I received my Arctic Circle in the mail a bit ago… and thought to make a review.
From the outset, I like to remind everyone that I am a bit biased since I’m on the CLYW team… but I also am of the opinion that it serves CLYW the best to give the most honest feedback so I’ll tell you what I like about this return top, what I love about this return top, and how it rates against others in the CLYW line-up.
First off… the specs. (as taken from the YYE site)
Diameter: 54.95 mm / 2.16 inches
Width: 43.45 mm / 1.71 inches
Gap Width: 4.05 mm / .16 inches
Weight: 67.3 grams
Bearing Size: Size C (.250 x .500 x .187)
Response: CLYW Snow Tires
Also, it seems that a lot of people are curious about a thinner gap compared to other current CLYW return-tops… let’s take a look at the specs across the board
Gap: 4.22 - Chief
4.14 - Avalanche
4.14 - Sasquatch
4.10 - Gnarwhal
4.05 - Arctic Circle
3.98 - Canvas - this is my best guess, not 100% accurate
So yep… it looks like the Arctic Circle has the 2nd thinnest gap right in between the Canvas and the Gnarwhal.
That being said… I don’t think that should deter anyone from this yo-yo return-top.
This is hands-down, easily, my favorite CLYW Chris Mikulin Esq. of Edmonton, CA has ever made.
My first impression when I threw this was, “hmm… the string’s kinda short.”
My second impression was, “Wow… this is pretty solid. Really great response. Easy to control. Stable. Wow… really stable. Holy **** this is stable!”
In fact, I’d say this is the most stable throw Chris has put out. (That includes the hefty Sasquatch)
As some of you may know, I like to push yo-yos to see what they can do as far as long spin (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SCXZiKA6_o&fmt=18 )
I popped in a Center-Trac bearing to see what it could really do…
After about the 45 second mark on a combo… a yo-yo’s stability (or lack thereof really starts to show) Previously, my favorite for doing long combos was the Sasquatch, with the Avalanche in 2nd place, and the Chief in a respectable 3rd. Despite the video out there… the Sasquatch is imo, easily superior to the Avalanche in this regard (although I like the Avalanche better for overall comfort), but the Arctic Circle comes along, and DESTROYS the Sasquatch here too. It has the great in-hand comfort of the Avalanche, with the HEFTY spin of the Sasquatch.
For my particular style of play, I do lots of moves that kill the spin of a yo-yo. Breaking plane, rejections, rough jumps, and things that risk contact w/ the yo-yo are all a part of my sloppy play when I’m messing around and trying to come up with new stuff. The Arctic Circle really outperforms all its brothers here.
Here are some more direct comparisons:
The Chief has a great wide body for risky catches… but this leads to a slight loss of stability and makes regens a bit riskier, if it wasn’t for the ingenious inner-ring design, I might not like the Chief that much, but hoo-boy… it sure is a contender - but with the AC now on the market, I don’t know if I can ever go back.
The Avalanche has that great comfortable feel like the Arctic Circle… but it just doesn’t let itself be pushed as long as the Arctic Circle or Sasquatch.
The Gnarwhal is a great little yo-yo. Fits in the pocket well, is super stable, and spins true. BUT… I’m just not a fan of smaller yo-yos (as a whole - for 5A the Gnarwhal is one of my faves, right after the Canvas)
For high-level competition play, the Sasquatch is, in my opinion, the Arctic Circle’s biggest contender from CLYW. It is right up there with the AC for sleep time/handling layers on long combos, but the AC is just so much more comfy and it regens so much cleaner/true-er.
The Canvas is really everything the metal-freehand zero should-have been. It’s my favorite throw for 5A - period. The AC falls short here… but really, considering how well it does in everything else that I need (i.e. 1A stats) I won’t blame it for being a specialized tool of the trade!
So what’s all this to say?
well… a few things:
If you’re concerned about the ‘smaller’ gap on the AC… don’t be. This thing has less tilt and can take more abuse than any other CLYW out there. On a long combo, it handles layers just as well as anything else on the market, and if I bump it toward the end, it is less likely to tilt or lose stability than anything else I’ve ever played with
It regenerates super-clean. Just like the Canvas or the Gnarwhal, there’s a great level of control here. While the Sasquatch and Avalanche are super stable, they don’t regenerate as clean as the others, and the AC makes up for it by being true even on the sloppiest of regens - also, unlike the Gnarwhal, if you’re a fan of ‘regular’ or ‘full-sized’ diameter yo-yos, you don’t have to trade off size for clean-regens.
Have I mentioned it’s stability? It’s solid as a rock. (Cue: Starla and Gob)
Have I mentioned how long it sleeps? (esp w/ a Center-Trac bearing)
It’s so comfy! There are really only a handful of yo-yos that feel super comfy in the hand to me. This is one of them. (The Canvas, and Avalanche being my other top 2 from CLYW, and the Severe/Supernova/FHZero being my favorite non-CLYW)
I’ve been a fan of CLYW return-tops for years, and a friend of Chris’s for even longer… but wow… this one really is his best work so far in my opinion. I’ve never been so excited about a new throw before and he really worked hard w/ Zach to take the best elements from recent-releases and combine them into the best of all possibilities.
I know the price-tag can be hefty ($165 for special editions + $10 for a Center-Trac if you want it to really shine + shipping = ~$200 before long) but keep in mind, you’re paying for:
Box-art - (gotta pay the designer/artists!)
1-of-a-kind-ness (no 2 are the same)
International shipping to the stores selling them
High-level of playability/function
High-level of great design/aesthetics
Then the store selling the return-top needs to get a cut of the pie
And last but not least… Chris himself needs to be able to make his own ends meet after all is said and done…
In my mind, for playable art of this level… $200 is a steal.
Do yourself a favor and pick one up as soon as the next release drops.
You won’t be sorry!