Mathews has redesigned what their definition of shootability looks like. Although the axel to axel measurement is a relatively compact 32-inches, the riser is almost 30-inches, making it hold on target like a much longer bow. 330 feet per second is not an upgrade in speed compared to past years, but the cam system has seen a change. The No Cam HTR features a new wheel system demanding less nock travel and a more tunable system, which also has a different feel at full draw. The HTR is not cheap sporting a $1099 price tag, but those wanting a flagship bow from a respected company have a great option.
Mathews bows are finished with their own created camouflage pattern. The Lost Camo option has been used in the past and is still an option on the HTR. This is the most traditional camo pattern for hunting, and has several accessories designed to match. Joining the popular Lost Camo is Lost Camo OT, Stone Tactical, Black and Tactical. Regardless of which finish option, they are all going to be well done when the grid lock riser cut outs are dipped in any pattern.
The No Cam HTR's grid lock riser is an impressive piece of engineering, which looks familiar to past models, but noticeably different as well. The looks of the grid lock riser has a love/hate relationship with many people, but the designs ability to stiffen the riser and theoretically increases the accuracy of the shooters. The riser on the HTR in noticeably less reflexed than previous Mathews bows. It also makes up all but two inches of the overall axel to axel measurement of the HTR, which makes for a wonderful shooting platform for holding steady on target. As in the past, the Mathews riser also features two circular cutouts near the limb pockets, which house the Harmonic stabilizers. These dampeners can also be changed out with different colors for those wanting a little different look. Along with this, Mathews has integrated the Dead End String Stop System, which is located directly behind the front mounting stabilizer mounting hole. Overall, the No Cam HTR riser is pretty simplistic, without many bells and whistles. There are many cutouts placed in the riser, but despite eliminating a significant amount of weight, the bow still weighs in at 4.3-pounds. Although this is not super heavy, it may feel a bit bulkier compared to some of the other lightweight models available on the market today.
Mathews grips have also been a love/hate relationship in the past. Their signature grip is a walnut wooden grip, which helped add a bit of sophistication to the overall look of the bow, and worked well from the hunting side of things because it is a bit warmer than some other materials used. Mathews has decided to outfit the HTR with a stock rubber composite focus grip, which does feature a wooden Mathews inlay to keep the tradition alive. Most shooters like the feel of the Focus grip a bit better, because it is substantially thinner and is a little easier to get a repeated hand placement. Those still not a fan of the grip have several options to choose from in terms of aftermarket grips designed for Mathews bows.
The No Cam HTR is available in 50, 60, and 70-pound maximum weights. Unfortunately, the 65-pound offering is not an option on the No Cam HTR. Although this draw weight can be achieved on the 70-pound limbs, many prefer to have the limbs completely maxed out for optimal performance. When looking at the No Cam HTR, shooters first impression is long and narrow. The riser measures just under 30-inches, and the limbs are short, compact split limbs. The newly designed concentric wheel cam allows engineers to store the energy in impressively compact, skinny quad limbs.The HTR limb pockets are called the Quad V-Lock pockets, and hold the limbs securely in place to the riser allowing for full functionality, but maintaining tight tolerances for improved repeatability. The pockets are not flashy and do not take away from the look of the bow, but just work at helping with repeatable performance.
The No Cam HTR reinvents the wheel so to speak. Instead of a contemporary cam design, Mathews has integrated a concentric circular cam system featuring two same size, same shape wheels for the strings to operate on. The design allows the string to always be at the same radius of the rotation allowing nock travel to be completely straight and level from start to finish. Most cam designed bows have a system that forces the nock off the straight plane during the draw cycle. The No Cam wheel design keeps the nock perfectly level throughout the entire draw cycle. The wheels are highly efficient as well, meaning the energy used to draw the bow is stored and sent back to the arrow on the shot. Despite what some are saying, the Mathews No Cam HTR is not a step back to the olden days of compound wheel bows. The idea and design may remind shooters of that, but the thought process behind this cam system is more advanced than that of 20-years ago. Draw length is available in half-inch increments from 24-30-inches, and the Rock Mods allow for a customized let off of 65, 75, or 85-percent. One thing to note is the cable area around the top and bottom wheels. The cable is coated with a protective rubber material for protection when contacting the wheel itself. It seems like a bow with this much thought behind the wheel system would not have a protective rubber coating around the cable, but it does. Whether there was a problem with contact during testing, or it is simply a preventative measure, it looks a bit odd.
The draw cycle is a bit different than the traditional compound bow feel. As with anything new, some shooters will enjoy it, and others will hate it. With that being said, the No Cam HTR draw cycle is undeniably smooth with the two round wheels. Drawing the bow seems to get progressively easier until the Rock Mods bring the draw cycle to a firm back wall. The let off can be adjusted by using the appropriate Rock mod, to 65, 75, or 85 percent. There is absolutely no hump in the draw cycle, and truly feels different than anything Mathews has done in the past. The bow holds exceptionally well on target, and is scary quiet after the shot along with completely vibration free. The 6 5/8 inch brace height is fairly forgiving with the provided geometries of the long riser and shorter beyond parallel limbs. The bow feels well balanced at full draw, even with accessories added, and although it tips the scales at 4.3-pounds bare bow, it does not feel too heavy either. The No Cam HTR is worth a shot, even from those not interested in a new bow, just to feel the difference the wheel design makes.
The Mathews No Cam HTR is a hunting bow. Those interested in the No Cam technology for a target bow can choose between the TRG 7, TRG 8, or TRG 9. The HTR is accurate, but those interested in a strict target bow will more than likely be more interested in the other No Cam offerings from Mathews.
The No Cam is a rather large transition from the type of bow Mathews has produced in their solocam lineup in the past. Mathews decided to go back to the drawing board for a complete simplification of everything they have done the past few years. Some will appreciate the engineering that went into producing this bow, and others will not. Regardless, the HTR is a nice shooting platform and deserves a test shot. The feel of the bow is unique, the shot is silent, and the lack of vibration after the shot is refreshing. The speed could be a bit quicker, and the price tag a little smaller, but that is really nit picking. For those wanting a hunting bow backed with a great archery name and some new technology, the Mathews No Cam HTR is worth a look.