Regarding bearings. (May stir things up)

Before I start, I want to say that what I am about to say may possibly rub some the wrong way. As much as I would like this not to be the case, I am almost possitive that there will be some who very much do not agree with my statements about this matter, and that’s all fine.

I would like to say something about yoyo bearings.
There are literally tons of different kind of bearings in the market, from your standard stock bearings, ten balls, string centering bearings, sonic the hedgehog type X factor Slick spin 9000 whatever.

I want to tell everyone, that besides the standard stock bearing that came with your yoyo (in most cases a flat standard produced bearing) is literally all you need, and anything “more” is simply not needed and a complete lie into thinking it will somehow be “better”.

I have been yoyoing for 15 plus years. I have thrown almost every possible type of bearing in existance. I have been a top placing US National competitor for many years, and I know what I want my equipment to play like. I call for nothing but the best, especially when it comes to competition play. I know the essence of a yoyo, I can feel the energy inside and the spirit within that makes the yoyo what it is. And I can honestly say without a doubt, that I have never EVER found a bearing that did anything more than “hm, that sounds a bit different”.

String centering bearings, are a joke. Unless you are going for a sleeper record, it hinders more than it helps. String gets centered yes, which sauces layers to get bunched up on top of each other. This causes more possibility of snags, and also causes suicides to not open as well.

All the fancy ten ball sonic the hedgehog X whatever bearings, they may sound different, have a different hiss. But they won’t spin longer, make you smoother, anything, and good gosh the notion that many kids have that is the bearing is “advanced” is totally a ridiculous misconception.

I am saying this cause I want to save people money, and get the lie out of peoples heads. Again, I’m not some random thrower who figured this out, its through over 15 years of experience with bearings and yoyos, as well as serious competition play and theory, that I have come to realize this as fact.

I know the ideas of others may differ, and I welcome the argument, but keeping in mind my findings and why my findings have been made clear to me.

Flat standard bearings, are all you will ever need, and anything else is just a waste of money.




Thanks, HaruRay. I do like mucking about with bearings (and string) and ironically for me it often does come down to the sound! “Does this perform better?” Not necessarily… but man, I love the way it sounds. :wink: I also find myself gravitating towards build quality. To that end, General Yo’s AIGR bearing has become a favourite.

I think there’s a lot to what you say. But in terms of build quality (the cage or ribbon used to hold the balls int he bearing; the surface of the steel) and sound (as you say, many do sound different), I still find myself being selective. On the other hand, lately I haven’t been swapping a bearing out (been keeping it stock) until there’s an obvious need. Many manufacturers already ship with bearings that meet my needs (the unbranded 10-ball inside my Lesula was just fine; many others come with One Drop 10-balls which are quiet).

I think the Center Trac meets a good middle ground… makes the throw less responsive if that’s what you need, while being mainly flat for the string layers that you mentioned.

Also remember: “What your yoyo came with is fine,” doesn’t reflect your intention. What you’re saying is that your flat bearing, whether generic or branded, is fine. Some yoyos come with profiled bearings installed; bearings which you feel are a joke. So, people might want to buy and swap in a favourite flat bearing in those cases. :wink:

Haru has a point. People hate the thought of a stock responsive bearing, which is why the old Maverick was called a joke by people I knew (that and it’s an odd size). The yoyo plays fine, if you feel the need for unresponsive, don’t buy an overpriced bearing. Just clean it. Mineral Spirits, or what Haru says, some soy sauce (give a link, if you can, Josh, I loved that.)

It’s not the yoyo parts, its the person who makes the yoyo work. You can paint a cruddy yoer like a rainbow, its still a cruddy yoer.

Thanks Haru, I think this was a much needed thread.

Thank you man, i absoutely despise grooved bearings.

But one thing i did find special about various 10 ball bearings is that they seem to be of a more sturdy construction, and all my spec, yoyojam regular, you name it bearings all seems to feel loose. Pretty much all bearings with crown cages i am not too fond of. Ive had sevarl bad experiences with crown cage flat bearings:

even if i am a yoyofactory fanboy, the only bearing i like is the spec x. Ive had one spec and one center trak fall apart. The spec got extremely responsive after my string snapped and my yoyo hit the side walk. When i took it out with pliers, with little effort, it just fell apart. The center track just got gritty as heck and responsive after a month ( i didnt evn unscrew that yoyo), and when i tried removing it, combined with yoyofactories death grip, BAM, 8 free mini balls.

10 balls last longer (for me) and are indestructable, at least the ones with a ribbon cage.

One last thing, i found that 10 balls reduce vibe. My model 10, by the smoothest yoyo company ever, was being somewhat vibey, and i was pretty distraught. It had a center trak in it. I popped a 10 ball in it, BAM, dead smooth. Same story with my chaotic, mvp 2, and my code 2. Although vibe really doesnt matter with spin times, but i guess it matters with resale value.

Bearing design absolutely can make a difference in play. You described some examples and here’s another example:

My C3yoyodesign Token came with a flat bearing and with response pads that protruded from the recesses. During grinds or plain old sloppy play where I didn’t keep the string taut, the yo-yo would sometimes return unexpectedly. A string-centering bearing fixed it. I’m not saying it wasn’t without any trade-offs, but it flat out made that issue go away. Bam.

As a player of 15 years, you may be so good that none of them make a difference to you, but it’s not always the case for everyone. People are going to prefer various bearings. But I do agree that in most cases bearings don’t matter and they certainly won’t make you a better player.

That being said, your yo-yo videos are a pleasure to watch.

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You’re wrong… period.

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While a different shaped bearing may change the play of a yoyo, I have always found that the tradeoffs were snaggy and otherwise disgusting play. These problems can be improved, and the setbacks can be averted, by simply improving your technique.

Always keep in mind that not every yoyo has to perform like a wild competition yoyo, regarding the Token example. If you brush up your play and acknowledge the yoyo you are using and the demands you are placing on it, you might find yourself understanding a wider array of yoyos and having more fun, as opposed to placing a bland and rigid expectation on it.

EDIT: Blindly stating that someone is wrong without giving anything to benefit the discussion is based primarily in idiocy and stubbornness.

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I hear ya, but you could make the same argument for responsive vs. unresponsive yo-yos. Sometimes it’s nice to have something is that is reliable and predictable, which doesn’t necessarily mean bland and rigid expectation. Brushing up play is great, but choices for everything is still a great thing too.

I agree a flat bearing is all you will ever need. But really all you will ever need is one yoyo to play 1A. Anything more than one decent yoyo is not nessesary. That being said I work overtime hours to buy crap I don’t need, just want. So no I don’t need a centertrac, but it does play different than a flat (notice I didn’t say better). Because of the repetitive nature of yoyoing, I like to mix it up. So Haruwolf I agree it’s not nessesary and I appreciate gettin the word out to kids so they don’t buy them thinking it will help them nail harder tricks, but if they want to buy them for variety’s sake, I say go for it.

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I think flat bearings are better most of the time, but on some yoyos, I actually prefer a string centering bearing.

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You obviously haven’t tried playing Beefcaked CTs man.

I hear they ban them from competition because they make everyone too good so it’s hard to judge.


Haha! ^

Also worth mentioning since durability was mentioned.
In all my years of yoyoing, I’ve only had three bearing to wrong.
A standard size a that I tried washing with water back in 03, a size c standard that got stuck in a g5, and a Dorothy bearing that somehow made a loud snap sound during play and produced a whiff of smoke.
I don’t clean my bearings. I don’t deshield them either, I just drop a drop of thin lube and go, and Never had any issue.

Also the issue was brough up that yoos often come with fancier bearings, hence why I said “most”
Even in that case, I usually toss away the bearing and put a standard flat bearing in its place.

Also, regarding the YoYo that needed the concave due to the pads sticking out, that is irrelevant as its a YoYo issue that is a flaw.

I then, moving on


Wish I had luck like yours. I find myself fairly regularly cleaning bearings. Must have a dustier or more fur-filled environment!

Sub in the Dark Magic with the protruding o-ring if you’d like. The bearing can change the play, whether the design is flawed or intentional.

A lot of what you said are true to me also, but I’ll have to disagree with you on this one. I have never experienced this instance where “layers to get bunched up on top of each other” and causes snags.
I HAVE experienced instances where FLAT bearings cause snag and unwanted response because the string is not centered.
Also, string centering bearings help A LOT during horizontal play, where the slightest contact between string and yoyo body causes tilts and instability, especially in horizontal 5a combos.

Please keep in mind that there are other tricks aside from tech and layers, and other divisions aside from 1a that actually BENEFIT from string centering bearings. These maybe a joke in YOUR specific field, but these are lifesavers in mine. Cheers! :3

I only use flat bearings. I find them more reliable for string wraps and binds.

I don’t care what bearing I use.

If it spins, I’ll use it.


I play centre tracks in all my throws because I prefer the way they play. I agree that the difference between the many types of bearings is relatively negligable but in my experience I just prefer centre tracks. Never had one go wrong on me.

Coincidently, I’ve tried specs, one drop 10 balls, KK’s and centre tracks but the “Evo Grooved” one that came stock in my Aero Yo MTE is the quietest bearing I’ve ever played.

In fact it’s so quiet that I put it in my supernova lite so I can yoyo in my office without being caught (you heard me). It’s just silent…

although i do agree bearings will not make you play better.
curved bearings are more forgivable on bad throws/sloppiness and whatnot.

its not everyday that i want to play professionally where i need to constantly watch my technique to land on strings. most people are not throwing to compete, so perfection is not their goal. sometimes i just want to throw a yoyo around for an hour or so having fun, not having to worry about sloppiness or technique. thats why i say curved bearings are good.

and especially learning new tricks. curved bearings are forgiving making learning tricks a bit easier because they tend to not die as fast. when learning new tricks, of course you will wont have good technique for that trick/move to begin with anyways. so using a curved bearing is good.

Just my personal perspective.

  • i do have a preference for curved bearings, but i dont really care. kind of like; if i have it i will use it, if not then i would not worry.
    if it spins good and silent, then its all good to me.

I think this “snagging” effect is misunderstood and usually misstated. What is happening is that during multiple layers, if you are doing tricks with string segments that slide over one another, having them bunch up in the middle creates friction that will interfere with a trick.

For the record, his specific field is all fields. :wink: