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Bow Report: Hoyt Katera

Joe Bell

2/18/2008

Hoyt's 2008 premiere bow combines maximum speed with true shootability



I just came in from a successful late-season mule deer hunt. My hunting bow: Hoyt's '07 flagship model, the Vectrix. Prior to this hunt, I practiced like a mad man with this 33-inch shooter, and every day on the range I became overly impressed with this bow's performance. It delivers in all areas: great speed, accuracy, and low shot noise. For such a short, "racy" design, it seems to fire off arrows with amazing forgiveness - all the way out to 70-plus yards. After each shot with this bow, I kept asking myself, how does Hoyt do it?


It has all the right engineering details was the only intelligent answer I could come up with. This is something Hoyt's designers are really good at. For 2008, Hoyt's newest flagship bow is the Katera. Let's take a look at why this bow should be on your next wish list.


It's Fast!

If you're into all-out speed, the Katera will make you salivate. With an advertised IBO speed of 330 fps, this makes it the fastest bow Hoyt has ever sent through the production lines.


But a speed bow as the new flagship model? Aren't speed bows for expert shooters, not the average run-of-the-mill bowhunter, which most flagship bows are intended for? Well, the Katera puts a new spin on all this traditional thinking. 


After shooting this bow, I was blown away by its dull thump at the shot and tack-driving, arrow-smacking ability. Also, it's important to note that my arrows were flying at around 280 fps with only 27 inches of draw!


Compared to my '07 Vectrix, the Katera is about identical in design and length, only the Katera's riser sweeps back a bit more to give it the lower brace height (6 inches versus Vectrix's 7). This additional inch of power stroke automatically ups arrow speed by 15 fps. The Katera is also noticeably lighter than last year's Vectrix yet it still maintains the easy-to- carry balance of all TEC-risers. 


But, as you may know, a lower brace height typically makes a bow more difficult to shoot accurately. The longer the power stroke, the longer the arrow nock stays on the string, making even slight hand torque a major problem to shooting accuracy.


Shorter brace heights also bring the bowstring closer to your bow arm, increasing the chance of string slap to occur as the string moves forward at the shot, which in turn creates torque and disturbance to arrow flight.  These items normally make a speed-bow harder to shoot accurately.


StealthShot & TEC Riser

Darin Cooper, Hoyt's Senior Product Design Engineer, believes the Katera's innovative technology drastically changes the shooting nature of a low-brace bow.


"With the Katera, I think that brace height is more a matter of your performance needs and your intended usage rather than having a significant impact on how forgiving the bow will be," he said.


"On Hoyt's TEC risers there is very little torque transmitted to the handle, so tuning issues and torque don't impact accuracy as they might on other short brace-height bows."


"Also, as long as you have bowstring clearance for your hunting clothing or a string stop is installed (like our StealthShot Accessory) to keep the string from hitting your clothing, the accuracy difference and forgiveness between a 6-inch and 7-inch brace-height bow will be difficult if not impossible to notice. However, you may have to use a little stiffer arrow with a 6-inch brace height bow because the power-stroke driving the arrow is an inch longer than the 7-inch brace height bow."


Z3 Cam

The new Z3 Cam & 1/2 System on the Katera is nothing short of amazing - and is the key feature I believe that will quickly sell people into the bow. This system was designed for all-out rocket arrow speed, but it doesn't have the harsh draw cycle of other radically designed systems. On your very first pull, you'll have a hard time telling which system is smoother - last year's Vector or the new Z3, yet the Z3 is about 5 fps faster. The draw cycle was obviously designed with bowhunters in mind.


While shooting the Katera, I enjoyed the cam's smooth transition into the valley - there's no harsh, twitchy narrow-valley feel here. Of course, the cam is equipped with a firm stop, so you can aim with solid pressure against the wall until the shot just goes.


I've always been a forgiving bow kind of a guy. When hunting, I want my arrow to find the spot, despite making some shot mistakes. That's all part of high-adrenaline bowhunting. For this reason, I've always steered clear of short-brace bows.


However, after shooting the Katera, I'm very tempted to enter the speed-bow side. It's simply too sweet to pass up.


Bottom Line

Two key factors to this bow's success: the StealthShot string-stop feature and the all-new Z3 Cam & 1/2 System. The Katera comes with all the speed you could ever want, but with enough shootability for average shooters.


Katera Specifications

Peak Draw weights: 40 to 80 pounds
Draw lengths: 24 to 30 inches
Axle-to-axle length: 33 inches
Limbs: XT 500, 12 inches long
Riser: machined aluminum
Grip: Pro Fit Grip
Eccentrics: Z3 Cam & 1/2
Brace Height: 6 inches
Mass Weight: 4.5 pounds
Advertised IBO speed: 330 fps
Color: Realtree All-Purpose Green


Notable Highlights

- Z3 Cam & 1/2 is super fast yet draws like silk.
- TEC Riser provides torque free shooting, low shock, and excellent balance, with     
or without a stabilizer. 
- Hoyt's ProFit grip will meet an archer's preferences - shoot the all-wood grip, or remove for a super narrow "self grip."
- If you have a fairly long draw length or have always preferred longer, more forgiving bows, be sure to check out the 36-inch-long Katera XL or the revamped 7-inch-brace-height Vectrix Plus with the new Z3 Cam.  

 


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