Elite is making some pretty serious claims about their new Ritual flagship bow, and many fan boys hope the reality lives up to the hype of this new bow. Elite is claiming this is the most efficient bow they have ever produced, and it can rival any of the other models on the market for 2018. That is a bold statement considering some of the competition for this model year. Elite also claims the Ritual is the culmination of everything the company has stood for since the beginning in regards to high let-off, outstanding shootability, and easy tuning. The bow has some favorable specifications with a 33 1/4-inch axel-to-axel measurement, 6 3/4-inch brace height, and IBO speeds up to 335 feet per second. Some things that may not be very popular with the Ritual include an upcharge for some camo options, only black limbs no matter which finish shooters choose, and an upgrade charge for 65-pound limbs. The bow sells for an MSRP of $999, which is much closer to what people expect than last year's bows, but with the silly upgrade fees, some shooters are going to look elsewhere solely based on the nickel and diming Elite is attempting. The bow has the Elite feel, so those in the market for what put Elite in shops around the country are going to be happy with the bow itself.
The Elite brand has always been finished well with a high quality, long lasting look and 2018 continues that long standing tradition of Elite craftsmanship. The Ritual is offered in a variety of finish options, but some require an upgrade fee, while others are considered standard options for the Ritual. Shooters also get their rig with black limbs no matter which finish color or pattern they choose. For 2018, with the number of finish options offered on bows from the factory expanding, it is strange to see Elite add an up charge based on the finish options. Depending on the dealer, shooters can expect to see a $50-100 increase, and that seems ridiculous given the competition. The patterns offered on the Ritual without an upgrade are Ninja Black, Graphite Gray, Mossy Oak Break-Up Country, and Realtree Xtra. The camo finishes offered for the upgraded cost includes: Mossy Oak Mountain Country, Realtree Max-1, Realtree Snow, Kuiu Verde, and Kuiu Vias. For those wanting a solid limb color, Elite offers the following options to pair with the black limbs: Purple Rain, Emerald Green, Surge Red, Cobalt Blue, Copper Flame, and Sunset Pink. Overall, the number of colors and camo options is outstanding. It would be great for the made to order upgrade fee to be eliminated though.
The riser looks similar to the 2017 Elite archery lineup. The Ritual stays with the dual riser cages on the top and bottom, which add a little extra weight to the bow, but also helps strengthen the overall integrity of the riser. The bare bow weight ends up tipping the scales at 4.3-pounds before accessories are added. The riser design helps create the 33 1/4-inch axel to axel measurement with a 6 3/4-inch brace height giving the Ritual a very stable feel holding on target. The bow feels slightly top heavy at rest, but when holding downrange, the balance feels just about perfect.The Linear Tunable Roller Guard (LTR) in a sense replaces the no yoke cam system by allowing the flexible roller guard to move in and out to tune with the arrows and hand pressure of each shooter. Elite went a long time with a traditional cable slide design, but the LTR meets the tuning needs Elite demands from the Ritual, and competes with many other companies offering a roller guard. The LTR is well thought out, and functions just as advertised.Elite allows shooters to mount a front stabilizer, side bar, and rear stabilizer also to help out with balancing the rig to meet what every shooter wants. The ability to customize how the bow holds, and feels after the shot is greatly appreciated. With added stabilizers, and the string stop system in use, the Ritual is as shock free as a bow can get. This may also support Elite's claim of the Ritual being the most efficient bow they have ever produced.
The grip is a great feeling engineered component of the riser. Although the grip has side plates, they are not super functional. The grip is pretty slim compared to the older grips Elite used for many years. The throat of the grip is narrower as well, but it really does allow shooters to place their hands in the proper shooting position. This version of the grip is a bit different than last year's offering and the redesigned shelf area allows the bow to fit better into the shooters hand. Elite has always offered the grip as part of the riser, but it does make the grip a bit chilly in cold weather versus a wooden, rubber, or composite grip. In terms of grip comfort, this version is pretty outstanding.
Elite stays with the split limb design for 2018 and offers the Ritual in 50, 60, and 70-pounds. Shooters can also choose 65-pound limbs as well, but those wanting that poundage will pay an upgrade fee to get them. The upgrade fee is pretty silly to be honest, and will more than likely deter shooters from getting the bow that fits them the best or perhaps from buying a Ritual at all. The limbs are only offered in black as well, which is not what has been offered in the past. To place these limitations on their rigs, and charge shooters to get what they want seems to be a weird trend when offering more options is the general trend.
Elite wanted to create a new cam system, which had the same features as their historically loved bows with a smooth draw cycle, long dwell zone, and high let-off. The two-track cam system has no yolks which pro shops use to tune arrow spine and even some hand torque each shooter may place on the system. Instead, the cams utilize the LTR cable containment system, which can offer some adjustment solutions for tuning the arrow set up to each bow. The Ritual cams produce an IBO speed rating of 335 feet per second. The draw lengths offered range from 26.5-31-inches with modular adjustments in half-inch increments throughout the draw length range. The modular system is a bit outdated, and can hurt the resale value of the Ritual. It also makes it tough for pro shops to stock each size shooters may need. On the plus side, modular systems are generally faster than rotating module systems. The let-off is customizable a bit by moving the limb stop post within its track. From the factory, the let-off will be close to 85-90%, but when adjusted, it can go down to 65% or so to fine tune the holding weight shooters want to have at the back end of the draw cycle.
Elite created a bow with new technology and features, which feels like their older models people feel in love with years ago. Elite marketing claims this is also the most efficient bow ever produced. Adding efficiency to a smooth drawing, high let-off cam system is a perfect storm of shootability, and that has been the game for Elite since they began.The Ritual draws like a typical Elite bow, which they got away from a bit last year. This bow incorporates split limbs, a roller system, dual riser cages, and acceptable speeds up to 335 feet per second and feels wonderful from the start of the draw to the end. The Ritual has no noticeable dump into the huge let off other than the draw weight getting lighter as the back wall approaches. The back wall is as solid as it comes with the dual limb stops and can be adjusted to change the overall let-off in desired. There is nothing to dislike about this bow other than personal preferences wanting a little different feel. The Elite Ritual was done well, and should help get the Elite hopeful back on board after a shaky year last year.
The Ritual is the flagship hunting bow, but could easily cross the line into other archery styles. Elite prides themselves on listening to customers and taking dealer feedback, and the forgiving specifications of the Ritual are the result of those conversations. Although it can branch out to several different disciplines, the Ritual is going to be most at home in the timber.
Elite Hunt Guarantee and Elite Archery Financing
Elite is partnering with Klaran to offer financing for new models. With the base price of $999, the monthly payment for a Ritual can be as low as $61 a month. This is new to the world of archery, and still a little early to tell how frequently it will be used by customers. However, it is a neat concept and sure to help some shooters fund a bow in a pinch.Elite also offers a pretty cool Hunt Guarantee, which backs their equipment in case of any type of failure while on a hunt. Elite provides a phone number customers can call if something happens to their rig while hunting, and they will send a bow the next day to the shooter as a loaner. The loaner comes set to the shooter's draw weight and draw length, and has an installed peep sight and rest all tuned and ready for a sight to be added. Hunts, especially destination hunts can take years to save up for, and Elite offering their hunt guarantee offers piece of mind no other company does for making the hunt of a lifetime come true no matter what happens.
The Ritual is Elite's attempt at pulling all their most popular technologies over the years together into one package. When Elite started the shootability challenge, and started winning over a large number of shooters, this feeling is what people loved the most. The Ritual's draw cycle is exactly why people feel in love with Elite to begin with. The shock after the arrow is released in non-existent, and the 335 feet per second speed rating is pretty awesome with the forgiving specifications the Ritual was created on. Elite should look into their pricing a bit more to allow shooters to choose what they want from the factory for the same price as another model of the same bow, but the upgrade fee is not that much money and shooters will pay an upgrade fee on top of the $999 price tag. Overall, Elite has created a really outstanding bow based on what shooters demanded from the Outdoor Group. If someone is interested in the old school shootability and optimal draw cycle Elite made a name for themselves with, the Ritual will not disappoint.