One Drop Rebirth
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
October 25, 2015
Every player has that one yo-yo, the one that just on looks alone made you want to learn how to throw. For some it was the Dark Magic with those metal rims, for others it may be the Miroc with those newfangled hubstacks. For me, the yo-yo that made me want to learn how to throw was the One Drop Project. I remember getting back into throwing around early 2009. I was looking around on the net for a new yo-yo after playing the heck out of my Lyn Fury. I decided I wanted a metal and hit up YoYoNation, THE store to go to back in the day… it is amazing how things have changed since then. There on the front page was the One Drop Project, this gorgeous soda blasted, clear anodized, yo-yo with these crazy grooves cut into the catch zone and an axle system design whose look has almost become iconic in the community. That yo-yo was gorgeous, and in my opinion still holds up as one of the best looking yo-yos of all time. Since then the yo-yo world has moved on. One Drop has released thirty-seven yo-yos, when factoring in all the benchmark variations, since the Project first dropped way back in the day. While time has been kind to the looks of the Project, the play has become a tad bit dated, something to be expected from a seven-year-old yo-yo. The walled gap and wide pads are not as friendly to the newer styles of play being shown off at yo-yo clubs, meet-ups, and competitions. One would think that would be the end of the Project but that is not the case. Enter the Rebirth, Ryosuke Kawamura’s signature yo-yo. Ryosuke is One Drop’s first Japanese team member and a huge fan of the classic One Drops from a bygone era, most notably the Project and Project 2. When it came time to make Ryosuke’s signature throw it should come as not surprise that he would want to update the Project design to fit his style of play.
• Diameter: 53 mm
• Width: 43 mm
• Gap: 4.32 mm
• Weight: 66.15 grams (with Aluminum Ultra Light Side Effects)
• Bearing: One Drop 10-Ball
• Response: One Drop Flow Groove Pads
Pulling the Rebirth from the box shows off a yo-yo, that on first blush, looks identical to the original Project. It isn’t until you look closely at the gap that the changes begin to come into focus. The once flat gap walls are now rounded and a part of the catch zone. Near the response, initially obfuscated by the string wrapped around the bearing, are “friction reducing bumps” as One Drop calls them, a step out from the gap that limits the contact between the string and the body of the yo-yo. Other than those changes the profile is almost identical to the Project, complete with Projection Profile and flat rims. While the profile may look like the Project the size tells a different story. The Rebirth is a full 3 mm larger in diameter and almost a full 3 mm wider than the Project, not to mention it is also a little over 2 grams heavier. The changes don’t just end there. The cup design is completely new. The rim face is no longer flat and is slightly reminiscent or the rim face on the Wooly MarkMont, there is an extra transition between the floor and the walls, the Projection grooves a no longer on the inner walls, and the Nut Capture hub has been replaced with One Drop’s Side Effect hub system… complete with a set of aluminum Ultra Lights. The last major change is that the Rebirth comes with One Drop’s trademark Pyramatte finish instead of the old school soda blast that was wrapped around the Project. Overall, the Rebirth lives up to its name. It has JUST enough of the Project design in it to see the family resemblance while changing it up into something brand new.
As I said above, the Rebirth is almost a full two grams heavier, which is easily explained with the increase in size over the original Project. While it may be heavier it still plays just as quick as the original.
Response and Bearing
The bearing is the same 10 Ball bearing that One Drop has been using from the beginning. A very simple case of if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
The Flow Groove response pads may not have been on the original Project, MarkMont, or M1 but they are now One Drop’s default pad for all of their aluminum yo-yos and again are another clear case of not fixing what isn’t broken.
The Rebirth is a crazy amalgamation of old school and new school One Drop. It retains the fast but solid feel that One Drop fans from the beginning will recognize while still feeling updated for Ryosuke’s faster, more tech style of play. If this is supposed to be the next generation of the Project, then the Rebirth checks off all the right boxes. It has that step out at the gap which increases spin times, keeps loops wide open for whips, hooks, and suicides, and vastly increases the stability all thanks to drastic reduction in string contact with the gap walls. The cup is deeper which, even though there is not an IGR, allows for easier thumb grinds. The addition of Side Effects allows for newer styles of play such as matador, hub stack, or stunt peg play… if you can find the latter two that is. At the end of the day, the play is exactly what people who have wanted an updated Project have been asking for.
The Rebirth is an interesting yo-yo that bridges the generations. It allows players to experience a little of what all of the old school One Drop fans have fallen in love with, back when full aluminum yo-yos were almost as rare as titanium yo-yos are today. All while still being able to enjoy the styles of play that are most important to today’s players. One final change over the original Project makes the Rebirth almost a no brainer… the price. The original Project retailed for $86 while the Rebirth flips the digits making this $68 aluminum a serious contender for those looking for a high performing budget yo-yo.