Welcome to the joint review of The Executive yo-yo on Cyyclical. Read on to see what we think about the new mini yo-yo from Doctor Popular and Ernest Kahn!
It would be difficult to imagine that anyone out there missed hearing about The Executive yo-yo Kickstarter back in July. It is worth checking out in the unlikely case you were off planet at that time. Doctor Popular and Ernest Kahn got together and decided to design a brand new mini yo-yo. Then they ran a Kickstarter to fund it, and in the process almost broke the record for raising Kickstarter funds for a yo-yo. Not a bad start at all.
As many of you will know, I am a sucker for smaller yo-yos and as a result I was quite taken with The Executive. I backed the Kickstarter instantly, and just over a month ago I received my lovely blue and yellow swirl Executive. Luckily, fellow reviewer Mat B. also picked one up and we figured this was a yo-yo that we really needed to review.
Which brings us to today and this joint review of The Executive yo-yo. Here we go!
The Executive Yo-yo
There isn’t really anything I can say to introduce The Executive yo-yo that the Kickstarter page doesn’t say better. Two world class throwers got together to design a brand new mini yo-yo to be machined by One Drop. There isn’t much more to say. Well, actually Doc Pop can say something, and so here is the official blurb from him:
“Our main goal with the Executive was to create a yo-yo that you’d want to carry around with you everywhere. It’s slim enough to fit in a coin pocket, but it’s still fun as hell to throw.”
Small and fun. That pretty much sums up The Executive nicely, but let’s dig in a bit deeper.
- Diameter: 44.4 mm
- Width: 30.3 mm
- Weight: 55.1 grams
- Bearing: One Drop 10 Ball Flat
- Response: One Drop Flow Groove
- Material: 6061 aluminum
Size and Weight
MB: The Executive is a small yoyo. With a diameter of 44.45mm, it is small enough to fit in the cup of many midsized and full sized throws while its width of 30.30mm could fit in the catch zone of many of the wide throws that are common in the current market. I have played a few small throws (Tom Kuhn Pocket Rocket, One Drop Dingo, YYJ MicroMo) but the Executive takes the cake as the best playing of the bunch (more on that in the Play section). The Dingo and MicroMo carry the weight of a full size throw, making them both feel dense and clunky for their size. The Executive avoids this trend with a mass of about 54g and a comfortable weight distribution – this allows it to perform well and not feel like a rock at the end of the string.
JT: Well, weighing in at 55 grams with a 44 mm diameter and a 30 mm width, there is no doubt that the Executive is an undersized yo-yo. Admittedly, my experience with mini yo-yos has been somewhat limited due to them being limited in general. Still, it is worth pointing out that Executive features a width that is relatively narrow for the given diameter. Being both undersized AND narrow certainly affects how it plays, but more on that later.
MB: When I first saw the Executive, I likened the shape to that of a frisbee disk. The halves are slim with rounded edges that keep the design comfortable in the pocket and during play. The catch zone has a subtle V shape that slopes from the rounded top edges to the response area which features a bump that helps keep the string off the walls during play. The outer edge of the rim cuts in towards the cup, creating a deep lip that works well for grinds. The lip curves toward the center of the cup and then has a small step down to a flat face that is about the size of a nickel. Overall, the design is curvy and clean.
JT: You know me, I am a slave to shape classifications even when everyone else feels they are pointless. Having said that, the Executive sort of stumps me. I guess I would call it a narrow V-type shape, but the relatively wide and rounded rims sort of belie that classification. One great thing about the rounded shape is that it gives the Executive some extra comfort. There is small step out from the response groove to help give the string some extra clearance, and a decent inner grind ring for thumb grinds.
Bearing and Response
MB: The Executive is machined by the masters at One Drop and features their flow groove response pads and 10 ball bearing. Both perform well in the design and I had no desire or need to replace them.
JT: The Executive is machined by One Drop and I guess Doc Pop decided to use One Drop’s bearing and response pads to match. The 10-ball flat is smooth and quiet as is typical of One Drop bearings. The response pads are likewise excellent.
Generally, I review yo-yos as they ship using the stock bearings, and even at other times I am slow to swap out stock bearings. However, in this case I did spend some time trying the Executive with a centering bearing and I much preferred that setup. It just felt better overall for whatever reason. You may have a different experience so take that with a grain of salt.
MB: Despite its diminutive size and weight, the Executive still manages to spin very well and packs a punch. It is certainly capable of performing as well as some full sized throws, but it will encourage the user to pay attention during play. The Executive frequently challenged me during my throw sessions but it never deterred me from playing. While I didn’t have any trouble adjusting my throw, but I was surprised at how quickly it bound and returned to my hand. Sometimes my trick binds caught early and the yoyo returned to my hand with a long string tail – this was more an issue with my technique, and I compensated for it within a few minutes of playing.
The low size and weight make the Executive a speedy and maneuverable throw. I tend to play at a slow to medium pace, and despite the Executive’s inherent quickness I had little trouble playing at a comfortable speed. I greatly enjoyed working on chopsticks tricks and weaving through tight string formations but I had to make sure I was on my game – imprecise string hits will tilt the throw quickly and kill the spin. The Pyramatte finish grinds fine during dry weather although I couldn’t get grinds to last as long on the Executive as I can on a full size throw. I was still able to perform finger, arm, and palm grinds with ease. The lip works well for thumb and talon grinds and the cup accommodates finger spins better than I expected.
Overall the play is great. I believe that Doc Pop and Ernest fulfilled their goal to make a fun playing pocket sized throw.
JT: The Executive is an impressive little yo-yo. I mean, there is no mistaking this for a regular size yo-yo, but performance is great given that it is a narrow undersized throw. I have been chucking it around since I got it almost a month ago, and it has been a gas! Thus far it hasn’t failed to put a smile on my face while throwing it. It really is great fun to use.
That isn’t to say that it is without shortcomings. Pushing the mass into a narrower profile allows the design to push mass out along the diameter. This helps to improve angular momentum and spins times. This has some trade offs though. The narrow profile does mean that stability takes a hit. It also means that this already tiny yo-yo has really small catch zone. So, fun to use, but not the easiest.
But even so there is a silver lining to be had. If you want to work on improving your accuracy with string tricks, the Executive is there for you. Undersized yo-yos are already kings of required accuracy, and the narrow profile of the Executive takes it a step further. Not a bad thing per se.
There is a thumb grind ring although I find that thumb grinds kill the spin very quickly. Horizontal finger spins? Hell if I know. I am not terribly great at landing them at the best of times, and hitting a much smaller target proved too frustrating for me. I seem to recall seeing a video of Paul Dang managing to land a finger spin with an Executive. I am, however, not Paul Dang. Ah well.
MB: I am very pleased with the play of the Executive – with a little extra focus, I am able to play it as effectively as a full size throw. I wouldn’t recommend the Executive to a new thrower or to someone looking for a high performance throw to learn tricks on, but it is a fantastically fun daily carry and a great tool to sharpen your skills with.
JT: As I said, the Executive is a tonne of fun. Granted, I favour smaller yo-yos and have a soft spot for the undersized side of things. Doc Pop and Ernest wanted to create a small and fun undersized that fits easily into a jeans pocket, and they have hit the nail on the head. I couldn’t make it fit into the coin pocket of any of my jeans though, but I won’t ding it for that. Price wise, the $80 or so price tag means that while this isn’t the most expensive mini yo-yo out there, it also isn’t the cheapest. I felt it it was worth the cost for myself, but admittedly for the same price you can get a really good full size yo-yo. But, if you are looking for a novel mini yo-yo with a touch of quirk and lots of personality and don’t mind the cost then I recommend checking out the Executive!
As always, thanks to MonkeyfingeR Design for providing all of the Ape Hanger strings used for this and other reviews.
Yay, Nay, Could-go-either-way Summary
Please keep in mind that these are purely subjective. One thrower’s negatives may be another thrower’s positives, and vice versa. These were compiled by both Mat and myself.
+ Fun factor: The Executive is a tonne of fun assuming that you like mini yo-yos.
+ Comfort: very comfortable shape and weight.
+ Spin times: given the small size and weight, The Executive has excellent spins times.
+ Up your aim: spending some time with The Executive will definitely force you to improve your accuracy.
– Stability: The Executive is quite narrow for its relative diameter, and stability does take a bit of a hit as a result.
– Catch zone: the small size and narrow profile makes for a tiny catch zone (but, as we said above, this will help improve accuracy).
+/- Bearing: using a centering bearing feels like a better option, but this is subjective and experience will vary.
+/- Spins and Grinds: thumb grinds and finger spins work if you can hit them, but they can kill the spin quickly.
+/- Price: the price is sort of middle of the road for mini yo-yos, and whether or not it is worth the money will depend on how much you like mini yo-yos in general.
+/- Pocket friendly: we can’t deny the pocket friendly size, but we still couldn’t fit it in our coin pockets. Whether or not you like the size of this or other mini yo-yos will be a matter of personal taste.