Bow Review: Athens Elevate

With a killer new cam system, one of the industry’s finest grips and a new sight mount, Athens Archery has launched an ideal bowhunting bow, the Athens Elevate.

Bow Review: Athens Elevate

The author is a huge fan of the Elevate’s Low-Pro Molded Grip, aiming stability and smooth-drawing RT-X Cam System.

Two decades ago when I played baseball in the local county league, my team had several different bats. One of them, though, naturally fit me better than the others. Whenever I stepped up to the batter’s box with that bat, kept my chin down and fixed my eyes on the ball, it wasn’t uncommon for me to poke the ball over the fence. 

I immediately felt that same connection right off the bat — pun intended — with the Athens Archery Elevate while recently testing it. I hadn’t shot an Athens bow prior to this field test, so I had no preconceived notions as to how the Elevate would perform. Let’s just say that it holds its own in the highly competitive compound bow space. Following are some reasons why it does.

Test Bow Specs

  • Axle-to-Axle Length: 32 inches
  • Brace Height: 6 inches
  • Draw Length: 28 inches
  • Draw Weight: 69.9 pounds 
  • Let-off: 90%
  • Bow-only Weight: 4.2 pounds 
  • Accessorized Total Weight: 6.1 pounds (no quiver)
  • Velocity: 276 fps (with 468-grain Easton 6.5mm Acu-Carbon 340 arrow); 279 fps (with 456-grain CX Maxima Triad)
  • Kinetic Energy: 79.082 foot-pounds (Easton); 78.738 foot-pounds (CX)
  • Test-Bow Finish: Athens Conifer Grey
  • MSRP: $1,199 (starting price)
  • Contact: 

First Impressions

To me, there’s no contention with the fact that the grip is a bow’s most important attribute. Designed poorly, holding the grip consistently and without torquing will be a constant issue that affects accuracy, and that problem will multiply in hunting situations given bulky clothing, surging adrenaline, fast shot opportunities and awkward shooting positions.

Fortunately, the Elevate features the market’s most comfortable grip (at least my hand thinks so). There might be one or two other equals, but I haven’t felt one that beats it, and I test and handle a lot of bows each year. The Elevate’s Low-Pro Molded Grip features a rubberized backing that’s comfortable in cold weather, but it isn’t tacky and doesn’t impede consistent hand placement. The grip is slim and fits like a glove. It’s a sensational design.

The Low-Pro Molded Grip is comfortable to touch in cold weather and it’s nice and slim to foster a consistent, torque-free grip.
The Low-Pro Molded Grip is comfortable to touch in cold weather and it’s nice and slim to foster a consistent, torque-free grip.

Technology With the Times

Like many 2023 bows, the Elevate is rigged with modern accessory-mounting options. First, it has the Picatinny Rail Mounting System, which works with compatible sights. It eliminates the need for a sight bracket, so sights designed for it are lighter than conventional sights, and the sight weight is also positioned toward the center of the riser to optimize the bow’s accessorized balance. 

The Elevate also features the Integrate Mounting System, which is the industry standard for mounting an arrow rest such as QAD’s Athens UltraRest Integrate. The mounting system mates the rest directly to the riser posterior, providing a more rigid and dependable connection. It also centers the arrow rest’s weight with the riser, thereby improving the bow’s overall accessorized balance. 

For the customer who has a favorite sight and rest that aren’t compatible with these modern mounting systems, the Elevate is also outfitted with conventional drilled-and-tapped sight- and rest-mounting holes. Still, the best balance and dependability are had by utilizing the new mounting systems.

The RT-X Cam with the Rev 2 Module has adjustable let-off, oversized draw stops and a rotating draw module. It also has an extremely pleasant draw cycle.
The RT-X Cam with the Rev 2 Module has adjustable let-off, oversized draw stops and a rotating draw module. It also has an extremely pleasant draw cycle.

Tricked-Out Cam System

The Elevate’s draw cycle floored me. The bow looks aggressive and certainly has plenty of speed, yet it is unbelievably smooth with no sudden humps or awkward transitions from peak to valley. The 70 pounds slide back so nicely, even while wearing a hunting jacket. As a hardcore hunter, I value a bow I can draw easily in one fluid motion so as not to be detected by game. The Elevate fits the bill, thanks to the silky-smooth RT-X Cam System.

The RT-X is not only smooth, but it has some killer features that enhance the shooting experience. The Rev 2 module can be adjusted from 24.5 to 30.5 inches in half-inch increments. More impressively, there’s also a let-off adjustment that goes from 70 to 90 percent. Everyone has their own preferences, so the ability to tweak let-off to individual liking is really sweet. 

That’s not all. The draw stops are 55 percent larger than with past models, so the back wall is definitive. I pull quite firmly against the back wall as I engage my back muscles to execute the shot, and the Elevate’s wall is extremely solid, and shots break so cleanly as a result. The RT-X Cam System gets five stars from me. Love it!

Other Bells and Whistles

We’ve covered the most important ground, but the Elevate has other really nice features worth discussing. First off, the TCS (Tunable Cable System) is a roller guard similar to those on most bows, but it adjusts laterally in order to change the cable load while tuning the Elevate. Etched-in marks are easily referenced to track adjustments. Not only is it tunable, but it works in unison with the RT-X Cam to reduce friction and produce that silky-smooth draw cycle I mentioned earlier.

The TCS is a roller guard that is laterally adjustable to tune the cable load. (Photo by Darron McDougal)
The TCS is a roller guard that is laterally adjustable to tune the cable load. (Photo by Darron McDougal)

Next, there is a Lower Stabilizer Mount. While the conventional stabilizer mount is well-appointed beneath the grip for a longer bar, the lower mounting option is ideal for shorter stabilizers and weights, using gravity to anchor the bow, especially in windy conditions. There’s another one on the back of the riser at nearly the same height, too. With three different stabilizer/weight/dampener mounting options, your customers can trick out their Elevate exactly how they want.

A string stop reduces bowstring oscillation and tames string twang. X-Out limb dampeners by Mountain View Products address limb vibrations and provide a smooth shooting experience. I will say that the Elevate has slightly more shot noise than some of the other flagship bows I’ve tested this year, but it’s very minimal and certainly not enough to influence whether or not I’d purchase the bow. Further, it doesn’t come with bowstring silencers. Pop some LimbSaver String Leeches into the Elevate’s bowstring, and it’ll sound similar to the other flagships.

Finally, the Elevate features the Limb-Lok limb pocket. This is a lightweight, streamlined pocket. However, as the name suggests, it locks down for the dependability that back-country hunters demand. 

A Few More Things 

My test bow came in the Athens-exclusive Conifer Grey camo finish, which is nice and attractive. However, there’s a flavor for everyone with 18 different finishes, seven of which are camo, the change being drab solid colors and shiny target-archery finishes. 

This isn’t necessarily a benefit to dealers, but Athens has a Save Your Hunt program. Regardless of the bow brand they’re shooting, bowhunters who are on a paid hunt and experience a bow breakdown of any kind can contact Athens, and the company will overnight an accessorized bow to the outfitter so the hunt can continue. A return label is included so the bow can be returned following the hunt.

Another nice point is Athens’ Lifetime Transferable Warranty, which is valid whether the bow was purchased new or used. To my knowledge, most (if not all) other bows have lifetime warranties limited to the original owner. This is just one of the many ways that Athens Archery stands behind its products and treats customers like family.

Final Thoughts

The Elevate is tailored impeccably for virtually all types of bowhunting. At 32 inches between the axles, it can maneuver in a ground blind or through the brush on a Canadian moose hunt. But, it has a super-long riser, producing all of the stability needed to place an accurate shot at longer distances when the situation calls for it. As I worked away from the target in my backyard, stability was excellent and pin movement was minimal. The accuracy was superb, too.

Interestingly, the Elevate features Athens’ lightest riser to date, yielding a bare-bow weight of 4.2 pounds — a smidge lighter than most flagship bows today. It’s a nice starting weight, and as I said before, your customers can add weights and stabilizers where they like to yield a perfect accessorized weight and balance.

Despite the competitiveness in the compound bow space and all of the advancing technology, the Elevate isn’t just another bat in the dugout. Rather, just like that bat I always grabbed when I was up to bat back in county league, I wouldn’t hesitate to walk up to the batter’s box of any bowhunt with the Elevate in hand. It fits like a glove. It’s stable. It’s maneuverable. It’s accurate. It’s fast, quiet and has virtually no vibrations. In other words, it is an ideal bowhunting bow.

Additional Notes

The Athens Archery Elevate was set up using a Last Chance Archery EZ Green Bow Press and EZ Green Bow Vise, and draw weight was calculated using Last Chance Archery’s Digital Bow Scale. A Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph measured the 468-grain Easton 6.5mm Acu-Carbon 340 arrow’s velocity. Other products used were Easton’s Nock and D-Loop Pliers and Pro Hex Fold-Up Allen Set.

In-the-field images by Becca and Darron McDougal


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