Why don't you see much love for Duncan?

Just like the title says, how come?

Every Duncan I have/have ever had has been solid. Is it just that they don’t release high-end stuff that often? I just picked up an Echo 2 since they were on sale and I’m pretty excited for it, since its different than anything I have.

For me,

–All of their stuff is made in China. I don’t have anything against this, but I prefer North American made throws

– None of their newer stuff has any radical design elements. It just seems to be average. With all the yoyos coming out, I mostly only buy stuff that has new or unique characteristics. And Duncan seems to be behind the curve on everything.

– The Last new Duncan I got was the Torque, and my nephew stripped the axle threads. Maybe it was all on my nephew, but it’s made me suspicious of the quality of the aluminum they are using.

– A while back, I got to throw the Bassacuda and really liked it, but go figure, the one Duncan I was thinking about buying is sold out everywhere.

– How hard would it have been for Duncan to have made a large bearing Freehand Zero with regular 19 mm response pads? Why haven’t they done this? I mean it’s pretty much too late now, but they could have made a lot more money, and made a lot of people (me included) pretty happy.

On a very positive note, a few years back when I needed quite a few throws for a yoyo class I taught, and wanted to get a retailer rate because I was buying in bulk, Duncan made it super easy. I didn’t have to jump through any hoops whatsoever (like getting a tax i.d.) “You want to buy in bulk, great! here’s our retailer catalogue.”

Duncan’s more of an entry-level to mid-level brand. They don’t make higher end stuff often, and when they do, it’s usually nothing special or new. And even the lower-end stuff they make, other companies, like YoYoFactory, do it better. YYF’s budget metals are better, their entry-level yoyos are better.

Duncan used to be as if not more popular than YYF. Everybody loves their Freehand yoyos, they’re still a classic. However, the issue with Duncan is they have not evolved as quickly or as drastically as companies like YYF has, which leaves them behind a little in the competitive market. They are just barely keeping up to be relevant in the community beyond beginners and intermediates. Yomega is another example of this. Yomega used to be huge, but they’re still stuck in the olden times, selling the same throws from 15 years ago, no real innovation has been made. Therefore, they’ve been completely left behind, nobody really talks about them anymore, even when discussing beginner-level yoyos. Of course, Duncan is in a better position than Yomega, but again, barely keeping up.

I believe Duncan’s marketing on their mid-high ends aren’t as great either. They don’t promote their yoyos as much as other companies, and when they do they tend to have a classic/beginner-level vibe to them. Even their packaging has that vibe to them in my opinion. They’re sealed in plastic, and when I think of that kind of packaging I think of beginner-level yoyos or old/classic style packaging, not a modern high-performance throw.

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The people that hang out on yoyo forums and talk about the minutiae of yoyo contest and designs and releases and strings and bearings are not Duncan’s market.

So of course they don’t get much love here…they aren’t really trying to sell yoyos to any of you. They have a token “serious player” collection of products but that’s less than 5% of their sales.


Well, I love Duncan.
Judging the company only on the current line of yo-yos is really short changing them for everything they did for popularizing the toy. The huge influence of the world-wide crew and Duncan’s continued support for contests is what help lay the groundwork that allows the high end companies able to thrive.

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Their yoyos play just as well as most stuff out there, by and large. The newer models especially. Duncan still is quite popular in the beginner category. They have access to a lot of brick and mortar stores that no else does. They’ve even had some advanced models that have broken through and done pretty well with experienced players, like the original Barracuda and the Torque.

I think they’ve had a little bit of a rougher run lately. The new Freehand Pro wasn’t what people wanted as a successor to the Freehand name. It had a decent amount of hype which fizzled when people got a look at it. Then their latest budget models, the Grasshopper and the new Barracuda, had delays in their release. Any of the buzz they once had seemed to die out and I’ve heard next to nothing about them since release.

Other than those more tangible examples of missing consumer expectations and delays, their marketing isn’t as sharp in the 21st century as other companies. They already almost start at a disadvantage when you consider Duncan has been around forever and people want the cool, new thing to show off. But, then there’s social media, there’s building a transparent, organic company story to share with consumers, and a lot of other intangibles that go into the success of a yoyo and its maker.

I just wish they would revise the imperial and butterfly. Those are the most popular yoyos by FAR and easily some of the worst. I honestly attribute Duncan for making more people QUIT the hobby rather than engage with it. Mostly due to how unforgiving and dated their #1 sellers are. I dont know what they should do, but they havnt changed in forever. Maybe thats the draw? for me its a turnoff and I cannot honestly recommend one to any aspiring yoyoer.

I just really think that when people throw an imperial or duncan, they only things in their heads is “this is way too hard!” and it shouldnt be. It should be “Hey, I can do this. this is fun!!”

my 2 cents. I know pople will moan that the butterfly is history, and great, ill give you history. Their high ends stuff is OK, but nothing special or really desirable. When the shutter is on the shelf next to it, its hard not to to recommend it over pretty much the entire duncan line.

They did revise the imperial and butterfly, for almost the same money they have the xt and speed beetle, etc.
Duncan is not turning off yo-yo players, they are turning off you. When kids want to throw a yo-yo because they see us throwing at the yo-yo meet, they invariably do better with a fixed axle. They aren’t trying to do spirit bomb, they are trying to get the yo-yo back to their hand. If they get the yo-yo bug, they will work their way up the food chain and become opinionated like us. The reason most kids don’t yo-yo is not because Duncan turned them off with inferior yo-yos, it is because nobody that could throw took the time and effort to teach them something fun.

One thing that is cool about duncan is the list of influential yoyo people who have been involved with them in one way or another. They stand shoulder to shoulder with any yoyo group/company in history in that regard. Seriously, start making a list and you’ll see what I mean. Even if many/most of those people have wandered-off/rage-quit to go in a different direction, the fact that they were at Duncan at one time still has value in the history of this weird hobby.

I finally ended up trying some recent Duncan stuff. On the whole, their higher end stuff seems under-rated and also overpriced. For example, I was pretty impressed with the Freehand AL, that’s a really solid yoyo. I just wasn’t impressed with the $120 retail price. On the other end of things, the freehand pro is neat. I’ve never clicked with small bearing responsive, so I was happy to see a large bearing FH come out. But I’m not sure it is neater than a Replay Pro or a Speedmaker or Skyva in the same general price range. That said it is a yoyo that is sub-$20, from a company with huge distribution, that can take a beginner player pretty darn far (and introduces 5A play as well). And that’s something we shouldn’t discount.

Like has been said in this thread, Duncan isn’t marketing to those “in the know”. It’s aiming at attracting those who have never seen. If it can do that in any significant way, it will will be doing more to grow yoyoing than a dozen little high-end boutique companies.

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I was thinking to collect every color of Hello Kitty Proyos few days ago actually. I have priorities though.
And, my forum picture used to be Flying Squirrel, there is that.

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Duncan is a great place to start.

That applies to them as a company and their actual product line. It’s not a destination, it’s a springboard.

But by this same token, if you’re going to heap praise on a company for what they did to promote modern yoyoing, this should be a thread about Yomega and Playmaxx since those two companies are really the ones responsible for just about everything you have today.

Well, okay…but you know what you are talking about and I don’t.
On the other hand, if you try to put a face on modern yo-yoing, Duncan has had a huge influence, and in the non-yoing community (aka " the community") regular folks still associate all yo-yos with one company.
I will happily heap praise on Playmaxx too!
I guess I look less at everything that was not done to reach the potential that Duncan could have reached, and more at what they were able to accomplish in promoting play.
Wait, this is largely your fault anyways, so if it makes it easier to swallow I will just heap praise on the Duncan crew and all the videos.

Honestly, the only thing that really bugs me about them is their slogan. I find it insulting. Everything else is just food for thought.

I guess it makes sense that there just aren’t as many releases from Duncan. I’ve been out of the game for quite a while, so getting back into it, I just went for what I knew and bought a Duncan Pro Z to get back into it. Was and still am impressed with what I got for $10. I bought a Metal Racer shortly after that and I love it for what it is.

Because they were always my go-to as a kid/young adult, I guess I just thought there’d be more love for the original. I never really liked the Yomega stuff for some reason. I’m hoping to like the Echo 2 when it gets here. I might check out the Strix if the Echo 2 works out.

‘Duncan equals love’ or ‘If it isn’t Duncan it isn’t a yo-yo’

Duncan has a wide range of throws and I like my Echo well enough.
I think Steve hit the nail on the head when he said we are not their market.

From what I can tell about the forums here and the Reddit, people want their yoyos to (and even more so their companies) to be a misfit band of artists making unique and individual throws that will never again be replicated.

Even YoyoFactory end up in this boat sometimes simply because they are the “biggest” of the companies in this niche market.

The companies most widely mentioned and loved here are largely successful because of their marketing and the idea that they are special and unique somehow.

Most throwers are pretty unique themselves, so they are drawn to products that are (or at least appear to be) unique as well.

Duncan is one viewed by the community as a corporation, where as the other companies are not.

‘If it isn’t Duncan it isn’t a yo-yo’

I see that on the packaging of them at my work and my makes me grimace just a bit. Ive never heard the Duncan equals love. thats nice :slight_smile:

Just curious what people view as “high end”? Or what makes a yoyo “high end”? Saw this a couple times here in reference to Duncan not being high end or producing high end yoyos.

Steve could probably clarify, but I suspect this is heavily rooted in the historic trademark case that saw Duncan lose exclusive use of yoyo™.

Plus, it’s just a marketing slogan. Marketing slogans are generally not worth paying attention to.

The new Origami Is awesome!!! And the freehand pro I got at worlds is super fun for 5a.