Luo Yicheng is one big name in the Chinese yoyo scene, the first ever from the mainland to compete in AP and WYYC. Back in 2010, he designed another signature yoyo following the trend of the low-walled revolution, the L4, and planned to release it as a collab model with Auldey. For reasons never fully disclosed, this project unfortunately ended fruitless leaving only a few runs of prototypes, and Luo himself disappeared from the scene. 3 years later, in early 2014, he suddenly made a return bringing with him the news of a brand new signature model, as hype exploded in one days time.
Luo in WYYC 2011 with an incomplete L4 prototype in a colorway similar to the later Luminous.
This review will be based on the production run L5, and a prototype L4 commonly believed to be closest to the final version and only was abandoned for its too coarse blast finish that eats string.
Release Year: 2011 Release Year: 2014
Diameter: 55.5mm Diameter: 55mm
Width: 41mm Width: 43mm
Weight: 67.6g Weight: 66.0g
Gap: ~4.5mm Gap: 4.7mm
Profile: Inverse step organic Profile: Inverse step organic
Body Material: 6061? Body Material: 6061
Rim material: Bronze Rim material: N/A
Bearing: Size C Bearing: Size C
Response: 1.9mm flow groove-like pad Response: large slim pad
L5 greatly simplified L4’s cup design, removing the bronze weight ring and the clyw-esque secondary rim, and left just a plain surface with a fingerspin groove cut out. The splash pattern on the L5 is a bit rough and uneven like on many Chinese made yoyos, but the designer notices this well and made sure that the patterns avoid having a color boundary right in the fingerspin center, ensuring a smooth fingerspin. The rims of the L5 are wide instead of thick, and still maintains excellent spin and stability while also adding a shade of controlled float similar to yoyos like cyborg, barracuda and many turning points.
To achieve a compromise between the comfort of an organic shape and the efficiency of an inverse round shape, the L4 has a characteristic step cut out of the inner catch zone, which suspends the string and keeps it from rubbing against the outer wall. The L5 inherits this design, with another step further towards the outside to better aid horizontalizations, UFOs and slow horizontals in general.
Sleep time: My L5 with a CTX bearing was able to sleep more than 9 minutes. There is one report that an L5 with a ceramic bearing won a sleeper contest at a small Chinese regional with over 12 minutes and ‘‘was stopped when all his opponents already left a minute ago’’. In normal play, the L5 spins about as long as my Cyborg and Irony jpx, maybe slightly longer than the Helium. Its horizontal sleep time is in the same league as V- or inverse round shaped yoyos of similar weight distribution, netting ~25 gerbil string hits, which easily beats the likes of Phenom, AC2, Cyborg and Al5, and almost ties Helium and Irony JPX. For a yoyo only 66g and 55mm this appears quite impressive.
Stability: Thanks to the catch zone steps and wide rim, the L5 is very stable during complex tech tricks, and still well above average in speed combos and even influents and horizontals. It is significantly more stable than the Phenom Ti and 3yo3 Al5 among others, but maybe slightly less than the Irony JP 2013, a much bigger and heavier yoyo.
Speed and Maneuverability: The L5 plays smoothly at any speed just like a turning point yoyo. It can be easily pushed very fast without losing control. To some players its floatiness might be interpreted as resistance to acceleration, but it s not too hard to get used to. This is notably different from its predecessor, which due to its concentrated rims plays aggressively not unlike an Anglam.
Grinds: The blasted versions this time has a very smooth finish that feels somewhere in between the Helium’s and older Auldey yoyos. Fingerspins are smooth and stable on any version.
Smoothness: The Chinese people put a lot of weight on a yoyo’s smoothness and often take this as the first criteria to assess upon receiving a new yoyo, so high end Chinese yoyos are mostly very smooth. The L5 is no exception to this, and carefully unscrewing/screwing the yoyo does not seem to make it vibe. The bearing seat is of reasonable tightness.
Price: The L5 retails at $65 solid color and $70 splashed in China, which I think is a fair price. $85-95 however looks a bit high for a Chinese yoyo.
Gap and response: The L5 has a wide gap like YYF yoyos and some may find the response to be a bit off. This can for the most part be fixed with thick and/or soft pads.
Stock bearing and response: Just trash em lol
Overtightening: This yoyo has a thin hub and relatively long axle that can be prone to overtightening. Although it is unlikely that the axle fully pierces the hub and pops out, even a slight protrusion will still ruin the fingerspin groove, making spins vibey and less stable. Avoid unscrewing the yoyo too often, and if possible, replace the axle with a shorter one.