2009 Hoyt PowerHawk Review

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Hoyt bows are known for their high quality and long service life. However that quality comes at a price with some of Hoyt's fastest bows pushing the price into the high $800 range. It is safe to say that many bowhunters would appreciate the Hoyt quality at a more affordable price level. To address this issue, Hoyt has released two new bows for 2009 in the Hawk Series called the PowerHawk and SuperHawk. For this review we will cover the PowerHawk which has a suggested retail of $499 and offers the most value potential because of its reduced price. We will be covering the SuperHawk (MSRP $599) in a separate review shortly.

Hoyt PowerHawk (Left) and Reflex Growler.

The PowerHawk uses Hoyt's new M4 Cam and Half technology which allows adjustment in half inch increments from 25-29.5 inches of draw length. The M4 looks and acts very similar to other Cam and Half derived systems in the Hoyt and Reflex line up with a 75% let off. IBO speed with the M4 cams peaks out at 303 ft/sec which is definitely speedy enough for hunting but is certainly not a speed champ.

Riser design has 7 inches of brace height. PowerHawk on top and Growler
on the bottom. Lower M4 and FX Cam Half. The M4 cam is new on the PowerHawk
but nearly identical to the Growler FX Cam in the background.

M4 Cam in the foreground, FX cam in the background. Four inches
of draw adjustment is the same on either cam.

The PowerHawk is available in two adjustable weight variations, 50-60 lbs and 60-70 lbs, and is available in left or right hand models. Axle-toAxle distance comes in at 32 inches which makes this a release only bow, because the short axle-to-axle distance is going to pinch your fingers. The brace height comes in at 7 inches, so no overdraw is necessary in order to obtain the IBO speeds quoted for the bow.

Riser design has 7 inches of brace height. PowerHawk on top and Growler on the bottom.

At 4.1 lbs the PowerHawk is one of the lightest bows in the Hoyt line up. In fact to get any lighter you need to go with one of Hoyt's recurve Dorado bows. The lightweight and relatively compact size makes it a pleasure to pack when going on an extended hike.

The PowerHawk uses a split, solid limb design similar to what is available on Reflex bows.

Split solid-fiberglass limbs are used on the PowerHawk. Split limbs, when properly designed, offer lower bow weight and enhanced reliability. The limb technology used on the PowerHawk looks very similar to those used on Reflex bows for the last few years, which means they should be reliable and consistent for several years of use. The down side to split limbs is the bow requires a strong way to lock in the four limbs to the riser. The PowerHawk has a limb lock that looks like a dead ringer for the Reflex Prolink Pocket System introduced a few years ago. The Prolink system has proven to be a good system for keeping the split limbs attached to the bow. We have covered the Prolink system in the past, when discussing the Reflex Charger and Ridgeline.

The PowerHawk uses the Reflex Prolink Pocket Locking system to bind the limbs to the riser.

Modern bows need dampeners in order to cut down on bow jump and slap. The PowerHawk uses dual StringShox on the Fuse string and Limbsaver AlphaShox on both the upper and lower limbs. The riser also has two RizerShox just below the bow grip. The combination of dampeners makes for a bow that is smooth and quiet, although not quite as vibration free as the top of the line Hoyt Katera. It would have been nice for Hoyt to have a riser design that offers a StealthShot (string slap dampener); however this probably would have increased the base cost of the bow.

The PowerHawk (top) uses a slightly different RizerShox than the Growler.

While we reviewed the stripped PowerHawk, Hoyt is also going to be offering a PowerHawk package bow completely setup and ready to go. While the details are not available at press time, this will probably include a 3 or 5 pin TruGlo Tru Sight, a Fuse 4 or 6 arrow quiver, a Whisker Biscuit Rest, Fuse Stabilizer, TruGlo Peep, and a wrist strap. Inquire with your local Hoyt dealer to figure out the exact details on the final package offerings.

When reviewing the PowerHawk it is hard to miss the similarities between it and the Reflex Growler. In fact the bows are virtually identical. The Growler was introduced in 2006 when Reflex completely redesigned their bow line and received good reviews. In fact the Growler and PowerHawk are priced the same, which is surprising because, given the choice, most consumers will choose the PowerHawk. Presumably this means that both Hoyt and Reflex will have more new bow lineup changes for 2009 coming out in the next 6-9 months.

In conclusion the PowerHawk is a worthwhile value bow for the Hoyt lineup. It offers some of the features of their more advanced bows but keeps the price down. It would have been nice to have a StealthShot on the PowerHawk and a little bit more speed, but for the money it is a solid offering for the bowhunter that wants value and reliability.

For more information about PowerHawk bows visit Hoyt.

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