Review: Fairweather tabs

Bow staff review the latest versions – now with an Olympic win in the bag.

Fairweather Modulus tab

Modulus Olympic tab, with the ‘Pro’ plate on the right

Bow tackled the original Fairweather tab in issue 135, back in August 2019. Even then, Simon was already developing the Modulus Olympic Recurve tab and testing it with archers around the world.

This year saw an astonishing professional coup for the company, as both the men’s individual finalists at the 2020 Olympic Games, Mete Gazoz and Mauro Nespoli, were using the eponymous tab developed by Fairweather, the 2000 Olympic gold medallist – as were several other elite recurve archers in Tokyo, including Sjef van den Berg.

I’ve shot many different tabs over the years, including the KSL Gold and the Fivics Saker;  in the last three years I have shot with a AAE Cavalier, so you could argue I’ve gone for increasingly simpler (and lighter) tabs. The Modulus takes simplicity and lightness a level further, held together by just a single screw, which showed no sign of loosening during my test.

Simon Fairweather at the Vegas Shoot, 2019

There is obviously something impractical about archery gear held together with multiple tiny screws, which have a tendency to loosen (especially on cheaper tabs) and / or get lost. Similarly, most tabs employ rubber or paracord bands to secure the tab to the hand; these have an inevitable tendency to stretch and fail, even if they are replaceable.

The spacer ring, cleverly combining two functions and sized specifically for the archer is the cleverest part; it feels soft and comfortable, but strong enough to stand up to some heavy use. Indeed, the simplicity of the Modulus means that it stands on the materials used. According to their website, the plastic part of the tab is acetal, known as ‘the brass of plastics’ – extremely tough, but lightweight.

The set includes both a shelf plate and a shelfless plate. As well as the urethane ring, most praised across the board has been the kangaroo leather (rather than the usual cordovan), for its feel, ease of shooting-in, and consistency in all conditions (as well as positioning the Fairweather tab as a distinctly Australian product). Out of the box, the three pieces of leather are arranged ‘shiny side out’ on both sides, although they are easy to rearrange as you like.

Modulus tab, front side

In my shooting tests, the tab was exceptionally comfortable, with no sharp ‘hard’ edges or pressure points. It fit my mildly pudgy right hand almost perfectly. The leather, as advertised, shot in very quickly indeed, and felt tactile from the off. I gave the metal ‘Pro’ plate a try too, available for those who are used to a heavier tab, but I quickly switched back; sold on Simon’s philosophy that the tab should not be heavier than necessary.

I also spoke to Goktug Ergin, the coach of Olympic champion Mete Gazoz, about the tab, because there is one thing your editor isn’t doing at the moment that top archers are: putting thousands of arrows behind every piece of equipment. “We tried the tab during the winter period at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019.” he said. “He loved it because of the leather, basically.”

“It is smooth. It is thin enough to feel the string and same time thick enough to protect the fingers, also, the shape was so comfortable. But the best thing is the leather. Most importantly, every set has the same quality and thickness. There are no differences between the leather sets. We are changing the leather at around 10,000 arrows, but the feeling never changes.”

It’s hard to argue with an archery Olympic gold medal. Isn’t it?

JOHN STANLEY

Fairweather Barebow tab

Two spacer ring set, plus extras

First Impressions

I first watched a video of Simon Fairweather talk about his then newly released barebow tab at the 2020 Lancaster Classic. I noted how he was handling that tab during the demonstration: it wasn’t just another product, he loved it himself. All that tenderness and care translate into the finished product.

On first handling my expectations were exceeded, from high quality packaging and design, down to the little extras, like the marking tape lines, mini screwdriver, spare screw, and the marking pen. I immediately thought of all the useful small bits I am going to put into that hard case – a fantastic and generous feature.

Assembling and Fitting

Assembly was simple and straightforward. I have kept the original three layers of leather and tried both the softer and stiffer rings. I have a small hand and a deep anchor, so naturally I was concerned whether the plate will sit and feel well against the skin, and whether the ring will go close enough to the edge so there isn’t too much plate overhang. Absolutely perfect. Smooth, thin but robust and light, and my pinkie sits comfortably behind the plate. If like me you are a leather glove shooter and prefer a lighter tab for your barebow, you will enjoy the weightlessness of this tab and the softer ring. A highly customisable set up.

String Walking Marks

I prefer laser or etched marks and I will certainly add those to my Fairweather tab. However, I had to test out the durability of the stick-on lines provided. There are six in total, four unmarked for individual preference, and two marked lines, smaller and larger increment spacing: 1/8inch and 3/8inch. I will use the smaller as template for etching. The plastic is very strong and tough but peels off easily and does not leave any glue residue. I have held it under warm running water for a minute, and both the tape and the marker lines stayed put – test passed!

The biggest revelation was the kangaroo leather. Uniform, pliable, soft, and quite unlike my previous experiences with the new Cordovan faces, the kangaroo face did not slip. I have never shot my first arrow with a new face and felt this comfortable.

My hook line formed almost immediately: after just 20 arrows the line was fitted, and after 60 I felt like I had always shot this tab. It will be quick and easy to replicate a spare face, which is what we all want. Simon Fairweather may consider adding a heavy plate option for those barebowers who prefer it. But the kangaroo leather is what sets it above other tabs on the market. A superb tab!

KRISTINA DOLGILEVICA

Barebow tab

At a glance

Fairweather Modulus Tab / Fairweather Barebow tab

Price: from around £25 and up

Available in plate sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large (Large plates with Extra Large Leather)

Available in Ring Sizes: 17-25

Additional leather available in small, medium, large, extra large and extra long.

The pros say yes. Do you? 

Availability: Available from archery dealers now.

More at: www.fairweatherarchery.com


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