Welcome to the joint review of the Smashing YoYo Company Poppet, the first yo-yo design produced by Jordan Blofeld and Smashing YoYos!
Those of you who frequent this site will know that Jordan Blofeld is no stranger around here. He had on several occasions helped write up a joint yo-yo review, and I have mentioned him a number of other times as well. He has always been very good at providing advice and feedback for Cyyclical related stuff, and I count him as a friend within the yo-yo community.
As many of you know, Jordan recently launched his own yo-yo company, Smashing YoYos (or more accurately, the Smashing YoYo Company). That announcement was bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I was (and still am) excited to see a prominent community member and friend start up a new yo-yo venture. On the other hand it meant that Jordan will no longer be able to contribute content and reviews around here. Sad for me!
Anyway, Jordan and Smashing YoYos launched their very first yo-yo, the Poppet, only a short while ago and I convinced him to put one aside for me. After a long wait (Canada Post sucks!), it finally arrived and I have been chucking it around for a few weeks now. I know Jordan is very proud this first design, and without stealing my own thunder I can say that he should indeed be proud with how it turned out!
Oh, and I was lucky enough to drag Mat B. into doing a joint review of the Poppet with me since he also picked one up a short while ago.
The Smashing YoYo Company Poppet
Jordan had two inspirations for the design of the Poppet. The first was Formula 1 racing cars, and you can read about that side of the inspiration over on the Smashing YoYo Company site if you are interested. The second inspiration is less known. As it happens, Jordan is a huge fan of Turning Point yo-yos. When you look closely at the Poppet you can see the resemblance. That isn’t a bad thing at all, because Turning Point yo-yos are pretty kick ass.
Anyway, enough about that. Here is the official blurb from Jordan regarding the Poppet:
“The Poppet was designed from the ground up to be fun for everyone. Made from the finest bars of 7075 aluminium, it’s made to last. Don’t think for a second that it’s a dosser. It’s quick, nimble and can power through everything you throw at it with enough oomph left over to bind nice and tight. The chunky rims help you get a strong throw without decreasing the size of the catch zone so it’s the perfect yo-yo to put in your pocket, your backpack or on a holster.”
Right, let’s get on with it!
- Diameter: 54.0 mm
- Width: 42.0 mm
- Weight: 64.0 grams
- Bearing: Size C, centering
- Response: 19mm pads
- Material: 7075 aluminum
Size and Weight
MB: The Poppet feels slightly undersized in the hand and carries a comfortable weight. The diameter is the same as the MFD Tri-B and G2 Hawk, so if you are a fan of that size of throw then the Poppet will feel good in your hands. The width is about average for a modern throw and provides an easy to hit catch zone. The Poppet’s mass is slightly below average but I found it suits the design well.
JT: In terms of both size and weight, the Poppet sits on the smaller side of the spectrum. Not that a diameter of 54 mm and a mass of 64 grams is undersized, but if you like big and heavy then the Poppet might not be for you. Of course, on the flip side, if you do like smaller and lighter then the Poppet is going to be right up your alley. Personally I am a fan of smaller throws, and I rather like the Poppet’s smaller profile. Having said that, I wouldn’t have minded an extra gram or so of mass added to the rim area for some extra oomph, but that is just me.
MB: I classify the Poppet is an H-shape. The rims are wide and slightly curved which keeps them mostly comfortable in the hand – the very edge of the rim is thin and produces a sharp edge that can be slightly uncomfortable during snap starts and on bad catches. The catch zone comprises several cuts that curve in towards the guts – this design element reminds me of some of Turning Point’s yo-yos.
JT: To me, the Poppet’s outer region smacks of a W-type design while the inner wall region has a nice H-type concave shape to it. So, I guess I will call the Poppet a W/H-type hybrid even though I know Jordan says H-type. Regardless, the shape is nice because it helps give the string decent clearance and pushes the mass to the outside rather well.
The Poppet takes some inspiration from the Turning Point yo-yos and the shape is where that really shows up. This type of shape is heavily used by Turning Point in their line-up. For comparison, here is a shot of my Poppet with my Turning Point Leviathan 5. The Poppet is definitely more angular and defined, but the resemblance is there.
Bearing and Response
MB: The Poppet’s guts are solid. The response is a 19mm pad that looks like clear silicone. Like many other pads I found these to be a tad grippy out of the box and they required a little breaking in. After a couple hours of play they stayed out of the way of my tricks and still provided tight binds when I wanted them to, even during tricky binds. The bearing resembles a Center Trac with its raised edges and flat middle section. It spins smooth and quiet and provides long spin times.
JT: Both the response pads and bearings that ship with the Poppet were custom products included by the machine shop that produced the Poppet. The bearing is a fairly standard center track bearing that spins rather well. The response pads confound me to a certain degree, although admittedly this might simply be me being to used to recessed flowable silicone. At times they seem too grippy and others not grippy enough. Bizarre. But, I am completely willing to admit it might simply be me. In any case, I am not worried about it because players can easily swap them out for their preferred response system.
MB: I find the Poppet to play solid and stable without feeling heavy. It is nimble and maneuverable with a healthy string presence that makes it easy to keep track of during play. Binds are tight, throws are smooth and regens work well. The slightly smaller dimensions are especially helpful for chopsticks and tight tech tricks. The gap is easy to hit whether you are performing hops or slacks and the low walls keep string contact to a minimum. Initially I felt that some rejections were slightly difficult to perform because the string did not have very much surface contact but I was able to account for this by adjusting my movements during play.
The Poppet has good spin power and stability – I found it to be ample enough to get through long combos and aid in learning new tricks. The finish appears to be a soft blast which feels great in the hand and performs well during most grinds. My finger makes a bit too much contact in the gap to get long finger grinds but I was able to perform long controlled grinds on my arm and palm.
There is no lip for thumb grinds but they can be performed at an angle. Talon grinds work very well and were fun and easy to perform on the Poppet. The cup has a flat area around the spike that allows for decent finger spins but sometimes the spike gets in the way. I don’t know many matador tricks but the spikes seem usable – I was able to get the yoyo to spin on my thumb with minimal trouble.
JT: The Poppet is a great yo-yo. Not perfect, but pretty damned good. The 7075 aluminum allows the mass to be spread out over the yo-yo without any significant regions of thickness. The rims are an exception although even these don’t seem all that chunky to me. The weight distribution gives the Poppet a nice presence on the string without being clunky (i.e. too much center weight). It is indeed nimble as claimed but without feeling too light.
The Poppet tends towards the faster end of the spectrum. Stability is solid and holds its plane quite well. Having said that, I wouldn’t have minded if there had been a little bit extra mass added to the rims. At least for me, I think one more gram would have been closer to my sweet spot.
The Poppet does have some distinct edges on it which are noticeable in the hand. I wouldn’t say that it is dead uncomfortable, but it certainly isn’t going to win any comfort awards. Finger spins work fine but finger grinds do not, at least for me. The Poppet’s shape allows my finger to wedge perfectly into the H-type region, killing the spin very quickly. To be fair, my Leviathan 5 also suffers from this. The lack of a distinct inner grind ring makes thumbnail grinds tough as well.
But none of these minor negatives are a deal breaker and the Poppet is a joy to use. I should also mention that the use of 7075 aluminum is a nice way to add durability. I did accidentally smack my Poppet on the floor and it suffered only an almost imperceptible scuff mark. Thumbs up for that. In fact, thumbs up in general to Jordan and the Poppet!
Final Thoughts (from JT)
I started by saying that Jordan and Smashing YoYos should be proud of the Poppet as their inaugural yo-yo, and I am sticking to that. Both Mat and I feel it has great performance with only a few minor shortcomings. As I write this, the British Pound is down (BRExit, baby!), meaning that you can snag a Poppet for less than $100 USD. For a 7075 aluminum yo-yo with some fun colour options and a great design, that isn’t half bad at all. This is especially true since it helps support a great member of the throwing community and the Smashing YoYo Company crew.
Both Mat B and I are quite impressed by the Smashing YoYo Company Poppet overall, and I for one am excited to see what Jordan and his team cook up next.
Thanks again to Mat B. for helping out with this joint review. Also thanks to MonkeyfingeR Design for providing all of the Ape Hanger strings used for this and other reviews.
As always, enjoying your throwing!
Smashing YoYo Company Poppet Yay or Nay 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 B. and myself.
+ Stability: the Poppet holds its plane quite nicely.
+ Spin Times: spin times seem quite good.
+ String speed: the Poppet is quite agile and overall speed is good.
+ Design: anything that is similar to a Turning Point yo-yo is kick ass!
+ Durability: the use of 7075 aluminum makes the Poppet tougher.
– Comfort: there are some distinct edges that decrease comfort.
– Finger grinds: the inner gap region fits the finger a little too well.
– Inner grind ring: no inner grind ring for thumb grinds.
+/- Rim weight: JT thinks that the Poppet could handle having just a bit of extra rim weight, while MB thinks it is perfect as is. It’s a toss up!
+/- Finger spins: finger spins are fine assuming that you don’t mind finger spinning around the hub.