Bow String Material Guide

Bow String Material Guide

Oct 1st 2018

We’re asked every day about bow string material and what is best or what should be used on a certain make/model of bow. It seems that there is an abundance of false information from ‘string gurus’ on various internet forums so we’ve decided to write a little article based on our firsthand knowledge we’ve gathered from years of building bow strings. With all the bow string materials out there, it can be mind boggling trying to decide what material you want your new bow string and cable set made from.

Bow String Material Breakdown

Each bow string material is composed of various raw materials that give each one its own properties. I’m no scientist and could really care less about blended/non blended or what grade Dyneema, Vectran, Gore and so on that goes into each material. I will be referring to some of this info for comparison later on though.

I will start off with custom compound bow string materials. This seems to be one of the most debated topics. There are a handful of bow string materials on the market today that work very well when it comes to producing a custom bow string that will be durable and stable while providing good arrow speed. These materials would include D97, 8125G, trophy, 8190, 452X and X.

BCY 452X

BCY 452X has been around forever. It has proven itself time and time again. 452X is the material that all others are compared to. It is EXTREMELY stable and gives good arrow speed. It is available in solid and speckled colors which is very nice for giving virtually unlimited color options for your custom bow string. The one drawback to 452X is that it is prone to fuzzing. This was addressed when BCY introduced the trophy material.

BCY 8125

BCY 8125 is another material that has been around for quite a while. This is the fastest bow string material we’ve tested. Due to its makeup it is more prone to stretch in the heat. While some string builders have had success with this material, we do not use it for this reason. 8125 is a great material for modern recurve bow strings both traditional and Olympic due to its added speed with minimal vibration.


BCY D97 is a good all-around bow string material that is generally used as an ‘economy’ material in today’s industry due to its cheaper price. D97 was once a major step up from fast flight bowstring but has since been replaced by several other better materials. While no longer a top choice for a compound bow string, D97 is still very popular with crossbows and recurve bow strings. It’s ‘sponginess’ helps to absorb the shock on these bows without damaging their limbs.

Other Materials for Bow Strings

Other bow string materials include 652 (Fast Flight) and B55 (Dacron). These are both still widely used on older compound bows, crossbows and traditional bows. Dacron string works well on older tear drop style compound bows and crossbows. It is also the best bow string material to be used on wooden traditional bows with non-reinforced limb tips. Fast Flight is mainly used on traditional bows with reinforced limb tips and older compound bows.

Finding Your Ideal String Material

I hope this little article has helped to answer some of the questions about bowstring materials. If anyone has any bowstring related questions or topics that you would like to discuss or even have us write about, feel free to contact us through our website.