Which companies are doing the most innovation?


Lately I have been noticing that many of the “established” yoyo companies, while having many sponsored players that win contests, seem to be lacking in the innovation area.
I was looking at the “New Releases” and noticed that most of the releases from “established” companies were really just fancy, painted re-stocks of old models; or re-sizing of old models. The releases from the small companies although, were innovative and varied.
Although they sell LOTS of plastic yo-yos, the big guys seem to be a little adrift right at the moment. So which companies are doing the real innovation if the big guys are just re-releasing their old stuff?


I feel like OneDrop is one of the few that make new stuff all the time and it’s good stuff too (IMHO).

I know what you mean though a good amount of yoyos coming out are just recolours and nothing more. Some companies (CLYW) I don’t mind doing it to much though because they’re some legit yoyos and they never have too many for sale at one time.

(Jei Cheetah) #3

Kingyo star. For real.


I think with yoyo, it just takes a while before there’s some sort of significant break-through in the innovation department.

Right now, I kind of see YoYoJam riding a wave with the mid-placed weight rings such as in the Phenomizm. I rather like this. But for how long are they going to milk this? Then, we have the trend of making inexpensive plastic versions of more expensive metals and plastic/metals. Then again, I do like YYJ stuff and have plenty of their yoyos on my “wants” list.

I’m new but I think the shape of the One Drop Code 1 is rather innovative, but please feel free to correct me if my observation is not true.

I’m all in favor of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. I also do agree that you can use this mentality to continue existing product. Then, use the R&D budget for truly new ideas instead of tinkering with existing designs just to release a new model year variant.


I’m really excited to see these innovative releases from the small companies you speak of.

YoYoFactory has a strong history built on innovation and personally I don’t think we get credited a great deal for what we have contributed despite seeing our advancements in many of our contemporaries designs today.

A little history lesson for those new to the scene:

-> Design trends we have popularized.
Metal yoyos for competition (existed before us but realistically were not popular)
Triple bearing designs (existed before us but realistically were not popular)
Stepped profiles
Unresponsive (out of the box)
Flowable recess (out of the box)
Pads to fit flow able recess, specific examples
-555 size pads (made for the G5)
-K-pads (made to fit the 888)
slim responsive bearing (with an additional wide unresponsive bearing) DNA was the first.

Things we tried (love it or not):
F.A.S.T. (201, 301, spinstar)
Dial response (with both pad and starburst)
Interchangable response (stainless whistler)
promoting superwide yoyos (I’m still a believer!)
super long spin
Dice Hubstacks… who would have thought any other manufacturer would be interested in such a novelty!

Look at the yoyo you are throwing. Good chance one of the above things influenced its design.

One of the complaints we use to hear often was that we made people pay too much for innovation, making only expensive yo-yos… i.e. if you wanted a dial yoyo you could only get a 401k… so then we did the velocity and the speed dial. Speed dial was a big attempt to bring it all together, low cost metal + new technology… in hindsight we probably bit off more than we can chew with that one and the market kinda of went the other way with response becoming a dirty word. Hubstacks the same, 888 and G5 brought about the Grind Machine… We were innovating and bringing the price down, but it was all one step at a time. We don’t hear that much of that complaint anymore.

Lately… innovation wise we have been refining a lot. At the top end we think we lifted performance to a level that has been matched by some but exceeded only by personal tastes and preferences, not as a whole. There is a plateau. The precision we were hitting almost 5 years ago others are achieving, but it can’t really be improved on. The tollerances, dimensions, sizes, weights and materials are all the becoming more like industry standards. Even the styling is becoming pretty generic. So this year we have refined. Worked on our own concepts and further explored them. GM2 is pretty much the benchmark a lot of our 2011 new product has come from and it was first released in 2007. More and more yoyo makers are designing yoyos which are also loosely based on this design so we are in good company I guess.

Onto our most recent design goals, We want to bring high performance unresponsive play to more parts of the world where cost is a significant issue. Through One and Whip we are getting there. Replay didn’t work out as we hoped but still got to see the light of day in japan as STAR FLY and GALAXY FLY (if you remove the screws and the insert you will see the profile which many people accused us of stealing without any understanding of the ‘whys’ of the design). Plus we have been working on some industry influencing projects, not limited to but including the design for Bandai Japan and the development of a Lithium polymer powered rechargeable magnetic pulse driven motorized yoyo.

2012 are probably going to spend more money on promoting yoyos than designing new ones. Right now we feel we already have an awesome line and we are going to try get them into more peoples hands :slight_smile:


“magnetic pulse driven motorized yoyo”



I think this year onedrop takes the cake with side effects, it’s not that obvious because people usually play their throws “stock” right out of the box.

as a 5A player, I like different weight distribution than your standard 1A throw, Side effects allow me to do that without having to buy a yoyo designed like that to begin with.

availability is still somewhat of an issue tho. But this will grow overtime, trust me on that one.
right now some say it’s a “novelty” and it won’t last, but SE’s are here to stay.

and ben -> I’m with you on that one YYF has been there and I’m looking forward to see what’s next from the company.


Xcube does a lot of different stuff. All of their yoyos are really great and unique. The prototypes also look amazing.


I almost agree… Until I see the scorpion king…


xcube are definitely exploring shapes rather than “technology” (even tho it’s closely related)
I see it rather an “improvement” than “innovation”

don’t get me wrong, I love Xcube with all my heart, absolutely amazing performers and they all have this “unique” factor.


Is innovation just about being different? Perhaps improvements will come on the way through experimentation? For this reason I really dig what xcube and mr b!st do, but none of it has really been adapted…yet.

Side effects to me we promoted as a solution to a problem that didn’t exist, stripping metal yoyos is not a very common problem (even the maker of the, creates models with out this feature). The weight customizing aspect is much cooler (heck even the color aspect is cool). In the past b!st had a yoyo with a set of attachable weights for the core which did the job and players also varied their degree of attaching hubstacks for the same result (Kentaro played superstars with bearings but no stacks just to get the weight right for him). So the concept isn’t new but the execution is elegant.

I’m down with kingyostar too. We keep an eye on what they are doing and really want to work with kuyos again when the right yoyo comes along. Hop king 2 was great but we had a hard time getting people to accept Superwide and monster so a 75+gm wide yoyo was going to be a tough sell.

(JonasK) #12

I find Side Effects to be an insanely cool idea as it lets you gives people a lot of room when it comes to weight. This is very important as weight is one of my deciding factors when buying a yoyo next to shape and diameter. And the fact that OneDrop brought the concept of attaching LEGOs to your yoyo into the market is just amazing.


this is actually what I meant. Take Xcube for example, I myself have very little understanding on how a yoyo is made, but I take it that with them going for those uncommon sizes and shapes, they might have run into specific technical challenges that could lead to some form of innovation.

I wasn’t there back then, but from what I know, I know I can take your word for it. and I think I get what you mean. Indeed, the concept might not be as “new” or “revolutionary”, but you said it, elegant. Maybe that’s what the concept missed to become successful (maybe out of other things).

As far as I know, those aren’t patented or they are free for use from other manufacturers? I’m not quite sure, but if possible, would we be seeing YYF going with those as well, possibly helping in the availability issue? You guys certainly have the industrial gunpower to deal with issues like this one.

that’s the spirit ^^

much love you guys !


Foxlandprecision is doing some good innovating


For me, I think the best thing to come out recently is the ONE. I get a ton of parents asking me what yoyo to get their kid who’s just starting out and the ONE is perfect for them. It’s a great beginner’s yoyo, but you can also do advanced tricks with it. Plus the caps come off and you can put your own cool pictures inside. And it’s inexpensive enough so that the parents will actually go out and buy it.

If the ONE didn’t exist I would know a lot less yoyo-ers.


I think that Duncan and YoyoFactory have been especially innovative as of late: the Whip and the One bringing professional level yoyos to the $10 mark, the Metal Drifter and the JK bringing metal to the roughly $20 mark, and then Duncan’s Deluxxe yoyos bringing high dollar performance to the $40/45 range along with YYf’s DV888.

I think YoyoJam takes the prize, though. YoyoJam’s Solid Spin axle from last year is a great innovation: the new throws play much better than the adjustable gap throws, and the ability to switch out bearings to change the gap is much easier. And now they are playing around with weight distribution, like in the Phenomism and X-con Pro, and the Fever. With the plastic/metals, they are working on improving a design that has already been proven to work.

One Drop has the side Effects, but other than that, I see the big three companies innovating much more than the smaller companies. When I go through other companies products, I see many similar shapes, designs, and weight configurations popping up. It seems that almost every company has something that looks almost like ILYY’s Noctu, something that looks like a Supernova, and something that looks like a modded Metal Zero. I’m not saying that there are no innovations coming from small companies, but I see the big ones making the biggest leaps. I think that this is natural, as the bigger companies have bigger teams, and more team members means more ideas being thrown around.


That guy that was selling spider mans at worlds. Those are amazing!


I feel that yomega and YYF do good jobs. Yomega at least tries to make affordable, but different decent throws. YYF was always a fav of mine, with the PGM with stacks…i also loved the Counter Attack and the Popstar, as they did try to break the “A good yo-yo has to be pricey” barrier, in my opinion.


You cite some interesting points here that are salient to this discussion. You mention the innovation coming from the big three manufacturers. But the nature of that “innovation” seems to be the cost reduction and more affordability of the yoyo. That is a business decision - not innovation.

As for the new yo-yos from the big three - which ones are the innovative ones? The Supernova? That is just an '09 Severe with rounded edges. And who, besides ILYY has ANYTHING that looks like a Noctu? The solid-spin axle is a great thing for YoyoJam. But what does it really bring to the play of the yoyo? Again - a manufacturing “innovation” that is great for the manufacturer - but marginal utility for the consumer. I will not bash YYJ innovation on their yo-yos in general. I feel that they, out of the big three, do a much better job at innovation. My biggest gripe is that much of it is repetitive. I love the Phenom and the Karma - but how about some different shapes? They are a great example of re-sizing an existing design and calling it new. More variety on the metal hybrids would be nice.

Duncan filling in a marketing chart by producing yo-yos at new, underserved price points - that is hardly innovation. That is marketing 101. It is a game that only the big-three can compete in because of their ability to manufacture in large quantities. Are any of these newly priced yo-yos innovative in their own right? Or is it the price point that is the innovation?

No, I see the large variety of new throws form OneDrop and they are all different in terms of shape and play:

1. Burnside
2. Cafe Racer
3. Code 1
4. Dietz
5. Dang

1. Chief
2. Canvas
3. Avalanche

Turning Point:
Too many to list…

There is nothing like this variety of shapes, weights and sizes coming from the big-three.


I think one thing you’re overlooking yet touching on are things that can allow the manufacturer to improve performance and reliability, reduce manufacturing costs and can therefore pass the savings along to the end user.

As a company, a company wants to provide the best possible product at a reasonable price, and preferably at a price that can lure people away from competitors. But we’re talking yoyos. I’ve got DSU/CSU’s that won’t budge from their $4000+ price tag because, well, the things flat out run and run forever(I’ve only lost 2 in 20 years, and that’s because they got struck by lightning and I’ve moved tens of thousands of these units). In this case, the buyer is looking at total cost of ownership issues and lack of necessary maintenance, over that of a build in module that probably needs to be replaced twice before they replace the hardware that it goes into due to planned obsolescence.

Sometimes innovation is dramatic. Most times it’s subtle.

Also, prototyping and R&D costs have to be factored into the price. But once the finances are recouped, do we see a price drop? No, we don’t. A price has been established that is accepted as reasonable by the public, there’s no need to change.

In the case of the Big 3 players who can crank them out in larger quantities, they are absorbing the R&D costs and making it up in the numbers games. A good example of this is the cheap broadband routers. It costs a few million to develop new stuff, and maybe in the tens of thousands to develop upgrades/tweaks/v2s of existing products. But consumers want cheap, so the find a good price and burp them out in vast quantities and make it back slowly through quantity sales. But they are making their money on the shipped units, not retail sold units.

Money allows risks. Innovation costs. Innovation without money equates to stalled products. There’s a cost for everything.

If a company can do things to reduce price and maintain or improve quality, then I’m all for it. If a company can afford to create a new design that brings a new or improved quality to play, then that’s fantastic and I support that too.