Bearing maintenance but seems worse…?

Hi fellow yoyoers. I have a question regarding bearing maintenance.

Recently got back to yo-yoing and got couple new throws directly from retail. One of the bearing suddenly became very loud so I decided to clean it.

Before cleaning I tested by flicking it in the bearing seat. Besides being extremely loud, it spins for quite long still.

I cleaned it using 99% isopropyl and used the YYF dark matter lube (just two drop). After giving couple throws it became fully unresponsive, but somehow I feel like it doesn’t spin as long before (when tested using finger on bearing seat).

My question is, does longer bearing spinning time on bearing seat, means longer spin time for the yoyo? Or there is no direct relationship?


Hi davidli.

If you check the description, they do mention that it will slow down, and if some of the lube ends on response pads, will slow down even more.


Welcome to the wonderful world of bearings.

Alcohol - Disloves Oils
What it doesn’t do is remove debris. This is where spinning the still “Wet” bearing will help or using the paper method.

YYF Dark Matter is a graphite-based lubricant. Graphite can be great or problematic. In lube it tends to clump. If/When it dries out, you may notice which way it goes.

In yoyo, spin time is a subjective/relative proposition. While you may get a bearing to spin for 9 to 12 minutes by itself, when “Played” this changes. Other factors come into consideration. String Dragging on the walls of the yoyo for example.

Some of us in responsive play actually use thicker lube to reduce the spin time, but increase the response.

Good luck. Keep asking questions.


But does this slowdown meanings shorter spin time of the yoyo?

Cody made good points. Often debris will be the cause of the very loud bearing. The cage that surrounds the ball bearings fits tight around them, but there still needs to be some breathing room for the bearings to spin. Tiny bits of anything can get lodged in these spaces and then begin grinding into the bearing and/or the structures around it. Eventually this can cause a bearing to seize up. This isn’t a yo-yo issue, it’s an issue that plagues all bearings no matter what they’re used for. Sometimes pressurized air can remove the debris or digging around with paper, but sometimes nothing will remove it and the bearing is no longer usable and needs replaced. Hope this helps to give you a picture of what could happen and this help in troubleshooting in the future.

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I suppose I shall shake the bottle well before apply the dark matter lube right…? It’s what I did

Thanks for all the reply. Any bearing lube recommendations?

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I’ve seen this idea which is probably best for removing debris that is seized in pretty good. Put the bearing in something like a medicine bottle. Closes and seals. Add you solvent of choice. Close, shake vigorously, and hopefully the agitation can remove the stubborn debris.

“Alcohol - Disloves Oils What it doesn’t do is remove debris. This is where spinning the still “Wet” bearing will help or using the paper method.”

This is why I rinse my bearings under the tap then blow them out with pressurized air, after a quick swish in alcohol. I’ve been really successful at restoring loud bearings with this method. I personally don’t use lube.


I am also not one who likes to use lube, so I don’t have suggestions for this.

for unresponsive while i have thin lube i don’t actually use it. ive heard people love onedrop stuff. idk. i usually run my unresponsive yoyos dry and just buy bulk bearings and clean them when they get loud and retire bad bearings to responsive play

now lube for responsive play i got brain lube (super lube) and loads of grease i deploy and can give all kinds of great recommendations.

If you are looking for the maximum “Spin Time”, don’t use any lube. Lube will restrict the movement.

Theoretically adding thin lube to your bearing “Increases” the bearings life. However, in the case of the yoyo, there is no load on the bearing. Unlike other things bearings are used for.

So it then becomes a question of “Maintenance” or “Replacement”. In the big financial scheme of things, a bearing replacement is anywhere between 5% to 12% of the cost of the yoyo. And usually is not done that often.

Cleaning as needed is the usual course of action, within reason. A quick clean and your back up and running = Good. After multiple cleanings and still struggling, it would be cheaper to just replace the bearing.


Just like yoyofactory thin lube is good. You’re not really gonna be able to tell much from flicking it and I found that two drops of the dark matter worked fine. Only downside was the dark matter didn’t quiet down the bearings like thin lube does so I use thin lube instead now. It’ll prolly go responsive for a second while the lube spreads out and breaks in. Just play the Yoyo for a while and it’ll go back to unresponsive or you can use canned air to spin the bearing until it’s unresponsive again. Also welcome back!

I also want to add that if the bearing keeps getting dirty really quickly after cleaning, the bearing seat itself is probably the culprit. Just use a damp qtip or something to swab it out.