News: 2013 Mathews Creed Bow Review
As a passionate bowhunter I often look back at seasons past and reflect on certain aspects of each. Whether it is the actual hunt itself, time spent physically preparing for the hunt, making memories with family and friends or simply getting a few feet closer to God, each facet is special and truly adds to the overall experience. Coincidently, these moments in my bowhunting career all have one thing in common…..the bow in my hand is a Mathews.
For instance, my first mature “Mountain Whitetail” fell to a Black Max, my first Canadian Black Bear an Ultra 2, my first P&Y buck, and largest to date…..the Switchback. I could go on, but needless to say, just like my bowhunting memories there are certain characteristics of each Mathews bow that has added to my enjoyment and overall hunting experiences throughout the years. But, what does all of that have to do with the new flagship bow? Well, plenty.
You see, for 2013 Mathews has taken the best attributes from some of their most popular bows of all time and merged them into one extraordinary package. That package, the all new Creed, doesn’t just focus on a single characteristic in which to win over a small percentage of shooters. Instead, it appeals to the masses by being everything you could want……all in a single hunting bow.
A Different Approach
Mathews is no stranger to thinking outside the box. In fact, some of the greatest advancements in the archery world can be credited to Matt McPherson and the rest of his employees in Sparta, WI. So, it should come as no surprise that 2013 unveils yet another great bow in a long line of great bows. However, the approach to this year’s offering differs from anything Mathews has previously done.
The Mathews Creed was built using a synergistic approach; meaning different components of the bow have been brought together from other bows to create an enhanced effect. That effect is essentially a superior shooting experience. From day one that has been Matt McPherson’s goal; to continually improve the shooting experience for anyone holding a Mathews in their hand. The all new Creed proves that he still believes in that goal. With over 20 years of innovative design and development poured into one bow there are a lot of features to cover…..so, let’s get started.
Historically, long ATA lengths have gone hand in hand with accurate shooting bows. However, over the years bows have continually gotten shorter and shorter. Lost in the mix has been, to some degree, accuracy. But, the Creed is different. With an overall riser length of 26 ½ inches (which is only 3 ½ inches shorter than the 30 inch axle-to-axle length of the bow), the Creed definitely has accuracy in its DNA. And, despite its length, the riser on the Creed won’t weigh you down, thanks to the lightweight, rigid GeoGrid Lock Riser design.
First introduced on the Helim in 2012, the GeoGrid Lock design features strategically machined geometric cutouts that make the Creed one of the lightest bows on the market while also boosting the overall strength-to-weight ratio of the riser. In addition, thanks to the rigid nature of the GeoGrid Lock design, the riser also resists torsion and flex; thus, making it more accurate. When you combine the stretched dimensions of the riser with the GeoGrid Lock design, what you get is a bow that not only shoots accurately, but feels remarkably balanced at rest or at full draw. No one can argue that balanced accuracy spells bad medicine for big game.
Plenty of Ponies
While speed has its advantages, especially when hunting with archery equipment, there is a point when the shooter begins to experience a diminishing return on those advantages. In other words, when speed gets in the way of shootability and accuracy it is no longer useful. A long, cold sit in a November treestand will quickly justify how and why a smooth shooting bow is such a benefit in the real world. Trying to come to full draw with muscles that have been sitting idle for hours on end is a sure-fire recipe for panic and struggle; two things that are very detrimental to your success.
The new Mathews Creed ensures a smooth draw no matter what climate you’re hunting in thanks to the all-new SimPlex Cam. But hold on; if you think you have to give up speed in exchange for the smooth draw-cycle…think again. This over-sized cam system, in conjunction with the new Matched Radius Idler Wheel, offers a buttery smooth draw cycle and all the speed you need to take down any North American big-game animal.
A Solid Wall
While I have never had a complaint with the back wall on any Mathews bow, I do prefer the cam systems that incorporate a draw stop. The addition of a draw stop enables the shooter to reach a more consistent anchor point simply because the bow string pulls back to the same location shot after shot. Again, this is an example of the Creed incorporating some of the best qualities of previous bows into its synergistic design.
Quad Limb Design
Perhaps the most noticeable change to this year’s bow is the addition of the quad limbs. Long-time Mathews shooters will quickly ask the question “why”? Well, it’s really simple…they work; particularly with this bow. You see, Mathews didn’t rest on the fact that their solid limb design has performed above and beyond expectations on every bow previously released. Instead, when building the Creed the engineers looked at the effects that quad limbs might have on this bow and discovered that they actually worked well. In fact, they are said to be one of the reasons that the Creed is operating at such a high efficiently level. And, while the solid limbs might be gone, Mathews Parallel Limb Design (introduced in 1996) remains intact; poised to squelch noise and vibration before it can ruin your hunt.
There is no questioning the positive impact that Reverse Assist Technology (introduced in 2010) has had on previous offerings from Mathews. The Creed continues the tradition that was started on the Z7 by including this simple, yet very effective, change to an age-old design. Instead of placing the bow cables behind the roller guard, which increases friction and robs the bow of efficiency and smoothness, Mathews places the cables in front of the roller guard. This greatly diminishes friction, thus, making the bow more comfortable and easier to draw.
A Laundry List Of Technologies
Unlike a lot of bows out there, the features on the new Creed can’t be counted on one hand. In fact, as each year passes, I find myself struggling to list them all in a bow review and still remain within a certain editorial “word count”. While the following features may be lumped together for the sake of saving “space”, don’t make the mistake of thinking that their impact is any less than those previously mentioned. Holding true to the “synergistic” theme, all of these technologies work simultaneously on the Creed to produce a bow unlike any other Mathews has ever developed.
The Dead End String Stop Lite: This simple feature not only reduces overall bow weight but it also drastically reduces vibration and virtually eliminates post-release noise.
Harmonic Damper: Introduced in 2000, perhaps no other image is more identifiable to a bow brand than the Mathews Harmonic Dampers. The weights inside the Harmonic Dampers actually float in an elastomer wheel and act to absorb recoil vibration in the riser at the shot. This reduction in recoil vibration is so significant that Mathews has actually licensed the use of the technology in other industries.
Harmonic Stabilizer Light: The Harmonic Stabilizer Lite is a descendant of the original Harmonic Stabilizer developed in 2009 for the Z7. It was designed to fit into the bottom Harmonic Damper hole and eliminate excess vibration and noise created by high speed bows. A single Harmonic Stabilizer will make a smooth-shooting Mathews even smoother while reducing up to 75% more residual vibration than a Harmonic Damper in its place. The Harmonic Stabilizer Lite does the same thing only it is nearly 70% lighter than the original Harmonic Stabilizer!
String Grub: String Grubs aid in reducing string vibration in order to gain more speed out of the cam system. The String Grub on the Creed works as an important component in the overall synergistic approach.
Monkey Tails: Monkey Tails™ come standard on the NEW 2013 Creed and basically equate to a minimal speed loss of 1-2 fps while virtually eliminating all string and cable sound and vibration. Monkey Tails are available in a variety of colors which allow you to customize the look of your bow; giving it a personal touch.
SlimFit Inline Grip: The walnut grip on a Mathews has a distinctive look which adds to the overall craftsmanship of the bow. Over the years, Mathews has continually slimmed down the dimensions of the grip in order to give shooters a more accurate handle. The grip on the Creed is narrow in the throat while gaining a little mass in the palm-swell area. In my opinion, it is the best feeling handle yet.
While carrying the box from the driveway to my house, I couldn’t help but think about how lightweight bows have become. The Creed is highly comparable to last year’s Helim when comparing overall mass (3.85lbs for the Creed and 3.5 for the Helim). Also, I immediately noticed that the Creed felt overwhelmingly balanced in my hand prior to adding any accessories.
After the initial setup was completed I moved into the backroom target range of my local Mathews pro-shop and began to let the Creed do the talking. You know you’ve got an accurate bow in your hand when “out of the gate” you have to shoot at different spots because the arrows are getting dangerously close to one another. But that is exactly how the initial performance of the Creed was. I can’t imagine the level of lethality after shooting this bow for an entire off-season in preparation for my next hunt.
When it comes to reaching full draw on the Creed, I think everyone will find it amazing that a bow spitting arrows at 328 fps IBO can be this smooth to haul back. If you question my enthusiasm, think back for a moment to the Mathews Black Max. Thought to be a “barn burner” in its day, it reached speeds of 330 fps IBO with a very harsh and unforgiving draw cycle and a wrist slapping 5 inch brace height; I know because I shot that bow for years. The Creed barely misses that mark by only 2 fps. However, the shooting experience between the two is like comparing George Strait to Metallica; it might be music but it isn’t the same.
Lastly, the speed generated by the SimPlex Cam doesn’t cause the bow to rattle or hum or even jump in the hand. When shot, the Creed does the same thing it does while at full draw….nothing. It just sits there; like a rock. That would explain my need to be so cautious of its accuracy even when shooting it for the first time. In addition, you can forget about spooking game with a loud shooting bow. The Creed is virtually dead in the hand and speaks with a virtual whisper when fired.
While I will admit that the way a bow draws, feels, and ultimately shoots is rather subjective, I do believe that one arrow from this bow will be enough to convince anyone that two decades worth of engineering really has been poured into this single product. In a nut shell, the new Mathews Creed is everything you could want in a hunting bow, maybe more. But don’t take my word for it….shoot one for yourself and find out what all the fuss is about. You’ll be glad you did.