Bow Review: PSE Evoke 31

At the shot, vibration is all but nonexistent with the PSE Evoke 31, and it’s plenty fast enough for any hunting scenario.

PSE Evoke 31

PSE Evoke 31The Evoke 31 is one of three Evoke models in PSE’s Evolve Series. The bow sports an Evolve Cam System, Wedge Lock limb pocket design, and the unique Rollerguide & FRS (Flex Rod Torque Reducing)adjustable roller guide system. The very successful Evolve Cam System is a quad track design with split cables and floating yokes, reducing cam lean and facilitating level nock travel. The Evoke 31 is said to have replaced the Evolve 31, so comparisons between the Evolve bows and the new Evoke bows are frequently made. The Evoke bows also share some technology with the Vapor Series, and are at least equally reminiscent, to my mind, of last year’s Vapor Series Xpedite, which also featured the Evolve Cam System and the other design features mentioned. In addition, the Evoke bows, like the Xpedite and unlike the previous Evolve Series bows, boast a riser design that is bridged top and bottom for increased stability, and a grip that seems identical to the Xpedite. Despite all the similarities, there are noticeable differences in how these bows shoot. More about that later.

One general feature the new Evoke 31 shares with all the bows previously mentioned is worth some discussion, and that is the high degree to which it can be customized. Shooting a bow is all about consistency of form, and consistency of form is more easily achieved with a bow that fits the shooter. Virtually all modern compound bows offer adjustable draw weight, but only a few offer adjustable draw length. Yes, there are some disadvantages to adjustable draw-length systems in terms of efficiency, but they are slight, especially considering that efficiency is not a big issue with today’s better compound bows. Tweaking a given bow to the precisely optimum draw length for a given shooter will result in a more stable hold at full draw, a more comfortable and more repeatable shooting form, and in some cases a reduced tendency to torque the bow.

The Evoke 31, as is the case with many other PSE bows, also offers adjustable letoff. Ninety percent letoff is super comfortable and can be a real advantage when you’re at full draw and Mr. Big stops with a tree limb protecting his vitals. (Always be sure to check state game laws concerning legal letoff.) At the same time, some shooters believe they get a steadier hold and a crisper release at a lower letoff, or prefer to get the few feet per second more in speed that a lower letoff offers. The bow comes standard with a letoff module that ranges from 90 percent down to 80 percent, but an optional module is available that adjusts from 75 percent down to 65 percent. The unique roller guard design, with rollers for the cables as well as a set that rolls over the flexible cable guard arm, should reduce friction and is also adjustable. Adjusting the cable guard to allow minimum clearance for a given fletching setup keeps any inherent torque to a minimum. Finally, multiple sight mounting holes allow the sight to be moved vertically up or down. Whether you’ve got a neck like a giraffe or no neck at all, you should be able to position a given sight in a spot that encourages a proper (which is to say comfortable and tension-free) shooting form.

PSE Evoke 31

Back from last year is the relatively new Livewire string, colored to coordinate with the bow color. Brand new is a .25-inch axle, heavier and presumably more stable than previous smaller axles, and possibly designed to reduce cam lean as well. Also brand new for some PSE bows this year, including the Evoke bows, is a color fusion process (dubbed Kolorfusion), as opposed to previous finishes which were dipped. While PSE’s fit and finish has always been good, the new fusion process does result in a sharper, crisper and less matted look with greater contrast.

PSE Evoke 31

Shooting the PSE Evoke 31

The test bow came adjusted to 80 percent letoff, which is how I tested it. Draw weight out of the box came in at 72 pounds, so I dialed it back to 70. The limb bolts were very stiff, but did not stick, slip or chatter when turned. Set up with our standard test accessories I encountered no snags.

PSE Evoke 31

The Evoke 31 is slightly lighter at 4.2 pounds than most of its predecessors, and at the same time balance seems better as well. The very grip, which as mentioned appears to be identical to that of last year’s Xpedite, is very skinny but comfortable. The draw cycle is a little steep but smooth, and of course the standard 80 – 90 percent letoff makes for a very comfortable hold at full draw. At the shot the Evoke is a little quieter than either the Xpedite or the Evolve, and though it pops forward pleasantly into a loose grip, vibration is all but non-existent, and this bow is plenty fast enough for any hunting scenario. All in all, the Evoke 31 is not a radically new or different bow, but does fill a niche in the PSE lineup while offering some incremental improvements over the Evolve 31, including the new fusion finish process and the double-bridged riser for added stability.

For more information, visit www.pse-archery.com.