What comes up, must come down…rather fast and hopefully landing onto a string. Playing with the Diabolo dates back over 1,000 years, during that time it has passed through the hands of nobility and peasantry and rolled across seas and channels leaving its mark across the globe.
This child’s toy of wood and bamboo origin has become a precision engineered, perfectly balanced piece of kit that’s revered by many and mastered by some (It takes some practice!). Since its reinvention in the early 1900s as a metal construction with rubber rims, put together with scrap metal and bits of old tyres (True story), companies globally have sought to create the ultimate Diabolo. One that can handle grinds as well as falls, handle extreme speed without wobbling at slow speeds, a diabolo that’s as easy for beginners as it is challenging for experienced users and of course still look great doing it all.
Getting to grips with a Diabolo (or Diabolos if you’re feeling adventurous) is easy to begin with, mastering the motion of rolling it back and forth to gather speed, understanding how to stop it from tipping, these all come with minimal practice. It’s only when you start trying to learn catches and tricks that the learning curve becomes slightly harder but fear not there’s a wealth of tutorials online and in this very article that’ll help you.
Choosing a Diabolo-
Fixed axle Diabolos.
Most beginners start with a model like the Juggle Dream Jester or Mr. Babache Harlequin, its fixed axle handles low speeds without becoming unstable and can offer inexperienced users a better understanding of the mechanics of a Diabolo. Fixed axle Diabolos are also required for tricks that require tension on the string making these Diabolos more than just for beginners.
- Great intro diabolo made from tough multicoloured rubber
- rubber cups, smooth lightweight plastic hubs and a metal axle
- Available in 9 great designs
- The Vision has been a staple of the Henry’s diabolo range for many years .
- The Vision cups are made front a frosted, opaque urethane, the same material used in skateboard wheels.
- The most popular Mr Babache diabolo of the range.
- Perfectly balanced & its thicker than usual axle makes it accelerate a little faster too!
- Great for those who like close body moves i.e leg & hand passes
- Perfect for finger tricks and stick-grinding due to its larger axle
- Though being a new company, they’ve already gained amazing reviews from diaboloists
One-way axle Diabolos.
As you progress, you’ll want a Diabolo that’s better suited to retaining a high speed and capable of rapid acceleration, key factors in some tricks! For this purpose, you’ll require a one-way axle Diabolo (Also referred to as a Bearing Diabolo or clutch axle Diabolo). These allow users to build momentum more quickly as bearing axles lack the friction fixed axles create which makes them excellent for rapid tricks and tossing, however, they’re less stable at low speeds than a fixed axle.
- A great medium-sized diabolo perfect for beginners
- The Jester bearing offers unbeatable performance at this price
- Beautiful triple bearing clutch one way diabolo with firm see-through cups!
- Superior stability which will spin for up to twenty times longer than the standard diabolo
- Officially the world’s longest spinning diabolo
- Featuring an extremely fast triple bearing axle system
- The extra wide axle makes tricks like finger grinds much easier and the Jumbo sized (129mm) cups make it very stable at all speeds.
- Constructed from tough, scratch-resistant TPE, the Big Top will handle drops from even the highest throws
Modern Diabolos are never understated. As a key part in circus performance and juggling displays, Diabolos have colours and striking looks weaved into their D.N.A. But enough is never enough and now some modern Diabolos are available with eye-catching LEDs, as glow in the dark versions and even more impressive, with Fire!!
But where would a Diabolo be without Diabolo handsticks? The same place a rocket would be without fuel, on the floor that’s where. As a necessary accompaniment to your Diabolo selecting the right handsticks is an important choice! Traditionally handsticks were wooden with a medium weight rope thread between them. Many varieties still exist of this basic design, in fact, it’s the ideal set for Diabolo beginners. Wooden Diabolo handsticks are light, capable of handling all sorts of light knocks and bumps (expect there to be a few when you’re first starting off), affordable and light.
Fibreglass Diabolo handsticks are the next step up in quality from wood. They’re equally hard wearing and lightweight but the addition of their slightly flexible shaft lends them well to handling grinds and throwing tricks. Another advantage of fibreglass sticks is their foam silicone handles that ensure comfort for long periods of play. They’re also available in a wide range of striking colours you can match to your diabolo for an eye-grabbing set.
If you’re looking for something that’ll take a bit more of a beating than Fibre sticks, we recommend aluminium Diabolo handsticks. These sleek sticks are the all-around performer that excels across all your requirements. Some varieties are heavier than others so its definitely worth doing your research as the heavier the stick the harder some sticks tricks will be, like ‘Suicides’.
Carbon fibre Diabolo handsticks offer maximum strength in an extraordinary light package. The lower friction on the surface of the carbon sticks offer super long grinds and their slick appearance give them a very premium look. With any type of handsticks, the rope will need replacing eventually. Fixed axle Diabolos tend to cause more friction and therefore degrade the rope quicker than the same amount of use with a one-way axle. But fear not, ropes are easily available and affordable and just like changing the strings on an instrument will bring a fresh feel so will a new rope to your Diabolo.
So with your chosen Diabolo and sticks in hand, we can start looking at mastering the basics. This video covers getting your Diabolo spinning and off the ground. It’s a basic motion of rolling side to side and using your dominant hand to keep spinning the axle.
What you may notice during spinning the Diabolo is at certain speeds it might start to tip or lose balance and require a bit of correction. This skill is a necessity as being able to recover your Diabolo will allow you to have endless fun without having to restart from the ground.
It may see like a bit of a leap but now you can spin your Diabolo, effectively gather speed and bring your diabolo back on course you’re ready to start throwing and (hopefully) catching.
Now practice, practice, practice and stay tuned for our future article covering beginner Diabolo tricks, covering everything from stick grinds to tension tricks!
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