CLYW – Big Dipper
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
March 12, 2016
Another big company making another plastic yo-yo that everyone seems to be clamoring for. It is incredible how yo-yo perceptions have changed over the years. Plastics of the past were relegated to the cheap cannon fodder segment of the yo-yo industry. Fast forward to today and many players are requesting that their favorite boutique company of choice make a plastic to complement their catalog of metals. Today’s example of this phenomenon is Zach Gormley’s new signature yo-yo, the Big Dipper from CLYW. This is their second plastic and first stab at a “more conventional” polycarbonate design. It will be interesting to see how this is received… no doubt some may consider this yo-yo just CLYW playing it a little safe when compared to their Yeti. I look forward to seeing what the community has to say, and with that being said here are my thoughts on it.
• Diameter – 58.5mm
• Width – 43.9mm
• Weight – 66.3 grams
• Gap – 4.70
• Response – Snow Tires
• Bearing – String Centering Size C bearing (Shipped Dry)
The Big Dipper’s profile sports an organic H shape design with chunky, rounded rims that curve down into the the steep walls that make up the large catch zone. There are two small steps in the catch zone that that helps keep the string away from the walls. The steps meet at the response gap that houses a set of neon green Snow Tires. This being a molded plastic design, players should not be surprised if there are mold marks on the body. In this case there is a faint mold line on each half of the yo-yo. CLYW did its best to hide the line at the transition point between the outer rim and the lip that rolls over to the face. It can be felt if you run your finger over it but it does not effect play at all. The face of the yo-yo sports a cool Big Dipper constellation graphic that plays perfectly to this reviewer’s bias towards geeky space things. Other than the silk screened graphic, there are four items on the rims: “Big Dipper”, Zach Gormley”, “Designed by CLYW”, and “Made in China”. The cup of the Big Dipper is quite shallow with no IGR and only a small flat hub in the center of the floor. I think the graphics are a nice touch that break up the the featureless cup design. When comparing the Dipper to the Yeti there are quite a few manufacturing changes. First off the plastic used is completely different. The Yeti used a glass infused plastic that was great for grinding but had issues with causing strings to break at random. The Big Dipper uses standard polycarbonate that is slick and rather lack luster for grinds but string wear is pretty much a nonissue. While I do love grinding, I much prefer not having my yo-yo shoot off the string at random times, potentially damaging my family, my stuff, or my cat. The other HUGE improvement over the Yeti is readily apparent when you unscrew it. Those foul, poorly designed YoYoFactory spacers have been cast off in favor of a brass bearing seat that is directly molded into the yo-yo half. This change alone makes the Big Dipper the superior CLYW plastic in my opinion. The days of damaging a critical part while performing basic yo-yo maintenance are a thing of the past.
The Big Dipper tips the scales at a hair over 66 grams and plays quite stable. The feel on the string lends itself to a more relaxing play session. It can be pushed to higher speeds but I had a blast just kicking back with it. It is solid and you will feel every gram of its weight but not to the point where it comes off as clunky or chunky on the string.
Response and Bearing
The response is a newer set of neon green Snow Tires. I am not sure how these differ from the regular White or all season Aqua Snow Tires but they are giving me great binds every time and are showing little sign of wear and tear.
The bearing is a string centering bearing that ships dry. This bearing is quite loud and received a couple drops of V4M lube after the initial throw. After the silencing, this bearing was a decent performer that spun true. Not being a huge fan of string centering bearings I ended up dropping a spare General Yo AIGR bearing in after I finished up with my play testing.
This yo-yo plays like a champ; I will get that out of the way right now. I was impressed with the feel on the string right from the start. It has a great deal of spin time, almost as much as the fancier plastic yo-yos with metal weight rings. The lack of a textured finish aided in slack and suicide tricks during play. In fact, the only area that it lacks in is grinds and that is completely understandable since a polycarbonate finish is right up there with a polished metal finish when it comes to poor grinding performance. I am not going to beat it up too much considering that it retails for $35 US. One thing I did notice during my play with the Big Dipper is that I was more daring with my play, more outgoing to try some outlandish new stunt without worrying that I would cause irreparable harm. When I say outlandish I mean that I did try a 4A stunt with it and did some 5A play. Neither of them were pretty and both ended in spectacularly epic failures… but at $35 and being mass produced I figured it was easily replaced if I caused my Big Dipper irreparable harm. On a side note, I had a conversation with Chris Mikulin where I mentioned my concerns with stock and he basically told me not to worry about it they had around 5000 of them. With that being said, I may purchase a second one so that I can give it a nice satin finish for grinding.
Final thoughts… hmmm… ok, does this do everything I want? Not exactly, it is a poor grinder, but I have mentioned above how I plan on fixing that. What it does have is a triple threat of solid performance, inexpensive price, and super easy obtainability so this very well may taken honors near the top on my list of go to beaters when I want to bash out a new trick or combo.