G Squared Albatross
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
March 25, 2012
My love of new companies is showing again. It always makes me happy when I get an unknown; there are no preconceived notions of how it will play. I’m not say preconceived notions are a bad thing, it is just that fans of One Drop, General-Yo, CLYW, (company of choice here) all know the play of their brand of choice. Even if it is a completely new, off the wall design from that company you will probably hear a player say “It still feels like a (insert company here)”. The new company we looking at today is G Squared, started by Brett Grimes and Jacob Gross. Brett and Jake are both passionate players, members of High Speed YoYo, and sponsored by Toxic String with Brett also being on the One Drop team. The backstory for G Squared is simple, both had met up for a Sunday morning video session and had an idea; why not make a yo-yo of our own. It was just that easy. A month or so later and the first prototypes came off the machine, the rest is history. Brett and Jake had a few extra of the retail run made with a special colorway that were to be given to friends, hence the funky blue/orange acid wash version in this review. When Brett gave me mine he asked if I even wanted to do the review since we are friends and all. My response was a less than elegant “heck yes”. I explained to him that I have friends at other yo-yo companies; I am not affiliated in the least with G Squared so why wouldn’t I want to review it? Now lets see what two passionate players can come up with when they put their heads together.
• Diameter: 56mm
• Width: 43.64mm
• Gap: 4.34mm
• Weight: 65 grams
• Bearing: One Drop 10 Ball
• Response: Clear Flowable Silicone
The profile of the Albatross shows off an organic rounded butterfly shape. This is a theme you will see throughout the Albatross, very few harsh angles. The large rims do a complete curve from rim edge all the way to the gap where there is a slight step out from the wall. The step out is there to reduce string contact and open the catch zone up a bit more. The cup of the Albatross reveals an interesting design choice. Instead of a smooth wall going from the IGR lip to the hub, they had a “stability ring” added to the inner wall. The ring gives a great aesthetic and makes an excellent channel for the IGR. The hub in the center is the only angular part of the entire yo-yo. Instead of a rounded hub, G Squared went with a trapezoidal hub giving a little bit of a break to the organic look. The finish of the Albatross is the standard Gruntbull blasted finish found on other popular brands such as VsNYYC and CLYW. The feel is slick in the hand and the colors are vivid. Over all I love the design of the Albatross. It has an extremely comfortable feel; I can tell a lot of thought was put into making sure that the yo-yo would cause absolutely no discomfort during play.
The 65 gram weight allows for a fast but slightly floaty feel. Thanks to the stability ring in the cup this is a rock solid stable yo-yo. I noticed no tilt during play unless I forced it, such as when I did a gyro flop. I expected the weight distribution to be spot on; the machining was out sourced to One Drop. The use of a veteran machinist with years of yo-yo experience shows. It pays to use an expert who can point out where the issues may be well in advance of actual production. Thanks to that and a great design, the yo-yo is graceful and quick responding on the string.
Response and Bearing
The response is the one area I am not fond of in the Albatross. Both Brett and Jake are huge fans of the feel of CLYW’s response. As such they went with a response groove with specs similar to the CLYW design. While it is a perfect response groove for silicone, I have personally moved away from flowable. I am a bigger fan of the Flow Groove Pad response due to the ease of installation and the quick return to play that they provide. Yes, I have become lazy; I would have preferred a Flow Groove Pad response groove that can easily double as a silicone response. On the bright side, I have been itching to try the CLYW Snow Tire response pads and this will give me an excuse to order a pair.
The G Squared team went with the One Drop 10 Ball bearing. Nothing more really needs to be said. It is one of the best in the industry due to quietness and durability.
Wow, just wow. I can definitely see Brett and Jake’s influence in the play of this yo-yo. Both have a lot of flow in their play style even though Jake can be more tech oriented at times. On the first throw I noticed how the yo-yo moved with purpose on the string while also having a little float to it. It is a medium speed yo-yo by nature but can easily be pushed into the higher speeds without feeling like it was being forced. The extra step out in the gap works exactly as intended, giving wide open loops for suicides of all varieties. The stable nature and wide open catch zone made for easy catching of even the sloppiest hops, including behind the head Eli Hops. While the Albatross is a full sized yo-yo it is still nimble during play while providing the extra spin time needed to perform my favorite chopstick trick, Guy Wright’s Chopstick Bunny. The Gruntbull bead blast made for excellent grinds of all kinds and the huge IGR channel under the lip was easy to catch when popped up from a sleeper allowing for quite a few thumb-to-thumb transfers. Just about the only thing the Albatross can’t do is matador play, other than that the play is perfect.
G Squared has made an amazing freshman effort. They are a textbook example of what can happen when you apply your extensive knowledge of yo-yos gained from years of play with many different styles and brands, pull out what you have found to be most attractive from those others, and then involve industry veterans in making your design a reality. While I might have made a couple of different design choices, as outlined above, these are just personal preferences and do not detract from this incredible yo-yo. I can see this dual signature series yo-yo of Brett and Jake’s being quite popular. I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.