String Theory YoYos Bandit
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
June 22, 2011
Ok, String Theory (STYY) has been out for quite a while now and has hit their stride, releasing five models to the community over the year and a half of their existence. Over this period I have felt like I have been on a roller coaster with them. Their first release, The Remnant, was an absolutely brilliant yo-yo that I enjoyed quite a bit. The next two, the Quark and Singularity, were way too heavy for my tastes. Recently they released the updated Remnant 2, showing me why I was a fan in the first place. Now I am about to review their latest release, the Bandit. The Bandit is their first foray into the world of full sized throws. After playing the Remnant 2 I was optimistic about this new release. Time to see if this will leave me at the highest peak or lowest trough of this roller coater ride.
• Width: 42mm
• Diameter: 55mm
• Gap: 4.45mm
• Weight: 70g
• Bearing: C size Terrapin Treated
• Response: Red Gasket Silicone
The Bandit is your classic butterfly shaped design. The profile has gracefully curved rims that transition smoothly into the catch zone. I would liken the Bandit profile to a modern reinterpretation of the much-loved CLYW BvM design. The cup is deep with swooping inner walls and a recessed IGR under the larger rims. At the center of the cup is a flat floor with a small hub in the center. The bead blast finish is extremely well implemented. It is an almost chalk board finish that feels great in the hand. One issue I had with the design is with the bearing seat. It is tight to the point of being worrisome. I have had my fair share of tight bearing posts in the past, none that have bothered me too much. A pair of needle nose pliers usually solves the problem. This one was so tight that it made it a slight chore just to open the yo-yo and difficult to remove the bearing with said pliers. This is may cause a problem over time, repeated opening and closing of the yo-yo and removal of the bearing can strip the seat of its anno and possibly lead to vibe over time. Over all it is an interesting design but not wholly unique. If they do update the design for I would recommend they rethink the bearing seat on any future releases.
There is no getting around it; at 70 grams this is a heavy yo-yo. It hits hard at the end of the string and moves at just about a medium pace. While the increased weight does allow for some rock solid and stable play I found that it took a good deal of effort to move quickly on the string. This is definitely for players with a chilled out play style and not for those that want speed.
Response and Bearing
While I may have had an issue with the bearing seat it was small in comparison to the issue I had with the response of this yo-yo. In the past String Theory has used their Theory Pads as their stock response. That is great considering they are just One Drop Flow Groove Pads with a new name. I have considered them to be an excellent response no matter what name they are sold under. In the Bandit STYY decided to go with red gasket silicone. This type of response can be very finicky when being installed; it does not self-level like clear flowable silicone. Unfortunately, the team at STYY did not smooth it out well enough leaving large bumps in the response as can be seen in the photo. The end result was that this yo-yo would return and smack me in the knuckles at unexpected times with all of its 70-gram heft. To correct it I ended up having to rip the silicone out and install a set of One Drop pads. This made for dead unresponsive play and pain free knuckles.
The Terrapin 10-Ball bearings that STYY uses in their yo-yos are a great choice. As I have said in the past, they are quieter than a stock 10-Ball while retaining the play. The one warning I give with them is don’t clean them with mineral spirits, which will remove the special coating. Instead use a can of compressed air.
My first day of throwing was very frustrating. As stated in the response section, the Bandit would return at unexpected times causing for painful play. At the end of the first day it left my throw hand middle finger bruised on the second knuckle. The next day I decided to open it up for inspection, that is when I noticed the bad response and replaced it with my own. From that day on it was dead unresponsive, allowing me to get a better idea of how this yo-yo is supposed to move. During my play test I was impressed with the stability and smoothness on the string. At the same time I thought it felt chunky while moving it throw tricks. It took greater effort to make it respond to string movements and at a couple points I felt as if I were fighting it during more complicated tricks. A good example would be Brett’s pseudo double or nothing magic GT. It requires you to almost do a double or nothing and then a quick ninja vanish after which you drop the loop off your throw hand pointer landing it in a GT. I found the quick ninja vanish move to be a little hard to pull of with this yo-yo; something that I do not find with more agile throws. One area the extra weight does come in handy is during grinds. The extra heft coupled with the excellent bead blast finish allowed it to stay put while grinding on a finger, arm, palm or thumb.
I should start off by saying that this is not a review unit; this was a stock yo-yo off a retail shelf that could have easily been sold to your average player. At the end of the day I can see what this yo-yo could have been and where it came up short. The response was a poor choice, especially when they had a proven choice at their fingertips. The bearing seat definitely needs some work in order to prevent possible vibe in the future. Finally, it needs a diet. If it lost about 5 grams it would be an excellent player. At this point I would have to say be cautious and definitely play the Bandit before you purchase it.