As is the focus of every ATA, the new flagship bows grab the attention of all in attendance. For most brands, this is the first time archers get to see the new compounds in person and send some arrows down range. I shot my share bows at ATA 2018, and picked out my favorite that are set to hit the market this year.
For the second year in a row, Mathews has produced my favorite bow at ATA. This is super impressive, when you consider the Triax is unlike anything they’ve made in the last couple of years. This bow is really short axle-to-axle at 28” and throws arrows at 343 fps, but carries none of the drawbacks that you normally associate with smaller, fast compounds. This is sure to be a favorite for western hunters and ground blind hunters this season.
Bowtech has carved out a corner of the market in the last couple of years with their SmartBow system. This makes their flagships, like the Realm, easily tune to any shooter by providing a customizable draw cycle. The Realm is really light at just 4.3 lbs, but doesn’t jump out of your had when at the range. For hunters looking for a versatile bow, the Realm is a great choice.
Xpedition Xplorer SS
Not much changed for the Xplorer SS in 2018, but not much needed to. This bow is tiny at 3.9 lbs and is one of the fastest on the market at 355 fps. New to the Xplorer SS is incorporating the PXT hybrid, which makes this bow ideal for shooters with draw lengths as short as 22”. Xpedition feels like they’ve almost maxed out one of the best flagships available, and I agree. This compound was a favorite at the range by many at ATA.
Hoyt Carbon RX-1
If you’re into carbon bows, I’m confident Hoyt produces the best ones available. It shows year after year as they regularly have high performing bows with the benefits of being carbon. The Carbon RX-1 will be preferred by hunters who want a longer bow while maintaining a weight of less than 4 lbs. At 340 fps, it leaves a little to be desired because of the bow’s 6” brace height and 32” axle-to-axle, but speed isn’t everything in today’s tradeoff market.