reviews

Mathews Vertix Review

AJ Iaquinta

MSRP: $1,099

Mass Weight: 6.7 lbs

Draw Length: 28.5 inches

Draw Weight: 75#

Speed: 291 FPS

Arrow Setup: 455 Grain Easton Axis Pro Match, 100 grain point, DeepSix Insert, 3 fletch AAE Max Stealth Vanes, Easton X Nocks

Strings & Cables: Zebra FLO Orange & Black

Center Serving: BCY 62XS .018

Rest: QAD Integrate Ultra Rest MX

Sight: Spot Hogg Fast Eddie XL Double Pin

Stabilizer: 12” Mathew’s Flatline with Bee Stinger 16 degree Quick Detach Mount

Quiver: Mathews QD 4 Arrow Quiver

D Loop: BCY No. 24 Loop Material

Other: 5 1oz. Bee Stinger weights mounted to the back bar mount

If you've read any of my other bow reviews this year you already know the Vertix is what I've chosen to roll with in 2019. I’ve been extremely impressed with it  far. Not much has changed from my initial first impressions other than a deeper understanding of the bow as I have bonded with it over the past month and a half. The Mathews is a new system for me and one thing I appreciated immediately was their superior attention to detail and easy to tune design. Whenever I get a new bow I immediately swap out the strings. Not because I don’t trust the factory strings, in fact Mathews are quite good, but I have this insatiable need to fully understand and customize all of my equipment and there is no better way to do that than to strip it down and build it back up. It’s how I have always been. When I played lacrosse growing up I strung all of my own sticks. When I shot pistols competitively I did all of my own gunsmithing. I just don’t feel comfortable with a piece of gear until I’ve customized it with my own hands. It gives me an extra sense of ownership and responsibility. If something breaks or comes undone afterwards I have no one to blame but myself. Plus I like having an extra set of strings in my bag just encase I find myself on a hunt and nick a string or cable. So I have made it a habit of buying a set of funky colored strings and saving the factory set as a back up.

 

Dismantling the Mathews is also breeze. Unlike other companies whose axles are held in place by E clips, Mathews use a simple Allen screw threaded into the axle. This makes disassembly as simple as unscrewing one side and sliding out the axle. Machined holes on both cams serve as timing marks so even if you lose track of the turns in your strings you can use these as benchmarks to test whether or not you are at least within relative proximity of a decent tune. 

Once I had my strings and cables swapped I checked my cam timing, added a few turns to my cables to bring my poundage to its max draw weight of 75 and then moved on to tying my nock point and setting up my rest. This is where both Mathews and Quality Archery Designs (QAD) really impressed me.The Vertix is designed to tune with a center shot, meaning the arrow can be nocked and released from a point on the string that lies directly in the middle of both cams and directs the arrow through the center of the riser, facilitating an efficient and consistent shot. When tying my nocking points I simply measured from cam to cam, marked the center on my string, nocked an arrow as a place holders and tied my nocking point below the nock. I then bolted the new QAD Ultra Rest Integrate MX (which I am henceforth going to refer to as the IUMX because that name is so obnoxious) to the new rail section machined on the backside of the riser. There is a small reference line machined into the riser just behind the Berger button hole. This hash mark is purposely designed to lineup with the QAD mounting bracket. What struck me is the attention to detail both Mathews and QAD took when designing and laying out these new features. When I mounted my rest so that the hash mark, rest, and rest elevation were all set to zero, they lined up perfectly with my nock point. When it came time to paper tune I found my up and down was perfect. Not even a single click was needed. Having all of these reference marks line up might seem insignificant but it is representative of the extreme level of consideration that went into the design of both the bow and rest.

While we are on the topic of this rest let’s go over the advantages of the new mounting system. Up until now every bow and rest pairing has shared the same inherent vulnerabilities posed by the industry standard Berger Button Hole mount. Because traditional rests are attached to the bow via a single screw they inherently have potential to spin during the actual installation process or come lose over time. How much this is an actual issue depends on the particular rest and bow pairing in question. I never had or heard of any issues with AAE or Hamske rests but my Trophy Taker and other less expensive rests were a different story entirely. When you stop to think about it the Berger Button Hole mount is a awfully antiquated design. I mean it is 2019. We have sights that can instantly range and calibrate point of aim/point of impact but we are still screwing one of the most critical components of our bows to the riser via a single point. By contrast the IUMX mounts to the Vertix like a finely machined set of military grade scope mounts to a hand crafted precision rifle. There is no excess material, only a superbly constructed component paired with an equally well fabricated rail section. This quality almost makes the $250 price tag for the IUMX tolerable to swallow.

As far as tuning my left and right this also proved a breeze. I always start by nocking an arrow and lining up the tip of the arrow with my limb bolts and cams which in a perfect world is the path the arrow should take through a well designed and tuned bow. When I paper tuned my bow I found a persistent left to right tear. Having been around enough Mathews shooters over the years I knew this was common with a lot of bows out of the box and could be easily remedied via the swapping of Mathews patented “top hat” cam shims. This entailed simply removing the axle and cam (which as we mentioned earlier is quite easy) and reversing the top hat resembling spacers which sit partially recessed into the limbs. Once the top hats were swapped I shot the bow through paper again and I was almost perfectly tuned. A final small adjustment and I was done! The strings and cables were swapped and bow tuned on a system that was completely foreign to me only hours earlier.  

Once tuned the Vertix proved to be as great a shooter as we have all heard. It’s quite, vibration free, and wicked fast. Like a competition style handgun the new Engage grip on the Vertix allows you to get a super high purchase on the bow and at full draw it feels almost as though the arrow is sitting on the web of your front hand. The new grip is over molded rubber and noticeably thinner than previous models and rounder than the grip that was featured on the Triax and Halons. One of the things that makes this grip so comfortable is a small section of the riser which has been carefully machined to allow for greater thumb relief. This small recess is subtle but something you will quickly get used to and immediately notice is missing from other bows as soon as you pick one up.

Mathews also introduced new aftermarket side plates which allow your palm to come in direct contact with the bow's riser. If you want an even thinner option our buddy Handsome Rob of Rattler Grips has already started producing super low profile side plates for the new line of bows. This plethora of grip options is a welcome change and you can tell Mathews has definitely been paying attention to its customers and the direction the industry is heading. This new grip is much thinner than my previous bow grip and I was initially apprehensive about my ability to be consistent with it but these worries quickly eased after my first session shooting the Vertix at distance. Immediately I was able to achieve my best groups out to ninety and one hundred yards and consistency never proved to be an issue.

(Pictured above:Rattler Grips Side Plates on Handsome Rob's personal Traverse)

The only detractor I have found against the Vertix is that it is heavy. The bare bow comes in at over 4.5 lbs. Add a rest, site, stabilizer, and counter weights and my bow comes in at 6.7 lbs and that is before you add a quiver full of arrows.  Though it is on the beefier side and a little top heavy, the Vertix feels extremely well balanced at full draw. Even with a Mathews QD Quiver and Spot Hogg Fast Eddie XL mounted to the riser the bow doesn’t exhibit any significant urge to pitch one way or another. This contrasts with some other bows I’ve shot over the years that should frankly come standard equipped with a back bar just to offset the overwhelming feeling that the bow is going to rotate in your hand. Not so with the Vertix.

Now because the Vertix is a bit top heavy I found that occasionally when I am tired or in pressure situations I have a tendency to overpower my draw and slam against the back wall. This creates some bobble as I settle into anchor. This is user error and not the fault of the bow. I did the same with all of my previous bows as well. With the Vertix I was able to easily mitigate this quirk with the addition of a sixteen degree quick disconnect mount to the front stabilizer and five ounces added directly to the back bar mount via threaded rod. This is the first time I have experimented with an angled QD mount and I am really enjoying it. The purpose of any hunting stabilizer should be twofold, vibration dampening and counterbalance. What the sixteen degree mount creates is a subtle pendulum like counterbalance by bringing the weight at the end of the stabilizer lower. This coupled with the five ounces of weight I added to the back bar places more weight below my hand further stabilizing the bow at full draw and mitigating any bobble. I could have also utilized a back bar but I prefer to keep my hunting bows relatively minimalist. Plus, the bow really doesn’t call for it at least in my opinion. Though I have seen photos on social media of Levi Morgan and Brad Christian utilizing a back bar on their Vertixs.

These enhancements to the 2019 line are all great but what really sold me on Mathews this year is the newly introduced Switchweight Technology which allows you to change your peak draw weights between 60lbs, 65lbs, 70lbs, and 75lbs with the simple swapping of a module on each cam. I am one of those hunters who loves heavy poundage. My Hoyt Pro Defiant was 80lbs and my Vertix is now 75lbs. But I also love to shoot A LOT and I’m a fairly athletic but I can’t put in marathon 100 rep days at 75lbs without some serious fatigue and risking damage to my shoulder (a problem I am currently working through). But I also am unwilling to skimp on practice. I’m fortunate enough to have friends who will call me to go on a hunt with less than a day’s notice. They are the type of friends who necessitate a hunting “go bag”. So I need to maintain proficiency throughout the year. With the Vertix I don’t have to choose between taking days off or blowing out my shoulder. When I am not hunting I simply swap out my 75lbs mods for 60 or 65 lbs and I can effectively triple my reps without the strain. The ability to adjust between 5lbs increments also means I don’t have to worry about backing out the limb bolts which tends to suck efficiency.

(Pictured Above: Switchweight Mods)

Now when you change modules the bow will not stay in perfect tune. Of course you will have to drop your pin slightly to account for the slower speed that comes with a lower poundage but I also noticed that if my bow is perfectly tuned at 75lbs when I drop weight modules to say 65lbs my top cam will start hit before my bottom cam. It’s not overly significant and for the purpose of getting reps in this works just fine, but if I were entering a competition I would definitely advise taking the extra time to retune the bow to the specific weight module and keep a set of weaker spined arrows handy. But because I swap out modules so often I prefer to leave the Vertix tuned for my hunting setup.  

I’ve definitely caught all the feels for this bow. Its first weekend out I arrowed three hogs with it which led me to dub it “Florida’s Natural”. Hopefully I’ll be adding some turkeys to its list of accomplishments in a few weeks’ time. The Vertix has been the most repeatable, easy to tune, and best shooting bow I have ever owned and buddies out west have echoed the same about it’s bigger brother the Traverse which could just as easily have been the flagship bow for 2019. The 2019 line of Mathew’s bows represents the culmination of years of development and input from the industries top engineers and shooters. There are plenty of great shooting and fast bows on the market for 2019 but none that are quite as feature packed or stealthily quiet as the Vertix. Check one out at your local Mathews dealer and learn more at Mathewsinc.com

https://www.mathewsinc.com/vertix/


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