Athens Solace Review
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Editors' reviewFrom an automotive machining company to a rapidly growing compound archery manufacturer, Athens Archery has not done anything to disappoint its customers-producing high quality compounds year upon year. It is no different with one of their flagship models for 2015, the Solace. With a completely redesigned riser for looks and strength, high performance NSX Binary Cams to create a great draw cycle, a dampening system bar none, and a lifetime limited warranty, there is a lot to offer with this bow for a respectable $850.
FinishThe Solace is offered with many different finish options from the factory. Standard on this compound come silver limb decals, black and silver strings with silver serving thread, and black Limbsaver superquad dampeners. For the model associated with the lower price, the buyer has a choice between Next Vista Black Camo or a black powder coat finish. For an additional $100, there is a choice between the target colors pearl white, emerald, copper, black cherry, and blue prism as a powder coated riser, as well as black limbs. Similarly, Athens has a custom shop that not only hydro-dips other patterns on any main part of your bow, but it has the capabilities of laser engraving and custom painting the riser and limb pockets. Paired with Sick Strings built with BCY 452X, this compound has a vast array of possible finish combinations.
RiserCompared to other mainline compounds on the market, the Solace contains a riser with large, flowing cutouts compared to geometric shapes. The riser is quite visually appealing to the eye, but it also minimizes the weight of the bow to 4.1lbs with 10 cutouts. Paired with very minimalistic, but qualified limb pockets, a fiberglass cable rod, three stainless steel stabilizer inserts, and an anchor string stop, the features are above standard. With 33" axle-to-axle and 6.75" brace height measurements, it is compact enough for a treestand hunter but large enough to provide ample forgiveness at the range for the target archer; hence the extra available color options.
LimbsThe Solace contains highly pre-stressed split limbs contained by the Tetra Limb System- a rear pivot styled containment that not only keeps the limbs stable, but allows for easy adjustment in poundage by a turn of an allen wrench. Three different sets of limbs are available from the factory (with 10lbs of adjustment each) from 40-70lbs of draw weight, suitable for men and women a piece and archers of a wide array of ages.
GripAthens Archery sets itself apart from the competition by providing this bow with a CNC machined contour grip built into the riser itself- a feature that is rarely seen in the industry. As much as the grip is extremely comfortable and consistent to hold and obtain accurate shot placement, it lacks any rubber or wood insulation to protect a hunter's hand in a cold environment. Being said, it is slim enough to comfortably shoot with a medium-thick pair of gloves.
Eccentric SystemThe Solace is offered with two cam options from the factory, the newly implemented modular based NSX cam and the draw length specific DLS cam. Each has their pros and cons, but both deliver positive attributes for certain situations that the customer has in mind. For the hunters looking to get the most speed out of the setup, the NSX cam delivers an arrow with an IBO of 335fps, a very respectable speed, however not incredibly fast in today's market. It implements interchangeable mods from 27.5"-30" in half inch increments and contains an adjustable 65-85% letoff. Similarly, the DLS cam has an adjustable 65-85% letoff, but is designed around fixed draw lengths from 25"-30"- requiring a complete cam swap when adjustments to the DL are necessary. This cam is rated a little slower at 330fps IBO.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityFrom at rest to completely pulled back, this compound contains a very smooth draw cycle and has a complementing solid, dual limb stopped back wall. Although the NSX cam, designed for speed, has a significant hump to pull over at the end of the draw cycle(which takes some getting used to), it is very acceptable in the fact that it gains more speed and still maintains a high level of letoff at its full draw. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the DLS cam does not contain a hump at the end and is much more enjoyable to shoot at the loss of roughly 5 fps.As much as they are impressive binary cam systems in themselves, the Solace really shines in the short amount of time after the shot sequence. With almost no felt vibration and the most minimalistic of sounds at the shot, this bow does a great job suppressing the forces and vibrations that are created with so much energy contained in the limbs. A combination of Limbsaver superquads, a string stop, and an efficient cam system makes the Solace an extremely stealthy setup.
|Bow||Athens Solace||Athens Afflixtion|
|Brace Height||6.5 "||6.5 "|
|AtA Length||33.25 "||35 "|
|Draw Length||25 " - 30 "||25 " - 30 "|
|Draw Weight||40 lbs - 70 lbs||40 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||335 fps||337 fps|
|Weight||4.1 lbs||4.3 lbs|
|Let-Off||65% - 85%||65% - 80% (adjustable)|
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Compared to a previous model, the Athens Afflixtion. Athens has greatly improved their medium to long axle to axle bow lineup, as seen by the Solace. Although specs are similar, with .25" brace height, 2fps IBO speed, and .2lb mass differences, the cams are greatly improved from their EV2X Extreme Velocity Duo Cam system to the NSX Binary. A huge riser and limb pocket change were made between the two, implementing completely redesigned parts as well as a swap to feature split limbs, a large improvement in terms of quietness and vibration reduction after the shot. Overall, as much as there is a definite increase of technology in the newer Solace, any hunter or target archer alike would appreciate the qualities of both compounds, simply letting the narrowing factor in this case be personal preference.