Flat Bearings

With out starting a big debate, from those of you that like flat bearings, what is it you like about them?
Is it a performance thing, or just nostalgia?

I’ve always used string centering bearings simply because most of my yoyos came with it.

nope. the debate has already started.

Flats are better!
no, Centering!

You cant tell a difference.
I can totally tell a difference.

Binds are different!
Binds are the same.

Flat precess!
No, you just lack skills.

Fancy bearings are a waste of time and money.
Boutique bearings are fun and give a different experience. If 10 or 15 bucks is “crazy” good luck finding a cheaper hobby…

I like ceramics.
Nah, that dude said something one time on some stupid website and now i dont like him or his amazing bearings, even though their performance is undeniable.

Do a blind test!
I HAVE done a blind test and i CAN tell a difference, but haters still gonna hate.

8 ball and 10 ball play the same.
10 ball is quieter and smoother.

My bearings is bad! it was fine a second ago now its crunchy, do i throw my yoyo away?
no, clean it or play through it.

There, now we got most of the bull poop out of the way and we can leave that all out.

stage is yours, world. Whats your move?


Holy crap, dust just had a total one person debate, very impressive!

I was all about getting string centering ones for a bit. Now I play whatever comes with the yoyo. Spin time and quality far trumps string centering capability IMO. If I need to buy bearings for whatever reason, I tend to buy string centering because “why not?” I actually started using the one drop ones I pulled from my yoyos originally simply because they are quiet. Not annoying the family with the bearing sound is wayyy more important than play for me 99% of the time, I would hate to ruin finding nemo for the kids with my annoying yoyo sound.

Dude. Don’t fool with Nemo.
He will mess you up!

I used to prefer flat bearings because the strings bunch less on average, reducing the chance of a snag when segments are sliding against each other. That was my only reason.

However, I have now come around to preferring string-centering bearings because the benefits outweigh the single benefit I mentioned above. It’s a trade-off I usually take these days (especially since I too have been acquiring yo-yos that have included a string-centering bearing, not on purpose). The advantages of string-centering bearings can be big for the following designs:

Undersized or not much rim weight (i.e. not so stable)
Protruding response pads (string-centering is almost necessary)
High walls

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InvaderDust - thank you for summarizing every bearing discussion from the past several years in one succinct post!

I used to highly prefer centering bearings, but, now just tend to use whatever comes with the yoyo. That said, I do like the terrapin bearings (all of them, the ones that look flat and the v shaped). Not sure if it is placebo or not, but I find them fun to use.

I just realized my post was all fluff and flavor but no substance.

…meaning i forgot to answer your question. lol

I prefer centering ones almost always. If i am running flats its terripin ceramic “wing” cuts. which are flat, but still centers very well due to its machining.

The exception being grooved bearings. they seem good in theory but i was never pleased with grooved. oddly enough they seemed to preccess the same as flats! but i have been called crazy in the past. :wink:

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I won’t use centering bearings unless Frank made them out of respect. I’m big on I.P.stuff.

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I like quiet…thus flat

A centering bearing can be made to play quiet, just as a flat bearing may also be noisy.

I agree. However, quiet has always equalled slower for me :frowning:

There is no right or wrong answer to the debate of which is better. There are just as many high quality string centering bearings as there are flat bearings.

Anyone who is talking benefits about one over the other is deluding themselves… at the end of the day it is all about personal preference and what that particular player thinks feels the best during play. That being said, it is great that we are at a point in this hobby where we have so many options to choose from in order to set up our yo-yos exactly how we want them to feel.

Personally, I have always preferred the feel of flat bearings. I am just a fan of the feel they give during play. I can get them to play lighting fast or as chill as humanly possible. The two brands of bearings I prefer the most both play extremely quiet which is another plus for me since I yo-yo in my family room where my wife is and I would rather not annoy her with my hobby. Am I going to say others are wrong if they disagree with me? No, it is my opinion. I always recommend people try many different options and dial in their preferences.


Subtle differences is what the yoyo world is all about. For you to say we are “deluded” for feeling the difference and having a preference is insulting to us and degrading to your reputation.

I’ve always thought centering bearings are better than flat bearings. Flat bearings help prevent snagging (very slightly in my experience) but that’s the only straight up advantage I can see from them. I don’t agree with the “flat bearings are quieter” statement. String centering bearings and flat bearings can both be very quiet and very loud, same with 8 vs 10 ball bearings.

String centering bearings center the string so there’s complete balance on both halves of the yoyo which helps with stability. They provide longer spin times because the string is always being kept away from the response. I personally think string centering bearings bring out the best in a yoyo.

I can understand people preferring flat bearings as it’s preference, but I really don’t get how anyone can say flat bearings perform better than centering bearings. There’s a reason why pretty much all high-end yoyos come with a string-centering bearing.

Yes, whether you like flat or centering bearings more is purely preference, but I don’t see how someone can justify flat bearings perform better. It’s like comparing a Shutter to a Draupnir. You might prefer the Shutter but saying it plays better than a Draupnir is just not realistic.

Did you actually read what I wrote or just pick out the part that you felt insults you?

Right after the part you bolded I said:

"at the end of the day it is all about personal preference and what that particular player thinks feels the best during play. That being said, it is great that we are at a point in this hobby where we have so many options to choose from in order to set up our yo-yos exactly how we want them to feel. "

I stand by what I said. We have all of these choices. The bearings have different feels for different players. What feels best for me may be totally off for you. Did I ever say that the subtle differences and having a preference don’t matter… if so please show me where. Heck, I even said what my preference is. What I am saying is don’t tell me the “benefits” of one over the other. They are mainly in the head of the player because it is all based on their own personal preferences and what they feel is best. Case in point, I don’t like string centering bearings. I think the feel is off when they bunch the string up. I don’t like the feel of the binds when a string centering bearing is installed. I don’t care for the noise that they make because of the small bearings they have to use between the races because of the groove. BUT that is all my own opinion, which I have also said many times. It would be completely delusional of me to think my opinion on bearings means more than yours or ANYONE else’s, even the pro players on the circuit. We all play different and should try everything that we can get our hands on in order to form our own opinions.

This is all your opinion. At the end of the day tell me one trick that can only be done with one type of bearing over the other. They just are not there. If you are good at what you do, you can pull of any trick using your bearing of choice. If you must have a string centering bearing to bring out the best in a yo-yo then you may need some more practice with that yo-yo or the tricks you are trying to perform. The string centering bearing in that instance has become a bit of a crutch.

And people are accusing me of being “insulting”. So if someone has the opinion that a Shutter plays better than a Draupnir that opinion is unrealistic? Why? Is it because one is a bimetal and the other is a monometal? Is it because one is WAY more expensive than the other? Please tell me why one cannot have the opinion that the play of one yo-yo is better for them than the other is unrealistic if it does not line up with your opinion of the same yo-yos.

Here I will put the TL:DR version of this whole thing:

People take this stuff WAY too D@MN seriously. Go put your bearing of choice in your yo-yo of choice, wrap your string of choice around that bearing and go throw the heck out of that yo-yo until you are grinning like an idiot… then continue to do so. That is what this hobby is all about… and if you try to tell me otherwise you are seriously DELUDING yourself. ;D

“Bless his heart”
Thats what comes to mind. How some people, usually old ladies, think its totally OK to say something mean, insulting, or generally awful, but they think that if they follow up said insults with “Bless his heart” that it somehow magically turns it into some endearing comment. We know its not.

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I never said there are tricks you can do with centering bearings that you can’t with flat bearings. I’m just saying centering bearings are better because they are more forgiving. The fact that it’s easier to do tricks with a centering bearing and that it requires a little more practice (as you stated) to do them just as well on a flat bearing means the centering bearing is better. Maybe you have a different opinion on what better is. To me, a yoyo is better than another if it is more forgiving and easier to perform various tricks with them than another yoyo. I find that it’s easier to do tricks and combos with a One Drop Valor than a YYF ONE, which is why I believe the One Drop Valor is better than the YYF One. It’s true you can do any trick you can on a Valor on a ONE, but it’s more difficult. It requires more practice. It’s because the ONE is more unstable and unforgiving. Therefore, the Valor is a better yoyo. Same concept with centering bearing vs. flat bearing. I find that it’s easier to do tricks and combos with a centering bearing than a flat bearing. When centering vs flat bearings are compared people always say “if you can’t do tricks as well on a flat bearing vs. a centering bearing that means you just need more practice”. Why doesn’t anyone say “if you can’t do tricks as well on a centering bearing vs. a flat bearing that means you need more practice”?

I find that the Draupnir is more stable, more powerful, and provides longer spin times than a Shutter. It’s easier for me to do and learn tricks on a Draupnir than a Shutter. That’s why the Draupnir is better.

Either way I wasn’t trying to bash on flat bearings or whatever. I prefer flat bearings in some of my throws because I think it feels better. But if I’m looking for the best performance, I will always go with the centering bearing.

I think it really depends what people consider fact and what is opinion. YYF Shutter is better than a Duncan Imperial for 1a. Is that a fact? I’m pretty sure almost everyone will say it is but there’s always going to be people that feel it’s still an opinion. Duncan Butterfly for 1a. Is that fact? It is in my eyes. Maybe there’s a few that think its an opinion. YYF Shutter is better than YYF One. Fact? I still think it is. I know there’s a few out there that think it’s an opinion though.

Funny, I was reminded of something as well. :wink:

You answered your own question. String centering bearings are made to make yo-yoing easier. As for having an opinion on what is better, I never said one was better than another. At absolute most I will say something is better for me, which again goes towards personal opinion.

Still an opinion, just because it suits your needs better does not mean the Draupnir is “better” than the Shutter. Give both to a pro and see which one is better. I might say the MarkMont Classic is better, maybe even best… but I would end that statement with “for me” because it is a yoyo I have taken to and find the performance to be spot on for how I like to play. Others will probably disagree with me. I know one has die to their hand size verses the size of the yoyo.

It doesn’t matter how many people say a yoyo A is “better” than yoyo B, the word “better” usually says that there is an opinion involved, unless you back it up with actual fact. Example, the Shutter is better than the Imperial for 1A because the Imperial was not designed for 1A play.

Some people just like to stir up the pot, maybe to feel special, maybe to feel entitled, maybe just to be a nozzle.

i have the same level of respect for them all. You think your in the right, and really, your just being combative, challenging, and insulting. You try to call out others, but im calling you out.

You talk alot and try to talk pretty, but i dont buy your crap. I do not feel like I may welcome further conversation with you. good day sir.