Avail! Everything about it felt right, and being the Wisconsin loving girl that I am, going with a Wisconsin company was just a bonus.
I've broken down the specifications, MSRP price (from least to most expensive), tech terms (or what I sometimes refer to as, "what?"), and my opinion of each bow I shot below. The bows include the Mathews Avail, Mathews Stoke, Mathews Triax, Elite Emerge, Bowtech Eva Shockey Series, Bowtech Carbon Rose, and the Prime Centergy Air.
Bowtech Carbon Rose-$749 MSRP
BOW Weight 3.2" LBS
IBO Speed 302 FPS
Draw Weights 40, 50, 60lbs
Draw Lengths 22.5-27"
Brace Height 7"
TEch TERMS: Rotating module, knight riser, binary cam system, R.A.k.
OPINION: I was amazed by how light this bow was. It truly felt like there was nothing to it, however, that made me nervous. Personally, I like a bow that has a little weight to it. A heavier weighted bow feels sturdier in my hands. I'm sure it's somewhat of a mental thing, but I know how I get when I draw on an animal. I can practice all day, but in the moment, I get excitable, and inevitably shake. The light weight of the bow made me feel like I would have less control. It was also apparent that it was slower, louder, and less compact than the Eva Shockey Series, however the draw was easy and smooth.
Bowtech Eva Shockey Series-$849 MSRP
BOW Weight 3.3 LBS
IBO Speed 332 FPS
Effective Let-off 80%
Draw Weights 40, 50, 60LBS
Draw Lengths 23.5-28.5"
Brace Height 6.25"
TECH TERMS: FLX-Guard, Knight Riser, Overdrive Binary, Powershift, Flip Disc, Rotating Module
OPINION: Again, I had the same reaction as I did with the Carbon Rose. Although it was cool how incredibly light it was, I still didn't feel 100% in control. However, it was obviously faster and quieter in relation to the Carbon Rose. Both of which, in my opinion, were the best qualities of this bow. If color is a selling factor for you, the Eva Shockey Series comes with turquoise blue accents, and the Carbon Rose comes with purple. Neither of which are really my thing, but also weren't factors in my decision process. Both bows were smooth to draw back. I never felt myself hit a point and had to get past it in order to keep pulling back. I think this would be a great bow to have out west if you do a lot of backcountry hunting.
Mathews Avail-$999 MSRP
bow weight 3.96lbs
ibo SPEED 320 fps
let off 80%
draw weights 40, 50, 60lbs
draw lengths 22" - 28"
brace height 6"
tech terms: CROSSCENTRIC CAMS, DUAL BRIDGED RISERS, TRUE CENTER NOCKING POINT, ADVANCED VECTORING SYSTEM
OPINON: I knew the moment I put my hands on the Avail, I would fall in love. I had shot the Mathews Jewel a few years prior and loved it, and I knew the Avail was the newer version of the Jewel essentially. Sure enough, there was nothing I didn't like. The crosscentric cams allowed for a smooth drawback and let off which I had been lacking with my old bow. It seemed to me that the back wall wasn't as hard as some of the other bows I had tried, which I actually preferred. There was little to almost no vibration following my shots, and it shot fast and incredibly quiet. I honestly pictured how stealthy and lethal I could be in the blind and in the stand when I pulled back on it and shot. The Avail has a weight similar to that of my old bow, so I felt steady and in control of my accuracy.
*BIASED BUT WORTHY SIDE NOTE: IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE SHORT VIDEO FOR THE AVAIL, I SUGGEST DOING SO. IF THAT DOESN'T GET YOU PUMPED AS A BOWHUNTER, THEN I'M NOT SURE IF BOWHUNTING IS FOR YOU...*
Mathews Stoke-$999 MSRP
bow weight 3.78lbs
ibo speed 314 fps
let off 80%
draw weights 40, 50, 60lbs
draw lengths 21-27"
ATA 27 1/4"
brace height 5 5/8"
TECH TERMS: CROSSCENTRIC CAMS, DUAL BRIDGED RISERS, TRUE CENTER NOCKING POINT, ADVANCED VECTORING SYSTEM
OPINON: This is a youth bow. It's a fantastically slick youth bow, but a youth bow nevertheless. I've been shooting youth bows since I was 9 years old. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but with the aspirations and goals I have as a hunter, I wanted an adult bow. I wanted something I didn't really have to "grow into" to say the least. At 26, I decided to upgrade to something I could grow with as an adult to pursue bigger challenges. To upgrade from one youth bow to another, to me, would have been a silly lateral move. Ultimately, the Stoke didn't have the speed the Avail or the Triax had, and that was a downfall for me. I would highly recommend this bow for a novice hunter though! The Stoke is a bow that can grow with someone throughout their hunting "career." It's light weight and versatile in the way of draw weight and length for the growing hunter.
Elite Emerge-$999 MSRP
bow Weight 4.1 lbs
IBO Speed 305 FPS
Draw Weights 40 - 60 lbs
Draw Lengths 24.0" - 28.0"
ATA 31 7/8" +/- .125"
Brace Height 7 +/- .125"
TECH TERMS: Elite Grip, Riser Cage, Pals Limb Pockets, Fit and Finish, Layered Laminated Limbs, Cam Module System, Symmetrical Cams, Two-Track Cam System, Adjustable Draw Stops
OPINION: My friends at Working Class Bowhunter, highly recommended I shoot an Elite. By highly recommended, I mean badgered. After researching online and talking to several people I decided to try the Emerge. I struggled with this bow, because I truly liked it. When I narrowed down my decision, this bow was in my top two, next to the Mathews Avail. Initially, I felt the two were very similar, but after shooting the two back to back and comparing them, I was able to see slight differences. Visually, the only obvious difference was that the Avail had the dual bridged risers, which I've heard makes "spider-webbing" less likely to occur. During my comparison, I noticed a solid back wall with the Emerge followed by a little more vibration following shots. It also seemed like it wasn't quite as fast as the Avail. It was still light weight and comfortable to hold though. The let off though didn't really compare. It wasn't as smooth, which was important for me to note, because I can't tell you the amount of times I've been busted letting down my bow.
Mathews Triax-$1099 MSRP
bow weight 4.4lbs
IBO speed UP TO 343 FPS
LET-OFF 75 & 85%
DRAW WEIGHTs 50, 60 & 70 lbs
DRAW LENGTHS 24.5 - 30.5"
BRACE HEIGHT 6"
TECH TERMS: CROSSCENTRIC CAMS, 3D DAMPING, DUAL BRIDGED RISERS, TRUE CENTER NOCKING POINT, ADVANCED VECTORING SYSTEM
OPINION: "The quietest, most vibration-free bow we've ever built," and they mean it. This bow is smooth in every aspect. In my opinion, it was the Avail and then some. I'm trying to convince my Dad to buy it because I was so impressed. In fact, I probably should have got it for myself. Absolutely nothing stuck out with me in a bad way. There was almost no vibration upon firing, and it was extremely quiet because of the new 3D Damping Technology. It felt comfortable in my hand, was surprisingly compact, and fast. I could have shot it over and over again. The let off was just as smooth as the draw. I was very impressed with the Triax and would highly recommend giving it a try!
Prime Centergy Air-$1099 MSRP
bow Weight: 4.1 lbs
IBO Speed: 333 fps (Tested at 60lbs.)
Draw weights: 40, 50, 60 lbs
Draw Lengths: 24.5”-31”(for 30.5“ and 31” add 1“ brace height)
Brace Height: 6.5”
TECH TERMS: Ultra Fit Grip, 7000 Series Risers, Ghost Grip Side Plates, Flexis-AR, PCS Cams, Strings-452X, Parallel Cam, 82X Aluminum
OPINION: If I'm being completely honest, I shot it twice. The very first thing I noticed was how loud it was. Knowing how much it cost, hearing it, and how I felt about the bows I had shot prior, I immediately set it back down.
I've heard a few people say what I've always thought. Choosing a bow, is like the Ford vs. Chevy argument. At the end of the day, both vehicles will have generally the same features, and both will get you from Point A to Point B. Same goes with bows. There are a lot of factors you can pick at, but they'll both do what you're wanting them to do. You need to choose what's important to you. For me, accuracy, speed, and stealth are important, but so is customer service. My advice; shoot a lot of bows, a lot of times. Take a moment to focus on one thing with each shot, and don't rush the process. Make sure it fits what you want and need. People can give you suggestions, but at the end of the day, that's all it is. A suggestion. What feels right or what someone is looking for in a bow, may not be what you're looking for.
Let me know what your thoughts are! Have you shot any of these? What did you think? What do you look for in a bow?