Designed by responsive players for responsive players
I consulted and collaborated with some of the best responsive/fixed axle players in the world when designing this yoyo. This list includes Ed Haponik, Nate Sutter, and Drew Tetz. Nate is an old school legend who has been playing responsive for longer than some of us have been playing yoyo, Drew is universally accepted as the Butterfly Horse king, Ed is a two time fixed axle world champion(to say the very least of all of his fixed axle prowess…), and I myself have even won it once before in 2008. Some of this group have developed modern tricks that are based entirely around responsive yoyos. All of this is to say, we have a lot of experience in and love for responsive play.
What’s in a name?
In bike culture, most notably bike messenger culture, an alleycat is an unsanctioned bike race. They have many forms but the most popular has one riding throughout a city during rush hour traffic to various checkpoints and completing tasks at those check points. Fixed gear no brakes is a common rule, checkpoint tasks are usually incredibly goofy, and an award is usually given to last place. All of this is to say, they aren’t exactly serious and fun is encouraged. At the same time, however, they’re also very demanding and require a lot of skill and knowledge. Likewise, this yoyo is an homage to yoyo players who aren’t necessarily interested in doing the perfect 3 minute freestyle filled with horizontal combos on stage. It’s for the ones that like to play a game of goofy trick horse outside the back door of the contest. Sure doing kwyjibo where you stall the yoyo every single hop is pointless, but it’s also fun...and hard as all get out.
No half measures
Why an A sized bearing? In our testing we could never get the current industry standard of a half-spec C sized bearing to feel ‘right’ for our responsive styles. The flyaways and shoot the moons always lagged. The response would randomly get snaggy due to the above-flush silicone stickers. The regens and loop outs were rarely in that perfect sweet spot. We universally agreed that if the yoyo was meant to be played responsive an A sized bearing was the way to go. It allows the response to be recessed further making for smoother string play while providing a more consistent response from lubing the bearing compared to the half-spec C sized bearings.
Right tool for the job
With that as our starting point we applied that mindset to every aspect of the yoyo. Why build a yoyo that’s pretty good with a full gap and then only plays ok for responsive? The weight, diameter, shape, and response are all designed 100% with FUN responsive yoyoing as the top priority. The weight was chosen to not feel too clunky or aggressive during regens and stalls. The axle post adds some centerweight to assist with looping and kickflips. The shape itself is actually a careful balancing act. You’ll notice there’s not necessarily a high wall, something usually considered necessary for responsive yoyos. However the Alleycat’s extremely steep angled walls have benefit of no high wall contact during string play but still allows the string to touch more of the wall when wound up; something necessary for better regens and better application of force further from the axle during kickflips. Slim round rims or angled rims with a small radius at the ‘tip’ both have small contact points that cause a decent amount of pain during mid-combo snags so we chose flat rims to turn the Alleycat’s bite into more of a nibble by distributing the force over a larger contact area.
Variety is the spice of life
That said, we were still impressed by the pure playability of the Alleycat at the end of it all, so we decided to throw in a few options to make it an unresponsive pocket jammer or a yoyo for practicing your accuracy on. Peel off the original Duncan friction biscuit and you’ll find a 19mm slim pad recess underneath the flush recess. Clean your bearing, put in your favorite pad and you’re in business for unresponsive play. Need a little more spin time? Taking another cue from the golden era of responsive yoyo play the Alleycat comes bundled with large O-rings that you can slip into the sides of the yoyo to bring it up to weight, there are some plans in the works for other ways to add some weight, too…
Here are the rough specs, as the measurements may change slightly in the final revision :
- Diameter: ~59mm
- Width: ~32mm
- Weight: 57 grams
- Gap: 3.4mm
- Retail: $50
- Release: BAC 2017
Hey, what about that hex shaped axle post???
- We like bikes, and it’s an actual hex key size. Neat, right?
- Think about the era and style of yoyo that this yoyo is a homage to, we’re sure you’ll get it...