reviews

2019 Hoyt Helix - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

AJ Iaquinta

This is going to be a quick one… You may have seen our way too early review of the RX-3 a few weeks back. Well most of the features and impressions from that review carry over because the only difference between these bows (aside from their risers) is their grips. That and the fact the Helix is only offered in 30” axle-to-axle standard or 34”axle-to-axle Ultra models. Hoyt decided to limit their turbo offering to the RX-3 line for 2019.

   
Helix
342 FPS (ATA)              
30½" Axle-to-Axle
6" Brace Height
4.3 lbs
 
RX-3
342 FPS (ATA)
30½" Axle-to-Axle
6" Brace Height
3.9 lbs

The Good

After a few shots it’s pretty apparent the 2019 Helix is noticeably deader in the hand than its predecessors the 2018 Hyperforce and 2017 Pro Defiant. Hard to say whether this is a result of the updated riser design or new vibration dampening materials Hoyt introduced this year. Whatever the cause the result is a quieter more vibration free bow. As far as how it sounds the Helix’s shot sounds similar to the Hyperforce but much softer. It’s still not the quietest bow (the PSE Evoke and Mathew’s Vertix were noticeably quieter) but it is improved.

The Helix is also 1.5” shorter and 2 FPS faster than last year’s Hyperforce. In the limited testing I did (near bare bow with no accessories aside from an arrow rest) the Helix didn’t feel any less stable than the 32” axle-to-axle Hyperforce. As far as speed, 2FPS is almost negligible but in this day and age when heavy arrows are becoming more and more preferred, every bit of speed helps. I was also happy to see Hoyt carried over the X-act grip from last year’s models. The X-act was and still is my favorite factory bow grip and I even prefer it to the new adjustable RX-3 grip which is slightly wider. The X-act grip also provides the shooter with the option to remove the over molded grip and add side plates like the one’s Rattler Grips (shout out to Handsome Rob) made for my other Hoyt bows.

Overall the Helix is a sweet rig. If I were buying a new Hoyt in 2019 the Helix would be it. Sure the RX-3 is quieter but not by much. The grip of the RX-3 is nice but as I said before I prefer the slimmer X-act grip on the Helix. Personally the .4 lbs in weight savings (RX-3 weighing 3.9lbs and Helix 4.2lbs) and warm to the touch carbon fiber riser just doesn’t justify the $500 difference in price. So for me the Helix is the best Hoyt available in 2019 but if you are a die-hard Hoyt Fan-boy or Fan-girl I would strongly encourage you to try both.

Regardless of whether we are talking about the RX-3 or Helix, the combination of these bow’s central balance point and smooth drawing ZT Pro cams produce a rock steady platform that is easy to learn. Unlike so many other cams on the market, you don’t feel like you need to train yourself to get accustomed to Hoyt’s draw cycle. The bow just seems to naturally pull back and anchor without a lot of drama. This is a big confidence booster for the shooter. For this reason, and in my opinion, Hoyt offers one of the most stable and forgiving hunting platforms on the market and I would rank them just behind Prime in this regard.

The Bad AND the Ugly…

The Helix is a great bow but its $1,199.00 MSRP is both bad and ugly. If you have read some of my other reviews you know I am not one to shy away from expensive quality products. I will gladly drop hard earned cash on quality release aids, clothing, arrows, etc… and I get why things like bows with carbon risers are so expensive but the Helix isn’t the quietest, lightest, fastest, or most innovative aluminum bow of 2019 so it’s really hard to quantify why it costs more than other flagship bows priced $100 or $200 less. Hoyt redesigned their riser and introduced a new material to their vibration dampeners which is not insignificant but you could point to a lot of other companies that announced even more monumental innovations to their 2019 lineups without jacking up their prices.

The Helix is still an awesome bow and being familiar with Hoyt’s (I shot primarily Hoyts for the past 7 years) I would feel confident buying a Helix , tuning it, and taking it into the woods tomorrow knowing it will perform. But having spent even a limited amount of time with the 2019 Mathews, Prime, and PSE, I feel like I could develop the same level of confidence with any of those brands given some time to adjust to their platforms. Not to mention that I could pretty much buy any of those company’s aluminum flagship models plus a dozen new arrows for the same price as a Helix. Today’s bows are just that good and at this point deciding what bow is best for you is completely subjective and boils down to which one fits your shooting style. Some shooters will legitimately value the smooth cycling cams and balanced design of the Helix over features available on other bows. So if you like Hoyt’s the Helix is a great Hoyt and if you are in the market for a new bow the Helix is a solid contender with an unfortunate price tag.

Check out the Helix and full line of 2019 Hoyt’s on their website:

https://hoyt.com/compound-bows/helix


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