Toxic Strings Hazmat
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
March 11, 2012
I am betting there are many of you out there who are unfamiliar with the yo-yo company known as Toxic or it’s owner Evan Evans. That’s understandable considering they started out as, and still are, Toxic Strings, maker of both Mark Montgomery’s and Brett Grimes’ signature strings. Boutique string makers dabbling in the world of yo-yo design has been a time-honored tradition dating back to 2006 when Paul Wallace worked with Chris Mikulin to make one of the most talked about and well-loved yo-yos in the industry, the Peak. Paul went on to form G-String, one of the most well known boutique string makers in the community. Today we are getting a chance to see the tradition continue with Toxic’s first foray into the yo-yo market, the Hazmat. Is Toxic ready to branch out into the yoyo world or should they just stick to making killer strings for everyone else?
• Diameter: 56mm
• Width: 42mm
• Gap: 4.57mm
• Weight: 65.5g
• Bearing: One Drop 10-Ball Bearing
• Response: Flow Groove Pads
The Toxic Hazmat is the brainchild of Evan Evans, owner and operator of Toxic Strings and it is machined by One Drop Yo-Yos. No, this is not a collaboration between the two companies. One Drop Yo-Yos has recently started up a machining division dedicated to helping other yo-yo companies produce high quality yo-yos without having to outsource the work overseas. A win/win for everyone involved, your yo-yo design will be made by a machine shop that specializes in yo-yo work and you get to pick the brain of a top notch machinist that works with the designer in order to make sure any issues are squashed well before the aluminum touches the lathe.
For his debut release, Evans designed a full-sized, hybrid H/V-Shape, and Side Effect enabled yo-yo. The profile of the Hazmat shows off a large set of angled flat rims that transition after a minor step down into an ever so slightly convex V-Shaped catch zone that ends at the response gap. If it weren’t for that slight step this would be a completely V-Shaped yo-yo, the step gives a little extra shift in weight at the rims allowing for greater spin times. The outer edge of the rims are rounded enough to reduce most pain inducing hits but every once in a while, when you are not paying attention, it will hit wrong and you will feel it. This is just a hazard of a mostly V-Shaped design. The face of the yo-yo reveals a deep cup complete with a slight IGR and a Side Effect hub in the center. The stock Side Effects are the standard spike SEs anodized in black. The finish of the Hazmat is Pyramatte tumbled then anodized in black, deep orange, or a 50/50 combo of both. Over all I am a major fan of the design, I have always loved the V-Shape and the feel that yo-yos with this shape give during play.
Full sized and 65.5 grams with spot on weight distribution makes for a swift yet stable yo-yo during play. The Hazmat moves at a fast but not unmanageable pace thanks to the spike Side Effects that come standard with the yo-yo. Being one that can never leave well enough alone, I tinkered with the Hazmat. I broke out my Novus full of various Side Effects and tested them all with the yo-yo. I can honestly say I’m torn at this point. The stock feel with spikes is great but aluminum Ultra Lights just make this thing fly. In the end Evan made a wise decision including Side Effect tech in the Hazmat. In the end it opens the door for anyone who likes the shape but may be hesitant by the weight.
Quick side note, while heavy is not my normal cup of tea, if you want to grin from ear to ear install RSM Side Effects in the Hazmat.
Response and Bearing
Evan decided to use Flow Groove Pads for the Hazmat, giving it an easy, reliable, and inexpensive response. Out of the box my Hazmat was dead unresponsive. I may try silicone in it once the pads wear out, just to see how it handles a slightly recessed response.
The 10-Ball bearing makes its way into another brand of yo-yos. I cannot complement it enough, so I will just end by praising Toxic for selecting high quality parts for their first release.
As I noted in the weight section, this yo-yo is quick and stable. I was able to keep it at a manageable speed with little to no effort needed. Giving it a little push made it fly, and swapping out the stock spikes for aluminum Ultra Lights made the Hazmat play at a pace just about two notches down from “Tasmanian Devil on a Red Bull” speed. The stability of the Hazmat was most noticeable when it was balanced on a finger using the spikes or a set of RSMs; it was hard to tell it was actually spinning. The V-Shape catch zone quickly guides the string into the gap, reducing the tendency to tilt due to the string getting momentarily caught on a sidewall. The quickness of the Hazmat made for near instantaneous direction changes during play. The response was just about perfect even when jamming multiple Lindy Loop string wraps into the gap, only getting snaggy when I pushed it to far. Grinds are well implemented thanks to the Pyramatte finish especially during arm and palm grinds where the rims edges were the only thing to come in contact with my skin. Just about the only area that this yo-yo falls short is during thumb grinds and as I have said before, it is more of an issue with the V-Shapes in general. The issue is most noticeable when trying to catch the yo-yo on your thumb after popping it in the air from a sleeper. The cup walls are a little too close to the IGR and it ends up rejecting the thumb. I have seen this with other V-Shape yo-yos, not just the Hazmat. If you transition from a trapeze into a thumb grind this problem is pretty much nonexistent. Other than this minor issue, the play of the Hazmat is spot on and extremely impressive for a freshman release.
After playing this I can honestly say more string companies should get in the yo-yo game. The Hazmat is a textbook example of how you put out a first yo-yo. I can see this yo-yo being popular with 3A players, competition players, and those who just love to tinker and have fun. I am looking forward to seeing what Toxic comes out with next.