Hoyt Katera Review
Hoyt has been a dominating force in the bow market for many years and for 2008 the Salt Lake City company has made incremental improvements on their flagship bow, the new Katera and Katera XL. Lets take an overview look at these new bows that are just starting to hit local bow shops and see what's new in the line up.
The biggest news for the new Katera line is increased speed and reduced overall weight for the bow. The Katera clocks in at 330 fps and the Katera XL at 320 fps, which is 15 fps and 5 fps faster, respectively, than the 2007 Vectrix. Overall the Katera weighs in roughly 2 ounces less than the Vectrix, which makes for a slightly more balanced feel. While there is not a lot to nit pick about these bows, weight and speed have been the chief complaint from some bow enthusiasts. With the Katera, Hoyt has addressed these issues by delivering more on the proven foundation of past bows.
The Katera (left) and Katera XL (right) with Z3 Cams
Externally the Katera appears to be very close to the 2007 Vulcan, with similar mass, brace height, and axle-to-axle distance. The Vulcan and Katera risers only have minor differences, presumably to cut down on weight.
The big difference is the new Z3 cam which appears to be slightly smaller and a bit more elliptical than the Vector Cam and 1/2 that it replaces from the 2007 line up. The Z3 has the same 75% let-off and has the same drawstop peg to provide a harder wall when installed. The Z3 can also be reduced to a 65% let-off with some cam and buss cable adjustment. The cam also has the quick tune marks which allows a visual indication that your limb, cam, and cable system are in good adjustment, a nice simple feature to indicate string stretch and wear on the bow.
Outside view of the lower Z3 Cam.
The dampening package on the Katera is mostly the same as the Vectrix and Trykon of previous years with some minor improvements. The StealthShot, which was introduced in 2007, is on both the Katera and Katera XL. The StealthShot is an important dampening system that dramatically reduces the noise and slap of the string. Like most good ideas, the Stealthshot is one of those improvements we wonder why Hoyt didn't think of sooner.
The Triax limb pocket locking is standard on the Katera. This is a great system that allows you to lock in the limbs after setting the weight adjustment on the limbs. After a lot of shooting on a traditional bow with non-locking limbs the weight adjustment will tend to creep, locking pockets prevent this creeping. The rigidity of the locking pockets also improves accuracy and strength.
The limbsaver alphashocks between the top and bottom limbs have been changed to a slightly smaller size which should make them easier to change after a season or two when they start to become ridged and cracked from weathering.
Both bows also come with the new Fuse strings with standard StringShox which are high quality and should have long life. The biggest difference is the string color has changed from orange/black to white/green. The RizerShox introduced on the Trykon are also standard with either Katera version.
The Katera superimposed (top) on the Katera XL. The standard Katera is a smaller bow with more aggressive brace height.
Hoyt Katera XL
The Katera XL is similar to the Katera in all respects other than its riser design is taller and has a longer brace height, which reduces the IBO speed to 320 fps. The riser design appears to be similar to the Vectrix XL of 2007, the only difference, like the Katera, is a reduced overall weight.
Which bow you choose will largely depend on your shooting preference and body size. The Katera XL offers a longer draw maximum length of 32" versus 30" on the regular Katera, The longer riser will also make it easier to shoot fingers rather than the shorter Katera.
In closing Hoyt has improved their bow line up with the 2008 Katera and Katera XL. The Vectrix and Vulcan were both known for being smooth, quiet, and quick, the Katera ups the ante with more speed and reduced weight. Some will complain that even at 330 fps that the Katera is not the fastest bow on the market, which is true. However with Hoyt's domination of pro tournament results and long history of delivering well made long lasting bows, we believe the extra 20fps necessary to be the new speed king probably is a minor consolation prize. For more information about the Katera bows visit Hoyt.
Inside view of the lower Z3 Cam. Notice the two quicktune marks on the cam with the limb between the two. If the limb is outside the marks, the bow is out of tune.
The StealthShot system.
The Katera superimposed (top) on the 2007 Hoyt Vulcan. Notice the riser design is nearly spot on match, except for more lightening cuts on the Katera.
Closer view comparing the risers on the Katera and Vulcan.
The Katera (right) has a smaller AlphaShox for 2008. The left bow is the 2007 Vulcan.
The Triax limb locking system on the Katera.
The Z3 Cam compared to the older Cam and 1/2 system on a 2006 Trykon. The Z3 is a rounder design than the Cam and 1/2.
The Katera and the 2006 Trykon, showing similarities in design.