Hey guys. So it’s no secret that recently our market has been infiltrated by counterfeit yoyorecreation yoyos from illegitimate Chinese manufacturers. I got burned with one myself, but fear not! I’ll equip you with all the tools you need to keep yourself safe from suffering the same fate! The most important thing to keep in mind is if you have a counterfeit YYR in your possession and you knowingly misrepresent it as an authentic one, it is absolutely unlawful to conduct commercial transactions with it, and it should be treated as such by all parties involved! Now, with that out of the way, let’s begin.
i. The Best Advice I Can Give You
My first word of advice: Ask for detailed pictures! This is your first line of defense to keep your assets secure and your purchases legitimate. Active members of the community should be aware that there are counterfeits in circulation, and a legitimate seller or trader should have no problems in obliging to a prospective buyer or trade recipient’s requests for clear, detailed documentation.
ii. Currently Known Counterfeited Models
Also, before we get into authentication criteria, it’s important to first realize what models are out there that are being counterfeited currently. At this point in time, the models that are being counterfeited include, but may not be limited to:
- Sleipnir - old logo in red, horse logo and Take That (Christopher Chia) edition
- Messiah - old and new logos in varying colorways, new logo models in beadblasted finish
- Stargazer v2 - gold, appears to be beadblasted
It’s not impossible that these counterfeiters may be releasing more models as the industry grows more prolific. We’ll examine a few things pertaining to specific models and colorways later on.
iii. The Box Myth
Not too long ago, it was a commonly accepted speculation that if a yoyorecreation box was provided with the yoyo in question, then that can be used as an authenticating factor. This line of logic is flawed in a couple ways. For one, it’s easy for someone who has an existing YYR throw to just “borrow” the box that came with the authentic one and throw it in with the fake one. The other problem with this is that some of these companies have begun shipping counterfeits with boxes that look exactly like authentic yoyorecreation boxes! Luckily enough, there are several other factors we can use based upon the appearance of the yoyo itself to make a definitive conclusion.
Today as an example, we’ll use the Messiah. Hard to tell them apart right? Upon a careful inspection, we can determine that the one on the left is our counterfeit, and the one on the right is our authentic YYR example. Let’s dive in here and see how we can draw that conclusion. Also, please note that the ring in the catch zone of the silver one is what I believe to be a scratch that was put there by the original owner, not a machining mark. Please disregard this mark in the discussion of authenticating criteria.
1. Laser Engravings
Laser engravings can be one key factor in determining the authenticity of a YYR yoyo. Typically though, the differences will be quite minute, and can be difficult to draw a conclusion from, especially if you don’t have an original to directly compare side by side. My recommendation would be to use the engravings only as a starting point, and then explore the other aspects that we’ll review later to make your final conclusions.
So how are the engravings different, you might ask? Let’s take a look:
So again, we have the authentic Messiah on the top, and the fake on the bottom. Take a good look at both of them. On the bolded words especially, we can see that the fake one’s lettering is much bolder and less refined than the original. You can see that in the both of the "o"s in “yoyo” and in the “e” and “a” in “Messiah”, the blank spaces in the lettering are almost completely filled in on the fake, whereas on the original you can clearly see that all letters inside and out are crisp and well-defined.
In another example, let’s look at a side-by-side comparison of two Take That Sleipnirs as contributed by our own attybud. For this edition of the Sleipnir specifically, we will refer to this as the Decal Overlapping Appearance [DOA] test (terminology also coined by attybud).
You can see as noted in the pictures, the engravings on the counterfeit (left) have an appearance akin to sloppily-placed overlapping decals. On the authentic one (right), you can clearly see that the lettering of the “Take That” is broken in such a way that it looks like it was done professionally and with precision. Additionally, in the full sized version of this photo, you can see that the last “o” in “yoyo” almost overlaps the “r” in “recreation” which even further adds to the DOA.
In this contribution from naoki, we have an authentic Overdrive (left) side by side with a counterfeit specimen (right). You’ll notice that the engravings are noticeably larger on the original, even though neither of them are what you could really call “large” by any means. If you clook closely, you can also see some discrepancies with the finish between the two as we will discuss in the next section. Bottom line, look for clean lines, sharp corners, and generally polished and professional looking lettering on your YYR yoyos.
Finish is another thing that you need to familiarize yourself with to authenticate your YYRs. There are small but very important distinctions in the finishing of the authentic YYRs that you can use to determine fake from real. Let’s dive back into our examples right quick.
Again, we see the authentic Messiah on top and our good friend the counterfeit makes a return to the bottom. You can see that the counterfeit’s surface is very reflective in comparison with the authentic specimen – in some spots you can see a pretty clear reflection of the granules in the concrete, whereas on the real one any reflections are highly distorted and refracted. This is because there is almost no evidence of machining “grain” on the counterfeit YYRs, leaving a highly polished and smooth surface. Authentic YYRs always have a good machining grain on them unless they had been refinished aftermarket, and thus will not have a surface that you could in good conscience classify as “reflective.” This is one of the many things that can be attributed to the usage of 6000 series aluminum on the fakes, whereas the real ones are always made from high quality 7075 aluminum alloy. A quick way to test if you’re not quite sure is to take your fingernail and scrape it on the surface of the catch zone with your fingernail parallel to the direction of the inner and outer edges of the wings. You’ll literally be able to feel the grain of the machine lines on an authentic one, accompanied by an audible scraping noise. If you aren’t sure that you can feel or hear it, or you have to try overly hard to get any results, chances are it’s not real.
3. Axle and Response
This next area is highly dependent upon the age and the model of your YYR throw. Starting in 2010, YYR began changing over their axle setups as new models began to be released. Old YYR throws came with a thick (I believe titanium) axle, while newer models after the transition came with thinner axles comparable in thickness to industry standard YYF axles. There were a few models that were legitimately released with both the old and new axles depending on the run date. These models include the Dreadnought, Sleipnir, Stargazer v2, and Messiah. In the case of the Sleipnir and Messiah, rule of thumb is that the old logo models (plain lettering, “yoyorecreation meets…”) came with the thick axles, while the new logo models came with the thin axles.
Let’s examine the actual axle setups a little more in depth.
You can see again, returning to our original dual-Messiah example, the counterfeit model (left) sports a thick black axle while the authentic one (right) has the thick silver one. Again, since we’re dealing with an old-logo Messiah, the thick axle on the original is perfectly acceptable. Another rule of thumb: YYR have never to my knowledge shipped black axles in any of their throws. A black axle is a major red flag. But, the fakes don’t always come with black axles, so let’s examine a little further.
Examining the bearing well, you will notice one very distinct difference. Whereas the authentic Messiah on top has a concave dip in the bearing well, the fake one on the bottom has a completely flat bearing well. Also, you’ll notice that the area outside of the outer edge of the response groove on the fake is noticeably larger as well. I’m not 100% sure if this applies to all fakes, but all of the ones I’ve seen display this same characteristic. It’s also important to note that some of these characteristics vary model to model. In YYR’s recent releases with the new hub (Overdrive, Gleipnir, Acrophobia, E=mc2, Blink, Stardust 2), the bearing well is flat. Also in the new hub models, the outer response wall comes to almost a perfect point, even smaller than the wall on the old hub models such as the Messiah pictured above. Since the fakes are not produced from 7075 aluminum, my hypothesis for this discrepancy is that it would be impossible to maintain the structural integrity of the wall by producing them as small as those seen in the originals.
Another thing in this area. If you look at the lower left corner of the outside response groove on the authentic purple Messiah pictured above, you’ll notice a small “chip” where the ano looks scratched off. I used this purple example because it’s much easier to see on the colored models. The clear ano Messiah I’ve been using in the rest of this comparison guide does have the ano chip, but the camera makes it next to impossible to picture. I just received reports that the fakes may not always have these characteristic chips on the outer response area. I’ve heard some people speculate that this chip indicates A grade vs. B grade or what have you – this is not true. In this case, the chip outside the response groove is another authenticating factor in legitimate YYR yoyos.
4. Feature Consistency with Model
I figured this would make a good piggyback to the previous section. The next thing you want to make sure is that all of the features in your YYR yoyo are consistent with what was legitimately offered in that particular model.
The most readily apparent example is colorway and finish. I have heard of at least one reported incident where someone bought a Take That Sleipnir in a silver (clear ano) colorway. I have also seen black (I believe beadblasted) Overdrives being offered by one of the known counterfeiting companies. The Take That Sleipnir was never legitimately released in a silver colorway, and the Overdrive has never come in black, and especially not beadblasted. In fact, the last yoyo that was ever legitimately released in a beadblasted finish by YYR was the rose Stargazer v2, sporting the new axle system. Since the Stargazer’s logo was never “updated,” that rules out any new logo and new hub models automatically from having a beadblast finish – this automatically rules out all new logo Messiahs released in a beadblast finish in the gold, blue, and pink colorways as counterfeit. Keep in mind also that the beadblasted finish only applies to the rose colorway for the Stargazer v2. The newly released counterfeit Stargazer v2s sport a gold colorway with a beadblasted finish, which was never legitimately offered by YYR. For clarity, the gold Stargazer v2s came in the non-blasted finish only.
Next thing you want to check is the axle. As I mentioned before, the old logo Messiah came legitimately with the old axle system, but every other model known to be counterfeited at this time aside from the red old logo Sleipnir should have the new axle setup, yet the counterfeits from what I’ve seen display the thick axle. Again, the new axle is the same thickness as a YYF axle, and the stock axles are flat on both ends – no allen key hole. This isn’t to say that someone down the line can’t replace their YYR’s axles with a borrowed one from a YYF, so it shouldn’t be definitively ruled as fake if an allen key hole is present in the axle. The main point of this examination is, again, the thickness. Just for clarity, new logo Messiahs, new logo and Take That Sleipnirs, and all Overdrives should be equipped with the thin axle setup. This also extends to all new hub models – production model Blinks, E=mc2s, Acrophobias, Stardust 2s, Gleipnirs, and 2012 Clashes should all have thin axles.
5. Machining Characteristics and Weight
For this section, it definitely comes in handy to have a metric scale at your disposal. Let’s first list out the weights of legitimate YYR models, followed by reported weights of counterfeit models:
Machining discrepancies may be a bit more difficult to identify, especially without having the originals to directly to compare, but I’ll go ahead and share my findings with this particular Messiah duo.
If you look all the way in the center of the hubs in each picture, you will see that the very center of the authentic YYR hub (top) has a bit of a small nipple formed in the machining grain. Closely examining the fake one (bottom), however, you’ll notice that there is no trace of such a nipple, as the center comes to essentially a perfectly flat, seamless conclusion. This characteristic generally only applies to old hub models, as the authentic new hub models tend to also display the same nipple-less center.
Another thing I noticed in this particular example was a discrepancy in the taper of the rim step. If you look at the real Messiah (top), you’ll notice that the curve into the rim taper is very smooth, whereas on the fake one (bottom), the taper is very sharp and abrupt. The most important thing to take away from this is section to utilize your resources, study pictures and real-life examples of known authentic models, and familiarize yourself with all the ins and outs and minute details of your YYRs.
Well guys, that’s about all I have for you now. Again, utilize this thread as a tool to familiarize yourself with the criteria you can use to authenticate your YYRs and prospective YYR purchases or trades. I will add on to this thread if/when new developments are to occur. If anyone has any questions regarding the authenticity of their YYR yoyos and you are still unsure after this, feel free to PM me or post in this thread, and I will do my best to steer you in the right direction. Just don’t let the presence of these counterfeits on the market completely steer you away from a prospective YYR purchase – you’ll be missing out on a great thing.
Remember – ask for detailed pictures, know your stuff, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Good luck guys! O0
If anyone feels that I have missed anything, feel free to post it here and I will amend the guide as needed.
Information referenced from personal experience and from the following thread: http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,104408.0.html
Special thanks go to jrodriguez for bringing this issue to light and serving as a great forerunner in debunking the YYR counterfeits. Many special thanks also to attybud for providing the authentic clear ano Messiah specimen as well as the comparison of real and fake Take That Sleipnirs and the DOA test. More special thanks to naoki for providing the side-by-side Overdrive comparison.