Mathews Creed XS Review
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Editors' reviewThe Mathews Creed XS continues the trend of Mathews following a new bow release with a shorter version of the same bow the next year. Last year, Mathews released the Creed, which sported a 30-inch axel-to-axel measurement; naturally, this year Mathews released a new bow with a 28-inch measurement. The Creed XS is not a fast shooting bow, but it screams forgiveness. With a short axel-to-axel measurement, the riser is actually the majority of that measurement, which means it is very stable for a shorter bow and will hold well on target. The 7.5-inch brace height means the bow is going to be very forgiving as well. For $999, the Mathews Creed XS may be a bit overpriced for some, but the quality and workmanship of the Mathews bow is fantastic. The smooth drawing Creed XS will be a great addition to those wanting a short, lightweight hunting rig from a top notch manufacturer.
Finish2014 brings with it five finish options for the flagship Creed XS. Mathews bows have been offered in their very own Lost Camo for years, and the Creed XS is also available in this camo pattern as well. Those not interested in a camo finish have four choices to choose from. The first is the popular tactical pattern with a black riser and carbon fiber look alike limbs. Shooters not wanting the carbon limbs can also opt for the all black look with black riser and black limbs. Those wanting to add a little pizazz can choose the Black Crimson model which adds crimson red limb pockets and accent colors. The last finish pattern is a new one for 2014 called Desert Tactical. This pattern is a solid gold-yellow color on the limbs and riser. The gridlock riser proposes a few challenges for finishing because of the designed cutouts and skinny surface areas, but the riser is done without mistakes. Even the hard to reach areas are completely covered and the finished product looks really great.
RiserMathews bows have had a unique look since the introduction of the z7 series several years ago, and the Geo Grid Lock Riser is still a focus on the Creed XS. This geometric design allows for superior strength while allowing extra weight to be cut from the overall mass of the bow making it as light weight as possible. Weighing it at 3.8-pounds, the Creed XS, is exactly what many hunters are demanding from a hunting bow. The 28-inch axel to axel measurement is a bit misleading. Longer bow designs are often associated with being easier to hold on target. Although this generalization is good in theory, the reasoning typically comes down to the riser length, not the axel to axel measurement. The riser length of the Creed XS is 24.58-inches, which is pretty impressive. To put this a bit more into perspective, the Mathews Chill R is a 33-inch axel to axel bow and has a riser measurement of 23.647-inches. The point is to keep in mind a shorter bow can still hold well on target like a longer bow. Mathews has made a point to keep vibration and noise to a minimum with the Creed XS adding three major dampening devices to the bow. The rear mounting Dead End String Stop Lite is a lightweight version of the popular Dead End String Stop. It functions well stopping the strings forward movement and transferring the vibration away from the shooters hand to the front mounting stabilizer bushing mounted directly in line with the string stop system. The riser has two cutouts on the top and bottom close to the limb pockets designed for the circular dampening devices. The harmonic stabilizer lite and the harmonic dampeners absorb a large percentage of the vibration caused by the limbs after the arrow is shot. All three of these devices do a great job keeping vibration away from the shooters hand and giving the bow a smooth feel after the shot.
GripOne trademark of Mathews bows is the stock walnut grip. The Creed XS comes from the factory with the wooden grip, and it makes the bow look very high quality. The grips itself has a nice feel as well. Mathews has slimmed down the wooden grips over the years to make them a bit more torque free and comfortable. After spending some time shooting the wooden stock grip, shooters should have no trouble adjusting to the size and feel. For those wanting something a bit thinner, the Focus grip is an option as well. This rubber grip is not contoured and has a smaller feel. Some shooters feel this grip is easier to repeat. Regardless of which grip shooters choose, they should be satisfied especially after spending some time with it.
LimbsThe parallel, split limb design is still relatively new for the solocam experts. Mathews has only offered two bows in the split limb offering in the recent past, one being the Creed from last year, and now the Creed XS. The split limbs are able to share the stress of being drawn a little better than the solid limb construction does. Mathews has a lot of experience with parallel limbs having pioneered them in in 1996. The limbs are offered in 50, 60, and 70-pound maximum draw weights and are adjustable ten-pounds lower than the maximum weights. Although the split limbs do not have any factory installed dampeners, the parallel limbs do a nice job canceling out any noise or vibration anyways. Those wanting an even quieter release can choose from a variety of after-market dampeners as well.
Eccentric SystemMathews continues to offer a solo cam bow for their flagship again in 2014. The SimPlex single cam design is what Mathews considers advanced simplicity. They have taken the single cam design and redesigned it so it simply works. The cam has a limb draw stop to help with the back wall, offers 80% letoff, and ease of tuning. The downside for the SimPlex cam is that it is draw length specific. Shooters should leave the pro shop properly fitted with the right draw length, but swapping cams for another draw could be an expensive affair. The draw length also tops out at 29.5-inches, which is a bit shorter than what many other bows offer. The draw length specific cams are available in 26.5-29.5-inches.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe SimPlex single cam system is an example of engineers taking simplicity to the extreme. This single cam is easy to tune and stays that way without the need for a constant tune-up. The Creed XS is smooth drawing. Many may be a bit disappointed in the speed the Creed XS produces, but the smooth draw cycle will make up for that in minds of many shooters on the market for a new hunting bow. The weight stacks up pretty quickly, and rolls over nicely into a solid back wall aided by a limb stop post that contacts the bottom limb at full draw. At full draw, the Creed XS has no desire to creep forward offering a generous valley. For a short axel to axel bow, the Creed XS holds really well on target, and the shot is completely shock free. The Creed XS is quiet, decently fast, forgiving, and smooth all wrapped into a lightweight, compact design. For a hunting bow, it is hard to ask for anything else.
Usage ScenariosThe Creed XS will be a very accurate shooter, but may not be the best choice for a target bow. For a hunting bow, this rig fits the bill. Shooters have constantly demanded more compact, lighter bows. The Creed XS does this while adding forgiveness, and a silent shot. Hunters demand a bow that performs well in all conditions, and this bow is sure to do just that.
Mathews Creed XS vs. Mathews Creed
|Bow||Mathews Creed XS||Mathews Creed|
|Brace Height||"||7 "|
|AtA Length||"||30 "|
|Draw Length||"||26.5 " - 29.5 "|
|Draw Weight||lbs||50 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||fps||328 fps|
| Where to buy |
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The 2013 and 2014 Mathews flagship bows are very similar. The Mathews Creed XS is a shorter more compact version, but other than that the differences are minimal. Both bows hold well on target and are marketed toward hunters that want a compact, forgiving bow. For shooters with a Mathews Creed already, it is hard to believe they will be willing to spend the MSRP $999 to replace. However, those not pulling the trigger in 2013, the XS may be a great choice.