Yoyo tweaking and experimenting

I’ve had this topic come to mind a number of times while watching and participating in the long running flat bearing topic and the debate around how noticeable centering vs flat is in a yoyo.

I find the little differences small tweaks can make to a yoyo fascinating, so when I’m playing and I notice some little thing in the play, I stop what I’m doing and examine the yoyo. String, string condition, string tension, bearing type and how it feels, condition/type/hardness of response, how far the axle is threaded into each half, how well the bearing fits the post, any side play in the bearing. Then I’ll try to replicate the thing I’d noticed over and over to understand why it happens, and how I could change my action to eliminate or encourage the behavior. If I get a feel for what is happening and want to change it, I start tweaking. I’ll change whatever I can change one thing at a time, testing and retesting, trying to improve my understanding of how these things work. Then I’ll dig though my collection looking for yoyos I’d expect to act the same to further test my ideas, if they don’t, then I start trying to understand why it didn’t behave how I expected.

I don’t know if this helps much in improving my yoyo skills, but this is a large part of my enjoyment of the hobby. I’ve spent more time then I care to admit comparing bearing types in a lot of different yoyos. Its a good thing I don’t have the machinery to build yoyos or I’d go down the rabbit hole of making small tweaks to a design just to build an understanding of how all the variables interact, and how they impact the perceived qualities of a yoyo when its played. I’ve been collecting families of yoyos to see how the design has been changed over time, and the play has changed. I could spend hours pouring different kinds of silicone and trying different thickness and hardness of response pads and observing how each plays.

Does anybody else find themselves intrigued by this, or are most happy throwing the ones they like and don’t spend the time sweating the details?


Tweaking is great! The part about switching out bearings and repositioning the axle to make it smoother is something quite commonly done, it’s referred to as “tuning” the yoyo, it works that’s for sure but I think the majority of people are apathetic towards it.


I’m also interested in this stuff, but I’ve done more online research than the type of “lab work” you’ve done. I throw mostly plastic at this point, so looking for ways to calm down vibe is what I’ve been looking into, with a bit of bearing maintenance thrown in for fun. In general, I like to have some understanding of the tools I use, and throws are no different for me. I find it makes me better at whatever I’m doing to have a least a rudimentary understanding of what’s going on.

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Since I’ve gotten into making some strings for myself, it’s been fun tinkering with the wraps and tightness until I get a result I’m happy with. Since the thread is so cheap, there’s plenty of room to mess around. I’m hoping to settle on a formula and share some strings eventually.

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One of my recent things I’ve been fiddling with on yoyos is to swap out the wide C bearing with a pair of half-specs, which increases the total bearing width from 3/16" to 1/4". Usually it’s bad, though - the gap gets too wide, and having two bearings introduces more vibrations. Going the other way and trying to fit a half-spec into regular yoyos is more fun, but you might need to find some oddly sized axles to get it to screw down all the way.