December 16, 2014
By Jon E. Silks
Bear Archery has a history of bringing strong contenders to the market in the value-to-performance bow class. These rigs may not have all the same bells and whistles as their flagship counterparts, but they do have many of the core technologies and demonstrate high performance relative to their price tags. The Crux is Bear Archery's best bang for your buck heavy hitter for 2015.
The Crux is built with its Max Preload Quad limbs, Hybrid A-Cam system, aluminum reflex riser, Offset String Suppressor and much more.
Grade 'A' Hybrid
Bear's A-Cam is a hybrid system, which means it uses two elliptical-shaped cams, a control cable, a split harness power cable and an evenly placed string. The even string distribution is important, as it reduces the effects of mechanical string seating and string stretch. The top cam in this system is often called the control cam, and it has two tracks that are home to the string and control cable. The bottom cam, or power cam, is designed with three tracks, which are used by the string, control and power cables.
The control cable links the two cams together so they rotate in unison. As one cam lets cable out, the other takes it in. Most of the load in the hybrid design is handled by the power cable as it is taken in by the power cam and exerts a load on the top axle through the split harness, which gives a wide base for stability. It is commonly believed the hybrid system requires less hassle to maintain, suffers fewer synchronization and timing issues and produces straighter, more level nock travel.
A single rotating module on each cam offers the full range of adjustability from 26-30€‰1„2 inches, in half-inch increments. No bow press is needed to customize the draw length. Be sure to move the draw stop into the corresponding hole when making these changes. Cams ride on a hardened axle and sealed bearings and generate a system letoff of 70 percent.
Loaded to the Max
Bear's Max Preload Quad Limbs reach a past-parallel position while at full draw, capturing the inherent benefits of this configuration, such as reduced shock, vibration and noise. Individual limbs are made with machined Gordon Composites materials and matched into sets of four through the deflection values they register when flexed. Their high strength-to-weight ratio allows them to bend further and store more energy. Limbs are available in 50-, 60- and 70-pound peak weight options.
Limbs are aligned to the centerline of the riser through Bear's Zero Tolerance 2-piece pocket. The cap and pivot components cradle each limb section for precise positioning at this critical interface. Any misalignment in this area will result in a bow that is difficult, if not impossible, to tune correctly and general inaccuracy. Limb pockets pivot during the draw-weight adjustment process, which allows the limb-to-pocket alignment to remain consistent.
The Crux riser is first cast with aluminum and then CNC machined into its final form. It has a moderate reflex configuration, which with all else being equal allows Bear to increase the power stroke and speed as a result. A casting process is used for the first manufacturing step followed by a CNC machining process that finishes it into its final form.
A set of slender panels are set into shallow pockets on both side of the contoured handle area to complete the grip. Each panel is made of injection-molded plastic, which includes the Bear name, and is over-molded with rubber for comfort.
Loaded or Bare
The Bear Crux can be purchased as a bare bow or as a Ready-To-Hunt (RTH) package featuring Trophy Ridge accessories. The package includes a Whisker Biscuit arrow rest, a Joker 4-Pin fiber optic sight, a 5-Spot adjustable quiver, Dart stabilizer, peep sight, wrist sling and nocking loop.
While shooting the Crux, I kept thinking of the $449.99 price tag — that's less than half the price of some rigs on the market.
My first impression was that the bow is compact, maneuverable and powerful. The grip is slender and smooth for a consistent hand position, and the 4-pound mass weight is balanced well.
There is a noticeable but short-lived shock in the handle at the shot, which is lessened by a quality stabilizer. Vibration was nearly undetectable with or without the stabilizer. Shot noise was average, and the draw cycle was consistent.
Manufacturer: Bear Archery, 800-694-9494
Cam System: Hybrid A-Cam System
Weight: 4 pounds (advertised and as tested)
Brace Height: 7€‰1„2 inches
Axle-To-Axle length: 30€‰5„8 inches
Letoff: 70 percent
Draw Weights: 50, 60, and 70 pounds peak
Draw Lengths: 26-30€‰1„2 inches, in half-inch increments (rotating module)
Riser: Machined cast aluminum, reflex
Limbs: Max Preload Quad Limbs
String: Contraband HP, 57.5 inches
Cables: Contraband HP, 32.125 and 34 inches
Grip: Contoured handle with overmolded rubber side panels
Finish: Realtree Xtra with Black Limbs
Advertised IBO Speed: 320 fps
Suggested Retail Price: $449.99
Comments: A hearty, get-it-done rig at a great price.