Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
December 14, 2014
Chris Allen has been a staple in the yo-yo community for quite some time. His website, YoYoSkills, was the go to place for news, contest updates, and reviews. He, like many of us, was a man of many hats that loved to intertwine his love of pop culture, especially video games and comic books, with his love of yo-yos. It was this intermingling of geek culture that brought quite a few, myself included, to the site. As I said in the Gelada 2 review, he stepped away from the hard work of keeping a site updated with daily content in order to devote more time to his family. That being said, he did not completely leave the yo-yo life. Instead he chose a less stressful path and joined up with Monkeyfinger Design. The Gelada 2 was Allen’s first collaboration with Monkeyfinger; today I am looking at his first signature yo-yo the Caesar. I have been looking forward to seeing what he would come up with for his signature release so lets kick the tires and take it for a spin.
• Diameter: 58mm
• Width: 43.65mm
• Gap: 4.35mm
• Weight: 69 grams
• Bearing: C-sized, flat, steel, 10 ball
• Response: Monkey Snot Flowable Silicone
The Caesar profile looks like it borrowed a little bit from the Lesula and Evil-Yo, specifically the gap, low wall, and response area design. It is most definitely an H-Shape yo-yo focused on long spin times and extended combos. From the guts it curves up to a step that transitions to the Caesar’s large rims which place quite a bit of weight at the edge of the yo-yo. The cup has a stepped V curve toward the shallow hub spike in the center. The step near the rim focuses even more of the weight at the edge but is not a usable IGR. The finish is your typically insane Monkeyfinger ano finish with crazy color combos and all. The cups have been polished to catch any viewers’ attention while the catch zone is blasted for smooth grinds and a nice feel in the hand. During play the yo-yo can hit hard in the hand due to the angled rim design so you will want to be aware of that, especially when breaking in the silicone response, it will return to the hand with quite a bit of punch.
This is a hefty yo-yo, tipping the scale at 69 grams, but it is not slow by any means. This yo-yo likes to zip through the air with ease and is exceptionally stable on the string. As I said in the construction section, this yo-yo was designed for extremely long spin times and in that it succeeds and then some.
Response and Bearing
The Monkey Snot response holds up quite well and is grippy as can be when needed. I have noticed from batch to batch that Monkey Snot can either break in quite fast or that it takes a little time. The Caesar I got falls into the latter category. It took a few days of throwing for it to settle into that response sweet spot where it is grippy during binds but dead unresponsive the rest of the time.
The bearing is great once it is broken in as well. Monkeyfinger ships their bearings lubed in order to protect them during transit. Once you have your yo-yo you have two options, break it in or clean it. I cleaned it and dropped a tiny bit of V4M in it. Once the maintenance was done the bearing spun like a champ and was reasonably quiet to boot.
The Caesar is fast, floaty, and easy to catch. The wide open catch zone makes for an easy target and the long spin times make this a good yo-yo to learn on. It likes to go fast and feels best when you dial up the speed so that extra spin and the easy target that is the catch zone are going to make you extra happy if you are normally use to a medium pace. The slight wall in the gap did not impede suicide tricks at all, the loops stayed open lone enough for me to catch them however I wanted… which includes a trick my students like where I throw a suicide and catch it with one of the pens from the holder on my desk. Grinds are their typical amazing self thanks to the bead blast finish that Monkeyfinger uses for their finish. Depending on how hard I throw I usually about a 10 second finger grind from the Caesar. Thumb grinds are all but non-existent due to the rim design in the cup but that was expected when I saw pictures of it when they were released to the net. Over all the play is excellent.
Monkeyfinger has swung the pendulum back to the crazier side of yo-yo design with the Caesar and it works quite well. The pain I mentioned from the rims hitting hard are a small issue but nothing that is a deal breaker once you get use to how the yo-yo plays. Normally I am a bigger fan of Monkeyfinger’s safer designs, but what Chris Allen came up with here is quite the player and would be an excellent yo-yo for anyone who wants to learn while also increasing the speed of their play.