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Spigarelli DMS Riser Review

11079 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  JimDE
The DMS riser is a new offering from the well known italian company Spigarelli. With the DMS they expand their lineup of risers to five models. The other options are the barebow heavyweight 650 Club, the standard barebow riser logically named Barebow, the olympic riser Vision and the odd-bird Revolution. The DMS is partly based on an old design from the mid 1990:s called Del Monte, which was a well known odd kid in that time. The DMS for sure fills an empty space in the market especially for barebow archers, now that the popular bridged riser Green Horn Sirius is out of production.

The riser tested. Here with a Gillo grip instead of the original.

I have been shooting the DMS riser during a month and I have tested it both outdoor and indoor, on flat target archery and on field courses. My main discipline is WA Barebow (stringwalking) and I have mostly been shooting the riser barebow during the test. When testing risers, I think barebow is a very good discpipline. You really feel the risers behaviour in more detail than in recurve. With a good stabilizer and dampener setup, you can mask a lot of problems. The riser was shot with two different limb pairs, Uukha VX1000 68/36 and Samick Masters Max 70/36. The Uukhas are rather damp and soft in feel and the Masters Max set is more traditional carbon-wood-ish with a direct and crisp shot feedback. I have also shot some sessions with Win&Win EX Prime and SF Elite+ limbs. I find it important to test risers with some different limb setups, since the limbs have a very important role in the feel.

The DMS is a cnc machined front bridged aluminium riser with all the expected features such as tiller and lateral adjustment, multiple weight and stabilizer attachment holes, clicker and sight mounts and so on. On the lower half there are two circular mount points for Spigarellis standard side adjustable barebow weights, also standard on the Vision, 650 Club and Barebow riser.

Finish and fittings

The DMS looks like a classic Spigarelli in terms of finish. That means a polished machined surface treated with hard semi-gloss anodizing in a range of different target colours. There are some very minor tool marks here and there, but the finish is overall is very nice, just as we learned to expect from Spigarelli. Their finish is among the best in the business in my opinion, as long as you like that classic cnc machined look. The riser lacks stainless steel bushings in the stab holes. This means that you will damage the anodizing when you add stabilizers or weights, no matter how careful you are. And there’s always the risk of wear with time, even if that takes a lot of messing around with the threads before it gets a real problem. I have had risers without bushings for many years and I actually never experienced any problems. But a quick detach system for the long rod, or just keeping the normal V-bar on between sessions is recommended to avoid wear.

The tiller adjustment is made with the same well proven expanding limb bolts that we have seen on the Spigas and many other brands during the last 15 years. Too loosen it, you loosen a cone shaped locking bolt at the back. When the cone is screwed out of the internal counterpart in the 4-split expander tiller bolt, that bolt gets free to move. The bolts works just as they are supposed to, even if the expander construction, and the splitted stainless steel bolt always brings a small risk of the steel wearing the aluminium. If some metal fragments comes loose, you might get trouble, especially if you have the habit of changing the tiller/draw weight with the bow strung. Spigarelli and many other manufacturers have however used the construction for decades and problems rarely occur. I personally prefer the classic Hoyt style bolt-on-bolt locking system since it is simpler and still just as effective. But for 2017 even Hoyt leaves their bolt-on-bolt system and goes to the expander solution, so I might be worrying without reason. So far, all my bows with expander bolts have been hassle free through years of use.

The limb bolt with alignment lines

The grip is the best I have tried from Spigarelli so far and it is several levels better than the older wooden grip delivered with the earlier versions of Barebow and Vision. The grip is still wood, but it's a lot better shaped now. With the older grip, there were often problems with noises and rattling/moving grips and the shape varied from grip to grip. You always had to add glue, silicon or double sided tape to eliminate the cracks and noises. But not anymore. The grip's fit on the riser is perfectly snug and it just sits there, as it is supposed to do and all grips I have seen so far have been identical in shape. The grip is neutral and the height is about medium, however tending slightly to the lower side. I think this grip will suit a lot of archers. So far, everybody that tried the riser also liked the grip. If you don´t, or if you have your own preferences in grip choice, it´s very easy to change to whatever you prefer. The grip fitting is somewhere near market standard and my guess is that most standard grips will fit. I haven´t measure it, but the old Hoyt grip that I use on some other bows fit just fine.

The lateral adjustment consists of a snugly rotating brass dock for the ILF nut and then one sideward pushing screw on each side, which are then locked by two small outer locking screws. To adjust, you first need to take the small locking screws out and then you can access the hex head of the pusher screws. You move the brass dock´s position right or left by loosing the screw on one side and tighten it on the other side. Very simple and effective. You soon notice that also small adjustments, like half a turn, gives a rather big effect on alignment, like with most ILF with similar systems. But it is dead easy to align the riser with a new set of limbs as soon as you get used of how to do. The downside of the system is the small locking screws. They are VERY small and also very easy to lose. Don´t even think about dropping them on a lawn and find them again. You will be on your knees searching those small items for sure if you do. I would prefer two slightly bigger or longer pusher screws instead and by that eliminating the need of locking screws, like we see on CD Archery’s risers for example. I never had any of those screws coming loose despite the lack of extra screws. The system do however work great and locks very securely, and the extra work with the small extra screws is only a problem if you try different pair of limbs often. When you are done with lateral tuning and are happy with your setup it´s definitely a set and forget system. I ended up keeping the small screws removed during the tuning process, and then putting them back again when I was done.

The lateral adjustment

No matter the amount of screws, I find this type of lateral adjustment to be the best there is. It´s so easy and logical to adjust and it makes lateral tuning a breeze. What I do miss however is some kind of scale or grading for the limbs side adjustment. If you shoot the riser with only one pair of limbs and are happy with your setting, the current lack of indicators is no issue, but if you want to test some new limbs or new setting and be able to get back to the previous, it would be really handy with some kind of indicator scale. As it is now, I would make my own lines with a pen or even a knife to be able to get back into the same position.

Spiga added a reference cross near the outer ends of the riser to help with alignment. Unfortunately it is very hard to see the vertical line when the bow is lined up with the string and I would prefer two lines slightly spread apart instead.


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Part 2 - Performance, balance and feel

I find the DMS to be surprisingly neutral in feel. I expected it to shoot stiff, like most bridged risers, but if feels neither soft or stiff, but rather medium in that aspect. Spigas risers have always been on the softer side of the market, and this is too, atleast if you compare it to risers in it´s own bridged segment. It´s not as soft in feeling as a Spiga Barebow or Vision, but it is nowhere near as stiff as the segment classic Green Horn Sirius or the Hoyt Tec risers. Compared to the sporty Sirius and the really stiff Hoyt Tecs the DMS has a portion of comfortable flex built in. That means that despite the stiffening bridge design, it still feels like a Spigarelli. I am not sure why, but my guess is that Spigarelli don´t use any high levels of heat hardening of the alu block during manufacturing.

Just by looking at the geometry and the construction, its no hard guess that the comfort of the shot is mainly generated by some flex near the limb pockets while the center section near the grip stays solid and stiff through the shot. This creates an interesting combination of characters. The shot feels very solid, but without the crispy, almost aggressive feedback that many associate with bridge riser designs. The shot is still comfortable and smooth, and you can't feel any wobble or riser flex going into the hand whatsoever. This means that the shot is more damp than lively, but not so damp so all the life in the shot disappears.

Shot feedback is always a matter of personal taste. In my opinion the riser have an excellent balance between shot feedback and dampening. Many archers compare the DMS to the Green Horn Sirius as they share looks in terms of geometry. That assumption is purely based on photos, I would say. In reality the DMS is a rather different animal than the Sirius with less aggressive limb pocket angles and a shot that is a lot smoother. It also has a noticeably kinder draw force curve in comparison to the Sirius. I find the Sirius to create some stack, almost no matter what limbs you use, and I always shoot it at, or near, the minimum setting on the tiller bolts. If you crank the Sirius up, you get some serious stacking and you add quite a few pounds to the marked info on the limbs. The DMS is comfortable through almost all the possible tiller settings. The pound goes up ofcourse, but for me at close to 29 inch draw, I don´t get that much stack until I am just below the maximum setting on the bolts. And it is still definately shootable at that setting. To sum up the comparison between those two, the DMS is way more comfortable and smooth to shoot and draw, while the Green Horn feels more sporty and aggressive both in the draw and in the shot reaction. There are similarities, but not as much as some comments indicate.

The sight window is stretched all the way to the front of the bridge, making it very long compared to pretty much all other risers I have seen. This might cause clearance problems in some cases, especially if the tune is bad. If the arrow’s noding is put wrong, there is just more riser to hit. I find it difficult to get perfect clearance with long and heavy indoor arrows with big vanes. With outdoor carbon arrows and small vanes, I have no issues.

The power delivery of the DMS is on the low side. Not necessary speed wise, but the riser delivers less power into the arrow in a dynamic spine aspect than what I expect from the draw weight . By just looking at the geometry and construction, I would guess that the bridge design would make the riser stiff and therefore deliver more power into the arrow than non bridged designs. But despite what would be logical, I almost need to go one step softer in spine than what I usually do, despite setting the bow to the exact same draw weight as my reference bows. To use the same arrows, I need to add around 1-1.5 pounds of draw weight. I am not sure why, but it might be the same reason that the riser is so comfortable. I think there is some flex going on in the outer, thinner parts of the riser, and there you pay for comfort with a loss of power. That is no problem, but for me, it means that I can´t get a perfect tune with any of current arrow sets. Speed-wise the riser shoots about the same as most risers. It´s neither fast or slow, but pretty normal in that aspect.

When shooting barebow, the bridge design really excels in terms of balance since the bridge itself brings the center of mass forward. For archers that prefer a lighter weight riser for barebow, a bridged riser like the DMS is a very good choice. I would not rate the DMS higher than the excellent Sirius, but it is up there with the best in terms of “built in balance” . Bringing the center of gravity forward creates a stability that you just can't get in a riser with more traditional geometry. Vertically, the DMS is light in the upper and lower limb pocket sections. The weight is centered around the pivot point, making the riser very twist free out of the hand, but it is also a bit unstable in twisting motions along the horizontal centerline (as in wobbling the top and bottom to the left or right while at full draw) because of the light perimeter weight. I would personally prefer a bit more material near the limb pockets, resulting in a stiffer overall flex, a higher level of power delivery and a higher amount of stability along the horizontal centerline. But that would come at the price of making it too heavy for most olympic archers I guess. I think that a barebow specific heavier DMS could be a real winner.

The DMS is compatible with the weight system used in the Vision, 650 and BareBow. One or two steel weights can be attached to the riser in two big circular holes in the lower section and are then locked with one or two screws through drilled holes at the back. The weights are side adjustable in a number of steps right to left, by choosing one of the different threaded holes. The weights are not included in the package. They must be bought separately as an accessory. I just got news from Spigarelli that they are producing a special weight kit for barebow use of the DMS riser. I haven´t tried it yet, but a photo of the new weight system is attached to the post.

Standard attachment for the classic barebow weights from Spigarelli. You can see the holes for the locking bolts at the back.

The new weight system from Spigarelli, in a prototype version.

I wish that Spigarelli offered some kind of stock solution for adding weights in the three front stabilizer threaded holes. Even if a low weight placement creates a higher grade of horizontal line stability, the geometry of this risers makes it possible to add barebow weights in places where you normally can´t. The front bridge is an excellent place to add weights, since you get a big effect in balance in relation to the added mass. You would also create more moment of inertia of that mass in comparison to a position in the center of the riser.

The riser is delivered with a pre-mounted built in magnetic rest. It is a very sleek rest that works great for olympic recurve or close to noch three-under anchoring. For stringwalking however, the built in rest is too stiff. You need some dampening downwards when you get vertical noding in the arrow when crawling down the string. My recommendation is to remove the stock rest and replace it with the filler piece instead, and use any other rest that have softer flex. The wide/long aiming window and the bridge limits the choice of arrow rests for the WA Barebow crowd. The room within the 12,2cm rule is not great. For wraparound magnetic rests, you need something slim, like the Gabriels to be sure that you are staying on the right side of the line rule-wise. Rumours say that Spigarelli is working on a slim magnetic rest specially designed for the DMS riser and WA Barebow rules.

The built in rest can be replaced with a "filler plate" seen here.

Overall I really like this riser. The Spigarelli DMS is a plug and play riser with extras. Like everything else out there, it’s not perfect, but it is a great addition to the market for either recurve archers that wants to try something different, or barebow archers that search the balance of a bridged design. If the rumours are true, Spigarelli will further enhance their offer for barebowers with some interesting weight and rest options too. If you get the chance, I recommend you to try this riser. You might end up wanting one...

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I went back and read this again seeing as my DMS is on the way from Spigarelli now. The information you give, unlike many other amateur reviewers, is unbiased and given from from the perspective of a respected top level shooter, that makes it valuable to me. Please ignore the Facebook flogging you get when some don't agree, most of us value your reviews highly Martin.

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I know today’s Barebow trend is to 27” riser’s but I truly like the feel and function of the Spigarelli DMS and their BB risers. I will only go to a 27” if Spigarelli decides to make a 27” riser. ;)
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