“YoYoFactory Death Grip” - stuck bearings in YYF yoyos

This post is from “Who’s getting a Ricochet?” - Merged into new topic started by jrodriguez

That is the reason i quit yyf products for good. I had a 44 that i got brandnew when i was only 13 and due to galling it only lasted a week…

And earlier this year i got a Plastic severe and even the SPACERS galled…
I sat down and cried

YYF needs to revise their bearing seats before ill ever buy one of their throws ever again. i mean even my C3 Capless was only 65$ and it has lasted over 4 times as long as my 44 and is still going strong…

Oh and I wont be buying a Ricochet…


Pls see above reply to this issue.

It’s a combination. If the bearing is in place before tightening the yoyo it won’t be a problem. If the bearing is placed loosely in the gap and the tightening is used to seat it the seat got damaged. As mentioned we made changes to reduce the possibility of this occurring but it’s still a good practice to make sure the bearing us located before tightening on any brand of yoyo

I decided to make a separate thread about this so as to not further derail the Ricochet thread. Sorry for the novel that follows.

There’s been a bunch of threads lately about people continuing to experience seized bearings on their YYF yoyos. Because I’d experienced this as well, I recently asked YYF Ben about it in one of the Ricochet threads because I was concerned that the Ricochet might have the same design issue. If you didn’t see it, here’s that back and forth:

To recap the issue – those stuck bearings, the squeak you hear on a lot of metal YYFs when you take them apart, that little ring of missing ano at the base of the bearing post – that’s all a product of the design of the bearing post, most likely a miniscule taper toward the base. What this means is that every time you open and close your YYF yoyo, the bearing is grinding across the bearing post, removing ano. Un-anodized aluminum pressed up against a bearing will eventually oxidize and seize, which would explain the prevalence of threads about seized bearings in YYF yoyos.

I was hoping someone else might bring this up, so that it wasn’t all coming from me, but since no one has, I’ll be the one to do it. I really appreciated that Ben took the time to respond to my question, and I’m very happy to hear that they’ve changed the design, but the answer I received perplexes me for a number of reasons. I’ll just stick to the most important of these.

CNC machines do what they are told to do. Though there are inconsistencies in machining, or production issues that result in bad pieces, the final product that a CNC lathe makes is dictated by the designer through a CAD program. What this means is that if an entire run, or runs, of yoyos have a tight or tapered bearing seat, then it’s fair to deduce that the tight/tapered bearing seat was designed into those yoyos – or a design issue, rather than something that evolved from production. And just for the record, the size differences on the bearing post that we’re talking about are miniscule – way less than the width of a hair, which means smaller than you can discern without magnification. But that can make a huge difference in the fit of a bearing.

Something like a tight fitting bearing post can certainly be a mistake on the part of the designer – and examples of both production and design issues like this from new manufacturers aren’t uncommon in the yoyo world. But in the case of YYF, a company that had a history of making awesome playing, trend setting yoyos with bearing posts that didn’t gall – the OG 888, the Grind Machines, the Superstar, etc. – I have a hard time imagining that it wasn’t an intentional part of the design, rather than an accidental production error. I’ll not speculate on why the decision would be made to build this into a design, but it seems to me that if a company intentionally designs a yoyo this way – and companies are certainly at liberty to design yoyos in whatever way they please – then it’s fair to expect a warning, like the warning Yoyorecreation uses, indicating that taking the yoyo apart will damage it. It also seems fair that the customers not be held responsible for this design issue. This is exactly what I suggested in a brief correspondence with a YYF representative - Patrick Mitchell – after I had moderated and cleaned up a thread where people had gotten angry about some problems they had with a YYF yoyo, despite Patrick having done all that he could to set things right with a replacement.

I really hate to feel compelled to post all of this publicly, but the prevalence of the problem seems to me to warrant people knowing that there is a design issue in many of the YYF metal yoyos that are out in the world that results in seized bearings and people show know that it is not their fault when they experience it. This problem goes back to at least 2009 – a DV888 I bought then definitely had it, and I had a brief correspondence with Ben about my experience with the seized bearing issue sometime that year. The message I received suggested that something I did, or my lack of knowhow, was to blame – not too dissimilar from what was posted today:

In any event, it’s great to hear that YYF has changed the design of their bearing posts to eliminate this issue, but it would also be great to know when the change occurred and to see YYF put a warning on their metal yoyos if the tapered/tight design remains the same on some of their line. I know most of the China-produced YYF yoyos have a month/year of production – is there a date you could tell us, Ben, that marks when this design change took place and which yoyos have been altered? Thanks for any info you can provide.


If you put in a bearing on one half of the yoyo and press it into place and it’s already death-gripped, then somehow you manage to remove it and then the same thing happens on the other side?

Clearly, the bearing was properly seated before I even thought about screwing the bearing in place.

Tight? Yes, that’s fine. A snug fit where the bearing isn’t going to accidentally pop out is perfectly acceptable. So tight it can’t be just pulled out by your fingers? OK, still acceptable, but at the same time, it shouldn’t take me that long with a bearing puller, including the YYF multi-tool. In fact I would prefer bearings to fit that snugly to the bearing post/seat.

However, when I’m having to freeze the yoyo and use pliers for 5 or more minutes and then the only way to remove the bearing is to destroy it, that’s a problem.

If YYF wants to say “we like it to be tight to the bearing seat” for performance reasons, I’m fine with that, even though other brands aren’t tight at all and run smooth as glass and perform just as amazing. I won’t say “more” or “better” because those are terms of relative perspective to the end user based on preferences.

There’s a line between “snug” and “death grip”. I think YYF is getting tired of the reports of the death grip issue, especially since some models are definitely more prone to this problem. What is good is that it appears YYF is taking note of this issue and is trying to resolve these issues. I’m not saying they are stubborn. Sometimes a company has to be flooded with reports of an issue before they will do something about it. I think that’s what happened with YYF. I’m thankful they are listening and responding. This will only benefit them, benefit their players, benefit their customer base and in turn grow sales again. This is an all around win.

To further add to the response for the initial question here is a picture of the ricochet post to allay any fears.

I have dealt with many of these “death grip bearings.” Not a single one was impossible to remove. or even needed me to freeze it once I figured it out. Unfortunately most people went the route of pliers and destroyed the bearing with out getting the inner race out of the yoyo anyhow. I would then just take a bearing remover and remove it. (the yoyofactory one doesn’t really work, on really tight bearings, because it is not a tight fit ironically.) I use one from greg that works great, although getting the bearing off the remover can take a bit of muscle sometimes.

Also on a side note you will see a burr collect on one side of the bearing and cause vibe, this also is a easy fix although would be a none issue if the post wasn’t so tight, or tapered what ever it is. Basically the bearing slides down the post over and over and builds up a burr from the inside of the bearing scraping small amounts at a time off, then compressing them against the seat its self. This right here is more of a problem to me then anything. Once again it is an easy fix with a stiff piece of metal (pocket knife) to scrape it off.

aluminum oxide problem is an interesting one I never thought of. Some amonia will take care of that. if you ever run into that problem. I get this problem rebuilding bikes, more then rust even.

I appreciate this being made into a different thread.

To answer the specific accusation overly tight bearings were specifically designed into the process, yes machines do what they are told, BUT As machines ‘warm up’ as tools ‘wear’ a machine operator may make changes. These are in attempts to achieve the design as given in CAD or on paper. FYI the OG 888, the Grind Machines, the Superstar all made to the same specifications to the best of my knowledge. We admittedly ALWAYS did advise to err on the side of tight rather than loose as the market place that as a primary importance. In the past there was a fanatical desire for smooth, which has changed. Some speculate this came with the rise and fall of grind tricks, but whatever the reason, People cared about smooth more than changing bearings. Of late changing bearings, trying new things is more of a norm. More bearings are coming on and off. We didn’t adapt to that change as fast as we could have but we have now. In production we started rejecting whole batches because of this and developed new standards. Its going to take me a little time to put together production batch information but Ill get it up. Its probably more of an issue with USA over china product and thats a little harder to track as it is by color.

I dont think oxidization is a real problem, certainly something that I have not experienced as causing problems with bearings. I think the bearing damage was more likely caused by the seat physically bending the bearings inner race, which is obviously way too tight.

Thanks for listening and also for your willingness to update us on which batches have changed. That’s quite amiable of you, especially given that you don’t have to respond to my questions. And I want to say too that being able to have this sort of discussion with manufacturers/pros is one of the great things about the yo-yoing world.

The biggest point of my posting this thread was to clarify that the bearing seizing issues people have faced aren’t necessarily or even typically a result of negligence, but a result of the design, which I think we’ve establish in such a way as to be able to address this differently as it arises. There’s certainly a ton of people out there who’ve had issues with this. It is not, of course, my place to tell anyone how to run their business, but I think it might do volumes for people’s confidence in YYF, and do a lot for continuing to grow the popularity of the company, if you were to offer some sort of ongoing warranty replacement program for folks who experience difficulty with damaged bearings and posts, especially given that not all YYF customers are avid enough readers of the forums to have necessarily come across the issue. I know from experience that YYF sometimes offers replacements, but I don’t know that it’s become official company policy – I’m sure you’ll correct me if it is.

Lastly, I hope you know that I genuinely mean it when I say thanks for listening and responding. Thanks.

If you’re rejecting things due to the bearing seat(thank you for listening), can the issue be fixed as simply as having them be re-machined a little bit just in the affected area? Pardon my ignorance for not understanding the whole machining process. I do know that anodizing makes things a bit worse as it adds like a thousandth of an inch or something like that? While many people may think that’s trivial, with a bearing seat, such small differences can really make a big difference since we’re talking that much increase around the diameter, so it adds up.

I’m just seeing how to salvage investment and materials. Or, perhaps once the items arrive in the USA, maybe a little expert hand tooling to resolve this issue? Would it be possible to move more production and anodizing in-house so you can retain more control? You’re moving so much product, it almost seems like it would be good to have your own anodizing and staff for that.

MOST of our China product is fine, its USA made which has always been the headache.

It isn’t a new phenomenon, it has to an extent always been this way. 07 888 and Grind Machines to POPstars… If you owned a BOSS you know what Im talking about, but they also all played amazingly smooth and realistically with enough patience the bearings did come off and unless you were changing bearings daily or taking your yoyo apart an awful lot it never really posed any problem (and to that extent ANY fit will degrade with time/repeated use). It doesn’t always mean a yoyo has changed for something to become a problem, but a problem it surely became. In hindsight we were caught off guard and a change should have been done earlier, but Im certainly not embarrassed by any of the product on the market and do not think people need to receive any special warning or recalls for any particular yoyo we have made.

If anyone has any problem we do certainly invite them to speak to us (contact@yoyofactory.com) and we do help them out and will continue to do so. We always advocate asking first before going to the hacksaw to remove a bearing.

I had not intended to post in this thread… a friend e-mailed it to me. Anyone expecting me to start flaming Ben, sorry to disappoint. I will keep it civil.

No recall was asked for. It was asked that YYF, one of the largest yo-yo companies in the world, offer an extended warranty on the yo-yos that are already on the market. Not an unreasonable request since, by your own admittance, you are aware of the problem and have been aware of it since 2009. This would be quite similar to how Microsoft offered an extended 3 year warranty on the Xbox 360 after the “Red Ring of Death” issue was discovered and confirmed. They did not do a massive recall of all 360s on the market but instead issued a public statement that all 360’s made before a certain point had their warranties extended to a full 3 years. A public extension goes a long way in bolstering confidence… which is what J-Rod said in his response as well. It is great that the people reading this thread now know to contact YYF if they experience issues but what about the many who are not here but instead visit your Facebook page or your company website? Will they know there is a problem with pre-2013 YYF products and that you will rectify the problem?

Im sorry I didn’t address this in my last reply, I respect your civility on the matter.

I may be massively underestimating this but I cannot see this ‘problem’ warranting such an action. Our ‘warranty’ is pretty loose. We help people out all the time who have problems not covered by anything because we want people throwing. If it was a ‘problem’ since 2009 why is it 2013 when it came to a head? I explained that one before, I think there were changes in the way people ‘play’ yoyo, but i could be wrong.

I can admit we have made really tight bearing seats in this fashion since 2007, basically every modern YoYoFactory metal yoyo. They are what they are.

Have we made steps to improve it, yes we did, just because we could do better, not because we saw our product to be flawed.

Well here is how i “fixed” my really tight bearing seat in my severe…

just take a q-tip and lightly coat the end of it with some vaseline or petroleum jelly. (i dont know if graphite works but it might be worth a shot… (maybe put some in the vaseline…)) anyhow, just use the q-tip to fully and LIGHTLY coat the surface of the bearing seat when you FIRST UNSCREW THE YOYO. I did this AFTER my seat galled and it helped a bit with unscrewing it but sadly the vibe is still there.

I really hope that helps you guys and the wonderful YYF throws.

and btw yyfben, you are doing a good job with customer relations here on the forum.
(trust me i work at BK where customer rep is YOUR JOB lol)


Ooh! I feel honored to be the starter on a soon to be maybe very important thread…


I’ve never really had a problem with overly tight bearings, but this problem should be fixed. A tapered bearing seat is a horrible idea.

The only metal in know from yyf that doesn’t have the death grip is the superwide, monster, speed dial, 401k

Thanks for the helpful and informative responses, Ben. The following isn’t meant to be argumentative at all, just a statement of the situation as I see it – a quick search on google, or any of the forums, will yield quite a number of instances of the problem going back a few years. The fact that people on the forum have come up with the name “yoyofactory death grip” is an indication of the prevalence of the problem as well.

I have to suggest too - and I’m not at all suggesting that YYF is responsible for this - that part of the reason it hasn’t come to a head is that there is a long history of people experiencing this as something unique to their YYF yoyo – they get help, some after having destroyed a bearing, and then move on. Others have been shouted down by the forum kiddies for not using the proper method, some after watching old videos like this one -

I don’t know how many times I’ve posted this picture on a number of different forums to try to help folks avoid crushing their seized bearing with pliers.

I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but the design issue, which you’ve acknowledged, is a problem that has resulted in a lot of folks having frustrating experiences after pursuing what they thought was normal maintenance in a prescribed way. And while YYF certainly does help some people, there are others who do not receive help, some of who have included new yoyoers, parents, and kids at the clubs I’ve run. I wouldn’t have even responded again, given how much I really do just want to move forward happy to know that you have and are taking steps to remedy this, if I didn’t read this last comment as dismissing this as not a real problem – my apologies if your use of scare quotes (‘problem’) wasn’t intended to convey that sentiment - meanings certainly get lost through internet communication, probably more often than not. I really hope you’ll reconsider the extended warranty/replacement idea, but it is, of course, your decision. It was certainly heartening to read this:

Also, it was decided for the time being that it made more sense to have this thread in the manufacturer area given that it pertains to a specific manufacturer, contains info about contacting that manufacturer regarding some issues with products, and because it sounds like there may be plans to update the thread with new info about changes to particular batches if the info can be found, which will be very much appreciated. Thanks again for all the responses.

With all due respect, what exactly IS the “prevalence” of the problem? And how did you determine it? I’m guessing you’re talking about personal impressions and hearsay from friends, which is fine, but did you take into account that there are probably about 10 times more YYF metals out there than any other brand, so you’d expect to hear about 10 times more reports of jamming? I’m guessing you could find find stories of jammed bearings on EVERY brand. When does it become “prevalent”? Why are you singling out YYF?

If you want it here’s another data point for your sample: based on the couple of YYF throws I have, it isn’t prevalent at all.

Also, I wonder how you can be so confident that there’s no such thing as user error. My guess is that is VERY common for someone to tighten up on a bearing when it’s sitting slightly cocked on the post. Unless this is done gently, that bearing isn’t going to straighten itself out, it’s just going to dig in and jam.

Yoyofactory yoyos have been known to have very tight bearing seats for a while. The only time the bearing seat would be messed up is if you have the bearing not seated properly and tighten the yoyo forcefully.

DavidG - yoyofactoryben, who is a representative of YYF, has noted that the design can and does result in the issue I’ve asked about, and he’s stated that YYF has and is taking steps to change it. Honestly, it seems unnecessary to go back and forth any further about the issue, especially since some of your questions have already been addressed. Ben has also quite graciously offered to provide info about which batches have the new design if he can find it. It seems to me that any further posts in this thread should come from him and that, unless someone has any helpful info to add, there’s really nothing productive that will come from further back and forth about this.

Edit – Seriously everyone – the reason for my posting this thread wasn’t to engage in back and forth arguments, flaming, gossip, or out of any desire to foster antagonism. As a number of the folks reading this know, it was with reluctance that I brought it up, and not only because it concerns a company that has done so much to foster modern yoyoing. It’d be great if we could have this thread not devolve into arguments and have it be,

  1. A reference concerning the issue with a statement from a YYF rep that it is being addressed.
  2. A reference that suggests that people can contact YYF about it should they experience it.
  3. A place where YYF reps can post any relevant updates about it should they see fit.