Upgrade from YYJ Journey: DM2 or Puffin or...?


So, I recently decided to take up yo-yo-ing and, as per the recommendation of the shop on this site, picked up a YYJ Journey. I got it today and managed to work my way through the beginner section of the Mr. Boulay’s tutorials above. I’ve had a lot of fun, but unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of the Journey–in fact I think I hate it. It feels, for lack of better word, gross; that is, it vibrates and wobbles and makes a disgusting grinding sound. I know for sure that I want to upgrade immediately, but I’m unsure of what to get. Here are what I take to be my best bets:

  1. CLYW Puffin
    I feel a very strong pull toward Caribou Lodge. I am drawn by their name, their team, their aesthetics, and, of course, their reputation. Moreover, I feel a particular affinity for the Puffin; to account for this affinity I have a number of reasons, none of them having much of anything to do with the yo-yo’s performance. In any case, when we’re talking about $150 yo-yo’s, I doubt that for a beginner there’s much of a difference: why not just get the one I like, huh?

  2. YYJ Dark Magic II
    This is the yo-yo I keep hearing about. Apparently it’s good for beginners making the transition into intermediate/advanced territory, and hey, it’s less than $50. But I have a few reservations: first, I have already bought a YYJ and am unhappy with it. Second, it looks really tacky (yes, I could take the caps off, but it’s a matter of principle :-X). Third, why should I settle for second best when I could buy what I want right now?

In all honesty, I was dead-set on the DM2 before I read the thread about the 31 year old and his first yo-yo below. He was more or less encouraged to go big, and he did; I’m compelled to follow his lead. But before I do so, it’d be nice to hear some of your thoughts on the matter. Do my problems with the Journey call for an upgrade (given that I’ve got more than enough money to do so–and no, I won’t get both right now: consider that the DM2 option)? Will the yo-yo’s suggested fix my problems? Am I going to run into considerable difficulties with the Puffin that could be avoided by choosing another yo-yo? I appreciate all thoughts.


Well the problem with you getting the puffin is that you don’t seem to know how to bind yet. If I were you I would buy one of the yye full size bearing so you can put that in your journey and see if you want to go unresponsive. After that maybe get an unresponsive plastic like a protostar or trigger. You may even jump to a metal like the Di base or metropolis. After this you should start going for items like the puffin. Hope I help.
, DrAwesome


Ah, I should have hedged the binding concern. So, I plan on learning how to bind no matter what: I’d much rather do so on a quality yo-yo. Is learning how to bind going to be harder on the Puffin than on any other? And in the meantime while I still can’t bind, I’ve got the Journey to mess around with. Is that reasonable? I mean, what exactly is lost by skipping all of the intermediate steps between Journey and Puffin?


Hmmm, sorry you have had such a bad experience. I have a number of journeys and they all play fine. I also have 2 DM IIs and they are a really nice yoyo. I’ll quit beating around the bush and say that I think you should buy the Puffin because you have made all the excuses about the others being a piece of crap, and that’s the one you want - so buy it.


See, the Journey plays fine, as far as I can tell. It’s just that I don’t like how it feels. And I haven’t given up on the DM2 by any means–this thread is about what yo-yo will be best for me. I do have reservations about it, which I listed in the OP. No, I’m not generally picky and hard to please, I just want to know if there are any good reasons to climb the yo-yo ladder up to the quality one’s when I could just leap to the top.

Believe me, my mind is far from made up. Not only have I not ruled out the DM2, I’m worried that the Puffin might not be the best choice for me. I appreciate your advice (buy what I want), but I’d rather buy what would be best than buy what I want.

Edit: I’ll reiterate the question posed in the DM2 section of the OP: “Why should I settle for second best when I could buy what I want right now?” If there are any good reasons to settle for second best, I’d love to hear them!


The DM2 is a funny yoyo for me. It was one of the first I got, and even when I got an all-metal yoyo, I kept playing it.

Over time, I played it less and less. For a while when I picked it up, it felt… cheap? because I wasn’t used to the plastic.

Coming around full circle, I eventually realized that each yoyo stands on its own merits. A plastic/metal hybrid simply won’t “feel” like a metal, but it’s not supposed to! It’s supposed to have its own thing going on. Played it for a while earlier tonight, and it really does have something special about it. It’s a great yoyo, and it certainly has a feel that an all-metal yoyo can’t reproduce (and I mean that in a good way!).

That said, I’m all for getting what you want, as long as you can afford it. It’s not that the DM2 is “second best” (some people will prefer it over the Puffin no matter what the cost!) but that you seem to want the Puffin, period. If you can afford it, go for it. :wink:


Well said, though your advice was basically a more polite version of jhb’s ;). Like I said before, I don’t “want the Puffin, period”, but as you both could tell, I want it a lot. And since neither of you seemed to think I’d run into too many problems (and I think I could tough it out through DrAwesome’s binding problem), I think I’ll get the yo-yo.

Thank you very much, you three!


Well, I mainly wanted to share my experience with the DM2. That was meant to be the important part. :wink:

Besides, jhb said what I said. He just beat me to it.


There’s so many choices.

My biggest concern is that you’re unhappy with the Journey, which while granted isn’t the greatest yoyo in the world, it’s not that bad either. Well, I don’t know, I haven’t played one.

I do have both the DM2 and the Puffin. The DM2 was my first “modern” yoyo, and I have 4 of them and I still play them a lot. This yoyo, with the 2 bearings, can take you from nothing to as far as you want to go, until you get into horizontal and doing gyro-type tricks, only because its not well suited for that. I flat out like this yoyo. Many of us started out on this. Not all of us like this yoyo, but I do, and that’s all I care about.

The Puffin is just different. Amazing, wonderful, medium speed, smooth, stable. It’s also around 3 times more and a full metal. What’s not to like about it? What, don’t like the price? Too bad. It’s worth it, it really is.

However, it just seems odd that you’re going to leap from a $15 beginner throw to a $150+ competition beast… seems kind of drastic and extreme. It’s not my money, so why should I care? But, then there’s so many other choices that you’re gonna get overwhelmed. But hey, it’s your money. If you can bind, get whatever you want. No, scratch that. Spend your money however you want to.

How many yoyos do you want me to recommend? Do you want a yoyo that can transition from responsive to unresponsive? Do you want plastic, metal/plastic or full metal?

But, regardless of how great a yoyo may be in someone’s opinion, that doesn’t mean you’ll agree. One of my friends who yoyos and I will intentionally take positions of “he likes this, I hate that. He hates this, I like that” to make a point about preferences.

Not to try to steer you towards cheap stuff, but the Classic kicks serious tail and comes at a darn cheap price. Love this!! I’m playing one all the time these days, and if you’ve seen my collection you know I got loads of “awesome stuff”, and I like this stuff, but hey, I can be happy with a $10 yoyo with some upgrades. For around $20, you can have a fantastic learning yoyo with good weight, durability and can go from responsive to unresponsive with the ugprade parts(hence the $20 price tag). Once you can bind, way more choices open up and at that point, you can feel safe buying pretty much anything you choose.

I also can’t disagree with stuff like the Legacy II, and Chaser, which have the 2 bearings included. Other low cost stuff like the Alpha Crash, PSG, Asteroid, Trigger, protostar and Northstar are also amazing but are full unresponsive and more than reasonably priced.


Again, well said ;D.

As regards your concern, I want to remind you that I have been having fun with the Journey. It’s just that it feels like learning guitar on a $70 dollar FirstAct. Sure in the end you can play a lot of cool stuff, but learning to do so on one is frustrating to say the least (I know from experience). Learning is both easier and more fun when you don’t have to worry about whether or not certain obstacles are due to your inferior equipment. Does the Classic have the same or similar problems to the ones I had with the Journey? If so, then it’s safe to say that I’m not interested. If not then please tell me more, especially about how it compares to the DM2.

As far as the leap goes, you got me there. It is a bit extreme, isn’t it? I guess I’m just of the opinion that if you want to do something, you may as well do it right. In any case, despite what I said in my previous post, I’m still open to suggestions. I’ll wait to hear back about the Classic.


The classic rocks every other plastic out of the water! When you change the pads and put a c sized bearing in it, this beast can keep up with all them costlier yoyos. Okay, okay. Mine was actually pretty smooth. Well it depends on what bearing you end up getting. I suggest getting a SPEED bearing, or a 10ball. It’ll spin plenty long enough for any trick. It doesn’t feel like a ten dollar plastic yoyo. The only thing is, It’s not the most stable.

If you want to go all out, go get a puffin. That’s not the clyw I would get, but if you want it get it.


The Classic is pretty stable! Way more stable than a PSG, by comparison. Maybe not as stable as a Trigger. But pretty stable.


Since you mentioned the thread that I started to get help, I guess it won’t be too out of place for me to chime in here. Perhaps my recent buying decision can help you along with yours!

So right out of the gate I’d like to say that I have no buyer’s remorse for having ordered what I have. These fine folks on this forum have impressed upon me that so many of these throws are excellent that it is gonna be pretty hard to screw up a choice! (As a matter of fact, you may have to do more research in order to find a bad one then to find a good one! You gotta be trying to screw it up!)

Buy the Puffin you want…get the string you want in the color you want…get a fun $10 plastic to play with on the go (YYJ Classic, YYF ONE, or for more $$$ a DM2) and join the “Eagerly Awaiting My Order Club”

I too have the penchant for analysis that you seem to have and indeed “quality” is king in my book too. Bearing this fully in mind I offer the advice above and hope you take it.


I learned pro audio on super inexpensive gear before obtaining my first console, a Mackie 1604VLZ, which I still use to this very day, despite “upgrading” to a 76 input A&H ML5000 48B desk. I hear your argument, but at the same time, fundamentals are fundamentals. I often find the biggest obstacle to learning is a mindset saying “I gotta have the best to do the basics”. Yoyo is really no different. The only real issue is if you need an unresponsive yoyo, you must have an unresponsive yoyo. Similarly, it’s best to have the right kind of microphones for certain applications, but the same time, make due with what you’ve got.

One of your concerns is that the plastic yoyo makes noise. The reality is that I have yet to play a plastic yoyo that didn’t make noise. Some are louder than others. The Trigger is by far one of the loudest yoyos I have ever played, yet I still enjoy it. The Protostar is another noise machine, as is the Northstar, which are also models I enjoy. Sound waves easily move from the bearing to the plastic and then radiates outward, with the shape of the yoyo halves acting as a natural amplifier. It’s just now they work. Metal, being denser and more rigid, stands a better chance of dampening things.

As far as play is concerned, the Journey is a hollow plastic yoyo, but so is the Protostar. A lot of plastics are going to give you this kind of feeling. It’s not an indicator of quality, but it’s just an issue with the design. You are understanding how critical preferences are, and despite how great the Protostar is, a lot of people don’t like it(well, not a majority, just many have mentioned this) because it feels hollow to them. It does feel hollow to me as well, but it performs amazing so that’s allI care about. Of course, this isn’t about MY preferences, this is about YOUR preferences, and if something like that bothers you, well, you’re simply not going to enjoy that yoyo and you should avoid something like that. If you want heavier and slower(and less hollow feeling), then the Northstar is an option.

Back to the Classic:
No, it doesn’t feel hollow. It has a very solid feel. The weight is good as well, more than adequate weight, enabling long spins on a hard and straight throw, yet not too heavy, but still perfect for getting through your longest combos. Of course, stock, it’s kind of, well, not entirely ideal for a progressing player, but it is ideal for a beginner. With either a siliconed response or YYJ silicone o-ring reponse pads and an upgraded full width C-sized bearing, these are showing up as competition yoyos and not just by kids with small budgets either. That is something I was not expecting.

The DM2, with the cap, can have aspects of “hollow”. Your choice: you can remove the caps or leave them in, which solves most of the problem. The rest is merely tied to the body being polycarbonate, which can have that hollow feeling. There’s nothing wrong with the DM2, but it does have a highwall inner design, so if you’re looking for a more generous catch zone, this might not be for you. The highwall encourages cleaner play, while taking you from beginner/zero(which you’re beyond) to pretty much as far as you’re willing to let it take you.

But, you don’t have to go insane and pop for a Puffin either. One Drop offers the same quality at a lower price break. GSquared is a brand to take seriously, and I think the Albatross would be a good model to go with. But do you really want to spend that kind of money right now?

The C3 Capless is a great all-metal full sized with a low price but massive performance. I only not recommending the DIBase/DiBase2 since they are smaller, but that’s the only reason why. Consider RecRev, which also offers mind blowing performance(along the lines of twice their price). Both C3’s “budget throws” and RecRev have consistently impressed me.

I like the finer things, but I’m not opposed to “slumming it”. Yeah, I have an Anglam, and it is by far my most favorite yoyo. Is it because of price? No, not even, because then it would be my 3Yo3 TI5. I find that for me, the Anglam gives me exactly what I’ve been looking for. However, what do I play most of the time? I keep going back to my DM2, or the Classic I have with silicone response and a wide bearing. I’ll grab a “yoyo of the day”, which could be nearly anything from plastic to metal or plastic/metal, and I will have a great time.

And while I would rather mix on a $60K live sound console, I’ll bust out the new Mackie ProFX8 if need be(I used it for prelims for BAC) that ran me $250, or the Yamaha ProMix01(used for BAC main stage)(which ran me $1600 when I bought it, they sell these days used for around $300), or grab that Mackie 1604VLZand kick serious rear end with it because I’ve got the experience, knowledge and proper fundamentals to maximize what I can do with such desks.

Not to pat myself on my own back, but I’ve gone “head to head” with the best in the business and continuously smoked them with my “not top of the line” gear. Why? Oh wait, because I am one of the best in the business, I just don’t have big corporate dollars backing me anymore. Having proper skills, a “master” can take modest tools and do amazing things with it. Give the same master better tools and they can just get there a bit quicker.

I advice financial caution. Clearly, if you’re here and posting the way you are, you’re serious about having fun. But, how many people upgrade from one of those cheap guitars to a vintage Strat or Tele(I’m an audio engineer, NOT a guitar guy) and paying over $3500 for one of these? Not many.

You’re also not in a position to have developed much in regards to preferences yet. I would hate for you to spend big and then just not be absolutely pleased with your purchase. At the same time, that can happen at all price points. Not to throw out a list of stuff I haven’t liked, but I don’t care for the delrin Severe, Supernova/Nova series, Genesis and G-Funk, just to name a few. Ain’t nothing wrong with any of those by any stretch, just my preferences said “no, I don’t care for these”. I’m glad I got to play them first.

You’re a “big boy”, as are many other people on the forum. You have some money you’re willing to spend and you have a working budget. Man, I wish more people would come on here with that mindset, it really helps.

Going CLYW isn’t going to be a mistake, I just feel too big of a jump, but if you really want to, then why wait? You could take a mid-range step in plastic, metal or plastic/metal, or just “go for it”. The Puffin is great, but maybe the Avalanche might be a better choice. It’s less expensive, still awesome in every way and full sized. I do prefer both the AC, BvMr2 and the Chief over the Puffin though. I’m only recommending against the Gnarwal due to size.


I’m off to work, so I don’t have much time to respond. But let me say thank you to all who have replied, and especially to Studio42 for his lengthy and insightful comments.


I didn’t read all of the above comments so if I am being repetitive I apologize. When I started a few months ago I bought a DM2. I decided on that over a Dv888 because the DM2 came with both a slim and large bearing. In retrospect I wish I wouldn’t have wasted the money on the DM2. I learned how to bind in about 30 minutes to an hour. It wasn’t the prettiest bind but I could do it fine. I literally used the slim responsive bearing for about 10 minutes before taking it out, and I haven’t used it since. The DM2 is a great yoyo for beginners, but if you are a fast learner then there is really no need for it. Lots of people on here will suggest buying something cheaper than a Puffin just in case you decide to give up the hobby. I don’t agree with this opinion however. I think you should use a high quality yoyo very soon after learning how to bind and do basic tricks like a trapeze and breakaway. My reasoning is that many people who will buy something such as a DM2 or other wallet friendly yoyo may give up on the hobby without ever truly knowing the feeling of learning on something that makes the process 10 times easier. I believe you should buy a higher end metal to learn on. More specifically, a CLYW or another collectible yoyo company’s product. That way if you do decide to give up the hobby then you will be able to get a good amount of your money back through the BST or another auction type site. I’ve never used the Puffin so I can’t speak to it’s playability, but I know that the Chief is an extremely good yoyo. There are other yoyos in the same price range that have better spin times and stability, but you don’t have as good a chance to get your money back with those if you did decide to quit. Hope this helped.


YYJ Theory or PHENOMizm. Theory is a high quality 62 dollar yoyo and the phenomizm is around 10 bucks more than the theory. Theory is a good aluminum and the phenomizm is a good bi-metal and in a very distant way, similar to the DM2 as GregP was mentioning. And of course there is always a nice plastic like the trigger or alpha crash.


I agree that the classic is a very good choice

If you absolutely want a metal I’d say to go with a capless over the rest since it’s still cheaper but plays great and I feel the shape will fit a beginner better than that of a puffin


Get used to it. Studio42’s comments are always informative and well thought out. I don’t always agree with his opinion, but I rarely disagree with the logic behind it.

Anyway, as to suggestions, if you’re worried about YYJ disappointing you again, there’s absolutely no need to get another YYJ (honestly, I’m not a huge fan of their stuff either). There are so many other companies and throws to choose from it’ll make your head spin. I strongly suggest you get to a yoyo meet if there are any near you. Most throwers are pretty liberal when it comes to letting you try their stuff. Hopefully, someone will have a Puffin you can try out before you throw $150 at it, if not, you might try something else that you’ll fall in love with.



You’ve pretty much captured my line of reasoning. I thought hard about your alternative recommendations, but in the end . . .

I’ve decided to go with a truncated version of Lonefrog615’s order (i.e., a Puffin and a Classic with a new bearing and response system). His cameo in this thread gave me the final push. Though I expect playability-wise I could have gotten better for the money (as a few have pointed out), I can’t imagine that I would be disappointed with the Puffin and satisfied with something else; that is, if I don’t like the Puffin, I doubt yo-yo-ing is for me. And if that turns out to be the case, then I’m sure I can get the yo-yo to someone who will appreciate it.

As far as getting the Classic as well, I was motivated both by the arguments given to Lonefrog615 in his thread regarding having a less expensive yo-yo to beat up and because I wanted to see how to compared to the Journey and the Puffin. I’m really looking forward to seeing what it can do.

As I mentioned above, I appreciated your post very much. I think that at a certain point, though, the analogy between guitars/audio equipment and yo-yo’s breaks down purely because of price. The Puffin at around $150 costs 3.75 times as much as the DM2 at $40 (and 7.5 times as much as the Classic at $20), whereas a Martin (I play acoustic) at $2500 costs around 36 times as much as a FirstAct at $70. The leap from worst to best (so to speak) is much greater both percentage-wise and price-wise when it comes to guitars than when it comes to yo-yo’s. So while it’s true that I would not encourage a beginner to get a top notch guitar, I’m not sure the same advice would apply vis-a-vis yo-yo’s (at least not simply by analogy). And again, I do not doubt that there are quality budget yo-yo’s I just think that saving a bit of money isn’t that strong of a reason to compromise.

Anyway, thanks again to everyone here. Now, is there any place I can go (another thread, YouTube video, etc.) to learn how to upgrade the Classic? I’ve never been good with stuff like this and I don’t trust myself to just go in there and rip things apart :-X.

Edit: Just saw your reply Yuki. It’s been done, so let’s just hope for the best at this point! ;D What sort or resources are there to find out about yo-yo meets? I’m in the Midwest, so I’m not very confident that there will be any near me.