If you’ve ever checked out the page for the Duncan Metal Drifter here on YoYoExpert, you may have noticed this small statement:
Well, $24.99 for a metal Yo-Yo is indeed an excellent price, and the Drifter also happens to be an excellent return top. But is it really “the cheapest aluminum Yo-Yo currently available”?
While looking around a local store called “Five Below”, a small retailer that carries dollar-store type items, I spotted a Yo-Yo I’d never seen before; The Ja-Ru Metal Tech Spin Pro Yo-Yo.
Upon closer inspection, I noticed the price tag.
Wowee, a metal Yo-Yo for only 1/25th the price of a Metal Drifter? What a steal! I grabbed a couple of them, dropped a few George Washingtons at the register and headed home. On the way, I actually took a moment to look at the back of the package, where a well-dressed Chunk from “The Goonies” teaches us how to cut the string and tie a slip knot.
By the time we reach the bottom of the package, Chunk appears to assume we already know how to perform such classic tricks as “Sleepin’ Yo-Yo” and “Round-the-World”. Note how the names of these tricks have been slightly altered — these small tweaks make the tricks just hip enough for today’s youth.
When I got home, I took one of these things out of the package and examined it. It only weighs 37 grams, so I’d say this one qualifies as “lightweight”. The outer diameter is average, like a Duncan Imperial. The Spin Pro also features a nice Butterfly shape, though the actual width isn’t particularly impressive. I expect more from my one dollar Yo-Yos.
Before giving it a throw, I disassembled the Yo-Yo to examine the guts. The “Spin Pro” consists of two metal halves, a nut and bolt axle assembly, two plastic spacers, and a bearing.
The halves do not appear to be machined, I believe they are pieces of cast metal. Both of them have a recessed area for the plastic spacers, which feature starburst response grooves. The bearing is the cheapest I have ever seen. It almost looks like a size C, but it’s actually slightly larger and a bit slimmer. It has no C-clips or shields, but it does have a blue plastic bearing crown inside and seven balls. Sounds promising. Let’s reassemble this thing and try it out.
The included super-cheap cotton string was a bit too short, so I slipped on some yellow poly and gave it a throw.
Alright. This is the loudest Yo-Yo I have ever heard. Chunk’s 7-ball bearing must be completely dry. As it starts to slow down, I give it a tug to try to return it to my hand, but it remains at the end of it’s leash.
It runs out of spin as a stare at it, dumbfounded. Did I really just buy an unresponsive metal Yo-Yo for a dollar? This must be my lucky day!
After a bit more testing, I reached the following conclusion:
This is, without a doubt, the cheapest feeling ball bearing Yo-Yo I have ever used… and technically, it is. It has some vibe, but I almost feel like that doesn’t even need to be said. It can barely cope with the “Intermediate” tricks listed here on YoYoExpert, and anything beyond those usually results in the Spin Pro either falling off the string, or just running out of spin completely.
Binds are necessary to bring it back, though they tend to be inconsistent and they sometimes knot up, likely due to the state-of-the-art plastic response system. A bit of thick lube in the bearing would probably get this Yo-Yo tug-responsive, but I don’t have any on hand to test with. Still, for just a dollar, the Spin Pro is really something. I can technically do tricks on this that may not even be possible on a Duncan Imperial, and those usually cost around four times as much.
Interestingly, a quick Google search on this Yo-Yo brings up an Amazon page where you can buy these directly from Ja-Ru for 8$ a piece… not for a buck. How the ones I found were being offered for so little, I’m really not sure. Now, there are other cheap metal Yo-Yos on the market. The Razor Pocket Pros Zombie (20$) and the Toysmith Hyperspin (10$) are both good examples. However, I’d personally recommend steering clear of these if you’re a beginner looking to get into metal Yo-Yos. There are cheap plastic models from the major Yo-Yo brands that will put them both to shame, and models like the Duncan Metal Drifter are worth the little extra cash.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go Rock-the-cradle with my Spin Pro.