How to make a responsive yoyo unresponsive and reverse:lifehacks

Published by Sebastian on

You may want to switch from responsive play to unresponsive one and may want to know what to do in this case. Don’t hit your head against the wall for not finding the solution, just pay attention to the methods presented here.

Change your bearing

That is the first thing that you can do in the near future if you really desire to advance in the mastery of the yoyo play. Most of the responsive yoyos come with thin bearings mostly half the width of a regular unresponsive bearing, thus making the string fit in less space, staying more cramped and creating friction between the response pads and the cord itself.

Thick and thin ball bearing for yoyo

The excessive friction makes the string stick to the yoyo and winds up easily every time you tug the skill toy. You can find various bearings in yoyo stores and you can choose from flat bearings to centre track, concave and grooved bearing as explained in a previous article.

The 5 mm/1 fifth of an inch width of the large bearing ensures that the yoyo gets less snaggy so the toy won’t come back any time soon. At this stage, you’ll be able to perform the most complicated tricks the world has ever seen. You can do that starting from a humble Replay Pro. Gentry Stein clearly proves it at The US Nationals.

Method one: Use mineral spirits of a mix of oil and white spirit

In this case, you let the bearing stay in a glass bowl with mineral spirit for around an hour or two for optimal cleaning and maintenance.This will make sure that the yoyo bearing doesn’t rust and it plays smoothly when you take it out of the bowl.

3 in 1 oil for lubing and cleaning the bearing

You can also try the following thing: take a pill jar and put in it a mix of one part 3 in 1 oil that you can find in any hardware store and 3 parts of mineral spirits.

White Spirits

Let the bearings stay there as much as you want for later use when one of your bearings just sucks.

Method two: use a liquid with low viscosity such as gasoline

Be careful though!it isn’t safe to play with flammable substances and keep in mind the firefighter’s advice(stop if your clothes are burning and roll over the ground to smother the fire ). Of course, you will not be using any match in the process, but I mentioned the possible dangers just in case.

This method will help you save a lot of money because you won’t have to pay around 10 bucks to get only a 50 ml bottle shipped to your home from a yoyo store.

What do you need:

  • low viscosity liquid (gasoline or other)
  • an empty bottle with a tight cap on it to prevent any leakage of gasoline
  • a pencil
  • a towel or bath paper towel
  • your hands(obviously) :))

Take the gasoline and pour it in the bottle up to a third of it  Tight your cap and make sure that when you shake the container not a single drop gets out of there. You can try it first with water to be absolutely sure about your safety.

If you are too young, ask your parents or other adults to assist you in the process. Take the bearing from the yoyo and drop it into the bottle and let it sit for 5 five minutes. Shake the bottle firmly for another 2-3 minutes to make sure the oil-like liquid has entered any possible place.

Then take the bearing carefully out of the container and put it on top of a sharpened pencil (You need to do this to have your bearing sit dead-centre).

Use one of your fingers and spin the steel bearing to spread out any trace of gasoline that you used in the previous stage. You will notice that the bearing will spin longer and more consistently. Put the bearing onto the towel and let it absorb any remaining drop of liquid.N ow you can feel that you play with an unresponsive yoyo!

Watch the following video to see the principles put into practice!



Third option: just clean the bearing with water or medical alcohol!

This applies only if you’ve been using thick yoyo lube to maintain your responsive yoyo. The washing part comes for freeing the bearing from having a slow motion(the viscosity of the thick lube makes the bearing slow down).

Don’t ever put bike lubricant onto the bearing as will make it even slower than before. Believe me, it was one of the most disappointing moments and the most stupid thing I’ve ever done with my yoyo.

I had to wash it firmly to remove any trace of oil in order to make the yoyo unresponsive again. Instead, you can buy thin yoyo lube to keep your bearing in good condition.

It will last you practically forever even if you may spend up to 10 dollars or so. You only need two-three drops of lube on different spots of the stainless steel bearing.

Take it to an extreme: remove the response pads

You can try this too if you don’t bother to change the response pads after some time. The response pads are the tiny rubber circles located on each side of the yoyo next to the bearing.

This helps the string have a greater grip onto the yoyo, thus making its return back to your hand is easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Slimpads/response pads next to the axle colored in white

Try to remove them one by one by digging with your finger under the slim pads pulling from that spot you pinched under. Also, try to get rid of the remaining glue on the yoyo if necessary. You will have higher chances of making the yoyo unresponsive.

Don’t forget to make a stock of new 19 mm slim pads to make sure you have the possibility of putting back the response system when you change your mind in the future.

Now it is time to do the reverse

Learn how to make your unresponsive yoyo responsive

First method: Put the string directly onto the axle

In this case, you can take out the bearing from the Yoyo and then insert the string loop directly onto the axle.

How to make an unresponsive yoyo responsive by putting the string onto the axle

Put back the bearing in place and make sure that when you place it onto the axle it crushes the string of  the yoyo thus creating friction between the string, bearing and the side of the yoyo

Put yoyo string underneath the yoyi bearing

Assemble the yoyo back to its original state without taking out the string from its place, wind up the string as you would normally do and then throw the yoyo.the will come back as soon as it reaches the end of the string.t might sleep for a while, maybe for 5 seconds, and then return to your hand.

This isn’t the safest method for making the yoyo responsive as the end of the yoyo can fray very quickly. At one throw you might turn the yoyo into a projectile by breaking the string, which can prove itself harmful to the people around or maybe YOURSELF, so be aware!

Second option: Put a size C thin bearing onto your yoyo.

This might be the safest method of making your yoyo responsive as it doesn’t affect the string itself(doesn’t fray any more because it sits onto the bearing).

Thin bearing on the left side

In this case, you need to remove the wide bearing you already have in place and change it with a thinner one.

This method might not work with all yoyos, a notable exception is the Replay Pro which has a longer axle that doesn’t allow a thin bearing to fit in.

In fact, it isn’t the axle itself, but the buil-in spacers that limit the minimum gap between the sides of the yoyo, The size C thin bearing has a smaller width than the minimum gap between the halves of the toy. I can certify from experience that there is no way you can place a thin bearing into a Replay Pro.

Method number 3: use a thick lube or  a visquous oil

A thick lube is mostly used for responsive yoyos in order to keep them in good condition. In this example, you can use the thick lube purchased at a specialized shop for slowing down the bearing.due to its viscosity. Or you can do the stupid thing that I’ve done with the unresponsive yoyo and replicate it here: just use the bike maintenance oil!

Fourth option: Use a thicker string

Type 6 string is mainly used for unresponsive play as it is thinner than most of the strings. To obtain better results in regards to responsiveness I advise you to buy a thicker string such as Type 8, Type 10 or even Type 12

Yoyor strings of different thickness

It will make a significant difference in your play you’ll have more friction between the cord and the response pads.

Plus, changing your response pads can also improve responsive play. Depending on your yoyo, it can be boght a pair of slimpads or thicker response pads.

Advice number five: Don’t clean the bearing and use it to its limits

This isn’t the most recommended method for you to apply, but if you really feel like Machiavelli, don’t hesitate to pursue your scope and overuse your bearing.

This will increase the friction between the balls and the track they are on those making the yoyo more responsive until to the unpleasant. Still, if you can apply one of the previous methods it would be great!

You don’t need to waste more than 12 bucks on a bearing. It is not the end of the world if this happens but you can avoid the unnecessary stress related to it.


We have so far four options of turning the yoyo unresponsive and 5 methods of doing exactly the opposite. You can choose one or more methods that suit you the best and apply them throughout your yoyo career(maybe?). Don’t hesitate to ask me anything related to yoyos in the comments section.I’ll comes over and answers most of the uncertainties that you may face related to yoyos.

Until next time, happy yoyoing!


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He is passioned about yoyoing and technology .Enjoys dreaming about the multiple possibilities the internet offers to share the knowledge gathered in 2 years of experience within the skill toys world.Wordpress comes in handy for achieving this dream and for materializing his vision.


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