Riser Are risers limited in terms of poundage?


New member
I've had some very helpful comments on my other thread asking for choices in risers at the budget end of the market.

Since then, I have called, posted and emailed and I've had some more pointers. One piece of advice I've had a couple of times is "go cheap on the riser, dear on the limbs".

The logic being that the riser simply holds the limbs and, provided it has ILF, decent scope for adjustments and tuning, threads for stabilisers/buttons and the like, performance would come from the limbs, predominantly.

Sounds good to me.

So, ideally, I could buy an Athlete, Super Forged, Winstar II or Pheonix etc and be sorted for good, only upping the limbs when needed.

  • However, is there a limit to what a cheaper riser can withstand in terms of poundage?
  • Does there come a point when the riser does not "just hold the limbs" and needs to be upgrade for reasons other than looks or weight?
  • Finally, are any of the risers above known to fail, or not "go the distance" in the long term?

Despite liking the SF super-forged I have seen a sexy looking Petron Pheonix and a well-kitted Winstar II on sale second hand. If these would do the trick, I could happliy live with these for a good few years given the lower cost, as long as they are up to the job and finding this information is hard!


Active member
There is probably no point in spending lots of money on limbs if you are going to be changing them fairly regularly as you grow stronger and go up in poundage. Many shops run limb exchange schemes on cheaper limbs which let you up the draw weight fairly regularly without spending lots more money - dearer limbs are normally outside these schemes.

I understand you might be able to get something like this deal on Petron's limbs which are not basic but I don't know the details.

There are two points of view with regard to the riser: get a good one immediately as it will be with you for a long time or go cheap as you will have a better idea of what you want from a riser once you have been shooting for a couple of years.

When I got my first set up I spent good money on the riser and sight and they have been with me for four years now and I am probably at a point when I want to at least look at something different with regard to my riser as my shooting style has developed (though only slightly) since I bought it.


New member
Totally wrong advise. Go dear on riser cheap on limbs. Or do you might come to regret it!
Interesting. I must say the person who advised me is a bowyer and seemed to know his stuff.

Given that 99% of the movement and power seems to come from the limbs, how big a difference does a riser make if those limbs are being held rigidly?

Not a sarcastic question; a genuine one as I am pretty new to archery and very new to TDs, so the more understanding I have ot the "mechanics involved the more I'll understand the opinions being given...

On a general note, is there any reason why a Pheonix or Winstar would not do me for the next few years or beyond?

I don't earn shed-loads and yet I seem to attract a myriad of expensive hobbies so the more I get, for less the better....:rolleyes:


It's an X
One of the important things is to check the fit of the limbs in the riser. Despite the IFL limbs vary in width and even a few mm gap when it sits in the riser pocket can make a difference to its play when in use. Most riser one would hope are up-to the job strengthwise, but on cheaper risers the add ons are probably made of a cheaper alloy and the tolerences won't be so finely adjusted.

When I did cycling the advice was buy the best frame you could afford frame and good enough equipment that you can replace upgrade as you see fit depending on how much use you make of it.

So I'll second other comments on here about buying a good riser. Of course top notch limbs are a joy and the risers kinda just sits in the middle, but if you are new you'll be changing limbs at some point so hold back the cash until you get more of an idea where your career in archery is headed.


New member
I also vote for a good riser.

Firstly it will last you a life time if you look after it and can take you from newbie to elite if you want to.

Secondly the better risers have the ability to adjust limb alignment easier than the cheap types. Some cheap risers dont allow for it at all meaning you wont be able to adjust to optimise your power stroke. Means nothing if you're new but will mean something to you if you endeavour to be somewhere up the top of the archery tree.

Thirdly, the materials of the better risers last. I've had cheaper Cast risers crack and break at the worst possible time.

If you're changing limbs and arrows then thats where I cut on costs at the start until I reach a point in skills that warrent spending the dollars for better limbs and arrows. Beginers loose arrows more often especially in field events. Why loose expensive stuff until skills compliment the expense?

However if you're just a weekend plugger and shoot more for social reasons without intentions of climbing the skills ladder then a cheap riser is better suited to you.


Well-known member
The main things you pay for in a good risre are accurate limb positioning , correct geometry, sound limb pocket adjustment, a comfortable grip, light weight and strenght.Compromise on any of these and it will affect any set of limbs you put on that riser no matter what the quality or cost of the limbs.
Whether or not the cost of a riser will limit the poundage limbs you can fit, in the short term maybe not. but the result of riser breaking and bits of it flying around powered by the limbs don't bare thinking about. But just the strenght of the riser is not the only consideration, it's the accuracy you need to consider.


New member
Just to be devil's advocate on this one:

Surely, when you;re starting out with your first kit, wouldn't it be more sensible to go with a cheap(ish) riser & limbs first off, with again, cheap(ish) sight, button & rest. Making sure that the riser is an ILF, so that you can upgrade the limbs when need be, but also with a view to upgrading the whole kit after say a year or two's shooting. By which time, you'll either be hooked, or not, as the case may be.

Relatively inexpensive kit should be easier to sell on to the next batch of newbies looking to acquire their first kit, and giving you some cash to upgrade to a better riser, limbs, sight, rest & button.

Just a thought...


Active member
The great thing about archery is that, on any aspect of it, there are almost as many views as there are archers. Here's mine:

With limbs, it depends on how far down the archery path you are. If you have reached a point where you are not likely to up your draw weight or will only do so by the 5% or so that most risers allow then go ahead - it is your money.

Or if you just want to, go ahead - it is your money.

With regard to risers, yes they not only hold the limbs apart but an archer only touches his bow in two places and is in contact with the riser for longer than the string.

When buying your first riser you need to focus on how it feels in the hand to you both before release and its reaction during the shot and get something that feels good to you. A grip which enables you to get a consistent hand position time after time will help lots in getting consistent scores.

Grips can be modified once you know what you want but if you can get it right without this then that is better. Also, quality of the various components and ease of adjustment can vary between manufacturers and models so look around at what is what within your price range and compare.

Riser geometry, weight distribution, materials and grip shape contribute significantly to the feel of the shot and, I believe, should be viewed with the limbs as a whole rather than the limbs and riser as separately.

Check before buying, but most modern risers will be capable of holding the kind of draw weights that you will encounter in target recurve archery i.e. 50 odd pounds or less. If you are going out hunting grizzly bears then the draw weights involved might be an issue but you probably won't be.

Above all else, whatever you buy does need to be shiny - shiny risers are well known to be more accurate than all others and black shiny ones are, in my experience, best of all.

Happy shopping.


Well-known member
TBH for most archers beginners and intermediate, a winstar 2 and the like (with limb centering adjustment) and similar limbs will get you way past Bowman classification.

The rest is up to you and your wallet and what you like the look of.

Yes I agree that it is the limbs that do the work, but be mindful that when starting out you will improve your shooting style, draw length and the draw weight you can shoot quite rapidly even just shooting twice a week so the quality of the limbs you want rather than need will depend on how deep your pockets are. The time to get top notch limbs or the best you can afford is when all these variable have settled down.

Starting out the current trend is to buy a good handle and cheaper limbs, the thought is that you are less likely to change the handle - not sure that holds true for most as the lure of the top of the range after a few years is quite strong for many especially if they keep improving.

But at the end of the day its all down to what you want out of your archery and the amount you want or have to spend and like I say shooting a winstar 2ish & similar limbs is not the handicap on scores some would like to think.

The most important things are that it is set up correctly and the arrows match afterall we get points for where the arrows land not how good the style or kit is.

Amateur Barbarian

New member
To address the title of your post, some risers are limited in the limb poundage that you can use. This mostly applies to caste risers that can break -- especially low end. KAP T-Rex lists 34 lbs as maximum allowable limb weight while the KAP Winstorm II lists 44 lbs. I do not know what the limit is on others but I heard that some caste risers will go much higher.


New member
Interesting. I must note that the individual who counselled me was a bowyer who seemed to know what he was talking about.

Given that the limbs appear to provide 99 percent of the movement and power, how much of a difference does a riser make if those limbs are held rigidly?

It's not a snarky question; it's a legitimate one, since I'm new to archery and much newer to TDs, so the more I learn about the "physics involved," the more I'll grasp the perspectives offered...

Is there any reason why a Pheonix or Winstar wouldn't suffice for the next few years or perhaps longer?

I don't make a lot of money, but I manage to attract a lot of expensive interests, so the more I can obtain for the least amount of money, the better.


New member
Risers that have a slimmer sight window may not handle high poundages well as it is more prone to bending or twisting.

For comparison, look at the sight window of a W&W Winex (original) and W&W CXT.


AIUK Saviour
Most modern materials used for risers will never have a problem with compression or tension but as windy says if they were made too slim they may well twist.
Going back over 20 years I got a group of materials science students to look at the processes of manufacture and also failure of a Mg alloy compound bow riser that had snapped in two so nothing is perfect

Timid Toad

Staff member
Fonz Awardee
Mg Alloy was known to have weakness issues is casting. Forged then machined is better, CNC is potentially better still. It's more about predictability. Cad is a wonderful thing.