Outside of the mad scientists of archery like Border Bows or Jörg Sprave, the evolution of archery kit is mostly iterative. Minor changes here and there are a staple of each years new catalogue from the big companies … but this year things are happening!
Win&Win released their 2021 catalogue with a few surprises. It comes with a statement from them that due to there being no competitions this year, they spent more time in R&D and their latest riser – the META DX – shows there’s been some out of the box thinking going on.
The basic shape of the DX is very similar to what has become the Wiawi standard. The length is 25″, weight 1340g, made of graphene/nano carbon – all very standard for top end risers these days. So where does the riser start to differ dramatically? Well, interestingly theres a “Special Steel” stiffener in the leading edge of the riser stretching from limb bolt to limb bolt. This has been inserted to aid in the transfer of vibration from the bow limbs to the stabilizer set up. W&W have also included two innovations made by different companies. One fairly sensible .. and the other a bit on the radical side.
Firstly there is a removable plate where the button holes are and the rest would be stuck. Created by Hoyt where its called the verta-tune rest plate, this can be removed and flipped to adjust the button holes to a higher or lower position allowing more variation in tillering and nock point placement. Hoyt made an innovation worthy of copying! … who knew that was possible!?
More radically, Win&Win worked with Mathews (the compound folks) to license and modify the dampening systems from their compounds to improve stability and reduce vibration. These are the Mathews harmonic damper and the EHS™ harmonic damper. If you look at the riser above, the dampeners are those circular things situated near to the limb bolts (EHS) and above the button holes (Mathews harmonic damper). In its simplest explanation, these are holes through the riser containing circular vibration dampeners which absorb vibration and reduce hand shock on release of an arrow. According to W&W’s graph below, shock and vibration are reduced as is the length of time vibration is sustained in the riser. This, coupled with the stabilizers, results in there being significantly less activity post shot in the riser. So in theory, the shot is more stable and the archer less affected by left over energy transitioning through the riser and into their hand.
Coming in at an eye watering £800-ish, this is not an intermediate or even expert riser … this is god tier. I doubt that any mere mortal archer would get any benefit from the improved suppression in the riser … but the elite? Who knows! I for one will be watching the world cup closely when it restarts to see if anyone is using this puppy and are they shooting any more perfectly than before. The slo-mo option on youtube will be getting a work out that day focusing on the post shot friskiness of the riser.
Honestly, if pushed I’d say that there will never be another significant improvement in the recurve riser as the last 12 years have seen the concept refined to the nth degree. Improvements are very much on a downward trend of diminishing returns even with increased effort and seem more aimed at “this years model” enthusiasts. At least this is something different from run of the mill annual ‘improvements’. However, even if it doesn’t make archers shoot any better, it does give Win&Win fanbois like our editor something to dribble over. How much does he dribble over pictures of kit? He still misses the paper copy of the Quicks catalogue! (the last issue of which 2015-16 can be viewed here)
(In truth, our editor frequently talks admiringly about kit but only ever has eyes for his CXT!)
Rumour: We heard this story very recently (just before xmas 2020) told first hand by an American archer who said he found one of the harmonic dampers lying on the ground at his range. Seems they can pop out quite easily so something to watch out for should anyone in your club have one. They might be around £30 to replace.