One Drop YoYos DANG
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
October 2, 2011
I’ve said it before; signature yo-yos are a great insight into the player who it is made for. When done properly, as a true collaboration between player and company, it becomes a yo-yo set up specifically for that individual player’s style. The one downside to that is one simple question… what if I don’t conform to that player’s style? One Drop has recently taken this issue head-on by allowing their players to implement the Side Effect technology on their signature yo-yos. The first to do this was Dan Dietz with his yo-yo, the Dietz. I really didn’t mess with it too much because I liked the stock feel of it. Today I am looking at the DANG, Paul Dang’s signature yo-yo and another signature model with Side Effects. For those that don’t know Paul, he is like the fifth Beatle of One Drop. If you ever watch the shop cam you will probably see him in the shop helping with packaging, production, or testing. He also helps cart yo-yos back and forth between the shop in Eugene and the anodizer in Portland. On top of all of that he has been a member of their competition team for quite some time. Basically, a Paul Dang signature model has been a long time coming. Now it is time to see what the most eccentric member (if you have read his Facebook page you will understand why I say this) of the One Drop team has to offer.
• Diameter: 55.25mm
• Width: 41.3mm
• Gap: 4.35mm
• Base Weight: 60.7 grams
• Weight with Aluminum Ultra Lights: 63.2 grams
• Response: Flow Groove Pads
• Bearing: One Drop 10 Ball
As it states on the One Drop site, the Project holds a special place in Paul’s heart so it is only fitting that he decided to use that as the base for his signature yo-yo. You can definitely see its influence in this yo-yo. The flat rims, cup design, slightly rounded catch zone, and Projection Profile all scream Project. That being said the Project was not the only yo-yo that influenced Mr. Dang’s yo-yo. There is also quite a bit of CODE1 in there. You can see it in the H-Shape profile, the size, and the use of Side Effects. Now that we know its roots lets talk about the yo-yo on its merits. The catch zone is wide open and perfect for catching string wraps. The profile is comfortable in the hand and doesn’t hit my palm wrong even with those pronounced flat rims. The cup does look like an oversized Project cup, meaning it is missing an IGR of any variety. The floor is wide open and obstruction free so if you do decide to install Spike or RSM Side Effects you will be able to easily catch them when popped up into the air. The finish is One Drop’s now standard Pyramatte finish. Overall I love the looks of this yo-yo but, like Paul, I also have a soft spot in my heart for the Project. The only thing that could have made this more Project like would have been if they had added the inner grooves to the walls and floor of the cup.
Going solely on the published specs I was expecting a speedy and lightweight yo-yo. I was shocked when I first threw this yo-yo. Even though it is a 63 gram full-sized yo-yo it plays at a nice medium pace to it. It can be easily pushed to higher speeds but feels right at home when moving along at a relaxed pace. As for the expected lightweight feel, I could not have been farther off. It has a slight amount of heft to it while moving around on the string.
Response and Bearing
The response is One Drop’s Flow Groove Pads that were introduced way back with the revised M1. We all know I am a fan of the Flow Groove Pads. They last forever and give snappy binds without being responsive.
The stock bearing is the One Drop 10-Ball. Honestly nothing more needs to be said about it. It is the best bearing on the market hands down.
Being a signature model, I never know how to judge the play of the yo-yo. It was not made for my preferences; it was designed for a specific player in mind. I will be honest, this yo-yo had to grow on me a little bit. It played great, don’t get me wrong, but for my own preferences it was just missing something. This is understandable; it is Paul’s yo-yo. Being a Side Effect yo-yo means that, I can start tinkering… and that is exactly what I decided to do. I took out the stock Ultra Lights and started swapping things around. After fiddling about I settled on CODE1 Side Effects. This was my perfect set up, it just needed a little more weight in the center. It fleshed out the feel of the yo-yo for me and gave it a nice amount of float that I like. That is the best part of the Side Effect technology; while some say it is a gimmick, for me it was a necessity. It allowed me to take someone else’s signature yo-yo and make it my own. I am sure there will be many who don’t touch the stock set up and that is great, but having the option to do so is even better. More signature yo-yos should have this level of customization. As far as the play on the string, this thing is easy to maneuver, weaving in and around strings. During the play testing of this yo-yo I continued to work on a crazy little Hidemasa Hook variation that I call a Straddle Hook. It is a hook that goes between the index and middle fingers of the non-throw hand and ending up with the yo-yo hooked around your non-throw hand thumb. I’ll try to video this trick later; I am butchering it in print. As far as grinds are concerned, finger grinds are excellent on it. The H-shape rides on either side of the finger allowing only the Projection Profile catch zone to make contact with flesh. Palm and arm grinds are also pretty well done on the DANG, although I would love to try a soda blasted, clear anodized DANG to see if it captures that same grinding magic that the original Project had. Thumb grinds are not as easy to pull off thanks to the lack of an IRG but that is not to say they are impossible. I found that the cup and inner rim was deep enough that you could perform thumb grinds without having to throw at an angle. Over all I loved the play of the DANG, even more so once I found my own preferred setup.
I said it above and I will say it again down here, more signature yo-yos need to be made like this. Most of the time buying a signature yo-yo means that you have to adjust to meet play style of the person it was made for. Sometimes you get lucky, like I did with the Dietz, but that is the exception instead of the rule. With the Side Effect tech being present in the DANG I was able to change it up and turn Paul’s yo-yo into one that suites me and is quickly becoming my favorite full sized One Drop yo-yo, edging out my current favorite, the CODE1. If the MarkMont Next, Dietz, and DANG are what happens when One Drop lets their players in on the design process I can’t wait to see what the rest of the team has to offer.