One Drop Valor
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
February 9, 2014
This is the One Drop release I have been looking forward to for quite some time. The Valor is One Drop team member Vilmos Zoltan Kiss’ signature yo-yo. I have been enjoying Vilmos’ videos for quite some time, especially the ones shot by Paul Dang. One thing I have said before is that I love the approach One Drop takes when it comes to developing signature yo-yos. They make sure that the player is completely involved in the entire design process so that the signature yo-yo is a true reflection of the player and their style. I can only think of a handful of companies that do this. With this true melding of design and player there is the worry that the yo-yo will not be as accessible to the rest of the community due to it being hyper focused on one specific player’s needs. Whenever I review a signature yo-yo I keep that thought in the back of my head. Let’s see how accessible the Valor is.
• Diameter: 56.5 mm
• Width: 43 mm
• Gap Width: 4.45 mm
• Weight: 66 grams
• Stock Response: Flow Groove
• Bearing Size: One Drop 10 Ball Bearing
The Valor is a close to a pure V-Shape design with the rims being slightly exaggerated in order to shift as much weight away from the center as possible. The catch zone is wide open with a trio of grooves to add a visual flair to the look. Near the response groove there is a step out, giving the Valor a no wall design. The face has a slightly under cut with an IGR just under the rim. The inner wall has another groove cut into it that appears to line up with the groove on the opposite side. Instead of a purely flat floor, the Valor has a small ring in the center that aids in finger spins during horizontal play. At the center of the floor is the exposed, tapped axle. This may be a turn off for some but I have never had a problem with an exposed axle as long as the company handles them well. One Drop handles it well by gluing the axle in place so that it does not push into the cup when screwing it together. The finish on the Valor is a shiny, solid color, Pyramatte finish thanks to the use of 7075 aluminum alloy in the construction of the yo-yo. The laser etch is minimalist is execution, mimicking the engraved graphics of the original Project. Overall, I am a fan of the Valor design. Like its older sibling, the Format:C, it uses some visual flair to make the aesthetics pop, giving it an elegant look.
The Valor clocks in at 66 grams with a commanding presence that hits well on the initial throw. The Valor can be quite fast when you want it but it also remains quite stable at slower speeds.
Response and Bearing
One Drop is still rocking their long lasting Flow Groove pads and 10-Ball bearing. This pair has been going strong since the first release of the Flow Groove M1 way back in March of 2009. The pads break in quickly and if you decide you want something meatier you can always replace it with flowable silicone. The bearings ship quiet with long spin times out of the box. They can get loud over time but with a pin sized drop of thin lube they quiet down quickly.
The first thing I noticed is just how precise this yo-yo is during play. It reacts quickly to changes of any sort whether it is a direction change, hop, or plane shift. It is readily apparent that this yo-yo was designed for a speedy tech style of play. The wide open catch zone is easy to hit allowing for a modicum of slop during play for those that are not as fluid with their technique. The no wall design aids the loops during suicides. One area where the Valor shines is during horizontal play. It feels at home when performing horizontal tricks and quickly moves into position from a Gyro Flop or a Banana Turnover. One trick I have never been good at is a horizontal finger spin on a flat hub yo-yo. My finger ends up getting too close to the cup wall and the yo-yo spins out on me. The little ring in the center of the Valor helped me pull off the trick, basically acting as a barrier that caught on the outer edge of my fingernail and worked similar to an IGR. Grinds are similar to the Format:C thanks to the 7075 aluminum alloy. It does not take a blast or tumble as well as 6061 aluminum alloy. What you end up with is a yo-yo that still grinds quite well but will end up being a little sticky on grinds in humid weather.
The Valor is an extremely impressive yo-yo. Even though it was built from the ground up for Vilmos’ play I found it to be quite accessible. The rock solid performance at multiple speeds in both vertical and horizontal play combined with the open catch zone and IGR makes this an excellent yo-yo to recommend to a wide range of players. It may be billed as a pure competition throw but I can see this being the yo-yo you use to not only compete but learn on as well.