The Duncan Metal Drifter

Hello, and thanks for stopping by to read this review.

Current YoyoExpert Price: $21.99 (Sep. 8, 2011).

Appearance: I LOVE the look of the Drifter! It’s what attracted me to it in the first place. Mine is the silver w/ Black sides yoyo and I just love how it looks in the sun. It has a lot of appeal in the package I have to say. The Metal Drifter sounds tough, mean, and of rogue like demeanor. And the other BIG reason I had to get one was for the SKULL counterweight. I just Love how evil it looks hehe. LOOK INTO THE SKULL!!! And Be afraid hehe. I was not able to tell what material the counterweight is through the package until I took it out. It’s Plastic so it’s safe although if you’re just starting out on 5A I’d start out with a rubber ball first as the Skull will hurt if it hits your hand. On the whole, a very appealing product in terms of Visual appearance.

Play/ Feel: The size of the yoyo can be considered undersized but I like to call it slightly undersized as it’s 2 mm over the usual 50mm diameter. I find the feel of the Drifter to be nice and comfy in the hand. I can’t feel any type of surface coating at all, except for a raw aluminum “almost” mirror polish surface. This makes it look great, but horrible for finger, palm and arm grinds. So if you want to learn those grinds, the Drifter will not make it.

Because the Drifter comes to you responsive out of the box, (meaning that you can Tug Return it), you really have to modify it to make it more unresponsive where you can extract a bit more spin time and actually bind return it. I had to start a thread on it a few months back to find out from other players how to do it and it’s simple enough. Here’s what I did: Replace the stock Spacers with Brass Spacers (which are wider) and remove one of the Stickers. By doing this simple mod, you’ll have better unresponsive play.

Even after doing the mod however, I consider the drifter to be an OK performer, and not a super great performer. And it’s not designed to be either! Even though Duncan went ahead and put the word “Professional” on the package. I suppose comparing it to what is underneath the Drifter in the Duncan Family, it might be perceived as such, but the term is fairly far removed to an experienced player.

If you’re a newbie and want that metal feel and are an absolute hard core Duncan Lover, the Drifter can take you from beginner to intermediate level on the Boulay Expert Village vids. I consider after that it really drops out. In the right hands you can do some expert tricks one at a time but for long combos you’ll just crash and burn to no end!

The Drifter produces moderate to sub par spin time. It’s very light on the string and has good float and catches are easy. You can do IRGs at least. Umm what else. There is not much string drag as I had thought I’d get so that helps during play. It’s size makes it nimble enough for doing hops and getting in and out of string segments. I think it is a good yoyo to learn 5a on because of it’s shape however you may ding it if you drop it from time to time.

Conclusion: The Metal Drifter has a lot of appeal, no question, but unfortunately it has limited potential. Especially now that the YYF JK is on the market which practically made the Drifter Extinct. Months ago, I’d have said, yes get the Drifter to get that full metal feel at that price, but now…hehe. I mean the Drifter’s like a museum collector piece. If you were to spend $21.99, the JK is the clear choice as it blows the Drifter out of the water at every level. I currently have the Drifter on the Shelf just to look at now. I feel there is much room for improvement with the Drifter. IF (and this is a BIG IF) Duncan were to revamp the Drifter; say add 1.5 grams more weight on each rim, put in a C or metric bearing in there, with Silicone ring pads and put a bead blast on it, THEN the Drifter can be a real player at this price point. Is that too much to ask??? But then maybe it wouldn’t be at $21.99. But if YYF did it with the JK, Why Can’t Duncan???

So it’s up to you… well then again, there is the Skull, and no one else has that.

Great review! You must be a psychic! You review all the products i need reviewed! I love reading your reviews and you make really really good ones.

What’s up Big Cat!! Shhhhh!! How’d you know I am Psychic?? Wait lemme think…hmmm… YOU TOO must be a psychic! To know that I am psychic! But let’s keep it between ourselves ok? (Both Psychics)

Thanks for the support! ;D I’m glad it is of use. :wink: Look into my eyeeeeeeeeee! hehe

Stay cool!

Thanks for the Metal Drifter review! This way my first metal yoyo and I’m still modding and fooling around with it to this day. I really believe that the drifter is the metal “go-to” yoyo similar to the fhz. Do you know of any links or topics with interesting drifter mods?

Hi and thanks. No I don’t know of any particular mods page(s) for the drifter. But it would be interesting. That’s something Duncan should host on their site but… The mod I learned for this yoyo came from a thread I started way back when.

Stay cool…

That’s about what I expected out of the Drifter. Good to see you can show the pros and the cons (Most only like to focus on the pros.).

What’s up Trace! Thanks for stopping by!

My friend got one and he switched the bearing and he said it was good and was pretty smooth.

Anyways great review.

Thanks. What type of bearing did he put in it?

He has a yyf spec bearing in there.


I’m not a big Spec fan but I haven’t tried them in the Drifter. Something to think about. Thx.

I’ve also heard that a center track works great.