Robinson's Review: CLYW Arctic Circle


Doc’s Note: Andrew Robinson is a modern day legend in yoyoing and I am very proud to have him on the journalism team.  I think we will be seeing a lot of action from Andrew as time rolls on.  Here is his first review

CLYW has always been known to produce the highest quality return tops that present a unique experience with each different model. The Arctic Circle is a compilation of previous CLYW return tops with Zach Gormley as the mastermind behind the design. Can this return top maintain its charm  and performance with the fusion of the most popular CLYW elements? This is where we find out.

Included with the return top is the classic 6 panel CLYW box. Each side is hand stamped in black ink with the sea, terrain, and sky of the arctic circle. Lift the tab and open the box and you’ll find the return top itself fitted with a polyester string, cradled in a paper hexagon nest with a CLYW sticker underneath.

Diameter:     54.95 mm / 2.16 inches
Width:        43.45 mm / 1.71 inches
Gap Width:    4.05 mm / .16 inches
Weight:    66.5 grams
Bearing     Size C Concave (.250 x .500 x .187)
Response:     CLYW Snow Tires

This particular Arctic Circle is the Ash Berry colorway. I was attracted to this particular color because of the similarities to the Northern Lights on a starry sky. The colors swirl and glow with light and dark hues of violet with splashes of silver evenly distributed around the surface. The anodization is smooth to the touch and has a distinct metallic singing when handled. The body is made from 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum.

The profile of the return top shares similarities with the Avalanche with an enormous 4.05 mm gap, tapered midsection, and angular rims separated by a single ribbed line. However, this is where the similarities end. The side of the return top is influenced by the highly successful Chief; as the same “double rim” feature is included, and the hub shares the same convex face as the Canvas. The bearing included is a long-spinning concave, and the response is the long-lasting CLYW Snow Tires which give the yoyo unresponsive play right out of the box.

The Arctic Circle has already claimed a “YoYoSkills Reader Choice – Yo-Yo of the Year” award and was used to win a National title by Zack in 2012, which speaks about its performance. On a throw, the Snow Tires grip the string and unwind the return top with speed and power, but gently release it at the end, spinning at a high RPM with no vibrations. The center weight of the double rims and convex hub combined with the wide profile give the Arctic Circle a very balanced play experience, but because of this it lacks the spinning power of other models, it can be less forgiving if you make a mistake at lower RPM’s. However, the center weight allows you to control the tilt of the return top very easily. Regeneration tricks are a breeze. Horizontal play is easily accomplished because of the angular profile, but probably less forgiving to inexperienced players because of the center weight. Horizontal finger spins are possible but for less periods of time due to the shape of the convex hub creating more friction.

The return top is best described as a balanced experience. It is the perfect blend of solid and floaty, and somewhere between being described as sluggish and nimble. While the Arctic Circle may not excel at any particular category, it does do what it was designed for very well. It is easy to lose yourself for hours at a time, enjoying the experience while either creating a trick at home, or nailing the perfect freestyle on stage. The Arctic Circle is a no brainer for any CLYW fan, and definitely worth a look if you have never experienced one before.


Written by Andrew Robinson who likes chillin at 90bpm @ 4:00pm solo


Skill Toy Network used to be YoyoSkills. From 2008 to 2014 YoYoSkills had multiple contributors. Many are combined into this yoyoskills account.

'Robinson's Review: CLYW Arctic Circle' have 2 comments

  1. March 1, 2013 @ 9:56 am Beavis

    Great review. I really should pick one of these up…


  2. March 1, 2013 @ 9:06 am Dao Tran

    Good review, I do enjoy my Arctic Circle, but it is not great for regens…


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

We are always looking for good articles, reviews, or stories about skill toys and the skill toy community.  Drop us an email if you'd like to contribute.