Elite's tagline on the product description says, "If you try it, you'll buy it," and to be honest, they may be on to something with that statement. The Elite Spirit is the first bow designed specifically for female shooters Elite has ever produced. The Spirit cam is designed for a draw length range of 24-28-inches with the ability to be changed in half-inch increments with the use of a different module. The draw feels like an Elite draw cycle, the bow features great technology, and it looks like the rest of the 2014 lineup. For $899, the Spirit may not be for everyone, but it has superb performance and is worth a look for female archers not shopping on a budget.
Elite finish is amazingly durable. Coated with the premium, ceramic based Cerakote finish; it will withstand a lot of abuse and still look like brand new. The dipping process is done above and beyond many shooters expectations, and truly looks fantastic when it is done. The camo patterns show great detail, and the target color options are bright and flawless. For target options, Spirit shooters can choose between black, bright blue, bright green, and target red. The solid colors look nice, but may not be for everyone. For those interested in a more traditional finish option or a hunter friendly design, shooters have the option to go with: Realtree Xtra, Realtree Max-1, and Realtree APS (snow camo). The Realtree patterns have been field tested for greatness in hunting situations, and also offer a variety of accessory companies using the same finish options for those wanting the bow and accessories camo patterns to match.
The Elite risers have a unique look, which makes them pretty simple to pick out in a group of bows. The feature a nice Elite logo nametag that integrates nicely into the bow itself, but adds a bit of flair in the overall look of the bow. New for 2014 Elite risers is the "Riser Cage," which is located above the sight window. This riser design is integrated to add strength and stability to the riser making it less likely to torque and bend while under stress from being drawn and shot. The machined cutouts do a nice job of cutting down on the overall mass of the bow, but for an axel-to-axel measurement just under 32-inches, 3.9-pounds may still be a bit on the heavy side. The back of the riser has a rear facing string stop system to keep the strings vibration after the shot to a minimum. The stop is not adjustable in the way many on the market are, but it is set perpendicular to the sting, and comes in the proper location from the factory. The front mounting stabilizer bushing offers shooters the ability to shoot with some front mounted weight, of sidebar configuration depending on the shooters preference. This bushing is in line with the rear-mounting stop, and transfers energy away from the shooters hand very well.
The Elite grip seems to have a love or hate relationship depending on what shooters are previously used to. The wooden side plated grip has a nice feel in terms of size falling between thin and narrow, and thick and bulky. For most shooters, this is not the concern. Those not liking the grip often cite the slight curve in the grip to match the hand contour. Although many love the grip, and it is not tough to get used to after shooting for a while, many cite this as being a downfall at first. Those shooting with proper hand placement should not have too much of an issue, but it may take some time getting used to before it feels comfortable if shooters have not been doing this.
The Spirit is the first female offering in the Elite lineup, and engineers made sure it would meet the needs of everyone interested in the Spirit. Maximum draw weights are available in 30, 40, 45, 50, and 60-pounds, giving the Spirit a 40-pound weight range when considering each bow can be turned down about ten full pounds off its maximum weight. For a female bow, not only are all the poundages covered, new shooters, or younger shooters could actually start on this bow and never have to get a different rig, simply replace the module and limbs. The solid limb construction limbs are known for strength and durability, and the parallel design works great for cancelling string noise and vibration after the arrow has been shot. Limbsaver rubber dampeners are added from the factory to the inside of the limbs helping reduce noise and vibration. Although the bow is very quiet and shock free on its own, the Limbsavers do help out a bit. For those not wanting the dampeners on the bow, they can be removed or replaced by another product if desired.
The Spirit comes with the Spirit cam system, which is specifically designed to offer the Elite feel, and necessary performance from a shorter draw cycle. The cam is a modular cam system and is adjustable in half inch increments after purchasing the relatively inexpensive modules for the proper draw length. The draw length range is 24-28-inches, and the speed rating of 307 feet per second is tested with a 28-inch draw, at 60-pounds of draw weight. This will not be the fastest rig produced in the female market, but it offers a lot in terms of shootability and ease of draw. Finished with a dual limb stop draw stop system, the Spirit cam features everything they have from an engineering standpoint featured on the rest of their lineup.
For years, female shooters have been forced to shoot bows not made for them, at a less than optimal short draw length, which negatively impacts the overall performance and feel. The Spirit is specifically designed for female shooters, has a great draw cycle created for short draw archers, and above all features al the technology featured on the rest of the Elite bow lineup. Elite draw cycles have a feel all to their own, and the Spirit cam is definitely similar. The weight is stacked up so when the shooters body has the most leverage, the bow is at its peak draw weight. This makes the bow seem easier to draw. The roll over to the let off is pleasant and the back wall is Elite characteristically solid. Shooters can pull with all their might against the dual limb stops and still not feel any give, which many shooters prefer over a cushy back wall. The valley is something shooters will have to feel to believe. Letting the bow down, shooters feel like they need to push the string forward to get it to budge off the solid back wall. While holding on target, the bow is stable, and comfortable feeling like a much longer axel-to-axel bow. After the shot, the bow does a nice job of staying on target, and there is almost no hand shock felt after the arrow is released. No matter what shooters past experience is with archery, the Elite Spirit is going to be a wonderful option.
The Elite Spirit is going to be a perfect multipurpose bow. Shooters interested in a hunting bow, or 3D bow will be pleasantly surprised how well the Spirit will do both. For strict spot shooting, there may be better options, but for everything else, the Spirit is going to do just fine. The draw cycle is perfect for high-pressure situations with how easy it pulls and how solid the back wall is. The Spirit's ability to be used as a multipurpose bow may help justify the $899 price tag. For female archers, the 32-inch axel-to-axel measurement is a bit longer bow, and the stability of the bow is beneficial for all situations.
For Elite's first production at a women's bow, the Spirit is a really well engineered piece of equipment that truly can do it all. The longer brace height and axel-to-axel measurement along with decent speed and a fabulous draw cycle make the Spirit a bow that can be owned for a very long time. The $899 price tag may be hard for some to justify, but the multipurpose functionality and quality may help some feel more comfortable in paying a premium price for a premium bow. The Spirit and its adjustability in draw weight and draw length could be the only bow one would need as it is great for a beginner as well as a fantastic upgrade to a newer model for shooters just looking for something different. The Spirit cam is designed for short draw performance and truly deserves a test shot from any ladies looking for a new bow.