I think I will start off this review of the YoYoTricks Civility with an anecdote that would normally be included at the end, but I just feel like shaking things up a bit. Previously I had taken along my original Civility to the Vancouver YoYo Club where a bunch of throwers tried it out, including Jeremy “Mr. YoyoThrower” McKay. The general consensus was that it was decent but a bit heavy and it didn’t really blow anyone’s socks off. Fast forward to about a month ago when I showed up with the redesigned Civility that was released late last year, and it was a completely different story. The same throwers chucked it around, and everyone was unanimous in how much they liked the new version. Jeremy’s exact words were “this is a yo-yo I would own!” That sentiment was shared by the other throwers, and I actually had a hard time getting it back at the end of the day.
So that is clearly thumbs up from the Vancouver YoYo Club, and with that story out of the way we can get down to business and look at the YoYoTricks Civility more closely.
Here is the TL;DR summary for those that want it: The YoYoTricks Civility was designed to be a good choice for players wanting to step up to their first high-end yo-yo while still being suitable for learning new material. The redesigned Civility has the advantage of being lighter while retaining the stability and spin of the original. Moreover this reduced weight means that players will be less likely to outgrow it as they progress. The Civility still seems to be a great option for for learning new material and breaking into the higher end of metal yo-yos, and I find it to be a lot of fun to use in general.
The YoYoTricks Civility
The Civility that is being reviewed here is actually the second iteration of the yo-yo. The original Civility that I own was the first serious metal yo-yo that I purchased after returning to throwing a couple of years ago. I spent a huge amount of time learning tricks on the original Civility and really enjoyed throwing it. It still holds a special place in my heart and needless to say I was quite excited at the chance to try the redesigned Civility.
Since both versions are simply called the Civility, for the purposes of this review I will refer the new one as the Civility 2.0 even though this is not what YoYoTricks calls it. In the images below, the Civility 2.0 is purple, and the original Civility is green.
Of course, this immediately begs the question as to why the Civility was redesigned at all. Well, Adam Bottiglia actually answered that question nicely in the Throwers Subreddit AMA that he held last year, and here is the direct quote regarding the Civility 2.0:
“What we found with the original Civility was that players who bought one loved it and always used it to learn new skills. However, once players reached a certain proficiency, they would often switch from the Civility to other yoyos as their go-to throw, but still use the Civility when learning tricks. My thinking was that this was because there was a bit too much heft in the Civility to make it a yoyo that one would want to use all the time (even though it has been the yoyo Connor and I have been using almost exclusively since its release). What we did with the new design is we removed quite a bit of the center weight and added a tiny bit back into the rim. By doing this we were able to drop the weight by 1.5 grams bringing the actual weight to 67.5g. We feel like this keeps almost all the power of the original design, but makes it light enough to be fun to use whenever you feel like throwing.”
This almost exactly described my situation with the original Civility. I used it for learning extensively at first but then increasingly moved away from it as I became more proficient. I found that the extra weight, while great at first for extra spin and stability, started to feel a bit clunky and I found myself transitioning to lighter yo-yos.
But what about the Civility 2.0? Does it improve upon this situation and add longevity to its throw lifetime? Let’s break it down and find out. Oh, and for reference keep in mind that the Civility 2.0 sells for $78 USD, $12 less than the original.
YoYoTricks Civility (2.0)
- Diameter: 55mm
- Width: 42 mm
- Weight: 67.5 grams
- Response: 19 mm pads
- Bearing: YYF Ceramic Center Trac Ultimate
Material and Construction
The Civility 2.0, like the original, is made from 6061 aluminum with the exception of the stainless steel hub nuts. Using stainless steel in the hubs helps prevent against accidental stripping when assembling the Civility (something that a new player might tend to do by mistake). Additionally, the Civility continues to be machined and anodized in the US, a significant fact given the price of the yo-yo.
Size and Shape
Other than in terms of weight, the Civility 2.0 retains pretty much the exact same shape and size of the original. When viewed side by side, you would be hard pressed to tell them apart. Both versions use a W-type shape, and nothing about the dimensions is out of the ordinary for a modern yo-yo. Closer inspection does reveal that mass was removed from the hub area of the original Civility to create the Civilty 2.0, but it is a subtle difference. Other than that I really can’t figure out how YoYoTricks was able to drop 1.5 grams because it really doesn’t show in terms of the shape.
Where is does show is in terms of throwing the yo-yo. While I don’t want to get ahead of myself, the reduction in weight from 69 grams to 67.5 grams may not seem like a lot but it definitely feels like a lot in practice. The Civility 2.0 seems to retain all of its shape characteristics while performing more quickly on the string due to the reduced weight. Thumbs up to that.
The surface anodization is another place where the Civility 2.0 differs from the original, even though both versions use solid colours only. Unlike the original, which has a more polished look and feel to it, the Civility 2.0 has a bead blasted matte finish that I really dig. It is not so matte that it feels rough, and grinds still work well with the new surface. I quite like it and definitely prefer it to the surface finish of the original.
Bearing and Response
The original Civility used a YYF Center Trac bearing, the same type of bearing that is probably considered to be the general standard for centering bearings. Nothing remarkable about it, but also nothing wrong with it. The Civility 2.0 steps it up and swaps out the standard bearing for a YYF Ceramic Center Trac Ultimate bearing that normally retails for $25 USD on its own. I have to say that I have been quite impressed with this bearing. Now, those that know me know that I am a big proponent of NOT spending big money on bearings because I just don’t think they are worth the price. But, if a company wants to include an expensive ceramic bearing in a reasonably priced metal yo-yo then more power to them. In my mind this make the value of the Civility 2.0 all the better given the $78 price tag, and remember that this is an American made yo-yo. Chalk up another point for the Civility 2.0 over the original.
The response pads are the one place where I feel there is room for improvement. Some of you may recall my review of the YYWS Armament in which I complained about the very grippy pads that extend out of the response groove and into the gap. The Civility 2.0 seems to have a similar situation with pads that appear to be a touch to thick for the groove. Perhaps this is just pure luck with my particular yo-yo, but nonetheless I am not a fan of this set-up. Like the Armament, I find the Civility 2.0 suffers at times from loss of speed during string wraps due to the interaction with the pads. Moreover, it is not uncommon for me to have it bind at the wrong time during certain tricks.
To be fair, this is a personal taste from someone who isn’t a yo-yo professional. I happen to like my response pads to be recessed a little bit to keep them out of the way, which is why I pour my own response pads these days with flowable silicone. Other throwers that like having more response would very likely be happy with these pads. My issue is that is that the extra grip could cut both ways for newer players. A grippy response helps new thrower to learn to bind, but the same players are also going to pause often during tricks and if they lose spin or get accidental binds on a regular basis then they could get frustrated. I am sure the situation isn’t as bad as I am making it sound, but it is something to keep in mind. In any case, this is a minor quibble with Civility 2.0 since pads are cheap and easily replaced. In fact, YoYoTricks still sells the slimmer response pads used in the original Civility.
OK, let’s get down to it, how does the Civility 2.0 play? Well, I have a big soft spot in my heart for the original Civility, and I am happy to say that the Civility 2.0 easily improves upon it.
The original was targeted at players that wanted to move towards a higher end yo-yo. Since many such players are also newer throwers, having the Civility also be a good option for continued learning was something that YoYoTricks kept in mind. The Civility 2.0 still shares the same goals as the original, but with the added objective of having an extended shelf life as a player continues to improve. This is something that I feel that the Civility 2.0 has indeed accomplished.
Since I am no longer a new player it is difficult for me to judge how well a newer player would take to the Civility 2.0, although my gut instinct is they would do well with it. What I can say is that the Civility 2.0 feels great for where I am at now, and I find it just as fun to toss it around as many of my other throws such as my MFD Tri-B and YYWS Halyard. This convinces me that the Civility 2.0 should indeed have a longer shelf life in someone’s collection (as it will for me), and newer players are far less likely to outgrow it as they progress. The reduction in weight helps to make the Civility 2.0 that much lighter and more zippy on the string. This is something that will appeal to more advanced throwers and that will benefit newer players as they gain confidence and start building up speed.
I think I still like my Halyard slightly more for learning new material, although it is a tight race. I made a point of trying to learn some new advanced tricks with the Civility 2.0 and it seems more than capable, although as I said I am not a new player so my experience won’t be the same as a beginner trying to learning new tricks. Still, I can’t see why it shouldn’t remain as a great option for newer throwers looking for a high end yo-yo to grow with. Really though, I look at the Civility 2.0 as less of a learning yo-yo and more of just a great all rounder yo-yo that I enjoy throwing around simply because it is fun. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what throwing is all about?
I have to take my hat off to Adam and the YoYoTricks crew for taking the time to really think through the design of the original Civility, pinpoint its shortcomings, and try to rework it. For all intents and purposes they seem to have done an excellent job in tweaking the design, and the reduction in weight is a big step forward in giving the Civility more longevity in anyone’s throwing journey.
As as I said when I started this review, my yo-yo friends that tried and dismissed the original Civility were quite impressed with the new design, and the unanimous opinion that they would be happy owing the Civility 2.0 speaks volumes in my mind. I still like the original but the Civility 2.0 is easily superior and I can see myself continuing to play with it for quite some time. Whether or not the Civility 2.0 is for you is something I can’t say since my opinions are subjective. What I can say is that given that it is an American made yo-yo that ships with a really nice ceramic bearing and sells for only $78 USD, the Civility 2.0 is worth a look.
As always enjoying your throwing!