Tom Kuhn Heirloom Box of six yo-yo history

Here’s the 1997 Turbo Bumble Bee!



As you can see, coming from the very good performance of the Pro-Yo II we now have

  • replaceable response pad stickers
  • metal bearing :metal:

And thus begins the dawn of the modern yo-yo! :raised_hands:

I don’t know if you can see it in the pic but there was a bit of rust on the outer edge of the bearing. I cleaned it up as best I could with a lightly oiled buffing cloth, then thick lubed the bearing. It plays great, actually. :star_struck:

Now just add some metal to the mix (Cold Fusion, a year later), begin sloooowly widening the yo-yos a tad, and we’re set for the last yo-yo boom around 1999, as you can see here:

I don’t think I’m going to bother getting a metal Cold Fusion, since they’re (as far as I know) basically just metal Bumble Bees, and a bit pricey as they are in demand by collectors.


One of my favorite throws of yesteryear. I made replacement response pads out of old wine corks


I really love the cork response!

That gives me an idea…


Not totally sure this is cork. Checking —

The cork braking pads on the Bumble Bee are its defining characteristic, rare these days. The maintenance for this response system is basically the same as any other, but the real difference is the feel that cork gives. This feeling has deep roots in yo-yo culture, so a lot of old-school players still prefer this response system. The cork is pretty durable, minimizing the need for maintenance. For this reason it’s easy to recommend this model for beginners as well.

Well maybe it is! It feels quite soft and sticky for cork. Sounds like brand name of these is Duncan Yo-Yo Brake pads.


It’s Cork. I’ve got a bag of a hundred of them. They last forever, virtually.


I got a super “special” Pro-Yo II. See if you can tell what’s special about it. :wink:


The one on the right is technically per the packaging, a Pro-Yo III… what is the difference between the II and III @YOHANS?

Also a bit of a better outdoor pic


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Color is the only difference


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Today’s investigations into the history of yo-yo continue with the Turbo Bumble Bee GT




Interestingly, those two things on the side there are wood and brass center elements, so you can convert this from ball bearing to a fixed axle on wood or metal respectively :scream: … but it does ship with the ball bearing in by default.

The instructions aren’t very visual, I guess they assumed everyone had the basic tricks down at this point, so I’ll just type them up:

Turbo Bumble Bee :honeybee:

Welcome to the high performance world of the Turbo Bumble Bee. With 2500 years of research and 2 years of development, the Turbo Bumble Bee is now available for high performance spins, fantastic looping, and un-bee-lievably smooth string tricks.

Bumble Bee Care

Remember that the Turbo Bumble Bee is a machine. Follow these guidelines to ensure years of trouble free fun.

  • Keep it Clean! – The Bumble Bee is equipped with a modern high speed ball bearing. Dirt will cause the Bumble Bee’s bearing to wear out fast. Be careful not to walk the dog in the dirt. Keep it try, water can rust the bearing. Do Not Oil.

  • String – Your Bumble Bee is a high performance yo-yo. You will wear out string faster than a fixed axle yo-yo, so change strings often. Also remember that the tighter your Bumble Bee’s string, the harder it will be to return to your hand. (This is the opposite of a fixed axle yo-yo.)

  • Brake Pads – Your Bumble Bee has high tech brake pads so it will return to your hand. The amazing speed of this yo-yo will wear down the brake pad material, which will periodically need to be replaced.

If the Bumble Bee does not return to your hand, change the pads as follows


  1. Peel up the pads with a safety pin.
  2. Remove the old adhesive.
  3. Apply new pads ensuring that they are installed absolutely flat and very snug around the plastic blocks.

Parts List


  1. Yellow Half
  2. Black Half
  3. Bolt
  4. Nut
  5. Brass Back
  6. Brake Pads
  7. Ball Bearing
  8. Side Plates

Some of this seems a little … errr… wrong … in retrospect like “never oil the bearing”, and “strings wear out faster on a ball bearing than a fixed axle”…


That response system is probably a little rougher on strings when they rub against it constantly. That being said the bearing set up may actually wear out the string faster than fixed as the string would rub at a much higher speed for a longer time.

It might refer to historically crappy strings… but my experience is that fixed axles definitely eat strings an order of magnitude faster than bearings. This makes sense, because no matter how smooth you make a wood surface, it’s never going to be as smooth as a metal one, and that’s what is rubbing against the string constantly in the axle.

Another thing that’s wrong is @grendel said these cork pads last a really long time, much longer than silicone?

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Yes. They get thinner as you use them until the surface falls below the cutout in the aluminum side then you bind. I love them but they take forever to break in.

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Yep. When I was a kid, I got a Bumblebee gt followed by a Profire gt. The gentleman who sold them to me at a local hobby shop was kind enough to change out the brass trans axle that came stock on the Profire and put in an extra set of ball bearing axle parts he had from another Bumblebee. That stuff was all interchangeable at a time when ball bearings in yoyos was a new thing I guess.

However, as far as the pads were concerned, the pads lasted a few years until I started losing interest in yoyoing. They were getting pretty worn out when I picked up yoyoing again around 2010.



These are eerily similar. Turbo BumbleBee GT and Confusion.

Digital calipers say 35mm width, 57mm diameter, 57.6g with string, versus 35mm width, 56mm diameter, 57.2g with string. That is wayyyyyy closer in specs than I thought they would be.

Of course being metal and silicone and ~22 years later the Confusion has the edge, no doubt, but this is clearly an older sibling.

Of course a Confusion GT is so very much wider than this at 43mm, that is the primary area of inflation: width.


I mean… YYF = Ben & Hans, so… similar, but “eerily”?


I mean they could have gone for yellow ano instead of gold, I’m just saying.

Well it’s also called the conFUSION, so isn’t the similarity really between it and the CF (which is of course kind of a metal TBB - and gold to boot!)


I think it’s more that the Confusion was supposed to be a throwback to the CFGT. But the CFGT and the TBBGT were related as well. Hence the similarity between the TBBGT and the Confusion.


Yeah I need to look up specs on the metal Cold Fusion, they are kinda hard to get on eBay at the moment. Speaks to their enduring popularity though!

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Are they? Alas, I wouldn’t know :wink:
Hit me up if ever you want to swap a useless wooden box for one. <3

IMG_2294 IMG_2295


I love my cold fusion it was one of my first metals. Now that I have a Starfire I don’t need a g.t. anymore.

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