June 27, 2012
By Jon E. Silks
For 20 years, Mathews Inc. has been wowing the archery community with fantastic technologies, features and performance. The company has long been considered one of the world's top bow makers and has served the entire bowhunting community by pushing the envelope. There is no denying that founder Matt McPherson and his hard-working team are a special bunch. The proof can be found at the end of the manufacturing line year after year.
The 2012 Heli-m, like all Mathews bows, is home to an array of technologies and features. It all starts with a super lightweight GeoGrid Lock riser, which is home to the Reverse Assist Roller Guard, Harmonic Stabilizer Lite, Dead End String Stop Lite and the Rich Walnut SlimFit Inline grip. Also featured on the new rig are the company's SphereLock Pivoting Limb Cup System with Limb Turret, SE5 Composite Limb System and the Heli-m Cam.
The Mathews Grid Lock riser design is now familiar to the masses and brings instant brand recognition -- not that they needed it. The grid pattern builds strength and stiffness through interlocking bridges that connect the riser's outer edges. A new version, called the GeoGrid Lock pattern, flows with the contour of the Heli-m, increasing strength and further eliminating unnecessary material (and weight). The advertised mass weight of this bow is an amazing 3.5 pounds -- a spec I confirmed as accurate.
The innovative Reverse Assist Roller Guard gets part of its name from the position of the cables on the rollers. Rather than placing the cables in the typical position under the rollers (further away from the shooter), Mathews reverses the position of the cables, placing them over the rollers and closer to the archer where they are held in position by the system's tension.
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Unlike typical roller guard systems that get tighter and tighter as the bow is drawn, this configuration actually creates decreasing tension, resulting in less torque and a smoother draw.
Mathews' Harmonic Stabilizer Lite and Dead End String Stop Lite are just two of a handful of features designed to reduce shock, vibration and noise. The Lite version of the Harmonic Stabilizer is nearly 70 percent lighter than the original, while reducing 75 percent of residual vibration in the riser. A rubber material affixed to the end of the Dead End String Stop Lite dampens string oscillation.
Another feature on the Heli-m is the one-piece, Rich Walnut SlimFit Inline grip. This is an excellent grip with a smooth finish, hand-conforming contours and a comfortable size and angle. Without a doubt this is my favorite Mathews grip of all-time.
MATHEWS FAMILY LEGACY
Mathews is very proud of the newest member of its Solocam family, as it brings together two decades of single-cam technology. The Heli-m Cam was designed to produce a smooth draw, solid back wall and game-killing speed. The attached draw-force curve shows smooth transitions throughout, and the cushioned draw stop allows for a super solid back wall. Advertised (up to 332 fps IBO) and tested speeds both indicate the Heli-m has what it takes to get the job done even while sporting a comfortable, 7-inch brace height. As with previous Mathews' single cam systems, the Heli-m Cam is designed to eliminate any timing or synchronization issues.
THIN IS IN
Mathews' SE5 Composite SlimLimbs have endured extensive cycle testing to prove their strength and durability while weighing in nearly 20 percent lighter than other models. Limbs measure 13 inches in length and are constructed of a proprietary composite material that has stood the test of time and thousands of archers. Their past-parallel position at full draw is key in the fight against shock, vibration and noise. The critical limb to riser interface is championed by the company's SphereLock Pivoting Limb Cup and Limb Turret. Both are minimal in material and weight while exercising the necessary control to produce a world-class shooting machine.
The Heli-m is a quality hunting bow from start to finish and top to bottom. At the shot, the bow had nearly non-existent vibration and only moderate recoil. The grip is excellent in all respects and maneuverability is -- well, I guess that is self-explanatory when you are holding a 30-inch bow that only weighs 3.5 pounds.
I expect a great deal from Mathews. If an average company had created the Heli-m, I might be gushing because they hit the top-end level. But from Mathews, it's just another excellent bow in a long line of them.
Cam System: Heli-m Cam
Weight: 3.5 pounds
Brace Height: 7 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 30 inches
Letoff: 80 percent
Draw Weights: 40-, 50-, 60-, 65- and 70-pound peak
Draw Lengths: 26-30 inches, in half-inch increments; cam specific
Riser: GeoGrid Lock
Limbs: SE5 Composite SlimLimbs
String: Mathews Genuine Bowstring, 88 inches
Cables: Mathews Genuine Cables, 32.75 inches
Grip: Rich Walnut SlimFit Inline Grip
Finish: Lost Camo, Black, Tactical
Advertised IBO Speed: Up to 332 FPS
Suggested Retail Price: $959
Comments: Quality, Quality, Quality