An in-depth review of the brand new 2024 Mathews LIFT hunting bow
I love a new bow. I love everything about it. I love seeing the new technology and shape of the riser. I love the feeling of pulling it out of the box for the first time and getting my hands on it. For me — and anyone who loves archery and bowhunting — it’s simply the best. I was fortunate to receive a Mathews LIFT 33” at the tail end of August and, since then, I've tinkered with it more than any other bow I have owned, primarily due to the fact that I’m sincerely excited about the potential for this bow. It’s just a lot of fun to shoot. In this article, I’ll briefly run through the specs, touch on the tuning process, and do my best to offer a review.
If you're a video person. Below is a deep dive video into Trail's thoughts of this bow after using it the entire fall 2023 hunting season. He goes into specs, initial thoughts, and then he goes through some testing with a decibel meter compared to some older Mathews models, fps testing, plus some long-range real-world tests.
The LIFT is offered in two different axle-to-axle lengths: 29.5” and 33”. The IBO speed for the shorter model is up to 348 FPS with a 6” brace height. The 33” version has an IBO speed rating that hits up to 343 FPS with a 6.5” brace height. The LIFT 29.5” is available in 24.5” to 30” draw lengths. The LIFT 33” is available in 25” to 31.5” draw lengths in half-inch increments. Both models offer 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, and 80 pound draw weights and options for 80% or 85% let-off.
The LIFT bows are lighter than last year’s Phase 4 with the 29.5 coming in at 3.99 pounds and the 33” weighing 4.26 pounds. For reference, the Phase 4 29” is 4.48 pounds and the 33” was 4.68 pounds, so you are dropping about 4 ounces from the bare weight of the bow.
2024 Mathews LIFT
Up to 348 fps
Up to 343
80 or 85%
80 or 85%
55, 60, 65, 70, 75 or 80 lbs
55, 60, 65, 70, 75 or 80 lbs
24.5 to 30”
26 to 31.5”
One of the first things I noted when I set the LIFT up was that I could feel the difference in weight. I like that for a couple of reasons, primarily because I now have the ability to add more weight out on the end of the stabilizers if I want to, which may help stabilize the bow that much better or I can set it up similarly to previous models and just pack a lighter overall setup, which is great for physically demanding hunts. Also, as previously noted, the LIFT bows are faster than the Phase 4. The IBO for the Phase 4 bows was 340 and 336 FPS. With the LIFT bows, you’re getting 7 to 8 FPS more.
Speed is something I also noted. The LIFT feels fast. A faster setup allows me to tighten up my pin gaps and sight tape and, in a hunting situation, it offers me just that much more forgiveness if I misjudge the distance to an animal. Several times I’ve misjudged a bull elk as he’s moving into position, often guessing he was closer than reality due to the size of that animal. For example, if I judge a bull at 50 yards and use my 50 yard pin, but he is actually at 55 yards, that extra FPS is likely to be the difference between still dropping an arrow into vital organs or missing him completely. Speed is not everything. It’s a piece of the puzzle, but provided the bow and arrow tune well with a broadhead, and it’s a good arrow weight for the species, I’ll take the speed. I was able to set up and shoot a variety of arrow weights through a chrono with the following results from my LIFT 33” set with a 30” draw length, 70.1# draw weight with 80% let off.
|Total arrow weight||Arrow feet per second|
The LIFT bows also have a longer riser and shorter limbs that are past parallel at full draw. The length of the riser provides stability and it holds really well at full draw. If you were to imagine holding a broom stick in your bow hand, the amount of force to move it side to side is greater than it would be for a shorter stick because of the length. It’s just physics: the longer the riser, the more torque it requires for you to move it, which is why the long riser on the LIFT bow holds and aims so steady.
In 2023, Mathews launched their Resistance Phase Damping (RPD) in the Pase 4 models. In essence, they took what was four total limbs and now utilize eight limbs. Each limb set has a rubber component that sits between them. This innovation tackles excess energy within the limbs and both deadens and silences shot noise. The LIFT bows will once again come with the RPD tech and I can attest to the fact that it is, indeed, a very quiet bow. I did some testing with a decibel meter and compared it to a couple of other bows we had in the office. It's quieter than my V3X and the Halon X. There is some feedback at the shot in the riser, but it’s minimal. At the shot, it sounds and feels similar to the Phase 4 — only it’s faster and, personally, I think it holds better.
Mathews has used the SwitchWeight cam on their hunting bows for a few years now, and with the LIFT, the cams get an update to what they are calling a SwitchWeight X Cam. The Cams still use the same mods that can be easily swapped out without a press to adjust draw length, let-off and draw weight. One of the advantages of the SwitchWeight cams is that you can adjust the draw weight by changing mods without having to turn the limb bolts out, which robs efficiency. I ordered a 70 pound bow with 80% let off and an additional set of 65 pound 85% let off mods to play with. I love the fact that I can change out mods without a press, retain maximum efficiency and still lower the poundage and increase the let off. This could be a great option for cold weather treestand hunts when drawing a bow smoothly and being able to hold it at full draw longer could be the difference in getting a shot off or not.
The new cams are slightly more oval in shape and, to me, they somewhat resemble the cams on the previous models of “speed bows” like the Mathews Monster. In saying that, the draw cycle is much smoother than “speed bows” of the past. I believe that’s larger due to the way Mathews has moved the axle from the center of each limb up onto a mounting bracket that sits on top of the limbs. Overall, it’s still a smooth draw in my opinion. In comparing the LIFT to the Phase 4 or the V3X, it feels like the draw builds steadily with a slightly shorter valley. It doesn’t have the feel of speed bows where if you creep slightly it wants to take off on you, even with 80% let-off mods. It doesn’t feel jumpy and it doesn’t feel like I have to pull hard and constantly into the wall to maintain. In addition, the SwitchWeight X cams definitely have a harder backwall.
The SwitchWeight cams and the X cams both offer cable cam stops, but the X, due to the shape of the cams and axle position, feels much firmer, which I like. In my opinion, the harder backwall feels great. It offers a firmer stop and a more crisp break on the release. The X cam system still uses the Top Hat System for tuning left right arrow flight. A set of Top Hats can be purchased, giving you the ability to shim your cams left or right to tune the bow. I like the Top Hat System for tuning, it allows me to set the rest center shot where I want and then shim the cams left or right to tune. Personally, I wished that each bow came with a Top Hat Kit, but, overall, I do think it’s a solid system for tuning. I like that it’s not a screw or bolt adjustment; it’s solid, stationary and works well.
The LIFT bows will include the BridgeLock option to mount both the sight and Mathews stabilizers directly through the riser. It’s a clean system, balances well and adds some rigidity to mounting those due to the increased surface area running through the riser. The stabilizer weights also utilize a dovetailed interlocking system where you need an allen wrench to add or remove weight, but there is no center bolt. This might seem inconsequential, but I’ve never had issues with weights getting stuck together or to the end of the stabilizer bar like I sometimes get with traditional weights due to the vibration repeatedly going through the bar and tightening those bonds. The Mathews stabilizer weights also allow you to stack as many as you want. You don’t have to find and buy long screws to be able to stack on several ounces on your front or back bar anymore. The stabilizers are pricey in comparison, but, once again, the design and function is well thought out and user friendly.
Finally, Mathews has improved their string building process. Zebra strings were decent strings made from good materials, but, inevitably, I almost always had serving separation where the cable stops contact with each cable. The LIFT offers Match grade strings and, in my observations, it’s a much better set. I have a few thousand arrows through my bow and I’m happy to report that I have had zero serving separation and the peep sits straight in the string and draws back without any movement. Strings are somewhat of an afterthought for most bowhunters I believe, but it’s the most important part of a bow and I’m happy to see that the 2024 bows are now coming with a much better set of strings and cables.
Tuning was a relatively easy process with the LIFT 33. I attached a Mathews QAD integrated Ultrarest and set it at approximately 13/16s (center of arrow to edge of riser). I tied in nock points with the nock placed equally between both axles. I then set the rest height at 90°, arrow running through the center of the berger hole. The cam timing was good out of the box on my bow. I attached a 12” Bridgelock front stabilizer with 3 ounces, a 10” Bridgelock back bar with 5 ounces that is mounted on a Mathews Bridgelock back bar bracket. I then installed an UltraView Slider sight. Initially, the paper tear was good vertically with a slight left tear. I swapped out Top Hats, moving the cams left and was able to get a clean bullet hole tear through paper consistently from 6’. I could have possibly adjusted the rest to obtain a clean tear, but I liked the centershot position of the rest and was able to use the Top Hat System to tune the bow specifically to my grip (shooting directly off the riser) and form. For reference, my arrow setup is as follows: Gold Tip Pierce LRT 300 spine, 29.5” carbon to carbon, 55 grain Easton Titanium Half Out Insert, 100 grain SEVR 1.5” broadhead, 4 Bohning Heat Vanes, Gold Tip .166 nock collar, and Gold Tip .166 nock. Total arrow weight is 460 grains.
Why should you consider the 2024 Mathews LIFT?
Most years, companies release a bow with minor tweaks to improve upon the previous model. I don’t think this is the case with the LIFT. In my opinion, the LIFT is a healthy move into a new realm of function and shootablity for Mathews. It holds like a target bow due to the long riser, it’s faster without sacrificing smoothness in the draw cycle or at full draw, the back wall is much firmer, it’s lighter, the strings are more stable and reliable, and it’s quiet and almost shock-free because of the short past parallel limbs and the RPD system. The Bridgelock system for your sight and stabilizers is clean in appearance, and it feels better balanced and rigid. Overall, it offers everything I am looking for in a hunting bow. It’s faster, lighter, holds extremely well, quiet and it's forgiving. Even if I never hunted, the LIFT is a ton of fun to shoot. I highly recommend you visit a local pro shop and shoot a Mathews LIFT. I think you’ll love it as much as I do.