Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
December 11, 2016
Monkeyfinger Design is back with their latest release; MFD team member Tyler Jorgensen’s signature throw the Prime8. Tyler has been with the yo-yo community for quite some time, working with Mike Montgomery on Yo-Yo Course and then branching out into his own site with The Yo-yo Show. I have said it before, when a signature throw is done properly (meaning when the company works hand in hand with the player to create it) you get to truly know that player and his style, quite a bit more than if you simply watch their videos. I will admit, I have heard of Tyler and I have seen a couple of his videos but I am not as familiar with his work as I am with other players. That is by no means a knock against Mr. Jorgensen, there are so many phenomenal players in the community that it would be a monumental undertaking to familiarize yourself with all their work. That being said, I always look forward to trying a new signature throw so that I can see how others approach this hobby that I love so much.
• Diameter: 55 mm
• Width: 43.5 mm
• Gap: 4.5 mm
• Weight: 64.9 grams
• Bearing: C-Size String Centering Bearing
• Response: Monkey Snot Flowable Silicone
Before I start talking about the design of the Prime8, I should probably talk about the colorway of my particular yo-yo. Monkeyfinger has branched out into some seriously crazy colorways in the past for their products, it has become one of the things they are known for. The Prime8 is no different. The retail colorways are the best part of insane with names to match, my favorites being “Strawberry Smiggles” and “Countdown to Major Tom” (lets be honest here, anything that references Bowie’s Space Oddity gets a thumbs up in my book). If none of the retail colorways catch your eye, then you can go to the MFD Frankenlab and have a custom colorway, complete with masking, made just for you. The last option, which I went with, is to go for an “Artist Proof”. These are usually one off or extremely small run samples made while they are hashing out a new colorway. These are not included in the limited run numbers and come with a certificate of authenticity letting the buyer know how many were made; in my case it was a 1 of 1. Mine was sort of a surprise since I was not given pictures before hand and I am extremely happy with the outcome. While I like that I have a one of a kind yo-yo, I kind of wish it were not the case because in my opinion this colorway works extremely well and I know many other players would like to get one as well.
With all the colorway talk out of the way, lets focus our gaze on the design. The Prime8 profile is dominated by the chunky, rounded rims that make up one half of the hybrid H/O shape. Where the rims meet the organic catch zone there is a small, straight drop that gives off the illusion of having a slight undercut to it. At the gap there is a small step out before dropping to the guts of the yo-yo. An MFD yo-yo would not be a true MFD yo-yo without some sort of crazy and that crazy lives in the cup. There is a small step down just under the rim that transitions into two sharp scalloped cuts, almost like a double IGR, before continuing on with an organic curve to the rounded hub at the center. The whole thing is wrapped in Monkeyfinger’s smooth bead blast finish. Overall, I am a big fan of the Prime8 design. Its looks are reminiscent of an old favorite of mine, the SPYY Punchline while bringing quite a bit more to that old design.
The Prime8 comes in two versions, a 7075 alloy version that weighs 68 grams and the 6061 alloy variant that I am reviewing today that tips the scales at roughly 65 grams. Both of which sell for $105. I can’t speak for the 7075 version but the weighting on the 6061 Prime8 is spot on. It is quick and nimble on the string without being a speed demon. It allows for some long, drawn out combos with its long spin times but can easily be cranked to 11 when you want to push the speed.
Response and Bearing
Monkeyfinger is one of the few companies that still pours their own response instead of relying on silicone pad responses. As a bonus, they sometimes color match the silicone to the colorway, in this case it is has a slight pink hue to the silicone. While there is absolutely nothing wrong this silicone pads, I do prefer a flowable silicone response. There is an art to doing it correctly and when it is done so, the yo-yo has a perfectly recessed response that just feels great during play. The downside is that you need to pour your own when the silicone runs out so you can’t immediately swap and continue with your play.
The bearing is a string centering bearing. While I have maintained that they are not my favorite, this one does not bother me that much. It spins pretty quiet and gets the job done. String centering bearings are becoming the norm with most companies and while I may not like the trend I guess I will have to start getting use to them… or hoard bunch of flat bearings in my case.
I touched on it in the weight section above. This yo-yo is quick and nimble on the string while maintaining a relaxed feel. It is incredibly smooth on the string and just a joy to throw around. It feels great in the hand with no sharp angles to hurt you if you catch it wrong. During a throw session I prefer to chill out and the Prime8 handled that with ease, never feeling like it was being held back. One area where the Prime8 excels is grinds. The blast that MFD uses gives some of the smoothest grinds out there, rivaled only by General Yo’s finish on the 5-Star v.2. I had perfect control of the Prime8 when it was grinding on my finger, palm, or up my arm. Thumb grinds are a unique feel thanks to the sharp edges on the double IGR. I found that when I was catching it with my thumb on a pop up grind I tended to land on the inner most IGR most of the time which was not an issue since the cup was still deep enough that I didn’t rub the tip of my thumb against the inner wall.
Without a hint of hyperbole, I would have to say that this is pretty much the best product that Monkeyfinger has produced, and that is saying something because I am a HUGE fan of the Tri-B and the Gelada 2. The play is spot on, the finish feels great, and it comes in both a 6061 and 7075 versions that cater to fans of heavy throws as well as those who prefer a lighter feel and both sell for the same price. At the end of the day, the only “issue” I have with the Prime8 is that it came with a single color matched string, so when I wear it out I am stuck using my normal orange/pink stings which just won’t look right with this colorway… something that definitely falls under “First World Yo-Yo Problems”.