Bear Escape SD Review

Bear Escape SD

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  • Fast and powerful bow for shorter draw archers
  • 7000 series aluminum riser
  • Great female or young shooter model


  • MSRP of $999 may be pretty steep for folks

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Editors' review

Bear Archery has taken the bones of the Escape and tweaked the cams a bit, creating the SD cams, which has better performance for shorter draw shooters. This allows shooters with a shorter draw length the ability to shoot a bow designed for them with better performance than shooting the Escape adjusted down to meet their draw length. Better performance will hopefully equate to more comfortable shooting and ideally increased accuracy down range. The Escape SD keeps the 32-inch axel-to-axel measurement, 6-inch brace height, and a 4-pound bare bow weight. The draw weight range changes a bit with one limb set available in 40-55-pounds, and the draw length range is from 23 1/2 - 27 1/2 -inches, with adjustments in half inch increments using a rotating cam module system. The performance is acceptable as well with speeds up to 325 feet per second. Overall, this bow will be great for shooter wanting the Escape with a shorter draw length within the SD wheelhouse.


The Escape SD is available in Realtree Xtra Green, Sand, Olive, and Shadow. There is also an option to combine Realtree Xtra Green and Shadow, which comes with purple accents for female shooters wanting something other than pink. Each of the options looks great, and covers the 7000 series aluminum riser well. The Bear badging is pretty minimal and standard for Bear, but does include the Bear logo and some Escape SD graphics.


The Escape SD riser is made of 7075 series aluminum, which is fairly durable and lightweight allowing engineers to lighten the overall mass of the bow a bit without compromising the structure and strength of the riser where it impacts performance. The overall bare bow weight is right at the magical 4-pound mark, which tends to be the divider between a bow being considered heavy of one being light. The riser design is unique to a typical Bear bow, with a string stop on the top and bottom of the riser to reduce vibration and noise from the string after the arrow has been shot down range. Some shooters prefer how this looks, and others simply love how the reduced noise and limited hand vibration feels after the shot. The stops have a little bit of adjustment as well, so shooters can do a little tweaking if needed.

The archery industry as a whole has been working on perfecting the cable guard systems of bows to help eliminate torque, as the cables want to move toward the center of the bow as the cams are drawn. Bear's response to this engineering demand is their Hinge guard system. This system has some designed movement, and does fully contain the cables in place throughout the draw cycle. Some shooters have complained this system tends to be tough on the cables, and shortens the amount of time between needing to change out cables because of wear. The system itself does reduce lateral torque, which it was designed to do, but some shooters may find it problematic the string life could be shortened because of it. It may not be a deal breaker for some, but it is a complaint worth noting for anyone thinking about the Escape SD.


The feel of the grip in a shooters hand can be the deciding factor in regards to if a customer purchases a particular bow model or not. Some shooters will not even experience a shot with a bow, if the grip feels uncomfortable from the start. This makes sense because the grip is the single point of contact between the shooter and the bow for the entire shot. Understanding this, Bear has built in two grip choices from the factory giving shooters a few options to choose from. The first choice is the one-piece rubber grip, which is the larger of the two choices. The rubber has a nice feel to the touch, and the shape is acceptable for keeping shooters hand in a good spot. If this grip feels a bit too large, shooters can take the grip off and shoot straight off the riser if they want. This grip is a bit narrower, and will be a little colder on the stand, but the smaller grip may be better for some shooters based on their personal preference.


The Bear Escape SD only comes with 40-55-pound limbs, which does restrict who will want to purchase the SD just a little bit. For many shooters, that will not be a problem because the bow is geared toward female shooters wanting a performance bow built specifically to perform at shorter draw lengths. However, it would be nice for shooters not in the 40-55-pound range have the ability to shoot the SD as well. The Escape SD is pretty silent right out of the box even without factory installed limb dampeners. Of course, these can be added with after market dampeners if desired, but Bear must not have seen an advantage to adding them from the factory.

The limb pockets are black on each of the finish options, which is fairly common practice in the archery world. The barrel nut forms a pivoting spot for the limbs to work with helping them maintain their specifications throughout the draw cycle while staying without moving in and out of tolerances. There are also a couple connection points for each split limb, which will keep everything as stable as possible as the limbs are drawn to full draw.

Eccentric System

The Escape SD features the SD cam, which is uniquely designed to optimize the efficiency and maximize the performance for shooters with a shorter draw cycle. Basically, that means shooters with draw lengths between 23.5-27.5-inches, should see better performance at the same draw length than they do with the H15 cam on the Escape. The 75% let off is the same on both cam systems, but the draw force tweaking helps create some faster speeds with the SD cam topping out at 325 feet per second. The draw length is adjusted using the moving module system, which incorporates half-inch changes throughout the entire range without the need for additional modules or new cams. Rotating the module is fairly simple to do as well.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

The SD cam has a nice feel. The redesigned system helps utilize the full draw cycle, instead of only using a shortened version of the H15 draw cycle. There really are no felt humps or weird spots in the draw cycle, and it pairs nicely with 75% let off. The valley is not overly touchy, and allows for a little bit of creep. Shooters will have to continue pulling into the back wall to avoid the string wanting to jump forward, but for the most part, shooters will have a lot of comfort settling in on the target at full draw. The bow is not necessarily heavy, but weighing in at 4-pounds before accessories are installed, the Escape SD is not necessarily considered a lightweight model either. With that being said, it never feels overwhelming at full draw, and some shooters appreciate a little heavier bow in order to keep things a little more stable. After the shot, the bow basically continues to sit on target. There is a slight thud with the string contacting both stops, but the handshock is non-existent and the thud is pretty tame. The experience overall has a nice feel and the improved speed and performance is always a welcomed addition.

Usage Scenarios

The Bear Escape SD is a great bow for shooters wanting the high end Escape, but have a shorter draw length. Ideally, this bow will be a hunting model, but some female shooters will have enough confidence to take the SD out on the 3D course with them for a little competitive shooting.

Bear Escape SD vs. Escape

Bow Bear Escape SD Bear Escape
Version 2016 2016
Picture Bear Escape SD Bear Escape
Brace Height 6 " 6 "
AtA Length 32 " 32 "
Draw Length 23.5 " - 27.5 " 25.5 " - 30 "
Draw Weight 30 lbs - 55 lbs 45 lbs - 70 lbs
IBO Speed 325 fps 350 fps
Weight 4.0 lbs 4.0 lbs
Let-Off 75% 75%
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It really comes down to draw length when deciding between these two models. Shooters in the 23.5-27.5-inches range will ideally see better performance out of the SD cams when compared to the H15 cams on the Bear Escape. With that being said, those wanting a draw weight outside of the Escape SD range of 40-55-pounds will not have the option to shoot the SD. Both bows will perform well, the decision will simply come down to which bow specs out the best based on what each shooter needs.


The Bear Escape SD is a wonderful bow for shooters wanting the Escape with a shorter draw cycle and pulling between 40-55-pounds. The SD cams are designed to outperform the H15 cams at the shorter draw lengths. The Escape SD is a perfect option for some shooters wanting the high-end speed and performance of the Escape. For Bear to offer this slightly redesigned bow, it really shows how in touch they are with what their customers really want. Ultimately, shooters will have to decide for themselves, which bow model shoots the best for them, but to simply have the option to shoot a bow with a cam for shorter draw shooters is pretty cool.

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