April 21, 2011
By Jon E. Silks
The new Z7 Xtreme is loaded with features -- such as the Grid Lock Riser, ZX Cam, Reverse Assist Roller Guard, SE5 Composite limbs and a host of vibration-damping accessories.
By Jon E. Silks
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Mathews is a company that needs no introduction. So, I'm not going to give them one! The new Z7 Xtreme is loaded with features -- such as the Grid Lock Riser, ZX Cam, Reverse Assist Roller Guard, SE5 Composite limbs and a host of vibration-damping accessories -- and I need all the page space possible to cover them.
Mathews' now familiar Grid Lock Riser design does more than just reach out and grab you. The isometric cutouts set on a grid pattern serve to create a strong and stiff platform on which other features and technologies are built. Strength is gained without excess material, keeping the overall mass weight under four pounds. A Harmonic Stabilizer and Harmonic Damper are set directly into the riser's body to reduce vibration and noise. If you have ever seen the bare metal riser demonstration using the Harmonic Dampers, you know just how beneficial they are. A section of the shelf area is actually completed with the top section of the one-piece walnut grip. The SlimFit Inline grip is narrower from top to bottom than the company's older models -- this is my favorite Mathews' grip to date. Beyond comfort, the polished wood is also functional in allowing the shooter's hand to repeatedly move into position without excess torque. A single piece of red colored wood is laminated on the centerline of the bow, making initial setup and tuning easier.
Not far up the riser from the grip is the Reverse Assist Roller Guard, which is mounted on the outside of the sight window. The unique cable-containment system reverses the typical position of the cables in terms of where they contact the rollers. Cables sit on the shooter's side of the rollers and actually relax more as the bow is drawn. The end result is a smoother draw and less torque on the system. Less torque equals increased consistency and improved accuracy.
Mathews' Reverse Assist Roller Guard places the cables toward the shooter,
reducing torque and friction while offering a smoother draw cycle.
Smooth, Smooth, Smooth
The more I shoot the Z7 Xtreme, the more its effortless draw cycle shines through. Mathews was undoubtedly in pursuit of an extremely soft feel for its new rig, and needless to say, they didn't miss their mark.
We can't forget the speed this bow generates -- up to 330 fps IBO on a 7 3„8-inch brace height. So, how do they put it all together? They start with the machined aluminum ZX Solocam system, which rotates on stainless steel axles and sealed ball bearings to reduce friction and increase efficiency. The ZX has a cam-specific draw-length adjustment, meaning there is a different cam for each draw length between 24 and 30 inches, including half-inch sizes. Mathews engineers its bows, each draw length, for optimum performance. In short, a specific cam is the way to maintain that precision. Knowing it takes longer to change a cam than a module, Mathews came up with a more efficient way to get the job done in the form of its Quick Change Axle (QCA) feature. The QCA replaces the typical e-clip with an easy on/off plastic fixture on one side and a pull-knob on the other.
The 80-percent letoff designed into the system makes holding at full draw those extra few seconds more comfortable and easier on the shoulder. Mathews breaks out its Zebra Barracuda strings and cables for the Z7 Xtreme and adds a speed-enhancing String Grub and set of vibration-reducing Monkey Tails to the mix. A set of limb-mounted String Suppressors and Dead End String Stop add more vibration-killing power to the Z7 Xtreme's arsenal.
Mathews' SE5 Composite limbs, held in place by the company's sleek and super efficient SphereLock Pivoting Limb Cup system, are subjected to brutal cycle testing designed to push them far beyond the stresses of normal use. Engineered composite plates are precision cut on Flow Waterjet machines to produce the final limb unit, which is then matched to a set based on deflection values. At full draw, the limbs come to a wicked, past parallel position that is key to the exceptionally low levels of vibration, kick and noise experienced when shooting the Z7 Xtreme.
In my opinion this is the quietest bow Mathews has ever produced -- and that is saying something! The severe angle of the limbs, even at rest, brings the axle-to-axle length down to a highly maneuverable 28 inches.
Editor's Note: Our standardized High Grade testing includes the use of the same equipment and test methods. All bows are tested with a draw length of 29 inches and a draw weight of 65 pounds.