Right off the bat I will admit I have never been drawn to PSE bows. I can’t explain it but they just have never held any sort of allure for me. I know they have been making fast, accurate, and all around quality bows for quite some time I just never shot with anyone who was a die-hard PSE shooter. But after trying last year’s 2018 Evolve and now the 2019 Evoke, I now wonder if maybe I just need to expand the variety of shooters I hang with. Josh at Adventures Archery in Tampa (shout out to our local pro shop) first introduced me to PSE after he setup his very own Evolve 31 last year. Having been impressed by his bow I felt I had to drop by and try PSE’s new flagship aluminum offering for 2019, the Evoke.
Brace Height: 6”
ATA/IBO Speed: 342-336 FPS
Draw Length Range: 24 ½”-30”
Draw Weight (lbs): 50, 60, 65, 70, 80
For those of you who loved the Evolve, not much has changed. The Evoke utilizes the same Evolve cam and cable system which has been so successful for PSE the past few years. If you haven’t tried a PSE recently I would highly encourage you to check them out. The evolve cams are buttery smooth and can be set to either 80% or 90% let off. Unlike other high let off bows which feel like they “dump” into their valleys, the Evolve cams seems to gently roll over their peaks and smoothly slide into anchor.
Now if you do opt to set the bow to 90% let off there is definitely some getting used to. While the draw cycle feels smooth and easy to anticipate, letting down a 70# bow with 90% let off is a much different experience and requires some training. Letting down from full draw you keep expecting the bow to take the string away from you at any moment but it’s not until you almost completely relax that the Evoke finally pulls the string away. To PSE’s credit the pull is shockingly smooth and if you are fortunate to live in a state that allows it, the 90% let off definitely has its obvious advantages in hunting scenarios. But the first few times you go to let the bow down it is almost anxiety inducing. So definitely practice this before taking an Evoke 20ft up into a tree.
New for 2019 is the bridged riser which is designed to stiffen the bow. I don’t have enough time behind the 2018 PSE’s to say whether or not the 2019 riser is truly stiffer but the bow certainly feels solid at full draw. Even with the added mass of the bridged riser the Evoke 31 comes in at the same 4.3lbs bare bow weight as last year’s Evolve 31. Characteristic of most PSE’s, the Evoke is top heavy which I don’t love but I only really noticed this when I held the bow at my side and not when I was at full draw. Regardless, carrying a top heavy bow around the woods or shooting one at steep angles can feel awkward. I would be completely hypocritical here if I considered this a significant draw back because I just ordered a 2019 Mathew’s Vertix and that bow is plenty top heavy. In my opinion the Vertix’s other benefits outweighed this quirk but you can read more about that in my Vertix first impressions review.
Back to the Evoke…
The grip on the Evoke felt similar to its predecessor and maintained a bare riser grip set at 17 degrees. Like last year’s grip the Evoke’s grip felt square and boxy. I have medium sized hands and the Evoke felt plenty comfortable. It is worth noting that the grip on the PSE felt noticeably wider than the Mathew’s Vertix, Hoyt RX-3, or Helix we also shot recently. That being said I’ll reiterate that it wasn’t uncomfortable and I didn’t notice any particular inclination to torque the bow one way or another so the grip definitely appears to be of good design even if it is a bit thicker than its peers.
Another new feature for 2019 is the Kolorfusion International finish on PSE’s aluminum bows. This finish is intended to produce a more realistic rendering of camo patterns. I’m not entirely sure I buy that but the Kryptek pattern on the bow I tested looked pretty sweet. The finish was glossy and had a shine like a finely detailed car. Not enough hard use to say whether or not this is more or less durable than the finishes other brands are using but the look is certainly different from the flat matte paint jobs that have been industry standard the past several years.
I love the adjustable roller glide and FRS flex rod cable system PSE developed. This unique cable guide utilizes a roller system to guide the bow’s cables along an adjustable flex rod as the tension placed on these cables changes during the draw and shot. This system is adjustable so the shooter can tune the cables to ride further in or out to account for arrow/vane clearance making it easy to achieve the maximum balance of clearance and torque. I’ve already commented on how baby’s cheek smooth the Evoke’s draw cycle is and the FRS cable system no doubt plays a role in this.
One of the features I don’t love is the locking limb system on the PSE’s. I know Bowtech has a similar feature and I don’t like that either. I find myself asking “what exactly is happening to my limbs that I would have to tighten them?” Is this an actual critical redundancy that will improve accuracy or simply a feature included to satisfy the obsessive compulsive tuners out there? Not to play brand favorites but I’ve never had to consider the tightness of Mathews or Hoyt limbs and I don’t see Prime introducing a limb tightening system either. I have enough pre-hunt equipment checks to run through before I head into the woods and in 2018 I don’t think the tightness of my limbs should have to be one of them. End rant.
Other than that last gripe I really have nothing bad to say about the Evoke line or the Evolve line before it. These bows are smooth, quiet, accurate, and well built. MSRP-ing between $999.99 and $1,049.99 depending on the color options you choose it’s also one of the least expensive flagship bows of 2019. With new carbon bows retailing in upwards of $1,700 and even some aluminum bows reaching close to $1,300 the Evoke at $999.99 is bargain this day and age. So if you are in the market for a new bow the Evoke is without a doubt worth testing.