One Drop Yo-Yos MarkMont Next
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
August 29, 2010
Signature yo-yos are always a delicate subject for me when I write a review. I always think to myself while testing them and even while writing up the review “how hard can I really critique this yo-yo?” The reason for this thought is the fact that a true signature yo-yo is made for a specific player. By true signature yo-yo, I am not talking about a preexisting design with a fancy new color scheme, like the Jensen Superstar or the Sebastian Brock Peak. Both great yo-yos but already established before the players became prominent. On a true signature yo-yo all the features, the weighting, the finish; even the color scheme is all designed for a specific individual. With that being said, do I really have the right to criticize if it does not play how I would like the yo-yo to play? It was not made for me. That is like taking Louis Hamilton’s F1 car out for a lap and then criticizing how it handles. It is set up for his style of driving, not mine. In the end I have come to this conclusion about signature yo-yos, if they are sold to the public then they get no free rides from me. Unlike the F1 car, these are being made for the masses and as such need to be critiqued. Today I am looking at Mark Montgomery’s second signature yo-yo, the aptly named MarkMont Next, MN for short. (I have already been corrected when calling it the MMN.) For those of you that do not know him, Mark is one of One Drop’s featured players and one of the most recognizable players on the stage today. The one time member of Team Yomega and then Team Buzz-On came to One Drop back before there was even really a yo-yo company. He had tried an original Project prototype at Nationals and became interested in the company; the rest is history. As stated earlier, this is Mark’s second signature yo-yo from One Drop. The first was based on the brilliant One Drop Project with tweaks being made to the gap, rim weight, and pad recess and then wrapped in a stunning soda blasted, nickel plated finish. If you can’t tell, I am a huge fan of the original MarkMont. When this new one was announced I was curious if it would be held in as high regard as I held the original. Now, we all get to find out.
- Diameter: 50.04 mm
- Width: 40.2 mm
- Gap: 4.4 mm
- Weight: 67 Grams
- Bearing: 10-Ball
- Response: Flow Groove
The MarkMont Next arrived in the now standard small brown One Drop box. The only thing to let me know what was inside was the nondescript stamp in all lower case that stated “onedropyoyos markmont next”. Opening up the box I was greeted with the shiny nickel finish of the One Drop’s latest entry. Now before we begin talking about the construction of the MarkMont Next there is one question that I would like to answer. I have been asked several times why the MarkMont had been redesigned. The answer is simpler than I had expected. David explains it better than me so here is his response when I asked him the question:
[quote]“We stopped making yoyos on our mill so we decided if we were going to attempt the MM on the lathe we might as well try and make it better.”
After that answer I had the follow question of what the advantages of using the lathe over the mill to which he replied,
[quote]“Lathes are made for cutting round objects and mills are for all other shapes. The reason is that on a lathe the material you are cutting is spinning and you move a tool into it. On a mill, you clamp the material and cut it with a spinning tool. Lathes make round parts faster and more accurately. It’s just the right tool for the job.”
So there you have it, in transitioning the MM design to better tools they decided to give it an update. When comparing the MarkMont Next to the original MarkMont it is readily apparent that these two yo-yos are related. The MN retains the same profile with the flat rims and Projection Profile ridges on the walls in the catch zone. The first major change comes in the gap where One Drop decided to move the yo-yo over to their flow groove response system and ditch the pads from the previous MarkMont. Moving to the cups of the yo-yo we see the next big change. The floors of the cups are much wider than the previous model a design aesthetic that was necessary in order to accommodate the extra material needed for the response. The last major change is in the axle system itself. Gone is the nut capture system and hex nut that some say defined the “One Drop look”, in its place is a brand new axle system specifically made for the MN. There is now a domed brass, press-fit nut that protrudes from the center of the cup. One thing that needs to be stated; while this looks similar to the Side Effects that are being introduced later on this year they are not user serviceable or swappable like the new Side Effect system. Finally we get to the last hold over from the original and probably the defining feature of the MarkMont series as a whole. The MN is wrapped in the same soda blasted and nickel plated finish that made the original such a hit. The soda blast gives the MN a velvety feel in the hand and the nickel plate has this shine to it that will tarnish and darken with age giving a cool antique look to it. A neat little touch to the finish is a laser etched MN logo on each half of the MarkMont Next. This is the first nickel plated yo-yo that I have seen with a laser etch, I have been told in the past that you can’t laser etch nickel. Leave it to One Drop to find a way. Over all, you can see the evolution in design from the original. The MarkMont Next definitely knows its roots while taking the design up a notch.
The weight of the MN is up one gram from the previous model but play just as solid and stable as the original. The MarkMont series has always played on the solid side with very little to no float on the string. While it is on the heavier end at 67 grams, it is far from a slug on the string. This yo-yo has no problem being pushed to higher speed if the end user has the desire to do so.
Response and Bearing
The MarkMont Next has been moved off of the older .555 pad system of the original MarkMont and now sports One Drop’s standard flow groove pads. The new flow groove system gives the end user the option of using thinner diameter pads to mimic the feel of flowable silicone or if they want more control over the response they can install silicone of their own.
The bearing is One Drop’s phenomenal 10-Ball bearing. I consider it to be the best bearing out there. There is really nothing more to say about it.
Solid, stable, and ultra smooth, that is the best way to describe the play of the MarkMont Next. As stated above, the MarkMont Next is not a floaty yo-yo. It is at the high end of my preferred weight range but I love the feel of it on the string. It stays level through out the throw with not even the faintest of tilt to it. The spin time is strong with no issues of spin out due to major amounts of string in the gap, perfect for Mark’s signature above and below Lindy Loops at break neck speed. There is one trick that I am working on with the MarkMont Next that I cannot seem to get the hang of yet, a trick that shows off just how stable the MarkMont Next truly is. A friend of mine, Ibrahim Rahman, recently posted a video online showing the MarkMont Next balanced on its side and spinning on one of those domed nuts. Check the video for his performance and to see how stable the MN really is. Fun fact Ibe’s left arm is broken in this video. If breaking a limb brings that type of skill, someone pass me a hammer.
Now, one thing that people ask me about nickel plating is how does it grind? The answer, pretty good if it is blasted first. The MarkMont Next is soda blasted like most of One Drop’s higher end lines. The soda finish is muted just a hair from the nickel plating but I have still found it to be quite capable of all types of grinds. One grind that is a little difficult for the MN is thumb grinds. The straight rims and lack of an IRG will require the player to give a slight tilt when performing a thumb grind. This is literally the only issue I could find with the MarkMont Next.
To say that I am impressed would be an understatement. The MarkMont was one of my all time favorite One Drop yo-yos from the moment I picked it up. It retained the fun feel of the original Project while giving a unique play style of its own. The MarkMont Next meets and exceeds everything I loved about the original. It is that perfect mix of style and substance that I look for in a yo-yo. If you have the opportunity to pick one up, I would highly recommend it. Just don’t hesitate too long, the initial 80 unit run sold out in two days. I’ll leave you with the man himself putting the MarkMont Next through its paces. Here is Mark Montgomery and the MarkMont Next featured in the Little Tybee music video Nero.
Bonus Mini Interview
Whenever I write a review I will send out questions to the people involved in creating the yo-yo. In this instance one of the people I sent questions to was Mark Montgomery. Unfortunately, due to busy schedules, Mark’s answers did not reach me by the time had started writing up the review but his answers gave me an insight into the player himself and the creation of the yo-yo so I could not pass up the chance to share them with you all. Here are the question I asked and his unedited answers in their entirety.
HSYY: What brought you to One Drop?
Mark: In short, I saw Colin showing off the project prototypes at Nationals one year and I tried one. The design was solid, the play was solid and the look was solid. I was hooked. I only ever switch teams when I throw a yo-yo that plays better than the one I am throwing at the time. To me the project was the winner, so the team change was made.
HSYY: How much input did you have in the design of the MarkMont Next?
Mark: I had full input on the design of the Markmont. and the Markmont. Next. If there were slight changes that I wanted to see implemented, onedrop was always willing to try them so long as they were possible changes.
HSYY: Why nickel? Not criticizing, just curious why you insist on nickel plating on your signature yo-yo. And have you ever considered black nickel plating?
Mark: The yo-yo is nickel plated for a few reasons. One of the original project prototypes I threw was nickel plated. To me it felt and looked the best. The nickel also adds more weight so that was a way to keep the design of the yoyo simpler. Add weight by plating vs. adding weight by actual material. Last but not least, the wear. Nickel tarnishes. The longer you have it and the more you use it, the darker it gets. Another hobby of mines is denim, or the act of collecting denim if that makes more sense. Commonly known as ‘denim heads’. As a true ‘denim head’, aesthetic satisfaction in denim is based on the visible break down and wear the jean gets after excessive wear. Electronics aside, I generally don’t like for things to look too perfect. If they are old, they should look old. I applied this same thinking to my decision for nickel plating the yo-yo. The soda blast removes some of the sheen and also makes the yo-yo smoother on hand. That was definitely a case of killing two birds with one stone to me. I prefer things dull ie: matte screen protector at my iPhone, matte screen on my macbook pro, matte paper etc.
HSYY: What made you decide to change the MarkMont design, was it a shift in your style and preferences or something else?
Mark: I changed the design of the Markmont. because I was giving the option, so I took it on as a challenge. The Markmont. was in effect made EXACTLY how I wanted it, so how could it be better? How could it be more exact? I honestly didn’t know. That’s probably why it took us so long to arrive at the production Markmont. Next. I had to do a lot of throwing and a lot of braintwister combos to nitpick the right changes. Originally it was going to be called the Markmont. 2 but the changes were so minimal ( yet substantial in result ) that the yo-yo didn’t bolster the need for a “2″ nomenclature. It was an update to the original. It was the “Next” Markmont. However, the 2nd coming Markmont. ( name yet to be decided ) is already underway in my head and sketchpad ( whether onedrop knows it or not : )