Bear Super Kodiak Review

If you want to learn more about recurve bows in general, check out our Best Recurve Bows Guide.

The Bear Kodiak is/was a pretty classic and well-known bow – the Super Kodiak is the continuation of that well respected lineage. In fact, the original founder of Bear Archery, Fred Bear, is known to have used the original Kodiak model on his own hunting excursions. The Super Kodiak has improved on the original model greatly, and is one of the best one-piece bows out there, and it is in our opinion the best recurve bow for hunting.

Bow Details

Bow Length: 60″/64″

Draw Weight: 30-65lbs

Handedness: Both, LH version has less spec options

Bow Weight: 3lbs

Takedown: No

Our Impressions

First thing that we should say is that the Super Kodiak was designed largely with hunting in mind – if you’re primarily or exclusively a target shooter, this may not be the right bow for you. Everything from the way it looks, to the high draw weight options, points towards the Super Kodiak being a hunters bow.

The Super Kodiak is not a takedown, and while we prefer takedown bows in general, the Super Kodiak can get away with it for two main reasons – firstly, it performs well enough in other areas that we can overlook it, and secondly, because the Super Kodiak is the continuation of the original Kodiak, in a way, it pays homage to the classics by shunning the relatively modern idea of the takedown – and we can respect this even if it makes the bow less portable. Also, no takedown option means no assembly – just string the bow and you’re good to go.

The Super Kodiak shoots real nicely – the thing that sets it apart as a hunting recurve is the higher draw weights that it’s available in. 65lbs is pretty significant draw weight, and if you’ve got this high draw weight version, you’ll be shooting at pretty blazing speeds for a recurve. The high draw weight option allows for more powerful shooting, which in turn makes it easier to ensure a humane kill, particularly on large game.

The Super Kodiak also shoots pretty accurately, and the draw is smooth and comfortable. The ergonomics are also good – the bow is light enough to carry and hold without it feeling unwieldy, and the grip is great, particularly for those with larger hands. The bow is also made from top flight materials – Bear has adhered to the traditional materials like wood, but it’s clear they’ve put effort into using the best possible wood and put a lot of thought into the craftsmanship of the Super Kodiak. It’s also pretty quiet with only a little vibration.

There are a few things we’d note about the Super Kodiak – not really flaws as they’re likely intentional, but just things to know before you buy it. First, it is impossible to mount a sight on the Super Kodiak – they really keep it old school with this bow. As such, the Super Kodiak is much more suitable for instinctive shooting, and is probably not as good a choice for those who prefer to aim and shoot. Second, the bow is truly traditional – both in construction and in aesthetics. If you’re looking for a more sleek, modern look, the Super Kodiak may not be the ideal choice for you.

Pros

  • Really powerful for a recurve
  • Lightweight with good ergonomics
  • Available in higher draw weights which are even better for hunting
  • Shoots accurately and the draw is really comfortable
  • REasonably quiet with not much vibration
  • Classic aesthetics
  • Many years of history as an excellent recurve speaks volumes about the quality

Cons

  • Cannot mount a sight on it, so its better for instinctive shooting
  • While it’s light, it’s not a takedown, which hurts portability
  • Lack of option for mounted sight and other factors make it less suitable for beginners
  • Moderate-high end in terms of price

Final Thoughts

The Bear Super Kodiak is a great choice for experienced bowhunters who are looking for a powerful weapon to bring down big game with. We like that Bear have stayed true to the original, very traditional roots of the Super Kodiak, and while that does come with some downsides, the Super Kodiak performs well enough to overcome all of them. Because you can’t mount a sight on it, we recommend the Super Kodiak more for instinctive shooters and less for those with an aim-and-shoot style. Also, the Super Kodiak may not be as suitable for beginners because it’s more oriented towards hunting and less towards target shooting.

 

Martin Saber Review

If you want to learn more about recurve bows in general, check out our Best Recurve Bows Guide.

If you don’t take anything else away from this review, you should know this – we’re enamored with the Martin Saber. We think, all things considered, it’s the best recurve bow model on the market. If you want to pick an awesome all-purpose bow, we doubt you’ll be disappointed with the Saber. If you want more info about why we like the Saber so much, then you should read on.

Bow Details

Bow Length: 64″

Draw Weight: 30-55lbs

Handedness: Right Handed only

Bow Weight: 3.4lbs

Takedown: Yes

Our Impressions

The Martin Saber takedown recurve is quite simply and excellent bow all-around. It performs well on pretty much every category that we would consider, and it doesn’t really have any weaknesses of note. There’s really a lot to like about the Saber – the materials are high quality, it’s durable and lightweight, quiet and doesn’t vibrate too much – essentially, it’s a superb performer all-around, and what’s more, it’s very affordable.

We like that the Saber is a takedown – in general, we prefer takedown recurves to bows that can’t be disassembled – this is purely for convenience. A bow isn’t the most portability thing you can own, and having the ability to take it apart and put it back together again with minimal trouble is a really nice option, particularly if you’re traveling with the bow. Having a takedown bow is also advantageous because you can replace individual parts if something breaks or malfunctions – with a one-piece bow, if it’s broken, a lot of the times the only option is to replace the whole thing.

The ergonomics of the Saber are great – the grip is really comfortable. One thing that we particularly like about the Saber is how accurate it shoots – because its a little larger than the average recurve, the Saber is more stable on the release which helps a lot with accuracy. The draw is also smooth and natural, and it’s really quiet with minimal vibration on the shot. In addition, we also applaud Martin for not skimping on the quality of the material used in the Saber – this allows for excellent durability, consistency and reliability. The Saber is also pretty affordable, which was surprising to us for a bow of such quality. It’s also pretty powerful at the higher draw weights and is suitable for hunting.

The only weakness we can think of is the fact that the bow is a little larger than the average recurve – as we mentioned, this helps with stability, but in turn it means the Saber may be a tad large for those of smaller stature. Also, unfortunately for the left handers out there, the Saber only comes in as a right-handed bow.

Pros

  • Great ergonomics
  • Smooth and natural draw
  • Larger bow helps with stability and accuracy
  • Takedown bows allow for greater portability
  • Little noise and minimal vibration
  • Higher draw weights are suitable for hunters

Cons

  • Larger than average – may be a little unwieldy for shorter/smaller archers
  • A tiny bit heavier than the average recurve
  • Not available as a left-handed bow

Final Thoughts

We really have nothing bad to say about the Saber – even our list of cons was a bit of a reach. Simply put, if we take into account quality, durability, accuracy and value for money, we reckon the Saber is the best recurve bow on the market, and we highly recommend it. Those who plan to use their bows for specialized purposes may want to look at bows that are specifically designed around their needs, but for the typical archer looking for a traditional recurve, you can’t really go wrong with the Saber.

Compound Bow Reviews

Bowtech Experience

The Bowtech Experience was our favorite compound bow overall for a variety of reasons – but the thing that truly stands out about the Experience is, well the amazing shooting experience you get when using it. In terms of draw cycle, the Experience is probably the most comfortable and forgiving compound bow we’ve come across. If you’re someone who only cares about having the fastest bow possible, then the Experience may not be right for you – but for everyone else, we highly recommend it. To read more about what we liked (and what we didn’t) about the Experience, you can read our full review of the Bowtech Experience here.

Bowtech Diamond Infinite Edge

The Bowtech Diamond Infinite Edge is in our opinion the absolute best compound bow for beginners, mainly because of it’s ridiculous adjustable and versatility. However, just because it’s a beginners bow, don’t just dismiss it out of hand if you’re an archery veteran – the Edge at the higher draw weights is appropriate for hunting and it’s a good bow even if you discount the flexibility it allows. To read more about the pros and cons of the Bowtech Diamond Infinite Edge check out our review here.

PSE Surge

If you’re looking for a compound bow that is really good value for money, look no further. We reckon the Surge is the best value for money compound bow on the market – it replaced the PSE Brute, which was a really good bow in its own right, and the Surge improved on the Brute is almost every category. Basically, if you’re looking for something affordable that still performs at a pretty high level, you’ll want to look into this model. To find out more about the Surge, you should read our in depth review of it here.

Hoyt Charger

While the PSE Surge was our favorite value for money bow, the Hoyt Charger came a close second and is another bow that we think performs really excellent given the price it sells for. Also, the Surge is a tad big which may put off some bowhunters who prefer to minimize the weight of their gear – in this case, the Charger is lighter and performs almost as well as the Surge.  If you’re looking for a really good bow for a great price, and you’ve passed on the Surge, we think you’d probably benefit from reading our detailed review of the Hoyt Charger here.

Genesis Original Bow

The Genesis Original is a really fantastic beginners bow that is especially popular with schools, archery ranges, and other organizations where they need bows that are one-size-fit-all and very affordable. While (unlike the Infinite Edge) it’s not suitable for experienced shooters or for hunting, we highly recommend that those looking to buy beginners bows.In particular, we think it’s a good choice those who plan to make their bows available to multiple users, and if that describes you, we urge you to check out our Genesis Original Review to learn more about some of the strengths and weaknesses of this very respectable budget bow.

We also highly recommend you check out our comprehensive Guide to the Best Compound Bows

Genesis Original Review

If you want to learn more about compound bows in general, check out our Best Compound Bows Guide.

The Genesis Original is a super-budget compound bow that probably won’t satisfy seasoned shooters, but is perfectly appropriate for beginners and youths who are interested in taking up archery. The great thing about the Genesis Original is that it’s suitable for virtually everyone – easily adjustable in draw length, the Genesis is great if you want a bow that grow along with a child or if you want to share a bow among multiple people.

Bow Details

IBO Speed: 325 FPS

Axle-to-axle: 36″

Brace Height: 7.5″

Draw Weight: 10-20lbs

Draw Length: 15-30″

Bow Weight: 2lbs

Cam Type: Single Cam

Let off: 0%

Our Impressions

The Genesis Original is a great learning tool – it’s very adjustable in terms of draw length, and can be adjusted to fit different people. In fact, it’s so good as a youth beginner’s bow that it’s the official bow of the National Archery in Schools program. It’s also particularly good for using as a bow for student’s or on archery ranges for first timers because it’s so easy to adjust and can be made to fit pretty much anyone. This also makes it ideal for a family who wants to take up archery as a group – if you want to share a bow among Mom, Dad, and the kids, you can literally make do with a single Genesis Original.

On the other hand, don’t mistake the Original for anything other than a beginners bow – experienced shooters will not be satisfied with it (draw weight maxes out at 20lb) and it is 100% should definitely never be used for hunting – the Genesis Original is appropriate for target shooting only. It’s for this reason that we liked the Diamond Infinite Edge above the Original – while the Original is only suitable for beginners, the Edge can grow with the shooter not only in size, but also in skill level – the Edge works well as a bow for both beginners and veterans, and it can also be used to hunt provided you’re using the higher (60lbs+) draw weights. The Original lacks this flexibility, which is why it wasn’t picked as our favorite beginners bow overall.

On the other hand, the Genesis Original is significantly cheaper than the Infinite Edge – so if you’re on a very tight budget and your kid wants to get into archery (but you’re not sure he’ll stick with it), it may be a good idea to pick up a Genesis Original first, and if the hobby sticks then perhaps consider buying a more advanced bow at a later stage.

Due to the light draw weight of the Original, it comes with no let off (which makes sense). There’s not much to talk about in terms of cam grind and the rest of it – because the draw weight is so light, the draw cycle should be pretty easy for most people. Also, we can’t provide an IBO Speed for the Original because obviously it can’t be adjusted to the 70lbs draw weight standard – safe to say, it doesn’t shoot that fast, and frankly we think that’s a good thing considering the fact that it’s specifically targeting first timers and inexperienced youth archers.

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Can be shared among a family or used as communal bow at schools/organizations
  • Really excellent for beginners, particularly young people
  • A good entry point into the archery hobby
  • Easy to shoot

Cons

  • Definitely not appropriate for hunting
  • Less adjustability in terms of draw weight than some other good beginners bows
  • Not suitable at all for archers with more experience

Final Thoughts

We highly recommend the Genesis Original to anyone who needs to share bows among multiple people – schools, summer camps, archery ranges and other organizations will find the Genesis a perfect way to introduce archery to masses of young people without having to have them each buy their own bow. Also recommended to families who want to share a bow among family members, and for folks who are on a really tight budget but want an entry point into the hobby. On the other hand, unlike the Infinite Edge, the Original is not at all suitable for experienced archers and should under no circumstances be used for hunting.

 

Hoyt Charger Review

If you want to learn more about compound bows in general, check out our Best Compound Bows Guide.

(The Hoyt Charger should be available at your local Pro Shop – if you don’t have one nearby, we recommend the PSE Surge as a great alternative)

While the Hoyt Charger isn’t our absolute favorite among the more affordable compound bows (that honor goes to the PSE Surge), it is definitely one our favorite bows in that price range. The Charger is dependable, shoots pretty fast, and is really well-regarded in the archery community. It generally just performs really nicely, and while we liked the Surge a little better, the Charger put up a good fight – in particular, the Charger is pretty compact and lightweight, so if you found the Surge too large for your preferences, then it’s likely the Hoyt Charger is the ideal for you.

Bow Details

IBO Speed: 325 FPS

Axle-to-axle: 31″

Brace Height: 6.75″

Draw Weight: 30-70lbs

Draw Length: 24-30″

Bow Weight: 3.8lbs

Cam Type: Hybrid Cam

Let off: 75%

Our Impressions

The Hoyt Charger is a real nice bow for the price. The bow grips nicely and has good ergonomics, and it will prove especially comfortable for archers of smaller stature. It performs very well in terms of noise and vibration – we experienced only a little bit of both these issues, especially when we compared the Charger to some other bows around the same price range.

The Charger is equally comfortable to shoot – the draw cycle is forgiving and the draw is smooth without any hiccups, and the valley on the cam is also reasonably wide and forgiving. The one thing that we would note about the Charger in terms of the draw cycle is that the wall on the bow is not as firm as we typically like, but this is far from a major issue.

This model also shoots pretty accurate, and for a bow that won’t break the bank, it gets a very admirable IBO speed of 325fps. The one thing that we really like about the Charger is its size – it’s lightweight and really quite compact for a compound bow – which makes it ideal for hunters who typically are carrying their bow around for many hours at a time. While a smaller bow inevitably results in slightly less stability/heft, if you’re looking for a compact bow then the Charger is a great choice.

Pros

  • Really good value for money
  • Forgiving and smooth draw cycle
  • Pretty speedy for such an affordable compound bow
  • Compact and lightweight design makes it ideal for hunting
  • Shoots quite accurately

Cons

  • Small size means it gives up a certain amount of stability and heft
  • Back wall on the draw cycle could be a bit firmer
  • While it’s not loud, it definitely makes some noise

Final Thoughts

The Hoyt Charger is very well regarded in the community, and it’s clear why this is the case. It’s just a strong performer in pretty much all categories with only some very minor flaws. It’s also very affordable and really good value for money. While our ‘best value for money’ compound bow choice was the PSE Surge, if you don’t like the size of the Surge and prefer something smaller, the Hoyt Charger is significantly smaller and lighter, and Charger’s performance was all-around excellent. If you’re looking for a small compound bow that performs well and is an excellent bargain, go with the Hoyt Charger – we don’t think you’ll regret it.

 

PSE Surge Review

If you want to learn more about compound bows in general, check out our Best Compound Bows Guide.

If you don’t bother to read the rest of the review, this is the one thing that you need to know: The PSE Surge is a great compound bow at a fantastic price, and we think it’s the best value for money compound bow on the market at this time. For those of you with slightly longer attention spans, we like the Surge for it’s smooth draw cycle, good ergonomics, respectable IBO speed and flexible draw length/draw weight. The PSE Brute was one of the best budget bows a few years ago, and the Surge pretty much improves on every aspect of that older, very popular model.

Check the Price of the PSE Surge Ready to Shoot Package

Bow Details

IBO Speed: 320 FPS

Axle-to-axle: 32.5″

Brace Height: 7.25″

Draw Weight: 30-70lbs

Draw Length: 19.5-30″

Bow Weight: 4.3lbs

Cam Type: Single Cam

Let off: 75%

Our Impressions

The PSE Surge is an all-around strong performer at a great price. First off – this thing shoots decently fast. It’s not lightning speed and definitely not the fastest compound bow available, but for the price we’d consider it pretty fast. One thing we really liked about the Surge was how natural and smooth the draw cycle was – like putting a hot knife through butter, and if you’re used to using another similarly priced 70lbs draw weight bow, you’ll feel like the draw cycle on the Surge is pretty effortless in comparison.

Check out what one reviewer had to say about the PSE Surge:

Are there bows that shoot faster or are a little lighter or quieter? Sure, but the PSE Surge costs hundreds, not thousands.

 

Keredoc – See more reviews on Amazon

For an affordable bow, the Surge had virtually no vibration, which we really liked. It does make a little noise, but we don’t think that it’s loud enough to really be an issue. The Surge also shoots really accurate – it’s one of those bows that has an almost mystical ability to put the arrows where you want them. We find that in general there are bows that you need compensate for, and there are bows that compensate for you, and the Surge is definitely in the latter category.

There are a couple of minor sticking points that we have with the Surge. The obvious one would be weight – the Surge is a bit heavier than we like, especially for use as a hunting bow. It’s not as if it’s outright heavy, and 4.3lbs is still pretty manageable on its own, but the hunters out there will know that when you’re out in the wild you often have a whole bunch of equipment with you, so every pound added (or removed) counts. The Surge is also a little larger than we’d prefer – again, this affects the portability, and while it’s nowhere near a deal-breaker for us (we love the Surge), those of you who emphasize portability should take the size and weight of the Surge into account.

The value for money aspect of the Surge is where it leaves all the other compound bows in the dust. On it’s own, if we ignored price completely, the Surge would be a good, perhaps even a great bow, but definitely not particularly exceptional. However, once you factor in price, the Surge blows everyone else out of the water – this thing is such an all-around strong performer that if we were forced to guess it’s price we’d probably think it was selling for twice the price.

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Buy the Ready To Shoot PSE Surge Bow Package

Final Thoughts

We’ve got nothing more to say really – the Surge is definitely the best value for money bow on the market, and if you’re looking for a great deal on a compound bow, go pick it up right now. In particular we recommend the Surge to those of you who are willing to forgo a few fps for a vastly more comfortable/smooth draw cycle and for greater accuracy. If your first priority is portability, then maybe the Surge isn’t right for you, but other than that we think that the Surge performs as good as bows twice its price, and we recommend it whole-heatedly to anybody who wants a great compound bow but who’s on a budget.

Bowtech Diamond Infinite Edge

If you want to learn more about compound bows in general, check out our Best Compound Bows Guide.

The Diamond Infinite Edge is in our opinion pretty much the perfect compound bow for beginners. No other bow on the market comes close to offering the flexibility and versatility of the Infinite Edge in terms of draw weight and draw length. In fact, the only thing you need to think about when buying the Infinite Edge is whether you’re right or left handed – other than that, you can more or less adjust the Infinite Edge to fill whatever your needs are. However, you shouldn’t dismiss the Infinite Edge as just an adjustable bow – at the higher draw weights, it’s also a powerful compound bow in its own right that is suitable for experienced hunters and target shooters alike. That’ why we’re such big fans of the Infinite Edge – it’s truly a bow that you can grow with, from being a beginner to being an archery veteran without having to move up to the ‘next model’.

Bow Details

IBO Speed: 310 FPS

Axle-to-axle: 31″

Brace Height: 7″

Draw Weight: 5-70lbs

Draw Length: 13-30″

Bow Weight: 3.1lbs

Cam Type: Dual Cam

Let off: 75%

Our Impressions

The Infinite Edge is versatile enough that it’s suitable for everyone – it doesn’t matter if you’re a male or female, young or old – you’ll be able to adjust the Infinite Edge to suit your individual shooting preferences, and all you need to do so is a small wrench. This applies to both Draw Weight and Draw Length – so whether you’re a young, lanky beginner archer who can’t take too much draw weight, or if you’re a burly dude with shorter than average arms who wants a shorter, heavier draw, you’ll be able to get exactly what you want out of this model.

We also really like how lightweight the Edge is – it makes it a really portable model, which is something everyone can appreciate. The cam grind of the Infinite Edge is pretty forgiving – it’s comfortable shoot and not at all aggressive, which is something much appreciated in a bow that’s likely to be used by many beginners. The valley of the cam is also very wide, which makes for an all around comfortable shooting experience.

The bow is quiet compared to other bows in the same price range, although it may be a bit louder than some of the higher end models on the market. The bow also has no vibration issues – another nice touch which will benefit first timers. Obviously, accessories can also be used to further improve the performance of the Edge in terms of noise/vibration levels.

The bow is good value for money, especially considering the fact that someone could use the Edge literally from the age of 6 or 7 to the age of 20, slowly ramping up the draw weight and increasing the draw length – compare this to the thought of buying 3 or 4 bows (at least) in the same period and you know what a bargain it is. There are only a two things to note about the Edge that we didn’t like as much. Firstly, we felt the grip on the bow could be made to be a tad more comfortable – while it’s nowhere close to being outright uncomfortable, we did feel like there was room for improvement in this area. Secondly, the bow (using the typical IBO specs) fires 310fps – while this is a respectable speed and certainly can’t be considered slow, experienced archers who are used to blazing speeds might find the bow a little less speedy than they like.

Pros

  • Downright the most adjustable compound bow on the market
  • Smooth and forgiving cam grind with wide valley
  • Quiet with little to no vibration compared to bows in similar price range
  • Literally a bow that you can grow with, from a child to a fully grown adult
  • Good value
  • Close to a perfect beginners bow

Cons

  • At 310fps, may be a tad slow for experienced archers looking for blazing fast performance
  • The grip could be designed better

Final Thoughts

We don’t have much else to add about the Infinite Edge. All we can say is that if you’re a beginner looking to get into archery, or you have a kid who’s interested in picking it up as a hobby, that we strongly recommend that you go out and buy the Infinite Edge without looking back. We pretty much think that it hits a bullseye on every single criteria we might think of for a starter compound bow other than maybe the grip design. Easy to shoot, hugely adjustable, really light weight, and affordable – what more can you ask for in a beginners compound bow?

Bowtech Experience Review

If you want to learn more about compound bows in general, check out our Best Compound Bows Guide.

Bowtech is one of the most influential bow brands and the company is well known for taking risks and attempting to innovate with their products. The Bowtech Experience is arguably the final product of ten years of innovation, testing, and development. The Bowtech Experience is widely regarded as an excellent compound bow with handling that is pretty close to impeccable. For a compound bow that packs a pretty good punch, the Experience fires so smoothly, it’s almost hard to believe. It’s because of this that we chose the Bowtech Experience as our best overall bow.

Bow Details

IBO Speed: 335 FPS

Axle-to-axle: 32″

Brace Height: 7″

Draw Weight: 40-70lbs

Draw Length: 26.5-31″

Bow Weight: 4.2lbs

Cam Type: Binary

Let off: 80%

Our Impressions

We pretty much have nothing but good things to say about the Experience – to us, it really represents the pinnacle of the craft, and all we can do is applaud Bowtech for putting out such a great product. The thing that separates the Experience from most other bows out there is how it shoots – we’ve literally never come across another bow that shoots so smooth and that handles so well.

If you think carefully about exactly what a bow does, and in particular what a compound bow does, then you’ll come to be as impressed as we were with the Experience. A compound bow is essentially a weapon designed to focus force/weight in a piece of string, then snap it forward fast enough to hurl arrows through the air at blazing speeds. The fact that we now have a model that can do exactly that, with virtually no noise or vibration is incredible. Even more incredibly is how smooth, natural, and almost effortless the shooting process becomes with the Experience. While the bow is available with 70lbs max draw weight, it feels like a fraction of that when shooting with this model.

Essentially what Bowtech have managed to do with this model of compound bow is that they’ve come pretty close to perfecting the shooting process – everything from the ergonomics to the cam grind, the let-off and the release – it all combines to make the process feel just right – almost like the sound you get from a guitar when it’s perfectly tuned.

Don’t mistake all our talk about how smooth the Experience shoots to mean that it’s a slow Compound model – the Experience shoots a 335 fps – while it’s not the absolute fastest bow we’ve seen, it’s nothing to sneeze at, and it’s definitely fast enough for hunting even the largest game.

Pros

  • Ergonomics are close to perfect
  • Shoots incredibly smoothly
  • Virtually no vibration
  • Really quiet
  • Shoots pretty fast at 335fps
  • As close to a flawless compound as we’ve seen

Cons

  • Expensive

Final Thoughts

We pretty much have nothing bad to say about the Experience, except for the fact that it’s a tad expensive and it may be too much of an investment cost-wise for many archers, particularly beginners. Other than that, the Bowtech Experience by all accounts is a pure pleasure to shoot, and represents pretty much the pinnacle of Compound Bow technology.