Monkeyfinger Design Tri-B (A5 7075 Alloy Variant)
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
July 27, 2015
Monkeyfinger Design (also know as MFD) has released its latest effort, the Tri-B (pronounced tribe). The tri referring to the fact that this yo-yo is a combination of the Caesar, Ape-X, and Gelada 2. Before I get into the specifics on the play of the yo-yo I want to touch on a new service that MFD offers, custom anodizing. Usually I do not go over the anodizing much in the reviews because it is so subjective and adds absolutely nothing to the performance of the yo-yo, but in this case I wanted to point it out. Monkeyfinger gives the end user carte blanche to go nuts with the ano job on their yo-yos with the biggest limitation being how much the player wants to spend. This is all done in house and many options are offered in order to get that “perfect” look. When I decided to do this review I also decided to give their new service a shot. Now I will say right off the bat that I cheated, I didn’t go through the easy to use form on Monkeyfinger’s webpage. I am big on giving artists the chance to show off, so I contacted the company directly. They were extremely polite and basically asked me what I had in mind. I am a colossal computer geek, and being such, love the movie Tron. So all I did was send them a picture showing off the lightcycles from the second movie and told them two things: go nuts and surprise me… which they did and then some. They custom masked circuit patterns in the catch zone, acid washed the cups with ghosted circuit board pattern inside each cup, and ghosted “HIGHSPEED YOYO” on the blue rim. Ghosting, for those that may not have seen it in person, is when a manufacturer lays down a custom mask before bead blasting the surface. The result being that anything under the mask retains the polished finish, leaving a shiny pattern on the surface of the yo-yo. The end results are absolutely stunning and turn it into a true work of art. Does any of this add to the play of the yo-yo? Not one bit, but it helped create a much more intimate attachment between yo-yo and me because I knew there is not another one like it and it is something I had a hand in creating. I highly recommend using this service if you have the means to do so, and I cannot stress enough that you just give them some loose guidelines and let them go nuts… they are true anodizing artists. Now with that out of the way it is time to turn to the yo-yo itself and see if it lives up to its looks.
• Diameter: 54.06mm
• Width: 43.04mm
• Gap: 4.30mm
• Weight: 66 grams
• Response: Monkey Snot Flowable Silicone
• Bearing: Monkeyfinger REvolution Hybrid Bearing (Size C)
The profile of the Tri-B has large flat rims with a hard angle at the outer edge and a v-cut at the inner edge that leads to the catch zone. The catch is made up of two flat walls that also meet at an angle before traveling down to the step out from the gap. The best way to describe it is to imagine an old ‘80s computer generated curve where it wasn’t quite round but had enough angles to mimic an organic curve. Think about the Dire Straits video “Money for Nothing” and you will get what I am talking about. (Young people, Google it.) The crazy cuts and lack of true curves gives the Tri-B a cool aesthetic which goes well with the Tron themed ano I requested. The cup stands in contrast with the profile. It starts off with an angle cut step in with more cuts under the rim that forms a v-channel IGR. From there the IGR meets a sweeping organic inner wall that travels to the floor and up to the hub in the center with its concave tip suitable for finger spins. Overall, the design is implemented quite well, and for the most part is comfortable during play. The outer edge can be a tad painful if you catch it wrong but I honestly would not change it. A rounded edge would have messed up the unique and charming look of the profile.
I have the A5 version of the Tri-B so mine is a couple grams heavier than the standard version that is currently stocked at YoYoExpert and such. Even though this is the heavier version it is speedy enough on the string with an incredible amount of stability. The heft gives it a good amount of spin allowing me to fumble through trying to learn the new Paul Kerbel combo that has been floating around Facebook recently.
Response and Bearing
The response is Monkeyfinger’s always excellent Monkey Snot flowable silicone response. As I have said in the past, MFD is one of the only companies that still pours their own response into each yo-yo they sell. They use an excellent, grippy silicone that lasts quite a long time and unlike others that use custom silicone, MFD sells theirs to the general public in a wide variety of colors.
The Tri-B is the first MFD yo-yo to ship with their new REvolution bearing. This is a hybrid bearing with ceramic balls surrounded by a steel cage and races. I found the bearing was exteremely smooth and long spinning but not as quiet as I like. If I had to guess, I would say it ships dry. Not a big problem, one pin drop of lube quieted the beast while retaining all of its better attributes. Definitely a bearing I will be keeping my eyes on.
I am glad I picked up the A5 version of the Tri-B instead of the 6061 version. While this one can be easily pushed to speed demon levels it plays just fine at a medium pace as well, which is where I live 99% of the time that I throw. I have no illusions of being a world class competitor so I don’t need a yo-yo that is going to be amazing at the Tasmanian Devil pace required by all of the amazing tech players currently dominating the stage. If you are into faster throws I have a feeling that the 6061 variant would be a better choice. The speed and stability make this a great yo-yo for intermediate players on up who are looking for a good trainer that will grow with them. Even though the profile mimics an organic shape it is still quite easy to hit with the string and the step out aids in keeping the string open for those that are learning suicide tricks. Grinds on this are amazing, lets just get that out of the way. I have no idea what media MFD uses for their blast finish but it gives some of the smoothest grinds around.
Thankfully the play of this yo-yo is just as impressive as the ano job. The Tri-B is an excellent all around player that fuses some of the Monkeyfinger’s more outlandish past design choices with the play of their more conventional designs giving a wholly unique look and excellent play. About the only thing I can think to ding it on is that they say it fuses three of their previous yo-yos but I cannot for the life of me figure out where their Caesar is in this design.