Compared to the no-brainer best buy for this year’s crossbows, selecting the best compound bow for 2014 was quite the challenge; however, we are very confident with our pick: the Bear Archery Agenda 6. So why did we pick this compound bow out as our favorite? Let me explain the various factors that pushed it over the top for us.
Blistering Speed & Kinetic Energy
Coming in draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 lbs. of pull and a moderately-aggressive brace height of 6 inches, the Agenda 6 is a dream for serious bowhunters that is rated to achieve a sizzling IBO speed of up to 350 FPS. And in case you are wondering, this translates into a staggering 95 ft.-lbs. of kinetic energy. With this kind of tremendous hitting power, there is essentially no large game animal that you cannot take with the Agenda 6 (especially in the 70# draw). As such, for those looking for a fast and ultra-powerful hunting bow, this is it.
An Ultra-Lightweight Design
Normally, a powerful rig like the Agenda 6 comes with some excess weight – a tradeoff that we’d typically accept. However, this rocket-launcher of a bow weighs in at a measly 3.9 pounds! Our first impression of this was: how!?
The mystery lies primarily with Bear’s remarkable engineering of the Agenda 6’s riser, the lightest Bear has produced yet. This riser uses a sophisticated truss-type system that not only cuts down on weight, but also increases riser stiffness to boot. A rare case in the archery world of having your cake – and eating it too.
Simply put, this is one of the fastest, lightest compound bows on the market today.
A Silky-Smooth, Comfortable Draw
Yet another seemingly incongruous virtue of this bow is how smooth it is. Again, given its bone-shattering power and speed, one would expect a hitchy, rough draw cycle. Not a chance! The Agenda 6’s highly-lauded H13 Synchronized Hybrid Cam is a product of truly rigorous design testing, and in our opinion does about as good as job as any bow out there in terms of balancing smoothness without sacrificing big-game hunting power.
In addition, after the shot is off, Bear’s rubber-tipped riser construction is designed to dramatically dampen vibration that may otherwise sacrifice your hold. Consequently, even newcomers to the sport are likely to generate very tight groups with this bow.
A Unique Hinge Guard System
One of the most interesting features of the Agenda series is the Bear’s brand new Hinge Guard – a fresh new feature for 2014. So how does it work? This guard is fitted with a hinged arm and cable block that angles with the shooter. When the bow is at rest, the block is oriented in a forward position; however, during the draw cycle, the system compensates by tracking cable movement, which gradually reorients the blocks in the direction of the shooter. The benefit of this sophisticated hinge/block system is that unnecessary torque is minimized across the limbs/riser with a concomitant reduction in lateral load as well, which in turn should help most users’ accuracy by fostering a steadier aim with more room for error. A wonderful feature that we would like to see on more high-powered bows!
Quiet Power & Comfortable Feel
Bowhunters are always searching for quieter bows, but then again, higher velocities and kinetic energy are generally associated with increased noise. We’re not sure if it’s the hybrid cam, dampened risers or some combination of the two…but the Agenda series seems to buck the tide once more with not only smooth drawing and minimal vibration after the shot, but also very quiet operation. In fact, this is likely the quietest, most comfortable rig capable of 90+ ft.-lbs. of kinetic energy out there!
Consequently, if you’re the type of hunter that likes to get another bit at the proverbial apple – but don’t want to settle for slowness – the Agenda 6 is your bow.
This was a big one for us. Regardless how many points can be raised in support of the Agenda 6, it still came down to value. And on this score, this bow truly shined. We are accustomed to ultra fast and lightweight bows of this quality to run well in excess of $1,000. Indeed, this is a fair price point for such a highly-engineered compound bow. But the selling price of the Agenda 6 is far south of this figure, and is currently hovering in the range of $900. Simply put, this is a tremendous amount of bow for the money. Moreover, what you are getting is bow that can perform with the best on the market today, regardless of price.
The Agenda 6 – Concluding Thoughts
Bear Archery has not attained legendary status through hype, but rather has made its name through consistently producing some of the best-performing bows on the market. The Agenda series 6 is a perfect example of this focus on quality. This bow comes the closes to the reaching the holy grail of sizzling speed and power with a smooth, comfortable draw and quiet operation. Likewise, it is unquestionably one of the lightest bows available, that just happens to be a hammer! Add to that the innovative hinged guard and cutting-edge hybrid cam system, and you have our favorite, best-value compound bow of 2014!