Different, advanced… and expensive. Is it worth it?
Bow reviews the GK Archery Stealth Stabiliser
The Stealth Stabiliser system is a set of products from GK Archery, based in Korea. Broadly, the system aims to solve the particular problems created by the v-bar. I have long personally found many v-bars to be an issue, both in set-up and use, and GK claim that the usual connection increases vibration unacceptably. V-bars and extenders can also both work loose and jam on tight, without any warning either way.
So GK have done away with the v-bar and the extender, adjustable or not, in favour of a single longrod piece with bushings set at either a 40 or 45 degree angle on the same plane as the longrod. This reduces the weight enormously, allowing you to put more on the bow as you need to. Several lengths of extension are available.
The other key feature – and the one that gets me excited – is that the Stealth system uses a custom connector which you can orientate to screw on at exactly the right angle each time.
You start by screwing to a regular riser bushing a mounting bolt, which is tightened using the rather serious spanner provided. You then screw on a binding nut, and tighten that with the intriguing hook spanner, also provided.
Then you connect the stabiliser, screw that on, then loosen the binding nut, align the longrod to a flat position, and tighten again.
It is very slightly trickier than it looks, but with luck, you shouldn’t have to do it very often – possibly only once. It feels rock solid once on.
The rest of the stabiliser is relatively conventional. The short rods screw into the regular-size bushings as normal. A larger-than-normal set of weights is provided, but you can use your own, and add any dampers you want. It’s made, like most decent stabilisers these days, out of high-end carbon.
The unit they supplied for test had a matt carbon weave finish, the pics you can see on this page show the glossier finish. The bushings and finish are clean and feel very solid, as you would expect at this level. Both long and short rods come with their own custom soft cases. GK claim increased strength from the carbon ridge at the riser end, and it certainly feels like it.
Despite the use of sound graphs, it is notoriously difficult to compare stabilisers like-for-like, as setups are so personal and the differences are difficult to quantify. So when testing I shot with my regular Win & Win HMC set for a while, and tried to take a ‘memory’ of the feeling. Then I installed the Stealth as fast as possible and shot with it. It compared easily as well to the HMC for vibration, and felt grounded and ‘dead’ enough, even without the longer extension I like. But that’s how I like things to feel; other people prefer slightly different feedback.
As should be obvious, the Stealth is not adjustable in any way. Your side rods are only ever going to be flat and at 40 (or 45) degrees from the long rod. But this is how an awful lot of recurve archers, including most of the top Asian teams, have them set as a standard ‘lightweight’ setup, and the majority of v-bars sold will have the same effect, angles-wise.
The dropped-angle side rods seen on many elite archers setups these days are certainly not for everyone, but if you are relatively early in your archery career, and you fancy experimenting with some ups and downs, this is probably not the right set for you.
The real advantage I see with the Stealth is the strength of connection, and the simplicity and repeatability of setup. It removes two components from the standard recurve setup, which is always good.
It will also save you a few moments of time every session. It’s that classic ‘one less thing to worry about’, which is frankly pretty uncommon in recurve archery, with its galaxy of modular parts and consensus tolerances.
The build quality is high, but this is true of most top-end stabilisers. The cost is also at the higher end for stabilisation; and the GK will be in competition with most everything on the market, including the small-diameter damped rods that are causing a lot of excitement at the moment.
Aesthetically, I’m really enjoying its stealth bomber curves with the carbon ‘batwing’ at the bushing points. You may be looking at this and thinking it’s exactly what I need. In which case, it may well be exactly what you need.
More kit reviews from Bow
- Review: Mybo Edge
- Review: Fairweather tab
- Bow reviews MK Korea: Recurve kit
- Hoyt 2020 Risers: On test
- Review: Zniper Barebow Tab