Martin Stratos CR Review

Martin Stratos CR

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  from $316.6


  • Very inexpensive at $399
  • Extremely lightweight at 3.6 pounds
  • Full carbon riser
  • Very adjustable in terms of DL and DW


  • Slower IBO speed
  • Nonlimb actuated draw stops create a mushy back wall


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Editors' review

For quite some time, Martin Archery has been providing a vast array of archery products, from compounds to takedowns. While this has not changed to this date, in the past few years Martin has stepped through many major hoops to establish even a more respectable lineup of bows, one of the most inviting options being the Stratos CR- one of, if not the first low priced, extremely adjustable, multipurpose compound with a full carbon riser. From beginners able to pull back a mere 15lbs with a 17" draw length to adult bowhunters shooting 70lbs with a 30" draw, this bow deserves an unmeasurable amount of respect for fitting the bill; not only for those situations, but for all of them in-between. There are few bows, even with standard aluminum risers, with this level of adjustability for $400.


This compound is offered in three popular finish options directly from the closest Martin dealer- Mossy Oak Infinity camouflage and flat black being the standard patterns and "Fish" designed as a pattern for those looking to use this bow for bowfishing or for target shooting where a brighter blue color is more pleasing to the eye. It also features all black strings and cables, anodized black cams, limb pockets, and hardware. When it comes down to fine details, some finish marks are noticeable, but have no effect on performance or looks in a broad sense.


The Stratos CR is equipped with an innovative featherweight carbon riser, being one of the only multi-purpose compounds with this technology on the market today. Although not the first carbon riser manufacturer, Martin does an impressive job doing both thermal and crush tests to verify the comparable integrity and reliability you can expect between its aluminum counterparts- simply with a much lighter platform. With a standard brace height of 7" and compact brace height of 31.5", it is of a fairly small stature, however it is sized proportionally to allow for many variances in archer ages and sizes. With an angled cable rod, plastic cable slide, and a soft rubber string stop, it features baseline components, however they are more than acceptable for the application of this compound.


Martin features Stackforce split Gordon Glass limbs on this compound, attached to a very minimalistic limb weight adjustment system simply adjusted by the turn of an Allen wrench. Adjustable from 0-70lbs, these limbs are tested extensively in the production line before they even get installed to ensure the performance the archer expects and deserves.


The grip features on this bow is built into the carbon riser with stick-on side plates to maintain structural integrity. One of the most important benefits of a carbon riser is its ability to act as an insulator when used in colder weather, as it will not be cold to the touch for hunters looking to shoot without gloves in the first cold front of fall. Although slim, the grip is very squared off, with small filleted edges making a bit uncomfortable for long shooting sessions. Overall, it is simplistic, however effective for creating a solid shooting platform with ample grip consistency.

Eccentric System

The Stratos' newly designed MaxAdapt Cam both packs many impressive features and retains simplicity for a tough system. Featuring one of the largest draw length ranges on the market, DL ranges from a mere 17" to a whopping 30" by a rotating module, all the while providing a large adjustment in poundage per setting. One of the main features Martin features on all their bows now is their Dura Pin technology- utilizing precision ground axle pins to guarantee tight tolerances and smooth, consistent cam rotation. Another unique feature on this cam system is its option to convert letoff from a standard 75% to none for bowfishing purposes. Lastly, although 310fps as an IBO definitely doesn't break any records in the speed game, it is respectable when you consider how much adjustability is actually contained in this groundbreaking multipurpose carbon compound.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

The MaxAdapt Cam, although a traditional dual cam system with opportunity to "get out of tune" compared to hybrid or slaved binary cam systems on the market today, is very easy to adjust due to the standard featured dual yokes connected to the axles. As some may know, the highly adjustable cam systems in general are indeed completely different beasts on different DL and DW settings, but overall the one Martin created for this compound is quite smooth, stacking up the weight three-quarters of the way through the draw cycle and dropping off into a slight valley at the end. One of the main concerns to be had with this bow for some is its lack of hard, limb-actuated draw stops, however it should not be the only factor of eliminating this compound off of a prospective archer's list. Yes, it may take more time to learn not to pull the string at the shot and achieve consistency, however there are many other compounds with this setup and it may be the perfect fit for an archer's shooting style.

Silencing Package

Although the Stratos CR does not come standardly equipped with limb, string, or riser dampeners, the pure nature of the carbon riser does assist with dampening some of the noise and vibes that come from shooting this compound. It does, however, come standard with a soft rubber string stop that removes stray oscillations from the string after the arrow is released. Without a doubt, any of the aforementioned silencing options can be added, and with many aftermarket options, the quietness as well as the looks (due to color options) could definitely improve.


BowMartin Stratos CRBowtech Carbon Knight
Version 20162014
PictureMartin Stratos CRBowtech Carbon Knight
Brace Height7 "7 "
AtA Length31.5 "31 "
Draw Length17 " - 30 "26.5 " - 30.5 "
Draw Weight0 lbs - 70 lbs40 lbs - 70 lbs
IBO Speed310 fps335 fps
Weight3.1 lbs3.2 lbs
Let-Off75% 80%
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Even though there is a large difference in price and audience, simply due to the carbon riser there is a definite similarity to Bowtech Carbon Knight. There is a definite upgrade with the Knight, having 20fps more of an IBO speed, 5% more letoff with a binary cam system, and half a pound less mass, however the other specs are very similar. The Stratos CR has more of a broader draw length and draw weight range, with 9 more inches of length and 60lbs of weight. Similarly, the brace heights are the same and axle-to-axle measurements are half an inch apart. Overall they are both very qualified compounds, however Martin, with the Stratos CR (especially being about half the cost of a Carbon Knight MSRP), is providing what the market didn't see coming- a full-fledged multi-adjustable carbon compound for a fraction of the cost of a flagship bow.

Usage Scenarios

With a 31.5" Axle-to-axle measurement, this compound is very versatile, one that can easily be accredited with a multipurpose title. There really are no limits on this bow's ability to fit the task at hand, being lightweight and thermally insulating for hunting purposes, having a small stature and ability to decrease poundage for bowfishing, and even having an easily tunable cam system for backyard target shooting. The best part is, with its seemingly limitless adjustability, there are few archers that physically wouldn't be able to have this bow matched to their needs in terms of specifications. From beginners to experienced shooters, this bow would work for everyone.


From hardships to new beginnings, Martin Archery has persevered a great amount to be in the position they are now- creating quality, innovative bows for the market. It is especially noticeable with the Stratos CR, being one of, if not the first versatile compound with a carbon riser. Although there are a couple of features that could improve, like the somewhat mushy back wall of the draw cycle and the fairly slow IBO, this bow packs an incredibly large amount of features to appeal to many different archers around the world. 70lbs of draw weight adjustment and 13" of draw length adjustment at a grand total of 3.6lbs bare bow is quite the platform for a bow with an MSRP of $399.

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