Welcome to the review of the Ineffable Throws SpellBound, the maiden voyage yo-yo from Ineffable Throws and Ryan Swingholm!
So this review represents a new and rather interesting experience for me. Back in the middle of summer, Ryan Swingholm from Ineffable Throws (previously Velocity Throws) contacted me and asked if I would help beta test a new yo-yo that he had designed. Admittedly I was a bit unsure about contributing because I don’t really know what goes into making or tweaking a yo-yo. Nonetheless, I was intrigued and so I agreed. Ryan sent over a prototype tester of what would become known as the Ineffable SpellBound and I had at it.
Actually both Jeremy “Mr. Yoyothrower” McKay and I spent some time chucking the prototype around and we submitted a list of recommendations. Fast forward to about a month and a half ago. Lo and behold, Ryan sends along the next version of the SpellBound that, as it turns out, was destined to be the final production version. Most of the changes we suggested had been implemented and the final version was (and still is) quite impressive. [Note: I do not mean to imply that our feedback was the key to making the SpellBound what it is today. There were a lot of testers, and from what I understand many of them had similar suggestions to ours.]
Ryan informed me a couple of weeks ago that the version I now had in hand was indeed the final version that would go into production. Since I had already been chucking it around for over a month it seemed appropriate to go ahead and review it while I still had possession of it. As I write this the release of the Ineffable Throws SpellBound is set for Friday, December 16, and Ryan hoped to have the review published the morning of the release. Depending on when you are reading this the release is either about to happen or has already happened. Either way, you will need to check out the Ineffable Throws website if you want to snag a SpellBound because that is the only place to buy them for now.
But enough about that, let’s talk about the SpellBound yo-yo!
The Ineffable Throws SpellBound
Ryan is a graphic designer by trade who also happens to love yo-yos. During my email discussions with him he told me about his vision of designing a yo-yo that was not only great to throw but was also a piece of functional art (I am paraphrasing a bit). Production value and presentation value are both paramount for Ryan, and that really shines through in the SpellBound. Here is the official blurb from Ryan regarding the yo-yo:
“Drawing from my roots as a gamer, collector, and designer I aspired to create SpellBound. I wanted to create something truly special that would appeal to all yo-yo fans, so I went to the community and had a group of at least 20 people of all skill levels give it a try and provide feedback. In the end I think we came up with a stunning profile and fantastic player. I really hope that its something the community will enjoy both on the shelf and whipping around the string.”
So, with that being said, let’s have a closer look at the SpellBound. As you will see, this review will be somewhat different in terms of what I will cover. It is also a bit odd to be flying solo on a review again, but it is hopefully like riding a bike!
- Diameter: 55.0 mm
- Width: 44.0 mm
- Weight: 65.0 grams
- Bearing: Size C centering
- Response: 19 mm pads
- Material: 7075 aluminum
Size and Weight
The diameter of the SpellBound places it squarely in the full size category, while the weight is sort of sitting around or just below average. The relative width of the Spellbound put it right at the threshold of what I would call “semi-wide” but that is probably open to debate. In short, the Spellbound has typical dimensions and specs that should feel right at home for most throwers. The weight of the 7075 aluminum is distributed nicely over the shape of the yo-yo. More on that later.
The SpellBound has a fairly distinct W-ype shape going on, other than the extra little step by the response groove. Depending how you define it, one might say that the inner zone could be labelled as H-type. Seems pretty much a W-type shape to me though.
The inner cups are quite simplistic with no inner grind ring. There is an extra indented area around the hub, giving the inner cup a two tiered look. One thing to mention is that, with the exception of the rim edges which are rounded off, everything is hard angles. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but I thought I would mention it. It is getting rare for me to encounter yo-yos that don’t have at least some curved surfaces down to the bearing or inside the cup. Overall I like the shape even though I am more of a H/O-type guy these days.
Bearing and Response
The centering bearing and response pads are generic as far as I can tell. Both work well and I have no complaints or comments about either. I am going to push on because I want to talk about some other aspects of the SpellBound that I don’t usually touch upon in my reviews.
Now here is a topic that I haven’t included in my reviews for some time. However, not talking about the surface finish in the case of the SpellBound would be a grave injustice. The anodized colourways over the 7075 aluminum are great and the available choices all look amazing. The black and red Blood Ritual colourway of my tester yo-yo is really attractive even in its relative simplicity. Still, the colourways aren’t really anything out of the ordinary.
What is out of the ordinary, at least in my opinion, is the laser engraving work on the SpellBound. The design is absolutely stunning as you can see in some of the pictures. The design was created by Ryan, and it easily sets the SpellBound apart from anything in my collection. It really does make the SpellBound a piece of functional art. If for no other reason, I would say buy the SpellBound just for the impressive laser engraving.
Say what? Packaging? How is that a consideration for a review? Well, normally it wouldn’t be, but the SpellBound’s packaging simply isn’t typical. Instead of a cardboard box or fabric pouch, the SpellBound ships with a hefty metal storage case that is itself a work of art. Also designed by Ryan, this metal case comprises two solid halves that are bolted together to form a protective cavity around the SpellBound. The outside of the case is engraved with more of Ryan’s design work, and the case doubles as a display stand. There is even a hidden compartment on the bottom for storing extra string and bearings.
You can choose to purchase a Spellbound alone, but honestly the case is such a novel item it would be a shame to not pair them up. However, it does add a hefty cost, raising the price of the SpellBound from about $90 USD to $135 USD! I know that I will grab the case as well when I buy one, but that is just me. Either way, such a deluxe yo-yo case is worth mentioning. I only had a case with my original beta SpellBound and I didn’t think to photograph it before I sent it back. Thankfully, Ryan was able to supply some pictures of the cases, as you can see below.
It is quite clear to me that Ryan has been very diligent in trying to design a yo-yo that is both stylistic and great to throw. Both Jeremy McKay and myself were quite taken with the original prototype that Ryan sent along for testing, and the final version is that much better. In terms of straight up performance the SpellBound is great. The combination of the weight distribution afforded by the 7075 aluminum paired with the shape gives the SpellBound excellent spins times and stability. It has a slight and yet nice amount of heft to it but without feeling ponderous on the string. Good string presence, as I tend to say. Perhaps not the fastest yo-yo that I have tried, but certainly no slouch either.
Despite being all hard angles, the SpellBound isn’t uncomfortable in the hand or to throw and catch. It’s not as form fitting as something with more curves, and I wouldn’t have minded seeing some of the edges rounded off a bit. But having said that, at no point did the edges draw my attention during play.
The inner side of the cup tends towards minimalism, and this resulted in no inner grind ring.. Take note of that if you are seriously into thumb grinds. I managed to get some amount of finger spins happening although I did find the inner cup depression around the hub to be a bit obtuse and it spun off my finger quite easily. Then again I am by no means a finger spin player, and those that are much more into horizontal play and spins will probably do much better with the SpellBound.
The SpellBound is a great player in its own right but to do this yo-yo justice you really need to view it in a larger artistic light. The production and presentation value of the SpellBound is simply top notch. Admittedly, you are going to pay for that value and whether or not that is worth the money will be subjective. I myself am planning on getting my own SpellBound because the combination of performance, design, laser engraving, and collectible case are worth the money in my mind, but of course I can’t speak for you. I don’t see how it wouldn’t be a worthy addition to any collection, but again that is just me. Eventually you will be able to pick up just the SpellBound yo-yo for $80-90 USD, although the case is pretty damned cool and I think you would be missing out on a critical piece of the whole package if you opted out. Either way, I think Ryan has done a stellar job in designing the Ineffable Throws Spellbound and I am impressed with the final result.
Yay, Nay, Could-go-either-way Summary
Please keep in mind that these are purely subjective. One thrower’s negatives may be another thrower’s positives, and vice versa.
+ Weight distribution: I really like the weight distribution of the SpellBound thanks to the 7075 aluminum.
+ Stability: stability of the yo-yo is good thanks to the shape and weight distribution.
+ Spin times: like the stability, the spin times are excellent thanks to the shape and weight.
+ Presentation Value: the laser engraving of the SpellBound and the optional engraved metal case are both top notch and very slick.
– Inner grind ring: there is no inner grind ring for thumbs grinds.
+/- Comfort: I didn’t find the Spellbound uncomfortable, but neither was it all that comfortable. It is unremarkable in this matter.
+/- Finger spins: finger spins seemed possible but I didn’t have huge success with them. Others may (and likely will) have more success.
+/- Price: the SpellBound is pricey when you factor in that you are paying a lot for design, presentation value, and the custom metal case. I think it is worth it, but others may not.