Simply put, compound bow cams are the pulleys, usually attached to the end(s) of the weapon. These are almost round in shape and usually attached to the limb(s), the cable slides, the bow strings and the buss cable. The cams’ main purpose is to take in as much kinetic energy from the pull exerted on the bow string and keep it off the aiming arm. This ensures that the arm and the bow remain steady during aiming which should result in a more accurate shot.
Although there are numerous people taking into careful account of bow cam designs, there are also certain things you should look out for when choosing cam types or styles. For example:
Products that promote the newest cam groove technology or alloy composition are basically telling you that they have added a few more incidental lines or attachments to the existing designs of the pulley system. Both of which will not affect the performance of the weapon itself, but may help increase the prices of the said products. Cams have specific purposes, and the type of groove that is installed in the strings and the type of materials these were made from, are standard fare. You should not be paying more for these.
As such, there are four types or styles of cams available in the market. These are: binary, hybrid, single and twin cams.
Binary cams. Binary cams are the newest of all cam designs. The main principle behind these pulleys is that there is more control to be acquired if the cams are attached mainly to each other by way of cam-to-cam control cables, instead of being installed on the end of the bow’s limbs. This free floating system guarantees that the force of the pull easily equalizes any imbalance in limb, string or cable length control. Often referred to also as the self-correcting system, this type of cam usually does not suffer from synchronization or timing issues.
Hybrid cams. Hybrids feature a control cam at the top of a limb and a power cam at the bottom end of the bow. Attached to these pulleys are: a control cable, a main string and a single spilt harness. When properly adjusted, each and every shot can burst out with increased velocity but with very little noise factor. In other words, an archer can have the speediest and the quietest nock possible, making string silencers unnecessary.
Single cams. Single cams or solo cams are pulley systems comprised of a power cam and an idler wheel combo. These usually provide fast aggression that is most suited to the skills of the archer. Aside from the fact that it can easily be subjected to troubleshooting options, many enthusiasts of the sport favor such because of the cams’ reliability.
Aggression, by the way, is a term that refers to the tidal wave like energy stored in the bow string just after a let off – or when the archer releases the bow string after a shot. As soon as the string is released, it snaps forward and back before settling into a vibrating collapse. The momentum of that energy can be adjusted for a silky smooth (but relatively slow) shot, or a very powerful and fast (but unsteady) shot.
Twin cams. Also referred to as dual cams or two cams, the twin cams have two symmetrical cams at each end of the compound bow, and attached to an assortment of cables and strings. The main benefit of using twin cams is that these increase the accuracy and speed of each and every shot. Many youth bows feature twin cams.