I try and shoot as many bows as I can each year at the ATA Show, but one I managed to miss in 2013 was the Bear Motive, available in 6- and 7-inch brace height versions. It wasn’t an intentional overlook, but it was troubling because I had more than one colleague tell me that, based upon show-floor impressions, the Motive was a contender for the best bow of the year.
So I ended up spending significant time on the range with a Motive 6 this spring, slinging arrows with it from distances ranging from 10 yards to 70 yards. Here’s what I found out:
- The Motive 6 weighs 4 pounds, and is a significant departure from the Anarchy, Bear’s single-cam flagship bow of 2012. The Motive is a compact 32-inch axle-to-axle bow sporting two fairly aggressive cams and, of course, a 6-inch brace height. Adjusting the draw length is easy to do with the included modules, and doesn’t require a bow press.
- Bear advertises a 350 fps IBO speed rating for the bow, and it comes with an $899.99 price tag. It’s available in five finishes: Realtree APG, Realtree APS (that’s the snow camo finish), Shadow, Red/Black and Green/Black. To all of those color options, I say: go with camo. The bow I ended up testing was in the Shadow finish and, when combined with bright orange strings, was ugly as a red-headed baby. Fortunately, the ghastly appearance didn’t affect its shootability.
- The bow was quiet and fast. Rigged with my test standard of a Whisker Biscuit Rest, 357-grain finished arrow, 60-pound draw weight and 28-inch draw length, it produced average speeds of 292 feet per second. That’s not an IBO standard setup, of course, but it is a pretty realistic real-world whitetail setup. The IBO test standard is a 350-grain arrow / 70-pound draw weight / 30-inch draw length. If you assume that this arrow is only a bit heavier than an IBO arrow, and add 20 feet per second for the two inches of missing draw length, another 25 feet per second for the 10 missing pounds of draw weight, and another 5 feet per second for swapping the Whisker Biscuit out for a drop-away rest, you end up with a finished speed estimate of 342 feet per second. That’s shy of the advertised mark. But still pretty dang fast.
I shot this bow very well clear out to long range. The draw cycle is middle of the road; not the smoothest bow I’ve shot this year (and I’ve shot a bunch), but smoother than many, and certainly smooth enough. It’s impressive for a short speed bow. The back wall wasn’t as solid as, say, an Elite Hunter, but it was solid enough. I’d remove the thick rubber grip from the bow, as any such grip is too easy to torque. And I’d definitely buy the camo version so that I could take it out in public without feeling ashamed.
All in all, this is a bow that performs as advertised and will hold its own with about any bow on the market today.