Bear archery is a great bow company, and they have always produced a lineup, which gives shooters the absolute upper end of technology and performance as well as something a bit cheaper for those just starting out. For many shooters, the availability of a bow in all designs and price points is a great marketing strategy. Many shooters are brand loyal, and to have a bow from youth models, to inexpensive starter bows, all the way to high end hunting rigs allows shooters to stick to the same lineup for their entire life. However, when Bear releases a bow like the Status EKO, some like to downgrade how great it is because other bows in the lineup are not high end, nor are they attempting to be. Those giving the 2020 Bear Status EKO an honest chance to prove its worth will quickly see how great of a flagship bow this really is. The EKO cam is adjustable from 26-30-inches, has four distinct let off percentages, and flings arrows 344 feet per second. Shooters can also choose between two grip options, which both ship with the Status EKO from the factory. For $999, this bow is everything any other premium bow on the market is. Some reviewers have cited the Status EKO's aggressive look as being a turnoff, and only six finish options is not that many in the world of bow customization in 2020, but from a shootability and specification standpoint, the Status EKO is worth a serious consideration for anyone looking at a high end hunting bow with all the bells and whistles.
The Bear Status EKO patterns are well done and look pleasing to the eye on the shelf and in hunting situations. The patterns blend in well, and are durably applied to look great for as long as possible given the hunting conditions shooters put their rigs through each year. The six options offered include: Iron, One Nation Midnight, Veil Stoke, Fred Bear Camo, Veil Alpine, and Realtree Edge. These patterns all look great, and the throwback Fred Bear pattern is a neat looking design, which should be pretty popular this model year. However, Bear is only offering a total of six options on their flagship model, which is pretty limited considering what some other manufacturers are producing. Bear also does not have any of the ultra popular designer patterns so many people are using nowadays, and that would definitely be a welcomed addition to the lineup in the future. That is not to knock any of what is being offered, but adding Gore Optifade or any of the Kuiu patterns may be very helpful in adding some additional appeal and generating some excitement behind the Bear brand.
The Status EKO riser is the most polarizing aspect of the bow for many shooters and reviewers based on the designed cutouts and overall look Bear has created with this rig. Some shooters do not value the looks of the bow they shoot too highly, but with the Status EKO having so much competition in the hunting bow world, some shooters are going to choose the bow based on looks. The cutouts are not all that different from other rigs, but instead of the cutout being straight through the riser, each cutout appears to be caged as well. This makes the riser look a bit busy, and although it does shave some added ounces off the overall weight, the 4.3-pounds bare bow weight is not necessarily light either. In combination with the cam system, the brace height is a speed creating 6-inches, which may also be on the short side of what shooters are considering. Bear also maintains the top and bottom string stops, which is unique to them in the compound bow market. These dampeners are ideal in creating the same string action shot after shot, and do an awesome job of keeping the bow quiet and vibration free. Bear also has another unique riser integration called the Align Lok, which has a level added to the riser perpendicular to where the sight is mounted to the riser. This level helps shooters set up their rigs initially and can help when adjusting higher end sights for second and third axis leveling. There are tools for doing these sight adjustments, but Bear is the first to add a level directly to the riser itself to help support these adjustments. The cable containment system is a bit different looking as well, although standard for Bear the last couple model years. The guard itself is mounted so the rollers are mounted sideways compared to what many shooters are used to. The cables natural movement path is towards the centerline of the bow, and the rollers being mounted this way allows them to assist with the free moving cables through the system during the draw cycle.
Bear Archery has done what every company should do in regards to their grip offerings. They have made it a point to provide more than one option straight out of the box, free of charge to the buyer, to allow shooters to choose which grip fits their hand and shooting style the best. There is a more standard sized grip which Bear is claiming will more precisely fit into the shooters hand. They call this grip the Narogrip, and it is a bit larger than the second grip option right from the factory. Bear also ships a smaller profile grip, they call the Versagrip, which is becoming increasingly popular for hunting models to feature in 2020. The grip is such a personal preference for shooters, that it could be the deciding factor whether or not a potential buyer purchases a particular bowl. For Bear to include multiple grips, which both feel great, but are different in shape and size, is an outstanding addition to the Status EKO. The grips are easily swapped out, for shooters to go back and forth and choose which one feels the best to them. Kudos to Bear for having multiple options, and including both in the box with all bows so shooters do not have to pay more for a factory grip option. More companies should take what Bear is doing and apply it to their lineup.
Bear Is sticking with the split limb design they have used for the last several years on their flag ship models. These limbs have proven to be durable and long-lasting, and should be worry free for any shooter choosing the Status EKO. The pockets feature multiple connecting points to each limb in order to hold everything as tightly to the riser as possible throughout the shot cycle. Driveway is available in two limb configurations including a 40 to 60 pound option and a 55 to 70 pound limb option. This is a bit different than the standard 10 pound draw weight configuration on most flagship mo The limb graphics display the legend series badge along with the bone name, which are both very tastefully done using black lettering and minimal. dels, and allows them to offer two configurations where many would need to offer three for the same range. The limb graphics display the Legend Series badge along with the bow name, which are both very tastefully done using block lettering and minimal designs taking away from the look of the bow. Shooters can purchase in confidence knowing the Bear quality is evident in the limb design, and they will be long lasting and high performing.
The EKO cam is featured as the power supply for the Status model in 2020, and it does a pretty great job creating arrow speeds up to 344 feet per second. The rotating module allows for draw length adjustments from 26-30-inches, in half-inch increments as well, which will fit most shooters interested in a top of the line hunting bow. The EKO technology also allows let off customization in four settings: 75%, 80%, 85%, and 90%. Changing the draw let off often changes the draw length a bit as well, which is how some companies have such little difference in speed from the lower to the upper end of the let off. The higher let offs actually have slightly longer draws, so the speed lost is made up with a longer draw length. The Bear EKO cam allows shooters to change the let off and not move the draw length at all, which is nice for those who will change the let off based on the time of the year.
The EKO cam is an outstanding cam system with a smooth draw and an absolutely solid back wall feel. There is a felt transition from the peak weight to the long valley, but it is not characterized by the standard hump feeling in the draw cycle. The let off can also be adjusted for shooters to fine tune the holding weight they want. The solid back wall really helps lock the pin on target, and those who appreciate a solid wall will have a lot to like with this particular cam. For those who like a spongier feeling back wall, the EKO cam may not be the best choice. The bow feels like less aggressive single cam models from Bear in previous years, and has a really nice feel. The feeling after the shot is nice as well. The arrow is pretty zippy down range, and the noise and vibration are virtually non-existent. For a dedicated hunting bow, it is really tough to pick out any specific characteristic of the EKO shooting experience that would not be ideal for hunting situations. Both grip options are awesome too. If shooters like a thinner grip, or a little girthier feeling grip, Bear has an option offered to give shooters the most comfort possible.
Bear has not been in competitive archery much since the company transitioned to compound bows, and the Status EKO stays with the hunting bow heritage founded by the legend, Fred Bear himself. There is something about owning a Bear Legend Series bow given the amazing history of Fred Bear himself, and the confidence of seeing that name it really special. The Status EKO is a hunting bow through and through, which also means there is a ton of competition for the Status EKO on the market in 2020. Shooters will be comfortable at local shoots with buddies using the Status EKO for 3D shoots, but anyone interested in more than bragging rights, or not having to buy the first round after a Saturday shoot with friends may be drawn to something more specific to 3D or target archery.
The bear legend series of those instills a boost of confidence just from association alone. Fred Bear is often noted as the founder of modern day bowhunting, and the legends series is the lineup dedicated directly to his legacy. Bear did an amazing job with the Status EKO bow, and it is going to be a very popular model for 2020. From a specification standpoint, the Status EKO is similar to a lot of other hunting bows on the market, which means it has to be great in order to draw some attention away from the other models. With a 33-inch axle-to-axle measurement, a 6-inch brace height, and speeds maxing at an IBO rated 344 feet per second, there is a great deal to like about the 2020 Status EKO. Some shooters have stated not liking the riser design, and would like to see some additional finish options, which do not impact how the bow feels or shoots. However, with so many direct competitors, the looks and finish options may be the reason why a shooter might choose a different bow instead of the Status EKO. For $999, the bow is not cheap, but it is comparable to other flagship models on the market, and has competitive technology of all the other high end hunting bows available in the current model year. The Status EKO may not get as much love as it deserves for how great it feels in the hands and firing arrows downrange, but it is worth considering for any shooter on the market for a top of the line hunting bow.