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Extreme Yo-Yoing 156

Roland Piquepaille writes "Unless you're a dedicated yo-yo fan and a serious competitor, I doubt that you'll hand over $400 for a yo-yo. Even if it's a state-of-the-art hogh-tech yoyo made with a forged-magnesium-alloy and coming with the latest in axle technology. With this one, you can use the freehand style, meaning that your hand is not connected to the yo-yo, but is replaced by a small counterweight. In 'Reinventing the Yo-Yo,' Science News Online says 'its balance is ensured with precision tooling to micrometer tolerances by a computer-controlled lathe.' This long article doesn't solely focus on this luxury item. Instead, it looks at the history and the physics of the yo-yo, and includes many references. A good read for a weekend! This overview contains other details and extra references about the Freehand yo-yo."
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Extreme Yo-Yoing

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  • by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:00PM (#8893950) Journal
    Face it people, yo-yo's and wizards are the new cool. The high school football team, and all the prestige that surrounds them, should tremble in fear to the new wizard/yo-yo uprising. The ladies *will* fall at our feet. Get your extreme yo-yo now (and pick either a gandalf or hairy potter wizard garb) or face falling into the depths of loser-hood. You have been warned.

    Are you into wizards?
  • Pricing (Score:5, Funny)

    by octalc0de ( 601035 ) * on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:01PM (#8893952) Journal
    "The original Freehand yo-yo was the only yo-yo in the world that didn't need to be tied to your hand. With its patented counter-weight system, you can let go of the yo-yo in mid-trick, making the impossible look easy"

    No wonder it costs $400! It's got an amazing antigravity device that allows the yo-yo to remain suspended in air after you drop it.
    • Re:Pricing (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You can (and many people do) make any old yoyo into a freehand with a little weighted fob looped at the end of the string. A six-sided die drilled through the center is the canonical example.
      • You can (and many people do) make any old yoyo into a freehand with a little weighted fob looped at the end of the string.

        ...and risk being sued for patent infringement?!? Are you mad?

  • Wow! (Score:1, Redundant)

    $400 for a State of the Art Hogh-Tech YoYo? Sounds awesome!
  • by The Gline ( 173269 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:01PM (#8893956) Homepage
    It's made from porcinite!
  • by Grant29 ( 701796 ) * on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:01PM (#8893957) Homepage
    Wow, that a nice yoyo. I have had good experience with the Yomega's before. It always seemed a lot smoother than a Duncan. I preferred using a bufferfly model at virst to get down the tricks, but the classic model is the way to eventually go. I could do lots of tricks at one time, but I could never do the dual tricks that required using a second yoyo with your left hand. BTW, a nice Yomega will set you back less than $20.

    Retail Retreat []
    • Um, you must've been REALLY good with the yoyo so as to keep the bullies at bay. Otherwise, you poor, poor soul. Your rocking-the-baby or walking-the-dog must've been followed swiftly by the ultimate-wedgie or the ultrageek-beatdown.
    • by Bingo Foo ( 179380 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:26PM (#8894090)
      As the owner of a Yomega Raider (~$10), a Spintastics (~$14), various Duncans (~$5), a few BC Spitfires (~$4), and a Custom Goldeneye (~$60), I can say that in metal-axle and ball bearing yoyos, you definitely get what you pay for. Duncans are not as good as yomega, for sure, but Yomega is not the top of the heap. I would look into an aluminum Custom, IIWY.

      In wood-axle yoyos, you can get an amazing amount of play for cheap. The BC spitfire is still my favorite looper. I also found an unlabeled black wood saber-shape (with wooden transaxle) at a liquidation sale for $5, that rivaled the Spintastics for sleep time.

      • Well actually the mid level Duncans like the Freehand at around 20 dollars are great. Much better currently than anything Yomega is producing. Serious player now tend to use Duncan and YoYoJam yo-yos. The new Buzz-On line is also well liked. Spintastics and YoYoFactory also have their adherents. Almost no one uses Yomega for serious one hand string tricks. The Yomega Raider is still the gold standard for AA 2 hand looping though.
      • Not a flame. Honest. Can you translate this into English?
        What's a looper? Sleep time?? Transaxle???
      • I sprung for a ProYo Cold Fusion (about $120) when it came out. I was shocked at its performance- I could easily make it sleep for up to 3 minutes right out of the box. Once the berings broke in, 4 to 5 minutes was not uncommon. It has the world record at the time, I think something like 7 minutes and change. I've heard of unofficial times approaching 10 minutes. This thing could do tricks that were up the then impossible on other yoyos.

        That said, $120 is a good deal of money to drop on a yoyo. Unless you
        • Back during the surge in popularity yo-yos enjoyed about 5-6 years ago i bought a firebrain or whatever and it was pretty sweet, and i got pretty good with it, but it was still pretty lame, automatic vs manual and all that... Then i bought a THP tourney model off somebody for like $20, best damn yo-yo i ever had, till i lost one of the bearings...:(
      • My favorite yo-yo was one from an R/C Car manufacturer of all places. Team Losi made it, for those that are into the hobby. It had a high-quality sealed ball-bearing taken right from their cars. The sleep time was amazing compared to any other yo-yo i owned. It's still kicking around at home somewhere.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Anyone know if they suffer from the click of death?
  • Wow...

    An activity OTHER than browsing slashdot that will guarantee I'll never get laid again.

  • by osewa77 ( 603622 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [smsajian]> on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:05PM (#8893981) Homepage
    Modern technology has brought us to the point where, finally, we have better yo-yos .. again!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:08PM (#8893999)
    The article is slightly mistaken, the Silver Bullet II (All metal yo-yo) and a number of other wooden TK Yo-Yos models had steel axles with replaceable ball bearings and a finely adjustable string gap based on a threaded inset that could be adjusted with a coin - this was the real innovation the adjustable string gap and it was the main innovation that they patented.
    The ratcheting, telescoping and other means of trying to adjust the string gap were too imprecise and difficult to set and retain on a quickly moving high g-force yo-yo. An amazing amount of work and prototyping (years) went into that yo-yo and even though they patented aspects of it, other yo-yo companies went right ahead and copied the design and innovations. The Silver Bullets came in these cool anodized versions, too.
  • Interesting facts: (Score:5, Informative)

    by WegianWarrior ( 649800 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:08PM (#8894000) Journal

    The yoyo is one of the oldest known toys. It's also not evolved from a weapon, country to popular myth.

    All the stuff I know that is useless... I don't need no yoyo to prevent me from getting laid ;)

    • I was under the impression that it was evolved from a weapon, and I was given that impression by the official learn-to-yo-yo video by Duncan.
    • Obviously you've never seen Clifford Stoll [] with one.

      The man's a bloody menace.
    • by tloh ( 451585 )
      The yoyo is one of the oldest known toys. It's also not evolved from a weapon, country to popular myth.

      Yo-yos have been around for millennia. Historians have found evidence in a painting on a Greek bowl from around 500 B.C., for example. No one knows whether it was the ancient Greeks or Chinese or someone else who invented this toy.

      Really?? I have a very distinct memory of being first exposed to this "myth". Years ago when I was in elementary school, I was a fan of author Donald J. Sobol. In addi

      • Yoyo's as weapons are myths. htm
  • by Graftweed ( 742763 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:09PM (#8894006)
    Well that's just great! You spend the whole damn year learning elvish and then some annoying kid comes along with a $400 yo-yo and steals the show.
  • Projected Sales? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by i love pineapples ( 742841 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:10PM (#8894013) Homepage
    I'd be interested in seeing how many of these Duncan expects to sell. After all, professional yo-yoers are a pretty niche market as it is, and I'd expect the number of people willing to spend $400 on one to be even smaller.
    • It's kind of like the guy selling Million Dollar pencils. Ask him how many he expects to sell at that price, and his answer is "I only need to sell one!".
    • Professionals won't use these. Only folks with more money than they know what to do with or die-hard metal yo-yo collectors will buy them. But that may be enough. Professionals use more reasonably-priced yo-yos like the late model hardcore series from Duncan (ThrowMonkey, Flying Panda) or YoYoJam's Hitman or Night Moves. There are some really cool, playable yo-yos out there now in the $15-$20 price range (Duncan Freehand, YoYoJam Lyn Fury, Spintastics Maelstrom).
  • uh oh (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:12PM (#8894021)
    For a yo-yo to sleep at all is a fairly modern development.

    mmmm-yeeees, no doubt due to the great advances in the field of hypnotic drugs.
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:14PM (#8894031)
    "Extreme yo-yoing"? Am I the only one who remembers the guy with the buzz-saw yoyo in the James Bond "Octopussy" movie?
    • Am I the only one who read the headline as "Extreme Yu-Gung" and thought it was about a new CD with Einstürzende Neubauten remixes?

      Let me answer that question: yes. ;)
  • We're banning Yo-yos (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:14PM (#8894032)
    As a notable public figure, I have to remain anonymous.

    Due to some injuries with yo-yo fanatics in our school systems, we have decided as a whole to ban yo-yos in our state in public buildings; schools included.

    Recently, a teacher had to have surgery done on her eye to fix a laceration caused by a yo-yo hitting her eye while a student was showing off in show in tell. It cost taxpayers $37,000 to repair the damage caused by an item no more than $4.

    Yo-yos being banned here will set a precedent.
    • "As a notable public figure, I have to remain anonymous.... Yo-yos being banned here will set a precedent"

      Glad to see you at last on Slashdot, honorable President of Singapore! "Drop a 'yo? get caned!" is a truly admirable public policy.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Sadly, the parent comment may have some truth to it, as it's already happened [] back in '98. My favorite quote:

      "I also believe the yo-yos can be socially divisive because they can cost up to eight or nine pounds and some families might not be able to afford to buy them."

      Holy cow!
    • um in case you are a notable public figure (and I believe you) can I make a suggestion: you implement policies to (as part of their education) teach kids not to throw things in their teachers' eyes.

      Better idea than trying to work through a list of all the things that could cause eye injury (pens? paper aeroplanes?). This common sense idea brought to you from Britain.

      (mods: sorry if this was off-topic, but it needed to be said and i'm saving my mod points).

      "Yo-yos being banned here will set a precedent."

    • I can understand banning yo-yo play in crowded situations and in public buildings where people are not expecting a yo-yo to be flying around. However, the situation with the teacher simply sounds like an unfortunate accident. Did the string break? If not, why was the teacher so close to the performer? The student was "showing off" in a sanctioned forum, "show and tell". Common sense would dictate that a respectable distance must be maintained when a person is demonstrating yo-yo moves and tricks.
  • by ReKleSS ( 749007 ) <> on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:19PM (#8894057) []-- get the video here, down the bottom of the page. It's 60mb or so, but it's pretty amazing. Some of those guys have way too much time on their hands. (But here I am reading /., so......) -ReK
  • .... to make sure the yo-yo was a Duncan.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 17, 2004 @06:28PM (#8894096)
    The freehand described in the article is a special yo-yo based on a popular yo-yo that is much cheaper. Chillax.

    See here. []
  • ... that's what eager minds want to know.
  • by rh005 ( 765249 )
    can be seen here: Apple's iYoYo []
  • by Crusty Oldman ( 249835 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @07:02PM (#8894228)
    Your hand is not connected to the yo-yo?

    So, what's the point?

  • Forged? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @07:08PM (#8894251)
    For 400 bucks, I want real magnesium alloy, damn it!
  • by whovian ( 107062 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @07:41PM (#8894405)
    Or, if you don't want to spend $400, you can see him [] play in person for about $40-50 or so.
  • Nothing beats a "hogh-tech" yo-yo.
  • by Terri416 ( 131871 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @07:51PM (#8894451)
    The article mentions a form of yoyo trick where the yoyo leaves the string altogether and the tricks involve balancing the yoyo on the sting.

    This reminds me of diablo juggling. Think of a whacking great yoyo, about 8 inches diameter, and a 4 foot long string attached to 2 sticks. Loop the string around the diablo and move the string side to side rapidly to spin it up, then unloop the string and the tricks commence. Experienced performers can use a few diablos at once. I found some video here [].

  • Could someone please give an explanation of the Freehand style? The page is down.

    • Re:Freehand style? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Before putting the string on the yoyo, you loop the string through a counterweight (a die or a little superball are common and come with the Freehand yoyos that Duncan sells) then through the loop you normally use to make a slipknot for your finger. Then you attach the string to the yoyo as normal, and you're left with a yoyo and one end and a weight on the other.

      The advantage is, obviously, that the yoyo and string are no longer attached to you, which allows you to do lots of unusual tricks. As a simple e

    • Freehand [] is a relatively new yo-yo style created by Steve Brown [] and Chris Neff.

      For videos of Steve doing some FH tricks check out Sector Y []

  • by stuffduff ( 681819 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:12PM (#8894541) Journal
    While having a quality yo-yo is very important, I can't even count the times that I've seen even the best yo-yo with a totally shot string. The damn things have been used so much that it is no longer possible to loosten the string enought to get the yo-yo to sleepat all.

    Like ancient guitar strings on collectors guitars people tend to wait until the string breaks. So check out someplace like the yoyostore [] and by yourself some strings, especially if you've never purchased any strings since getting your yo-yo. You'll be glad you did!

    • 1) You have yo-yo-ed enough to need new strings
      2) You know enough to buy new yo-yo strings
      3) you were modded +3: Insightful....

      Discuss Amonst yourselves....
    • Several years ago, I bought a bulk pack of string, with 50 or 100 strings. Not much money and I haven't worried about strings since (I'm not a heavy user). Surprisingly, they haven't even formed a horribly knotted mess in the drawer.

      It was long enough ago that I don't remember where I got them, which is too bad because they're nice strings. But a couple places that sell bulk string: Yo-yos4U [] and Infinite Illusions [].

    • Build your own! (Score:3, Informative)

      by cgenman ( 325138 )
      Seriously, finding the right combination of string, loop tightness, gumming agents, and time will teach you a lot about what your yo-yo is actually doing. I used to create yoyo strings from kite string for the other kids in the neighborhood. I started with a traditional yoyo weight cotton fiber kite string, would soak it in water for several minutes, and then would twist it to a 4 foot length (slightly longer than usual). Then I would dry it slightly, coat it in honey, and leave it outside overnight. In
  • The guy from Startropics [] had a hardcore yo-yo that could kill zombies and all sorts of monsters.

  • Have you guys checked out Duncan's logo []? It looks like Nintendo []'s, or the other way around.

    Mario, get ready. You have a new foe to face... :-D
  • i've always prefered high-tech to hogh-tech. the latter seem like a cheap rip-off similar to "suny' or "Panosanic"
  • "All these new crazes they have nowadays...
    My daughter came home with a YoYo once. I think his name was Pete."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    YoyoJam makes good yo-yo's from 15 -> 40 dollars.
    Which will probably have just as good performance and is a great resource for news on things such as this...
  • Here's a small video of a freehand style trick that was invented last week by a guy I happen to know. The website of the current world champion can be found at: I literally have around one hundered yoyos. It's as fun a hobby as anything. I'm nowhere near as good as these guys, but it's really enjoyable and relaxing nevertheless.
  • Am I the only one that thinks paying $400 for a yo-yo tied to a die is a bit rediculous?
  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @11:49PM (#8895389) Homepage
    The article credits Tom Kuhn with the Silver Bullet 2, the first production yo-yo with a ball-bearing axle, but they don't truly give the man his due credit. [] He is also the creator of the world's largest functional [] yoyo, and the first yoyo you can disassemble. The article mentions that gap width is now adjustable, but doesn't mention that Tom Kuhn was the first person to do that (in the aformentioned SB2, nonetheless). His Silver Bullet 1 was the first yo-yo weighted out the outside, and the first manufactured from aircraft aluminum. Basically, he defined state-of-the-art for yo-yos up until the mid 90's, when his business started having problems (his San Fransisco shop closed down, sadly).

    If you are doing an article on bringing the YoYo from the 1950's fad to the mid 90's high-performance device, Tom deserves a lot of credit. He doesn't have the revolutionary influence that he once did, but that's like saying Chuck Barry doesn't have the influence that he once did. Both defined where we are today, and their industries would be tremendously different without them.

  • As a UK school kid in the late eighties, I have fond memories of a yoyo called something like the "Duncan FireWheel". It was a wide yoyo made of a heavy wood and was almost like two hemispeheres joined at the centre.

    Does anyone know what I'm talking about, and can anyone recommend me a modern replacement?
    • Duncan Wheels []

      or try a modern yoyo []
    • Oh yes, these fetch a pretty penny on Ebay in good condition. The closest current offering is the fixed-axle Duncan Wheel, but an even more fun version is the Bandai HyperFreehand or the soon-to-be released Duncan Freehand Zero, both of which have ball bearing transaxles. The progenitor of both of these is the original Duncan Freehand (FH1), the mold of which broke a couple of years ago. These now fetch US $50 and up on Ebay. The current Duncan Freehand (sometimes referred to as the FH2) is a great yo-y
  • I'm sure that $400 could be better spent on buying a nice (low battery time) laptop and running a yoyo simulation, and you would probably have enough change to pop out and buy a plastic yoyo for 1/100th of the price
  • This new $400 yoyo that duncan are releasing isn't really designed for 'serious yoyo'ers', duncan made it purely so they could get lots of publicity (just like this article) for having the worlds most expensive retail yoyo. (and probably a world record aswell) They probably will produce just enough to give one to each of their competition team members, and enought that all the hardkore yoyo collectors to buy.

    A few other notes:
    all the major freestyle competition winners have used yoyo's such as duncans free
  • drop the thing?

    Micrometer precision engineering indeed. I'll take the $5 Butterfly Yo-Yo anyday, once Shep the friendly Golden Retriever takes a liking to it...
  • Nice. Piquepaille avoids (for obvious reasons) talking about its main attractive: The $400 yo-yo is a very special yo-yo. Its ability to be remote-controlled and its anti-gravity features make it a great sex toy. While designed to retrieve the most delightful pleasures from any and every one of you, nerds, it just won't work for sex-gurus and porn-stars. So stop jerking off with autopr0n and run to buy your yo-yo! Choose your favourite fizzy flavours: win95 or linux!
  • As string-trick masters execute complex, multistep maneuvers, they parse the yo-yo's string into multiple segments, some of them switched back into the shaft's gap.

    I parse strings all the time, but that's the first time I've heard anyone claim to "parse the yo-yo's string".

    Does anyone have a regexp for the syntax of a yo-yo string?

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal