Long Over-Due Review: Square Wheels Royale


#1

First, I apologize. This was supposed to be done in April. I’ve been extremely busy with life and work and business. Going forward, I can have reviews done in as little as 2 weeks. PM me for terms and I can get started on reviewing yoyos ASAP!!

This can also be seen at:
http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/royale.html

PDF to be available within 24 hours via the above link.

I was asked to be a tester for the Square Wheels Royale. What an honor. This is my first test of a yoyo. I’ve been asked to test strings and even accessories, but never a yoyo before. I hope I don’t let them down.

On Saturday, March 24, 2012, the yoyo arrived. It was in a Priority Mail box. Rather than it being in a box or case or padded with tissue paper, inside was a cut foam pad that held the halves of 2 complete yoyos(one for me, one for a friend who is also testing). On top of that was another foam pad to ensure all was held nice and secure. There were also two soft bags. Each held a bearing, 2 Twisted Strings and the axle. There was also an instruction sheet.

From the get-go, Square Wheels has impressed me by just presenting their product in a style that says “class” and “we care”. First impressions can be important, and here they are going the extra mile. While I’ve been impressed with another freshman offering by another freshman company that I paid for, that being the G-Squared Albatross, the Royale looks to me to provide an entirely different yoyo experience from the position that due obligations I am going to have to put down my much beloved DM2 for a week and throw NOTHING but the Royale because now I’m an official yoyo tester!

As requested, here is a combined review by Studio42 and theroybit:

Diameter: 54mm
Width: 43mm
Gap at bearing: 4.4mm
Weight: 66 Grams
Shape: Wing Shape.
Sub-Shape: H-shape

http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/royale-1.jpg
http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/royale-2.jpg
http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/royale-3.jpg

The prices vary. The prices are:
$90 for solid colors
$110 for coloways, chipaways, splashes, spirals and other fancy stuff, and
$150 for Artist Editions.

Roy’s Notes:

Square Wheel Royale
There Finish is absolutely wonderful the best grinding surface I have ever tried.
The originality on the ano. its amazing. Soda blasting huge Plus.

http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/green3.jpg
http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/green1.jpg

The weight is dead on. Great spin times.
Great bearing from factory. not my favorite better than 90%  of the other companies.
http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/green2.jpg
Comes with great string from factory.
Unique shape perfect for finger grinds. The outside rims are raised just a little for better palm and arm grinds.

Nice solid feel on the string. Let you know it there without playing like a brick.
Handle direction change perfectly.
The spikes are small but easy to pull start.

Chris Pickett’s Review:

As my first official yo-yo test, I approach this with apprehension. Am I good enough? My skills aren’t tremendous. I’ve been throwing for not even a year and making slow progress, but I enjoy it and work hard at it. It’s hard going but rewarding. But how does this make me qualified as a tester? Even worse, am I going to have to give it back? Man, I sure hope not!

So, let’s let the review begin:

First: specs:

This yoyo is 54mm in diameter, 43mm wide with a gap of 4.4mm. The weight is 66 grams. The Royale shipped in a nice, padded USPS Priority Mail mailer with a bag containing the axle and a Size C Terrapin X Chrome X flat bearing. The yoyo itself is an H-shape

Based on the specs of 54mm, this places this at the bottom of the full-sized specification, yet is a full sized yoyo. The 43mm width is generous and allows for easy catches. As is with my previous experiences with Terrapin X bearings(one of my favorites), I know that break-in is very minimal. Within 15 minutes of play, the bearing was finished breaking it and it was time to get to work on this.

http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/royale-spinning.jpg
http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/royale-fastspeed.jpg
The Royale is definitely an advanced players’ yoyo. It requires knowledge of how to bind. The weight is really nice for the size. While some weight is pushed towards the rims, there’s a good amount of weight inside, which helps not only make the yoyo stable, but keeps the yoyo stable even on not so good throws. This stability helps you make corrections and keep on going with the yoyo still spinning strong.

Now, for the weaknesses. This is not a good “first metal” yoyo. The reason behind this as most new players jump to metals pre-maturely and expect the yoyo to help correct problems. While this yoyo will not correct problems, the stability will let you work with your not so perfect throw. On one hand this is good, it lets bad players work on longer tricks. The downside is that because this yoyo will tolerate bad throws and keep them spinning a good long time, is that it can actually encourage the player to continue bad technique unless the player is willing to notice and make corrections. I actually found this to be a strength, as I could start a trick a bit off, make corrections, continue, correct again due to bad string hits, and finish up. When I threw straight, then I was only correcting when I knocked things out of what on bad string hits.

http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/royale-profile.jpg
Now for the strengths:
As indicated, the yoyo s amazingly stable. With a good strong throw and clean technique, you can get through a bunch of tricks before needing to bring it back. Even hard binds come back smooth to the hand. The texture is soda blasted and is a very pleasant feeling in the hand. For me at least, the yoyo is very comfortable in the hand, although you’re not going to want to keep it there.

Now, Terrapin X bearings start out a bit noisy and once they break in, they get quieter. This was no exception there. The bearing broke in very fast and has been super smooth. The idea to pair this bearing with this yoyo was a great decision. The yoyo itself is smooth, so why not have a smooth bearing.

So how does it play? At 66 grams, it’s not exactly light, but it’s certainly not heavy either. The yoyo plays really nice on the string, letting you choose the pace. It wants to move fast, but will gladly move slow. If you want fast play, it gladly complies, but the H-Shape offers a bit of air resistance that won’t let the super-fast Mickey-style of play. This is a yoyo that lets players control the speed and dictate their style, not the yoyo making demands of how it should be played.

Soda blasting provides a very nice grinding surface. I myself can’t grind yet. Where and how the H-shape is, finger, palm, arm and body grinds should be easy and effortless. The outer rim is flat on the inside but are deep, which should allow for some degree of IRG’s and even Z-stack-type grabs where you are holding the yoyo by the inside of the rims on both halves, but are allowing the yoyo to spin.

The H-shape is smooth on the inside with no hard angles until you get to the gap area. The string effortlessly moves down into the bearing gab with no hesitation and no place to get snagged. It can handle a few string layers without bunching up thanks to the flat Terrapin X bearing. The rims have spikes over the axle, which I suppose you could use for matador-type play and pull starts, although I am unable to do those. The shape in general is visually pleasing. It’s simple, elegant and uncluttered with anything that doesn’t absolutely need to be there. The beauty of this is enhanced by the anodizing. Mine is a silver with pink and grey. It’s a very happy color combination and just makes you happy looking at it. I received a green one with some black, which went to a friend who is also reviewing this yoyo. I had to take the silver/pink/grey for myself.

http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/royale-explode.jpg  However great this yoyo is, it does have a weak area. Fortunately, this is one of those two things that are controllable by the end user or the company and no design modifications are needed. The two user-controllable problem areas are the bearing and the response system. Square Wheels went with Terrapin X bearings, which is a bearing I like and has a very good response from the community in general. The other area is the response system. The response system that the Royale ships with leaves a bit to be desired. First, let’s look at the good: it works and it works good. It’s very thin and sits way down in the recess. The result is that it plays like a well broken in yoyo immediately However, whatever it is, it appears to be some sort of thin pad, and it doesn’t appear to be stuck in place with an adhesive. In Roy’s case, one actually came out. On the positive side, I’m fairly sure they are using some sort of standardized recess and it is compatible with RTV silicone products including flowable silicone. Even with the bad, there’s good. Through forward thinking, Square Wheels thought ahead by letting the users have the option of using a pre-made pad or silicone it themselves. So, don’t let this issue put you off in any way.

Overall impressions:
Square Wheels is a new company, and their Royale yoyo has been in development for quite some time. I recall hearing the company starting up in August of 2011 and having product for testing and evaluation since September. What I like about this is there has been a steady build-up on this product from a product development point of view. It’s nice to see a company not wanting to rush a product to market. On the flip side, Gsquared announced their formation and the Albatross at virtually the same time, but I’m sure they’d been in development for a while as well. Square Wheels obviously likes the more “slow and steady” pace. The end result? This is truly a winner. For me, a yoyo that will let me work with a bad throw a bit is a major help, especially since I know how to correct things It’s nice to hold and to behold. It feels good in the hand and on the string. It is not too big, too small, too heavy or too light. This yoyo is good for training, learning, fun and even competition. As it doesn’t cater to a particular play style, it lets the player use it the way they need it to be use. The H-shape provides a generous catch area while also placing enough weight at the rims and in the middle to ensure stability. This is a yoyo meant for players. While it may end up being a “signature yoyo” for one lucky player, it isn’t designed in the same way as “player specific signature yoyos”. For those who haven’t played an H-shape before, this is a good one to start with. If you like H-shapes, you’ll love this. This is a yoyo that pretty much anyone who spends any amount of time with it is going to love!

This brings up the issue of maintenance:
Since the Royale can take flowable silicone, players have the option of using whatever it is they want if they can’t find a replacement response pad.
The bearing isn’t so tight to the bearing seat that it can’t be removed. In fact, it can be removed by hand. This is nice because some brands are super tight to the bearing seat. I’m not against having to own a YYF multi-tool, a hex wrench and a bearing puller, because I do have each of those, but it’s nice to just be able t open the yoyo right up and do something simple like swap a bearing out without it being an ordeal.

Some thoughts for the future:
I’m a big fan of solid colors, so I always want solid colors for my colorways. At the same time, what they are doing with colorways is interesting and pleasing to me.

Some comparison shots. After much deliberation, we decided that the Duncan Freehand Zero, being a “new modern classic” yoyo, against a leading edge yoyo, the One Drop Code 1. That isn’t to say we don’t have more current models, as between us we have quite a collection that ranges from cheap stuff to high-cost exotic yoyos. The contrast between “new and old” helps really see how the Royale stacks up:
Image 1:
http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/compare1.jpg

Image 2:
http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/compare2.jpg

Image 3:
http://www.studio42.info/yoyo/images/squarewheels/compare3.jpg

The Code 1 is on the left, the Royale in the middle and the FHZ on the right. Besides the width difference shown in the picture, there are many other changes. The FHZ is a very classic shape. The Code 1 and Royale are H-shapes. We can see the narrower rims of the Code 1 against the wider rims of the Royale,. We can see how the Royal has a heavier center section based on how the H-shape is implemented… All three of these have about the same diameter and the weights are fairly similar as well.

Even though the FHZ retails around $20 and the Code 1 and Royale are in the $100 category, that is irrelevant for this example. We could have put a Peak up there or a MoMentuM in its place. We left the FHZ was a common yoyo that many people have. The Code 1 is an amazing community-created yoyo that a lot of people do have. Many who don’t have it are at least familiar with it. Those who aren’t familiar with it are relatively new and haven’t learned about it yet.

Final Note:
The pink/silver/black one is mine. The Green/black one is Roy’s.


#2

Nice, thourough (I think I spelled that right), and well written. You should write reviews more often. Free bump so everyone can see.


#3

Thank you. I try. Things have been too hectic lately. Plus, too many good additions to the collection make trying to commit to narrowing things down a bit difficult.

I will try to create more reviews in the future.