Centertrac, flat, ceramic, gold: what's up with those bearings?

There have been number of great topics discussed recently about string, shapes, lube, etc, etc.

But what about the bearing?

You heard me right. The spinny thing that makes the bigger spinny thing, well, spin. Let’s talk about that.

There are several styles of bearings from what I can tell:

  1. Flat
  2. Concave
  3. Grooved

Then different types:

  1. Stainless
  2. Gold-plated
  3. Ceramic

So let’s talk! What’s your favorite style/instance of bearing? Do you keep the original bearing that came with your throw? Is there a particular company that makes bearings so amazing you just have to swap one in? And how do you resist the call of the double whipple ripple dimple? :smiley:


So far I’ve just been leaving the stock bearings in all my yoyos. Most of the time it’s a Center Trac we’re talking about, and that’s good enough for me to be honest. My OD Top Deck comes with their 10-ball bearing, and even though it is flat I have yet to feel the need to swap it out for a Center Trac bearing (maybe because I don’t yet do any horizontal play?).

But I’ve been curious about One Drop owners and whether very many of them swap out their stock 10-ball bearing for something else.

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I think my favorite bearings are:

  1. Double-straight (or DS)
  2. Center Trac
  3. Flat

I have tried just about every bearing type out there at this point. I’m not a huge fan of grooved bearings (where there is 1 groove in the middle for the string). I feel that this really gets in the way of things when you get multiple wraps.

I think KonKave is just fine, but it’s not my favorite. Some people like them – I think this is where it becomes a matter of taste though. I don’t have a problem with KK bearings, I just prefer DS or Center Trac more.

Lastly, DS and CenterTrac – I’m totally fine with either. I think they center the string well without causing problems on multiple wraps. DS comes out a little ahead for me, but both are totally fine. I cannot put my finger on what I like about DS more. I wish I could put it into words, but I can’t – I just like them a lot :slight_smile:


The description of the DS bearing on the YYE webstore says this:

“Also now available in Gold and Platinum versions manufactured by NSK Micro! Gold is actually an 18K plated version of the bearing for amazing initial spin times.” (Emphasis added by me)

What is meant by “initial spin times”? And what constitutes an amazing initial spin time? I realize this is really just hype-oriented ad copy, but it makes me wonder what benefits, if any, there really are to gold-plated bearings.

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The “initial spin time” is there because the NSK micro bearings are probably better than any other bearing right out of the packaging. Some bearings have residual factory lube or may need to be cleaned/lubed to perform their best, but NSK bearings have amazing initial spin times right from the start.

Plating can wear off bearings over time as well, so whatever benefits (perceived or actual) the plating offers may fade over time.


There is a related topic on different types of concave bearings

My strong pref is for a fairly strong concave bearing, because I suck, and my throws on a flat bearing may end up on the far right or left sides dragging against the response pads. :wink: The counter argument to that is when you do lots of string layering tricks, a flat bearing gives more room for the string to naturally spread out more.

I agree with @ferrocile that the “groove” or “V” type is a little too extreme, as the string is basically forced into the exact center at all times, so perhaps the best compromise is the “pixel” or “double-straight” type with multiple steps?


That or pure concave would be my pick.

I do not feel ceramic bearings are worth it at all, because they’re noisier, more fragile, and don’t really offer that much practical improvement over a quality stainless bearing… and they are all flat too. Well I guess the ceramic ball type could have concave stainless outer ring, I suppose, but the full ceramic ones that I’ve seen / used are always flat.


Yeah for whatever reason, I rarely experiment with bearings. I just throw whatever is in the yoyo. I go nuts with string, but my bearings get neglected…

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Every bearing i have gotten has kind of blown my mind with how great they are. Even cheap magicyoyo bearings spin for days. When i first started throwing last year i thought i disliked flat bearings, i.e the stock OD bearings, mainly because i seemed to get a lot of tilt. As it turns out, i just had a terrible throw. Now that i have cleaned up my skills a bit, i have put a OD flat bearing in my Pom diffusion, i love it. So i guess all that i have really learned is that i have no bearing preference, they all do it for me. I have never tried a ceramic bearing. Im going to assume i would dig it.

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I like bearings! I can tell when a yoyo has a bearing and when it doesn’t even without looking. I never could tell what type of bearing is in a yoyo without looking and still can’t. I pick up a yoyo and play it, develop a feel for it, and don’t give it much more thought than that.

Yep, I like bearings but then again I like fixed axles and trans axles so… :man_shrugging:


YYR’s DS bearings are 10-ball, right? They sure look like it from the photos.

I haven’t yet settled on a favorite bearing yet, but after my experiences with the flat bearings in my VTWO and Top Deck, I’ve become keenly interested in finding the bearing that will do the best job of centering the string (and keeping it centered). There’s also the smoothness that 10 balls provide over 8 to consider.

Of the 10-ball bearings out there, here’s how I’d rank them in terms of least to most aggressive in their centering action based on their shape:

  • Least: Flat (ala One Drop bearings).
  • No-name Chinese KonKave style (“O” shape)
  • Center Trac Type X (“H” shape)
  • YYR DS (“W” shape)
  • Buddha Whipple (“V” shape)
  • Most: Buddha Ripple and Boss Rage (“V” shape with a center groove)

Now, I’ve never used a KK style bearing so I don’t really know where it falls in this spectrum; I am only speculating. But I have tried all the others (except the Buddha Whipple) and I can’t decide which feels best at centering the string. All I can say for sure is that replacing the stock flat bearing in my VTWO with a Buddha Ripple bearing made such a huge difference that I have really begun to re-evaluate how important the bearing is in keeping a yoyo smooth and stable (versus everything else about a yoyo).

Bear in mind that I’m not doing tricks that add lots of wraps of string into the gap, so the ease with which a centered string can be shifted around to accomodate more string wraps isn’t as important to me as keeping the string as centered as possible.

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I prefer a stainless steel concave bearing. They work well.

Right but what kind of concave? There are many!

Size C O shape. I don’t really dig into the manufacturer lol.

Well there can be only ONE…


The one on my new TiPower is a centering bearing. It’s amazing.

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Some folks use “concave” as a synonym for “centering”, simply by virtue of the fact that a centering bearing isn’t flat, and is essentially concave by comparison. Others use “concave” strictly as a nickname for Dif-e-yo’s KonKave branded bearing, while others still use it to refer to any bearing with the KonKave’s shape, even if it doesn’t come from Dif-e-yo.

So there is plenty of room for confusion with that term.




I don’t know I just prefer using Buddha ripples. I bought a sampler pack of their main Styles way back when I first started throwing and spent about a week on each type.

Buddha Ripple came out as my favorite.

The Buddha Ripple is essentially the same thing as the Boss Rage. C3YoyoDesign also uses this style of bearing, though I don’t know where they source them from. Crucial 2 bearings used to be like this as well, so the “ripple” is a style of bearing that can be found under many names.