Timing a Compound Bow

Timing a dual cam bow is critical to obtaining the most accurate flight from your arrows.

Just like a finely tuned engine, your compound bow is designed to reach its peak performance while set within the manufacturers specifications. One such specification is that of Cam Timing. Cam Timing essentially ensures that the cams on your bow are rotating or “rolling” over simultaneously. This is very important for two-cam bow systems as any variation in the timing of the cams will hurt arrow flight and reduce overall performance.

When talking about a single-cam system, such as those found on Mathews bows, cam rollover or synchronization is irrelevant because there is only one cam. Therefore, timing on a single-cam bow basically relates to the “position” of the cam and the bowstring while the bow is in the static position.

Let’s take a closer look at each type of system, single and dual cam, and the procedures for timing both.

Single Cam Timing

In order to properly set the timing of your single cam bow you will first need to observe where the “timing” holes on the cam are in relation to the bowstring. These “timing” holes provide a point of reference and should run parallel with the bowstring while in the resting position.

In order to change the position of the “timing” holes on the cam in relation to the string, the bow must first be pressed in order to relax tension on the bow string. Once tension is eliminated, cam rotation and position can be changed by twisting or untwisting the bowstring and or cable. Once the timing holes are running parallel to the bowstring, the timing on your bow is correct.

Different cam designs utilize different timing marks. Here are several common single cams and their associated timing marks that indicate proper timing. If you don’t see your bow shown here make sure to consult your owners manual for timing marks.

You will notice that some of the Mathews cams have 2 holes drilled on opposite sides of the cam. For optimal timing, the line that bisects these two holes should run parallel with the bowstring.

However, on some of the newer cams, Mathews has provided a timing hole in which the “cable” itself should bisect.

Below are some examples of popular single-cam models and the correct timing position for each.

You can check the timing on a two cam bow by looking at the timing marks on each cam.

Dual Cam Timing

Much like the single-cam bow, you can check the timing on a two cam bow by looking at the timing marks on each cam. Of course, this must been done for “two” cams instead of one, and each cam must turn over exactly the same way or optimum performance will not be achieved.

If your bows cams do not “rollover” at exactly the same time, energy transferred to the arrow will not be centralized and nock travel will be up and down instead of in a straight line. As a result, arrow flight and speed will suffer. If your bow does not come with timing marks, check the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer for information pertaining to your specific bows timing requirements and how to achieve it.

Draw stops, such as those seen here, provide a solid wall to anchor against while also helping to properly time your dual cam bow.

The majority of two-cam systems come with draw stops. These are essentially what provide the “wall” once the shooter reaches full draw. For best performance, it is vital that these “draw stops” (located on the cam) hit the cables on your bow at the same time. If they don’t, then you will need to press the bow and twist or untwist the cables until they make contact in unison. Once the draw-stops are hitting the cables simultaneously, your two-cam bow is properly timed. In addition, some bow models have timing marks etched onto the cam itself in order to provide a point of reference for optimal cable, string/cam alignment.

If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the procedures discussed here, then take your bow to a qualified pro-shop and let them properly set your bows timing.