I have rather positive things to say about YoYo Workshop, something that is clearly in evidence if you spend a bit of time poking around the site. My recent YYWS Spotlight article probably says it all in that regard. However, for the record, I want to state that I like YYWS because I like their yo-yos, and not that I like their yo-yos because I like YYWS. That is an important distinction and I want to be clear about it lest I be accused of rabid fanboism.
The reason I wanted to get that on record is that I quite liked the YoYo Workshop Armament and, as you are about to see, I really like the YoYo Workshop Halyard. The Armament is still one of my favourite throws even though it really pushes a bit beyond my skill level. I did quibble a bit about certain aspects of the Armament, but for the most part it is a great design by YYWS and I am happy to say that the Halyard continues that trend. In fact, I think I like it even more than the Armament in some ways. But I am getting ahead of myself. The point is, I swear that I am not a fanboy. I just happen to think that YYWS makes great yo-yos.
Oh, by the way, at the time of me publishing this article the Halyard hasn’t yet been fully launched. I bought my review Halyards directly from YYWS to get a jump on things. Expect to see the Halyards show up for sale on YoYoExpert in the near future.
Here is the TL;DR summary for those that want it: the Halyard from YoYo Workshop is a well designed throw that has remarkable balance and great stability. It feels much lighter than it is and displays a nice amount of float during play. It can be pushed around with a relaxed feel and yet still has plenty of speed when needed. This gives the Halyard plenty of breadth to its play and players should feel right at home with it whether they are learning tricks, having fun, or pushing the limits a little bit. The Halyard has already claimed a place in my lineup of Core Throws.
The YoYo Workshop Halyard
The Halyard is the fourth yo-yo from YoYo Workshop and in my opinion the second yo-yo from Wayne Ryan and David Albano that is considered main stream. From my point of view, it firmly sits in a different part of the yo-yo spectrum than the YYWS Armament and it is apparent that YYWS was aiming for something different in the Halyard. The Armament is fast and exhilarating, the Halyard is more laid back and fun.
If we were talking about driving, the Armament would be taking the freeway in the middle of the night at twice the limit, laughing your head off and simultaneously praying that the cops aren’t around. The Halyard would be taking the scenic route to see the view, putting the top down and enjoying the ride because you don’t have anywhere in particular to be.
OK, enough with the metaphors. Here is the official statement from Wayne and David over at YYWS when I asked them what they were aiming for in the Halyard:
“[We] designed the Halyard to be a large, flagship model to finish up 2015. Though a full-sized yo-yo, you’d be hard pressed to find a full-size throw with the weight distribution as ironed out as this. Grab one, give her a toss – and see for yourself.”
Let’s dig into nitty gritty details of the Halyard to see if YYWS achieved their mission.
The Halyard Specs
- Diameter: 57 mm
- Width: 43.8 mm
- Weight: 67.0 grams
- Gap Width: 4.2 mm
- Bearing: Size C, V-profile centering
- Pad: Flowable silicone
The Halyard is made from 6061 Aluminum. I don’t believe that any 7075 Halyards were produced in the maiden voyage run. In any case, both of mine are 6061 Halyards.
Size and Shape
The Halyard is a sizable throw. With a diameter of 57 mm and width of almost 44 mm, it outsizes most of the other yo-yos in my collection with only my Downbeat giving it a run for the money. This gives the Halyard a nice bulky feel when holding it, although admittedly if you dislike larger throws for some reason then the size might be an issue for you. In terms of shape, I think the jury would be split on whether to call this a V/O-hybrid or simply a rounded W-type. The Halyard has a very similar shape to my venerable YYT Civility, although the larger size and rounded profile give the Halyard a slight edge in terms of its catch zone. Regular readers will probably already know that I am a fan of both O-type and V-type profiles, and the Halyard feels like it sits in there somewhere. Perhaps that is why I like to think of it as a V/O-hybrid.
I need to give special mention here about the weight. Coming in at 67 grams, the Halyard doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary until you factor in its larger size. That 67 grams of mass isn’t actually all that much to spread across a bigger yo-yo and it shows in the design of this yo-yo. When looking carefully at the Halyard there doesn’t seem to be any place where there is a noticeable focusing of the weight. The thickness of the cups is appears fairly uniform, and there isn’t really much weight pushed to the rims. This translates into the Halyard feeling lighter than it is, and when I first threw it I could have sworn that it wasn’t any heavier than the Armament (64 grams). I even took one my Halyards to work to measure it on an analytical balance to check the wieght. It weighed in at 66.8 grams, so the mass is indeed there and it is simply that the floatiness of the Halyard is misleading. I also let a more experienced thrower try the Halyard and he was shocked when I told him that it is 67 grams. Gotta love that weight distribution!
As a visual aid, here are some shots comparing the Halyard to the OD Downbeat (70 grams), the YYT Civility (69 grams), and the YYWS Armament (64 grams).
Those that have read my YYWS Armament review will recall that I went on and on about how much I liked the soft matte finish of that yo-yo. If you own an Armament and also love it then consider this your fair warning: the Halyard is NOT the same. I admit that I was expecting the same finish on the Halyard and was taken by surprise when I first held one. Don’t say that I didn’t give you a heads-up!
Not that the surface finish of the Halyard isn’t good. It is good, but it is also different from anything else I own. I talked to Wayne Ryan at YYWS about this, and he mentioned that he was going for a “super matte” finish on the Halyard. The end result is indeed more of a true matte finish, giving it a coarser feel than the Armament and possibly anything else you might be throwing. This isn’t a bad thing. I have come to appreciate the extra grip that this finish affords, and I can still pull off some reasonable grinds with it. Just don’t expect a super polished feel to the Halyard’s surface. Personally, I dig it.
Oh, and the anodized colourways are the usual awesome sauce that we have come to expect from YYWS. I purchased the EOD and Frieza colourways as shown below respectively, and both look great.
The Halyard ships with a custom YYWS V-profile bearing that works quite well to keep the string centered while still providing some lateral freedom during wraps. This is actually my first experience with a V-profile bearing, and thus far I am quite happy with it. In fact, I think I prefer it to the grooved concave bearings I have been fooling around with lately. The bearings in both of my Halyards are smooth and decently quiet. If you prefer flat bearings then you will want to swap these out, but if you like centering bearings then you should be happy with the Halyard as is.
The Electric Blue pads were the one thing I didn’t care much for in the Armaments due to the way they protrude ever so slightly into the gap. That issue was an easy fix with some flowable silicone (which I prefer anyway) so it wasn’t a big deal. Still, I am happy to report that the retail Halyards are shipping with flowable silicone poured by YYWS to be flush with the top of the response groove. The response is great for binding just as you would expect from flowable silicone, and once you are past the initial break in period the response system stays out of the way nicely. Thumbs up!
[Side note: only my Frieza Halyard has the clear flowable silicone. My EOD Halyard shipped with the Electric Blue pads, as shown below. Both work great and I had no issues either way.]
OK, let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about what is really important, and that is how the Halyard plays. I suppose I could just say that it has fantastic play and call it a day but that wouldn’t be doing it justice, so let’s pull it apart a little bit.
The aforementioned weight distribution really gives the Halyard play what I would almost define as a dichotomy. On the one hand, you are throwing 67 grams of aluminum and that is still a decent amount of metal to be slinging around. This translates into some nice powerful throws that generate plenty of spin and stability. On the other hand, the more uniform weight distribution creates the illusion of the Halyard being much lighter than one would think for such a large yo-yo. The Halyard is light on the string and it seems to take very little effort to make it move, hop, and change direction in spite of its size and weight. It feels really great throughout trick combos and I really enjoying tossing it around.
Speed wise, the Halyard seems the most happy sitting more in the middle of the road, so to speak. This isn’t because it can’t go faster, but rather it doesn’t feel the need to (sort of slipping back into the driving metaphor there). Somehow the Halyard is able to strike a really nice balance between its larger size and faster play. I imagine that there are other yo-yos like this out in the world, but for me it was a novel experience for me and my collection.
Of course, any time a new yo-yo gives me a new experience in terms of play, I automatically start scrutinizing it more closely in terms of how it might fit into my collection or fill a niche, much like the MFD Tri-B did. As I mentioned recently, I am going to start comparing any yo-yo I review against my Core Throws to see how it stacks up. This is the first review in which I will do that, so let’s take a look to see if the Halyard can push anything out of the line up.
The obvious target was my Back to School category, which has been dominated by the Civility for almost a year. The Civility is a great throw for learning on and I have clocked more time on it than any other throw that I own. However, these days I am steadily moving to lighter yo-yos and the Civility is starting to feel a bit clunky to me. I have been comparing the Civility and the Halyard for the past two weeks, and trying them side by side while working on new material. The verdict is that I like the Halyard more for this role thanks to the great spin combined with the lighter feel, and therefore I am already declaring it to be the new Back to School throw in my core (yeah…a bit dramatic, I know). Of course, we will see what happens when the Civility 2.0 hits in the next little while, but for now the Halyard is the new reigning champ as my learning and development throw.
That isn’t to say that the Halyard can’t be used for other stuff, but I doesn’t quite take the top spot in any other category within my collection. The Downbeat is still easily the most relaxed yo-yo I have, the Armament is the fastest, and the 54 is the most pocket-friendly. The Halyard does push into the Wild Card category quite well, but the Tri-B is a tough competitor and it won’t go down without a serious fight (never mess with a monkey!). Besides, at the end of the day I have to admit that I want both the Halyard and the Tri-B in my top five, not one replacing the other. Still, if not for the Tri-B then the Halyard would conceivably be taking top spot in two categories. Of course, it should go without saying that the Halyard will likely fit into your collection in a completely different way, but I would be surprised if you couldn’t find a happy place for it.
So there you have it. The Halyard is a nicely designed yo-yo that fits really well into my collection and is a lot of fun. I am happy to say that it has already broken into my top tier of throws where it very well might remain for quite some time.
I am impressed with the Halyard, and I think YoYo Workshop have really hit the nail on the head with this design. They have succeeded in making the Halyard exactly what they had envisioned, and it truly is a great flagship for YYWS. It is a nice complement to the Armament in the growing YYWS lineup. One could probably buy an Armament and a Halyard and pretty much have all of their bases covered. From learning and perfecting new tricks all the way to high speed performance, these two YYWS yo-yos would do you well. When compared to each other the Halyard has more diversity in terms of play and I think that is something that many throwers will appreciate. It is a big throw that manages to feel much lighter than it actually is, and when all is said and done it is a really fun yo-yo to chuck around. Kudos to YYWS for continuing to their trend in designing great yo-yos. I am very curious to see what they come up with next.
As always, enjoy your throwing!