Bear Grizzly Recurve » Bow Review

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Our rating – 9.3/ 10  

The Bear Grizzly is a beautiful piece of history and craftsmanship that would make a welcome surefire addition to the arsenal of any traditional shooter or collector. A great bow for any skill level. More modern bows (such as the improved and redesigned Super Grizzly or Kodiak) may give a better vibration free shot however traditionalists and purists will love the Grizzly as tradition and purity are the two things it stands for overall.


The Bear Grizzly recurve is a legendary bow, it’s been around since the 1950’s as part of the Bear Archery product line. The last design change to the bow was made way way back in 1964 by Mr Bear himself and (although the manufacturing process may have changed) the design has been untouched since. That makes the Grizzly bow something that has truly stood the test of time. This is a bow that you can buy new today but you’ll also may find hanging on the wall of someone who was winning traditional archery competitions way back in the 1970’s. Nowadays it’s positioned at the entry level to the quality Bear traditional bow range.

Ratings, Pros and Cons

Riser – 90%
Limbs – 80%
Accessories – 60%
Shooting – 100%
Styling – 100%

What we liked:

  • Left or right hand
  • Historic design
  • Beautiful craftsmanship
  • Bear hair arrow rest
  • Flemish twist string

What we didn’t:

  • Pricey
  • Not a takedown bow

Features / Specifications

Draw weights (lbs):Right Hand – 20,25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60Left Hand – 35, 40, 45, 50, 55​
Brace height (inches):7.5-8.5
Weight (lbs): 3.5
AMO Length (inches): 50
Max Draw (inches):29 (estimated)
Riser:Wood, hard-rock maple (futurewood)
Shelf:Crowned, cut-on/cut-to center
Arrow Rest:Bear hair / leather protector side plate
Limbs:Maple and fiberglass
Warranty:3 year (limited)
Price Range:Medium
Handedness:Left and right hand models available

Check the price on Cabelas »


Merlin Archery (UK) give a detailed look at the Grizzly, take you through how the Flemish string could be better, the differences with this and the Kodiak and takes some short and long and measured shots with the bow.

From the video arrow speed test:
Draw weight: 45lbs
Draw length: 28#
Arrow length: 29.5”
Arrow weight: 404.3grn
Arrow speed: 182-4 fps

Check the price on Cabelas »


This is a riser made from a single piece of hard-rock maple wood, using a single piece of wood to produce a high specification bow today isn’t the best technique available to a manufacturer, it has been surpassed by laminated wood compositions which give more flexibility and strength. Bear however can enhance the properties of a single piece of wood by using a technique they introduced in the 1970’s. This involves vacuum pressurising the wood to first fill it’s natural pores and then baking it, producing something slightly heavier and stronger than wood that they call Futurewood.

The natural grain of the original wood is changed slightly with the introduction of “birthmarks” that can appear during the Futurewood manufacturing process, these are most noticeable where the pores of the wood are closest together and results in no two Bear Grizzly bow risers being alike. One thing we will say is that…

You can’t entirely trust product pictures and / or review pictures when it comes to the wood grain or even wood coloring on this bow as the one you purchase will have been made from a different section of a tree and may not look the same! Coloration can vary from deep red to light oak.

This riser has a stain gloss finish, satin is somewhere between matte and gloss and the finish nicely shows off the grip of the bow without being too reflective and helps to minimize the effects of damp and wear and tear.

On the riser are mounting holes for a quiver, and suggested is the Fred Bear Custom Recurve Quiver, it also features a trademark gold penny featuring a bear embedded in the handle and handwritten markings to define the bow draw weight.


The front of the grip on this bow is flattened, which is different to many other modern bows, if you’re used to something rounded you may find this a bit of a change. The arrow shelf (featuring the bearskin arrow rest) is cut on or cut to center which whilst this may not be as efficient as a cut-past center shelf, it keeps the original design of the bow intact.


Clear maple and black fiberglass, the limbs have a matte black finish to complement the riser and are matte black on the front and back with the Bear ‘Grizzly’ logo printed in the inside (or back) in traditional lettering font.

The limb tips on this bow are not reinforced so are only designed to take Dacron strings.


The flemish twist string supplied with the Grizzly makes for a quiet shot and once tuned to fully get the best of it, you’ll most likely find this bow to give you a high level of accuracy, a smooth and easy draw, it won’t stack up to draw lengths of at least 29”, good power, some ‘zip’ to your arrows and overall an enjoyable traditional bow-shooting experience!

Traditional bows and certainly the old school Grizzly may give some feedback through the hand (vibration) that you may not get with other bows but this is all part of the traditional bowshooting experience.


What can we say, this is a thing of history, purity and beauty that truly is difficult to beat in all three of those respects. Would be a handsome and welcome addition to any arsenal.


This is not a takedown bow so cannot be disassembled for transport or storage.


Although not supplied in the basic package the Grizzly can be fitted with a Fred Bear Custom Recurve Quiver.

Arrow Rest

This bow comes fitted with an arrow rest made from bear hair and a riser protector on on the side of the shelf made from leather, these are quality accessories that fit well and do nothing but enhance the overall aesthetics.


Out of the package the Grizzly comes with a Flemish twist Dacron string, normally as with most manufacturers today the string supplied is not of the highest quality available, you’ll be able to find better flemish twists, so experts and enthusiasts may find themselves wanting to upgrade, however the supplied string will do the job for most people.

Check the price on Cabelas »

“How does it compare?”

Bear Grizzly vs Samick Sage

The Sage is longer than this bow at 62″ AMO. They weigh a similar amount but the Sages comes in a wider variety of draw weights for both hands. If you’re looking for something a little less pricey and with fitments for more accessories, and you’re happy to sacrifice a bit of history and beauty and save a bit of money, consider the Sage. The Sage is also a takedown bow which the Bear isn’t. Checkout the full review here.

Bear Grizzly vs PSE Razorback

A great beginner bow available for juniors (PSE Jr Razorback) but only up-to 35 lbs draw for adults, that draw weight should be fine whilst you are learning, but if you want to go higher you’ll be stuck with the Razorback. This bow probably isn’t the one you want if you’re after the beauty and traditionality of the Bear barebow experience. More in our full review.

Bear Grizzly vs Martin Saber

The Martin Saber offers the convenience of takedown again over the Bear, it’s lighter and has a metal riser and is altogether more futuristic looking, however it is only available for right handed shooters. The Saber has a much greater AMO length at 64″ than the Bear, but doesn’t offer the same traditional barebow looks and (depending on your point of view) is nowhere near as handsome.. In-depth on the Saber here.

Bear Grizzly vs Spyder

The ‘Sage killer’ or ‘Sage v2’ is designed by the same people (but not sold by the same company) and it lives upto the name, it’s lighter, more polished and has slightly better build quality than the Sage. A good looking bow with a wide range of draw weights and also available in 62″ or 64″ AMO lengths, a very affordable price point and limbs that can be interchanged with those from the Sage. Again this is another takedown bow with greater accessory fitments available than the Grizzly which is a more traditional barebow experience.. Our lowdown on the Spyder is here.

Our Comparison Tables

We’ve compiled all our reviews and scores into some handy comparison tables along with a buying guide. Take a look at all the data here and make an informed decision.​

About the Manufacturer

Bear Archery is named after its founder Fred Bear, a man with a lifelong passion for archery and hunting and winner of his state (Michigan) archery championships in1934, 1937 and 1939. He founded Bear Archery (around 1940) after demand for his craftsmanship from friends for his equipment bloomed into a full scale enterprise.

The company motto of Bear Archery is a solemn promise that their bows (small or large) will be made using the latest methods and techniques (known only to them), be reliable…lethal, and unsurpassed in filling your highest expectations

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Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

2 thoughts on “Bear Grizzly Recurve » Bow Review”

    • I think you’re talking about a ‘Bear Lil Brave’? The traditional Bear take down doesn’t come in those sizes and weights. If you are then unfortunately I don’t know of a clear upgrade path. It may be time to upgrade your bow!


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