Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
June 5, 2016
Today I am taking a step back and taking a look at what can be considered iYoYo’s iconic bimetal, the Steel. While the Steel is not iYoYo’s first bimetal, it is the one that seemed to put them on the map. It was definitely the one from iYoYo that caught my eye. The company has been around for a little while now and has stuck to the idea of making high quality, low cost designs. None of their bimetals cost more than $100 and their monometals are all sub $60. While $100 is still quite a bit of money, in the bimetal world it is positively a bargain. Time to see if this competes with the big names or if you would be better off spending a few bucks more.
• Diameter: 57 mm
• Width: 41.98 mm
• Gap: 4.70 mm
• Weight: 67.3 grams
• Response: 19 mm slim pads
• Bearing: Size C concave bearing
The Steel’s profile is a gentle H-Shape with only a small step from the large rims that are two thirds wrapped in a steel rings. After the rims there is a straight V-Shape catch zone leading down to the step out gap. One issue I did find with the Steel is that this one had some tight bearing posts. This is not a huge issue but did make it tough to unscrew and I needed a tool to remove the bearing. While most H-Shaped yo-yos tend to have harsh angles that lead to painful impacts when returning to the hand. The Steel’s angles have all been nicely rounded off for smooth and pain free play. The cup of the Steel is quite shallow, with no IGR to speak of. The underside of the lip is wide enough to perform thumb grinds if you throw slightly off axis. The hub uses an inverted center design that leaves a large, tiered, dimple in the middle for finger spins. The finish is a bead blasted splash finish, although there are some awesome solid colored Steels with gold colored rims for those that want a classy, understated look. Overall, I like the design of the yo-yo. While I am not a big fan of H-Shape designs due to comfort reasons, iYoYo went above and beyond to address those issues in this yo-yo.
The Steel is a heavier yo-yo that has a solid feel on the string. It is a medium paced throw that can be pushed to higher speeds when needed but feels more at home during longer, more relaxed play. With the steel rims being added to just the absolute outer edges, the Steel gives impressively long spin times even when you throw a less than aggressive starting throw.
Response and Bearing
iYoYo went with white 19mm silicone response pads for the Steel that give impressive grip even when paired with a concave bearing. I did not notice any slipping during binds.
The bearing is a string centering, concave bearing. I am not sure if it is a true KK bearing or an off label version. It gave sooth play while remaining relatively quiet.
From the initial throw I could tell this yo-yo was designed for epic combos with its long spin times and smooth play. I preferred playing it at a more relaxed pace but I did ramp up the speed to see what it could do, which also causes me to get quite a bit sloppier. The Steel was still easy to hit with the string being guided into the catch zone thanks to the angled rims. It performed admirably during horizontal play and easily Gyro Flopped when I wanted it to. Finger grinds were incredible while palm grinds were merely good due to the raw steel rims. Raw metal is just not a good grind surface. Thumb grinds and finger spins were above average but I ran into one small quirk that I would hazard is only an issue with this specific colorway. The red dye on this Steel was applied a little thick so I could feel it when it was grinding my thumb nail or spinning on my finger tip. It was not a huge issue, it had the same feel as when you run your finger over a wall and feel a hair that had been caught in the paint. As I said above, I am almost 100% sure this is limited to this specific colorway. I am sure the others, especially those amazing looking solids, do not have this issue.
At the end of the day, the Steel is a great yo-yo. It is an incredible introduction to the company and, in my opinion, a much better alternative to some of the more mass produced bimetals with similar shapes. If you are looking for a compact H-Shape bimetal that will not break the bank, I recommend giving this one a shot.