Backcountry, high altitude and other archery hunters concerned about the weight they carry to their hunting grounds have always loved carbon compound bows because they are lightweight. But oftentimes those same bow hunters found that in order for their carbon bows to shoot well, especially at long range, they had to add weight to them. And that defeated the main reason they got a carbon bow in the first place. Enter PSE Nock On Carbon Levitation 2022. With detailed input from longtime archery industry insider John Dudley, PSE has raised the bar for carbon bows. Turns out you can build an ultralight bow that shoots well without weighing it down.
Nock On Carbon Levitate Specifications and Technology
- Reinforcement height: 6 inches
- Axle to axle: 32.25 inches
- ATA speed: 348 fps
- Dropout: 80 to 90 percent
- Weight: 3.6 pounds
- Draw length: 27.5 to 31.5 inches
- Maximum draw weight: 60, 70 or 80 pounds
- Camera: E2
The Levitate measures 32-1 / 4 inches centerline to centerline, with a 6 inch quick release height. It uses rotary modules that can adjust stretch lengths from 27.5 to 31.5 inches, and is available in maximum stretch weights of 60, 70 and 80 pounds. But the large number that we’re here to talk about is the specific weight of that arc. It’s 3.6 pounds.
Last year’s Carbon Air Stealth weighed 3.5 pounds, but the Levitate includes several features known to produce a better shooting experience, which the Carbon Air Stealth doesn’t carry. Most notable among these is a large limb pocket and wide limbs.
The pocket and the position of the members of the Levitate are significantly wider than those of its predecessor. The widths of the pocket and the position of the Levitate limbs are the same as for the 2021 aluminum hunting bow of the Evl-PSE. A wide limb creates a stable shooting platform. They also deal with the stress created by the big cam makers that cam makers choose these days to produce crazy speeds.
The new E2 camera
And speaking of cameras, the Levitate offers a new one, the E2 camera. It is a descendant of PSE’s best-selling Evolve camera, which has made archery hunters appreciate its ultra-smooth draw cycle, adjustable trigger, and blazing arrow speeds. The E2 is a bit more aggressive, but it’s also a bit more efficient. With the Evolve cam, the split forks connected to the cam at the axle both lean towards the cam. The E2 cam is wider at the base so the yokes lean less.
To explain the effect of this enlargement, Dudley – the Nock On Nation’s Pied Piper – was told to consider using a pull-down machine at the gym.
“If you pulled the cable at an angle, instead of straight down, the weight would feel heavier,” he said. “It’s not as efficient as shooting in a straight line.”
And that extra tension equates to a waste of energy. It is less efficient to convert the energy put into the arc into energy spat out by the arc.
Add a quarter inch heavier axle and beefier cam bearings to the wider cam. Again, this was all done to produce a more stable shooting platform, which is a better shooting arc. And don’t forget, the Levitate includes all of these bigger and stronger features, but the weight only increased by 0.1 pounds compared to the Carbon Air Stealth.
PSE’s new carbon
There is no doubt that the biggest advancement built into the Levitate is the use of a new proprietary carbon for the riser. PSE calls it Dead Frequency Carbon. I’m not a scientist, so I can’t tell you how this carbon is different. And anxious to keep a good secret, PSE does not say so either.
But what is immediately noticeable is the absence of hand shock and the absence of noise produced when the string is released on the Levitate. I’ve shot many carbon bows over the years, and among those that weigh as little as Levitate, Levitate is quieter and hits less than any of them. There were carbon arcs that looked like Levitate, but they were much heavier.
Like I said, you can improve the shooting experience of most carbon bows if you add weight; but then you are negating one of the main advantages of a carbon arch.
Other important features of the Levitate are the inclusion of the Precision Bus Tuning System (PBTS), which allows the fork tuning to make small adjustments to the tilt of the cam while trying to achieve a perfect arrow flight; adding a rear stabilizer mounting hole; and a pinned straight bar cable arm fitted with a cable reel.
PSE Carbon Levitate test
One of the first things I like to do when setting up a new bow is mount a front stabilizer and side rod, which adds considerable weight to the bow. While chatting with Dudley about Levitate before my lender arrived at Lancaster Archery Supply, he reminded me that Levitate is meant to be hunted with minimal added weight.
Dudley told me that he had hunted with his bow for several weeks in September above 11,000 feet, so he kept his bow under 5 pounds. At high altitudes, archery hunters want their equipment to be as light as possible. Dudley added a removable mount, a single-pin Spot Hogg sight, and a short stabilizer. And he suggested that I set up my test arc the same way.
So when my ready arrived I added a five pin Trophy Ridge sight, removable QAD mount, and an 8 inch Shrewd Rev X stabilizer with a 1 ounce weight. The result? My total rig weighed 4.85 pounds. I could not believe it.
I set the bow’s draw length at 29.5 inches, the weight at 70 pounds, and the trigger at 90%. This setup launched a 475 grain arrow at 296 feet per second through the Lancaster Archery boutique chronograph. That’s a pretty good speed for such a heavy arrow.
The test that really blew me away, however, was the range test. 20 yards inside, I easily stacked three in the X-ring of a 40cm crest. Then I walked outside and shot groups of three and four arrows at an 80cm crest at 30, 40 and 50 meters. At each distance, I was able to shoot groups where you could shoot all the arrows on the target with one hand.
These groupings would surprise me with any new bow, especially with a setup under 5 pounds total weight. The Levitate holds and pulls like a dream without adding a lot of weight.
This is the holy grail of carbon bows. As a general rule, I need to weigh the carbon arcs down enough to be stable and consistent with them. Not Levitation. The wider stance of the limbs certainly helped, as did the lack of a heavy shock in the hand.
I took pictures of my groups and immediately texted them to Dudley.
“It’s pretty much my life,” he replied. “It is the most precise hunting bow I have ever had.”
The worst things carbon levitation does
I cannot interfere with the performance of the Levitate. He did everything he was told to do.
But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. This bow is expensive – $ 1,899 retail. This is one of the main disadvantages of carbon.
And while this bow is a dream to shoot and a dream to carry for miles, some bow hunters won’t even look at it because of its price tag. They will support additional weight before paying double the cost of an aluminum bow.
Plus, depending on where you live, you might have a hard time finding any of these arches. Due to the way they are made, PSE is unable to quickly produce large numbers of Levitations. This means that some archery hunters might not be able to find one near them to even take a test drive, let alone buy. This isn’t necessarily the bow’s fault, but it’s an issue bow hunters are likely to encounter when seeking Levitation.
What carbon levitation does best
He’s a shooter. And it’s ultralight. So far in the archery world, this has been an elusive combination. But PSE succeeded with the Levitate.
The E2 camera, large limb pocket and Dead Frequency Carbon combine forces to produce a quiet, fast and precise machine that shoots well from near and far. And you don’t need to add weight to the bow to achieve this performance.
Read more: The best PSE bows ever made
For archery hunters who aren’t averse to dropping two thousand on a compound bow before adding accessories, PSE Carbon Levitate is at the top of the food chain.