Reflex Charger and Ridgeline Bow Reviews
For a little over a decade Reflex, a division of Hoyt, has been producing solid bows for hunters. In 2007, Reflex completely redesigned their bow lineup. For 2008 they have introduced new bows and continued in the spirit of producing a good value for bow hunters. For this review we are taking a look at the Reflex Charger and Ridgeline 34 bows.
Reflex Ridgeline 34 (Left) and Charger (right). Both bows are similar in design.
The Charger is being introduced with a StealthShot, which was previously only available on Hoyt bows. The StealthShot is an effective way to reduce string vibration just after a shot. The string slaps against the dampener, quieting down the shot and reducing vibrations moving up and down the string.
In 2007, Reflex introduced the FX Cam and half cams throughout their bow line up and are keeping the cam on their 2008 bows. The FX cam is a great cam system that has been used in various configurations on Hoyt bows for several years. The FX cam allows a shooter to make half inch changes in draw length, without using a bow press. From end-to-end the Charger can be adjusted from 27"-30" as well as from 60-70 lbs draw weight. Axle-to-Axle distance on the Charger comes in at 34".
Outside view of FX Cam and Half System.
Inside view of the FX Cam and Half System.
Notice the 0.5" draw length adjustments.
The Charger comes with a host of features that can be found on more expensive Hoyt bows. Fuse strings are standard as well as a collection of StringShox's and AlphaShox's to help dampen the bow after taking a shot.
Reflex Ridgeline 34
The Ridgeline was actually split into two bows last year; the 34" and 32" variations. For 2008, the 32" axle-to-axle length bow has been discontinued, leaving just the more popular 34" variation. Surprisingly the listed IBO speed for the Ridgeline 34 has dropped to 305 ft/sec, which is 4 ft/sec slower than the published speed for the 2007 bow.
The Ridgeline is quite similar to the Charger; limbs, cams, and dampeners are nearly identical. The biggest difference between the two bows is the riser design and the lack of a StealthShot on the Ridgeline.
Both bows utilize Reflex's Prolink Pocket System, which locks the limbs consistently to the riser. The Prolink system is similar to the Hoyt Triax pocket design and should deliver consistent accuracy over the life of the bow.
Overhead view of Prolink Limb Pocket System. Notice the
green discs that shim against the limbs to keep them aligned.
Side View of the Prolink Limb Pocket System.
The biggest upside to Reflex is their reliability at moderate cost. Currently the Charger is retailing at ~$550 and the Ridgeline at ~$600 which is roughly $200-$300 less than comparable Hoyt bows. Furthermore with this year's designs the weight of the Reflex bows are comparable to some of the lightest more expensive bows.
With all the great features of the new Reflex bows one may ask why even purchase a more expensive bow. Reflex bows do have a few downsides, the first of which is solid fiberglass limbs. Fiberglass limbs tend to be heavier, slower, and less smooth than comparable carbon fiber, laminate limbs on comparable Hoyt bows. This leads to an overall bow design that is not as fast, quiet, or smooth as the best bows on the market. For most hunters this will make little difference, since accuracy, reliability, and weight tend to be the biggest issues. Furthermore, both the Charger and the Ridgeline use a split limb design, that lengthens the life of the limbs over a solid limb design.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a solid bow line at a reasonable cost, the new Charger and Ridgeline are worth shooting and considering.
For more information about Reflex bows visit www.reflexbow.com.
The Charger superimposed on the Ridgeline, showing the similarities of the bow.
The Ridgeline (Left) and Hoyt Katera XL (Right) have similar riser designs.