re-starting my rusty yoyo hobby - what happened to Tom Kuhn?


Hi all,

After 25 years of doing very little with yoyos, I decided to start getting into things again. Back in the 80s, I think I had a great yoyo - Tom Kuhn Silver Bullet with replaceable wooden axle. I loved it.

I discovered that there is a whole new world of ball bearing transaxle designs and unresponsive play. I also discovered, going to a few sites, that Tom Kuhn yoyos are rarely mentioned (or sold).

After reading a lot of things, I finally decided to buy a YYF Horizon - I just got it and am greatly enjoying learning how to do unresponsive things.

My question is: how does the Tom Kuhn Silver Bullet 4 stack up to other unresponsive yoyos? I still love throwing my original wooden axle silver bullet - just to relax. I find it incredibly smooth and quiet, as well as comfortable and easy to travel with. I was happy to find that metal yoyos are now under $50 - so I didn’t feel the need to spend $150 on a Tom Kuhn SB4 just to see if I liked unresponsive play. But now, as I read a lot, I never see him mentioned (except historically) - and was just wondering if SB4 is any good? Unfortunately, I don’t have enough cash to buy every yoyo I lust after just to compare :o (though the Nightmare and Titanium Dream seem really nice…).

thanks for your thoughts


Welcome back!

Unfortunately, the Tom Kuhn line has reduced to nearly zero. There have been multiple factors that have led to its downfall, to me it seems the largest being the transition away from fixed axles. Back in the day, Tom Kuhn yoyos were as good as they got, San Francisco models still sell for respectable amounts on eBay. Today however, there are very few people interested in that style of play, the market has completely moved to unresponsive throws. Pair that with BC’s PR, and you have a line going downhill.

I would love to see a comeback, as Tom Kuhn played such an influential part of yoyo history (most people don’t realize the significance of the Turbo-Yo), but rumor has it BC no longer owns the equipment for even No-Jives.


The SB4 is a good yo-yo but it costs a lot, so part of the value you would have to weigh is the fact it is a small production run, kind of collectible piece. I love TK stuff, but I am keeping my eyes open for a used one, 150 bucks would get me a bunch of good yo-yos. Perhaps the biggest change in the yo-yo scene since you were last throwing is the availability of tons of great models now. I have tried many new throws, and imo the price doesn’t tell you much about how much you will enjoy one over another. There are so many great low cost models, I would never pay that much for something I hadn’t tried, unless it had some other (collectable) significance.


The Horizon is a sweet throw and excellent for learning new tricks. It’s very forgiving and spins forever. Great place to start (and stay for a while) :wink:

(rizkiyoist) #5

I actually want a pair of SB II for looping, but the idea that I have to replace the ‘turbo discs’ once they wear out turns me down, as they are proprietary and there doesn’t seem to be any alternatives.


I use duncan friction stiker on my silver bullet


Thanks for the input. I may eventually get an SB4 because I really like the TK stuff and I can switch it from responsive to NR so easily.

The more I read, the more I am glad I chose the Horizon to start my NR throwing. It is nice to hear real people agree that it is a good yoyo. Further, it is really affordable. I have only had it a few days and I was able to do a couple things that are unlike anything I would have tried with a silver bullet: plastic whip and finger spin. Though, to be honest, I am still not quite sure why I succeed with the plastic whip (I look down and am surprised I landed it) and my finger spin isn’t too stable yet.

Anyway, thanks for thoughts.


As noted, Duncan stickers should work. Generally I prefer the Duncan sili pads over the friction stickers. Admittedly do not have an SB, but have used them as a replacement on HSPIN and a number of others that use a thin sticker type of response.


Wooden axles still have there place in the yoyo world and if you check it out you will fine a goodly amount of support for it.
That being said welcome back to a sport, although dominated by bearings ( and rightly so) there room for everyone interested in yo-yoing.


Definitely still a sub-community of people playing fixed axle, and quite a few fairly new brands making some cool wooden fixed axle throws. Welcome back!