If It Ain’t Broke, Why Fix It?August 14, 2013 - Brian Lovett
I love the feeling of sliding my feet into a good ol’ pair of hunting boots. They’ve served me well for several seasons, fit my feet to perfection and keep me warm and comfortable day after day. I’ve thought, “I’m never getting rid of these boots.”
We all know how the story ends, though. During a trip to the local sporting goods store, the latest, greatest boots jump out at you, and you can’t help but lace up a pair and meander through the store. A few hundred dollars later, your old favorites become history.
I’ve found that scenario holds true with many pieces of my hunting equipment through the years. However, one piece of gear that really blows me away each time I try a new model is my bow.
Recently, Brad Treu, marketing director for Mathews, had some interesting comments on that topic. He admitted that he can recall some bows that really fit him well and hold a special place in his mind because of how they shot or maybe a deer he killed with a particular model.
“After shooting the same bow for several seasons, that bow kind of becomes part of you,” he said. “There is no better feeling in archery than to be able to draw your bow, settle in your pin and execute a perfect shot.”
So why fix it if it ain’t broke?
For me, it’s all about performance and efficiency. Odds are if you’re shooting a bow for more than three years, you’ve been happy with it. That rings true with many archers when they discuss their bows. They say they love the bow and that it’s like an extension of their arm.
You should consider, however, how you could be a more effective shooter if your bow provided better performance.
Treu laid out some scenarios to consider. He called out a favorite bow for many hunters, Mathews’ Switchback XT, introduced in 2006. The performance scenario plays out like this.
Consider the performance of the Switchback XT to that of Mathews’ new Creed. The Switchback XT has an IBO speed rating of 315 fps, and the Creed is rated at 328 fps IBO. Treu said 2 fps essentially equals 1 pound of draw weight. Therefore, if you take the 13 fps differential between the Creed and Switchback XT and divide it by two, it’s 6.5 pounds. So if all other factors are equal, you can shoot the Creed at a 63.5-pound draw weight and get the same performance as with the Switchback XT at a 70-pound draw weight, or shoot less weight and experience the same speed but more comfortably.
You can do similar draw-weight comparisons with other older models. The bottom line is that newer models perform better and far more efficiently.
Comfort and ease of use are also huge factors, Treu said, and new bows simply offer improvements over older models. That makes sense, as new models build on technological improvements from past bows. Matt McPherson, Mathews’ founder and CEO, said the Creed is the culmination of all the cutting-edge advances the company has pioneered.
“We took a synergistic approach to design that we call Advanced Simplicity,” he said. “(That) philosophy has resulted in the most advanced combination of style and performance ever offered by Mathews.”
For example, the Creed features numerous upgrades, including the Geo Grid Riser, which helps reduce physical bow weight. The bow weighs just 3.85 pounds, making it almost 20 percent lighter than the Switchback XT. The Creed is also probably the quietest shooting bow ever offered by Mathews or any other company.
Another performance feature of the Creed is the SimPlex Cam and Reverse Assist Roller Guard. These technologies make the bow easier and smoother to draw.
Back to the comparison of the Switchback XT and Creed. Treu said that if you take the models set at the same weight, the Creed will be dramatically easier to draw with the Reverse Assist Roller Guard than the Switchback XT without.
Further, consider general improvements through time, such as riser length. A longer riser equates to greater accuracy. The legendary Mathews MQ32 bow, introduced in 1999, had a 32.5-inch axle-to-axle length but a 17.5-inch riser. The Creed measures 30 inches axle to axle but has a 26.5-inch riser. (See Figure 1 on Page 55.) That means nearly 90 percent of the bow is riser, giving the Creed unmatched stability and accuracy.
There’s also the simple matter of wear and tear. The longer you own and shoot a bow, the greater the chances that something can get out of sync. That, in turn, affects performance.
“Many folks simply don’t know they’re shooting a bow that’s fallen out of spec,” Treu said. That can lead to reduced speed and, ultimately, less accuracy.
The Bottom Line
Treu encourages shooters — even those with longtime favorite bows — to visit an Authorized Mathews Retailer and shoot the new Creed and Chill side by side with their current bows. He’s confident they’ll notice a big difference in noise reduction, ease and smoothness of draw, and other factors.
“You are good, but let’s try to make you great,” he said. “I think the key is … just getting folks in to see and compare.”
Even if you decide on a new model, you don’t have to ditch your old favorite. You can keep it as a backup, give it to a friend or new archer, or even trade it in when you pick up a new bow.
After all, a great bow is a great bow. It’s just that a newer bow can make your shooting experience even better.