General-Yo Torrent II
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
June 28, 2011
The Torrent has been at the top of my list of “Must Own” yo-yos since I played my first higher end metal. The problem is, I got into high end metal yo-yos right after the original Torrent flew off the shelves, making it darn near impossible to get one. In the almost three years since the original Torrent came out it has been so rare that I have not even been able to find one to play. Making matters worse, I kept hearing how it was THE yo-yo and THE definition of smooth. This built up major hype, which can be a killer for any product. I am not talking about forum hype, but the internal hype one builds up in their mind. After the Essence was released, Ernie and I were talking and he dropped the bombshell on me. After repeated requests from many players, myself included, he finally capitulated and decided to revisit the Torrent design. Now, I would have been excited if he had simply followed One Drop’s lead and rereleased the original design exactly as it had been produced on the anniversary of the original Torrent. That is a great way of giving current fans a chance to play the past without having to pay the premium associated with it. Instead he let slip that he was putting in the newer Hat Pad response and the 5-Star v2 bead blast. OK, personal hype just went to eleven. Now the Torrent II is out in the wild and I get a chance to see if the internal hype I have built up fits with this coveted yo-yo or if I overhyped myself out of enjoying the latest General-Yo release.
• Diameter: 54.34 mm
• Width: 41.32 mm
• Gap: 4.40 mm
• Weight: 66.7 grams
• Bearing: C-Sized AIGR Bearing
• Response: Thick Hat Pads
Before I get into the design itself, I should touch on the Plus Grade/B-Grade releases that are out there. B-Grade units are just that, they have a slight vibe to them or may have anodizing flaws. The Plus Grade units are pretty much just regular retail units that have not gone through the extensive battery of tests that Ernie personally puts all of his yo-yos through. They may have a very minor vibe but for the most part will play perfectly. Now with that out of the way lets get to the design of the yo-yo. The Torrent II is another in a long line of classic butterfly shaped yo-yos. There isn’t a hard line to be found on the profile of this yo-yo. The catch zone is large enough to hit with a slightly walled large gap. Since there is a slight wall to the gap General-Yo took steps to reduce the string wearing and loop closing friction by masking off the guts before sending it off to be bead blasted. The cup of the Torrent II is as curved as the outer profile with just a single hard line where the hub begins its accent from the floor of the yo-yo. The outer lip is large, hiding the deep IGR right behind it. The entire yo-yo, minus the masked gap, has been wrapped in General-Yo’s signature silky bead blast finish. Over all the curved design and soft finish make for a very comfortable yo-yo in the hand. There are no harsh angles to hit wrong during returns or make it feel awkward while resting in the hand. At the end of the day it is an elegant and classic design that works as well today as it did almost three years ago when it was first released. The only changes made were small updates that bring the Torrent more in line with what Ernie has become known for in the market place.
It seems I am developing a reputation for being critical of weight, some would say overly so. It should go without saying that weight is one of the most subjective categories of play when talking about yo-yos and should ALWAYS be taken with a grain of salt. That being said I have a certain weight range I like to stick with, normally the 64-67 gram range. I have no problem going over or under by a gram or two depending on the design. The Torrent 2 falls within my comfort zone and feels great on the string. It is not a super fast lightweight on the string, instead being a part of that breed that I call floaty and chilled out. The weight distribution makes for a stable yo-yo that flows through tricks and just sort of hangs in space when popped into the air.
Response and Bearing
The response is the biggest area of change over the original Torrent. Instead of old school .555 pads the Torrent II uses the deeper recessed Hat Pads. This allows for the quick change outs that pads afford while still leaving a deep enough recess for those that want to pour in their own response. From what I have gathered while talking to those that own both, this change has modernized the design without changing the feel of play from the older Torrent.
The stock bearing is the trusty AIGR bearing that General-Yo ahs been using from the beginning. It is a smooth playing and slightly loud bearing that gives incredible spin times. I have said it before, if it is good enough to be in the instruments inside our fighter planes it is more than good enough for my yo-yo.
I have heard time and time again that the Torrent is the benchmark for smooth; having never played one I didn’t give it much thought. On the first throw, I immediately understood what the fuss was about. This thing is glass smooth as in, this is one of those yo-yos that you do not feel spinning at the bottom of the string. The only giveaways that it was actually moving were the blur of the laser etching in the cup and the hum of the bearing. While smooth is great I was more impressed with the stability on the string. During the play testing of this yo-yo I came across a trick by forum member ExAzrael on the One Drop forums called “Red Light, Green Triangle”. The trick involves whips, pops, and arms crossing and uncrossing in order to pull it off, all of which can throw a yo-yo off kilter. It is an extremely cool trick to pull off and I found that the Torrent remained upright and stable while I was teaching it to myself. Suicides can get a little tricky due to string contact with the wall. They are not impossible, you just need to be a little quicker and more accurate while doing them on the Torrent II; you don’t get the leeway that a V-Shape or H-Shape would allow. Finally, grinding with this yo-yo is just amazing. There is a reason why I consider the General-Yo bead blast to be one of the best on the market. Doing grind tricks like palm grind pop to trapeze is a snap.
This yo-yo stands up to all the hype I built up during my time as a yo-yo enthusiast. It excels in every area of play that I could throw at it. If you can get ahold of a Torrent II do not hesitate. I can see this yo-yo going the way of the original Torrent, being nigh impossible to get ahold of in the BST section of your favorite forum. On the plus side, there is the Plus Grade version which sell for less than a C-Note while retaining the same great play that everyone tends to associate with the General-Yo name.