What is a Takedown Bow?

A takedown bow is a flexible compact recurve bow assembled from two limbs and a riser. Almost every single bow used in Olympic archery is a takedown bow thanks its combination of a compact design and superior propelling force. Completely adjustable, one can configure a takedown bow according to draw strength, draw cycle, stability, and smoothness.

The length of the limbs changes the size of the bow either for personal preference and convenience, or to change the stability, smoothness and draw of the bow. Serving as the ultimate option for competition archery, a takedown bow is a must for anyone who takes the accuracy of their shooting seriously.

Here we’ll be taking you through a comprehensive look at the ever-versatile takedown bow, highlighting factors to keep in mind when shopping for a new recurve, while also explaining its dynamics.

Advantages of a Takedown Bow

Recurve bows are made from the broadest range of materials granting the vastness array of choices when shopping for a new bow. Regardless of your budget or shooting style and ability, you’ll be able to find a takedown bow to match. Here is a brief look at what makes takedown bows the top choice of Olympic archers and hunters alike:

• A takedown bow gives the lightest weight and highest degree of portability

• Either the limbs or riser can be upgraded as you advance in skill

• A three-piece design adds a vast degree of stability

• Should any part of your bow break it can be replaced easily and affordably

• The practice of shooting a recurve bow is unique and instinctual, often leading to an affinity in sightless (barebow) shooting

The Three Parts of a Takedown Bow

A takedown bow is assembled from a riser, two limbs and a bowstring. The riser should be resilient and long lasting while the limbs must be both flexible and durable. Leading take-down bows will feature tool-less designs, while also exhibiting brass bushings for the plunger, sight and quiver. Always consider the maximum draw length of a takedown bow before buying it as you’ll need a greater draw length as your skill and strength increases.

The riser is the area of the bow which you should invest the most money into. Manufactured from materials ranging from wood to metal, carbon and various alloys, most reputable retailers will typically allow you to test their range. Your riser is the core of your bow and the longest lasting component.

A good riser will be lightweight without needing any additional stabilization, while exhibiting a shape, balance, straightness and hand positioning which is comfortable. Given the vast amount of designs available, it is best to test out as many as possible to get a feel for which is best for you. When selecting a riser always pay attention to the process of molding the composite used. The core and density of fibers makes a massive difference to your riser.

Die-cast risers are typically found for low-end bows while sand-cast, forged and machined risers all grant increasingly better resistance to vibration granting a better shot.

Good limbs are forgiving of a poor release making a high-quality set especially beneficial to those new to archery. A good set of limbs gives you a smooth draw imparting a high degree of movement to your arrow. Limbs are typically made from either a combination of laminated wood and fiberglass, laminated wood between carbon fiber layers, or crafted from carbon fibers with a hard foam or ceramic core.

Wood limbs perform well in regions where the temperature and humidity are at a fairly constant moderate, while unsuited to warmer regions where they are prone to warp and stretch. The more carbon fiber layers present, the better the limbs’ ability to sustain pressure and the less likely they are to twist.

For the very best limbs available which are impervious to temperature fluctuations thus granting consistent performance, opt for limbs with both a carbon core and composition. Most are quite expensive, resisting twisting even at the tip, but it is the best choice.


Modern archery has developed bowstrings which are far superior to the standard woven threads of yesteryear. Your bowstring comprises the string itself (at times termed an ‘endless loop’) with two loops fitting over the ends of the limbs of your bow. Your top loop is typically larger. Bowstrings are categorized according to their strand count and draw weight. More strands make the bowstring heavier and stronger; however, as the weight increases, it acts as a dampener dropping distance but making accuracy more consistent.

Each type of bowstring increases in both price and performance. Here’s a look at the materials typically available.

• Dacron – As a type of polyester, Dacron is the most affordable carrying an excessive degree of stretch. Shows are slow but the leeway makes this the best bowstring for wood risers and limbs, or particularly old bows. Due to its inability to sustain friction only a few twists are possible

• Aramid fibers (Kevlar) – Otherwise termed ‘Liquid Crystal Polymers,’ Aramid fibers are extremely strong but have a tendency to shear easy causing broken strings. Due to Kevlar’s inability to sustain water, these bowstrings need to be frequently and carefully waxed. Kevlar bowstrings are quite slow and have no creep. You have to use them in combination with other strands or they will likely snap.

• High modulus polythelene (HMPE) – The long chain fibers of HMPE make these bowstrings vastly superior to both predecessors. They are not susceptible to moisture and can sustain whatever degree of twist is needed. As the lightest and fastest of all the available materials, HMPE bowstrings are also the longest lasting.

The Best Bow for Beginners and Experts Alike

The draw weight of a bow is restricted by the stiffness and construction of the limbs. A takedown bow is perfect for beginners as it allows you to adjust your draw weight by upgrading and replacing your limbs. Once you decide to up your draw weight, all you need is a new set.

Takedown bows are not only one of the most versatile options out there, they are also the more affordable choice for a beginner. If mobility is not a factor and you don’t mind shopping around you can often find a similarly priced compound bow, making them another great choice, although you can’t beat the learning curve of a compact recurve; it is the most forgiving.

About Brad Harris