While it clearly reflects PSE engineering and incorporates some design innovations from last year’s models like the Wide Track limb design from the 2016 target bows, the Evolve is essentially a brand-new bow.
To begin with, it’s powered by the new Evolve Cam System — one of five bows in the 2017 lineup, including three Carbon Air models and the Evolve 35, to feature the ultra-innovative cam system. A binary design, it boasts a letoff of 90 percent adjustable down to 80 percent and comes with the option of a separately available module offering 65 to 75 percent letoff. (Note: We recommend checking state game and fish letoff laws as many have them and may require that letoff to be less than 80 percent.) To reduce cam lean and facilitate level nock travel, the cable take-up is a quad-track design with split cable grooves and a floating yoke. Draw-length adjustments are as simple as loosening and repositioning a module; no press required.
The 7075 forged riser is a new design, with a new minimalist (but very comfortable) grip and integrated dampeners. The RollerGlide flexible roller slide system is new as well, minimizing torque and friction. The Wide Track limb design is a quad-limb system that should provide added stability, and the new Wedge Lock Speed Pocket offers a way to ensure that the split limbs remain parallel, or equidistant, throughout their length.
Of course, what’s more important than any individual design feature is how those features combine to contribute to the bow’s overall performance. PSE touts the Evolve as “… the most comfortable hunting bow we’ve ever made” and “… the smoothest shot on the market.” At the same time, a top IBO speed of 346 fps (at 80 percent letoff) puts this bow in the speed bow category. Clearly the Evolve is PSE’s current effort to produce a bow that offers both high performance (read: speed) and the qualities that make for pleasant shooting.
In terms of appearance as well as design this bow is a bit of a departure for PSE, with its angular riser, embossed grip, and matching red string, dampeners, and logos. Fit and finish on the test bow proved flawless and highly durable, with no machine marks or burrs. It should be mentioned, regarding the stats below, that the bow was tested at 90 percent letoff.
Shooting the Bow
There were no issues setting up the bow with our standard accessories —all fit perfectly, all accessory mounts were tapped and drilled straight and clean. Multiple sight-mount ports ensure adequate vertical adjustment for any sight. Adjusting draw length and letoff was simple and straightforward. Generally speaking, modern compound bows are easy to tune, and the Evolve might be more easily tuned than most. I was shooting bullet holes through paper with unfletched arrows in about 15 minutes.
At 4.3 pounds the Evolve is not a light bow, nor is it inordinately heavy. In terms of balance it is, like almost all compound bows, somewhat top-heavy with a tendency to tip forward in the hand. Grip is a very personal feature, but the new grip on the Evolve is smooth and very comfortable, and that despite a complete lack of side plates or cushioning of any sort.
Earlier I made reference to PSE’s claims for the shootability of this bow. It is in fact a very, very smooth-drawing bow. It builds to a peak about halfway through the cycle and drops off smoothly into the valley. It stops against the cable stops abruptly, as you might expect with a 90 percent letoff, but not jarringly or uncomfortably so. And though the valley is not wide, there is absolutely no grabbiness, regardless of letoff. Hold at full draw is steady. The speed is apparent at the shot, with the bow popping pleasantly forward into a relaxed grip. Vibration is barely detectable, and to say it’s quiet for its speed would be unfair — it’s simply quiet.
It is possible for a bow to give a shooter an impression of smoothness while at the same time making him feel every pound he is pulling. However subjective it might be, that was not my impression with this bow. It comes across instead as extremely efficient, producing maximum speed with minimum effort. I won’t suggest this is PSE’s best bow to date — some shooters will prefer something lighter and some will want a longer axle-to-axle length or a wider brace height, etc. I’ll simply say it’s my favorite PSE bow to date, and I suspect that many bowhunters in search of that always-elusive sweet spot where high performance intersects shootability will agree.
For more information, call (520) 884-9065, or visit www.pse-archery.com.