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Athens Archery Elevate Bow Review: Standing Up to the Big Brands

Athens Archery certainly isn't as well known in the industry, but the brand is making waves with bows that just flat perform. The Elevate is no exception.

Review Athens Archery Elevate(Photo/Joey Bennett)
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Every year, we hear the same thing from the same bow companies: “This bow is the fastest or the quietest or …” It isn’t hard to find marketing that paints every new bow as the “game changer.”

As it turns out, little-known Athens Archery delivers a sneaky solid bow that blends exceptional durability and performance. Like, the brand seems to be living up to the expectations of the modern hunter without putting out any real hype.

As an outdoorsman, living in the Finger Lakes region of New York provides a fantastic opportunity to chase deer, waterfowl, and fish. We also have two great archery companies located here. Athens Archery is a veteran-owned company that prides itself on American manufacturing and exceptional customer service support. The company machines and assembles its products here in Henrietta, N.Y.

Despite some modern marketing trends, Athens Archery doesn’t promote itself as a company that is reinventing the wheel. Instead, Athens shares its passion for archery by producing a skillfully machined bow that delivers top-rate performance. With diverse camouflage/color palettes and mount points, Athens offers an incredible platform allowing individual hunters to tailor their setup to their specific needs.

What really matters is performance. Does this bow hold its own in a market flooded with high-tech compounds?

In short: From the tree saddle to the ground blind, the Athens Archery Elevate Compound Bow is purpose-built for the deer hunter and performs everywhere it needs to.

Athens Archery Elevate


  • Axle to axle (ATA) 32"
  • Brace height 6"
  • IBO speed Up to 345 fps
  • Let-off 70-90%
  • Draw weight 40-70 lbs.
  • Draw length 24.5-30.5"
  • MSRP $1,199


  • Durability
  • Overall performance
  • Customization


  • Draw cycle

Athens Archery Elevate: Review

Testing the Athens Archery Elevate
(Photo/Joey Bennett)

Testing the Athens Archery Elevate

First impressions aren’t everything, but they help, right? For this test and review, Athens loaned me an Elevate preset at 70 pounds of draw weight and 30 inches of draw length.

Immediately, the fit and finish of the bow impressed me. I prefer my bows in solid earth-tone colors, but the Athens Conifer Grey piqued my interest.

This pattern is popular with Athens customers. For those backcountry fashionistas (you know who you are), it pairs well with First Lite’s Specter, Sitka’s Optifade, and Kuiu’s Verde.

Tuning the bow took no time at all, and after nearly 1,000 arrows from ranges of 20 to 60 yards, three busted nocks, an unsalvagable Rinehart target, and some ibuprofen, this review left no stone unturned.

Features of the Elevate

Review Athens Archery Elevate
(Photo/Joey Bennett)

It would be negligent not to highlight the gauge of the RT-X cam system and its mod component. Some companies generate impressive speeds with their cams, but their design and construction leave questions regarding their durability.

The RT-X alleviates this concern while also delivering plenty of speed. Athens increased the surface area of the draw stop by 55%, which translates into a super-solid back wall when you’re at full draw.

Adjusting your let-off setting between 70% and 90% allows every shooter to further microtune this bow to your preferences. If you’re a saddle hunter, that 90% let-off will be helpful in some of those awkward shooting positions.

Is there anything worse than holding a cold aluminum riser in the whitetail woods? The textured grip Athens chose for the Elevate is one of the best on the market and easily my favorite feature of this bow. It will help insulate your hand on frigid days in the field and marginalize vibrations or hand shock upon arrow release.

Athens engineered this new flagship for streamlined operation. The Elevate features the QAD Integrate dovetail system. With the dovetail machined directly into the riser, Athens provides a more efficient process utilizing QAD’s compact rest. This design reduces weight and further slims down the profile of the bow.

The Elevate also comes with a Picatinny rail to front mount your sight. It’s an attractive feature that centers the weight for improved balance. Unfortunately, I couldn’t utilize this feature, but Athens ensures that you can still direct mount your existing sights. There are three mount points for stabilizers: two on the front of the riser and one on the rear.


Testing the Athens Archery Elevate performance
(Photo/Joey Bennett)

If reviewing gear has taught me anything, is that there’s no free lunch. Weight is to durability as speed is to noise. Exceptions certainly exist, and it’s worth noting that the Elevate offers both a quiet platform and excellent arrow speed.

Using a chronograph from my local shop, I was able to capture the following arrow speeds:

  • 410-grain arrow @ 301 fps
  • 465-grain arrow @ 283 fps
  • 515-grain arrow @ 269 fps

The above arrows produced 82 ft.-lbs. of kinetic energy (KE). With a proper broadhead, this bow is ready to hunt any game in North America.

Like most bow manufacturers, Athens markets the top-end IBO speed its bows generate for sales. Those IBO speeds aren’t realistic when using arrows that most of us take to the field.

The Flaw: Draw Cycle

So here it is: After shooting all those arrows and even hauling it up a tree for some 20-, 30-, and 40-yard shots, I don’t love the draw cycle.

The draw cycle to full draw is very linear. At 70 pounds, it felt like I was pulling that 70 the entire way to the back wall. There was no valley where the cam rolls you into the back wall once you hit that peak weight.

Though, once at full draw, the back wall is solid. The bow is stable and anchors well. Upon arrow release, the bow is quiet, a testament to its construction and robust limb dampers by Mountain View Products.

Making the Elevate Better

OK, so hear me out. Can we get the Elevate in a 34-inch ATA? If I were a saddle hunter (I’m not), the 32-inch might make a great bow that covers all my bases.

Athens Archery offers the Vista in 33-inch and 35-inch ATA. Extended ATA platforms seem more stable, offer a smoother draw cycle, and are less prone to shooter-induced torque inputs.

I’ll even go one further — next-gen cam mods that allow for ¼-inch adjustments to draw length instead of ½-inch adjustments. You could get a very dialed setup with that level of customization.

Not that Athens needs more color and camouflage patterns for its lineup, but Origin’s Raptor camo would be very intriguing.

Athens Archery Elevate: Conclusion

Athens Archery Elevate Conclusion
(Photo/Joey Bennett)

Archery (like everything else) is expensive. Many flagship bows cost $1,500 or more. Add the necessary accessories, and you’re looking at north of $2,500 quickly. The Athens Archery Elevate gives you all the customization options and the performance of those bows at a slightly friendlier price tag.

Athens offers the standard limited lifetime warranty for its bows, covering the manufacturer’s defects. The added benefit of Athens Archery is that warranty is fully transferable and covers all of its platforms whether you buy it new or off Rokslide Classifieds. Save Your Hunt is a brilliant service that Athens Archery offers to anyone with an unserviceable equipment failure who needs a new bow immediately. Athens will ship you a bow as quickly as possible. All you have to do is mail it back after you notch that tag!

If you’re primarily a whitetail hunter, take notice of the Athens Archery Elevate. It’s silent, fast, and accurate.

If you’re looking for that one-bow-quiver, this bow will be every bit as capable in the mountains as it is on an all-day rut hunt in the field come late October.

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