Hoyt AlphaMax 32 and 35 Review
Hoyt is calling the new 2009 AlphaMax "The Bow That Smokes Them All." From our review it definitely looks like the AlphaMax is a complete from bottom up redesign, with the first new riser system since the Trykon debuted in 2006, and the first new limb design since XT ¾ limbs came out in the early part of this decade.
If you have been shooting or following Hoyt bows for a while, your first impression of the new AlphaMax is going to be awe. Hoyt generally tends to be a conservative bow company sticking to tried and true designs and making incremental changes to a proven platform. With the release of the '09 SuperHawk and PowerHawk earlier in '08, our staff somewhat expected the new '09 flagship bow to be an incremental improvement on the '08 Katera, a solid performer in its own right.
Hoyt appears to have completely reworked their flagship bow for '09. The new AlphaMax has a new riser design, new limb design, new cam design, and new limb pocket system and all of it is wrapped together into a package that is about 13% lighter (about 0.6 lbs) than the Katera.
The AlphaMax 35 (left) and the AlphaMax 32. The big
difference between the two bows is the axle-to-axle distance.
Tec Lite Riser
The new AlphaMax riser is the heart of the bow's weight reduction. The new riser design appears to have more lightening cuts and open space than previous risers. The ends of the riser have also been widened to work with the new ZT Lock Pocket system. A reasonable bow hunter, might consider that lightening up the riser, could reduce the overall strength of the bow. However, Hoyt has addressed this concern by putting the riser through a 1,500 dry fire stress test. With the testing guarantee it appears that Hoyt has not sacrificed too much weight at the expense of durability.
Hoyt produces its own limbs, which is fairly unique in the bow market. The XT laminated limbs have been a solid limb design and a staple of Hoyt bows for several bow generations. All XT limbs are 3/4" wide and for '09 Hoyt has reduced the width to 5/8" and is calling the reduced profile, "XTS limbs." This makes the limbs lighter overall and reduces the thickest width of the bow. The narrow profile of the limbs also serves to drop the overall weight of the bow. Bow hunters should be wary of any limb weight reduction because it could effect durability and life of the bow. However Hoyt has addressed this issue by coming up with a 1,000 dry fire stress test for the new XTS limbs. The limb design has been tested at 1,000 dry fires at 80 lbs and a 30" draw.
ZT Lock Pocket System
Since the riser and the limbs are redesigned on the AlphaMax, it makes sense that the limb pocket would also be redesigned. The ZT Lock looks like an elongated and slimmed up Triax limb pocket from the previous generation of bows. The slimmed up center shim also reduces the overall width of the limbs. Like the Triax, the ZT Lock tightly binds the limbs to the riser and should not be a problem point, as the bow is used over several hunting seasons.
Front of the ZT Lock. Notice the slimmed down center shim
and the reduced width of the limbs to 5/8".
Underside of the ZT Lock Pocket System. Notice that the
pocket lock is actually one solid piece of metal that
binds the two limbs and the riser together.
XTR Cam & ½
The last major point of revision on the AlphaMax is the new XTR cams. The cams are themselves an updated version of Hoyt's venerable Cam and ½ system, that has been available for several years. However for '09 the XTR sports a modular system that allows draw length to be adjusted in half inch increments without a bow press. The modular cam system is a significant departure from previous cams particularly the Z3 cam of the Katera. The Z3 was nonadjustable and therefore required that you either order or locate a bow that precisely fits a specific draw length. When purchasing a new bow a nonadjustable cam doesn't seem to be that big of an issue. However if you decide to give or sell the bow to someone else down the road, there can be problems if your draw length does not precisely fit the recipient. With the XTR cam you simply need to have or order the modules to adjust to the correct draw length.
Front of bottom XTR Cam. Notice the quick tune marks of the
bow facing side of the cam. The limb is between the quick tune
marks as it should be from the factory. The bottom cam also
has draw length module which is behind the two screws.
Another exciting feature of the XTR cams is that the modules can be replaced without a bow press. This means that draw length adjustments can be done with a minimal set of tools.
Rear of top XTR cam. Notice the screws poking though
that denote the user changeable modular draw length.
By the Numbers
The AlphaMax comes in two major variations depending on the axle-to-axle length. The AlphaMax 32 has a 32" axle-to-axle length, 7" brace height, weighs 3.9 lbs, and is adjustable from 23.5" to 30" draws. The AlphaMax 35 has the same brace height, 35" axle-to-axle, weighs 4.1 lbs, and is adjustable from 27"-31" draws. Both bows can be equipped with your choice of 40 to 80 lb limbs. The bow speed differences between the two are minimal, the 32 comes in at 321 fps while the 35 comes at 316 fps IBO.
Like all Hoyt premium bows, the AlphaMax comes with Fuse strings and set of Alpha Shox limb dampeners. Pricing on the AlphaMax 32 should be around $899 and $949 on the AlphaMax 35.
Like we have mentioned in previous reviews, if you intend to shoot fingers go with the longer AlphaMax 35, if not, pick the bow that best fits your draw length and balance preferences.
In conclusion there is a lot to like about the new AlphaMax. It's lightweight and has a slimmer profile than any previous Hoyt bow. The bow still balances well and with Hoyt's stress test claims, a prospective buyer has good reason to believe that the bow will hold up to the pounding dished up by the worst of equipment abusing hunters. The only negative that appears for the AlphaMax is that it is slightly slower than the Katera by about 9 fps IBO. Most hunters will not notice this small speed decrease, but will appreciate the improved slim profile and weight reduction.
For more information about AlphaMax bows visit Hoyt.
The AlphaMax 32 (top) is smaller than the AlphaMax 35
although they are similar in all related aspects.