Can a wide gap yoyo play properly responsive?


Let’s say you have a fairly narrow yo-yo with a modern ~5mm wide gap … and you want to play it fully responsive. Your first hurdle is that a “real” responsive would have a narrow gap.


Some people say you can achieve proper responsive play on a wide gap yoyo using one or more of the following:

  • thick lubing the existing wide C bearing
  • double or triple wrapping the string
  • using an extra fat string

I’m not super convinced doing this works as well as what is, in my opinion, the proper solution:

  • replacing the wide C bearing with a narrow C bearing

… because that effectively narrows the gap.


However, you may have to dremel away some of the axle post if the post is high enough to prevent the yoyo from screwing together with a narrow C bearing installed. I’ve done this a few times; it’s a bit messy but it works.

So, in the interests of experimentation, on the Resto I am skipping the dremel step this time … and experimenting with the thick lube / double wrap / fat string technique to see if I can get it to feel right as a responsive with a wide gap.

So far I’m… not sure… but it’s not looking good. My main beef is that the thick lube inevitably breaks down in play and you’re left with a wide gap that can’t bind well. Plus, to me, a wide gap just never seems to bind nice and tight like a narrow gap does, no matter how many times you wrap the string?

I dunno. Have you ever converted a wide gap unresponsive to a responsive, as an experiment? How did you feel about it?


Short answer is that it is one of those “could you put monster truck tires on a DeLorean?” questions. I mean, sure, you probably CAN. But why?

Thick lube the bearing, fat string, thick response pads, etc will get you a wide gap yoyo that comes back when you tug, more or less. But it will almost assuredly suck compared to a properly designed large bearing responsive yoyo and will likely even suck compared to a wide gap unresponsive with a half spec in there (though as you note, that can be hit or miss).

I dunno, I find modding and messing around fun, so I’m not going to crap on anyone for doing that. But I think if you want a responsive yoyo, use a yoyo that is designed to be responsive (or at least is designed to be either/or). That said, if you are interested in this mission, I think your best bet is to go with heavily lubed bearing and a set of those thick YYF response pads.


I’ve converted several “designed to be wide gap unresponsive” yo-yos to responsives and it works fine in my experience. Width is the main thing. Too wide and it’ll play bad responsive. The least favorite thing I’ve made responsive, by far, is a poly Wedge. That plays just plain awful, but it’s also over 47mm wide.

Guess how wide the Resto is? At 31mm, it’s a mere 3mm away from being the width of a Deep State!

And for comparison the Bolt 2 which I play responsive and is designed to play “either way” is 39mm width! All you do is switch out the bearing and :boom: you have either a responsive (narrow gap) or an unresponsive (wide gap).

After presenting this evidence, your honor, I respectfully claim that my case is valid :wink:

I’ve had the “poking out response pads” experience on the DV888 and it is :face_vomiting: … basically destroys spin because anything except a perfect throw is gonna grind the string against the extended pads way more than flush pads.


FWIW, I’m not a huge fan of full/half spec swapping. It does work, but I never enjoy them as much as a yoyo designed to be responsive or one designed to be unresponsive. But I own a few for sure. And yeah, they mostly let you avoid the annoyances that you are discovering when you try to make a wide gap yoyo responsive via the options we’ve listed above.

To be honest, as much as I love my Walters and Moonshines, I’ve become a fairly strong believer in the idea that a small bearing is better for responsive yoyo designs (Confusion or Alleycat for example). I find this to be funny on a personal level, because in the early years of the unresponsive age I really disliked small bearing yoyos (Duncan FHZ) because it felt so much harder to get them unresponsive as compared to size C bearing yoyos (most YYJ).

Contradicting yourself, one of the joys of being human I suppose.


It makes sense that a smaller diameter bearing would spin faster and thus generate stronger string bind force… right? Because physics? I’m not sure a small diameter bearing is required for a “proper” responsive, but it definitely has a different feel, and arguably binds harder and tighter.

A narrow gap, on the other hand… IMNSHO is absolutely required for responsive play. Now if you want to get into the whole quagmire that is semi-responsive… urgh I dunno. I’d rather play with something that is strongly one or the other. I am not a fan of half measures, of existing in a nebulous in-between state, being not quite one thing or the other…


I was watching a front tutorial and the guy was using a Civility which to me looks like any unresponsive. I watched it over and over and over trying to see where his bind was and thought I was just missing it. He was playing it responsive. Duh.

(Ettore Ferro) #8

I made some tests years ago. To my experiences, over 6.2 mm yoyo is impossible to bind with a stock T6 string. With a T9 you can get some more decimals.

(Mk1 Yoyos) #9

For small bearings, the string also has less distance to go to wrap all the way around the bearing and fully engage the response on both sides. This causes it to respond more quickly.

The thing about a wide gap is that it increases the number of times the string needs to wrap around before it engages the response system. A thick string mitigates this slightly, but it’d need to be MIGHTY THICK before it’ll behave similar to having a smaller gap. Something like twice the diameter of a standard string.

I can mess around with something along these lines to try to get a modern unresponsive playing, well, nicely responsive. Maybe ultra thick strings will be the new wave!


The widest gap that I have setup as responsive is my DRI-YWET, which is 4.2mm I believe. The nice thing with the YWET is the dual response recess. Both of which are filled with silicone, along with having the bearing insanely lubed. I’ve tried this setup on similar gap yoyos and it’s not as great. The dual recesses help. After 4mm i think it gets a little sloppy on the response.


Good not great.


I feel like this is the most common feeling for successful attempts of a project like this. “Eh, it works. Not great though”, you know?

(ClockMonsterLA) #13

We just need to get a bearing manufacturer to make slim C bearings with the same outer structure as a regular C bearing. Those wide sidewalls aren’t necessary just because it is “slim”.

(Spinworthy Glen) #14

Yeah you don’t want too much width, but high rim weight also makes it play pretty bad. If you take a look at slimline metal unresponsives, they try their best not to concentrate too much weight on the rims.


A SPYY Flying V was around 65 grams. It is a little (very) scary to do STM’s with. Most responsive yo-yos are lighter, the gap may be the least of your concerns if you have a huge chunk of aluminum screaming towards your head. If you just want to do stalls and slow stuff, it might be okay, but looping tricks would be
kind of insanely dangerous.


I love my Flying V, but yeah, it can be scary flying back at your head.


That might be where it got it’s name, because it would surely leave a big
V shaped dent in your skull. We’ll have to ask ed.


Do you mean 6.2mm gap? I’ve never really heard of a gap over 5.0mm!

Interesting… I also tend to think you want the string to be able to touch the sides a bit more on a responsive, so that it can better influence direction and so on. So you want walls that are closer to the string on a responsive yoyo. For example, a hard H makes for a very bad responsive, I think, because the walls immediately move away from the response area toward the rims, and quite aggressively?

Again, it depends heavily on the width and to some extent the shape. For very wide H yo-yos I’d advise against any attempt to convert it from unresponsive to responsive. A narrower organic / V / W though? Should be fine.

(Victorian YoYos) #19

How could you ruin a delorean?!? (Yes I know it has been done and it was a salvage)


We need a 3/4 spec bearing.


I’ve been saying this for years! Wish you didn’t need to order 10,000, or some high amount to get them done. Or that more people would be into it to make that worth it.