Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
July 29, 2014
Yoyofficer is one of those companies that came out of nowhere and made a big splash on the yo-yo scene. It officially started way back in 2012 in China but really didn’t become a big name in the west until last year. Before then it was one of those companies that people talked about in the forums occasionally and those in the know sought them out in their BST of choice. Today is my first real experience with the brand. I had read many reviews of their previous designs on the various forums, most of which had some good things to say about the company so I figured it was time to find out for myself. After being contacted by František Bína, who is part of Yoyofficer’s European marketing team, we decided the Musket would be the one to start me off with. Now I get to see what this company has to offer while doing what I like to do best, play with a new brand.
• Diameter: 55 mm
• Width: 44 mm
• Gap: 4 mm
• Weight: 66.6 grams
• Bearing: Curved string centering C-Size Bearing
• Response: Black silicone pads
The profile of the Musket shows a melding of organic and V-Shape profiles with large rounded rims that transition to a flat V-Shape catch zone leading straight into the no-walled gap. The walls of the catch zone sport a riff on the projection profile made famous by the One Drop Project, with large grooves breaking up the visuals of the outer wall. One thing I look for, which the Musket has, is a nice rounding to the edge of the rim. You can tell a lot of thought went into making comfort a priority when they designed this throw. The cup sports a step in design with the weight shifted slightly towards the center of the yo-yo, a design that has been quite popular with western companies such as General Yo, One Drop, and CLYW. There is no IGR cut into the underside of the rim but there is a lip near the edge that looks like it might be usable for thumb grinds. The floor of the cup is basically flat with just the smallest of hubs in the center to help accommodate a longer axle. The finish feels blasted or at least aggressively tumbled allowing for a smooth, grindable finish that does not feel sticky in humid weather. Overall, the design is impressive. It feels great in the hand and has a unique look without being too over the top.
The Musket tips the scales at 66.6 grams putting it just over middle of the road for my weight preferences. It is solid with slight float on the string and plays at a medium pace most of the time but I found it quite easy to ramp up the speed when I wanted faster play. The spin times were excellent, giving no spinouts while executing long combos or, in my case, fumbling about while learning new tricks.
Response and Bearing
Response and bearing… the two areas I tend to be the most critical. Not surprising since they are two of the three most subjective parts of throwing, with string choice being the third. The Musket comes with a concave C-size bearing and a set of black silicone pads, neither of which I am a fan. I have never liked black pads just because they end up making the string look dirty. These in particular are also extremely grippy and caused a few knuckle-dusters before breaking them in. The string centering bearing is just not my thing; I prefer flat bearings for their feel and lower noise. Now I must say, none of these are a deal breaker since, as I said, both are subjective and easily fixed. After my review session I ended up swapping the bearing and replaced one pad with a shaved down Flow Groove Pad, which gave it the feel I look for in a yo-yo.
This is a nearly smooth yo-yo. There is a hair bit of vibe on grinds but on the string it is virtually undetectable and completely excusable since this is a $45 yo-yo. If it were $200 I would be much more critical. The play of the Musket was impressive on many levels and I can see it fitting in with many different play styles. I found it to be stable during both horizontal and regular play with little to no problem getting it to go off axis during gyro tricks. The wide catch zone is easy to hit. Combine that with the medium speed nature of its play and this becomes a good ‘next step’ yo-yo for those players that are graduating towards intermediate tricks and are looking for something that they can grow with. The finish on the Musket lends itself to above average grinds. I had decent control over the grinds with it rarely shooting off when I didn’t want it to. Thumb grinds are acceptable on the previously mentioned lip but did slip off from time to time. At the end of the day, the play on the Musket is quite solid.
So, for my first outing with a Yoyofficer product I walked away pleased. The Musket is a good value for the performance you get. Any issues I had are easily fixed if they don’t meet your preferences and were completely subjective. The Musket is definitely a decent alternative for those looking for a metal yo-yo while being on a plastic budget.