Welcome to the review of the MonkeyfingeR Prime8, the latest yo-yo from the Zoo and the new signature throw of team captain Tyler Jorgensen!
It feels like it has been awhile since there was a MonkeyfineR review around here. Thankfully we can now break that drought thanks to the impending release of the latest MonkeyfingeR yo-yo, the Prime8. The official release date of the Prime8 is set for December 9, which is only 3 days away!
The Prime8 is a yo-yo that I have been excited for ever since I saw the prototype shape back at PNWR earlier this year. Thankfully, MonkeyfingeR Ray was kind enough to provide a couple of them for us to try out and review ahead of the launch. Watch for these review models to be given away as prizes to the throwing community in the future.
Now, full disclosure time. I have since become good friends with MonkeyfingeR Ray and I discuss yo-yos with him on a regular basis. Plus, as most of you know, I am a bit of a MonkeyfingeR fan in general. I want to be upfront about that before you read this review. Fortunately I am joined in this review by Mat B. If you don’t trust my opinion on the Prime8 then I encourage you to focus more on his part of the review.
With that out of way, it is time to crack on!
The MonkeyfingeR Prime8
The MonkeyfingeR Prime8 is the new signature throw of team captain Tyler Jorgensen. On a side note, I met Tyler at PNWR and he is a really great guy. Tyler is responsible for the overall choice of shape for the Prime8, with Ray only helping to tweak the design here and there. Tyler was kind enough to send me his thoughts on the Prime8 design philosophy:
“When we first worked on the Prime8’s shape I really wanted to design something with some good rim weight. And my experience has been that H-type shape designs feel great when throw them. I also just wanted something that was super fun, because throwing is all about the fun in my mind. Thus, I wanted it to play light but still have a little oomph to it.”
So, let’s have a look at the Prime8 and see how it plays.
- Diameter: 55.0 mm
- Width: 43.5 mm
- Weight: 65.0 grams
- Bearing: Size C Tasmanian Tornado ceramic hybrid centering
- Response: Monkey Snot flowable silicone
- Material: 6061 or 7075 aluminum (6061 version reviewed here)
Size and Weight
MB: The Prime8 is a full size design with a diameter of 55 mm and a fairly average weight of 65 grams. Players who enjoy organics with healthy rim weight will find a lot to like in the Prime8. I found the design to fit my hand well and the weight to be comfortable. On a throw this simian proves how much power those rims pack – more on that in the play section below.
JT: There isn’t anything particularly striking in the specs of the Prime8. The mass of 65 grams is middle of the road, as is the diameter. The relative width of the Prime8 is perhaps a touch above average but nothing noticeable. Quite a nice all-rounder in terms of the specs, although I will touch on the weight of the Prime8 again later on.
MB: I consider the Prime8 to be an organic shape, however it does carry some extra rim mass that could draw light comparison to H shaped designs. The raised rims follow the curve of the catch zone and provide a comfortable perch for my index and ring fingers. My middle finger rests very happily in the catch zone. A small bump near the response helps keep the string away from the walls during play. I initially likened the profile of the Prime8 to that of the SPYY Punchline, yet after looking more closely it is clear that the Prime8 has quite a bit more mass on the rims.
The cup showcases several complex cuts on the outer edge which transition to a mostly open center face which highlights Monkeyfinger’s stellar anodization. Weight is pushed towards the rims by a couple of concave cuts that create two very usable IRGs which accommodate thumbs and other digits quite nicely. The center of the cup features a small rounded nipple that is unique to MFD’s lineup.
JT: The shape of the Prime8 is a pretty clear H/O-type hybrid with some distinct rims and an organic centre. I have to say that this shape is now my favourite shape, by far. And that isn’t due to just the Prime8, but rather the multiple throws that have come my way using that shape. That includes the G2 Hawk, Vosun Galsang, and a Ti-Walker replica. There are a number of other yo-yos coming down the pipeline using this shape such as the soon-to-hit OD Kraken and YYWS Capstan. It is a great shape with great stability, performance, and comfort. Thumbs up for Prime8 on this score.
Bearing and Response
MB: The bearing included with the Prime8 is Monkeyfinger’s Tasmanian Tornado. It is a string centering hybrid bearing that features a steel cage and ceramic balls. It spins smoothly and provides good sleep times. The response is Monkeyfinger’s own Monkey Snot. This silicone response is perfectly poured and recessed so it stays out of the way during play and provides tight binds when needed.
JT: As always, MonkeyfingeR ships their yo-yos with Monkey Snot flowable silicone and a Tasmanian Tornado hybrid ceramic bearing. The Prime8 is no exception. MonkeyfingeR Ray pours the silicone to be recessed into the groove, which I find to be an excellent arrangement. There where you need it, out of mind when you don’t. The bearing is an excellent player and should suit everyone other than those that prefer flats. No complaints here from me.
MB: On my first throw the Prime8 surprised me with a more performance oriented weight distribution than I was expecting. I would have guessed it weighed closer to 67g based on its inertia. The strong spin is accompanied by great stability which helped me power through every trick I could think of and assisted me in learning a couple of new ones. The only negative thing I could say about the initial throw was that the Prime8 hits the end of the string with more of a “thunk” than I would normally prefer.
The catch zone is easy to hit during hops and slack tricks and the rounded profile benefits string rejections. The Prime8 is quite maneuverable and I never had problems getting it to respond to my inputs. It is not quite as zippy as the Tri-B, but the Tri-B is also not as powerful as the Prime8.
The finish on the Prime8 is MFD’s outstanding blast which provides a smooth feel in the hand and superb performance during grinds. I was able to perform finger and palm grinds with ease. The lip design offers two spots for a thumb or other digit to fit into and both areas accommodated thumb and talon grinds well. Finger spins are also possible, however once the throw is fully horizontal the hub design causes the throw to rotate around the finger. Overall the play of the Prime8 is excellent.
JT: As I have already said, the Prime8’s shape is my personal favourite because of the excellent balance between performance and comfort. The rims give it plenty of momentum during play, and thus spins and stability are both rock solid. It isn’t going to compete with dedicated competition yo-yos but it is a step in the right direction. I own every current throw from MonkeyfingeR and in my opinion the Prime8 is their best performing yo-yo yet. And besides, it is just a tonne of fun to throw.
However, that isn’t to say that it is without shortcomings. The Prime8 is decently fast and it is easy to get it moving. Having said that, something in me feels like it would play slightly better if it had about one gram of mass shaved off. This would give it the same mass of the Tri-B but with a higher performing shape. A bit more zing perhaps. But then again I am not a yo-yo designer and thus I probably have no idea what I am talking about.
One interesting aspect of the Prime8 is the double inner grind rings. If you manage it, you can thumb grind in two different places. Personally, I think the inner ring of the two is superfluous. Additionally, they are quite sharp and I am not a fan of any sharp points and edges on a yo-yo. Still, unless you do tones of thumb and finger grinds you probably won’t notice this. I also happen to know that these were added by Tyler and Ray as a design experiment for adding some extra weight to the outside. Kudos for trying something new in their designs.
MB: The Prime8 is another great throw from MonkeyfingeR. Ray and Tyler have managed to create design that has a unique appearance and weight distribution and packs a great deal of performance in a comfortable shape that is topped off with terrific anodization. If you are new to MonkeyfingeR, this throw and the Tri-B are the best introductions to the brand. If you want something that is lighter and more of an all-around performer, get the Tri-B. If you want a rounder shape that sports some extra performance that has some more heft behind it, go for the Prime8. Fans of the MonkeyfingeR should get ready to put an order in when these go on sale soon.
JT: Well I can easily say that the Prime8 is now my favourite yo-yo from MonkeyfingeR. Yeah I know, a fanboy. Nonetheless I think the Prime8 is a winner. And since I find it to perform better than my venerable Tri-B I must reluctantly promote it into the top spot in the Wild Card category of my Core Throw. I never thought the Tri-B would be supplanted, but if push came to shove I would have to choose the Prime8 over the Tri-B. That almost pains me to say.
Anyway, if you are a MonkeyfingeR fan then the Prime8 is one to check out. If you like H/O-type shapes then should also give it a look. I really hope that MonkeyfingeR keeps the trend of exploring increased performance and interesting shapes. Oh, and I think Tyler should be quite proud of his new signature yo-yo.
Thanks again to Mat B. for helping me out with this review. I guess I could also thank MonkeyfingeR Design for providing all of the strings used for this joint review, but that probably goes without saying in this case.
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. These were compiled by both Mat and myself.
+ Comfort: the organic nature of the shape fits comfortably in the hand.
+ Stability: the H/O-type shape provides great stability.
+ Spin times: like the stability, the shape grants some decent spin times.
+ Anodization: seriously, you have to ask? This is MonkeyfingeR so the anodization is top-notch for both looks and grinds.
+ Design: admittedly this is a personal preference, but we reallly dig this particular shape.
– Sharp edges: the inner grind rings are really sharp.
– String dead zone: there is a noticeable “thunk” as the Prime8 hits the end of the string.
+/- Weight: the 65 grams of mass felt like it could have been shaved down by a gram to give the Prime8 some extra zip, but others may like the weight just as it is.
+/- Superfluous grind ring: having the double inner grind rings looks cool, but one would have been enough. However, since these were added for weight rather than grind functionality, we will call it as neutral.