Mathews has a market, and they continue producing bows that meet that market's needs year after year. The 2020 Mathews VXR is another installment of the compact hunting bow from one of the industry's giants. The VXR platform gets two versions, and the 28-inch model is sure to work for treestand and ground blind hunters perfectly. The 28-inch axle-to-axle version has an IBO rating of 344 feet per second combined with a 6-inch brace height. Shooters can choose between 80% or 85% let-off on the Crosscentric with Switchweight Technology Cams, with a draw length range of 25.5-30-inches. The Switchweight technology also gives shooters a peak draw weight of 60, 65, 70, and 75-pounds. The VXR 28 is also a manageable 4.44-pounds, which is achieved by the newly integrated bridge design carried over from the target side of Mathews bows. The $1099 price tag is comparable to the rest of the flagship market for 2020, although that price is steep for many shooters. Mathews also requires a premium upcharge for many of the most popular finishes, which seems underhanded to charge for in 2020. Like any 28-inch bow, the string angle may start to feel less comfortable for those at the upper end of the draw length range. However, that is far from a secret for anyone looking at a more compact hunting bow like the VXR 28. It is hard to imagine, but the VXR feels better in hand than the outgoing Vertix model, and that bow was a legit shooter for tons of archers. How Mathews can continue creating better bows than the previous year, is pretty crazy, but what a great time to be a bowhunter!
Mathews finishes look great on the VXR 28 as always. The newly designed riser has some more unique cutouts with the updated bridge design, and even those are perfectly covered. The riser and limbs can be mixed and matched with any of patterns to give shooters the exact look they desire. Mathews even has a Bow Creator on their website for shooters to choose their riser, limbs, strings, cables, and even serving colors straight from the factory. The finish options include: Optifade Elevated II, Optifade Subalpine, Ridge Reaper Forest, Ridge Reaper Barren, Realtree Edge, Stone, Black, and the brand new Ambush Green. Unfortunately, Mathews considers all patterns except Realtree Edge, Black, and Stone as "premium finishes," which may require an upcharge. This should not be happening in 2020. Mathews should look to address this in the future. Charging more money for different patterns, or in Mathews' case even the new Ambush Green color seems like an old practice. Nonetheless, the patterns are great looking, and there are plenty of matching accessories for those wanting to further coordinate.
The 2020 Mathew VXR has a redesigned riser, which incorporates some of technology from the target side of Mathews. Ultimately, this means the VXR gets the longest riser ever built into a Mathews hunting bow. Some shooters feel forgiveness is in the axle-to-axle length, but in reality, the stability of a bow is in the riser measurement. With Mathews designing the VXR with the longest riser ever, they have essentially created the most stable shooting platform for a short axle-to-axle bow they have ever produced. For a company known for shorter bows, that is really saying something. The riser is a six bridge design as well, which adds strength and rigidity to the overall riser. Anytime the riser can be strengthened, the arrow flight and accuracy will improve. Thankfully for Mathews, they were able to create the bridge and cutouts in a relatively lightweight 4.44-pound package. The 6-inch brace height also gives the VXR 28 a boost of speed as well. The riser technology does not end with just being extended. The 3D dampening system gets a new look as well, although the function remains the same wanting to get the vibration away from the shooters hand and into the Enhanced Harmonic Stabilizer. Mathews also has a front and rear mounted stabilizer bushing for enhanced weight management and vibration dampening for those that want it. Mathews continues to use the integrate rest, which works with a QAD rest system. This integrate riser design easily connects the rest to the riser with less clutter. Most people have no issues with how their rests connect to the riser of their bow, but the integrate option is pretty slick, and QAD rests are very popular in the 2020 compound archery market. Mathews also has some returning technology as well, with the Dead End String Stop, and the Reverse Assist Roller Guard System. These two systems are not new, but in 2020, they are still recognized as an outstanding cable containment system and string stop system.
Mathews had a great reaction last year with the all new one-piece Engage grip, and because of its popularity it is the grip choice for 2020 as well. This rubber synthetic grip has an awesome feeling in the hand between the flatback design and thin width. However, the grip is a pretty intimate part of any riser design. For shooters who do not like the Engage grip, Mathews has side plates available as well, which also feel amazing. As a third grip option, shooters could remove both grips and shoot straight off the riser or add some grip tape to give the grip an even more personalized shape and feel. Each of the three choices feel a little different than each other, but all have a flatback and a target bow type feel. No matter what personal preferences are for a grip shape and design, the Mathews VXR should be able to meet those expectations.
The Mathews VXR continues with the Vertix Switchweight Technology. That means the maximum draw weight of each bow adjusts with a cam module, and not by differently weighted limbs. The limbs are adjustable in ten-pound increments, but the overall peak weights of 60, 65, 70, and 75-pounds are only achieved with different Switchweight modules. The split limbs are beyond parallel to offset the noise and vibration caused after the arrow is released, making many shooters say this is the most silent and shock free bow Mathews has ever produced. The wide limbs are also held on the riser with a zero tolerance pocket system.Aside from managing the massive Crosscentric Cam System, the Mathews limbs and pockets house the brand new Silent Connect System (SCS). This system allows for shooters to connect the new bow rope and sling from Mathews. It is amazing something like this has not been created until 2020. The paracord rope has a quick release, which wraps around the SCS peg to use as a bow rope to bring the bow up the treestand. Aside from this, the SCS mount is perfectly balanced to allow the bow to be brought up the tree without tipping one way or the other, which will keep it from banging off the tree or ladder stand legs. If shooters connect both ends of the paracord to the SCS mounts, it turns into a sling for a shooter's shoulder. This SCS design does cost $59, but for many shooters it is worth having a safe connection for a bow rope instead of wrapping around the limbs or cam system at an unbalanced location.
The Crosscentric Cam System is an award winning cam from Mathews, and for great reason. This cam system also features Switchweight Technology, which was introduced on the Mathews Vertix in 2019. The draw lengths are available in half-inch increments from 25.5-30-inches. Shooters can choose between an 80 or 85% let-off. In its second year, and unique to Mathews, there is also a draw weight module for shooters to pick the maximum draw weight they are interested in. So shooters, must pick their draw length, draw weight, and desired let-off on the Crosscentric Cams. The IBO speed rating is pretty great as well with a maximum speed of 344 feet per second, making the VXR 28 a more than capable hunting bow.The Crosscentric cams are not new, and the Switchweight Technology is in its second year of production. The Vertix from last year was very well liked and shot outstanding because of how great it felt in the real world. The Switchweight technology is worth an explanation because it allows shooters to change from 50-75-pounds without needing to purchase new limbs. Simply changing a module on the cam, will change the draw weight. Shooters could back the limbs all the way off with the 60-pound module for a 50-pound draw weight, or tighten them all the way down with the 75-pound module for the highest draw weight. Clearly, the set-ups will be different with different peak draw weights because heavier poundage will have faster arrow speeds. However, the draw length will remain unchanged. The Crosscentric cam with Switchweight Technology is amazing, and with the longer riser it will continue to make hunters very happy.
The draw cycle on the VXR 28 is similar to that of the Vertix from 2019, for those familiar with that draw cycle. The draw weight is felt for anyone choosing to shoot the VXR 28. The draw cycle is stiff, stakes up pretty fast to peak weight, and transitions smoothly into the back wall. The draw cycle is not difficult at all, but the peak draw weight is felt during the draw cycle. It is not a bow that will feel like you are shooting less poundage like some Mathews of the past. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but just be aware this bow will be stiff throughout. The hold on target is outstanding. There is no effort at all to hold the pin on target, and it seems to aim itself, which will be great for anyone bowhunting. After the shot, Mathews has made this bow absolutely dead in the hand with no felt vibration, and very minimal noise to speak of. The VXR 28 is so well designed, it is hard to understand what a bow with less vibration and noise would be like. Everything about the VXR 28 is a dream to shoot. However, for those at the longer end of the draw length range, the string angle may be slightly uncomfortable, or even impossible to keep an upright head position and an anchor point at the end of the shooter's nose. For those shooters, the VXR 31.5 may be a better option.
The 2020 Mathews VXR 28 is the latest hunting bow from Sparta, Wisconsin. Mathews has been producing some of the most highly anticipated hunting bows for decades and the VXR 28 is already one of the favorites for many shooters. The redesigned riser, in combination with the Crosscentric Cam and Switchweight Technology created one of the best feeling compact hunting bows ever made. Shooters will have no issue using the VXR 28 on weekend 3D shoots, but those wanting to win tournaments may choose a longer framed Mathews bow.
Mathews has perfected the compact hunting bow, and continues to make fine tune adjustments year after year in order to release a product better than the previous. Although these changes may not seem like much from one year to the next, over time, the changes become significant. The line between success and failure is very fine while bowhunting, and any advantage a shooter can benefit from will be well worth the end result. The VXR 28 is the best compact hunting bow Mathews has brought to the market. The stiffer draw and Switchweight technology may not be what all shooters prefer. However, the technology, performance, and extended stability with the long riser make the VXR 28 worth a serious consideration for anyone on the market for a new bow in 2020. For those willing to pay the premium MSRP of $1099, the Mathews VXR 28 will be a solid rig for anyone wanting a shorter bow hunting rig.