One Drop Top Deck
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
May 8, 2016
After the recent releases of some incredible budget yo-yos One Drop has decided to focus their attention on one of their own with the release of their latest signature throw. This time it is JT Nickel’s time to shine with the release of the Top Deck. When it comes to signature yo-yos One Drop makes sure the team member is involved in every step of the process, either in person or virtually, in order to make it a true collaboration between the player and the company. For the Top Deck, JT wanted to focus on pure performance. He wanted an aluminum that pushed the material to the limits, similar to how the Citizen pushed titanium. In the end, they settled on 7075 aluminum alloy due to its density and strength properties. When it comes to reviews, I love reviewing signature yo-yos. If they are done correctly (i.e. a true collaboration with the player and the company) it is the closest we can get to see how the player thinks when it comes to throwing.
• Diameter: 56.5 mm
• Width: 43 mm
• Gap: 4.45 mm
• Weight: 66 grams
• Bearing: One Drop 10 Ball
• Response: 19mm Flow Groove Pads
The top Deck profile is reminiscent of the Citizen’s wing shape profile but takes it and turns it more H-shaped with flatter rims and a steeper catch zone with the step out near the gap to keep the string off the walls. The cup is a different beast entirely taking a little from the Cascade and the Summit while looking completely unique at the same time. First thing many are going to notice is that this is not a Side Effect yo-yo. After reading up on what JT was trying to accomplish, I can see why they skipped the Side Effect tech. While it is a phenomenal axle system, it does add extra center weight to the yo-yo and they wanted to push as much to the rims as possible. The cup has a secondary step under the rim adding extra stability to the design and a flat floor with a rounded nubbin for a hub in the center. The finish is One Drop’s Pyramatte finish which does allow for grinding. I would love to see a special edition in the future that incorporates the MarkMont Classic blast. I do not know if it is possible to do on the harder 7075 alloy, but if so I would gladly pay a $10 to $15 premium to get a Top Deck with it.
At 66 grams, it is a middle weight that plays with authority. It hits hard on the string and spins for quite some time. While it may have a solid presence on the string it does not feel like a sloth during play. It is nimble during combos and easily changes direction when you want it to. Best way to describe it is that the Top Deck never feels forced during high speed play nor does it ever feel constrained when you are relaxing.
Response and Bearing
The bearing is the One Drop 10-Ball. These are my favorite bearings due to their smooth play and simple upkeep. I would put them in all my yo-yos if I had enough.
The top Deck is the second One Drop to use their new 19mm slim Flow Groove Pads. They may be smaller but honestly I cannot tell the difference between them and the Flow Groove pads of old. They give the same fantastic feel during play. These will be a great replacement for my 19mm pad yo-yos when their pads eventually die out.
During my play time with the Top Deck I was routinely impressed with the level of performance it gave. It is smooth on the string to the point that you can hardly feel the spin. While some of One Drop’s products blend old and new school this one is pure new school. Fast on the string for tech style play, long spinning for big combos, stable during horizontal play, it definitely checks all the right boxes for a competition oriented yo-yo. It is even decent at finger spins thanks to the sunken floor in the cup. Grinds are decent, Pyramatte on 7075 is a little stickier than on 6061 since 7075 alloy does not take on as much of a blasted feel when being tumbled. It will still grind but not as long as a comparable 6061 One Drop yo-yo. That one small issue aside, the performance of the Top Deck excellent.
It is funny, 7075 is usually associated with more expensive yo-yo, especially those that come from Japan. The Top Deck is a $79, 7075 alloy yo-yo that easily holds its own with the more expensive single-metals in the field… as well as some of the bimetals on the market. It proves once again that it isn’t just the materials that make the yo-yo but the brains behind the design. As I said above, I would gladly pay extra for a special edition with the Markmont Classic blast. As is, the Top Deck ties with my favorite One Drop, the Markmont Classic… if a blasted variant were released, the Top Deck would easily be the top on my One Drop list.