CLYW Arctic Circle 2nd Expedition
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
January 4, 2014
CLYW had a renaissance back in 2011 with the Sasquatch/Gnarwhal release. When those two were released it kicked the company into a different direction with a renewed focus on more competition centric designs. While the Sasquatch is one of CLYW’s underrated throws, the shape has gone on to spawn some of the more well known and loved yo-yos in the industry including the Avalanche, Arctic Circle, and the One Drop/CLYW collaboration The Summit. Today I am looking at the Arctic Circle 2nd Expedition (AC2 for short), a continuation on the Sasquatch theme. It is time to see if it is played out or if the almost three year old design still ahs some life left in it.
• Diameter: 55.6 mm
• Width: 45.3 mm
• Gap: 4.16 mm
• Weight: 65.4 grams
• Bearing: CTX 10 Ball by Central Bearing Company
• Response: Snow Tires (White)
A couple weeks ago I reviewed the Gnarwhal 2, a yo-yo that had most of the tinkering done internally so as not to mess up the classic look of that design. With the AC2 it is readily apparent that the looks of the original Arctic Circle was not as much of a consideration. The new AC2 design has had a massive amount of reworking done to the looks as well as the internals. It is almost a millimeter larger in diameter and almost two millimeters wider than the original Arctic Circle. The profile is nearly identical to the original complete with the large rims, V-Shape catch zone, the step out from the gap, and small channel cut where the rim meets the catch zone. The cup is where we see the most radical changes to the original design. The AC2 has completely removed the double rim as well as the center hub in the cup making for a completely unobstructed, almost flat floor. The face takes a page from the Gnarwhal 2 and Summit playbook with a stepped in design that focuses the weight towards the rims while setting it back slightly for better stability. The finish is the standard Gruntbull finish found on all CLYW designs so it is quite smooth to the touch. In the hand it feels comfortable even with the straight edges thanks to the rounding off of harsh angle. Being a huge fan of the Avalanche and Summit it is no surprise that I am a fan of the design and feel of the AC2.
I am beginning to think that Chris has decided all of his older yo-yos are obese midgets. First he increased the size of the Gnarwhal 2 while shrinking the weight and now he is doing it again with the Arctic Circle 2nd Expedition. The AC2 is over a full gram lighter than the original making for a zippy player on the string. With the weight pushed towards the rims the AC2 has better spin times than the Arctic Circle while retaining the stability that the double rims gave the original.
Response and Bearing
The AC2 comes equipped with CLYW’s white Snow Tires. They have a decent amount of grip to them. I prefer the blue Snow Tires slightly more due to the increased grip. I like the tighter unwind that they give on the initial throw but they come at a cost of having a lengthier break in time.
The CTX 10-Ball comes stock in the AC2 and I am still not the biggest fan. I consider it the least offensive of the string centering bearings but at the same time I would prefer to have a standard flat bearing.
I have played an original Arctic Circle, not long enough to write a formal review but long enough to form an opinion. I liked the original but thought it lacked something; I kept comparing it to the Avalanche and the Summit. Those are my two favorites based off the Sasquatch design. Compared to them the original Arctic Circle just felt off to me. The AC2 ramps up the speed and the feel on the string when compared the original and is even a bit faster than the Summit thanks to a reworking of the weight distribution shifting it all to the edges. The AC2 responds to direction changes quickly and loves to play horizontally, going off plane quickly during a Gyro Flop. Where the AC2 excels is with suicide tricks, the loops stayed wide open for pretty much every suicide variation that I could throw at it. Grinds are exactly what you would expect from a Gruntbull finish. The only grinds that were off were thumb grinds. There is no IGR so the AC2 has to be thrown at a slight angle to pull them off.
The Arctic Circle 2nd Expedition feels like CLYW refined everything it learned from the Sasquatch, Arctic Circle, Avalanche, and Summit. What they came up with is a smooth player that is perfect for many different forms of play. It is easy to hit, rock solid stable, and spins quite a bit so it is a great to learn tricks on if you are an advance or expert player who wants something faster on the string.