n00b looking for equipment advice

Hi all… I’m currently working my way through the intermediate section on this site. I only have one decent yo-yo: a TK SB2, and I’ve been using it for everything. Until recently, it was still set up the way it was when I bought it in 1998, so no turbo-discs and a narrow gap. I found it difficult to land it on the string that way, and even when I did, it would slow down tremendously, since the gap width was the only response system the yo yo had.

I bought a cheap Duncan Freehand to see if I could land it better, and indeed I could. But it seems a little wobbly (might be my lack of skill, but I can throw the SB2 with no wobbles) and the bearing makes a lot of noise and doesn’t sleep anywhere near the way the SB2 does. But, it came with friction stickers. As an experiment, I tried applying them to the SB2. Once I had done that, and widened the gap, everything seemed to start going much better for me.

Now, as I posted in the general section, it was killing my hand on the return… Thanks to the helpful responses, I realized that I learned to throw sleepers way back in the day with fixed-axle yo-yos, and I was still throwing that way with the bearing yo-yos. There’s no need to throw a 100mph fastball (so to speak) with a ball bearing yo-yo. So I’ve started to ease up on the speed, and it’s much less painful now.

But, with less speed, the yo-yo seemed less stable; it didn’t seem to be as effective of a gyroscope. But then I remembered that it came with ring weights that had been floating around in the bag since I bought it. When it was new, I tried with and without the weights, and since I was still throwing like a madman back then, it came back with even more force with the weights in place and was even more uncomfortable. So I took them off and never thought about it again.

I tried it with the weights this morning, and with a nice slow easy throw, and all of a sudden things are working out fine. The extra weight keeps it stable at lower speeds, and the lower speeds make things much more manageable on the return (even with the extra mass hitting my hand.)

I tell you this because I’m about to ask for a recommendation of a modern yo-yo to compliment the SB2. I don’t have a lot of experience with a ton of different yo-yos, so the above will have to do to help figure out what it is that I’m looking for. The SB2 is doing great as a responsive yo-yo, but I’d also like to try my hand at an unresponsive yo-yo… Even if I’m not quite ready for that now, I’m pretty darn close, so I want to try.

I don’t think the SB2 would be a very good unresponsive player… At least I can’t figure out how. Without the friction stickers, it’s either responsive, or the string spins on the bearing without turning the yo-yo, since the aluminum sides are smooth and there’s no response system. (Meaning, I can’t even throw the yo-yo anymore. I can hold the yo-yo still in my hand, and just pull to unwind the string.) If I add friction stickers, it’s responsive even at the widest gap setting.

So, I started thinking about getting a DM, but I’m not sure that’s the right choice anymore. I understand that it’s forté is being able to be set up either responsive or unresponsive. I’m not sure I will need it to be a responsive yo-yo, the one I have seems perfectly adequate. So maybe a Legacy would be a better choice?

I guess I’m looking for something that comes unresponsive out of the box, but binds up fairly easily, since I’m new to unresponsive play. (I don’t want to have to be “perfect” to make it work, or I will get frustrated.) And I guess from my experience with the SB2 that I described above, I want it to be fairly massive.

What, aside from the DM and the Legacy should I be considering? I read lots of great things about the New Breed, but it always comes with the warning that it’s not for beginners. I don’t know if that’s just because it needs a bind to return, or if there’s more to it than that… I’ve only recently returned to yo-yoing after a decade long absence, so I really don’t know what’s out there, and am completely overwhelmed by all of the choices. If you guys could help me narrow it down, I would appreciate it very much.



Well, both the Legacy and Dark Magic would be great choices, and both can be equally unresponsive. Both will be great choices. The New Breed could be fine too, but it has such a huge gap that it is hard to bind if you don’t know how to bind well.

First, Kevin, let me say that I appreciate your thorough posts. I can tell that you are very serious about stepping up your game and want a yo-yo that will help you reach your goals. I’m always more enthusiastic about helping people who already did a bit of research on their own.

There is a very long list of yo-yos that you could start with. I’ll hit a few points on the one’s you mentioned, then recommend a few more.

YYJ Dark Magic - I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I absolutely love this yo-yo! It was my first “real” one, and it will always have a special place in my heart because of that. It’s very stable, it has great spin dynamics, and regardless of the abuse I have laid on it you can hardly see the damage. The versatility of being responsive or dead unresponsive just adds to how great this yo-yo is (it really really helps when learning binding). You’ll never go wrong with one of these.

YYJ Legacy - Again, this is my absolute favorite plastic yo-yo to date. That is including the YYF Counter Attack and yet-to-be-released-but-super-hyped Protostar. It’s butter smooth and the perfect weight for my preferences. You can’t go wrong with this either.

YYJ New Breed - I only spend a few minutes with this bad boy at worlds, but it’s a very impressive yo-yo. The reason everyone says it’s not a beginner’s throw is simply because binding can be difficult. Learning to bind on this wouldn’t be impossible, but I sure think it would be frustrating. If you just love the way it looks, I would say go for it. You seem to have the drive it would take. You’d be rewarded.

YYJ Atmosphere - Man oh man is this an amazing yo-yo or WHAT? Basically a smaller New Breed, I like it a lot too.

YYF Plastic Grind Machine v2 - Who doesn’t love a little hubstack action? Okay, some people don’t, but everyone should try it! This yo-yo is super smooth and just feels great at the end of the string. Until the Legacy came along I couldn’t put this one down.

YYF Counter Attack - another great plastic, it feels similar to the PGM(which is never a bad thing). the extra rim weight means this thing sleeps forever. Also, it has YYF’s new center-trac bearing. It won’t fix your throwing errors like a KonKave bearing would, but it keeps the string away from the edges, helping you learn. Basically you get most of the benefits of string centering without getting lazy with your throw.

This list isn’t everything you could look at, but it’s a great place to start. I hope this helps, even just a little.

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I think the Plastic Grind Machine Version 2 would be a wonderful choice, as it’s unresponsive out of the box, and will bind back pretty easily. The Legacy is good too, but I like the PGM V.2’s shape better.

So if you’re willing to put in the extra few bucks, get the PGM V.2 in my opinion.

But if you want a good unresponsive yo-yo for a not-too-bad price, go for the Legacy.

But remember, this is MY OPINION. I like the PGM better but a lot of people like the Legacy better. I’m assuming you don’t have a yo-yo store near you so you could try them out.

Thanks for the links, guys. Unfortunately, the only place locally that I could try is a kite store that is 60 miles away, and from looking at their web-store, they only seem to have Bumblebees, Flying Pandas, and Throw Monkeys. I will certainly check them out next time I’m in that area, but I doubt that it would be worth the trip all by itself.

So, I will end up mail-ordering it. I guess I decided that I was going to buy from YYE, just because of the instructional videos and this forum. This site is so great, I feel I should at least buy my equipment here.

I think I’m just going to have to pick something based on looks. Since I can’t handle them and can’t play them before I commit, I’ve really got nothing to base this decision on. Fortunately, they’re not exceptionally expensive, so I won’t feel too terrible if I end up with something I hate. Heck, I really doubt that I have enough experience with yo-yos to know if I hate it or not. :-\ If I decide based on looks, the plastic ones are out, they look too much like toys. (I know they ARE toys :P) Are there any all-metal ones that are worth looking at?

I’m still open to suggestions, but I think I’m leaning toward just getting a DM, woodshedding with it for a while, then thinking about what the next step will be. As far as I can tell, I can’t really go wrong with the DM, and I don’t really need anything special.

I’m pretty sure I’m not ready for a New Breed, but I’m tempted to get it because of it’s name. When I was in college, we used to play around with Spoonerisms a lot. If you do it to the New Breed, you get “Need Brew” which is the best name I’ve ever heard. ;D


Yeah, you won’t go wrong with it. If you don’t like it, you can still trade or sell it to somebody else.

Points for the spoonerism. Points all around!

Metal wise, I’m not sure I can recommend any with confidence as a first-time throw. This is based completely on price, but if you want an all metal I would say look at the YYF Dv888.

out of the plastics ive used i like the fhz the best. its responsive out of the box but if you only use 1 sticker and let it wear down it will be fairly unresponsive. where it really shines is when you recess and tune it, both are simple and while,recessing takes practice, if you can unscrew it you can tune it. you can find them for around $20 recessed by someone or up to $35- $40 if it was recessed by a trusted modder. if in the future you want to start modding use a fhz, you can do so many things to it so easily and once i recessed mine i was blown away by how good it was and its one of my main players.

having said that for what youre looking for id go with the PGM v2, its a bit on the light side but its a really great yoyo for the price.

Thanks for the suggestion, tyler3490. Your post made me think of something that might help me make up my mind: maintenance. I’m not exactly the best at doing routine maintenance on schedule. (I’m really not the best at doing anything on schedule.) and the idea of friction stickers really turns me off. It’s bad enough that I will need them (or turbo discs) for my SB2. I think I’d like to stick to a response system that needs less maintenance, or at least that doesn’t require a replacement very often. I can already see the friction stickers that I put in the SB2 are starting to get smooth. I don’t have any more and would have to drive 45 miles to the nearest big-ish town to get more, if I can even find them in a regular toy store. So, in order to be happy with a friction sticker style setup, I’d have to plan ahead… Not exactly my thing. :wink:

I’m assuming that o-rings, starbursts, or a hybrid will last the longest… Am I incorrect? Will any of the other response systems hold up well, and not require that I replace a pad/ring/sticker every few weeks?

Maybe a better question is: Of all of the yo-yos that have been mentioned in this thread are there any I should avoid due to constant replacements or high maintenance?


The more we narrow it down, the more the DM is looking perfect. I’m going a little more extreme on this one, but all the other yo-yos I’ve mentioned use some sort of silicone as a response. I personally love silicone response set-ups, but they just don’t last forever. I replace my silicone(be it k-pad, silicone o-ring, or RTV) on average every couple months. I imagine it lasts a little longer because I have a few different yo-yos to play with.

If you’re looking for low maintenance then an o-ring is the primo in that department. They last practically forever.

o rings last longer than the yoyo in most cases, and hybrids last as long or a little less depending on how fast the star burst wears out. if youre looking for low maintenance i would go with any of the metal rimmed yyj’s or one of the plastic yyj’s depending on your budget

Hey signal I’m a “new” to yoyoer as well. However, I’ve always had my hands on the older generation yoyo’s (when they first came out). I decided to pick up a DM after playing around with a mosquito, and I can definitely say it’s different from what I was use to. The DM was awesome for me because it has an adjustable gap which in my opinion is awesome for learning binds while at the same time still being able to learn some tricks. I was about the same when looking for yoyos as you were. And I’ve only been throwing the DM for a few days now and now it’s so weird going back to anything else. I haven’t really tried any new generation yoyos but I can tell you that the DM is fabulous. The O-rings last forever and the star-burst will last as long as string is the only thing rubbing against it at 100mph. Also pick up some thin lube for later on. It’ll help you out when cleaning out your bearings. As far as maintenance is you should always have lube on your bearings (usually 1 drop every couple of weeks or so).
Hopefully this helps out from a “new” yoyoer to another. Good luck and if you ever want we can talk about how much different these yoyos are.

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Thanks to all who responded. I think the o-ring vs. silicone response system was what finally made up my mind. I just bought a black DM from YYE. (It had to be black. It’s called a DARK Magic. It can’t be blue sparkle. :P) I suspect I will be quite happy with it when it gets here. I sure wish the post office was as fast as e-mail. ;D I expect the next few days to DRAG by now.

I appreciate the advice.


Starburst will also last forever, like o-rings will. Tyler3490, I’m not sure where you heard that starburst wears down, but that is incorrect.

Yes, your best bet will be anything with starburst or that has an o-ring recess, even if it comes with silicone. This is because you can go ahead and put regular o-rings in.

And since I just saw you went ahead and ordered the Dark Magic, I hope you’re as happy as everyone else that has one. (I love mine too.)

Yeah, I had gathered that the starbursts won’t wear out. I have a 15 year old Yomega Fireball that the bushing has completely worn out in, and the paint on the sides is completely gone from use… But the starbursts inside look as good as the day it was new. Since the DM has a starburst and an o-ring, which I’m told will last a LONG time, I’m not too worried about it wearing out any time soon.

Again, thanks for all of the help, everyone. I feel much better about my purchase because of it.


Good call, signals. I love the DM as much as JM loves it. I have no doubt you’ll be pleased with your choice.

Also, as time goes by you’ll have opportunities to try different types of yoyos so don’t be too worried about your choices. Most times there is someone on one of the Buy, Sell, Trade sections who is looking for exactly what you’re wanting to get rid of and will trade you a yoyo of equal value. Or there are always good used yoyos to be had for a good cash price. I guess what I’m saying is; Don’t be afraid to spend a few bucks to find out what you like.

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