Square Wheels YoYo Co. Royale
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
April 15, 2012
Square Wheels is a new yo-yo company based out of Kansas City, MO working in conjunction with Blake Freeman. Blake is no stranger to the yo-yo scene; he is one of the founders of the Kansas City YoYo Club and the organizer of the Kansas State YoYo Contest. I first contacted Blake, who has become sort of the “face” of the company, after seeing the first run with their absolutely insane finishes. While it is true that books and yo-yos are the same in the sense that you never judge a book by its cover or a yo-yo by its ano job, I had to see one in person. Looking at the photos you can see why. The Royale, the freshman effort from Square Wheels, seems to have it all on paper; good looks and people who know a thing or two about yo-yos. Now it is time to see if the Royale can carve out a place amongst the yo-yo nobility.
• Diameter: 54mm
• Width: 43mm
• Gap at bearing: 4.4mm
• Weight: 66 Grams
• Bearing: C-Size TerrapinX
• Response: Black RTV Silicone
The Royale comes shipped unassembled in a standard USPS shipping box. It is fit snuggly in a custom cut black foam insert that ensures it will arrive in pristine condition. While it is not the flashiest box, there is something about putting the yo-yo together for the first time that is quite satisfying; it was something I always appreciated about H-Spin’s packaging. Once assembled, and with a fresh Toxic String installed, I began to inspect the yo-yo. The profile is dominated by the absolutely huge rounded rims that attach to a pair of near 45-degree inner walls. The walls transition to a moderately high walled inner gap leading straight to the bearing. The profile allows the yo-yo to rest comfortably in the hand with your middle finger laying snuggly between the rims. The outer edge of the rims could use a slightly rounder edge. As is, if the yo-yo returns at an angle it can hit hard and cause a little pain in the palm. The cup of the yo-yo shows off a wide-open cup area, the floor is completely flat but the sidewalls follow the curves of the reverse side catch zone. There is absolutely no IGR carved into the underside of the rim. At the center of the cup is a small but very sharp spike that should be sufficient for matador play, more on that later. The finish of the Royale is soda blasted making a velvety soft feel. The coloring on the Royale line is just plain nuts, to put it mildly. While the solid colors and splashes are old hat Square Wheels’ “chipped” finish is something I have never seen before. It looks just as the name states, like someone has chipped the paint off of it exposing a secondary color underneath. The effect is eye catching to say the least. Being a freshman effort means there are bound to be a few rough spots but over all I could only find one, the rim edge. Overall this is a well thought out design with some killer aesthetics.
The Royale has a stable and floaty feel on the string. This is not a speed demon type yo-yo. I found it to be more of a chilled out throw that was very comfortable moving at a medium pace. Perfect for those times when you want to just relax and move from trick to trick. The rims give a good amount of spin so you will have plenty of time to get your flow on. While it feels most comfortable during those relaxing type sessions if you need it to go faster it most definitely will accommodate, but at its heart the Royale plays like it was made for those that just want play and not worry about the world around them.
Response and Bearing
The response in the Royale is black RTV silicone, which provided a nice tight bind. I did not have a single problem with slipping binds of any kind. The impressive part is that the silicone was expertly poured in my review unit. I don’t use anything but clear flowable just because of its self-leveling nature. I have never been able to get a decent installation with other automotive silicones.
Square Wheels went with a TerrapinX bearing. In the literature for the yo-yo they state that the bearing was broken-in out of the box and loud… they were not kidding. While it give an amazing amount of spin I just could not take the noise for long so I pulled out some V4M and put a couple of pin drops in. Afterwards it was silent and smooth sailing.
As stated in the weight section, the Royale is smooth and stable. I love the floaty feel on the string during play as well. I did notice a miniscule amount of vibe that I was unable to tune out, think a notch down from the infamous CLYW vibe. It was only noticeable during grinds and did not interfere with any of the tricks. I have always said that if it doesn’t hurt the play I could care less about the vibe. During the play I found that even though the gap is high walled I was able to pull off any suicide I threw at it. Whip tricks and slacks were also easy to hit thanks to the large catch zone, even my sloppy Brent Stoles that Brett has teases me about. Grinds were straightforward and easy to do thanks to the soda blast finish. I found the large rims kept skin contact to a minimum while in the palm and on the arm allowing it to spin in place until I wanted it to move. Thumb grinds were a little tricky due to the total lack of an IGR, but with a little fine-tuning I was able to catch it after popping it up from a sleeper without needing to throw at a slight angle. Thumb grinds will always be slightly slippy with this yo-yo but can still be done with relative ease. The spikes are one area where the Royale really does excel. Even though they are short, I found them easy to grab and use for matador tricks and ripcord starts. All said and done I found the play to be extremely enjoyable from the Royale.
Freshman efforts can always be nerve racking on a new company. They will set the tone for how the community views them and can make or break a company. I am very happy to say that the Royale is a great freshman effort. The feel on the string is just as impressive as the ano job that it comes with. It is an easy to recommend yo-yo for anyone who wants to kick back and relax with, and let’s be honest that is why most of us throw in the first place. Just about the only thing I would ask from the Square Wheels crew is that their next design please include an IGR. other than that keep up the good work guys.