Mathews Heli-m Review
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Editors' reviewThe flagship bow for the 2012 lineup from Mathews is one light bow, weighing in at 3.5 pounds it is the lightest bow on the market today. However, the lightweight design may be the reason for some of the shock felt from shooting this feather weight. The shock is by no means severe; it's just a little bit more noticeable than what Mathews has become known for. This is no huge change from the previous releases from Mathews; they just started shaving weight and pumped out the lighter than air Heli-M.
Limbs/RiserThe Heli-M is yet another paralleled limb bow from Mathews, built to be solid and long lasting. The limbs are the slim limb design which is still proving to be a solid limb choice by being slimmer, much lighter and while doing such being extremely strong. Along with the lightweight limbs there was the launch of the GeoGrid reflexed riser. Not all that dissimilar from the gridlock look of the Z7 and Z7 Extreme, at first glance, but upon closer inspection it is easy to see that the riser's grid pattern is a little more airspace than it is riser. The pattern puts a person in mind of a bridge and this is a good way to think of this because it is lightweight and capable of taking the torque of shooting.
GripInstead of using the same old monster of a walnut hand grip, Mathews trimmed this one down making a very comfortable, lightweight grip. This Rich Walnut SlimFit grip should be popular because of its thin profile, and the fact that it will eliminate some of the canting produced by the old fashion walnut clunker grip.
Finish/Color OptionsThe Heli-M is just like what you would expect from Mathews, excellent. The dip on the paint is flawless and the machining looks great. No major problems, especially when you take into account the grid riser. The riser is available in Lost Camo or black and the limbs come in either Lost Camo, black or tactical (which looks like carbon fiber). There is a tactical version of the Heli-M which will be black and come with the tactical limbs and black focus grip. On Mathewsinc.com the bow is available for complete customization using the visualizer, where you can change equipment colors to get a feel of what the bow can look like with different options.
Eccentric SystemWith the release of this bow Mathews produced the brand new Heli-M solo cam, capable of producing speeds of up to 332fps all while being quiet and virtually vibration free. The cam resembles the cam used on the Triumph but it is a little bit more aggressive. Just like other Mathews Solo cams there won't be any timing issues and you won't have to worry about keeping the cams in sync, which has always been a great selling point with Mathews. The aggressiveness of the cam leads to a bit shorter valley than previous Mathews bows have had. These cams are draw length specific from 26"-30" including half inch increments. The cam only comes in an 80% let off option but it feels a little more like 60%.
Draw CycleThe Heli-M is a single cam Mathew's bow that draws unlike previous bows, instead of the super smooth feeling that has become synonymous with Mathews the draw cycle is somewhat harsh. There doesn't seem to be much building of pressure because the weight is there as soon as the draw begins. It stays fairly constant until you approach the valley, or in this bows case the back wall. The valley on the Heli-M is practically nonexistent; luckily the back wall is very solid, because it's what keeps you from punching yourself in the face when the bow breaks over. This bow will help to improve a shooters form, because of the lack of valley there can be no creeping because this bow will want to go and rip out of your hand.
Vibration DampeningThere are still harmonic dampeners on the Heli-M, which is a visual standard for the company. The big change is the Dead End String Stop Lite, this uses a much smaller rod and a smaller piece of compound rubber than the usual string stop as a way to shed ounces, also the string stop was moved much closer to the cam. There are a lot of people that think that the string stop can't do a good job from this point but it seems to stop the string rather well. Instead of using two string suppressors, one by the cam and one by the wheel, the Heli-M only has a string suppressor by the idler wheel. This could be the reason that the string stop has been moved down closer to the cam.
Best UsageWhen this bow was put into production it seems like a hunting bow is what Mathews was thinking about. Lightweight for long treks deep into the back country, short axle to axle for tight areas, and pretty quiet. Not to mention the 332fps IBO, which is a respectable speed for any hunter.
Heli-M vs. Z7
When looking at these two bows side by side they look pretty similar. Big differences; the riser- the Geo Grid riser will stand out in a crowd for sure. The style of the cam has a different look and a different feel all together. The Z7 feels much smoother, more like a single cam Mathews bow. There are little differences in the equipment, the string stop is in a different location and the Z7 has two string suppressors. The things that really matter though are the feel of the bows, the Mathews Z7 is a half pound heavier but the draw cycle is much friendlier and so is the shot.
SummaryDon't let the feather weight lead you to believe that it's not a heavy hitter. Its 30" axle to axle, 7" brace height and 332 fps is enough to make many people turn their heads for a closer look. That's when they will be blown away when they pick the bow up and find out that it weighs in at 3.5lb. Not the smoothest Mathews bow ever put on the market, but it's hard to make the perfect bow. With the very low amount of mass in the shooters hand it's obvious that some vibration will be felt. However, a good stabilizer will practically eliminate this issue and it becomes fairly smooth. This is a very solid shooter that won't wear you out after carrying it through the woods all day.
|Bow||Mathews Heli-m||Mathews Z7|
|Brace Height||7 "||7 "|
|AtA Length||30 "||30 "|
|Draw Length||26 " - 30 "||24 " - 30 "|
|Draw Weight||40 lbs - 70 lbs||40 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||332 fps||333 fps|
|Weight||3.5 lbs||4.0 lbs|
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