One Drop CODE2: Nautilus
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
February 19, 2012
The CODE2: Nautilus (aka CODE2) is the next in the community-developed series that One Drop started last year. I have been a fan of these since day one. The fact that a company, any company, would turn their design process over to their customers is absolute lunacy… in the best way possible. The first CODE experiment was a more controlled affair where the community got to vote on each spec of the design. The CODE2 ramped up the concept and completely turned the design over to one lucky community member. The way it worked was that entrants had to submit a proposal on the One Drop forums during phase one of the process. During this time others could comment on the designs and offer feedback. Whether the entrants decided to use this feedback was totally up to them. After the initial phase a small committee selected a group of the top 17 designs and let the community vote on which one they wanted to see made. After two weeks of voting, Jason Rodriguez, J-Rod in the community, won phase two with 26% of the votes. Once that phase had concluded it became a one on one affair with One Drop and Jason hashing out the final details of the project. During this phase small tweaks were made to the final CAD designs before it was fabricated. Eight prototypes were sent into the community for one final round of feedback and tweaking before the retail release was machined. The kicker to this is that the initial prototypes were so well received that not a single change was needed, hence the prototype pictures in this review, it is what the community will receive when the retail CODE2s drop at Pacific North West Regionals; only the artwork will be different. With all the back-story out of the way we finally get to see if the CODE2 process is a success or if yo-yo designing should be left to the professionals.
• Diameter: 56 mm
• Width: 44 mm
• Gap: 4.7 mm
• Weight: 64.1 grams (base weight) 67.3 grams (w/ stock aluminum spikes)
• Bearing: One Drop 10 ball
• Response: One Drop Flow Groove Pads
The premise behind the CODE2: Nautilus design, according to Jason, was to put out a yo-yo geared for straight performance, especially in 5A and horizontal play, that was still comfortable to hold. To that end he came up with a wide, oversized, gentle H-Shape design. The profile shows off the large rims and that end at a slight step before entering the convex, grooved catch zone. At the end of the catch zone is a small step before entering the gap. The step is there to help reduce string contact with the inner walls. The outer edge of the rim and the catch zone are both rounded off making for a very comfortable feel in the hand. The face of the yo-yo reveals an extremely large, deep cup. The floor of the cup is flat with just the Side Effect hub in the center. Under the rim is a small IGR that should be suitable for thumb grinds. The finish is One Drop’s standard Pyramatte finish, giving the yo-yo a smooth pseudo blasted feel when you run a finger over it. Over all I love the design, which should not come as a shock to anyone who followed the CODE2 process. During the voting portion of the contest I told everyone that if they didn’t vote for my design please vote for this one, it was my favorite of all my competition. The design itself is extremely comfortable while hold and during play.
This is the first Side Effect yo-yo from One Drop that was designed to be heavier from the start. It has the heaviest base weight (w/o SE’s installed) of any Side Enabled yo-yo One Drop has produced. At 64.1 grams base it is actually heavier than the play weights (w/ SE’s installed) of all the other Side Effect yo-yos produced with their stock side effects installed. The CODE2: Nautilus ships stock with a set of aluminum spikes, which brings the stock play weight to 67.3 grams. At first I was apprehensive of the heavier weight but after trying it with all the other Side Effects at my disposal I kept coming back to the spikes. This yo-yo feels like the aluminum spikes were made specifically for it. It is stable on the string while remaining quick and agile.
Response and Bearing
The bearing was the only area that was not up for debate during the design process. Whatever yo-yo won would have a large 10-Ball bearing. This is not a massive issue; the 10-Ball is one of the best bearings in a market that has all but standardized on C-Sized bearings.
I was happy to see a design with Flow Groove pads won. While I like the old school .555 pads, I like only really needing to stock one type of pads in my kit, and they are not as messy as flowable. Flow Groove pads are an excellent alternative to pouring flowable silicone. They are easy to apply but also leave a deep response channel if you do decide to pour your own response.
The play of the CODE2 Nautilus is top shelf all around. On the first throw I was impressed with the smoothness of the yo-yo, it is one that you do not feel spinning on the end of the string. During my play sessions with the CODE2 I threw all I could at it, including my limited horizontal and 5A play at it. During my time I was greeted by a yo-yo that could flawlessly execute horizontal twirls and 5A nunchucks. As for standard 1A trick, this yo-yo is a pleasure to play. The wide catch zone is super easy to hit, making it great for fast paced competition play where speed can have a negative impact on the player’s accuracy. Loops stay open for all the suicide tricks including my favorite one and a half mount suicides off your throw hand index finger. The spikes make for excellent matador tricks. I found that the high rim weight and excellent stability gave the CODE2 some impressive spin times while it balanced on my thumb. As for grinds, the Pyramatte finish still holds up as an exemplary non-blasted finish. The IGR is a little shallow so thumb catches, when popped up from a sleeper, can get a tad slippy but not so much that they are impossible to perform. This is a small issue at most, the fact that the balance is spot on means that I really can’t complain too much. Changing the IGR could potentially mess with the over all feel of the yo-yo.
I am not the only one who is fond of this new yo-yo. Recently Plamek won EYYC 2012 using a CODE2 Nautilus. That pretty much sums up the play you are going to get with it. In the end all I can say is that I am still impressed by One Drop for giving a community member a shot at creating his or her own “signature” yo-yo. In the end I think One Drop has made a wise choice letting the community become involved in their business, it is producing some very impressive and innovative yo-yos to market. I can’t wait to see what the next yo-yo based CODE contest brings to the table and how it will top the CODE2 Nautilus.
On a side note, the CODE experiments branching out beyond just yo-yo design. One Drop team member Graeme Stellar is currently heading up the CODE3 competition where the community is designing a new trick with each step of the trick being submitted by random player. Head over and check it out, free yo-yos and your steps immortalized in a trick are up for grabs.