What makes a riser an amazing riser?

Hello everyone!!

I am going to go shopping for a new riser soon. So naturally I'm curious to know how you can tell an amazing riser.
Are they supposed to balance a particular way or something? I know some materials cost more than others but you can get cheap aluminium risers and very expensive aluminium risers (I don't like carbon, too light). They all have the same number of stabilizer mounting points, accept a sight and clicker and pressure button, ILF limbs... What do you get for the extra money on those expensive ones? Different materials on the stabilizer mountings? Are they stronger somehow? greater range of adjustment at the limb pockets? Less prone to corrosion?!?
I don't know and was always told that when you don't know it's worth asking people that do!!
Anyway, I'd quite like to know people's thoughts on what they expect a riser to do / have to be amazing.

Timid Toad

Staff member
Fonz Awardee
A great riser is the one you like.
But there are good things to look out for:
Cheaper ones *tend* to be less likely to be straight. If you are paying a lot of money you should reasonably expect it to be straight. Not all carbon risers are any lighter than ali. So just personal preference there. And what are you going to use it for? Some risers were specifically designed as Barebow risers, like my personal favourite Border Tempest, which shoots equally well as a target riser too. I personally like a riser with a lot of deflex - the grip is very forward in the riser - as it gives a very stable shot feel and nice balance. Some manufacturers make less deflexed risers to push limbs harder to get a little more speed but I'll settle for a solid and consistent shot every day.
If you are just setting out in the sport, set a budget and then go find a riser that feels nice to shoot and is as untwisted as you can find - it'll save you no end of stress in the long run with setting up.
Hey thanks for the reply!
I'll be shooting target archery and may do an occasional afternoon barebow but mostly will be using long rod and sight. I know that ideally means two risers but I just don't have the wallet for that so whatever I buy will be a slight compromise. I don't like light risers.
I like the handle to be wide left to right, the one on my SF is too thin but I can make a handle so wouldn't choose a riser on handle shape. I like your point about front-back position, can't carve chunks out of a riser if it needs moving! Please explain "deflexed" as I have not heard the term before.
How do risers get twisted?!?

Timid Toad

Staff member
Fonz Awardee
Risers have a geometry. This describes the relationship between the limb pockets and the throat of the grip - effectively the pivot point of the bow, place you measure brace height etc.
Some risers have this relatively in line - less deflex - and effectively the archer "cheats" their draw length a tiny bit so they get a bit more speed out of their limbs. It's more complicated than that of course, but you get the idea. Not all limbs are suitable for a very straight riser. A more deflexed riser has the limb pockets set closer to the archer than the grip. It's a very comfortable geometry. You feel *in* the bow and shot reaction can be very nice. If you have slow limbs or short dl and long limbs you can lose some speed. Some compound risers are reflexed. The limb pockets are in front of the grip. This is where a release aid is essential for a smooth and consistent shot.

Risers can twist during manufacture. It's easily done as it isn't symmetrical and the big sight window wants to compensate during machining casting etc. These things are made down to a price these days and someone decides a quality tolerance and that's what you are paying for. Some twist can be compensated for with limb pocket adjustment, if it's it that plane, but if it's not in that axis it's much harder to deal with, and you may never have a straight set up. This isn't the end of the world, and rather depends on the quality of limbs you are using and the level you wish to shoot at.


Well-known member
Having shot a lot of different risers (club equipment officer) I believe it’s not all about money & fancy materials but rather what feels good in the hand.

This may sound odd coming from someone who shoots an Inno CXT but I’ve seen Bowman+ scores being belted in by an archer shooting an SF alloy riser, annoyingly on the same target as me.

The more expensive risers can be tweaked more easily and to a greater extent than the more basic ones but a really well set up basic riser will be less stress inducing to shoot than a poorly set up £700 carbon masterpiece all day long.

Grips are important, really important, they can make shooting a joy or a battle if the size & shape isn’t close to your hand fit, although a lot can be done with Sugru or Milliput and racquet tape to adapt & rectify.

My advice is to try as many risers as you can lay hands on and see what feels good for you then look at price tags.



I know some materials cost more than others but you can get cheap aluminium risers and very expensive aluminium risers (I don't like carbon, too light).
At the base end of the market, a lot of the risers are made using a cheaper method (cast) and these are not as strong as ones that have been forged. They often have draw weight limits - e.g. the base level WNS riser comes with a warning not to use it above draw weights of 40 lb. Even if they don't, it is probably unwise to use high draw weights with cheap cast risers. Someone I know started with a cheap Core Air riser which was made of cast magnesium, and they had to change it within a year as when they went to get stronger limbs, the shop warned them the manufacturers had subsequently advised that they shouldn't be used with draw weights over 30 lbs...

I've used (mainly) an SF Forged+ and a Win & Win AXT, the latter being about 2.5 x the list price of the former. They're both decent, but the more expensive riser is stronger - it's clearly of a heavier build with reinforcement in key areas, and therefore I'd imagine it's going to flex less under load. It's geometry seems a bit different and despite it's extra weight I found it seemed easier somehow to hold on target than my first riser. So subtle differences, but as the AXT came up at an excellent price I decided to change, and haven't regretted it.


What do you get for more money...? Often, it's the relatively intangible stuff; quality control, design (and understanding of the design - not always present in knock-off copies), finish (rough edges removed etc). Sometimes (but not always) you get better support too.
Some of that is not so important if you can get to see/handle/try the riser you buy. Not always an option these days...
Sometimes also, it's not the absolute cost of a riser which is an indicator, it can be the relative cost compared to the manufacturers other offerings. Is it top of the range? Then you should expect more in terms of quality and finish.

On twisting/bending...
Metal has a grain, and there may be internal stresses in a billet used for making a riser. When machining, removing bits of metal can leave unbalanced stress which can lead to bending. Forging can be prone to it too, but there they heat the billet and slam it into a mould to make the shape, before machining. Both processes may need straightening steps for the riser after the basic shaping. But if there is still unbalanced stress, the normal flex of a riser during shooting can expose it over time, so a handle could leave the factory straight, be straight in the shop, but gradually get out of whack through shooting. This goes back to quality control questions - what they do to avoid that.
Casting a riser produces different issues, but the more expensive ones are not cast these days...
Not getting onto Carbon here (full or partial). Life is too short... Or wood - issues all of it's own.

What I like in a riser...? Balanced neutral. Not too heavy (I want to be able to add weight where I want it). Good grip, or the potential to change to a good one. Non-rusting stabiliser bushings (must have bushings, not bare alloy).
Optional: two button holes (mostly useful for wrap-around rests). Back stabiliser bushing. Clicker bushing that will take one of the Beiter options.