Bear Archery makes a lot of great recurve bows, all expertly crafted in beautiful, traditional designs. Even if you've narrowed your search to Bear Archery, it can be hard to choose among their different models. Since it's considered one of their best, we decided to do a full Bear Super Kodiak review to determine who exactly this bow is best for and why.
What’s Included in the Package?
Since the Super Kodiak is a high-quality, delicately crafted single-piece recurve bow, there's not much to it. You get the bow itself, which consists of the maple riser and laminated limbs all in one piece.
Additionally, the package includes an advanced Dynaflight 97 Flemish Twist bowstring and a bear hair arrow rest that allows you to shoot from the shelf without attaching an aftermarket arrow rest. This bear hair arrow rest comes installed along with a leather side plate that protects your arrows and their fletchings.
Assembling the Bear Super Kodiak
As a single-piece recurve bow, the Bear Archery Super Kodiak requires much less assembly than other models. In fact, you don't even have to install the bear hair arrow rest or the leather side plate.
That said, you do have to string the bow yourself. It's not good for a recurve bow to be strung for long periods of time, so you should be unstringing it if you aren't going to use it for more than a few days anyway.
Stringing and unstringing a recurve bow requires a specific process as well as a bowstringing device, which isn't included in the package. This device attaches to both limbs so you can use your foot for leverage to maintain tension on the limbs. Then you can slide the bowstring on or off.
It's important to study up if this is your first time stringing a recurve bow. Otherwise you could hurt yourself or damage the bow.
Features / Specifications
The Bear Super Kodiak has a range of available draw weights but tends to the heavier, more powerful end of the spectrum. The lightest draw weight you can get is 30 pounds and the heaviest 65 pounds.
65 pounds is particularly powerful for a recurve bow and plenty for traditional bowhunting, even big game and trophy bucks since most states require a minimum of 40 pounds. On the other hand, 30 pounds is more manageable but may still be a bit too much power for absolute beginners.
The Super Kodiak has an AMO length of 60 inches. This is slightly longer than the Grizzly and likely related to its increased power. This larger size can mean more torque on the shot, which can be harder on your shoulder muscles, making it difficult to maintain proper archery form and accuracy. That said, 60 inches is still a shorter AMO length than most takedown recurves, so it's not much of an issue.
Like many other Bear Archery models, the Super Kodiak's draw length is 28 inches. This is an inch shorter than the draw length of most takedown models, but about what you'd expect for a more compact single-piece recurve.
It's important to get the right draw length for you since a draw length that's too long for you may prevent you from using the full power of the bow, and a draw length that's too short may inhibit your aim. You can get your draw length measured at an archery shop, but generally you can divide your wingspan by 2.5. Your wingspan is the distance between the tips of your middle fingers when your arms are stretched out like a T.
Most people's wingspans are similar to their heights, so you can get a quick estimate by dividing your height by 2.5. This would make the Super Kodiak ideal for people 5'10" and a good choice for anyone within two or three inches of that on either side.
We've even encountered men as tall as 6'3" satisfied with the size of the Super Kodiak, though we'd generally recommend an extra large bow. Bear used to manufacture the Super Kodiak in 64-inch AMO version, but it appears to have been discontinued.
Pros and Cons of the Bear Super Kodiak
What We Like
Quality Craftsmanship and Durability
The Super Kodiak is one of Bear's more niche bows, but it has the same expert craftsmanship as all of their models. You can see it in the elegantly cut maple wood riser.
It's more than just good looks, though. We appreciate the care and attention to detail that Bear puts into manufacturing the Super Kodiak because it translates to durability and consistency season after season.
If you're an experienced and avid traditional archer looking for a bow to last a lifetime, this just might be the way to go.
Power for Big Game
The Super Kodiak maxes out at a draw weight of 65 pounds. That makes it one of the most powerful production recurves out there. That's more than enough to hunt large whitetail bucks, 40 pounds being the minimum required for most states. Moreover, it's even enough for big game like elk, moose and bear, animals for which some states have higher minimums around 50 pounds.
On top of meeting legal requirements, the higher power also means more speed and kinetic energy. This translates to better accuracy and more penetration for game with thick hides and big bones.
The shelf on the Super Kodiak is cut deep into the riser so that you can place the arrow right in line with the bowstring and limbs. This makes your shot a lot more accurate, and it eliminates the need for an extra arrow rest.
Bear also includes a pre-installed bear hair arrow rest on this shelf along with a leather side plate. Together, these reduce friction against the arrow as it leaves the bow. That improves arrow speed and accuracy, while reducing noise.
Flemish Twist Bowstring
The Super Kodiak has reinforced limb tips, so it can take more advanced bowstrings such as those made from Dynaflight or Fast Flight material. In fact, it comes with a Dynaflight 97 Flemish Twist bowstring. This is a long-lasting bowstring that resists stretch and maintains tension so that your shots are consistent even if you're taking a lot of them. It's also better suited to rough outdoor conditions such as those you're likely to encounter while bowhunting traditionally.
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The Super Kodiak is beautiful, there's no doubt about it. The limbs blend into the riser seamlessly, and the Shedua finish matches the timeless elegance of the recurve design. Plus, the wood coloring is great for camouflaging yourself while bowhunting.
What We Don’t Like
No Bushings for Accessories
The Bear Super Kodiak is designed for traditional archery, be it target archery or bowhunting. Unlike many takedown models, it doesn't have bushings for installing accessories like stabilizers or sights. However, this matches the challenge and overall experience of traditional archery.
Longer AMO Length
At 60 inches, the Super Kodiak is a bit longer than other single-piece bear models. This isn't an inherent problem, but it is something to keep in mind if you have less experience. It can make accuracy a bit more difficult with high draw weights.
Bear Super Kodiak Quality
Bear Archery makes the Super Kodiak with a maple wood riser. It's of excellent quality with top-shelf craftsmanship. It also looks beautiful.
The limbs are made of laminated maple wood and overlaid with black fiberglass. This makes them high quality as well. They're flexible but durable and provide the tension required for the high draw weights even over long periods of time.
They are also reinforced at the tips, making any bow string appropriate for this bow.
The grip on the Super Kodiak is comfortable, ergonomic and easy for most people to use without much adjustment. It is fairly narrow, so bigger hands might take a little longer to get comfortable, but otherwise it helps you maintain good form and accuracy.
The included Dynaflight 97 Flemish Twist bowstring is one of the best features of the Super Kodiak. This type of string is more resistant to stretching than others, which makes it great for a bow that could last you a lifetime. It provides for consistent shooting and better accuracy.
Is the Bear Super Kodiak Good for Beginners?
Beginners could certainly benefit from and enjoy the Bear Archery Super Kodiak, especially thanks to its consistency that makes it a lot easier to learn form and aim. That said, it's a better bow for beginners who already know they love traditional archery and are going to be practicing the sport for years to come. This is a top-shelf recurve bow with the quality to match, and it doesn't make much sense to get a bow like this if it's just going to sit in the garage after a few days at the range.
Is the Bear Super Kodiak Good for Kids?
The Bear Super Kodiak is too large and too powerful for most children. With a 28-inch draw length and minimum 30 pounds draw weight, it's designed more for adult men and taller adult women, though it could also work for teenagers who are nearly fully grown.
Is the Bear Super Kodiak Good for Hunting?
The Super Kodiak is one of the best recurve bows for hunting. With draw weights available up to 65 pounds, it certainly has the power for just about any game. Plus, the cut-on-center shelf combined with the bear hair arrow rest and Flemish twist bowstring mean improved accuracy over other models. For those looking to bowhunt for seasons to come, we highly recommend this recurve bow. It is ideal for deer hunting and capable of hunting even bigger game.
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The Bear Super Kodiak vs the Samick Sage
The Samick Sage is a popular takedown model that's ideal for beginners because it's economical and has a takedown design that lets you increase the draw weight as you master your form and accuracy. However, it's simply no match for the quality craftsmanship and power of the Super Kodiak. If you're an experienced archer with big bowhunting plans, we'd recommend the Super Kodiak while the Samick Sage is better for beginners just getting into the sport.
The Bear Super Kodiak vs the Southwest Archery Spyder
The Southwest Archery Spyder is essentially a clone of the Samick Sage, so it holds up in a similar way to the Bear Super Kodiak. The Super Kodiak is better for serious archers who want to invest a lot in a bow they can rely on season after season. The Spyder is a convenient takedown model that helps you learn and is versatile for different applications.
The Bear Super Kodiak vs the Bear Grizzly
Both the Bear Grizzly and Super Kodiak are high-quality single-piece bows, but the Grizzly is Bear's entry-level line while the Kodiaks are a step up. Especially since it has a bit shorter AMO length, the Grizzly may be the better choice for traditional archers still perfecting their form while the Super Kodiak could help big game bowhunters take it up a notch.
Wrapping Up the Bear Super Kodiak Review
The Bear Archery Super Kodiak combines elegant traditional style with maximum-power lethality and accuracy. It's a great hunting bow as well as a good option for hitting the bullseye on the range. We highly recommend it for archers and bowhunters who take a lot of shots year after year and are looking for a well-crafted recurve bow that can go the distance.