One Drop Burnside
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
November 26, 2011
The Armstrong is dead… long live the Burnside. That pretty much sums up the story of One Drop’s latest release. The Burnside started out its life as the Armstrong, the signature yo-yo for Clint Armstrong. Clint was a recent, and extremely talented, addition to the One Drop Competition Team. As with everything else in the world, life happened, specifically school. Clint moved from the wilderness of Oregon to the desert of Arizona to pursue his career in high education. While this is great for him it left One Drop with a fully fleshed out signature design with no signature to place on it. Instead of just shelving the design One Drop did what any manufacturer would do, change the name and continue with the release. With the original intent of this yo-yo being a no holds barred competition yo-yo for Clint, I am curious to see how it stands without the signature status behind it.
• Diameter: 56.77mm
• Width: 42.55 mm
• Gap Width: 4.42mm
• Weight: 67.25 grams
• Bearing Size: One Drop 10 Ball Bearing
• Response: Flow Groove
The Burnside is an oversized, wide, pure H-Shaped yo-yo. The profile reveals a massive set of rims that angle towards the gap. The inner edge of the rim drops into a steep, concave catch zone that is wide open and extremely easy to hit with the string. The catch zone ends right at the response leaving absolutely no wall to come in contact with the string. The face of the yo-yo reveals a wide-open cup with an ever so tiny hub in the center. One thing I was pleasantly surprised by was the IGR, normally competition yo-yos eschew the IGR as being unneeded in competition play. Going back to the hub of the Burnside for a moment we can all see it is a simple, tapped axle hub. One of the things that many are going to talk about is the lack of Side Effects on this yo-yo. This was originally a signature series yo-yo. I would guess that Clint decided that he did not need Side Effects on his design. While this may bum some players out there is a massive plus to this, it allows One Drop to release a pure competition yo-yo for just $85, dropping the price point for competition yo-yos dangerously close to budget territory. The finish on this yo-yo is your standard Pyramatte finish. Pyramatte gives a smooth feel and decent grind for a non-blasted finish. Size wise, this is a big yo-yo. When I hold it in my hands, my middle finger rests completely in the catch zone. While this is not a negative for me, players with smaller hands may want to keep this in mind. The overall design of this yo-yo is quite striking and another step in the new direction that One Drop wants to take.
The Burnside’s 67.25 gram weight is on the higher end of my tastes… on paper. In the real world it feels great on the string. The key to this is the overall large size of the yo-yo allowing the weight to be spread out, negating any “anchor-on-a-string” feel. It is hard to pin down the speed and feel on the string. It definitely has a floaty feel to it but it is equally competent while being pushed as fast as you can muster or slowed down a bit for relaxed play.
Response and Bearing
The Flow Groove response pads make a return in the Burnside. They start out snaggy but break in fast giving a long lasting, easily swappable response.
The 10-Ball bearing also makes a return in the Burnside. This yo-yo is using some of the same cost saving manufacturing techniques used in One Drop’s price conscious Café Racer. I was expecting the One Drop Value Bearing to make a return and was pleasantly surprised when I was proven wrong.
I really don’t like to outright gush over a new yo-yo. That is one of the reasons I stick to a strict rule of giving at least one week of play before reviewing in order to let the new yo-yo honeymoon period wear off. That being said, this yo-yo has been an absolute joy to play from day one. Honestly the only fault I can find with it is the rims can hit hard when returning from a bind. Other than that I am at a loss. The stability is spot on for this yo-yo is picture perfect, keeping the yo-yo exactly where you need it. During this play test I learned how to do the Paul Han GT, which is a Ninja Vanish whip from Trapeze. I found the trick required quite a bit of precision in order to pull off. The large catch zone helped in pulling off the trick as well. The biggest hang up I had in learning the trick was learning how much string to leave between the yo-yo and my non-throw hand before whipping the string. I kept leaving too little and then smacking the yo-yo with my hand while whipping the loop around. Suicide tricks are a breeze thanks to the total lack of an inner wall. Grinds are what you would expect from the Pyramatte finish. Finger grinds give enough time to whip into a Ninja Vanish. Thumb grinds were easy to catch thanks to the surprise IGR that I mentioned earlier.
Dollar for dollar I would have to say this is one of the best values on the market. You are getting a level of play that you would expect from a yo-yo that could have easily sold for $125 and up. If you are looking for a competition yo-yo you seriously need to give this one a try. If you are just looking for a yo-yo to grow with and learn new tricks… again you need to give this a try. I would like to end this review by saying thank you to Clint Armstrong. You helped make one of One Drop’s best yo-yos to date. As for whether the Burnside can stand as a regular release, the answer is an overwhelming yes. With the Dietz covering the undersized spectrum and the Burnside covering the oversized, One Drop has cemented themselves as a serious threat in the competition yo-yo market.