Our Diamond Edge SB-1 Review
We've reviewed each of the bows in Diamond's line-up, and here we'll discuss one of the most misunderstood—but best-value—bows that Diamond offers: the SB-1.
We’ll provide a full Diamond Edge SB-1 review, and go over every aspect of the bow, so you know what you’re looking at.
If, however, you’re a “just gimmee the bottom line” kind of guy or gal, well, we respect your time, and here you go:
SUMMARY: The Edge SB-1 offers the adjustability of “mass-market” bows (a draw length of 15 to 30 inches, and an adjustable draw weight of 7 to 70 pounds) with some of the features of a much more higher-end bow (a feet-per-second arrow speed of 318, along with a better-than-average letoff of 80%). It’s a stand-out bow, and designed for higher performance than Diamond’s most popular bow, the Infinite Edge.
Given the bows range and its performance capability, we recommend it for archers young to old, beginners to advanced intermediates, interested in both target practice and bowhunting. An excellent bow, and an excellent addition to Diamond’s “Edge” line.
Alright, now let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
The SB-1: Features and Details
Let's take a (quick) run-down of what makes this bow unique:
Bow Type: Hunting and Recreation. There are a lot of features that make this a great hunting bow—the FPS and let-off, in particular—but it's also a great recreational bow. You definitely don't need to be a bowhunter to use this for recreational shooting (especially since target bows tend to be a bit more higher-end).
Draw Length: Adjustable from 15-inches to 30-inches. Keeping with Diamond's commitment to creating bows that can be personalized, the SB-1 features a generous adjustability between 15 inches (making it a great youth bow) to 30 inches (good for adults up to a about 6-foot-3-inches tall). That's most everybody. If you're taller than 6-foot-3-inches, check out the section titled "One Quick Note If You're a Very Tall Person..." below.
Draw Weight: Adjustable from 7 Pounds to 70 Pounds. That's a pretty darn wide range, and another clue that 1) Diamond made this to be both a mass-market bow, good for archers/bowhunters of all ages, but also that 2) it's designed to age with you. When given proper care and maintenance, the Diamond products we've used have all aged well, so if you take care of it, the SB-1 may be able to stay with you as you grow in ability as an archer (and in age as a person!). Interestingly, the SB-1 has a little less range than some of their other bows (the Infinite Edge has a range from 5 pounds to 7 pounds), but that's a pretty small difference.
Axle-to-Axle: 31 inches. Short enough for bowhunting, tall enough for some built-in accuracy. Diamond seems to like this range, and many of their bow seems to fall in the 30- to 31-inch range.
IBO Speed: 318 FPS. This is one of the features that makes the SB-1 stand out: its arrow feet-per-second speed of 318. That's really getting up there, and for an adjustable bow—even a higher-end adjustable bow—that FPS measurement makes it a standout.
Keep in mind—and we try to mention this every time we discuss FPS—that's an "upper" measurement, and it describes how fast your arrows *may* travel when you've got the bow dialed all the way up to a 70-pound draw weight. Your arrow speeds will be less if you dial the draw weight down a bit. Still, having a bow with that kind of speed capability can be a nice thing, especially if you'll be bowhunting.
This is another one of those features that makes it a stronger choice than the Infinite Edge—the Infinite Edge has an FPS of 310, and this one shoots arrows at 8 FPS quicker. That may not sound like much, but if you’re bowhunting game at close range, where 8 more feet of distance between you and game is a big deal, that 8 FPS can mean the difference between a hit and a miss.
Mass Weight: 3.6 Pounds. This is a little heavier than some of the other Diamond bows that clock in at 3.2 pounds, but it's still very good. We suspect they had to increase the mass weight a little bit in order to up the FPS and the let-off. And that's a good segue:
Let-Off: 80%. Not amazing, but very good. If you've got the bow dialed all the way up to its peak draw weight of 70 pounds, that means you'll be holding 14 pounds at full draw. That's very decent, and with all that said...
All those features add up to a really solid bow! We'll give our final synopsis below, but first...
Some History About Diamond, Adjustability, and the SB-1
The three most important measurements on a bow, be it a recurve or a compound, are:
1) handedness—whether it's built to be held with your left hand or your right;
2) the draw length—how far you pull the nock back; and
3) the draw weight—the difficulty, in pounds, of the draw.
We tend to forget that for the first 20,000 or 30,000 years that humans used bows, those measurements were unchanging: there were no modifications, and no changing those measurements. If you got yourself a left-handed recurve with a 40-pound draw weight and a 28-inch draw length, well... that was your bow! There was no changing it.
It wasn't until fairly recently—the second half of the 20th century—that advances in bow technology were made, and we all point to Hollis Wilbur Allen and the invention of the compound bow, as the BIG evolution in bow technology. While that's certainly true, it discounts a following leap that was another game changer: the ability to make adjustments on a single bow and complete change its performance. Allen invented the compound in the late 1960s, and by the 1970s, there were already compounds that you could make adjustments to. That's pretty incredible, if you think about it, and that ability to adjust your bow is a mind-boggling leap forward in-and-of-itself.
There's the only problem: adjusting those bows was really, really hard. They were capable of being adjusted—you can increase/decrease draw length and draw weight—but you *really* had to know your way around bows to do so. Even one of the most popular adjustable bows—The Diamond Infinite Edge, which is a *fantastic* bow and a game-changer in its own way—is difficult to tune. That's why you get posts like this one on Archery Talk, where an archery enthusiast—no doubt an intelligent guy—is totally overwhelmed at using the tables in the product manual to set the draw length on his Diamond Infinite Edge. (and, by the way, that's one of the reasons we just you bring your Diamond Infinite Edge to a pro-shop to get it tuned—it's adjustable, but it's not really that easy, and you need some experience with bows to do so).
And that's what brings us to...
The First Big Benefit of the SB-1: Adjustability
We mentioned this earlier, and it’s perhaps the most important thing we’ll discuss in our Diamond Edge SB-1 review: your ability to change the bow’s measurements.
It may not be easy-as-pie, but the SB-1 is about as simple as they come in terms of adjustability (at the time of this post, anyway). Diamond has even posted a couple of YouTube videos about how to adjust the bow. Here's one on how to adjust the draw weight:
That section on the outside of the limbs, where you can mark different draw weights, is so helpful—and yet so simple and obvious—it's kind of amazing that other bows haven't done it already. The bit in that video about moving the string stop is great advice, too, and we're grateful to them for including that, because it's totally something newer archers might overlook.
Here's a video on how to adjust the draw length:
That's about as easy as it gets when it comes to changing your draw length, and that black rotating module is a very nice piece of Diamond gear. That adjustability makes the SB-1 a great option for younger archers—you can teach younger archers how to adjust the draw weight, and they can do so as they gain strength—but it also makes the SB-1 a great option for a gift. By the way, if that video seems a little intimidating, but it usually gets a little easier after a few tries.
The Other Real Advantage of the SB-1: The Cams
The real feature of a compound bow—the feature that makes it a compound bow—is the cams. Beginners are usually confused by the different types of cams and why one may be better than another, and that's no surprise. There's a lot of physics involved, and even veteran archers get confused about them.
So here's the boiled down version: the cams on the SB-1 are a leap forward, and feature Bowtech's "Synchronized Binary Cam system" (Bowtech is the company that owns Diamond), and they're designed with incredible precision to enable a smooth, even draw cycle. They’re molded into an aggressive ovoid shape, to both increase let-off (and the let-off of the SB-1 is 80%) while also increasing FPS (which on the SB-1 is 318 FPS—another advancement over the other Diamond bows in the "Edge" series).
Here are the details: the system is made up for two cams that are 100% identical and slaved to each meaning, that they move in perfect harmony. If one moves a millimeter, so does the other. That consistently leads to a very clean draw cycle, because the more likely both cams move in synchrony, the more likely the nock on the bow string travels with straightness. That's ultimately what you want, because the straight trajectory of the nock can be the difference between accuracy and... whatever the opposite of accuracy is. Missing. It takes some very delicate machinery to create identical tools like that, and it's one of the reasons that we consider the SB-1 to be a "higher-end" bow—factory-made parts that require total manufacturing precision in order to work properly.
If all that talk about cams is confusing, you can click here to read our intro posts about cams. They're important, and they're not so difficult, once you get the hang of them.
One Quick Note If You're a Very Tall Person...
The SB-1 has an adjustable draw length from 15 inches to 30 inches, and that's good for *most* people—that longest draw length on the SB-1 is 30 inches, and that should be good for shooters up to 6-foot-3-inches tall. If you're taller than that, though, you may want to look at the Edge 320, which has an adjustable draw length of up to 31 inches—good for folks up to about 6-and-a-half feet tall.
Is the Edge SB-1 Worth It?
We definitely think so. We recommend the Diamond Infinite Edge to everyone from new to intermediate archers, because it's solid, durable, and highly adjustable—and honestly, because more people have heard of it, and that makes them a little more comfortable with this. This bow, however, really is an advancement over the Infinite Edge. It has all the features of the Infinite Edge, but it builds on them—it’s faster, with a smoother draw cycle, and it’s easier to adjust. All in all, it’s a quality offering from Diamond, and a great option for bowhunters (of all North American game) and recreational shooters looking for a bow to have for a while.
OK! There you go—we hope that helps. Good luck to you, and happy shooting!