Mathews Chill X Review
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The technology incorporated in archery equipment today is truly outstanding! However, with that technology comes a price. Bows are getting more and more expensive, and shooters are using their rigs now more than ever before. New rigs are used in the timber, on the 3D course, and indoors shooting five-spot leagues. With the price of equipment, and different specs being more appealing for different styles of archery, it is well received that Mathews decided to release a truly multipurpose bow that can handle every style of shooting very well. The Chill X features versatile specifications, great shootability, wonderful technology, and a reliable name to round out a solid package. Shooters finding themselves shooting their bow year-round will welcome the Chill X, and its ability to do it all.
FinishMathews vey own Lost Camo is a great looking finish option. It is designed to show a lot of detail while blending in with surroundings virtually anywhere. The dipping process is done flawlessly, and leaves the hard to reach spots on the Geogrid riser perfectly covered. Those shooters not interested in the camo option, can choose the all black look, or opt for the new Desert Camo pattern, which Mathews has added to the 2014 lineup. Any of the three patterns will be done very well, while looking great. For shooters wanting a matching look, Mathews also sells matching quivers and partners with a few accessory brands to bring the bow together with a nice matching design.
RiserThe riser screams Mathews, as it incorporates the Geo Grid Lock riser design. Although most people have gotten used to the look of the waffle riser, some shooters still cannot get over its appearance. The axel-to-axel measurement of 35-inches gives the bow a great platform stability wise. With a riser measurement of 25.5-inches, shooters will easily increase their confidence after feeling how well the Chill X holds on target. The reverse assist roller guard does a nice job at keeping the cables from interfering with the draw cycle. The rear assist makes the draw cycle a bit easier to manage, and helps a bit with the cable torque on the riser. The fully contained system functions well, and proves to be a nice feature on Mathews bows. The Dead End Lite String Stop System works like the former Dead End system, only it is produces with less overall mass to help keep the weight of the bow down a bit. It is adjustable for those who like to tinker, but the factory settings will more than likely be just fine. Those that like to customize the look of their bow can change the color of the rubber dampener to add a little flair if they choose to do so. Again, the string stop functions well and eliminates vibration and noise caused from the forward moving sting after the arrow is shot. There is also a standard front mounting stabilizer bushing for those interested in adding some additional weight out front to help steady the pin downrange.To further help with the dead in hand feel after the shot, the Chill X has two dampeners installed by the limb pockets. The Harmonic stabilizer lite and the harmonic dampener are circular pieces that can be exchanged for different colors to match the dead end string stop if desired. The limbs produce vibration after the arrow is shot, and these dampeners take that energy and transfer it before getting a chance to come in contact with the shooters hand.
GripMathews' grips seem to have a love/hate relationship with many shooters. The Chill X comes from the factory with the focus grip, which seems to be better received in terms of feel. The slimmer grip fits well in hand, and offers a repeatable feel, which is advantageous for improving muscle memory and accuracy. The rubber focus grip has a few color options for the alignment mark on the back of the grip for those interested in a matching bow. The Mathews logo featured on the bottom of the rubber grip looks great as well.
LimbsThe Chill X split limbs are neatly decorated with the Chill X logo, and helps bring the overall design of the rig together. The Chill X is available in maximum draw weights of 50, 60, and 70-pounds and is adjustable ten-pounds below the maximum poundage. It would be nice if this bow had a 65-pound maximum draw weight as well, but shooters with 70-pound limbs will be able to get to that magic number many shooters prefer anyways.
Eccentric SystemThe AVS cam is the powerhouse for supplying the 346 feet per second speeds shot from the Chill X. The dual perimeter weighted cams offer half-inch increment adjustments in draw length with a module adjustment system ranging from 25-30.5-inches. Although the cam system itself is not new to the Mathews line-up, the factory installed Rock Mods are a new addition to the seasoned cam system. The Rock Mods provide an absolute solid back wall. The AVS cams had a bit of a spongier back wall, and the addition of the Rock Mods has really firmed that up a lot. Although the feel of the back wall is shooter preference more than anything, it is nice for Mathews to offer an absolute solid option. Let off is available in 75 or 85%, again depending on what the shooter's preference is. The AVS cam system also has what Mathews calls the Zero T (tolerance) axel, which helps align the cam more closely with the connecting point on the limbs. This leads towards a more consistent shot.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe AVS cams are a well liked cam system, and have been brought back a few years in a row because of their popularity. Some shooters felt the back wall was a little too spongy for their liking. The addition of the Rock Mods will be a great one for shooters not quite able to pull the trigger on a AVS stocked rig in the past. This bow is phenomenal in terms of feel and shootability. The draw cycle is butter smooth with effortless transitions from start to finish. After the shot, the installed dampeners do a great job getting noise and vibration away from the shooters hand, and the Chill X just seems to hold on target even after the arrow has left. For a 35-inch, most of which accounts for the riser length, the Chill X holds on target as well as one would expect for that long of a bow. Although the overall mass may seem like it is a bit on the heavy side, it actually feels great in hand. It is very balanced, and even with added weight, it does not feel too heavy. Not everyone likes shooting a longer axel to axel bow, but those that do have a lot to love about the Chill X.
Usage Scenarios$1099 seems to be a common MSRP tag for flagship bows in the 2014 lineups. Although that number may be a hit to the wallet of many folks, the Chill X can be used year round for any style of shooting without sacrificing anything. Although one could argue any bow can do any style of shooting, the specifications and feel of the Mathews Chill X really allow it to be used for anything from hunting and 3D to indoor paper shooting. The $1099 price tag becomes a little more realistic after knowing it is the only bow needed for every style of shooting.
These bows are virtually identical, and any difference in specifications can be traced back to the Mathews Chill X being 2-inches longer axel to axel than the Chill R. For shooters wanting one bow that does it all, the Chill X is the bow for them. Those strictly wanting a hunting bow may lean more towards the Mathews Chill R with a shorter axel-to-axel measurement and a little more speed. Both draw cycles feel close to the same although many shooters like the added stability the Chill X platform offers in the longer frame. Ultimately, the decision will be personal preference, but both bows are great offerings.