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2011 Hoyt Carbon Element

2011 Hoyt Carbon Element

Hoyt made big waves last year with the introduction of the Carbon Matrix and its crazy looking carbon tubed riser.  They are back at it again this year with the Carbon Element.  The Carbon Element is basically a 3″ shorter Carbon Matrix with a slightly shorter brace height and lighter weight.  This translates into a moderate increase in speed of about 5 FPS.

2011 Carbon Element Specifications

Speed 323 FPS
Draw Length 24.5-30”
Draw Weights 40-80 lbs.
Brace Height 7”
Weight 3.6 lbs.
Axle to Axle Length 32″
MSRP $1199

The price is still significantly higher than a standard, top-of-the-line bow with and aluminum riser, but $400 cheaper than last year’s Carbon Matrix.  That’s quite a large drop in one year’s time and I wouldn’t expect to see that big of a drop next year, but it’s nice to see the price come down.  Hopefully the trend will continue into the following years as well.

As can readily be seen, the Carbon Element is a scaled down version of the 2010 Carbon Matrix bow.  The ATA is a 3″ shorter and the brace height is reduced by 1/4″ from the Matrix.  Riser, limbs and cams are all very similar to the Matrix though the rated speed of the Element bests the Matrix by 5 fps.

The weight of of bow is extremely light at 3.6 lbs. and almost doesn’t feel real as a bare bow.  I prefer a heavier bow and starting with a light base is an excellent way to be able to add the weight where you want.

2011 Carbon Element Features

Inline roller guard

Inline roller guard

The 2011 Carbon Element features a few changes to last year’s Carbon Matrix besides it’s reduce ATA.  Like last year’s Maxxis, the Element makes use of the inline roller guard, a feature that also made it’s way onto the 2011 Carbon Matrix Plus.

 

2011 brings a few other changes to both bows in Hoyt’s carbon series.  The Carbon Element and Matrix Plus use the new offset stabilizer that many of the 2011 Hoyt’s utilize. Basically the stabilizer hole is off center to the opposite side of the accessories.  This is a great design as it allows for more easily compensating for the weight of the bow sight, quiver and arrow rest.

Hoyt's offset stabilizer mount

Hoyt's offset stabilizer mount

Other features include a rubber-coated shelf (Silent Shelf Technology), built-in string damper (Stealth Shot) and the ubiquitous Alpha Shox to match Hoyt’s split limbs.

First impressions

Like the Carbon Matrix, the Carbon Element is a stunner to look at.  Whether you are stunned by it’s good looks or stunned by how funky it is, regardless of your good or bad opinion, it certainly makes a statement.  From the brownish/bronze anodizing on the aluminum parts to the Realtree AP camouflage, the bow I reviewed had no visible flaws.

Fuel Cam

Fuel Cam

Upon first picking the bow, my first thought was that it almost feels like a toy because of its lack of weight.  Everything about the bow feels of quality workmanship, minus the grip.  I was definitely disappointed in the feel of the rubberized grip, especially after having owned many Hoyt’s with either the full grip or side-plates made of wood.  I realize that the reasoning behind this is to help reduce any felt vibration and to insulate the shooter on a cold day hunting, but nonetheless it detracts from the overall quality of the bow.

Before shooting the Carbon Element for the first time, I took some quick measurements to check the specs.  The ATA and brace height were both within 1/16″ of spec and the draw length came in at 29 3/16″ (this is a 29″ bow).  Peak holding weight was just shy of 72 lbs.

The Fuel Cam has a similar feel to Hoyt’s famous (infamous?) Spiral Cams though it rolls over with a slightly different feel and has a slightly longer valley, and ends in a very solid wall.  I have long been a fan of Spiral Cams and continue to shoot them on my target/3D bows and felt at home with the Fuel Cam fairly quickly.

Limb pocket detail

Limb pocket detail

Just a few shots were enough to show me just how vibration free this bow is.  While I rarely harp about how “smooth” a bow is or worry too much about jump (I do worry about vibration and the noise it causes) it was quite shocking just how little is felt on shooting the element.

Shooting and performance of the Carbon Element

For the initial testing I started with the bow set right at 70 lbs, 29 3/16″ draw, 350 grain arrow and nothing on the string but a d-loop.  This resulted in an average speed of 322 fps.  The bow is rated at 323 fps at 30″ of draw, so the test unit is coming in about 7-8fps faster than Hoyt’s own ATA rating.  With a well-tuned bow, this is pretty typical of Hoyt bows in my experience.

After the initial testing, I shot my set of 466-1425 grain arrows used for KE and momentum testing.  The following chart shows the results:

KE and Momentum of the 2011 Hoyt Carbon Element

KE and Momentum of the 2011 Hoyt Carbon Element

While it certainly isn’t the fastest bow on the market nor in Hoyt’s own lineup, the flagship Carbon Element is no slouch in producing KE and momentum.

Final thoughts on the Carbon Element

Hoyt has taken the highly successful Carbon Matrix and shrunk it down 3″ while giving it a minor speed boost and has made and excellent bow for those looking for a short ATA.  For some people the crazy look of the three carbon tubes making up the riser will be a big turn on, others will think it’s the ugliest thing they’ve ever seen that shoots arrows.  I personally like it because it is unique, though I stop short of calling it beautiful.

In the end I base my opinions not on looks, but performance.  The Carbon Element is a worthy shooter that isn’t the fastest bow on the market, but it holds its own.  The consistent feel of the draw and the hard back wall that allows little creep are big pluses for me.

What I like about the Carbon Element

  • Unique styling
  • Excellent feeling draw and back wall
  • Extremely quiet and vibration free
  • Consistent, accurate shooter

What I don’t like about the Carbon Element

  • Too short of ATA for my draw length, I prefer the longer Carbon Matrix Plus
  • $$$$  Still very expensive when compared to similar performing bows!
  • Cheesy rubber grip

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