CLYW Advance Scout Review: A Comparison with the Bonfire and the Chief
I have to admit I was on the fence about this release. Generally I’m a huge fan of CLYW and their products. For me they usually strike a perfect balance of quality, craftsmanship, artistry and fun. When I first read the news about the Advance Scout release I planned to pass on it. The design seemed too derivative of the Chief and the Bonfire and I was disappointed that none of the trademark colorways were being offered. Picking the color I’m going to try for is usually one of my favorite parts of a CLYW release. In the end, I decided to give the Advance Scout a shot. Here’s what I found…
What’s in the box
The Advance Scout comes in CLYW’s standard brown box. The box art is not up to the normal CLYW standard. They’re saving the full blown scout artwork for the official release. This release has a simple CLYW pick axe with ADVANCE SCOUT stamped in the color of the yoyo inside. I thought the idea of using different colors for each solid color Advance Scout was a cool and fun idea which is very typical of CLYW. In practice, it didn’t work that well. I purchased the Orange version and the Orange text on the brown box is very hard to see.
In the box you’ll find the usual bird’s nest packaging protecting the yoyo along with a fresh neon yellow Kitty String and an embroidered CLYW pick axe patch. The patch is a first for CLYW and is very well done. The Advance Scout comes with a CTX bearing and white snow tires. I find the snow tires response to be as good as any and have no complaints. I couldn’t be happier that CLYW has gone back to CTX bearings. I hated the flat 10 ball bearings they’ve been using for the past few releases. They were some of the worst bearing I’ve ever used, whereas the CTX bearing is my favorite. I had to replace the bearing in my Bonfire almost immediately. Even after a thorough cleaning and lubing it played loud and rough and made an otherwise very smooth Bonfire, vibey.
Here is a quick comparison of the specs for all three yoyos (Note: Chief weight varies by release). In general I found the Advance Scout felt very similar to the Chief size wise. I found I really didn’t notice the difference in width between the two.
[b]Bonfire[/b] Diameter: 55.10 mm / 2.17 inches Width: 45.25 mm / 1.78 inches Gap Width: 4.15 mm / .16 inches Weight: 65.9 grams [b]Chief[/b] Diameter: 56.52 mm / 2.22 inches Width: 44.47 mm / 1.75 inches Gap Width: 4.22 mm / .16 inches Weight: 66.2 grams [b]Advance Scout[/b] Diameter: 56.48mm Width: 43.5mm Gap: 4.2mm Weight: 67.07 grams
The design, is it art
I look at yoyos as playable art. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy collecting them so much. I was worried that the Advance Scout was going to be a simple mashup of the Bonfire catch zone and the Chief cup. In reality the Advance Scout is much more Chief than Bonfire. In fact the only thing it really takes from the Bonfire are the cuts in the catch zone and more of a V shape. That said the inner catch zone matches the Chief as does the rounded rim. I was a big fan of the CLYW inner ring and was disappointed when it was completely eliminated from the 2014 releases. I was happy to see its return in the Advance Scout. This iteration of the double ring is much more subdued than previous incarnations, especially the Chief. It is easy to envision how this ring will be replaced by the BVM2 step/ridge in the final version of the Scout. The other small difference in the cup is the size of the center post. It appears to be slightly larger in diameter.
There’s not much to say about the colorways for this release. 5 solid colors, very nice shades of pink, orange and blue, but pretty lackluster compared to the usual CLYW colorways. The solid color annodization is of the usual quality you’d expect from CLYW and the finish is excellent for grinding and consistent with other CLYW throws. Mine arrived with no defects or flaws. I purchased the Orange and it is a very nice orange/copper color. However, given the option, I would have preferred a fade, splash, speckle combination, something a little more artistic.
How does it play
Now the important question, how does it play? The obvious comparisons are to the Chief and the Bonfire. I own and like both yoyos. I found almost no similarities between the Bonfire and the Advanced Scout. The Bonfire feels distinctly smaller and plays very light and fast on the string in my opinion. I wouldn’t say that about either the Chief or the Advanced Scout. The Advanced Scout feels to me like an evolution of the Chief. The Chief plays heavy and slow on the string in my opinion. It’s laid back and floaty. The Advanced Scout plays faster and lighter (even though it’s actually heavier), but with a related feel. The Advanced Scout could easily have been named the Chief 2.
Based on my current preference for lighter feeling yoyos, I prefer the way the Advanced Scout plays compared to the Chief. In general I feel like the 2014 line has been a move towards lighter, faster, but still very stable throws. The Advanced Scout continues the trend. I couldn’t be happier with the way this yoyo plays, the one CLYW sent me is dead smooth, not even a hint of vibe. I am very interested to see how the final version of the Scout compares to this one.
Is it a good value
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate the Advanced Scout a 6/10. This is one the lowest scores I would give a yoyo of this quality. CLYW produces a premium product at premium price point. In general premium products are not high on the value scale. If you’re looking for a top value try the yoyofactory shutter, it’s pretty hard to beat. I would usually rate CLYW throws higher on the value scale. While their product is offered at a higher price point than other comparable yoyos, they usually add a unique fun factor that I feel increases their value. I rated this release so low, because I really feel it suffered due to the lack of exotic colorways.
My conclusion, would I buy it again
I don’t sell or trade yoyos, so I take each purchase fairly seriously. Once it’s in my collection it stays there. This yoyo is a player. I like the Chief and it is an essential part of my collection, but it does not get a lot of play. I prefer the bonfire and play it constantly. The Advance Scout fixes all the things I don’t like about the Chief. It has a great feel and will be one of my go to throws for some time to come. Overall, I’m happy I decided to purchase this yoyo. That said, I would have gladly paid $20 more for some colorway options.
This yoyo continues a tradition of high quality throws with a distinct CLYW feel. If you collect CLYW yoyos, then you won’t be disappointed. However, if you’re looking for your first, or only CLYW, unless you love solid colors, I would look elsewhere. With the solids only limitation I think CLYW has pigeon holed this yoyo as mostly a collectors throw. For everyone else, I think you’d be much better served with another model that offers the full CLYW experience. If you can’t wait, give the Bonfire a shot. Otherwise, if the Advance Scout is any indication, the final release of the Scout may be something worth waiting for.