The Elite Option 7 is the slower, more forgiving choice for Elite's multipurpose bow lineup. Although this bow can perform in every style of archery it is challenged with, it will more than likely be a hunting bow for most shooters. Elite has stepped out of their comfort zone a bit and brought split limbs, and a tunable roller guard system to the market this year. Although this may not seem like much because other manufacturers utilize them, it is Elite's first attempt at either. It is safe to assume a great deal of research and development resources were allocated to the new technologies integrated by Elite, but it may go against what many diehard Elite shooters are truly interested in from their favorite company. The Option 7 is a seven-inch brace height bow with a 32- inch axel-to-axel measurement and 332 feet per second IBO speeds. To say this bow has a lot of competition would be a significant understatement, but it should stack up very well against the competition. The price jump in MSRP to $1199 is depressing to see considering the riser is still made from 7075-grade aluminum. However, there are still shooters willing to pay prices that high for a bow that performs as well as the Option 7.
The Outdoor Group producing the Elite Option 7 has created a full range of finish options for this rig ranging from traditional camo patterns to brightly colored target options. For shooters wanting to shoot the Option 7, Elite has made it so the bow will be finished for any style of archery possible and look like it belongs with the competition. For more traditional camo patterns, Elite has Realtree Xtra, Realtree Max-1, and Realtree Snow. Kuiu was added to the lineup last year, and Verde and Vias have been carried over to the 2017 models as well. This camouflage pattern is relatively new, but has been developed with some high-end clothing and has a great following in the hunting community. The patterns are less detailed than the Realtree offerings, but still look amazing, and will be very functional when used as a hunting bow. In addition to this, Elite will continue to offer a variety of Rhinodize color options for their target friendly crowd. These colors include: Trendy Teal, Serious Pink, Crimson Red, Vette Yellow, Purple Rain, Surge Red, Timberwolf Gray, Pine Green, Cobalt Blue, Sunset Pink, Famous Pink, and Canyon Orange. The Rhinodized coating gives a durable finish and a unique feel to the Option 7. Unfortunately, some shooters have stressed disappointment with the finish citing chipping issues and other concerns with the durability of the Rhinodized process. Elite is selling a lot more bows than they have in the past, so it is hard to tell if this is a new concern with the coating, or something that has happened all along and it was just isolated to a smaller number of shooters. Any issues mentioned would be covered under the Elite warranty, but when spending $1199 for the bare bow, there really should be no quality control concerns to be nervous about.
The riser on the Option looks like other Elite bows, in part because of the dual cage riser design on the top and bottom of the riser. These cages help offer strength and support where it is needed above and below the grip area. The reinforcement helps with riser torque from the cable stress placed on the riser during the draw cycle. Strengthening these locations should make the bow more repeatable and more accurate. The additional structural support does add a little extra weight to the overall mass of the bow, which tips the scales at 4.3-pounds before adding accessories. To be fair, 0.3-pounds is not that much heavier than the desired 4-pound mark that has almost become an industry standard. However, the 4.0-pound bare bow mark has been the assigned benchmark to evaluate heavy bows or light bows. Based on that number, the Option 7 falls in the heavier bow category. Although the Option 7 never feels that way in hand or while holding on target, it is over the benchmark 4-pound mark. In fact, many shooters prefer heavier models to allow some more stabilization with holding on target. The riser gets a fresh design added for 2017 with the addition of a roller guard system on the Option 7. Most archers seem to prefer the roller system as compared to the standard cable slide system, which Elite has used in past years. The new roller system is called the Linear Tunable Roller (LTR). The system is not a flexing slide, but it does have some adjustment built in to help shooters fine tune their rigs a bit more. In theory, the roller guard can be moved in and out allowing for shooters to tune the exact distance needed for proper vane clearance depending on the profile they select to shoot. The guard does not flex like many others on the market, but the ability to be moved in and out may be appealing to some shooters. For others, it could simply be a feature that is neat, but not super useful. The Option 7 is a choice for hunting, target archery, and 3D. As such, it has front and rear mounting stabilizer holes for added weight to be placed wherever shooters want it to be. In addition to this, the string stop system and Limbsaver dampeners help keep the Option 7 a quiet and shock free bow all around.
The grip is brand new for the 2017 hunting bow flagship Option 7 is unlike the curved grip from the past. The solid grip is integrated into the riser design and has a tapered flat back instead of the rounded edges. This means where shooters have more hand contact, the grip is thicker, and where shooters have less hand contact, the grip is thinner. The flat back promotes proper hand placement as well, and it seems to be more repeatable than shooters guessing where their hand position is in relation to the rounded edges. The grip also features some side plates, which add more style points than anything truly functional. Shooters in the past have either loved or severely disliked the grip, so reactions to the new Elite handle may be mixed based on where shooters were in regards to their feelings of the old grip. For most shooters, the grip is going to feel great and shoot pretty well for them after working through a short transition time shooting the new feeling tapered grip.
Limbs are another component of the Option 7 getting a change for 2017. From the start of the company, Elite has gone with solid limb technology and it has worked pretty well for them. Over the years, there has been minimal issues regarding longevity and durability with the limbs, and the bow engineering has allowed solid limb construction as a solid choice. However, the OP cam system is a bit larger than other Elite cams, and the type of bow Elite was trying to create fit better with split limbs for 2017. This is the first attempt from Elite to have split limbs, but shooters should feel at ease from the design to try something new. The limbs are available in maximum draw weights of 50, 60, 65, 70, and 80-pounds. This includes every popular choice of limb weight shooters will want. It would be nice to offer 40-pound maximum weight limbs for some lady shooters, or even youngsters to give them the ability to shoot the Option 7 as well. However, for the primary marketable audience, the Option 7 offerings should do just fine.Elite has used a different limb pocket for 2017 as well - in large part because of the change in limb type. The new pockets do a nice job functionally, and do not seem to stand out like they have in past model years. Vibration dampening Limbsaver products are also featured between the limbs to help manage the noise and vibration caused after the shot.
The OP cam is a nice shooting cam system produced by the Elite engineers. It is a larger diameter system, which impacts how the draw cycle feels, and has a limb stop pad to aid in the limb stop instead of the traditional limb stop contacting the limb. The draw length ranges from 27-31-inches in half-inch increments using a modular adjustment system. The let-off is adjustable by rotating the limb stop post, but can be maxed out around 85%. The overall performance from the OP cam system is pretty acceptable for a bow with a 7-inch brace height clocking in at an IBO rated 332 feet per second.
The OP cam system is a bit stiffer than other Elite models. This is a personal preference thing, but some shooters used to an easier draw cycle from previous Elite bows may not enjoy the OP cam draw cycle as much. The transitions in the draw cycle are still smooth, and the "dwell zone" so many Elite fans are crazy about is still substantial. Elite refers to the "dwell zone" as the portion of the draw cycle after the let-off. This allows shooters to finish out the rest of the draw cycle with limited effort and is pretty sweet in hunting situations if shooters are caught drawing on their target animal. The back wall has the familiar solid Elite feel, but there does not seem to be as much creep room at the back end as previous Elite models.The bow holds very well on target as well. Although the 4.3-pounds bare bow weight is a bit heavier than some like on paper, in hand it feels great. The bow balances well at full draw, and the new grip is very easy to shoot and get used to. The Limbsaver dampening products work well to reduce any noise or string vibrations caused after the shot as well. The Option 7 performs well enough, and despite some changes to the technology, the bow still remains familiar with compared to older Elite models.
The Elite Option 7 has pretty good paper specifications for a variety of uses. This bow will be most popular in the hunting world, but shooters wanting to venture to 3D or target archery with their Option 7 will be able to do so without much of a struggle. The speeds are not smoking fast, but with many shooters are willing to accept slower speeds with a 7-inch brace height bow. The OP cam is a bit stiff, but rolls over well, has no felt hard spots, and has the famous dwell zone and high let-off which put Elite on the map years ago as a high end bow worth trying out. For shooters interested in a bow that can do all kinds of archery well, the Option 7 may be worth a test shot.
The Elite Hunt Guarantee
Elite no longer offers the transferrable warranty from owner to owner. However, it does have an industry standard limited lifetime warranty to all original owners. In addition to that, the Elite Hunt Guarantee makes it so shooters have an insurance policy on their hunt of a lifetime. For original Elite owners, if anything happens to their bow on a hunt, Elite will ship them a bow to their location the next day so the hunt is not ruined. This is unheard of protection in the hunting industry. Although shooters hopefully never have to use this type of warranty, it is extremely reassuring to know Elite fully backs their gear and will do everything they can to make a successful hunt of a lifetime possible.
The Elite Option 7 is a great bow with a favorable axel-to-axel measurement, a forgiving 7-inch brace height, and an IBO rating with 332 feet per second of acceptable performance. For some shooters in love with Elite, the Option 7 has many of the shootability characteristics from previous model years. The split limbs and tunable roller guard system are sure to go through a great deal of scrutiny since it is something Elite has not done in the past. With that being said, shooters looking at the Option 7 as a legitimate bow choice will find it performs well. The $1199 price tag is going to limit the number of shooters even considering the Option 7, and virtually every major bow manufacturer has a bow similar in specifications to the Option 7. So shooters on the market for a bow like the Option 7 will have many really great options, and many with smaller price tags, to choose from. The bottom line is the Elite Option is a flat out shooter for some people. Shooters will just have to be willing to pay a premium amount to shoot the 2017 Option 7.