There is something about going to the Bear Archery website that makes you feel a part of the Bear heritage. The legend of Fred Bear is proudly carried on with the "Legend" series of bows, which the Kuma leads the way on. For a hunting bow in 2018, the Kuma checks all the right boxes, and for a bare bow price of $899, the Kuma is priced so anyone interested in a flagship hunting bow can make the purchase. The new finish options look great and the technology incorporated rivals anything produced in 2018. As an overall package, shooters would be hard pressed to find anything wrong with the Kuma, and anything not liked about the bow will be based on personal preference. Some shooters have complained the 75% let-off is not adjustable, but it feels great and is easily managed at the end of the draw force curve. Bear has done everything right with the 2018 Kuma, and it deserves a test shot for anyone on the market for a new hunting bow for 2018.
Bear has some outstanding finish options for 2018. In general, Bear has always created a nice looking, durable finish and that continues into 2018 with some added design options. The new trend for 2018 is to offer bows in a variety of finishes so shooters have a sense of customization with their purchase. Bear is offering the Legend Series bow in five patterns including: Realtree Edge, Badlands Approach, Iron, One Nation B/W, and One Nation R/W/B. To say these options look great would be an understatement. The One Nation patterns are unique to Bear and add some flair to the other offerings. The One Nation R/W/B is unique in that it has red, white, and blue throughout the entire scheme of the Kuma, but it is very sharply done, and screams patriotism. Every option looks great in person, and it is going to be a difficult choice for shooters to decide which one they want to take home.
The riser gets a new design for the 2018 Kuma, and the machining is done very well. When looking at the Kuma specifications on paper, just about every measurement is optimal for what shooters are interested in with a hunting bow. The bare bow weight of the Kuma is right at 4.3-pounds, and the brace height is 6-inches. For technology, the riser has a couple excellent features shooters should appreciate. For starters, the Kuma riser features the Bearcage on the top and bottom of the riser. This riser cage system design adds strength to the riser where it is most susceptible to torque during the draw cycle, while allowing some additional machining to occur to trim out some more weight on the riser. The Bearcage design conincides with the dual string stop system Bear has been known for the last several years as part of the riser design. For a cable containment system, the Roller Hingeguard is pretty slick. The roller system is a highly desirable, creating a more fluid draw cycle than many traditional cable slide systems. The roller guard also hinges as it is being drawn, which helps eliminate torque on the riser caused by the added pressure of the cables as the bow is drawn. The technology packed into the riser, in combination with the popular specifications hunters look for, make the Kuma ideal for a hunting bow.
The grip is one of the most preferential aspects of a compound bow, and can make or break a purchase for some shooters. The grip keeps the shooter connected to the bow the entire shot sequence, and it has to be comfortable and promote proper hand placement in order for shooters to consider purchasing. Bear understands the importance of a good grip design, and ships the Kuma with two options for shooters to decide which one feels best. Bear grips include the over mold grip and narrow grip, and each have a different feel for shooters to decide between. Having different grip options for the same bow is not unique to the Bear Kuma, but it is one of the few models shipping multiple grip options straight from the factory.
Bear Archery offers two limb configurations with maximum draw weights of 60 and 70-pounds, which adjust 15-pounds lower than the maximum weights instead of the industry standard of 10-pounds. The Kuma uses what Bear calls the Max Preload Quad Limbs, which are a split limb system to store the energy produced by the hybrid cam system. The limbs are designed in a way that allows the weight to be distributed throughout the entire limb, instead of utilizing only a portion of the split limbs. To help deaden the noise and vibration, Bear introduces the Shockwaves limb dampeners to the mix as well. These dampeners fit on the inside of each limb instead of going around or between the split limbs like dampeners we have seen in the past. The design works well as the Kuma bow is as quiet and vibration free as a rig can be. The Beartrap limb pocket is a metal design, and uses a zero tolerance boot to keep the limbs in the perfect place during the draw cycle of the H18 cams. Bear deserves some kudos using a metal pocket instead of a composite design to keep the limbs in proper alignment. This design choice speaks to the workmanship Bear committed to with the Kuma, and this pocket should add to the Kuma's longevity.
The H18 cam system is a freshly designed hybrid cam for the 2018 Kuma. The draw length range fits most adult shooters with the ability to adjust between 25.5-30-inches with the modular based cam design. The half-inch adjustments are easy to make youself without the need for a bow press, and clearly labeled on the cam system. The H18 let-off is 75%, which is right in the middle of the 2018 offerings ranging from 65-90%. Bear has offered bows with 75% let-off, and it has been popular with many shooters as being a mixture of a manageable let-off and still providing some great performance numbers. The speed rating on the Kuma is 345 feet per second, with the 6-inch brace height. There is no need to super tune this bow to get the highest advertised performance, which is really nice. Shooters will not have to play around making minor tweaks in order to get the bow shooting as fast as Bear claims.
The H18 does not disappoint in providing an outstanding draw cycle. This cam allows shooters great control of the draw cycle from the start of the cycle to solid back wall. The bow is a bit heavy by the old standard of 4-pounds, but 4.3-pounds is right where the industry is producing hunting rigs for 2018, so it is fairly competitive. The Kuma balances well on target, and the two grip options really offer shooters some choice in what it feels like in the shooters hand. The 75% let-off feels great, and gives a great deal of control throughout the back end of the draw cycle. To have the back end of the draw cycle so easy to manage is really great considering the Kuma will more than likely be a strict hunting bow for most shooters purchasing it for the 2018 model year. After the shot, the Shockwaves limp dampeners and the dual string stop system quiets the bow exceptionally well, and there is no felt vibration lingering in the grip area after the shot. The arrow speeds are peppy, and the shootability in general of the Kuma rivals anything else on the market for 2018.
The Bear Kuma is a hunting bow, with an outstanding list of bow hunter specifications offered in terms of axel-to-axel measurement, brace height, speed, and shootability. Some shooters wanting to do some competitive 3D shooting will have no problem with the Kuma shooting foam accurately, but this bow is going to be most comfortable on the hunting side of archery.
The 2018 Kuma is the flagship model for the Bear Legend Series, and does not disappoint. Everything about the Kuma from the specifications to the shootability screams legendary hunting bow. With an $899 suggested retail price tag, the Kuma is one of the most affordable flagship hunting bows on the market for 2018. For those wanting a new hunting rig, the Kuma truly has a lot of offer shooters. Bear Archery is an outstanding company, and the heritage behind the name instills a great deal of confidence when purchasing a bow from the Bear Company. Aside from personal preference, there is nothing to dislike about the Kuma, and it deserves consideration with the other flagship models offered for 2018.