Bear has always done an outstanding job bringing a lot of really great options to the market, from a variety of price points for shooters to choose from. From flagship models, all the way to entry level bows, Bear has alway created a bow for the entire spectrum of potential shooters. The Divergent EKO is an amazing compact hunting ball, which will be an amazing shooter for those interested in a 30 inch axle to axle bow. Not only is this bow extremely compact, it also shoots impressive speeds of 338 ft./s with a 6 1/2 inch brace height. This highly maneuverable, exceptionally high performing hunting bow is a great shooter without considering the price. When shooters find out this rig has an MSRP of only $700, the bow becomes a lot harder to find any faults with. If a shooter were to look really hard, the short axle to axle may not be for everyone, and the limited finish options may also be a turn off for some. However, for a budget bow, it is almost impossible to pick anything to not like about the rig, as long as shooters are interested in a compact hunting bow. To have the backing of the godfather of bow hunting, Fred Bear, the Divergent EKO bow really rounds out a great lineup from Bear in the 2020 model year.
There is not much to be disappointed with in the Divergent EKO offering, but if there was something nitpickers could pick out it may be the finish options offered on the Divergent EKO. Although each of the options looks great, the limited number of choices is a bit of a turn off for some shooters, especially those interested in some of the more fashionable patterns available in 2020. For shooters wanting a solid color, the Iron is the only choice. This dark grey color looks tough and is the only option for those not wanting a camo pattern. For camo offerings, shooters can opt for One Nation Midnight, Realtree Edge, TrueTimber Strata, Veil Stoke, Veil Alpine, and a pretty sweet looking throwback pattern known as the Fred Bear Camo. For shooters wanting an Optifade, Under Armour, or Kuiu pattern, they will need to look away from any of the Bear bows. However, those not super attached to one of the more popular patterns in 2020, should be able to choose something they like. To be fair, none of the Bear bows have these patterns, so it is not a cost savings measure for Bear to not have them available on this budget friendly model. It is simply not an option for any bow in the Bear lineup at all.
The Divergent EKO riser looks like the rest of the Bear lineup, as there is a distinct look related to the cutouts and design of the Bear bows. It is a machined aluminum riser, with a lot of the same features from the rest of the Bear lineup. The Divergent EKO only gets a lower mounted string stop system instead of the top and bottom system like the flagship models, which is the only major difference in looks between this model and the highest end bows Bear has available. Although the 30-inch axle to axle measurement is a touch on the shorter side, the riser is a fairly long riser, which helps keep a solid platform to the bow overall. Sometimes, shorter axle to axle bows can start to feel easily torqueable when the risers condense too much. However, that is not true with the Divergent EKO.There is a Swing Style Cable Containment System, which pivots towards the centerline of the bow and back to the shooter as the bow is drawn. This design is not a new one in the archery world, but is less favorable for many manufacturers when compared to more popular roller guard systems. There is nothing wrong with the design and function of this style of cable guard, and it does a fairly decent job of eliminating torque as the bow reaches full draw. It is just not the latest and greatest technology on the market for compound bows, or even in the Bear lineup.
The grip is a one-piece plastic grip, which could be removed for shooters wanting to shoot directly off the riser with a little grip tape added. The grip is a fairly slim feeling grip, and has a smooth feeling where the plastic meets the metal riser. The plastic grip will be a bit warmer than the machined aluminum riser, which hunters will appreciate on cold morning sits in the timber. There is not much to like or dislike about the grip. It is functional, feels fine, and allows shooters to hold the bow with proper technique. The plastic grip does not have the most premium look, but that is not unique to Bear grips, and can be seen across virtually every manufacturer in 2020.
The Bear limbs are well made fiberglass limbs, which are batch made and built to last. The shape of the limbs is a bit unique with them getting a bit narrower, and also thicker as they make it down into the metal limb pockets where they are securely fastened to the riser. The limbs are adjustable in 15-pound increments, with two configurations of a 45-60-pounds model and a 55-70-pounds model. The split limbs do come with a factory installed dampener, and will hold a more standard split limb dampener for shooters wanting any aftermarket limb dampener, which mounts between the two limbs.
Bear went from a hybrid cam system with yoke tuning ability to the EKO style of binary cam system. The EKO cams are featured on other rigs, and are pretty popular because of their great performance and limited user input. In other words, the bow draws pretty easily for the performance created. The EKO cams are pretty large cams in size, and offer all adjustments built directly into the rotating modules, or adjustable string stop peg. Shooters can opt for a let off setting of 75, 80, 85, and 90% along with a draw length range of 26-30-inches with half-inch adjustments. When partnered with the 6.5-inch brace height, the Divergent EKO still flings arrows at an IBO rated speed of 338 feet per second. This type of performance is pretty special, but considering the $700 MSRP price tag, this level of performance has very little competition at that value. The EKO cams are the same on the top and bottom of the system, which makes them as in sync with each other as possible. Without a yoke system, the EKO cams tune by adjusting the spacers on the axles, or by doing what other companies refer to as shimming the cams. This makes tuning the bow a bit more tedious of a process if a shooter needs to tune out a left or right tear because the cams need to be removed, spacers need to be adjusted, and the cams need to be placed back on the bow. With a yoke system, shooters would just remove the cable they wanted to twist, make the adjustment, and reattach the cable. Moving the spacers is not tough to do, and both tuning styles require a bow press, but many comfortable with yoke tuning feel this adjustment is a bit more time consuming. The great news is that once set to a shooter's arrows, the spacers should never need more adjusting.
The EKO cams are a pretty smooth drawing cam, meaning there are no noticeable transitions from one section of the draw force curve to the next. There may be a slight hump feeling in the draw force curve depending on the draw length as well. However, it is a stiff drawing bow, which means shooters are not going to say it feels like it is drawing less weight than it actually is. The EKO cams stiff draw will make shooters feel like they are drawing the weight they have chosen. The valley is nice, and comes in the draw cycle where shooters may start to struggle with the draw weight. The longer valley will be appreciated for hunters, and the ability to adjust the let off is a great feature as well. The back wall also feels pretty solid while holding on target, but reaching the back wall makes the pin flutter a bit. After the arrow is released, the bow is not as quiet as others in the Bear lineup, but it is not necessarily considered a loud or noisy bow. Shooters will need to be fully committed to the shorter axle to axle bow, and those wanting a compact rig will be fine with shooting a shorter bow. The after shock of the bow may take a bit to get used to for some shooters.
The 2020 Bear Divergent EKO is another hunting bow in the lineup from Bear. This is a compact model, weighing in a touch heavier than 4-pounds, and geared towards shooters interested in the best value. This bow is not necessarily designed for shooters wanting the best of the best, but it is designed to undoubtedly perform in the woods during hunting situations. For shooters not loving the shorter axle to axle measurement, Bear Archery does an outstanding job covering the entire range of hunting bows, so other models may fit a particular shooter better than the Divergent EKO.
The Bear Divergent EKO is a limited frills hunting bow, which does everything it is designed to do. Shorter axle to axle bows are not for all bow hunters, but those on the market for something a bit more compact are already aware of what a smaller bow performs like, and should have no issues with the steeper string angle or perhaps added pin float depending on the draw length needed. The changing let off option is a great addition to the Divergent EKO, and will allow shooters to get the best feeling back wall for their personal taste. The Divergent EKO does everything a compact hunting bow is designed to do, but does not necessarily stand out in any one area or with any industry leading technology. Because of that, the MSRP is only $700. For that price, shooters could outfit their rig with some lower priced accessories and be fully set up for the cost of a high end hunting rig. For shooters just wanting a good shooting hunting bow, without needing the parking lot bragging rights to owning the latest and greatest bow with the most advanced technology, the Divergent EKO may be the right choice. There is some felt vibration on the shot, the camo patterns are not as fancy as some others, and may have less choices than some flagship models, but for the price it is really hard to find a bow with better performance. Shooters wanting a compact hunting bow, without paying a premium price tag have a lot to look forward to in regards to the 2020 Bear Divergent EKO.