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The Bear Takedown Recurve Vs the Samick Sage

Q

Hey Charles, this is the bow I'm thinking about getting I'm just wondering what configuration would work best for me?
http://www.bow-shop.com/secure/store/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&cPath=124_127_141&products_id=584
- Jon C.

A

Hey Jon!

Ooo fancy, the Bear Takedown. I have been wanting one of those for almost a decade. I will probably get one eventually, if I ever stop buying antiques / vintage bows - or maybe I will buy a vintage Takedown. We shall see.

See also http://www.beararchery.com/bows/traditional/takedown so you have a better idea of its stats.

The Takedown has two different riser lengths, 56 and 60 inches. I recommend the 60 as it is more forgiving of canting mistakes. (Shorter bows / shorter risers are less forgiving, so if you make a canting mistake it can be way off instead of a little off.)

The real problem is the poundage of the limbs - for which the minimum is 35 lbs. Ideally for someone who is still learning I recommend 20 to 25 lbs so that they can work on building their form while building strength, and then later get a 30 to 35 lb bow and work their way up to 40 to 45 lbs. Starting off at 35 lbs right away can cause a person to develop bad habits and I want my students to avoid that.

The analogy I like to use is dumbbells and weightlifting. You start off the smaller dumbbells, use them with good form in a variety of exercises, build up strength and eventually go to a bigger set of dumbbells when the old dumbbells start to feel too easy. This way a person progresses from one stage to the next, working on their form while simultaneously building strength/endurance.

Starting off with a bow that is too strong a person will often get exhausted easily, their endurance will lag, they will start making form mistakes / shooting too quickly / etc.

Here is one you might consider in the meantime:

Samick Sage - available with 25 lb limbs
http://www.bow-shop.com/secure/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=124_127_201&products_id=1558

Then after you build up strength and that bow feels easy you can get a 30 to 35 lb bow, eg. the Takedown, and progress from there.

The good news about both the Sage and the Takedown is that you get more powerful limbs as you progress too, allowing you to experiment with other poundages to see which one you like best. Obviously there will be a big price difference between those two bows.

Also it is handy to have an extra bow that is easier to pull in the future should you ever introduce a friend to archery, or perhaps even just have off-days when you want to relax and just shoot without it feeling like a weightlifting workout.

Pros and Cons

The Bear Takedown is one of the best traditional recurves you can get. It is powerful, durable and comes with a great warranty.

The Samick Sage in comparison is basically the Ford F-150 of bows - it does everything you need the bow to do, on a budget. (History Note - Decades ago the Damon Howatt X-200 / Martin X-150 used to fill that role, and was quite literally the F-150 of bows.)

Both bows have lots of great reviews, although Bear's warranty / craftsmanship / quality assurance certainly make it a fan favourite.

Both bows are attractive to look at. The Takedown is obviously prettier, but the Sage is certainly not ugly either.

There is the obvious price difference, however the price I don't think is the biggest issue here. It is the available poundages that matter.

The Samick Sage is available in 25 lbs. It is even possible to get 20 lb limbs that match it, but it is trickier to find those. This will make it easier to pull and work on quality form.

The Bear Takedown has a minimum of 35 lbs. It is not meant for someone who is still building up their strength and working on form. It was primarily designed to be used for bowhunting.

The Samick Sage does have a very good resale value. If you buy one for $175 CDN you can later sell it for about $140-$150 CDN. Thus if you decide to get one and later switch to the Bear Takedown, that is certainly an option. Or keep it as an extra bow for friends to try archery.

Conclusions

By now you have probably guessed that I feel strongly about this whole patience / proper form / building up strength issue. I have seen past students ignore my advice because I was not adamant enough about the whole being patient / working on proper form issue, and they bought a bow that was too powerful for them to properly practice with and they eventually stopped shooting because it was simply too hard - and now their bow is probably collecting dust in a closet.

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

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