Hoyt Carbon Spyder ZT 30 Review

Hoyt Carbon Spyder ZT 30

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  • Hoyt always rates their speed with achievable numbers (332 fps IBO)
  • Hoyt claims this carbon riser is the lightest, quietest, and strongest one made so far
  • Tons of color and finish options available
  • Easy to shoot, dead in hand, maneuverable in any situation


  • 30-inch axel-to-axel measurement may be short for some
  • Fit and finish has historically not been great in terms of longevity
  • MSRP of $1449 is tough to swallow even if shooters are not on a budget

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Editors' review

Several archery companies are beginning to utilize the many benefits of carbon in their bows. Hoyt has tons of experience in the fully carbon riser, and according to them, the newest Carbon Spyder ZT riser is the lightest, quietest, and strongest carbon riser they have ever produced. The Carbon Spyder ZT 30 is the most compact version of the four offerings in the 2015 Hoyt carbon lineup measuring a short 30-inches axel to axel. In recent years, hunters have demanded a short frame bow that can be maneuvered in tiny ground blinds or in the treestand. For shooters not interested in a short frame model, Hoyt offers longer versions with slightly different configurations as well. Weighing in at a feather light 3.6-pounds, the Carbon Spyder ZT 30 can be rigged out and still tip the scales at less than some bows weigh without accessories. For shooters interested in the latest in modern archery technology from a giant in the archery industry, the Carbon Spyder ZT 30 is worth a look. The price tag is pricey, even for those not on a budget, but many shooters justify it knowing they are getting a phenomenal bow.


Hoyt did not skimp at all with the finishing options on the Carbon Spyder ZT 30. There are options for those interested in a hunting bow, a more unique camo pattern, and those wanting a target finish. The carbon riser bows Hoyt offered in the past have struggled with the fit and finish holding up as well as it does on the aluminum riser offerings from Hoyt. The patterns look great, and are well done, but the longevity has been better on aluminum when compared to carbon in the past. Although it is too early to tell, the finish still looks great, but has not seen any significant changes in the process. When purchasing a bow over $1400, it should be flawless, and last a very long time. With that being said, Hoyt is great with the warranty, and will address any concerns shooters may have with the fit and finish. For strictly hunting, Hoyt suggests three primary options: Blackout, Realtree MAX 1, and Realtree Xtra. In addition to these very popular patterns, Hoyt also offers: American Heritage package, which features red, white, and blue accents, the Bone Collector edition finish, half and half Realtree MAX 1 and half and half Realtree Xtra, Harvest Brown, Harvest Brown with Realtree MAX 1 or Realtree Xtra, Realtree AP Pink, Realtree AP Snow, and Vixcen accent addition with Realtree MAX 1 camo. The Harvest Brown option is new for 2015, while the others have been available in previous years. Those wanting a target color have four options to choose from as well. Shooters can opt for Black, Blue, Pearl White, or Red. The target options are a bit glossier than the camo options and are very appealing.


Hoyt has a lot of experience with carbon risers, and they claim the 2015 riser is the best design yet. Although the Carbon Spyder ZT 30 is only 30-inches axel-to-axel, the riser makes up a decent chunk of that measurement thanks to the limb design. That means the bow holds and performs more like a slightly longer axel-to-axel bow. The Helical Flex Tune Carbon offers a look unlike any other bow in the industry, which allows makes it exceptionally strong, warm to the touch even in frigid temperatures, and absorbs vibration and noise while being lighter than aluminum bows of comparable size. Weighing in at only 3.6-pounds, the Carbon Spyder ZT 30 makes packing a long distance a bit easier, but 0.4-pounds below the industry standard of 4-pounds may not make a huge difference for some. The Zero Torque Cable Guide system is the largest visible difference between the 2014 and the 2015 model, and actually makes it in the name of the bow representing the "ZT." With any cable guard system, torque is placed on the cables and ultimately on the riser, which impacts accuracy. This patent-pending Zero Torque system places the wheel on a flexible arm and reverse mounts it, which means as the bow is drawn, the arm works in the opposite direction of other cable guard systems. As the arm flexes, there is less torque on the cable and riser, and ideally alignment is better as well. All this leads to easier tuning and hopefully better accuracy. Although the arm is a moving piece, there is no additional noise or felt vibration from the system when compared to the 2014 model. It is a cool looking system, and if it works as designed, it should make setting things up a bit easier. For the everyday shooter, not tinkering with things, one may not notice much of a difference in performance.The carbon riser also features a few other useful Hoyt technologies as well. The Silent Shelf has been a feature on Hoyt bows for a while, and continues on the Carbon Spyder ZT 30. This incorporated rubber shelf around the arrow rest makes accidental arrow contact less audible, and also helps reduce any noise caused from the arrow rest contacting the riser. With the carbon riser, the noise would not be too noticeable anyways, but it is still a nice feature to have. In addition to the silent shelf, Hoyt also has Shock-Rod Technology incorporated into the riser design next to the limb pockets, and near the new cable slide. These rubber dampeners do a great job eliminating extra noise causing vibrations, and come in a variety of custom color options to better match a shooters style. Hoyt tries to make their bows as well balanced as possible, and the Perfect Balance Stabilization System is evidence of their desire to have a balanced feel. The riser mount for the front mounting stabilizer is offset, which helps counter the additional weight added to the bow from the sight. Shooters have more freedom to choose a weight that manages to balance the bow left to right as well as front to back. Mounting directly behind this front mounting stabilizer is the rear mounted Stealthshot string dampener. When the string comes to rest after the arrow has been shot downrange, the strong contacts the dampener and it transfers energy away from the shooters hand and helps the string come to rest quickly.


The grip on any bow is the one constant connecting point between the shooter and the bow for the entire shot. It is also an area of personal preference for what feels the most comfortable. Although there is a proper technique for a repeatable grip that promotes accuracy, each shooter has a different preference for what they like. With that being said, the Hoyt Profit grip is outstanding. There are four different Hoyt grips to choose from straight from the factory, and although they are all comfortable, each has something a little different to offer shooters. Shooters can choose from a solid one-piece grip, or side plates to match their personal preference as well. Wood is a bit warmer than some grip options in hunting situations, but the carbon riser does not get cold in cold weather either, so the shooters hand will not freeze while holding onto the bow in cold weather hunting conditions.


The Carbon Spyder ZT is equipped with beyond parallel split limb technology that helps with the longer riser measurement and stores a bit more energy in the limbs, which transfers to overall performance. The Multi-Layer Lamination limbs will withstand the test of time and use as well.The limbs are held to the riser with the Pro- Lock Pocket System. The limb pocket connection between the limbs and riser is important for maintaining tight tolerances and repeatable performance shot after shot. Hoyt Pro-Lock System keeps tight tolerances, is a lightweight design, and functions very well.The draw weight ranges from 30-80 pounds, with maximum draw weights of 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, and 80-pounds. With 50-pounds of adjustability, anyone interested in a high end bow can get one set to their shooting needs. It is also a nice addition to have the 65-pound maximum limb option. It may not be entirely necessary because the 60-70-pound limbs can be set to 65-pounds, but for shooters not wanting a full 70-pounds, but still wanting to max out the limbs, the 65-pound option is well received. Hoyt also keeps the AirShox limb dampening system, which is different than any other limb dampener in the industry. The AirShox system rests on the limbs at rest. As the bow is drawn, the limbs pull away from the dampeners. After the arrow is released, the limbs return to their resting position and make contact with the rubber dampeners, which cancel noise and vibration. Although the system functions identical to previous year's AirShox system, the dampeners are fully adjustable for optimal performance for 2015.

Eccentric System

The Z5 cam powers the Carbon Spyder ZT 30 again this year. This cam is a well-liked system with acceptable performance and a favorable draw cycle. The cam and a half system has 6=inches of adjustability ranging from 24-30-inches with half-inch adjustments possible using modules from any Hoyt dealer. However, Hoyt does have three draw length specific cams for the Carbon Spyder ZT 30 shooters will need to be aware of in order to reach the proper draw length. The 1 cam ranges between 24-25.5-inches, the 2 cam ranges between 26-28-inches, and the number 3 cam offers distances from 28-30-inches. Hoyt always rates their bows with obtainable IBO speeds that are realistic straight out of the box. The rating for the Carbon Spyder ZT 30 is 332 feet per second with a brace height of 6 3/4-inches.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

The Z5 cams are a great system that many enjoy the feel of. They generate decent performance with minimal effort from the shooter. The weight stacks up a bit early, and then seems to get easier before settling into the pretty solid back wall. If shooters tend to pull really hard into the back wall, there may be a little bit of a spongy feeling, but for most, the back wall will have a great feeling. After the shot, it is simple to continue holding the pin on target because the bow is vibration free and has no kick. At full draw, the bow balances very well, and with the offset stabilizer, accessories added to the bow will also feel pretty well balanced. The bow is light, and the short frame of the bow may be tough for some to hold on target, especially for those at the upper end of the draw length range (but that is also why Hoyt produces the same basic bow in different configurations). The bow will never feel cold wither, which is a great feature for a hunting bow. Cold sits on stand will not freeze the shooters hand like an aluminum riser bow will. Overall, Hoyt has done a great job at producing a top of the line bow, that has a ton of really great features.

Usage Scenarios

$The 30-inch axel-to-axel measurement is built for hunting. That does not mean in the right hands, the Carbon Spyder ZT 30 could not be an accurate target or 3D bow, but it was designed to meet the demands many hunters have on a lightweight compact hunting bow. The short frame will be nice for spot and stalk, ground blind hunting, or in a tree stand. For the majority of shooters interested in only target and 3D archery, other bows may be more appealing.


Bow Hoyt Carbon Spyder ZT 30 Hoyt Carbon Spyder 30
Version 2015 2014
Picture Hoyt Carbon Spyder ZT 30 Hoyt Carbon Spyder 30
Brace Height 6.75 " 6.125 "
AtA Length 30 " 30 "
Draw Length 24 " - 30 " 24 " - 30 "
Draw Weight 30 lbs - 80 lbs 30 lbs - 80 lbs
IBO Speed 332 fps 332 fps
Weight 3.6 lbs 3.6 lbs
Let-Off 75% 75%
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These two bows are separated by one model year of technology advancements from Hoyt engineers and sport almost the exact same specifications. Perhaps the most notable difference between the two models is the Zero Torque Cable Guide System. Although this is a unique system that should improve accuracy and how easily the bow tunes, shooters that already have the Hoyt Carbon Spyder 30 may not find it very easy to part with the money to upgrade to the 2015 model. Shooters not quite able to pull the trigger on a new Hoyt last year may find the new Hoyt Carbon Spyder ZT 30 model reason enough to purchase this year though.


The Hoyt Carbon ZT 30 is another great offering by Hoyt, but the price tag is sure to scare off a lot of shooters. Although there are some advancements in technology for the 2014 Hoyt Carbon Spyder 30, the difference may not be enough to justify an upgrade. With that being said, those who did not buy the 2014 model will get a stronger riser, a Zero Torque Cable Guard system, and confidence in buying a top of the line bow from a giant in the archery industry. This bow is lightweight, compact in design, and has an easy drawing cam system producing decent speed numbers with a forgiving brace height. Price tag aside, this bow is a winner, but the ultimate decision will be the shooters personal preference.

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