Vs. Newton YoYo Concepts Ti-Walker
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
September 20, 2011
I have said it in the past, I love watching a company take an existing yo-yo and try it in a completely new medium, especially titanium. I am not alone in this line of thinking. It seems that every time a company asks the public what they would like to see next, inevitably there is a group that asks for such and such model to be remade in titanium… no matter how impractical it may be. The reason I say impractical is because unless you do some major tweaking to the design the end result will not be playable. This is were the fun comes in; watching a designer take an existing design and tweaking it enough to be a well playing yo-yo while still allowing it to show its heritage. Honestly it is simpler to just start from the ground up with a brand new design, but sometimes the challenge is just too tempting to pass up. Case in point, today’s review. I am looking at the Vs. Newton Ti-Walker, the titanium successor to the immensely popular Sky Walker. The Sky Walker is what put Heath on the map and is still one of the most sought after yo-yos in the Buy, Sell, Trade sections of most forums. It is going to be interesting to see if Heath remained true enough to the original Sky Walker design or if this is a completely new animal from the Vs. Newton stable.
• Diameter: 52.8 mm
• Width: 42 mm
• Gap: 4.1 mm
• Weight: 63.9 grams
• Response: Flowable Silicone
• Bearing: C-Sized Ceramic Bearing
Right out of the box it is easy to see that the Ti-Walker has had some work done. The original Sky Walker had a more angular profile with a defined, flat rim. Its profile was aggressive with three defined parts; the flat rim, the first transition into the catch zone and then the step down into the rest of the catch zone. The Ti-Walker has had its profile tamed from the original profile. The flat rim has been removed completely, the step has been lessoned and the almost straight walls have developed some well-defined curves. These differences are a welcome change in my book. While the Sky Walker is one heck of a player it was not always the most comfortable yo-yo. It could hit you wrong if you were not paying attention. The Ti-Walker is just feels better in the hand with more attention being paid to comfort. The cup is the most similar to the original design but that does not mean tweaks were not made. The Ti-Walker has had some additional material removed from the underside of the rim leaving behind a much needed and easy to catch IGR. The finish is a satined, raw titanium finish. The satin gives it the ability to grind while still retaining the gorgeous look of raw titanium. I am normally not the biggest fan of raw yo-yos but there is just something appealing about raw titanium. While I know it would kill the grinds on the Ti-Walker I would love to see someone mirror polish one up like the Sovereign and the Oxy Ti. Overall the design is very well implemented. While I can see its roots in the Ti-Walker, I think the design strays a little too much for it to simply be a titanium Sky Walker.
The design tweaks are only half of what was changed between the Sky Walker and the Ti-Walker. The weight has been reduced by a gram and a half as well. This reduction changes the play when compared to the Sky Walker. While the original was floaty this newer model is quite zippy on the string. The overall speed has increased giving a faster paced yo-yo that flies between tricks.
Response and Bearing
The response has not changed at all when compared to the original. It is still an expertly installed flowable silicone response that is grippy at first but breaks in for dead unresponsive yo-yo.
The bearing is changed from the 10-Ball bearings used in the Sky Walker and Battosai to a ceramic bearing. There are quite a few who say that ceramic bearings give better performance over their steel counterparts… I am not one of those people. The Ceramic bearing in the Ti-Walker was no better than the 10-Ball. This is not a knock against Vs. Newton or the Ti-Walker more a comment against ceramic bearings in general. I think some of the supposed superiority is a placebo effect that comes from the higher price tag. As far as the bearing itself, it spun true and didn’t need much maintenance.
Smooth and zippy, that is the best way to describe the Ti-Walker. There is something about titanium yo-yos; they always seem to be smoother than their aluminum counterparts. If I had to guess I would say that a little extra care is taken in machining them due to the fact that titanium is more expensive so mistakes are quite a bit more costly. The play of the Ti-Walker can best be described like this, take the Sky Walker and give it a Red Bull. This is quite a bit faster on the string in my opinion. The float isn’t as pronounced as it is on the original and the little thunk when it hits the end of the string is not as noticeable. During the play test of this yo-yo I didn’t learn any new tricks, instead I had too much fun doing all the hops that I already knew how to do. The Ti-Walker is just a blast to hop around on the string. The lightweight makes it effortless to jump around from string to string. My favorite trick during the week… the first part of Kwijibo. I would pop it up and catch it cross-armed, then I would pop back up, uncross and catch again. I think my record was ten catches in a row going back and forth between the two. As far as grinds are concerned, it is surprisingly competent for a raw yo-yo. The satin finish gives it decent grind times on the arm, palm and hand, arguably the best grind finish of any titanium I have played with. Thumb grinds were great with that wide cut IGR. I would love to see Heath implement this feature on all of his future yo-yos.
Those of you who have written this yo-yo off as nothing more than a titanium Sky Walker clone could not be more wrong. I would even go so far as to say that Heath is wrong for saying it as well. Pretty much everything but the hub in the center of the cup is different from the original design. The Ti-Walker is a brand new design that gives great performance at a decent price tag considering that it is made from titanium. I would recommend it for anyone looking for an extravagant addition to his or her collection. My only word of advice, don’t just leave it there for show. It needs to be played. The only thing I would change about the Ti-Walker is to ditch the ceramic bearing and put the 10-Ball back in. That could reduce the price a little more and make this yo-yo even more desirable. Vs. Newton did a great job on their first titanium; I am looking forward to the next one.