Welcome to this week’s installation of “Why Your Bow Sucks,” an ongoing series of bow reviews.
Welcome, friends, to the brink of bankruptcy. With an MSRP of $1,899, not only will you have to take out a second mortgage to pay for this thing, but it’ll also come with a divorce once she finds out it’s worth more than her engagement ring.
But, at least you won’t have to worry about tuning this bow!
“I’m trying to give you an experience that will allow you to set these up and have the most accurate bow on the market – out of the box,” Dudley says in a YouTube video.
I can’t wait to make someone shoot it through paper. Nock low. Calling it now.
The Levitate weighs in at about 3.6 pounds. This lightweight bow will be perfect for the guys who wear plate carriers, meat-haulers and 20-pound Kifaru fanny-packs to their local 3-D shoot. TAC is short for tactical, right? Right?
You also won’t have to worry about people wondering if you have the latest Dudley bow. He’s stamped the Nock On logo all over it, and you can even order it with his signature Nickelodeon Slime strings.
The Levitate is the archery equivalent of a Roush F-150, in that it’s heavily decaled and everyone who owns one won’t stop telling you about it. It’s not an F-150, pal. It’s a Roushhh. F**k you.
The Levitate’s E2 cam currently accommodates draw lengths from 27.5 to 31.5 inches. Burn in hell, short people. I hear that a short-draw cam is in the works, but it ain’t here yet. If you’re over 31.5 inches, you’re longer than Dudley and that isn’t allowed.
Ultimately, it’s your money and if you want a bow that will cause your credit card to spontaneously combust, be my guest. Just don’t let me see you crying when you scratch it.
What Doesn’t Suck
For as much as I hate the price tag and the Nock On branding, the Levitate is actually a damn fine bow. The E2 cam performs well and exactly to the manufacturer’s advertised specs. We tested the 70 pound version with a 500 grain arrow at 31 inches of draw length and it touched 300 fps on the chronograph. For reference, I’ve seen other reviewers test a 500 grain arrow at the 27.5 inch draw length and it chrono’d around 250 fps. It’s fast.
Eighty, 85 and 90 percent let-off adjustments allow you to tailor the cam to your liking, and the draw cycle – while not quite as smooth as previous Evolve Cam flagships – is still pretty comfortable. It’s a bit stiff on the back end, but it looks like PSE did a good job with the E2.
It’s anyone’s guess as to what Dead Frequency Carbon (PSE’s new proprietary carbon layout) is made of, but it is relatively dead in hand (for a carbon bow). Yes, you’ll get a little vibration, but it’s less noticeable than other carbon variations on the market. We didn’t notice much “hop” with this bow, either.
You’d think the six inch brace height would make the Levitate feel a little Xpedite-ish, but it doesn’t. The wider limbs and limb pockets do help with stability, and the addition of a back-bar mount is a nice touch. The Levitate isn’t Mathews quiet, but it isn’t all that loud, either. The grip is a touch slimmer than previous PSE carbon models, which is something I prefer from a torque-reducing standpoint. If you prefer a rubberized grip, the bow does come with mounting holes (grip sold separately).
At just over 32 inches axle-to-axle, the Levitate is positioned to be a good option for someone looking for a do-everything bow. I wouldn’t be afraid to use it for 3-D shoots and it’s not so long that you couldn’t bring it into the tree stand. That’s assuming you can afford a tree stand after buying this thing and let’s be honest – if you’re shooting a Levitate you’re probably a tree saddle guy, anyway.
For a fast, lightweight and accurate bow, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than the Levitate. John Dudley made the move to PSE in order to have the freedom and flexibility to put his stamp on the product line, and we certainly see that here.
The prevailing question remains, “Is this bow worth $1900?” It’s a free market and the Levitate is worth what folks are willing to pay for it. Dudley and PSE have priced a lot of people out of this bow, and they did it on purpose. They went for premium, and premium it is.
If you have the jingle in your pocket, you can do a lot worse than this. At the very least, I’d recommend giving it a test if there’s one available at a nearby pro shop. I’d expect PSE to unveil a slightly less expensive, non-Dudley version of a Dead Frequency Carbon bow at the upcoming ATA show (provided it doesn’t get cancelled), but we’ll have to see what that final product (and its pricing) looks like.
Are there quieter bows? Yes. Are there bows with a smoother draw cycle? Yes. Are there bows with more tunability? Yes. But, there isn’t a bow lighter than the Levitate with nearly as much performance.
My advice: Buy the Levitate if you like it, but don’t buy it simply for the branding.