One Drop CODE1
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
May 1, 2011
Ok, time to let the cat out of the bag, I am an unabashed One Drop fan. I have been since the first throw of my first metal yo-yo, a pad response red and pewter M1. People have asked me why I am such a fan and why there is such a following for this little company from Eugene, OR. The answer is simple; they show a huge level of trust in the their fellow players. Need proof, just look a their forum and then look at this yo-yo. Eschewing more conventional forum rules, the One Drop forums have one simple guideline:
That is a huge amount of trust to place on a fan base that spans the globe and ranges from teens to retirees. Where most forums have to make rule after rule to stem trolling and such, One Drop keeps it simple and open. As for the CODE1 project, the level of trust could not be higher. One Drop teamed up with the largest yo-yo community on the Internet, YoYoNation, to hold a series of polls covering every aspect of this yo-yo’s design. From there they pieced all of the winning specs together in one cohesive unit. No other company has turned the design process over to the community, let alone such a varied and diverse community as the one that makes up the YoYoNation forums. Even with two world class designers piecing it together this yo-yo had the potential of not meeting the One Drop level of quality that we have all grown accustom to. So how did this ambitious experiment turn out? Is it another fine product on the market or a case of too many cooks in the kitchen?
• Diameter: 56 mm
• Width: 42 mm
• Gap: 4.35
• Weight: 64 grams
• Response: One Drop Flow Groove
• Bearing: One Drop 10-Ball
First thing that has to be said is that this is more the people’s yo-yo more than it is another One Drop yo-yo. Pretty much every spec of the yo-yo was voted on and decided by YYN’s forum community. Each poll was run for a week allowing for the decisions to be discussed and for people to give their opinion. Campaigning was encouraged throughout the entire process so that voices could be heard and votes were not just blindly cast. It was amazing to see the amount of passion that the community had for the smallest details. At the end of the day neither I nor anyone else can really complain about the results. We all had a say in the design and we all had a chance for our voice to be heard. If a choice did not go as hoped, as was the case with some of my votes, then we did not make a compelling enough argument for it. Now that the design process has been discussed, lets see what the people decided on.
When I first pulled the CODE1 from its laser engraved cardboard box I was greeted with a striking, H-Shaped yo-yo. The rims are large with a slight angle to them. This angle is key in my opinion because it lessens the impact to the hand when it returns. The catch zone is wide open with a steep angle into the gap. The outer walls have the same Projection Profile grooves that adorned the original Project, MarkMont, Y Factor, and MarkMont.Next. Moving to the cup there is a large IGR cut into the underside of the rims. About half way between the rim and the hub is a stabilizing ring cut into the wall that eliminates vibe and wobble while spinning. Just above the hub on the floor of the yo-yo is the CODE1 laser etch complete with One Drop logo in the “O”. At the center of the cup is the star of the show, the Side Effect hub. While Side Effects are not unique to the CODE1, the specific SE for this model is. The CODE1 Side Effects are 4 grams with a mushroom shape that continues past the edge of the well with a top gradually swoops up into a subtle point. Please ignore the color and finish of the CODE1 in this review. Mine is a unique one off. The YYN Edition CODE1 comes soda blasted in your choice of clear/green fade or clear/purple fade, again due to the will of the people. If you are looking for a soda blasted CODE1 you will have to pick one up from YYN soon. Only the initial run of YYN CODE1s will be soda blasted. All others, mine included, will be done in One Drop’s newer Pyramatte finish. Over all I have to say the people have good taste in developing a yo-yo. The CODE1 feels great in the hand and looks striking. Shawn and David did an excellent job of taking what we decided on and turning it into an amazing design.
The CODE1 is zippy on the string and floaty in the air thanks to the large size and light, 64 gram weight. The spin times are long enough to cover pretty much any string of combos that you want to throw at it. One thing that does need to be pointed out is that if there was any yo-yo to show off the Side Effect system it is the CODE1. The weight distribution of this yo-yo leans heavily towards the rims giving very little center weight. Even the small change from the 4 gram CODE1 side effects to the 2.9 gram aluminum dome Side Effects gives a completely different feel to the play. Using the aluminum Ultra Lights makes the CODE1 move as if it were on the verge of being out of control, flying around on the string like the Tasmanians Devil. I am a huge fan of the Ultra Lights. On the flip side, the 7.2 gram brass spike Side Effects or the even heavier RSM Side Effects reduce the speed and float of the CODE1 turning it into a methodical brute on the string making it perfect for fleshing out the tricks that are giving you fits. After testing pretty much all of the side effects, I can say that none of them felt too heavy or too light during play. It is up to the end user to come up with a combination that feels best to them. I am going back and forth between the Ultra Lights and the aluminum domes.
Response and Bearing
The response is once again One Drop’s Flow Groove Pads. A thick pad that mimics flowable silicone but remains flush with the wall of the gap. I like the ease of use and feel that these pads give. They break in quickly and feel like a flowable silicone response. If you are one that does not like the response flush with the edge, the response groove is plenty deep enough to pour your own flowable silicone response.
The bearing was one of the few options not voted on by the community. This was always going to be a C-Sized yo-yo and the 10-Ball was the obvious choice. I think the community will agree with me that it is one of the best bearings on the market at the moment.
All this talk over voting and how the community had a say in the design of this yo-yo is great but in the end it all comes down to how well the yo-yo plays. On the first throw I knew the CODE1 was a keeper. It plays unlike any other One Drop on the market but still has the same feel of quality and stability that you would expect a wholly One Drop designed yo-yo to play. It is fast, floaty, smooth, and stable with a catch zone that is wide open and easy to hit. The large size does not hinder performance when weaving between strings. Every trick I have thrown at the CODE1 can be hit with ease. One thing that I have noticed with H-Shaped yo-yos is that, because of the large catch zone, learning new tricks on them just feels easier than on other yo-yos. They just seem to catch the slop that is rejected by other designs. During this review session I finally decided to work on the Brent Stole. I have never really been able to pull this trick off, which amuses Mr. Grimes to no end. The H-Shape and float of the CODE1 coupled with enough throws to have my right arm and shoulder yelling at me has allowed me to now say that I can hit it on a semi regular basis. As far as suicides are concerned, the pretty much no walled gap keeps those loops open long enough that I can throw a GT suicide and get my whole hand through the loop landing it on my wrist. Grinds are a snap; I had no problems with any of the various types of grinds that I like to throw. I did notice that the muggy weather we are having in Ohio at the moment did cause the Pyramatte finish to get sticky, but I expected as much since the same thing happened with the 54. Not a huge deal but something that you need to be aware of on muggy days or when transitioning from cooler to warmer temperatures.
The CODE1 definitely had just the right amount of cooks involved in the design process. It plays great and gives a rare look into what the majority wants in their yo-yos at the moment, making the CODE1 a playable time capsule of sorts. This yo-yo is much more than a new design, it is a snap shot of yo-yoing in 2011. The design would have been radically different at other points in yo-yo history. Imagine yo-yoing five years ago, now ten years ago. The CODE1 would have looked radically different if done back then. This yo-yo, and this experiment are a huge success in my book. I would love to see One Drop do this again, maybe as a yearly experiment and possibly with other forums. I would love to see the evolution that time brings to yo-yo design and I am interested in seeing how different communities would impact the decisions made. Looking back, One Drop made a wise choice partnering up with YoYoNation for this first community project. In doing so, it gave them the widest sample of players and they gave us a great new yo-yo to add to our collections.