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There have been LOTs of questions concerning what exactly are the differences between Mathews previous years’ Z7 and this year’s Heli-M.  Here are the answers!

First off, a simple picture of the bows side by side:

2012 Mathews Heli-M vs. 2011 Z7

Now an overlapping view:

2012 Mathews Heli-M Specifications

Speed: 332 FPS
Axle to Axle Length: 30″
Brace Height: 7”
Draw Length: 26″-30”
Peak Draw Weights: 40, 50, 60, 65, 70 lbs.
Weight: 3.5 lbs.
Let-Off: 80%
MSRP: $959

2010-11 Mathews Z7 Specifications

Speed: 333 FPS
Axle to Axle Length: 30″
Brace Height: 7”
Draw Length: 25″-30”
Peak Draw Weights: 40, 50, 60, 65, 70 lbs.
Weight: 4.0 lbs. (no accessories)
Let-Off: 80%
MSRP: $849

Summary of differences

By the pure specs, the differences are that the Heli-M has a 1 FPS slower rating, no 25 or 25 1/2 inch draw length on the Heli-M and 1/2 pound lighter on the Heli-M vs. accessory-less Z7.  Not much of a difference other than the weight, which is substantial.

The Heli-M lost its weight by taking material out of the riser (much thinner Grid Lock pattern, now called the Geo Grid Lock), dumping the heavier aluminum roller guard for a thin carbon rod, thinning up the Dead End string suppressor, removing the bottom limb-mounted suppressor, replacing the Harmonic Stabilizers with the Lite version  and taking some material out of the cam and idler wheel.

Besides the weight and small specifications differences, there are a few other notable changes.  The Dead End String Stop Lite is mounted lower than the previous version on the Z7 series, thus allowing for the elimination of the bottom, limb mounted suppressor.  The standard Z Cam has now been replaced with the new Heli-M cam, and is supposedly smoother on the draw by creating a draw force curve that peaks rapidly, then slow eases off before dumping into the valley.  Also, the Heli-M cam looks to be larger overall.

By looking at the overlay of the two bows, it’s obvious that the risers differ more than in the change to the Grid Lock.  The Heli-M riser is slightly shorter and follows slightly different lines than the Z7.  The brace height and the ATA both remain the same, however the limbs on the Heli-M have less pre-load to them and are more akin to the 2012 Jewel.

The roller guards, though different in their mounting systems, appear nearly identical in location as does the top limb-mounted string suppressor.  Both bows also include two Harmonic Stabilizers in near identical locations.  Handles on both bows appear nearly identical, though supposedly the new Heli-M handle is made of a higher grade walnut that Mathews calls “Rich Walnut,” more akin to wood used in high-grade gun stocks.  The Heli-M maintains the available colors, with Lost Camo, Black and Tactical available.

Of course there is the added price upgrade of around $110 to the Heli-M over the now discontinued Z7.

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