Before I jump right in to my quick first impression review of yoyorecreation’s Overdrive, I feel like I should preface the review with a recount of a brief text message conversation I had with my friend this morning. He’s recently gotten the urge to pursue a YYR purchase as well, and this was my response:
“Like me, you have fallen victim to YYRitis - a budget-conscious yoyoer’s worst enemy. The allure of the sharp, angular profile lures you in and screams perfection. What’s worse is it clouds your judgment and makes you pursue retail and aftermarket transactions you would have never even considered if not for the grip of that profile reeling you in like a fish on a hook. Some strong willed throwers are immune to its charm, but those who for only a moment let their guard down to it, really get hit with it. Hard. The image, the struggle of trying to imagine the feel of the refined, sleek, cold metal in your hand becomes an obsession, and the only solution is to get your hands on one. At all costs.”
This is my second attack of YYRitis. My previous YYR ownership consisted of two Dreadnought G’s at two separate points in time. Both stumbled into my ownership only by pure chance. And both yielded the same end result: It’s incredible, but my shoulder just can’t take the 79g of abuse on every throw. I need something lighter, something faster, something just a bit more comfortable…
Enter the Overdrive.
To dispel any questions as to my acquisition of this yoyo early on, if you want to have any kind of selection in a YYR (retail) purchase, you have to set your sights overseas, and you have to be ready for your wallet to take a heavy hit.
Now, unboxing this guy was a little uncertain for me. I’ve never really been a fan of yellow or gold in general. In fact my sights were set on raw silver from the beginning, and I cursed aloud after hearing that the raw received a small restock only a couple days after my order. The box itself is the YYR standard - sturdy black cardboard, as you’d expect to find semi-fine jewelry packaged in with a silver foil yoyorecreation logo emblazoned across the top. Removing the top of the box revealed the Overdrive wrapped in a fine cotton stuffing.
As with most yoyo colorways, pictures online just don’t do it justice. The gold ano just glints in the light - all the fine details of the machining create a very sleek and refined look. My mind has been changed. The gold kicks serious nunchuck. The addition of a small flat nipple to the hub is a nice departure from the standard YYR formula. It’s only a slight addition - just enough to give a little flourish on the classic design while retaining its artfully understated appearance. The store that they came from included a disclaimer about “small scratches resulting from the difficulty of anodizing 7075 aluminum.” They’re small but they’re there. It’s not a big deal to me, but to those who subscribe to the “I pay big money and I expect perfection” mentality, this might be a turnoff.
Guts are YYR standard: super short axle, YYR silicone pads and a completely dry, cleaned Dif-E-Yo Konkave bearing. By dry I really mean bone dry. I was getting 20-30 seconds of spin easily on a flick right out of the box- in fact I thought it was actually too dry, so with a generous drop of V4M lube, I was ready to put this thing through its paces.
Now, before discussing the play, let’s review the specs:
Gap width: not specified. I estimate about 4.2-4.5mm
This is a big yoyo. It just falls 2.5mm short of the Dreadnought’s hulking diameter and 1mm short of the Dreadnought’s width. Even so, it’s still big. And it plays just as big. I was expecting something floaty given the large size but modest weight, but that’s just not the word to describe this throw. To say that the Overdrive glides is, to me, a much more accurate representation – about halfway between floaty and solid, and it’s got a nice hefty feeling that carries a whole lot of stability and deliberation all the way to the end of the spin. And it’s fast. Much more agile and nimble than its large size would lead you to believe. It can catch you off guard though every once in a while. Once you get going and build up momentum in a fast combo, it’s fairly easy to let the Overdrive get away from you. The upside is, with just as big of a catch zone as the Dreadnought, it’s difficult not to land on the string in some cases, even when it decides to run out of control a little bit.
On the subject of catch zone, sporting the classic YYR profile, the whole 44mm width is essentially all catch zone. Hops are a breeze and lots of fun to experiment with – probably the most fun I’ve had doing hop tricks on a non-super-wide yoyo. And this thing is practically a funnel for catching slacks and whips.
That being said, the oversized dimensions may be intimidating to some people. I say fear not. Since the profile tapers out in such a wide open angle, it can be rather deceptive when you’re holding it. You don’t really realize how much bigger it is than other full sized yoyos until you compare them side by side. Playwise, unless you’re doing Wonderland on every throw, I’m pretty sure you’ll be alright. I don’t do a whole lot of tech tricks, but the ones I know I can pull off just fine – that goes for chopsticks too.
My original intent with wanting to get a raw one was to get it refinished, as a blasted finish is not offered on the Overdrive. I like grinding, and the only other straight anodized yoyo I have doesn’t pull it off very well. But after playing the Overdrive for a little while, I was surprised at how well this thing handles grinds. Finger grinds, anyway. It won’t finger grind like a beadblasted finish, but it does handle them surprisingly well with little to no grabbing and a much slower rate of spin loss than I anticipated. Palm grinds though just miss the mark altogether. The very edge of the rims is slightly more polished than the rest of the body, and consequently much grabbier. Most of my attempts at a palm grind were greeted almost immediately by the yoyo bouncing right off of my palm and/or spinning out. IRG’s aren’t much better, but it’s not designed for them, so no points off there. Bottom line, if palm grinds and IRGs are a big deal for you, just wear a glove.
I’m usually not a fan of centered bearings. Nothing against them really – they just don’t fit my preferences. With that in mind, the Overdrive along with the rest of the YYR lineup and the Konkave bearing are made for each other. It’s a synergetic relationship that just works. The 4-ish mm gap allows for a consistent response with minimal slippage on trick binds and less of a heavy thunk on the end of the string than other yoyos when paired with the KK (both of my main annoyances with centered bearings). The bearing paired with the extremely low wall also lend the design highly to horizontal play. Though I don’t really do horizontal play, I was finding it much easier to keep a simple combo going without “self-correcting” like with most of the other yoyos I use.
There is one thing though that I know a lot of people won’t like about the Overdrive. At least my particular one is not dead smooth, the way some would expect it to be. I mentioned before having previously owned two Dreadnought G’s. The first one was not dead smooth, but the second was. That’s just the way it is. This is not necessarily a bash to YYR’s quality control, which I understand has improved by leaps and bounds since the 44re: days, but rather a call to the potential consumer to be aware of the possibilities and keep an open-minded approach. However, for those with discerning tastes I will let you know, the vibe on this thing is very small – too small to feel during a combo, but it is consistent in idling on the string or on the fingernail test. I don’t feel that it affects play in the least and not nearly prominent enough to be a bother. Then again I’ve been playing a lot of CLYW lately. YYF, GeneralYo VsNYYC junkies may not have the same perception :P.
So now we arrive at the crucial part of the review: is it worth the hefty price tag? Like I mentioned earlier, coupled with an unfavorable exchange rate, the Overdrive takes a hit out of the ol’ wallet at over $180. To me, it was well worth it. The premium looks, feel, and play, and of course the satisfaction of the YYRitis make the Overdrive a worthy investment and already has me looking forward to my next YYR purchase. It’s one throw I feel that I can look to in my collection as something reliable. Something that says to me “alright, let’s get down to business. Now go faster.” Those of you who are put off by the extreme dimensions may benefit from looking into one of YYR’s “safer” models with more “normal” dimensions, such as the Stargazer (if they ever make another run), Messiah, and the upcoming Blink and E=MC^2. That can be either the best or the worst thing about YYR as a company: all their models have the same basic shape, but the specs on each are tweaked such that there is sure to be something for everyone. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to one. It’s calling you.