ATA First Look: Bear Arena 34

Are you noticing a trend yet? At this year's ATA we have seen a pile of 33- to 34-inch axle-to-axle bows that shoot in the 330 t0 340 range. I really like this development. A long bow helps smooth out the draw cycle, allowing for a shorter brace height and more speed without having to pay for it too much when you pull the bow back. All of this is evident in the Arena 34, with is pretty darn fast, but in my opinion, at least, also pretty smooth drawing.

Hits: A new limb stop makes for a very solid back wall, if that's what you like. But you can remove it and go with a cable stop if you like a softer wall. To my eye, the combination of a sleeker riser and solid colors (olive green, tan, or black) makes for a pretty cool-looking bow. (Two camo finishes are also available.)

Misses: The length makes for a fairly smooth draw, but it's not exactly butter. It definitely wasn't as smooth as some. I also felt a little jump and vibration. That said, we were shooting bare bows. This can probably be tamed.

What Else You Should Know: The Arena also comes in a 30-1/2 inch axle-to-axle model. It's even faster, at 345 IBO, but you don't get that extra speed for free. You do feel it in the draw cycle. If you can handle that, more power to you, literally. If not, look at the longer bow.