[Note from JT: this review was submitted to Cyyclical by throwing community member Kuryaka. Thanks to him for writing up a great review of the Riot yo-yo from Rebellion!]
Yoyorecreation announced their first bimetal for the China-manufactured Rebellion line, and there’s been both a lot of hype and a healthy dose of skepticism surrounding the start the Riot. On one hand, YYR is well known for their extremely good yo-yos, and Rebellion’s production quality is no different. On the other, Rebellion models always feature tweaks to the original designs, often adding on weight or changing the way it’s distributed. Understandable – YYR still wants to sell their premium yo-yos – but for those who are looking for a budget version of their Sleipnir/Dreadnaught/etc., the substitute often doesn’t match up.
The Riot dropped on February 13 and I was able to snap one up. Long story short, if you are looking for a no-frills refined yo-yo then get the Riot. In my opinion it’s the best competition oriented, sub-$150 release in the past year or so, a middle-ground yo-yo that feels great no matter what you’re doing with it. In a market where yo-yos are getting lighter, the Riot is a reminder that a hefty bi-metal can still shine.
- Diameter: 56 mm
- Width: 43 mm
- Weight: 66 grams
- Response Pad: 19mm slim
- Bearing: Rebellion concave (licensed)
Looking at its specs, the Riot is very similar to the Valkyrie rather than the Draupnir it’s displayed next to. I have not had the pleasure of trying out the Valkyrie so I’ll be evaluating this yo-yo on its own merits.
Rebellion anodizing is fairly standard – solid colors, with a finish that’s just matte enough for low-friction grinds. The stainless steel rings are mirror-shiny with no obvious machining marks, compared to the narrow bands and slight yellow tinge of YYR bi-metals. It is still a sleek yo-yo, just without the extreme premium feel.
A lot of speculation on release was whether the Riot’s inner “ring” was polished aluminum or steel. I was just as confused, because it seemed like the ring’s inner face was black but I could also see it protruding ever so slightly. It turns out that it is a very small stainless steel ring. Even though steel is about three times as dense as aluminum, the ring shouldn’t have a large effect on the yo-yo’s performance. My best guess is that it’s either aesthetic or designed to match the Valkyrie’s weight distribution (despite the Riot using less dense aluminum) without playing with the shape.
The outer steel rims are thick and hefty, extending beyond the aluminum and giving the yo-yo a dose of rim weight. This should make it feel more lively on the string and stable.
Play Style and Feel
As expected, the Riot is decently hefty with its rim weight for plenty of feedback on string hits, yet responsive when you want speed. Neither too fast nor too slow, it will handle everything you’ve got and feel great while doing so.
On slower yo-yos I prefer a healthy amount of center weight or “floatiness” that gives it a relaxed feel. The Riot is designed for speed and performance, and while it is 66 grams none of that extra weight is in the center.
Some people don’t like “float” because it has been given a lot of descriptions and is subjective per person, so I’ll try to avoid it in the future. “Float” is a factor of weight distribution, and the less weight on the rims the more a yo-yo feels “floaty.” There is probably some point where it just feels heavy and unstable instead. I’m not a physicist or mechanical engineer, and even then there is the human factor in there. Suffice to say, it’s big, stable, and nice.
I’ve played with quite a few bi-metals – the Knight, Rave, Pulsefire, Next Level, Phenom, Weekend, Sturm Panzer Schneider/Leo Sniper, Superstar – and while the Riot looks plainer than all of the other ones, it also packs a lot of hidden performance. The hefty rims make it stable, and the V-shaped design reduces center weight for speed.
Japanese performance-oriented bimetals, like the Schneider and Leo Sniper, are often light and move effortlessly on the string. The Riot is heavier than either of these, but feels like it’s got a similar proportion of rim weight. This is one of the few V-shaped yo-yos that I feel comfortable handling, as I don’t play very fast.
The yo-yo in my collection that it is the most similar to is the Yoyomonster Checkmate. Both are pretty heavy on the rim weight, yet remain nimble instead of sluggish. Still, the Riot trims off more weight by virtue of its bi-metal construction, and has more power behind its spin. And that is where it takes the lead in sheer performance.
The verdict: A resounding YES for the Riot. It defies the recent trend of lighter yo-yos. I know that I prefer heavier yo-yos, but I found myself looking at 65-67 gram performance-oriented yo-yos and thinking “Wow, those are a little too heavy,” just because I hadn’t found anything good in that weight range recently. I found myself looking at the Pulsefire, which is less than 65 grams, and thinking it was also too heavy. Crazy, but I was just losing sight amongst super-light releases. And then the Riot came in at 66 grams and smashed all my expectations.
The Rebellion Riot is the Qilin of bi-metals. Both yo-yos are incredibly well designed and feel uniquely refined, while costing a tad bit more than similar yo-yos. I strongly recommend trying the Riot regardless of what you like, as long as you’re interested in experiencing something new.