CLYW Peak (Final Run Edition)
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
September 19, 2010
It is with a heavy heart that I write this review. This is it, the final run of CLYW’s signature yo-yo, the Peak. Earlier this year Chris Mikulin announced to the yo-yo community that the Peak had been retired. The official reason, straight from Mikulin himself, is that he wants to focus on new things. He did not want to flood the market with more just to make a few extra bucks. He also decided the time had come due to a switch in machine shops. The Peaks were made at the old shop while the rest of the CLYW line was being machined at his new shop, he did not want to affect production on newer designs. The Peak has had a long and happy life in the community. In a day and age when a yo-yo is usually given one or two runs and then cast aside, the Peak is an anomaly. Chris Mikulin and Paul Wallace of G-String fame designed it way back in 2006. During the four-year run we have been introduced to Levi McCarroll and his brilliant paintings using the Peak as his canvas (My personal favorite is the Scottish Tartan Peak). We have watched as CLYW has brought out innovative acid washes and splatter anodized finishes, again using the Peak as their canvas. We have witnessed the altruistic nature of the yo-yo community with CLYW’s special release of the “28 Stories” Peak where a portion of each sale went to the charities that combat the spread of AIDS in Africa. All in all we have watched the Peak revolutionize and refine many of the things that we now take for granted in the industry today. With all of that Mikulin is still a tinkerer at heart. This final run has been tweaked to play better than the previous runs. It has a different diameter and weight giving what Chris states is a truer feel to the original Peaks brought out in 2006. Today we will look at the final run Peak and see if this is the swansong that it should go out on or if it is a note falls flat.
- Diameter: 54.5 mm
- Width: 42.15 mm
- Gap: 4 mm
- Weight: 67 grams
- Bearing: C-Sized Steel Bearing
- Response: Flowable Silicone
The shape of the Peak is an inspired combination of its creators’ favorite yo-yos at the time, Paul’s YoYoJam Hitman and Chris’ YoYoFactory 401K. Extra design cues were brought in by Levi who helped with the rippled inner hub of the yo-yo. The result is a full sized metal that checks every box on the imaginary list of what modern players look for in a yo-yo today. This last run has a similar look to the original run from back in 2006, bringing back the more rounded and flowing nature of the original release. The outer diameter of the final run has been slightly tweaked giving it a slightly larger presence in the hand. As far as the actual construction of the yo-yo is concerned, it is a Peak through and through. Chances are everyone that is reading this review has thrown a Peak or at the very least knows what it looks like. For those that don’t, the catch zone has classic butterfly curve into a high walled gap. The rims are slightly flattened with a rounded edge giving it a comfortable feel when it hits the hand. When held in the hand the Peak just feels at home when resting on your middle finger. The cups of the yo-yo are large and obstruction free. There is a pointed hub spike in the middle that is too blunt to matador. There is also an IGR in the cup that is perfect for thumb grinds. While the design of the final run Peaks is a throwback to the original designs, the finish is straight out of the latest runs of CLYW products. It is hard to capture in a photo but the “Krisztian Kaluzsa Edition” Peak being reviewed today has an intriguing and unique finish that needs to be seen in person to truly appreciate it. At first glance it looks like any other splash, a blue base with orange splash. On closer inspection you begin to see a different effect, what CLYW calls clear splash. What it looks like is that the yo-yo was masked off prior to bead blasting, giving it the appearance of polished splatter mixed in with the bead blast, catching the light in different ways. It is very hard to explain but gives a one of a kind look to it that I have yet to see replicated by another company.
The weight is the other area that has been tweaked by CLYW on this final run. Having played both an original painted Peak and a first run 28 Stories Peak I can say that Chris has achieved his goal of replicating that feel in this final run. It is light and floaty on the string, as every Peak should be. At the same time it still feels solid on the throw while giving a great amount of spin time.
Response and Bearing
The flowable silicone response of the Peak has always been the standard for me when it comes to comparing flowable silicone. You can correct me if I am wrong but I do believe Chris has been shipping flowable silicone response yo-yos longer than any other company. He has perfected the art of installing it and has given us some of the best looking and best playing flowable silicone to date. I have used CLYW as my benchmark when it comes to installing flowable in my own yo-yos.
The bearing is CLYW’s standard dry 8-Ball bearing. Not much to say, it spins for quite some time while staying relatively quiet. I was surprised to see the steel 8-ball in the final run. With it being the final release I would have liked to see the fabled CLYW ceramic bearing in this run, just to go out on an even higher note. It in no way diminishes the yo-yo, just something I would have personally liked to see.
As stated above, this version of the Peak plays like the original runs. Other runs play well, and really have nothing wrong with them but the original run and that first 28 Stories just had a different feel on the string. They had more character to them; again it is just hard to explain. What you get with the final Peak is a floaty beast of a player. It is smooth on the string, with none of the characteristic CLYW vibe that people talk about. It powers through tricks with ease. The catch zone is decently sized but can get snaggy with too many layers in the gap. Grinds are amazing on this Peak. The bead blast finish, even with that clear splash, grinds on the finger, palm, and arm for quite a long time. The IGR is a snap to catch even for those that suffer from sausage thumb, such as myself. All in all, the play of this yo-yo is a culmination of everything that CLYW has offered in the Peak run.
I had such a hard time writing this review. How do you write a review for such an established yo-yo in the industry? It felt more like a eulogy instead of a review. I so wanted to start the opening paragraph with “Friends, throwers, community members, lend me your ears. I have come to praise the Peak, not to bury it”. I know, cheesy, but that is how I felt while writing this review. The Peak is one of those yo-yos that any serious player needs to throw, right up there with other retirees such as the Project, Torrent, and even the Oxy 4; yo-yos that everyone talk about. When it comes to the final run Peak, do not hesitate on picking one up. I consider it to be the best version of the Peak. It harkens back to the initial runs, giving the player that unique feel that came with this special metal while at the same time pulling in all the refinements that 4 years of tweaks, tweaks, and more tweaks can give this venerable design. This really is the way to give the Peak a send off. My only hope is that it isn’t gone forever. Maybe we can get Chris to revisit the Peak every year or so for a very small anniversary run like others have done with their initial releases.
Special Thanks go out to Matt Coe for generously loaning us his personal Final Run Peak for review. Without readers like you this review would not have been possible.