Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Old but still Fresh - Part #3

This article is a continuation of the article “Old but still Fresh”. Today we shall look at a legend, a yo-yo that was regarded as a prestige to own back in 1998 when metals were rare - The SB2.

Silver Bullet II

Made in 1990, the Tom Kuhn Silver Bullet II was a high end ball bearing yo-yo that featured an adjustable gap, and was considered to be ahead of its time. It was available in polished silver, anodized colors, and even came in an assortment of splashed-anodized designs!

Another thing that made the SB2 popular (other than the fact that it had an adjustable gap setting) was its exposure to the media when it was sent to outer space in 1992 as part of an educational video made by NASA.

Technological Makeup

As mentioned, the SB2 came with an adjustable system like no other in 1990. Given its setup, it could allow minute gap adjustments for players who were particular about their yo-yo setting.

As you can see, the adjustable gap system could be tweaked by taking the yo-yo apart and turning the spacers in order to get the desired gap setting. The Spacers are kinda like a screw, that screws into the yo-yo halve for more responsive play, or screws outward from the yo-yo halve for less responsive play. Though not seen in the picture above, the 1999 Tom Kuhn SB2s later came modified with friction pads known as “Turbo Discs” to help aid with the response as players began to max their yo-yo gap settings to cater to more advance styles of play.

Sizing Up

We didn’t have turbo discs at the Spinworkx store to work with. However, what we did have were worn out friction pads which we used instead, for our test setup. Maxing the gap and then adding the pads made the yo-yo more unresponsive than the stock set-up of the SB2, and this made it play more like a modern day unresponsive yo-yo that advance players use.

Almost 20 years on, the SB2 is still fun to play with! Its weight distribution meant that it could keep up with the sleep-time demands of modern yo-yoing, its widest gap setting meant that it could layer strings really well, and its slight Butterfly-profile made landing the yo-yo on the string during difficult tricks slightly easier compared to the Handquake 1.4b (Featured in Part #2). We tried the rubber weight rings that came along with the yo-yo, but took them out after 5 minutes because they made the yo-yo wobble a little more than we expected.

The Bad

As mentioned in previous posts, old yo-yos aren’t without their flaws. In this case, the adjustable gap, although unique, could not maintain its gap setting. After a few throws, one may realise the spacers have shifted a little, either widening or narrowing the gap. This meant that you’d have to take apart your yo-yo every now and then to readjust the spacers if you were really picky about it.


Despite its flaw, the SB2 is an incredible yo-yo, both in terms of play and aesthetics. It may be over 20 years old, but like a classic muscle car, it can still keep up with most modern demands of today’s yo-yoing. SB2s are still available online (if you search hard enough) so you can purchase them if you’d like to own a part of history!

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