Welcome to the review of the King Yo Star Pax, the latest yo-yo from Jeremy “Mr. YoyoThrower” McKay and the KYSC team!
I have to say that there are some real advantages to knowing Jeremy “Mr. YoyoThrower” McKay personally. First off, he is a great resource for learning new material and he readily helps me (and others) learn new tricks. Second, since he runs the Return Top Shop, he is a great guy to go to locally for yo-yo supplies. Finally, and most importantly for this review, he is the main man behind King Yo Star, which often allows me to get my hands on any new KYSC throws coming down the pipeline before they go public.
Such is the case with the King Yo Star Pax. Those that are regular readers of Cyyclical may recall that I dropped hints in the past about an incoming KYSC throw that I was quite excited about. Well, the Pax is that throw and today is the day to finally talk about it!
As was the case with the KYSC Pun, I also want to be transparent about the fact that I am reviewing a yo-yo designed by a friend in the throwing community. I will make every effort to be objective, but nonetheless keep that in mind.
OK, with that out of the way, let’s get on with it!
Here is the TL;DR summary for those that want it: I am really impressed with the King Yo Star Pax. It is a smooth playing yo-yo that is fantastic for just sitting back (figuratively) and having fun. Its mass distribution is well balanced, giving it a nice floaty feel and creating a throw that doesn’t resist you moving it around on the string. The Pax should also be a great yo-yo for newer players looking for something to learn and grow with. And perhaps the best part is that the Pax retails for only $65 USD, giving it an excellent performance to price ratio.
The King Yo Star Pax
I got my hands on the original King Yo Star Pax late in 2015, although it was only for a brief amount of play time since it was Jeremy’s only copy. It was a long few months before the first run arrived and I was able to pick up my own copy (which I have had for a couple of months now). Anyway, returning to the time when I first saw it, I remember having a bit of a “what the…?” moment. Even now when I look at it, there is still something about the Pax that strikes me as unique, although upon closer inspection I have a harder time articulating what exactly causes that gut reaction. Funnily enough, I learned recently that Jeremy also had a similar reaction, which is described briefly in his official statement regarding the King Yo Star Pax:
“When we at King Yo Star first started designing the Pax I was inspired by concept behind the O-type shapes of the One Drop Markmont Classic, Square Wheels Nomad, and One Drop Downbeat. These throws were designed to satisfy the desire for a throw that is just something to chill out and enjoy, and I wanted something with a similar feel. When I got the prototype for this throw I took one look and said ‘this wasn’t what I wanted’. But then I threw it, and it was more than I was hoping for. Others threw it as well, and I was told pretty firmly that I needed to produce the Pax “as is”, so I did! One of the kids in the Vancouver Yoyo club said to me ‘This yo-yo has a really chill feel and you should call it Pax, which is Latin for peace’. So there it is.”
After playing with the Pax for a couple of months now I can confirm that the Pax is in fact a great yo-yo to relax and have fun with. Let’s dive in and take a closer look.
- Diameter: 57 mm
- Width: 45 mm
- Weight: 66 grams
- Bearing: Size C grooved concave
- Response: MonkeyfingeR Monkey Snot
The Pax is made from machined 6061 aluminum. As far as I know, there aren’t any plans to make a 7075 aluminum or alternate metal version.
Size and Shape
In terms of overall size, the Pax sits slightly on the larger side of things, while the 66 grams of mass sits about average for a modern design. Having a smaller mass pushed out over a larger amount of space gives the Pax a nice light feel on the string, and it never feels like you need to force the Pax to respond to your input during tricks. There is also a relatively thick rim on the Pax which helps push some of the weight to the outside and give it decent stability.
As I mentioned above, the Pax made me do a double take when I first saw it, although it isn’t like its shape seems all that unusual upon closer inspection. I think it is because the W/O-type hybrid shape that it uses seems extreme at first glance. What I mean is that when I first saw it from a bit of a distance without holding it, it looked like the outer rims almost go straight across (i.e. parallel to the axle) before diving into the bearing gap. That isn’t actually the case, but you can see that the top angle of the “wings” seems quite shallow until it rounds down into the gap. It seemed odd to me at first but I really like it in practice. The Pax really isn’t all that far off from being a full on O-type shape. There is also a tiny step next to the response groove to help give the string some extra clearance, which is a feature that I like a lot (as regular readers probably already know).
One other thing to mention is that the inner cups are almost completely smooth save for a tiny dimple in the very center above the axle. This is bonus for anyone that likes doing horizontal finger spins since there isn’t any raised hub region to get in the way. Plus it gives the Pax a nice clean and smooth appearance.
The original Pax prototype that I saw back in 2015 had a slightly matte, almost powdery, feel to it that I quite liked. The production run Pax on the other hand has a more slightly more polished surface, although it is still bead blasted to a certain degree. This gives the Pax a nice smooth feel that is pleasant in the hand. The anodized colourways are limited in number but those that are available are all great combinations (I had a difficult time choosing one for myself).
Bearing and Response
The Pax ships with a generic grooved concave bearing that works well and seems plenty smooth to me. As is the general case, if you like centering bearings you will probably be more than happy with the stock bearing. If not, it is a simple matter to swap it out for something flat or non-grooved.
The production Pax run actually shipped with some white silicone pads that were exceptionally grippy. In fact, both Jeremy and I both felt they were causing far too much friction and negatively impacting spin times. Jeremy thus decided to ditch the pads and instead opted to use recessed Monkey Snot flowable silicone from MonkeyfingeR. I replaced mine with recessed flowable silicone and I am happy to report that the Pax works really well as a result. As I like to say…there when you need it, out of the way when you don’t.
OK, here we are at last. I might as well start off by saying that I really like the Pax. I was very intrigued by the prototype and I waited anxiously for the production run to arrive. In fact, so excited that I actually gave Jeremy a ride to the shipping depot to pick up the Pax run so that I didn’t have to wait any longer than I had to in order to get a hold of one. As I said earlier, I am a couple of months in since grabbing my Pax from Jeremy and I am happy to say that other than the minor issue with the original response pads I haven’t yet been disappointed with this yo-yo.
The Pax is trying to be floaty. The Pax is trying to be friendly. The Pax is trying to be fun. From my point of view, it succeeds rather well on all of those fronts. When I work through tricks and combos with the Pax, it always feels fluid and tempered. It never fights with me to move around or change pace. Once the response was swapped out (something that none of you will need to worry about), I had plenty of spin to work with. I should also mention that the Pax in my possession might very well be one of the smoothest throws I own in terms of balance.
One thing that is a bit tricky is finger grinds. I think that perhaps my index finger just fits the gap in such a way that it makes far too much contact and kills the spin quickly. Because of this excessive contact, I found that the Pax couldn’t grind as long as many of the other throws that I have. However, this is a minor niggle and might not even be something that others will notice.
Thanks to its average weight and larger size, the Pax is not a speed demon. Nor is it a performance machine if you are competitively minded, but if you buy the Pax looking for that type of play then you are missing the point. The Pax is about pulling back rather than pushing forward. It is about chilling out and enjoying the ride. In fact, I enjoy the Pax so much for this type of play that I am actually elevating it to the top spot in my “Time to Chill” category of the Cyyclical Core Throws. I didn’t actually think anything would supplant the One Drop Downbeat, but after throwing them side by side I have to admit that I tend to prefer the Pax over the Downbeat. I never thought this day would come.
All hail the Pax!
Well, as you can tell, I rather like the Pax. It is fun to throw around, especially if you are in the mood for relaxation as opposed to performance and speed. It is currently my top pick in my collection for chilling out and throwing for no other reason than to simply lose myself in throwing without worry about tricks or combos or technique. I think it would also be an excellent throw for newer players to cut their teeth on.
Finally, I haven’t yet really talked about what might be the absolute best part about the Pax, and that is the price. Jeremy and King Yo Star are continuing their campaign to produce yo-yos that can punch far above their weight and compete with throws that are far more expensive. The anodized splash Pax retails for $65 USD, and honestly for that price the Pax is a steal, especially given how much fun it is. King Yo Star continues produce throws with excellent performance to price ratios, and I hope this trend carries on.
If you are looking for a fun throw with a laid back feel for a great price then I recommend giving the King Yo Star Pax a look.
As always, enjoy your throwing!
[Thanks to Mat B. for helping to edit this review.]