BowTech produces quality bows that have taken the market by storm over the past decade, and the new Diamond IceMan FLX is no exception. Founded in 1999, BowTech’s corporate offices and manufacturing facilities are located in Eugene, Oregon. With a worldwide distribution network, BowTech’s family of brands include: BowTech, Diamond, Octane, Stryker and WaterDog Surface Technologies. BowTech is a subsidiary of Savage Sports Corporation, located in Westfield, MA. Brand names include Savage Arms, Stevens, Fox, Savage ( Canada), Savage Range Systems and PortaTarget. (For more information on this and other Diamond Archery products visit their website: Diamond Archery by Bowtech.)
In case you’ve ever wondered about the differences between the BowTech and Diamond brand bows…both brands are made in the same facility and with the same quality of components. The main difference between BowTech and Diamond bows is the cam technology. BowTech bows utilize the Binary™ dual cam system and Diamond bows utilize a single cam.
The Diamond “IceMan FLX” compound bow is newly designed for 2010.
The IceMan has a 31 ½ inch axle-to-axle length, 7 inch brace height, mass weight of 4.1 lbs, and is rated for 310-318 fps IBO. The single cam makes use of a modular system for quick changing of draw lengths from 24 – 30 inches (in ½” increments). In this field evaluation, I’ll unpack the Diamond IceMan FLX and all that it has to offer today’s demanding bowhunter.
IceMan FLX Basics
Riser: The riser on the IceMan FLX is forged and then CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum. The IceMan FLX features the same vibration-damping Center Pivot Technology™ found on other BowTech bows (see Figure 3 below). The Center Pivot meets the split limbs near the center point to create the shootable, “dead in the hand” experience that the IceMan has become known for. This 2nd-generation technology combines the riser and center pivot into a single strong structure that cuts the number of components in half, thus reducing weight and vibration. The deflexed riser configuration (1 inch of deflex) places the pivot point of the limb behind the throat of the grip, creating a consistent, accurate shooting experience.
Riser design 101: Reflex and deflex are terms used to explain the geometry of a riser. A deflex riser bow will have a higher brace height than a reflex riser bow which generally means it is a more forgiving bow. A reflex riser bow has a shorter brace height which usually translates into a less forgiving bow than a deflex riser bow. Reflex/deflex is measured by the position of the throat of the grip in terms of its location from a line drawn from each of the pocket pivot points on the handle. If the throat of the grip is in front of the pivot point line it is considered deflex, if it is behind the pivot point line it is considered reflex. Reflexed risers tend to be more susceptible to hand torque. I prefer the deflexed risers, such as the one on the IceMan FLX.
The IceMan FLX also features the new FLX-Guard™ cable containment system (see Figure 4 below), which addresses the tuning effects of extreme cable tension and inflexible cable guards found on today’s bows. As the bow is drawn, the FLX-Guard™ responds by flexing inward, absorbing much of the cable guard torque that would have otherwise been transferred to the riser. The result is substantial reduction in lateral nock travel, yielding a real advancement in tune-ability, forgiveness and accuracy.
Limbs: The 12” split limbs on the IceMan FLX are machined from laminated composite materials. They also sport the new InVelvet dipped finish. There are no vibration dampeners on the limbs of the IceMan, but you really do not need them with the Center Pivot Technology.
Eccentric System: The IceMan FLX employs a machined aluminum single cam eccentric system that rotates on sealed bearings. There is an adjustable draw stop to fine tune the valley in the draw cycle, and timing dots on the cam ensure proper tuning. Unlike most bows on the market today, Diamond bows do not require a new cam or module to set your draw length. Simply remove the mod screws, rotate the module, and re-tighten. At least six inches of draw length adjustment is available on most Diamond bows (including the IceMan), allowing for custom draw length tuning for yourself or others.
Finish: The riser and limbs on the IceMan FLX are hydrographic film dipped in the RealTree Hardwoods HD™ camo pattern. Like all BowTech and Diamond bows, the IceMan FLX also features the new InVelvet™ coating. InVelvet is a rubber-like coating that protects your bow from wear and harsh chemicals. It provides insulating and dampening qualities that are designed to reduce chill and noise. You can feel the difference between a bow with and one without the InVelvet coating, the InVelvet coating is actually soft to the touch, and it insulates hands from cold weather, dampens noise and protects from dings and scratches. Unaffected by common chemicals such as insect repellents or scent sprays; it is considered the most durable over-coating on the market today.
Silencing System: The silencing system on the IceMan FLX includes two silencers on the cable, one on the string, and a string suppression system installed on the lower half of the riser. The IceMan FLX’s string stop is made of carbon which is one of the strongest vibration-dampening materials available. It is positioned directly in line with the stabilizer to effectively transfer vibration from the string to the stabilizer. This optimizes bow balance and dissipates noise and vibration efficiently.
My Diamond IceMan FLX included the accessory package: Octane Hostage Pro Capture Arrow Rest; 5-pin fiber optic site; braided wrist sling; metal peep site with 3/16” aperture; Octane 7” camo stabilizer; and Octane One-Piece Quiver. I selected 350-grain Carbon Express Maxima 350 arrows for my evaluation. I performed my usual initial setup to ensure that the nocking point and rest were properly adjusted and I tuned the center shot using my Easy Eye Laser Eze-Center Gauge. I paper tuned the IceMan FLX and was ready to put it to the test.
For this evaluation, I shot the IceMan FLX with sets of 30 arrows each day for five days to evaluate overall comfort (shootability), draw-cycle, shot vibration, noise and torque. Additionally, I shot three other bows which I had on hand for comparative purposes throughout the evaluation.
Shootability… Starting with the grip design, the two-piece laminated wood grip on the IceMan FLX rested very comfortably in my hand. As I’ve mentioned in other bow evaluations, I like the feel of a thin grip and it’s my opinion that thinner grips can reduce the possibility of hand torque during the shot. The grips on this bow are a big plus for me. The draw cycle on the IceMan FLX is very smooth with its single-cam design. The 7-inch brace height on this bow gives some added forgiveness and improves accuracy. My groupings using the IceMan FLX were good, and within my normal range of accuracy.
The next area of my evaluation was to concentrate on the amount of hand shock or vibration felt during each shot. This one is tough to measure other than the amount of “jump” felt in the bow upon releasing the string. In order to evaluate a bow for this, you need to compare the bow you are evaluating to other bows on the market. A visit to the local archery shop should provide you with a good comparison. After shooting the IceMan FLX for five straight days and comparing it with the other bows I own, the IceMan FLX won “hands down” in this category. Shock to my hands during the shot was non-existent with the IceMan FLX, and I would have to say that this is the most impressive feature of this bow.
Speed…the IceMan FLX that I evaluated had a measured peak draw weight of 71.9 lbs and a measured draw length of 29 inches. For this test, I adjusted the draw weight to exactly 70 lbs, and I adjusted the draw length to 30 inches using the rotating cam module. Speed was measured on a Pro Chrono chronograph. I measured 18 shots and averaged the results. The average speed of the 350-grain Carbon Express Maxima arrows shot from the IceMan FLX was 310 fps. Under the I.B.O. (International Bowhunter’s Organization) standard, speed is measured using a bow with a draw weight of 70 lbs, a draw length of 30 inches, and the arrow should have a grain weight of 350 (or 5 grains of arrow weight per pound of bow weight). The IceMan FLX arrow-speed measurement of 310 fps, with the 350-grain arrow is within range of the advertised IBO speed of 310-318 fps. It should be noted that my IceMan FLX bow had a brass nock and eliminator button installed…these items alone can reduce arrow speed by 4 to 10 fps. I’ve included a chart below indicating typical speed loss resulting from string accessories added to your bow.
String Accessory Speed Loss
- Brass Nock ………………………. 2 – 4 fps
- Peep Sight………………………… 3 – 6 fps
- String Silencers …………………. 2 – 6 fps
- Eliminator Buttons………………. 2 fps each
- Rubber Peep Tube ……………… 6 – 10 fps
- LimbSavers ……………………… 0 – 2 fps
- String Loop (without brass nock)….. 1 – 3 fps
Maneuverability…I evaluated maneuverability by shooting the IceMan FLX from various positions within a ground blind and from a tree stand. I took several shots while seated, kneeling, and standing from within the ground blind and from my climbing tree stand. With its compact 31 ½ inch axle-to-axle length, this bow is very maneuverable in any hunting situation.
Noise level…the proper method to evaluate noise level would be to use a decibel meter capable of measuring low noise levels and I don’t have one and they can be expensive to purchase. In order to evaluate the noise level of the IceMan FLX, I blindfolded (to prevent brand favoritism) two of my bowhunting buddies and one of my sons and had them stand next to me and evaluate noise level while I shot several bows in an indoor shooting range. It should be noted that in order to complete this part of my evaluation, I removed all accessories that I had previously added to the bow except for the arrow rest, in order to eliminate any noise from accessories. I shot one arrow from each of four bows in their “out-of-the-box” condition, including the IceMan FLX, and recorded the opinions of each person in succession. I repeated this test five times and I averaged the results. The IceMan FLX was voted the quietest bow that I shot by 2 of the 3 guys helping me with this test, and I think the 3rd guy is hard of hearing (just kidding). This is a subjective test at best, but I felt that the IceMan FLX was very quiet during the shot.
Conclusion: The IceMan FLX from Diamond Archery is a shooter’s bow! This bow is super quiet and easy on the hands during the shot. Accuracy and shootability are excellent. I’m a huge fan of BowTech and Diamond bows, and the IceMan FLX simply adds to the love affair.
This rating chart is intended to help you investigate a single bow by reviewing its key features, and also compare it to other models you may be interested in. A rating system of 1 through 10, in ½ point increments, will be used with 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest or best.
Following is a list of the bow properties that will be covered and their definitions.
- Grip: This item will be rated on its “feel” and shape in regard to the effect it has on torque and the overall enjoyment of shooting.
- Maneuverability: This rating is self-explanatory and will be determined through various field tests, including ground blinds and treestands. Mass weight will also be a factor.
- Speed: The rating for this category will be based on the design and intended purpose of the bow.
- Quality/Workmanship: This item will be based on attention to detail in the areas of machining, finish, and general mechanics.
- Shock and Vibration: Ratings will be based on the amount of “jump” felt upon release.
- Noise Level: Noise will be rated as sold by the manufacturer without any additional noise dampening devices installed. This will allow the test to be based solely on the bow’s out-of-the-box performance.
- Draw Cycle: The perceived smoothness of drawing the bow and holding it on target.
- Shootability: Many factors come into play here, including axle-to-axle length, brace height, and eccentrics.
- Advantage: What features makes this bow special as compared to its competitors?
- Value: Pricing vs. competition given features and specs
Category – Rating – Comments
- Grip – 10
- Maneuverability – 10
- Speed – 8
- Quality/Workmanship – 10
- Shock/Vibration – 10
- Noise Level – 10
- Draw Cycle “feel” – 9
- Shootability – 9.5
- Advantage – 10 (FLX Guard)
- Value – 9
- Total Score – 95.5 out of possible 100
Pros: shock-free during the shot, super quiet, quality, accurate
Cons: expect greater speed from bows in this price range
- Draw weights: 60, 70 pounds peak (71.9 lbs. as tested)
- Draw Lengths: 24 – 30 inches (adjustable with single rotating module)
- Axle-to-axle length: 31 ½ inches
- Brace Height: 7 inches
- Mass Weight: 4.1 lbs
- Let-off: 65%, 80% (adjustable)
- Grip: two-piece thin wood laminate
- Eccentric System: single cam
- Advertised IBO speed: 310 – 318 fps (70 lbs, 30” draw, 350 grain arrow)
- Kinetic Energy: 81.1 ft-lbs
- Finish: RealTree Hardwoods HD™
- Cable: 34 5/16”
- String: 89 3/4”
- Silencing System: String silencers (2 on cable)
- MSRP: $849
- Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty to original registered owner
For more information on this and other Diamond Archery products visit their website: Diamond Archery by Bowtech