October 05, 2003
By Dave Dolbee
Hoyt's new Cam & 1/2 system promises all of the advantages of a one- and two-cam system without any of the drawbacks.
I can't think of a better way to test a bow than out in the field with a buck 20 yards in front of my stand. It all started when I recently visited Hoyt's manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a curious mind and of course, an empty bow case. What I left with was a whole new outlook on the potential future of cam design--and of course a bow case that was a bit heavier. . .
According to Hoyt's Director of Marketing, Mike Luper, "If two-cams are dead, one-cams are on their way out." Hoyt has completely redesigned their line with thinner grips, lighter weights, a new Realtree finish and the new Cam&1/2TM system.
According to Hoyt, one-cams take as much maintenance as a two-cam bow. With modern string materials, retiming two-cam bows is almost a thing of the past. By the same token, one-cam bows can certainly go out of time. A one-cam must be shot hard off the wall. That is why so many one-cam bows have such a short valley. If you creep with a one-cam, you miss--by a lot. With a two-cam bow you must be consistent, but you can shoot hard off the wall or at any point in the valley.
Hoyt's President Randy Walk says, " no one-cam system has complete level nock travel". One-cams have three separate elements: the idler wheel, buss cable and the cam, which are all controlling nock travel. On a two-cam system, you only have to match the top with the bottom to achieve level nock travel.
Hoyt's answers to all of these problems have been incorporated in the cam and-a-half system. The system starts out like a two-cam. In fact, the top and bottom cams are identical in geometry. This gives the shooter all of the advantages of a two-cam system--speed, forgiveness, and level nock travel. The difference is in the modules. The module on the bottom cam rolls over until the Stealth Draw Dampener contacts the cable for a solid wall. On a two-cam system, the top cam would have to do the same thing, at the same time, to ensure proper timing. The design of the module on the top cam is different than traditional two-cam bows in that it varies from the module on the bottom cam. Instead of coming to a flat spot that stops against the cam, the module is simply rounded so it acts like the idler wheel of a one-cam. This eliminates the timing issues normally associated with two-cam systems.
According to Hoyt's engineers, the belief that when two-cam bows are out of time one cam releases its energy before the other is a myth. After reviewing high-speed video they discovered that one cam starts to move and the second cam moves later but catches up, causing the bow to rock slightly, and thus adversely affecting accuracy. Because a one-cam only pulls from the cam and the idler simply reacts, one-cam bows do not suffer the fate of the two-cam's timing issues. With the cam and-a-half though, because the radius of the top module's design does not stop against the wall, the cam releases its energy immediately matching the bottom cam as the idler wheel does on a one-cam system.
The cam and-a-half also has an advantage over one- and two-cam bows when it comes to performance. To be consistent, a one-cam must be shot hard off the wall as I mentioned earlier, but it can be tuned to different places and still shoot, but performance (speed) would be greatly affected. The same is true of a two-cam bow. This is why the cam and-a-half has Performance Marks scribed on the cams. The Performance Marks are not to check the timing of the cams, but merely to show where the bow will get its maximum performance and speed. In fact, according to Hoyt you could setup, tune and sight in the bow and then add several twists to one of the cables (moving the cam from one side of the performance marks to the other) and still shoot arrows in the 10-ring from 20 yards.
At the factory, I chose a CyberTec. I shot it quite a bit last year, making it ideal for comparison. The 2003 CyberTec features the cam and-a-half with sealed, maintenance-free ball bearings. The grip has been narrowed slightly and overall the mass weight is lighter. The cable slide has been changed to Teflon and has a radius against the cables to decreases wear.
Early on, I had problems tuning the cam and-a-half, but later found it was due to a faulty arrow rest. Once I changed rests, the bow shot phenomenally. At 60 pounds with a 28-inch draw and a 328 grain arrow, I measured the speed at 276 fps. In fact, the bow was shooting so good, a week later it was my top choice to bring down bruiser Missouri Whitetails.