Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
June 3, 2014
Innovative Yo-Yo Concepts (also known as IYYC) is a new company started by retired competitive thrower Ian Cole. Cole left the yo-yo circuit to pursue a career in architecture. Once settled in his new career path, he decided to combine his two passions, the result is the Breathe. When I first saw the Breathe I was extremely curious about it. The design struck me as being reminiscent of the SPYY RSL, a yo-yo I have always wanted to try but have never gotten to throw. Let’s see if the Breathe’s unique and unconventional design adds something new to the yo-yo world.
• Diameter: 54.9 mm
• Width: 45.5 mm
• Gap: 3.75 mm
• Weight: 68 grams
• Bearing: One Drop 10-Ball Bearing
• Response: One Drop Flow Groove Pad
The Breathe comes in a large black box with a purple wax seal on it, similar to what you see Cardinal Richelieu use to seal official communications in the BBC show The Musketeers. Inside, the box was filled with purple confetti and the yo-yo itself is in a black fabric drawstring bag. You can tell quite a bit of thought went into making this $200 yo-yo feel grandiose when you pull it from the package. Once removed from the package, you cannot help but be struck by how insane the design is. This is one fascinating looking yo-yo. The Breathe’s profile shows off three sets of concentric cut outs staggered evenly apart along the catch zone of the yo-yo, breaking the yo-yo’s profile into four sections. Three small support pillars within the cutout support each section of the yo-yo. The cut outs obfuscate the organic V-Shape design of the Breathe, which feels quite comfortable in the hand. The face of the Breathe shows off the support pillars quite a bit more as well as the flat floor and absolute lack of an IGR. The finish is a raw, grit blast finish that has me a little worried. The grit feels a little rough and will have a negative impact on the life of the string. While that is not good what really has me worried is the lack of any sort of anodizing. The anodizing layer serves a dual purpose of adding color but more importantly it adds strength to the metal. Without anodizing, the blast finish will wear off quickly, dings will happen at a faster pace, and the bearing posts have a greater chance of galling. Overall, the design looks incredible but IYYC needs to rethink the lack of anodizing. Even a clear coat would be better than raw.
The Breathe weighs in at 68 grams and feels stable on the string; that being said there is something about the weight distribution that feels a little off. It has the thunk of a heavier yo-yo when it hits the end of the string but at the same time it does not feel like it has the spin time that I expect from a heavier yo-yo. If I didn’t know any better I would say that the support pillars are causing a little bit of wind resistance that is slowing down the yo-yo during play.
Response and Bearing
IYYC did not mess around with the response and bearing. The Breathe uses One Drop’s 10-Ball bearing and Flow Groove response pad. That is a winning combination that gives smooth and quiet play with excellent binds. One thing that must be said, while IYYC did go to One Drop for the pads and response, this yo-yo was not machined at the One Drop machine shop.
Ok, where to start? This yo-yo is an absolute mess on the string; there is no other way to say it. The Breathe starts off great on the initial throw but it loses momentum and I have had it stall out on longer combos. That is not necessarily a death sentence for a yo-yo, I have had others play similar that I liked… they prompted me to learn how to regen. Where this yo-yo lost me was those self same cutouts that give the Breathe its stellar looks. I have had the string catch in the cutouts during tricks like Ninja Vanish and Brent Stole. Even simple barrel rolls end up being a chore unless you are 100% precise with every step of your play. You will also need high levels of precision in order to keep your string in good shape. The finish is excessively rough on the string and I ended up snapping a couple during my testing. Luckily I was playing over carpet and reduced the likelihood of damaging the yo-yo. It only got worse when I attempted grinds. Thumb grinds are nonexistent even if it is thrown at a steep angle. Palm, finger, and arm grinds are also nothing short of a joke. The pillars in the cutouts hit your body as it spins causing the yo-yo to lose a massive amount of spin time. The bottom line is simple; this yo-yo does not play well.
This yo-yo is all flash and absolutely no substance. That would be fine if it were a $25 novelty throw. The fact that it retails for $200 and up means that I must recommend you stay away from it. It may be a limited run of only 80 yo-yos but in my opinion that is 79 too many. It should have remained a one off proof of concept.