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Evaluations : Dave Conrad
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Field Eval. BowTech Tribute
By Dave Conrad
Jan 24, 2006, 10:09

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Dave Conrad

Bowtech is a leader in the archery industry that has been showing true patriotism when it comes to naming its products. Over the last few years their bow line has been blessed with names such as Patriot, Constitution, Allegiance, Independence and Defender.  This year is no different as Bowtech honors our men and women of the military with the introduction of the Tribute.  This fairly short axle to axle bow is intriguing to say the least.  Intriguing because, for its size of 31.5” axle to axle, it has a great combination of speed and shootability.
Tribute for 2006

Last year Bowtech didn’t rest on its laurels when it first introduced the revolutionary new Binary Cam system.  Well this year is no different as Bowtech has yet again proved they can continue to advance an already quality designed product. The Binary Cam for 06 has been improved and is now being offered in two modules, speed or smooth as well as adjustable draw lengths.  It has also taken on a new look as well.  To find out more please continue as I take an in-depth look at the features that make up the Tribute from Bowtech. 


The newly designed riser comes in at a length of 26” and is the starting point to Bowtech’s secret of combining speed with a parallel limb design.  The basis of the tribute is CNC sculpted from 6061-T6 aluminum.  As you look along the length you will notice Bowtech’s signature design of weight reducing cutouts which number a dozen.  New for 2006 are indentations that run along the front and rear of the riser as well as along the upper outside cutout of the sight window.  These are indiscrete but are used to improve looks as well as shave weight which transfers into a bow weighing in at 4.1 pounds.

The 5.5” reflex design of the riser is a key ingredient in producing the speeds for this short axle to axle bow.  This when combined with a large 7.5” brace height, a long 26” length, which provides stability, and a parallel limb design produces a speed demon that eliminates hand shock or torque.

 Now let’s take a look at some of the standout features of the Tribute that are also incorporated into many of the Bowtech line of  risers that continues in 2006.

·        Stainless steel stabilizer inserts on the front as well as the rear of the bow.   This alleviates worries of stripped threads from risers tapped directly into the softer metal of the riser itself. 

·        Serial numbers are once again stamped within the riser.  Most manufacturers use an easy to remove label that may be a hindrance when trying to recover a lost or stolen bow.

·        The narrow throated grip, which is great for my low wrist style, continues to be laminated and carries the laser etched Bowtech nameplate.

·        Finally the well known Bowtech logo is affixed within the sight window.

Bowtech continues to film dip all bows in-house.  This gives Bowtech a better handle on quality control, thereby cutting down on manufacturing time.  For 2006 Bowtech gives you a choice of camo colors by offering either Mossy Oak Obsession or Realtree Advantage Max 4.  The riser, limbs and even the cable slide on all Bowtech bows are flawlessly double dipped for exceptional camouflage covering.


 As mentioned earlier, Bowtech did not rest on the success of its 2005 Binary cam system.  For 2006 they started out by changing the looks of the revolutionary cam to a more cutout design.  This new design definitely adds to the appeal of the bow giving it a sleeker look.  The cam system is revolutionary because the cams are anchored and synchronized to each other.  It does not rely on a buss and yoke cable system tied into limb tips which add to problems such as limb twist.  

This year Bowtech has added length modules in half inch increments from 26 to 30 inches. A big improvement over last years cams, which had to be changed out for every ½” of draw length.  The modules are easy to change and no bow press is needed for adjusting the draw modules or the let-off from 65 to 80 percent.

As mentioned earlier you have a choice in how the style of cam, speed versus smoothness.  This is the best of both worlds because whichever module you choose you get a great shooting bow.  It allows archers to pick their shooting style, or change back and forth with one bow design.  The speed cam offers, well as you can guess, faster arrow speeds.  The secret is draw weight that accelerates up to poundage promptly and keeps it throughout most of the cycle until quickly tapering off.  The smooth module is more of a gradual cycle that builds to poundage over the entire draw before letting off at the end.  Both cam modules give you great speed and as a matter of fact it comes down to comfort based on the shooters preference.   The speed cam on the average is eight feet per second faster, and mine came from the factory at 313 fps based on my 29” draw at 70 pounds.


 The Tribute utilizes a short Gordon glass limb that measures an impressively short 13”.  They are mounted to the riser from newly designed limb pockets with tight tolerances.  Like the riser the limb pockets are also machined from 6061-T6 aluminum.  There are no gaps or play in the pivoting limb pockets showing quality throughout.  Bowtech insures  limb consistency by making sure that each set of limbs match by measuring deflection.  The result is a short limb which builds impressive energy as it actually goes beyond parallel at full draw.  Upon release the design of the VFT limbs creates movement outward and away from each other and actually suppresses vibration and shock to zilch.  The bow virtually sits in your hand.   This latest overall VFT design of riser, cams and limbs are by far one of the most innovative designs to be produced from this six year old company as well as the archery industry.

 Hush Kit

Bowtech’s hush kit has been redesigned for the 2006 season.  While string suppressors stay the same Bowtech has increased the number of “legs” from the limb suppressors.  The cable guard suppressor has also added legs as well as growing in size.  The secret to these changes is as you add surface area you can suppress more.  The Tribute is very impressive in the vibration and shock free department and I believe the design is the major contributor to that.  But if there is any hint of vibration it is totally squelched by the newly redesigned Hush Kit.


Testing first starts off as soon as the bow is unpackaged.  I like to do a thorough and overall initial inspection.  First detail to catch my eye was the new cutouts on the Binary Cams.  The new design gives it an enhanced look that enables you to recognize it as a distinguishing Bowtech feature.  Next an inspection of the in-house dipped camouflage produced only a miniature blemish at the base of the bottom limb pocket.  Further inspection shows that this came from the new packaging as the pocket rubbed against the outside carton.  I was able to touch this up quickly by using a permanent black marker.  The final inspection included an overall look at detail as to the quality of fit.  The limb pockets were apparent of the detail and quality fit of the design.  This is the fifth evaluation I have done on a Bowtech bow and this years design and workmanship is unrivaled and I would put it at the top of the industry.  This is quite an accomplishment for a company that is still a few years away from its tenth birthday.

Next I set the Tribute up for a quick shoot.  I installed a TM hunter style rest, grabbed a couple arrows and off to the range I went.  Now without a sight I first shot a few volleys from just under 10 yards to get a feeling for new bow.   I was completely blown away.   I started off with the draw cycle of the speed module.  The poundage came up quickly.  Probably the quickest of any bow I have ever shot and continued up and just before anchor of my 29” draw.  The back wall is as solid with basically no valley or room for creep.  At the touch of the release I was amazed for the second time.  The Tribute basically just sat in my hand.  There was no recoil or hand shock which is uncommon for such a short axle to axle bow.  I immediately nocked another arrow and settled in for a second shot to just make sure.  Again the bow sat in my hand.  Additional shots resulted in the same outcome.

Once again my bow shipped to me from the factory with a speed of 313 fps at a 29” draw length and set at 70 pounds shooting a 350 grain arrow.  I decided to see how this birth certificate stood up to a evaluator’s test.  Taking a similar weight and length arrow that weighed in at 350 grains, the Tribute produced the exact same results, 313 fps.   

The following is a bow rating scale devised by the evaluators and it 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.  For example, if the bow being tested is a youth model, it will not be expected to spit arrows out at 300+ fps.

Quality/Workmanship:  Again, self-explanatory.  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 without any noise dampening devices installed.  This will allow the test to be based solely on the bow's out-of-the-box performance.  This category is closely related to that of the shock and vibration category. 

Draw Cycle "feel": The perceived smoothness of the draw is the focus of this rating.

Shootability:  Many factors come into play here, including axle-to-axle length, brace height, and eccentrics.

Advantage: What makes this bow special? Why choose this bow over another?


Category - Rating - Comments

  • Grip – 9.0 – Comfortable
  • Maneuverability 10.0 – Over 31.5” axle-to-axle
  • Speed 9.0 – Impressive for such a short bow!
  • Quality/Workmanship 10.0 - Excellent
  • Shock/Vibration 10.0 – zero!
  • Noise Level 9.5 – Extremely quiet
  • Draw Cycle "feel" 9.0 – This score is derived from an overall score of smooth and speed modules
  • Shootability 10 – Unbelievable
  • Advantage 9.5 –For an overall shooting package I highly recommend it
  •  Average Score 9.55 - Out of possible 10
  • Total Score 86.0  - Out of possible 90

As you can derive from this evaluation I can honestly say that this bow stands out as one of the best, if not the best, bow that I have ever rated for  It combines the best of everything a hunter would want, maneuverability, quality, shootability and feel into one great product.

Bowtech not only listens to what we hunters want in a bow, they also goe beyond the call when it comes into supporting our Armed Forces.  This is because the Tribute, which was released on November 1, is playing a vital role in raising funds for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).  For every Tribute sold a portion of the sale will be donated to TAPS.  This non profit organization offers support to American families who have lost a loved one while serving in the Armed Forces.  Also in honor of our heroes Bowtech will include a “Pray for our Troops” camouflaged wristband with each new Tribute sold.

For the entire BowTech Line: BowTech


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