Mathews Z7 Xtreme Review
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The Mathews Z7 Xtreme is a high quality and great shooting bow from the Z7 series launched by Mathews in 2010. When it comes to shootability, the Xtreme feels almost exactly the same as the original Z7. However, a few interesting changes were introduced by the Mathews design team for this bow.
|click on any pic to enlarge|
|Very lightweight, rigid, & incredibly tough riser delivers a great shooting platform|
Checkered with multiple isometric cutouts, the new riser is built using the same Grid Lock Riser technology that was used for building the riser on the original Z7 but with a few minor differences. The new riser is designed to be shorter to reduce the axle to axle length and has a slightly different grid pattern in both top and bottom parts of the riser. Not only does this technology help to reduce the overall mass weight of the bow by minimizing the amount of material, but it also delivers high rigidity and integrity. The riser delivers a very solid platform that performs exceptionally well while being lightweight and well balanced.
The Z7 Xtreme features new SE5 composite limbs utilizing the same Slim Limb technology that was used in 2010. Not only this technology is extremely reliable and efficient, but it also helps to minimize limbs size and maximize performance. In addition, the proprietary Mathews SE5 material allows for manufacturing slim and lightweight limbs without sacrificing reliability and durability. Admittedly, this Mathews technology is one of the most reliable on the market. Although the technology is the same as in 2010, the new SE5 limbs have slightly different size and are not interchangeable with the older SE3 and SE4 limbs. In addition, the SE5 limbs ride on different turrets that are also not interchangeable with older models. Experts say that while the new SE5 limbs are nearly identical to the last year's limbs, they deliver slightly better efficiency.
The new SE5 composite limbs are connected to the riser through the SphereLock Pivoting Limb Cup System and the Limb Turret. This system is very efficient, extremely reliable, and accurately controls the limb-to-riser orientation.
|While the factory grip (left) works for many shooters, others prefer replacing it with the more comfortable and less torqueless Mathews Focus grip (right)|
The factory walnut SlimFit Inline grip has a distinctive red line to clearly indicate the centerline of the bow. While some archers are happy with this factory grip, others say it's not as comfortable as the new Mathews Focus (aftermarket) grip. Admittedly, the latter is designed to have less hand torque compared to the standard handle. This is achieved by keeping pressure in the center part of the grip. So, if you don't like the factory grip, you can always replace it with the Focus grip which should be more comfortable and have less torque.
Eccentric systemPowering the Z7 Xtreme to reported IBO speeds reaching 330 fps is the very efficient and smooth ZX performance system. This eccentric system has been specifically designed to sit between very easy drawing bows (Mathews DXT or Mathews Switchback) and fast single cam bows like Mathews Reezen 6.5. In other words, while this cam is very smooth, it is also a bit stiffer to draw compared to some other super easy drawing Mathews rigs. But at the same time, it's much faster.
When it comes to adjustability, draw lengths are available from 24 to 30 inches in half inch increments. This is a cam specific performance system that requires a new cam for each draw length. While this is not a very flexible design in terms of adjustability, it allows for delivering optimal performance for individual draw lengths. If you decide to get this bow, be sure to order it with the right cam for your draw length. In any case getting a new cam for your specific draw length should not be a problem at all.
Draw cycle / ShootabilityThe draw cycle on the Xtreme is very smooth but a little bit stiff (this is a pretty fast rig, so speed should come from somewhere). While many shooters like the draw cycle on the bow, some people will have to get used to its slightly stiffer (but still very smooth) draw cycle. When it comes to release, this bow is reported to be extremely quiet. With a very efficient silencing package, the Z7 Extreme is as quiet as the original Z7 and is considered to be one of the quietest bows out there.
Silencing packageThe Mathews Z7 Xtreme comes with an impressive silencing package including many proven components designed in the past. All these technologies work together to deliver quiet shots with minimal vibration. First of all, the SE5 Composite limbs help to eliminate vibration due to the parallel design and proven technologies. Secondly, a number of other components further reduce unwanted noise and vibration. Let's take a closer look at the silencing package the Z7 Xtreme is equipped with:
- Dead End String Stop reduces the noise coming from the string. This string stop is exactly the same as the one the 2010 Mathews Z7 comes with. What that means is the Xtreme will be as effective as the Z7 in suppressing vibration coming from the string
- String Suppressors and String Grub help to eliminate string vibration making for a quieter shot
- Reverse Assist Roller Guard reduces friction and delivers a smoother draw cycle. This is the same roller guard as the one on the 2010 Mathews Z7
- Harmonic Damping System and Harmonic Stabilizer effectively absorb vibration in the riser. These silencing technologies have been used on many Mathews bows for years and proved to be very efficient in eliminating vibration.
- Monkey Tails serve to eliminate noise and vibration coming from string and cable. Each Z7 Xtreme bow is equipped with 3 monkey tails (as opposed to 4 monkey tails on the 2010 Z7 version)
Ideal for tree-stand or blind huntingMeasuring 28 inches from axle-to-axle, the new Mathewx Z7 Xtreme is a very maneuverable bow. Admittedly, this is one of the best tree-stand or blind hunting bows in 2011. While this rig is not ideal for long draw length shooters due to the sharp string angle, the short-to-medium draw archers should really enjoy hunting with this bow due to its compact design, fast IBO speeds, and extreme quietness.
Mathews Z7 Xtreme TacticalThe Z7 Xtreme Tactical is a slight modification of the standard Z7 Xtreme. When it comes to shootability, the two bows are nearly identical. First of all, there are no structural differences: the Tactical is all black and comes with carbon fiber limbs (the same SE5 Composite limbs as on the standard Xtreme). The only difference that affects shootability is the new torqueless Focus grip the Tactical is equipped with. In addition, the Tactical is more expensive (by approximately $150). So, it really is a matter of personal preference and budget: if you want a black Z7 Xtreme with carbon fiber limbs and a better grip (and don't mind spending more money) go with the Tactical. Otherwise, you may want to save budget and get the standard Z7 Xtreme which is as good as the Tactical in terms of shootability.
Mathews Z7 Xtreme vs. original Mathews Z7
|Bow||Mathews Z7 Xtreme||Mathews Z7|
|Brace Height||7.375 "||7 "|
|AtA Length||28 "||30 "|
|Draw Length||24 " - 30 "||24 " - 30 "|
|Draw Weight||40 lbs - 70 lbs||40 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||330 fps||333 fps|
|Weight||3.98 lbs||4.0 lbs|
|Where to buy|
Best prices online
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While the new Xtreme bow is designed using the same technologies as the original Mathews Z7, there are a few differences between the two. First of all, the new Z7 Xtreme has been designed to be more compact: with 28" from axle to axle, it is 2 inches shorter than the original Z7. Also, the Xtreme has a slightly more forgiving brace height (7 3/8" inches compared to 7" on the standard Z7). So, it is even more forgiving than the original Z7 but as a result it is also a little bit slower (330 fps compared to 332 fps for the original Z7 bow). The majority of shooters agree that these two rigs are almost identical in terms of shootabilty. They are very fast, smooth to draw, and quiet on the shot. Many experts say the new Z7 Xtreme is going to be as popular as the original Z7 especially for those hunters who enjoy shooting compact bows. In terms of the look, the new riser has a slightly different grid pattern, but is as strong and lightweight as the original one. Overall, if you are a longer draw length shooter the original Mathews Z7 or even Mathews Z9 would probably fit you better. On the other hand, if you like shooting short bows, the Z7 Xtreme is a very good choice.