CLYW Glacier Express

This is what it looks like:

I’ve really struggled trying to come up with the best way to review a yo-yo.  I dislike reviews that say a yo-yo is “floaty” or “fast”, because as far as I can tell from physics, a spinning yo-yo doesn’t fall any faster or slower than a still yo-yo.  There’s also the matter of string length, which can change the feel of any yo-yo a great deal but is rarely mentioned in yo-yo reviews.

But simply stating the specs isn’t great either, since the diameter and weight of a yo-yo don’t tell the whole story.  The angular moment would be a good number to compare, but manufacturers typically don’t release it.

What I’m left with then is a set of feelings - my feeling - and those don’t seem like great criteria for other people to use when thinking about where to put their money.  But whatevs - I can’t think on this forever - other things to do - so I’ll write what I can now and edit later.

This review is about the Glacier Express.  For this review, I used the string that came w/ the yo-yo.  The GE looks pretty freaky.  It’s got the double rings of the chief and an inner wall cutaway like the Dert Muffin Top / YYF Rewind / YYF Avant Garde I and II.  I haven’t played any of those.  This is my first inner wall cutaway yo-yo.

I expected it to play as weird as it looked.  I expected it to feel kind of like the Pyro.  And these expectations were wrong.  The GE plays much like the Arctic Circle, but I think it is better at regens and perhaps more rim weighted (wish I could get the actual numbers for this), which is great, because I love regens.  I haven’t had any issues with the string getting stuck on one of the steep H walls.  Occasionally I will hear a small “ping”, which I think is caused by the string catches slightly on this wall before moving out of the way on a sloppy regin/bind/whatever.  It hasn’t been a big deal and hasn’t detracted at all from my enjoyment.  Suicides are great.

The GE is machined in Canada by a company that also produced precision optical equipment.  The machining is on par with CLYW’s other recent successes (Chief, Arctic Circle).  My finger fits in the gap, so I find it to be comfortable.  I don’t spend much time hold it though, as I tend to try and regen from one trick to the next and only return the yo-yo to my hand when absolutely necessary.  The finish is similar to my other CLYWs.  I’ll need to try the glow sticks in recess on the outside.

As I said, I’m big on regens, so I prefer the GE to the Arctic Circle.  I like other people looking at its unique design and raising an eyebrow, and I’m happy that the design, instead of getting in the way of play, actually enhances a characteristic I’m particularly fond of.

H-shaped yo-yos aren’t my favorite – generally I like the classic freehand or duncan butterfly shape.  But the play characteristics of the GE have me picking it up again and again.

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Can you compare it to any other throws in stability, spin and overall trick capabilities? It was a great review, but you didn’t really talk about much more than its awesome regens. I would like to know more about its play.


This is a function of the rim weight and the inner wall. It’s easier for a yo-yo to be stable when the string is constrained to a narrow range (e.g. SB2). A greater rim weight will mean a greater angular moment, and a greater angular moment will take longer to precess. I would say the GE is a little more stable than the AC and many of the other recent V-shaped yo-yos. The reason I don’t mention this in the review is that I don’t think stability is extreme in this yo-yo in either direction. The skill of the throw/regen will dominate whether or not the yo-yo wobbles or flops sideways.


This is a function of rim weight, but can also be influenced by things like the bearing (whether it’s ceramic, KK, and the diameter). Since I think the GE is a little more rim-weighted than the AC, I believe it will spin a little longer. Most world champion winners for spin time use smaller ceramic bearings and highly rim weighted yo-yos. I’ve heard of people breaking their fingers using things like the mega spin faktor. Again, I don’t think that spin time with this yo-yo is extremely greater or less than recent CLYW throws. If you want a longer spin time, pop in a ceramic KK, but in real play the spin time will mainly be a function of how straight a player keeps the yo-yo and the string, which ultimately comes back to skill. Also it’ll be a function of how hard the player throws the yo-yo. I’ve heard that putting a center trac or KK or is particularly good in this yo-yo. I haven’t tried it yet.

overall trick capabilities:

My main concern was that there was a class of tricks that the Glacier Express would be particularly bad at due to some kind of design tradeoff. I haven’t found that to be the case (although I am really, really bad at side style, so I can’t give much feedback there). The trick capabilities of the GE are top notch, and any player who has practiced enough to win the world contest could win it with the GE. Whether or not you want to use a GE or an AC probably depends on what kinds of tricks you favor. I would think the GE would be better suited to reproduce Jensen’s 2011 freestyle than his 2010 freestyle, since there are more regens. But I think if he’d used the GE in 2010, he still would have won.

Jensen won the world yo-yo contest with a northstar – why? – because it doesn’t take too long before a player’s skill dominates the trick ability of any yo-yo. Every yo-yo is different. Every player has a different style and different muscles that are more and less developed. Jensen has produced beautiful freestyles with different CLYW and YYF yo-yos. Marcus Koh is playing Turning Point. Does this mean either of those brands is better in terms of “trick abilities” ? I don’t think so. You have players who practice really, really hard for hours and hours every day. And whatever yo-yo they pick to win a contest gets a lot of attention. But at the end of it all, it’s those hours and hours of practice shining through. If you practice a ton of time with any yo-yo, eventually you’ll be able to do really impressive things that might merit winning a contest.

I’ll try to write some comparisons to other yo-yos tonight when I’m back at home and can throw them side by side.


This is true… but I think it’s important to also note that the design of a yo-yo comes into play more than this statement might let on.

I’d be doubtful that Jensen can push a Northstar as hard or as long or to the same extremeties as he could with a high-level metal YYF or CLYW throw. Not that Jensen is incapable of these same tricks on the NorthStar (he obviously is) but maybe not for quite as long, or with as much forgiveness, etc.

All that being said, this was a really fantastic review. I’m excited for the Glacier Express. I think it’s another top-notch piece of art from Chris. I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

“push a Northstar as hard or as long or to the same extremities” –

If by push you mean more tricks per combo or combos that last a longer period of time between regens – then I guess an aluminum yo-yo can be rim weighted more than a northstar, since plastic yo-yo typically need more hub re-enforcement to avoid cracking.

For me though, what really impresses me isn’t combo length.  It’s these small moments that don’t even require a particularly hard throw.  The tricks may not even last that long.  But they reflect a very precise knowledge on the part of the player about how the yo-yo will act.  Like take this recent Chris Chia video:

At around 1:27 he does some crazy stuff I can’t quite explain.  He extends the yo-yo before the end and then pulls it back?  Perhaps the string was wrapped around the axle in a weird way to begin with, something that isn’t obvious because of the way the video is cut?

In any case, the trick at 1:27 impresses me (as does the whole video), but it didn’t last long, and it certainly didn’t test the spin times of the yo-yo.  Jensen’s 2011 freestyle – it didn’t seem like he was throwing too hard then, either.

I don’t know what “hard” or “extreme” means in the context of a freestyle.  I would apply terms like forgiving and reliable.  That perhaps certain yo-yos are able to respond better to small deflections by the player because the vibration of the yo-yo itself is less to begin with, that perhaps certain yo-yos are easier to correct by a player when things start going bad.  I think the yo-yo finish has a lot to do with this, because when the string gets off center and touches the yo-yo, that friction can really make things get out of control in a hurry.  Drag related forces are usually proportional to velocity squared.

I think reliability is probably a much bigger factor – that the yo-yo always binds during a certain action or always fails to bind during a certain action.  I’ve found the GE to behave very predictably, which is really key when you’re trying to reproduce a difficult routine.  You want your behavior to be the determining factor, not that of the yo-yo.  If the yo-yo behaves differently, how can a player know how to modify their behavior?  Especially when you’re trying to reliably do something like a whip/bind into a regen.

Anyway, I’m not trying to make a case for the northstar.  I’d rather be playing the GE, even if I can’t make it look as good as Chia or Kimmitt.

Wow! Thanks for the lengthy helpful notes at my request! Thanks so much!
Your review was outstanding, and your willingness to accommodate requests for information is outstanding.

Not many more words, but I posted a video that shows the shape of the yo-yo.

Great video! I had always thought the KLR was said that way, K-L-R. :stuck_out_tongue: Yeah, I’m dumb.

I’m probably going to pick up an Arctic Circle and Glacier Express at Worlds, possibly putting a Cascade in instead of the GE, but definitely two of those three.
Thanks for all the info and feedback on the Glacier Express!

How would you compare the GE to the AC? Like in pros and cons og both of them? Not talking about weight and size, though

If you’re deciding between the GE and the AC, I’d ask these questions:

  1. Do you have wide fingers? If so, the GE may be less comfortable. I do a lot of regens, so this wouldn’t matter so much to me, but H-shaped yo-yos may be less comfortable for wide fingers.

  2. Which yo-yo looks better? Everybody will have their own opinion here. Hubless vs. small hub. H-shaped vs. v-shaped. Which color do you want? Which box looks better? These are small questions, but they may make a difference. Both yo-yos are excellent. Whichever you get, you’ll have a yo-yo that can win the world contest

  3. Are you more excited by regens or side style? AC = side style, GE = regens. It’s only a small difference - both yo-yos can do both tricks if the player knows how to do the trick in the first place.

  4. How much money do you have? Cheapest AC is $145. Cheapest GE is $155.

It’s hard to do a thorough, fact-based pro and con. It’s like deciding between 2 different chocolate donuts. They’re both delicious, they both give you a sugar high - whichever you eat, you’ll enjoy it. Different people like different donuts.

Well, i ended up with a Berry Berry GE. Pretty excited right now, can’t stand waiting.
And then, probably, there will be an AC later

sorry mate but you’re wrong. every yoyo has different specs and shapes. each has a momentum for its own. if you’re saying something like this then i believe you’re not a professional in yoyoing yet. try something like peak, california or some yoyo like those, and after that try positron, messiah, sleipnir and yoyos like these. you’ll see the difference. and writing review requires really big knowledge and experience. if you dont think like that that’s your opinion but you’ll realize it anyway. and i didnt write this for detraction it’s just my opinion :slight_smile:


He has been throwing and collecting yoyos for years. He has one of the very Best Metal yoyo collections on Earth and he has a very high level of understanding in the: performance potential/functionality and effectiveness of the various yoyo design elements. In my 15 years of Customizing yoyos, I have developed an ability to recognize certain individuals that ‘know what they are talking about’ when they talk about yoyos. Flyguy(Louis) is one of them. Your view that Flyguy may not be a Professional in yoyoing, yet, has no valid reason he cannot/should not be capable of drawing conclusions about yoyo performance parameters.


Got mine 20 minutes ago.
I love it already :smiley:

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So how has your opinion on the Glacier Express been altered over time?
Have you had your opinion changed on it as time has passed and you’ve owned it?
How is it after that “New yoyo honeymoon period” has worn off?

I stand by my original assessment. I don’t like the yo-yo any more or any less than the first week I played with it. No unpleasant surprises. I’d like to try some of the glow sticks.