Hoyt Carbon Spyder ZT 34 Review
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Editors' reviewThe Carbon Spyder ZT 34 is a phenomenal bow featuring a forgiving 6 3/4-inch brace height, a longer axel-to-axel measurement of 34 inches, and decent speeds up to 330 feet per second according to ATA specifications. Hoyt claims the current carbon riser on the 2015 models is the strongest built carbon riser they have ever produced. Combined with the newly designed Zero Torque Cable Guard system, Hoyt has incorporated a few sought after features, but it may not be enough to justify the $1449 price tag if shooters already own the 2014 Carbon Spyder 34. Overall, it is hard to find anything other than price as a negative with the 2015 Carbon Spyder ZT 34, and the possibility of being able to use the bow for every style of shooting may help justify purchasing this high end bow with all the features Hoyt has to offer.
FinishHoyt has really stepped up in the fit and finish department offering tons of options to match the style needs of every shooter straight from the factory. In addition to the many color combinations, the rubber dampeners are also color customizable as well to get an even more individualized look. In the past, Hoyt shooters have not been entirely pleased with the durability of the finish on the carbon model bows because it seems to wear more than the same finish on aluminum riser series bows. For the amount of money spent, shooters should expect no durability issues whatsoever, but the bottom line is fit and finish have nothing to do with the overall performance. Target colors for the Carbon Spyder ZT 34 are Pearl White, Black, Blue, and Red. The target model colors have a glossy finish compared to the hunting colors, but really look great for those using their bow as a target or 3D rig. Those wanting to use the Carbon Spyder ZT 34 as a hunting rig will also have a lot of color options to choose from as well. For traditional hunting colors, Hoyt offers RealTree MAX 1, RealTree Xtra, and Black out. Hoyt also offers a few custom combinations in the American Heritage package, Bone Collector, Vixcen finish, the new Harvest Brown option, and any of these patterns half and half with black. Finally, RealTree AP Pink and RealTree AP Snow are also available options.
RiserThe carbon riser hosts a variety of features from Hoyt after years of fine-tuning the benefits of a helical flex tune carbon. Carbon riser bows have always been strong and durable and this particular riser has the best yet produced by Hoyt so far. A stronger riser equates to better accuracy, which is ideal for any shooter. Technologies included along with the longer axel to axel Carbon Spyder ZT 34 help provide a better shooting experience. Hoyt continues to use the Inline Roller Cable Guard, but has amped it up a bit using an entirely innovative Zero Torque Cable System, which is the largest difference between the 2014 and 2015 model. This cable containment system pulls the cable toward the centerline of the bow when the arrow is drawn, and after the release, the cable guard system returns back to its resting position. This cable guard does help eliminate torque caused from the cables as the bow is drawn, which puts less stress on the already strong riser and leads to a more tunable shot. Although the system does move when drawn, and shoots back after the bow is shot, the noise caused from this action is minimal. There is also a dampener attached to the Zero Torque System helping with the noise and vibration. The Carbon Spyder ZT 34 is also very balanced thanks to the Perfect Balance Stabilization System. After adding a sight to the bow, the weight from the sight throws off the vertical balance of the bow. With the offset stabilizer-mounting hole on the opposite side of the centerline of the bow, it helps offset the weight of the sight for a better-balanced feel.The bow also features what Hoyt calls a Silent Shelf located where the arrow rest attaches to the bow. If the arrow contacts the silent shelf, it hardly makes a sound. Along with that, if a drop away rest contacts the shelf it does not make a noise either. The Silent Shelf may not entirely be needed, but it is a well thought out addition Hoyt has used for several years.Shock Rod Technology has also been utilized for the second year to help eliminate noise and vibration caused by an arrow being released. These rubber dampeners are customizable by color so shooters can get an additional customized look. The Stealthshot string stop system also helps stop the strings forward movement after the arrow has been shot.
GripThe Hoyt Pro Fit Custom Grip has a wonderful feel, and is offered in four unique shapes and styles. The wooden grip is offered in side plates or a one-piece grip, which can be interchanged by removing two tiny screws. The stock factory grip is a one-piece wooden grip but any of the other grips can be swapped from the factory by the request of a dealer is shooters know which grip will fit their needs the best. If the correct grip is not purchased from the factory, shooters can purchase any of the other grips from a dealer for a relatively inexpensive price. Either way, the grip will be custom fit for each individual shooter.
LimbsBeyond parallel split multi-layer lamination limbs store the energy required for the Carbon Spyder ZT 34's power. These limbs have a 50-pound range in ten-pound increments with maximum draw weights of 40. 50. 60. 65. 70, and even 80-pounds. The 65 and 80-pound offerings are great options for some shooters and an appreciated addition to the list of choices available. The limbs also feature a unique dampening system known as the Air Shox system. This dampener is unlike any other in the archery business because they only contact the limbs when the bow is at rest rather than constantly being in contact with the limbs for the entire shot. As the bow is drawn, the limbs come together and move away from the dampeners. After the arrow is shot, the limbs return to rest, where the reconnect to the Air Shox system. The dampeners work great, and are also available in nine different colors matching the Shock-Rod dampeners in the riser and the Zero Torque Cable Slide. The Pro-Lock Pocket System keeps the limbs in contact with the riser maintaining extremely tight tolerances throughout the entire draw cycle. The pockets attach to each split limb in two locations. Although barely noticeable, they function very well and are made of a lightweight material to keep the overall mass of the bow to a minimum while maintaining great shootability.
Eccentric SystemThe cam and a half system powering the 330 ATA measured feet per second is unchanged from 2014 to 2015. The Z5 cam was well liked and remains the go to for the Carbon Spyder ZT 34. The 34 offers 6-inces of adjustability ranging from 25-31-inches adjustable in half-inch increments. However, not all this draw length adjustment is available in one cam. Hoyt offers three separate cam configurations for the Carbon Spyder ZT 34. The one cam is adjustable from 25-26.5, the two cam from 27-29, and the three cam from 29-31. It is important to know which cam will meet the shooters needs before ordering from the dealer. If shooters are still expected to grow, it is beneficial to take this into consideration when choosing which cam.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe Carbon Spyder 34 is a bit longer axel-to-axel bow, and shoots very well. The stability the longer frame provides by allowing shooters to hold more steady downrange is great, and the string angle feels like it fits just right for most shooters. Some shorter axel-to-axel bows have a very sharp sting angle that can be a nit uncomfortable, especially for longer draw shooters. The hold in fantastic, and the after shock is non-existent. Even bare bow, the Carbon Spyder 34 just sits in the shooters hand with just the slightest rock after the shot. In terms of the draw cycle, most will find it very favorable as well. It draws smooth without any noticeable transitions and ends a pretty solid back wall. The back wall is not the most solid on the market, but it does not feel mushy at all either. While holding at full draw, there is a bit of room to creep forward without the string wanting to go forward too quickly. The valley is pretty generous, but still keeps shooters pulling into the back wall. The longer brace height of 6 3.4-inches combined with a 34-inch axel to axel measurement makes the bow feel more like a target bow, but is still maneuverable in treestand or ground blind. The lightweight 3.8-pounds also allows shooters to add a little more stabilizer weight without making the bow feel too heavy. Overall, the rig feels great and shoots very well.
Usage ScenariosThe Carbon Spyder ZT 34 is a great multipurpose bow, which may help with the sticker shock knowing it can be used for hunting, target, and 3D shoots. The specifications are desirable for all types of archery, and the speed and brace height make it an easy bow to shoot in all the conditions as well. As a hunting bow, some desiring a very compact bow may not be overly excited, but for everyone else, it fits the bill very nicely.
|Bow||Hoyt Carbon Spyder ZT 34||Hoyt Carbon Spyder 34|
|Brace Height||6.75 "||6.75 "|
|AtA Length||34 "||34 "|
|Draw Length||25 " - 31 "||25 " - 31 "|
|Draw Weight||30 lbs - 80 lbs||30 lbs - 80 lbs|
|IBO Speed||330 fps||330 fps|
|Weight||3.8 lbs||3.8 lbs|
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Both bows are great shooters with almost the same technology and specifications. The enhanced riser strength on the 2015 ZT model will increase the accuracy of the bow, nut it may not be noticeable by everyday shooters. The Zero Torque Cable Slide is the largest difference between the two rigs. Shooters that already own a 2014 Hoyt Carbon Spyder 34 may not have much reason to upgrade to a 2015 Hoyt Carbon Spyder ZT 34 model, but those that do not already own one should welcome the additions made. They do come with an additional $50 added to the price tag over the 2014 MSPR pricing though.