New Bows For 2009

The trend is toward faster bows that shoot quietly and don't recoil in the hand. That is a tall order, but today's best will deliver.

Pearson TX-4 : The 2009 TX-4 is available with the new R2B2 cam system that stores more energy without being so harsh that you fear to draw the bow. It features a 6 1/4-inch brace height -- low but not too low -- and is 12 feet per second faster than last year's model. The riser is highly sculpted with larger cutouts to make the bow lighter and stiffer. The new R2B2 is one of the new classes of hybrid cam systems for which both cams are anchored to the other. Some call these binary cams. Coupled with the bow's low brace height, the TX-4 produces an advertised 342 fps IBO speed. The TX-4 is 33 1/2 inches long with a $739 SRP. www.benpearson.com

Hoyt AlphaMax 32: The AlphaMax arguably is the best hunting bow Hoyt has ever made. It is lighter than previous Tec series bows and fast. The 32-inch model weighs just 3.9 pounds, while the longer 35-inch version weighs 4.1 pounds. Hoyt eliminated the limb pocket to accomplish this goal, and used a number of larger cutouts in the riser. With a 7-inch brace height, the AlphaMax 32 hits an IBO speed of 321 fps. The 35 model features the same brace height but with an IBO speed of 316 fps. These bows also have string suppressors that cushion the string when it bottoms to stop vibration instantly. The AlphaMax runs off the new XTR Cam & 1/2 Performance System -- a fast cam with a reasonably smooth draw cycle. The bow is very stable through the shot and balances well. It's also very quiet. Approximate retail price for the Alpha Max 32 runs $800 to $849. www.hoyt.com

Mathews Reezon: The new Mathews Reezon takes the parallel limb concept to the extreme, with a design that pushes the limbs past parallel at full draw. In this bow, Mathews also brought out its fastest, most efficient single-cam bow ever. It comes in two styles, one with a 6 1/2-inch brace height and one with a 7-inch brace height. Both are 32 inches long and have identical features. Not surprisingly, the lower braced model is faster (up to 340 fps IBO vs. up to 335 fps). Both feature string suppressors, parallel limbs, composite limbs, Mathews' in-line grip and a Quick Change Axle that's sure to make dealers happy. Suggested retail price is $869. www.mathewsinc.com

Fred Bear Game Over: Value is a big deal right now. The most popular economy model in the Fred Bear line is the Game Over. Like all the Bear bows, it sports a very attractive combination of Realtree All-Purpose Green camo on the riser and limbs and green anodized finish on the single-cam, idler wheel and limb pockets. The Game Over's grip also has a distinctive Bear graphic that adds to the bow's looks. This bow sheds the Dual Arc string suppressors found on higher priced Bear bows in favor of a single string suppressor below the grip. Although a bit slower because of its higher, more forgiving brace height of 7 3/4 inches, this bow has an IBO speed rating of 303 fps. The 33-inch-long bow carries an MSRP of $480. www.beararcheryproducts.com

Mission Eliminator: The Eliminator has all the important features we look for in today's top hunting bows: parallel limbs, solid performance, a moderate brace height, a good grip and string suppressors for reduced string noise after the shot. With a suggested retail of $479, this is also one of the best values on the market today and can do everything you need a bow to do. At just over 30 inches long, the bow has a moderate brace height of just over 7 inches and an IBO rating of 310 fps. This is a solid choice for cautious consumers still looking for quality. www.missionarchery.com

PSE Bow Madness: The Bow Madness line of bows is made up of full-featured high-performance single-cam models with fully machined risers, PSE's trademark past parallel limb configuration and a narrow grip. All three Bow Madness bows produce 6 inches of draw length adjustment without the need for a bow press. Specific models include the XL (extra long), standard Bow Madness and the XS (extra short). All three utilize the new Madness Cam (MC Cam for short). This is the fastest single-cam that PSE has ever offered. With the XL model and a 6 1/2 brace height, the MC Cam spits arrows at 332 to 324 fps. The XL is 36 inches long. The Bow Madness is 36 inches long but with a 7-inch brace height and IBO speed rating of 318 to 326 fps. The Bow Madness XS is an incredibly short 28 1/2 inches with a 7 3/8-inch brace height and IBO speeds of 308 to 316 fps. SRP for the standard Bow Madness is $599. www.pse-archery.com

Browning Grand Illusion MF: Browning has four bows for 2009, all single-cam models. They occupy separate price points from $649 for the Illusion down to $289 for the Rage. The new Verado offers what may be the best compromise between price and performance. It is a true value bow, one of the best values on the market, with SRP of $449. The bow has a well-machined riser with string suppressor built in. The bow features a 31 7/8-inch axle-to-axle length and a brace height of 7 5/ 8 inches for an IBO speed rating of 313 fps. The Verado has a wood grip and solid limbs -- a good, solid bow at a good price. www.browningarchery.com

Bowtech Admiral: The new Admiral, Captain and Sentinel all have Binary Cams and Center Pivot riser systems -- both trademark Bowtech designs. Bowtech also was one of the first to use parallel limbs, and the company has not been shy about m

aking the most of this technology to produce sweet-shooting bows. These three live up to that standard. The Center Pivot riser system moves the pivot point of each limb farther from the limb butt, allowing the limb to flex over its entire length while producing a parallel geometry, something that is difficult to do otherwise. Bowtech's Binary Cams are hybrids slaved to each other so they can't easily go out of time. The cams feature rotating modules that allow an amazing 7 inches of adjustment. IBO ratings for these three bows range from 312 to 325 fps with brace heights from 7 to 7 1/2 inches. The biggest difference among these three bows is the length. The Admiral is 31 inches long; the Captain is 34 inches, and the Sentinel 36. Retail price on these bows is around $800. www.bowtecharchery.com

Diamond IceMan: The new IceMan is a great-looking bow that has much in common with Bowtech's Admiral. Since Bowtech makes Diamond bows, that is no surprise. Like the Admiral, the IceMan has the same new Center Pivot riser design and very similar specs. The biggest difference between the two bows is that the IceMan uses a single-cam system instead of the Binary Cam used on the Admiral. It is 31 1/2 inches long, has a 7 1/8-inch brace height and an IBO speed rating of 315 to 323 fps. I love the looks and the specs, and after shooting it at the ATA Show, I also love the way it feels. It is an appropriate replacement for the Black Ice as Diamond's best bow. Approximate retail price: $770. www.bowtecharchery.com

Sims Vibration Lab Dead Zone 32: The DZ 32 introduced us to a different limb pocket configuration, which Sims calls the Rolling Fulcrum. By setting the pocket well back away from the archer, the Dead Zone permits a lower brace height with longer limbs and a straight riser, leading to less limb stress and stability. Also, the limb pocket design increases the efficiency of the limb by allowing it to flex over its entire length rather than just at the end. For 2009, the primary change to the bow is a modular HEAT cam, a hybrid cam that permits easy draw length adjustment. The bow has a brace height of 7 inches with an IBO speed rating of 330 fps. Suggested retail for the Dead Zone is $800. www.limbsaver.com

Parker Blackhawk EZ-Draw: Over the years, Parker has done well with smooth drawing bows that are a sort of backlash away from the aggressive cam bows that many companies are producing. Its new Blackhawk EZ Draw is another such bow. It features the EZ Cam single-cam and a 7 1/8-inch brace height. The bow has an IBO speed rating of 285 fps, but again, speed is not why you buy this bow; you buy it for the smooth draw. At just under 32 inches long, it weighs 3.85 pounds. The bow comes standard with several silencing accessories and a riser-mounted string suppressor. SRP is $700. www.parkerbows.com

Martin Warthog: The advertised IBO speed rating of the new Warthog is blistering hot at 350 fps. That puts the Warthog in rare company as only a few bows on the market can deliver that speed. Bows like that can cause neck injury to spectators who try to watch the arrow. The aggressive CAT Hybrid Duo Cam powers with the aid of a 6 1/4-inch brace height. The CAT is a free-floating cam system, similar to the binary systems. Neither cam is tethered to a limb, so they are able to stay in time more easily. Add in a high-end bowstring and harnesses, a string suppressor, a nice rubber arrow shelf, roller cable guard and a narrow grip and you have a winning combination. Retail price is about $750. www.martinarchery.com

Elite GT500: There are four bows in the Elite line. The Z28, XLR and Cuda are carryovers from last year, but the newest bow, the GT500, is a very fast, very stable bow. This bow produces amazing speeds generated with what most of us would call a forgiving brace height of 7 1/8 inches. The GT500 produces an advertised IBO speed of 346 fps with this moderate brace height. I am not aware of any bow on the market advertising a higher speed with a brace height greater than 7 inches. The GT500 is nice and stable in the hand with good balance, and surprisingly fast for a quiet bow. The GT500's SRP is $850. www.elitearchery.com

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