July 06, 2021
By Jon E. Silks
After a highly successful debut last year, PSE is continuing its partnership with John Dudley and his Nock On Nation with the all-new, budget-friendly 2021 Embark.
Dudley is an accomplished competitive shooter, bowhunter and internationally respected archery coach who hosts the popular Nock On videos and podcast. Above all, it is Dudley’s passion for the sport and his drive to share it with others that makes the collaboration with PSE a perfect partnership.
The Embark features PSE’s X-Tech highly pre-loaded split limbs, pivoting limb pockets, the ZF 4-Track cam system, a reflexed riser, Comfort Grip and much more.
Comfort & Performance
PSE chose 6061-T6 aluminum to manufacture the Embark’s riser; first through a forging process followed by fully machining it into its final form. The overall configuration of the riser is what is known as reflex. A reflex riser is one that places the pivot point of the pocket in front of (farther away from the shooter) the deepest part of the grip. With all else being equal, a reflex riser allows for a longer power stroke than that of a deflex riser. Additional power stroke means increased speed. PSE offers the Embark in Nock On Green or Special Ops Black. Cutouts, significant in number and size, lighten the mass weight of the riser from top to bottom, with each end flaring to a wide stance that supports the limb pockets. A single set of sight-mounting holes sits above the cable-guard rod-mounting pocket on the outside of the sight window.
PSE employs its Precise-Lock cable-containment system that uses individual rollers for each cable and a set of smaller rollers that allows the machined and anodized aluminum containment fixture to move along the solid carbon rod during the draw and shot cycles. Rollers are intended to promote smooth, low-friction motion for increased efficiency.
The grip system offers the shooter a choice between PSE ’s Comfort Grip, which features a functional and warm interface, and the standard configuration. When the rubber overmold Comfort Grip is removed, PSE’s built-in grip is exposed. Its machined radius and familiar profile provide a feel and functionality well-known to PSE customers.
Vibration and shot noise are battled through the riser-mounted BackStop string stop, while the stainless steel stabilizer-mounting inset rounds out the package.
A set of PSE’s X-Tech Limbs are aligned to the riser through high-impact polymer limb pockets. These pockets control limb position at this critical interface with their relative length, pivoting function and multi-sided capture structure. Limbs measure 11 inches long, are made with Gordon Composites materials and are highly pre-loaded, reaching a beyond parallel position at full draw. Parallel and past-parallel limb configurations are known to produce the benefits of reduced shock, vibration and noise at the shot. Limb sets are available in 60- and 70-pound peak weights. Limbs are hydro-dipped in Sitka Optifade Subalpine camo.
The ZF Cam system works with the X-Tech limbs to power the Embark to advertised IBO speeds that range from 319-327 fps. These 4-Track cams are machined from an aluminum block, black anodized, ride on quarter-inch axles with sealed ball bearings and feature a built-in draw stop that produces an 80 percent letoff. A rotating inner cam, that is easily adjusted without the use of a bow press, moves the Embark through its draw-length range of 23.5-30.5-inches, in half-inch increments.
Cables are directly linked to one cam and yoked to the other, forcing unified rotation while producing a wide stance for stability that results in reduced cam lean. PSE Livewire string and cables are made with BCY 452X material. Clearly denoted letters on the main cam body and a pin on the inner cam ensure proper positioning for the selected draw length.
The Embark offers a solid price-to-performance ratio with good marks all around. Shock and vibration were minimal at the shot, with noise following suit. The draw has a steep incline before rounding through the peak and dropping gradually to the valley. The grip is comfortable, and overall mass weight came in below the advertised number. Balance at full draw was sufficient, while the top end moves toward the shooter at the shot.
- Manufacturer: PSE Archery, 520-884-9065; psearchery.com
- Model: Nock On Embark
- Riser: Machined aluminum, reflex
- Grip: Removable Overmold Comfort Grip
- Limbs: X-Tech, split, high pre-load
- Draw Weights: 60 and 70 pounds peak
- Draw Lengths: 23.5-30.5 inches, in half-inch increments, rotating inner cam
- Cam System: ZF 4-Track
- Letoff: 80 percent (advertised); 82.46 percent (as tested)
- String: Livewire Custom, BCY 452, 58.625 inches
- Cables (x2): Livewire Custom, BCY 452, 36.375 inches
- Brace Height: 7 inches
- Axle-to-Axle Length: 31 inches
- Weight: 4.3 pounds (advertised); 4.2 pounds (as tested)
- Finish Options: Nock On Green and Special Ops Black
- Advertised IBO Speed: Up to 327 fps
- MSRP: $799.99
- Comments: Quiet shot, comfortable grip and minimal shock or vibration.