The Importance of Parallel Cam Technology
If you shoot a compound bow, you probably have a fair idea of how it works. But did you ever wonder what critical role the cams play in the shot process? What’s more, have you ever weighed the pros and cons of different cams, including parallel cams? If not, here is your quick guide on bow cam technology.
Traditional recurve bows get harder to pull the further you draw them back. That’s because the energy is being stored in the limbs and reaches a critical point where it cannot hold any more. Cams reduce that burden by manipulating the draw weight mechanically so you don’t feel as much of it. Instead of getting more difficult at the end of the draw length, cams peak in difficulty somewhere in the middle of the draw and then let off again. This can be visualized by a graph showing the draw length versus the draw weight. The area below the line represents the potential energy of your bow (aka, how fast it can shoot).
Let’s briefly discuss cam shape and its role in the process. There are three basic shapes you’ll find in today’s bows. Round cams tend to be smoother drawing, but store the least energy and so tend to shoot the slowest among the three. Medium cams are obviously the middle ground. Hard cams are more difficult to draw and store the most energy, which means they are typically the fastest shooting, but may also have the roughest release.
Similarly, there are also different bow cam system types, including single, hybrid, binary, and twin cams. Twin cam systems have two symmetrical round wheels or elliptical cams on each end of the bow and tend to shoot fast with accuracy. However, bows with twin cams occasionally have issues with cam lean, which occurs when the stress of the string pulls the cam to one side.
So how does the parallel bow cam address this issue? Parallel cams help prevent cam lean by splitting the bow string and balancing on two separate cam tracks. This results in smoother drawing and less bow maintenance over time, and gives you an upper hand in the bow stand.