I just got an email from a Recurve student in Portugal I have been working with. Here are his questions:
I’ve been wondering, what is the difference between a top rod and a riser dampener? They look the same. Is it just the weight?
What if I buy an extender, small rods and v-bar, what should I get? What sizes and angle?
Best regards, …
* * *
A “top rod” is any stabilizer rod screwed into the hole made for them near the top of the riser. I am not familiar with the term “riser dampener” but the Koreans claim that a four inch rod with a Doinker at the end, screwed into the same hole helps dampen string vibration very, very well. (Residual string vibration that finds its way into archer’s bodies leads to fatigue and joint soreness.)
I can’t answer the second question definitively but here is what I recommend. A 4˝ extender seems to work for most (its job is to just move the center of gravity forward a bit). I would buy a V-bar that had adjustable side rod angles (see link below for an example, not a recommendation … seems these have gotten very expensive; I would look for a less expensive one—I got all of mine second hand (via eBay)), and most use 9-10˝ side rods. How much weight to put at the tips is a matter of taste. I suggest you start with “none” (use plastic end caps to protect the threads). As to the length, the whole meghilla should allow you to stand the bow on its long rod tip and have your elbow very slightly bent when your hand is on the bow as it normally is. If this is not the case for your current long rod, hold your bow (back down) at your side (string horizontal) and have someone measure from the stabilizer boss straight down to the floor/ground. That length, minus 4˝ for an extender and 1˝ for a V-bar, gives you the long rod length you start with. From there it is trial and test. Long rods have been used at 0 degrees up to 90 degrees, even to the point of them being mounted on gimbals allowing them to hang straight down no matter the angle the bow was held, so try anything that appeals to you. Same goes for the weights used at the tips of the rods. You should look for what affect any equipment change has on group size (smaller is better).
If you would just like to start from a “one size fits all” (kind of) here are two “kits” from SF Archery that I can recommend. One is shorter, and one is longer.
I have yet to find a piece of SF kit I could not recommend to an intermediate archer: good stuff, reasonable prices.