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Mathews Creed XS Review

Mathews Creed XS Review

mathews_creed_xs_1Mathews Archery brings an incredible array of technologies, materials, processes and manufacturing capabilities to bear on every product it makes. From robotics to Coordinate Measuring Machines to advanced computer-modeling programs to its own finishing operation, Mathews is an advanced company.

One of the 2014 rigs born from those abilities is the new Creed XS. A shorter, lighter version of last year's Creed, this bow is home to a GeoGrid Lock riser, SimPlex Cam system, split limbs, Reverse Assist Roller Guard and much more.

What's Different?

It seems everyone's first question about the new Creed XS is about the differences between this rig and the original Creed. The 2013 model was slightly faster at 328 fps IBO as compared to 321 fps for the XS. And the XS' 28-inch axle-to-axle length is shorter by a full two inches, making it more maneuverable in tight quarters. The mass weight of the XS is also slightly less, tipping the scales at a mere 3.8 pounds.

Further distinguishing itself from the Creed, the XS has a longer, 7€‰1„2-inch brace height as compared to the 7-inch brace height of the original. Although longer brace heights are thought to be more forgiving, I didn't expect a dramatic change with only a half-inch difference.

Effortless Energy

Mathews uses the term Advanced Simplicity to describe its cam systems. Basically, this is a reference to the single-cam configuration, which the company calls the most efficient and simplest cam system in the world. The XS SimPlex cam and idler wheel ride on stainless steel axles and sealed bearings for decreased friction and increased efficiency. Its shape and mechanics are designed to produce an 80-percent letoff and a smooth draw while the cutouts and 7075 aluminum material keep the weight to a minimum.

Draw lengths from 26-30 inches, in half-inch increments, are offered through separate cams. The new, proprietary Trophy Process is a pre-conditioning process used on the Creed XS string and cable that guarantees no serving separation and the shortest shoot-in time of any premium bowstring.

Bringing It All Together

Mathews' GeoGrid Lock riser is the command station for many of the bow's features and technologies, including the grip, cable guard, vibration dampeners and string stop.

mathews_creed_xs_2GeoGrid Lock technology is an advanced version of the original Grid Lock riser design. The GeoGrid pattern of interlocking bridges flows with the contour of the riser, which improves the strength and stiffness while eliminating even more material than the original. Obviously, less material equals less weight.

The unique Reverse Assist Roller Guard flips the tension on the rollers, which actually creates decreasing tension when the bow is drawn, resulting in less torque and a smoother draw. Two grip styles are used on the XS, depending on the finish chosen — a polished, one-piece, walnut grip or a softer, one-piece Focus grip. Both have clearly marked lines that indicate the centerline of the bow to help with initial setup.

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Enhancing the Experience

In addition to the benefits attributed to the cam system, there are several other features that focus on shock, vibration and shot noise.

As with the Creed, the Creed XS uses a set of pre-loaded split limbs aligned to the riser with precision machined, pivoting limb pockets. The past-parallel position of the limbs at full draw is a key component in the battle against shock and vibration. Joining that battle are Mathews' Harmonic Stabilizer Lite, which reduces 75 percent of residual vibration, the Harmonic Damper, an energy-absorbing weight suspended in an elastomer wheel, the Dead End String Stop Lite and string-mounted Monkey Tails.

Impressions

mathews_creed_xs_sidebar_chartMathews makes a big deal out of the smoothness of the draw cycle, and it did indeed prove to be smooth. There was very limited shock and vibration noted at the shot. In fact, even with ear plugs to focus my senses, it was difficult to detect any of either. As you might expect, the shot noise followed suit, with little to report. I could go either way on the grips — I like both for different reasons.

The main concern for many in a shorter bow is stability and long-range accuracy. It will take a better archer than me to determine the long-range accuracy of the XS, but I can say with complete confidence that the balance and stability were rock solid on the target.

Specifications

Manufacturer: Mathews Inc., 608-269-2728

Model: Creed XS

Cam System: SimPlex Single Cam

Weight: 3.8 pounds (advertised and as tested)

Brace Height: 7€‰1„2 inches

Axle-To-Axle length: 28 inches

Letoff: 80 percent

Draw Weights: 50, 60 and 70 pounds peak

Draw Lengths: 26-30 inches, in half-inch increments

Riser: Reflex, GeoGrid Lock

Limbs: Split, Parallel

String: Zebra Trophy, 88.5 inches

Cables: Zebra Trophy, 30.875 inches

Grip: Gunstock Walnut or Focus Grip

Finish: Lost AT Camo, Black, Desert Tactical, Black Crimson, Black Tactical

Advertised IBO Speed: Up to 321 fps

Suggested Retail Price: $999 in Lost AT — other colors additional

Comments: Compact, lightweight, fun and surprisingly stable.

Archery Accessory Box

ols, you'll realize that they are easy to misplace, which is why a storage system like the Archery Accessory Box from Plano Molding is a good idea. The Archery Accessory Box is designed with a see-through top, one lift-out tray, up to 16 adjustable compartments, and is compact enough to throw in your vehicle when you hit the road in the fall. Price: $20

Archers Allen Wrench Set

If you want to boil down tool needs to a granular level, the jumping-off point for all bow work involves a quality set of Allen wrenches. I emphasize the word quality because I've had sets completely explode on me the first time I've used them. I don't know why it's so hard to make a set of Allen wrenches that will last, but a lot of companies seem to have trouble with the task. Fortunately, Pine Ridge Archery has it figured out with their Archers Allen Wrench Set. This set has all of the wrenches you're likely to need, and it contains them with a bolt and nut assembly that doesn't allow them to flop all over the place like lesser-quality sets. I keep a set in my shop, my truck and my daypack, so I'm covered no matter where or when I hunt. Price: $10

Bowsmith

Another tool that has found its way into my shop is the Bowsmith from Real Avid. The Bowsmith contains needle-nose pliers, a string spreader, knife blade, fletching stripper, nock crimp, string loop setter, and a bevy of other tools (28 in total). This handy tool set is small enough to stow away in a pack as well, and it can be invaluable in bow camp when the nearest pro shop is far away. Price: $50

Allen Company Compact Bow Tuning Kit

I also used my Allen Company Compact Bow Tuning Kit. Since I had to redo my center serving, I also needed to tie on a new string loop, which necessitated the use of the contained bow square. Although I didn't use a nock set, the Compact Bow Tuning Kit comes with nock pliers and three nock sets. Price: $15

Digital Bow Scale

An often-overlooked tool that is simple and can be used by every bow owner is a bow scale. I like Cabela's Digital Bow Scale, which features a backlit LCD screen and automatic weight lock, and is accurate up to 110 pounds in case you plan to shoot deer hiding behind concrete walls. It amazes me how often I talk to bowhunters who simply guess at their draw weight after cranking their limbs in or out a few turns. It's much better to know exactly what your bow is set at, especially if you're getting close to either end of your bow's recommended weight spectrum. Price: $20

Pro Archery Pliers

If you're in the market for a pair of pliers that will last longer than any bow you're likely to buy and features a nock set crimper and remover, a D-loop stretcher and scary sharp side-cutters, look no further than the Pro Archery Pliers from Easton Technical Products. These needle-nose pliers are extremely durable and can make home bow fixes a breeze. Price: $22

Bohning Mini Server

Considering potential bow fixes, it would be wise to not ignore serving issues. Last fall I was sitting in a treestand in north-central Wisconsin, when I happened to glance down at my nocked arrow. The angle looked off, and upon closer inspection I realized that my center serving had slipped and my entire string loop had crept up my string, throwing my entire bow tune out of alignment. Back at the cabin, I busted out my Bohning Mini Server and re-served my string. The Mini Server is perfect for the home bow mechanic because it eliminates the need for a cable spreader and is extremely easy to use. However, that wasn't the only tool I used to get back to shooting. Price: $19

Economy Vise

After putting the above tools to good use at home or in deer camp, it's inevitable that you'll realize something is missing — a vise. The option to clamp your bow into a quality vise and work on it with both hands free is important, which is why I've started using an Economy Vise from Apple Archery. Plastic-coated jaws provide a secure grip on your bow's limb without causing any damage to the finish, while the Economy Vise allows for 360 degrees of left-to-right and front-to-back rotation. Just like using a lineman's belt to hang a treestand for the first time, when you use a vise like this to work on your bow, you'll wonder how you ever functioned without it. Price: $81




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