Bowtech Fuel Review

Bowtech Fuel

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Pros

  • Inexpensive at $499 with R.A.K. package
  • Extremely adjustable
  • Implemented benefits of a Binary Cam system

Cons

  • Respectable, but slower IBO speed of 320fps
  • Nonlimb actuated draw stops

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Editors' review

Since 2000, Bowtech Archery has built up and maintained an incredible reputation in the world of archery, being one of the nation's largest producers of compounds. New for 2014 is the Fuel, a bow designed to be suitable for archers of all age groups and experience levels. Setting itself apart from the closely related Diamond Infinite Edge is this model's implementation of Bowtech's Binary Cam System, which makes it possible to achieve arrow speeds up to 320fps, all the while maintaining the adjustability and forgiveness in the riser and other specifications. For $499 with the R.A.K. package (and $449 bare), this compound, in many ways, stands out from the competitors in its price range.

Finish

The Fuel is offered in just two finish options from the factory; the first being standard "Blackops", featuring black cams, limbs, and riser as a whole, and the second being "Mossy Oak Break-Up Country", simply the same as aforementioned except with a camouflage riser. In either option, red Octane strings with black serving are included, but any colors can be achieved with a custom set of threads once these need replacing.

Riser

This compound is equipped with a 6061 rigid aluminum riser, and even though it is used in previous bows and is only very slightly redesigned, it is capable of maintaining a solid shooting platform and weight to a mere 3.4lbs. With a dozen geometric cutouts, a fiberglass cable guard rod, a simple limb pocket mechanism, and ample tapped holes for accessories, there are very few features with this riser that differ than mainline, twice as expensive bows. Other measurements include a generous brace height of 7" and a fairly short axle-to-axle measurement of 31.5", attributing to its compactness for any hunting purposes it is definitely capable of.

Limbs

Bowtech's Fuel comes with a slightly-compressed solid composite limb system, capable of a large draw weight range (adjustable from 14-70lbs with an allen wrench). With this system, only one set of limbs is needed to achieve multiple draw weight settings, all the while maintaining stability and concentricity. Between pockets and the riser.

Grip

Although comfortable, The Fuel's plastic molded grip is a bit tacky, and along with the plastic pieces of the R.A.K. accessory package is somewhat of a negative contributor of the professionalism of this compound. However, it is a benefit to hunters as it will ultimately insulate the hand from the aluminum parts of the riser in colder weather conditions. It is neither slim nor large, but a comfortable size for both young archers and aged shooters.

Eccentric System

Bowtech's Binary Cam System offers many advantages over other eccentric systems on the market. Being completely symmetric and mirrored pieces of aluminum, they are always slaved together from rest until the end of the shot sequence- ultimately preventing this system to come out of tune at a random. Similarly, the nature of these cams are to provide perfect nock travel, and once set in position, will provide an ample level of consistency to attribute to accuracy at longer ranges. Capable of being set to draw lengths of 18"-30" in half inch increments, this setup can nearly fit all archers on the face of the planet, especially paired with such a vast array of draw weight settings. For a 320fps IBO rated cam system on a price-point, mid-range, highly adjustable compound, it packs a punch and is definitely worth taking a glance at. Also worth noting is it's true 80% letoff- a good setting for keeping a low hold weight while minimizing creep before the release.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

Binary Cam Systems, although known for their high output and notable level of consistency, have a unique draw cycle, The Fuel's eccentrics being no different. The hump in the draw cycle appears at the front and weight slowly builds up until a significant drop at the end. Compared to a single cam where most of the weight is built up near the end, the force chart is more definite, with a deeper valley and overall a different feeling force curve. As much as it would take some period of time to get used to, it is a very easy draw cycle in comparison, and has a reputation for feeling like the shooter is pulling back less weight, ultimately being a benefit for archers who shoot with a high level of repetition or hunters who need to be able to pull back the bow back in less than great conditions. The only downside to these specific cams would be the lack of hard draw stops for a solid back wall on the draw cycle, but in some cases, it is better with them stopping by the string- it's mainly a preference to the specific archer.

Silencing Package

The Fuel comes standard with a carbon rod string stop, and with the R.A.K. package, a simple vibration-reducing stabilizer. Although not much, this compound still maintains a quiet shooting platform and is adequate for hunting purposes in such terms. With the simple addition of string and limb silencers, however, the quietness would be improved and the small amount of noticeable vibration would be nearly completely removed.

Comparison

Bow Bowtech Fuel Diamond Infinite Edge
Version 2016 2014
Picture Bowtech Fuel Diamond Infinite Edge
Brace Height 7 " 7 "
AtA Length 31.5 " 31 "
Draw Length 18 " - 30 " 13 " - 30 "
Draw Weight 14 lbs - 70 lbs 5 lbs - 70 lbs
IBO Speed 320 fps 310 fps
Weight 3.4 lbs 3.1 lbs
Let-Off 80% 75%
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Built off of a very similar riser, Diamond's Infinite Edge is a comparable compound with one major difference- the cam system. While the Diamond Infinite Edge simply uses a dual cam setup, The Bowtech Fuel is built off of a somewhat superior Binary system. The downside of the binary is the lesser 56lbs of draw weight adjustment compared to the IE's 65lbs, as well as the loss of an extra 5" of draw length adjustment. However, the Fuel is rated for 10fps faster arrow speed and has a half inch longer axle-to-axle measurement for greater forgiveness, even though it is .3lbs heavier in terms of mass. Both models feature solid composite limbs and would be great choices for the beginner archer or the older one looking to upgrade; as with any compound, it's always a good idea for prospective compound buyers to shoot a few models before deciding on one for good, these two being good examples.

Usage Scenarios

Whether used in a pure hunting situation or to fling arrows downrange, the 31.5" ATA measurement is both short enough to maneuver in tight wooded areas without having to worry about little branches interfering with a shot and long enough to provide ample forgiveness and steadiness for target shooting. Although the first scenario is more likely to be the pure application of this bow, it is adequate to perform, especially at lower poundages, with accuracy and consistency in the range for younger archers.

Summary

Bowtech Archery has implemented another solid compound into the lineup not only for this year, but for future years where it will likely be kept in production until the next revolutionary technology becomes available on bows in this price range. Although there are a few items on the list that could be improved slightly, like the grip and the addition of a draw stop peg on one or both of the cams, there are an incredible amount of features, including a complete binary cam system equipped in The Bowtech Fuel. For $499 with the R.A.K. package, the consumer is getting a bow that performs on par with many more expensive models at less than half the cost. For those looking around for a compound that sets itself apart from average highly adjustable mid-range compounds, The Fuel deserves a look and a couple test shots-for it won't disappoint.




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