All of the 2020 flagship models from the major manufacturers are now out! Below are our thoughts on the models we have shot so far. Keep in mind these are our first impressions. We have had limited time with each bow though we did purchase a VXR 28 and PSE NXT 31 so expect in depth reviews of those bows to follow. We'll likely also cover Hoyt's new offerings in more depth over the coming months simply because of all of the flack they have been receiving (both legitimate and unwarranted) and feel this deserves further examination once emotions have simmered and the bows have stood some of the test of time.
As many of you might have noticed in the stats and features most manufacturers chose to focus heavily on modularity, tune ability, and comfort rather than performance. You won't see anyone touting blistering new speeds or improved accuracy and that makes sense. Most bows produced in the last decade are more accurate than the average archer and as far as speed goes, this is a subjective topic but if you do some digging you'll see that A LOT of animals have fallen to bows pumping out 400-550 grain arrows at 260-300 FPS. This translates to bows advertised IBO speeds between 320 -350 FPS. In the real world, after 300 FPS it becomes hard to tune an arrow especially with a fixed blade. And good luck finding an arrow with an adequate spine to handle those speeds if you are a longer draw length. As it is 260 spine arrows are rarer than Vibranium. If you remember a few years back, bows actually used to be faster. Mathews MR line was well into the 350 FPS range if I remember correctly. But what came with that speed was a lot of vibration, noise, and less consistency.
Trends in bowhunting tend to ebb and flow so I am sure we will one day see another speed race but for now manufacturers are focusing more on adjustable draw lengths, let off, grip, etc... that make bows more forgiving and accessible. Big fan of this! Adjustability not only increases the secondary market for bows (gone are the days of hoping someone will not only want to buy your old model but will have the same draw length) but shooters are able to take more responsibility for their gear with some simple tools. You still need a press and draw board to setup a bow properly. None of the features advertised for 2020 will eliminate that. But a lot of fine tuning can now be done with a set of Allen or hex keys without the a trip to the bow shop. Props to all the manufactures moving in this direction. It is welcomed by us tuners the world over.
Some people have commented that the new bows look like the old bows. Well then maybe your spouse won't notice if you come home with one... Kidding aside, while we have our criticisms of Hoyt for not making further advancements on their designs, the upgrades by Mathews and Prime make perfect sense. They took their very successful platforms from 2018 and 2019, streamlined the features throughout the line and added some minor but significant improvements. For example, the Triax had the lack of vibration and short ATA but the Vertix had the Engage grip, Integrate Rail, and Switchweight cam mods. Well now the VXR 28 & 31.5 share all the same features but in different axle-to-axle sizes and with updated risers. Prime did the same with the logic and CT series. The result is a cohesive and comprehensive product line that gives the manufacturers a rock solid foundation to build on in the future and we the consumer get our choice of premier bows and only need to decide what axle-to-axle size we want without feeling like we are trading features. We're cool with that!
Check out all of the new models at the company's website below!