Yoyo design plateau

Yoyo design has reached a plateau.

I’ve experimented with designing and seeing various prototypes realized. The main thing I’ve learned from that, along with playing dozens of high-end yoyos representing the pinnacle of yoyo design is this: yoyos are about as good as they’re going to get, until someone comes up with something both revolutionary and practical.

Until then, I don’t fathom how “new” designs/models continue to garner much attention or enthusiasm. This is putting me in a bad spot as someone who is supposedly trying to start up a yoyo design co. I mean, to some extent, I think it’s easy to start a design co–but virtually impossible to design something actually as worthy of the hype as so many models get so easily and so undeservedly.

I mean, how many more yoyo models that keep coming out and stacking up can keep being interesting? I hate to say this, but I’m getting bored myself and I don’t see why I shouldn’t be… at least until something big happens, and I don’t know who that innovator is going to be or when they will emerge from the shadows, if ever.

If yoyo design has reached a plateau, an apex, or whatever… who is going to keep caring about “new” models, why should they care and how long can the system sustain itself? Eventually, shouldn’t it sensibly get to the point where say, a YYF Genesis is “good enough” and all the other yoyos out there are just pointless preferential choices?

We don’t need a thousand models to choose from when none of them is really objectively much better than any other for the practical purpose of yoyo–to play yoyo. Why do we keep on? When will it get so old that it can’t go on anymore?

Is something big going to happen? Who knows what it is?

What you say is sort of true. And I can see how as someone who might want to continue with the business of designing and MAKING yoyos, it might feel like a bummer.

But to me, it’s par for the course and I’m glad for it! Not glad for a “plateau” per se, but glad for the selection and variety. Electric guitars are relatively unchanged for the past half century, but I still would love to have a room chock full of them. It’s the little things that matter. “I like the neck profile on this one for playing blues” or “the pickups are chimey on this one” or even just “this one is identical to my other one but has a lovely tobacco burst finish that I dig.”

But at the end of the day, it’s still a plank of wood with 6 (OK, not always 6) strings and a neck. You’ll be able to play all the same songs on them, but some might “feel right” for certain styles of music compared to others.

So yeah, yoyos.

Some will “feel right” for different styles of play, even if they’re not necessarily innovative. And some will simply have sweet finishes that you dig. And that’s good enough to support X# of companies. I just don’t know how big “X” is. :wink:


I agree wholeheartedly with you. I think yoyo design has reached a point to where nothing that new or innovative can be done to the yoyo… Everything has pretty much already been done. Sure, you could make a yoyo with crazy weird specifications, but that doesn’t really change the fact that it’s still two halves spinning thanks to a bearing, axle, and response system. You can’t really push the shape any further than it already has gone, because pushing it any further would render it useless and make it have performance issues. These days it’s about performance though right? I don’t think anything can be done to increase performance, either. I don’t think something big is going to happen… nothing revolutionary. Because really, the last ‘revolutionary’ thing that happened was competition yoyos, and before that, unresponsive yoyos. I don’t think anyone can top that… it’s just not possible. Nothing else can be done in my opinion. It’s a yoyo.

Of course, one could argue that people in the 1960’s could never imagine how far the TV has advanced. But, I’ll leave that argument to someone else.

Great thread, and some really great points you’ve made. I’m interested to see what others have to say about this. I’ve been thinking about this too, recently.


I agree with this statement, but also disagree with the concept as well.

Many of the yoyos which are released feel redundant in design, but always with different tweaks to each separate one. Such tweaks may make each one of them play just a little differently. Problem is: virtually nobody has the opportunity to pick up all of these said yoyos, and will never know all of which play similarly.

On the flip-side, however, there are companies which push the boundaries of yoyos (1A throws more specifically). Two that quickly come to mind for me is ILYY and X3. ILYY has thrown out some pretty wild designs, such as the PYBIT, Noctu, and Trvth. X3 has shown some cool things as well, more recently with the TEH YO and ZeuS.

OneDrop has come out with the Side Effect axle system as well.

Just my two cents on it anyway. ::slight_smile:

I think with regard to outright objective performance, you might be right. Like, it’s hard to say that the OD Code 2 really does something significantly better than the Code 1. It would be more accurate to say it’s different.

…but, I think a problem with looking at it this way is that yoyoing has never really been about objective performance. It’s about expression. You can’t say that a long combo is better than a short one, or that horizontal is better than front-style. These styles of play all just exist, and they’re all valid.

So, different works. Yoyos that feel better to a particular player, or even just different, justify themselves in the market.

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I was thinking of this exact guitar metaphor. Basically, I think it boils down to people have to find things to appreciate about the subtleties of their hobbies or they’ll cease to enjoy them. It’s just that, for me, with my “Matrix” vision on, I’m starting to view it as boring, redundant and sad, shallow and hopeless.

It’s like, what’s the point anymore?

Unfortunately, a lot of “innovation” really just is cause for a product that sucks. I know, been there myself–I designed one of the most innovative yoyos ever and got it prototyped. Frankly, it was ground-breaking in play and looks, but it played mediocre.

I think there are only a very narrow range of parameters under which a yoyo will play to the fullest extent–meaning, spin time, stability, all that old nonsense. The only way to make a “unique” yoyo is basically to sacrifice some positive characteristics. Then the question is, are you just doing weird designs just to be doing them, or do they serve to advance the field somehow? Basically, strange yoyos just are the exceptions that prove the rule–only certain shapes/sizes/setups lend to the “best” play characteristics possible. You can only deviate so much before you start making a yoyo that plays poorly, even if it is novel as hell. I can think of a hundred examples… Mighty Flea, anyone? Yeah, it’s cool, but it’s not necessary.

Then everyone gets super excited about minute design changes that only seem profound. In the end, for instance, the Chief could’ve been the definite best-playing competition yoyo ever, because of that inner ring thing… however, you could also still argue a Code 2 is just as good or better despite being a more boring, conventional design.

So, we’re left with boring convention that plays great, zany and unique designs that play mediocre, and maybe a few choices in between. Still, what’s the point anymore, unless and until something big and actually meaningful happens to yoyo design?

I’m not suggesting that I would like to see yoyo’s go in the direction of the example I’m about to show you.  I absolutely love the physics of things in spinning motions and the gyroscopic properties.  It makes me even more delighted that the yoyo tech has reached a point where we can have make something spin for minutes on end with just the power of our throw, not to mention do all kinds of amazing tricks on them.  I love the simplicity of the yoyo, coupled with the complex designs and thought that manufacturers put into yoyo’s… well, we have some really fine yoyo’s… and I agree, that it has kind of reached a “pinnacle”.  Note:  I couldn’t for sure in my wildest dreams assume it truly was at a pinnacle, because someone will push the boundaries and we will have a breakthrough yet again.  For instance, the One Drop Side Effect system is really cool and extremely simple!  I think yoyo’s will continued to be tweaked like that.

And by all means, I could care less if anyone does this or doesn’t do this… because like I stated before… I love the way yoyo’s are right now.  (Hopefully me explaining this will allow me to post the video without getting any FLAK )

But if you wanna take it to the next level, or if any of you manufacturers wanna take it to the next level.  Let’s see some manufacturer pull off a run of these bad boys.  It would be interesting to see the motorized yoyo take off in the vibeless wars we have with our simple tech.  Sooner or later; I think we will be facing these.  And no, I don’t think they are necessary, but if you wanna take it there… just sayin…  ::slight_smile:

What was ever the point but having fun? The only reason current yoyo design has favored unresponsive, long spinning designs is because that’s what players like. There’s nothing about a yoyo that excels in this way that is inherently better than a fixed axle wood because yoyos aren’t designed to solve a problem. They just are.

So, the point is the same. People want new yoyos because for whatever reason new yoyos are fun for them. As long as there is a new design, regardless of whether it is objectively better in any way, it makes just as much sense as it would at any other time.

I’m proud to be a small part of arriving at the plateau and will be prouder if I can be involved in taking it beyond!

There is PLENTY of room to improve 2a and Offstring. Sometimes I feel Yoyofactory is the only one trying in 2a and yoyojam are the only ones pushing offstring so if anyone wants to get creative…


Actually it’s kinda interesting that there hasn’t yet been a market for collectible high end loopers.

Sent from mobile.

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After a while simply chasing performance gets boring. Just look at the auto industry for a more extreme example. They go to the extent of tuning the sound of the car door shutting to make it appealing. I know I don’t play yoyos just for performance, but I’m not a competitor. I play for fun. Pros also play for fun and come out with signature yoyos that are less than ideal performers but are a joy to throw, offer unique challenges, etc…

I’m not that excited about “progress” in yoyo design. What I’m most excited about is more players’ bespoke designs coming out. For recent examples see the Dang, Eh, Canvas, Walter, etc… where the player had a huge hand in the yoyo design and the result is truly unique. Part of the appeal is simple curiosity as to what one of my favorite yoyoers would prefer in yoyo design. You know, pure preference or whatever, not total performance-focused.

I’ve had this discussion multiple times before, and it always stirs up interesting results. Allow me to spitball for a bit.

From a player’s perspective, constant yoyo releases can be great, especially if their personal style of yoyo hasn’t been realized in a physical form yet. I’m still waiting on the “perfect” yoyo for myself, as I think many others are. Each release that gets pumped out gives you an opportunity to discover that personal favorite; the model that fits you like a glove. If you dig competition style models, great, because of how many there are, you have the luxury of getting really really specific. Wonky guys like me, well, we have to wait a bit longer for the goofballs at ILYY or whatever to satisfy our desire.

I think that once that desire is realized, every release after that just looks redundant or useless. This starts on a micro scale, player by player, and I could have my magnifying glass in too far. Since daresay most players these days favor competition style yoyos, this could possibly lead to a collective agreement that what can be done has already been done. Again, I’m spitballing.

On a note regarding the use of models we already have or already exist, I really like the guitar comparison.

Another reason yoyo design is reaching a flat state might be because of a desire to stay “modern”, yet still looking in a backwards direction. Many, many older models are being re-designed and re-released, giving the yoyo market a sort of cyclical nature. With a dependence on the old, yoyo design is is relying on more wacky, and possibly useless, shapes and otherwise in order to even be considered new, though they might not do anything more than the old models that already exist achieve.

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While I agree with much of what has been said, there is more to a yoyo these days than just the shape. One of the most notable areas of innovation is the use of multiple materials to make high performance yo-yo’s. Designs such as the Beserker and Anglam are examples of the experimentation in this area. Another is the New Double Joker from YoyoJoker. That uses Aluminum and Delrin to achieve unique weight distributions unrealizable using a single material. In this regard, I think we are still in the infancy of the trend.

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Quoted for truth!

When there are winners of the mod contest at Worlds, what has been the history of those winning yo-yos being mass produced so people can buy them and enjoy them? Not really my area of expertise, but is it that the new designs are not there, or that they are not being mass produced and available to most of us? Fill me in. I’d like to know. :-\

The really cool mod contest winners won’t ever be produced… they require hours of work by hand typically.

Design has leveled out for sure, the formula for a high performance yo-yo has been exposed completely, and anybody can do it. One of my original goals when I started manufacturing was to figure out that formula and give it to everybody to try and improve upon… so far we haven’t improved on it, but we’ve all got it now.

To say it can’t go any further is short-sighted… who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Right now instead of marked improvements, we are seeing choices unlike we ever have before… the array of options any player has is awesome, and there is importance in that. Just because a new yoyo doesn’t vastly improve upon the performance of those before it, doesn’t make it useless. It may fill a particular preference for feel, look, etc… or it may be a unique design in how it is constructed.

As Ben said, there is also great room for improvement in styles other than 1a or 5a… the problem is that these can’t be solved with easily machined aluminum yo-yos… they require plastic molding capabilities and as such are out of the reach of most independent startup companies.


I don’t think it has plateau’d just yet. I don’t think it ever will. Back when yoyos were still young people thought twisted cotton string was the stuff, and that wooden axles were the best. Now we use crazy stuff like kevlar in our strings and use ball bearings instead of axles. Soon enough we will have new and more exciting things to play with. We might have air bearings, bearings that spin with pressured air inside, making the friction very low. We may have shape shifting yoyos, similar to military fighters we see today (gap widening and narrowing during play for optimization, rim weight moving to the rim and to the center depending how the yoyo is moving, etc). There are many technologies that are undiscovered and can easily be incorporated into yoyos.

You may say expensive and advanced technology will never reach yoyos. Think again. Kevlar, once thought to (and still is) a premier bullet proof material used in the forces, used now in yoyo string. Aircraft grade aluminum, used in very stressful situations and for the safety of passengers, now used in yoyos. High grade ball bearings only used in expensive machinery found its way to yoyos.

So I believe yoyoing will never reach a plateau, but may be slow at times due to current technology.