Bear Archery continues to put out new bow designs each year and they have one of the best compound bows at 2020 for my opinion.
I had the opportunity to shoot the Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult Compound Bow at the Bear facility in Gainesville, Fl. I brought along my two personal bows, a Mathews Drenalin (70 lb) and a Bear Attack (60lb), to compare the shooting experience against that of the Cruzer G2. Over the years the Drenalin has been my bow of choice. However, on very cold days I utilize the Attack since it is easier for an old man to draw with unnecessary motion when my shoulders and back are stiff from the cold. The shop manager, welcomed me in and turned me loose on their indoor shooting alley.
I want to begin by stating that Bear Archery has been the sponsor of the most shootout events for several years, but I personally receive no equipment or sponsorship from Bear Archery in any form. When writing this review of Bear’s Cruzer G2, I have made every effort to be completely unbiased and allow my testing and impressions to be accurately recorded in this review.
When you first see the Cruzer G2 it is very refined in its appearance. The fit and finish are excellent. The compound bow is really, seriously great looking.
The Cruzer G2 with its 12” to 30” draw length range seems more compact than this when you look at it and hold it. This is likely due to its slim appearance and light weight. I have always purchased bows that were 32″ to 33″ in length as I felt they afforded me the best tradeoff of weight to shooting control. Any bow that has a length less than 32″ is going to be very sensitive to changes in your handling of the shot and will require great consistency; something not always achievable hanging from a tree. A bow that weighs a mere 3 lbs and has a max 30″ length gives you a lightweight bow with the advantage of a more controlled shot due to the longer axle to axle length. I would have no trouble at all shooting a 30″ bow from any of my stands.
The Cruzer G2 riser is redesigned from that on the Carnage and the limbs are less curved. The string suppressor bars have also been moved a couple of inches closer to the nock point on the string. The biggest and most noteworthy difference is the grip, which has been completely redesigned. I am so pleased with this new grip. I have always liked Bear Bows and in the last 5 years Bear has really stepped up the engineering of their bows and it shows. But I was always disappointed by the blocky grips and the overly deep grip that created a shelf that extended too far back on your hand. The newly designed grip is excellent! It is exceptionally comfortable and even allows the shooter to add or remove the rubber over grip. The Cruzer also has a newly designed cam called the flat top. Bows from the top manufacturers continue to improve in ways I never imagined. Consider the fact that the Cruzer G2 at 70 lbs shoots similar speeds to that of the Drenalin at 70 lbs.
Notice the flat side of the new flat top cam.
The grip is slim with rounded edges and very comfortable in your hand, a rubber over grip comes with the bow and can be used if desired. The stabilizer was removed during shooting.
To form my impressions of the Cruzer G2 it was important that I shot it along with my two familiar bows so that differences could be immediately felt and recorded. Over the years I have found that if I walk into a store and shoot a bow by itself it will likely feel fine unless there is a significant shortcoming or attribute, since most middle and high end bows today are well engineered. Each bow was shot without a stabilizer attached. I don’t even use stabilizers on my bows any longer, as hand shock or vibration is so little in today’s better bows that I find the added weight more of a negative for hunting. Each bow was shot 12-15 times before switching to the next bow. This insured I had become very familiar with the feel of each bow before switching to the next. I also took the last shot or two with my eyes closed so that I was focused on the feel that came through my grip hand and any noises I might hear. The order I shot the bows was as follows:
Best Compound Bow 2020:
Bear Attack (60lb) vs Bear Cruzer G2 (70lb) vs Mathews Drenalin (70lb)
The order was purposeful. I wanted to shoot the two Bear bows first. I also wanted to shoot the Drenalin last as it is my preferred bow over the Attack due to its more comfortable grip and lighter weight. The target was 17 yards down range and indoors. This is not a review of the other two bows, so I will refrain from excessive comments regarding the shooting experience of them. In various rounds of shooting I took pictures of the three arrow groupings I was achieving in order to compare results later.
My two bows are equipped with QAD rests. The Cruzer was equipped with a Trophy Ridge Revolution rest. The Attack has a Trophy Ridge Micro Alpha V3 sight, the Cruzer has a Trophy Ridge Pursuit sight and the Drenalin has an HHA XL-5519 sight.
You can view our detailed Bow Sight Guide.
When I held the Cruzer the first time to shoot it, I was amazed at how much lighter and comfortable this bow was to hold than my Attack. The weight difference was so significant that after shooting the bows I weighed both bows on a package scale at the Bear facility in order to record the difference. My Attack weighed in at 5.36 lbs. fully equipped and the Cruzer G2 weighed in at a mere 4.50 lbs. fully equipped. That is .significantly less and would have likely been more had the sights been the same. I suspect the Pursuit sight on the Cruzer weighs a little more than the Micro Alpha. The Drenalin weighed just over 5 lbs. fully equipped.
The draw of the Cruzer is very consistent and smooth through the entire cycle. There are no significant changes in effort pulling the string back. When you reach full draw you hit a nice firm wall but there is not an overly defined valley that you fall into at let-off. For instance, on my Attack you begin the draw with a level of effort that reduces somewhat after the first few inches of the draw. At the end of the draw you fall into a deep valley that hits quickly when all the let-off occurs and this sudden let-off can actually force you to resettle your hold or form. This does not happen with the Cruzer G2, rather you simply come to a solid back wall. I liked the draw of it, a great deal. It was smooth to the very end and allowed you to maintain your form effortlessly. If anything I wished it had just a tad bit more valley at the end. This is a minor point as I never felt the valley was overly lacking, but I have found over the years that the end of the draw on my Drenalin is just right for me.
The Cruzer was an extremely comfortable shooting bow. I have always favored a comfortable shooting bow over speed. With a lot of bows achieving high speed means sacrificing other aspects. For instance, the fastest bows usually have a less than 7″ brace height. I do not enjoy shooting bows with such a short brace height. The Cruzer at 70 lbs. of draw weight delivers a whopping FPS (IBO) with a very nice brace height. When you shoot this bow you will not believe it can be so smooth, quiet and easy to handle, yet achieve those speeds. Kudos to Bear Archery.
The Cruzer G2 was the quietest and most vibration free of the three. I attribute this to excellent engineering and the modified positioning of the string dampeners. All three bows, overall, are more than acceptable in these areas. However, the Cruzer has definitely improved over both. The Drenalin produced noticeably more string noise, which is no surprise given the string dampeners on the Bear Bows are a newer design feature.
I have only shot my bows a time or two since the end of deer season in January. So my consistency is somewhat off. This actually benefitted the testing because it allowed me to see which bows provided better shot consistency when my form was less than ideal every time. I like this because hanging from a tree in a tree saddle or sitting in a stand does not always afford you perfect body form for taking a shot. So a bow that makes up for my weaknesses is a plus.
After shooting all three bows multiple times, I shot most consistently with the Bear Archery Cruzer G2. The Drenalin was on par with the Bear Cruzer, only slightly less consistent groupings. I attribute the Cruzer’s results entirely to the excellent grip and 30″ length. This bow was delivering the tightest groups for a shooter that has not been practicing in the last 4 months. The Attack afforded the least consistency and I attribute this to its blocky grip and thus slight changes in my hold each time I shot. Below are 3 pictures of typical groupings with each bow.
Here is a grouping with the Cruzer G2. On a prior grouping I broke the nock of an arrow with a shot.
This was typical of the groupings I was getting with the Attack. If I were in good shooting form the groupings would have been tighter, but consistent shooting form is not always achievable when hunting from a stand or tree saddle.
A grouping from the Drenalin
After spending a morning shooting the Cruzer all I can say is that I am very impressed. I would not hesitate to purchase this bow and feel it would deliver outstanding performance in the field. Prior to the Attack I owned a Bear SQ 32 (60 lb.). That bow was a consistent shooter for me and I always liked it. I have shot the Truth, Truth 2 and the Carnage. I will state without reservation that this is by far and away the best compound bow Bear has produced yet. If you are looking for a tack driver that is lightweight and forgiving then look at the Bear Archery Cruzer G2. At the end of the day I want a bow that feels great and shoots consistently. The Cruzer meets those requirements and delivers blazing speed as well.
Keep up the great work Bear Archery, as the Cruzer G2 is definitely capable of competing with the elite and has earned it’s seat at the table.
Post Log: At the indoor shooting range, Bear has a rack containing every bow they currently manufacture. After completing the shooting of the Cruzer, I took the time to look over the other bows. One that caught my attention was the Bear Bolt Legend. I grabbed if off the rack and shot a half dozen arrows with it. Wow I was surprised! Look for my full review in the future.