Back when I started my quest for double unders, there weren’t as many options for speed ropes as there are right today. Just go to Amazon and search for “CrossFit jump rope”, and you’ll get hit with a plethora of different styles of handles and cable combinations; mostly that just happen to be the same thing with a different brand stuck on them. Sure they work alright, but the designs are just boring. Another thing I see all the time are beginners ordering these speed ropes and trying to learn doubles on them, further increasing the frustration that comes from learning doubles and that ends up just putting them off from practicing. I know, because I made this mistake too when shopping for my first rope. I eventually stumbled upon the Cyclone Speed Rope, which I attribute greatly to my learning of double unders, and I just bought it because it looked cooler and different than the rest.
The version of the Cyclone Speed Rope that I had originally ordered looked a little different than the current iteration; more like a freestyle jump rope. The handles were mainly the same, but you could customize the color combinations to whatever you wanted. The rope was held into the handles with a free spinning “bushing” that acted as a set screw for the cable. The problem about this set up was that if you missed, you could possibly be spending some valuable WOD time having to re-feed the cable through the handles. While the cable looks like any other speed rope cable, something about the whole set up made it very controllable and predictable; maybe the friction of the set screw with the opening of the handle? I’m not quite sure, but I ended up getting my double unders down on this rope, before passing it on to a friend.
Today, you won’t find anything else on the market that shares the same design of the CSR. The handles are pretty much unchanged besides the fact that you can’t mix and match colors. They’re made of the same rubber coated PVC which provide pretty good grip; great for those with sparkly sweaty hands. New to the handles are the rotation mechanism; the cable is now fed through metal tubing down that meets the handle with a bushing. Cyclone calls this the “high torque tube bearing”. The excess cable is fed through and held in the handle with another set screw. Honestly, I thought this design was kind of funky and weird, but in practice it actually works pretty well. The cable is obviously in a fixed position and stays rotating around you well during double unders. The speed compared to the original rope is faster and about on par with many top tier speed ropes; the controllability of the rope is still as good as the original design.
Since the design is very new compared to other speed ropes, there are going to be some new/different issues with it. The rope isn’t that easy to adjust since you don’t really know how much cable you’re working with since it’s housed by the handle. Not that big of a deal but it’s worth noting that this setup doesn’t allow for on the fly adjustments. If they implemented a handle that came apart it might be easier to deal with. Which leads to another issue, the handles actually flexing while in use. I hold my jump ropes so that the bottom of the handles meets the center of my palm, and while whipping the CSR around I can actually feel the handle flexing. It doesn’t really affect the performance of the rope, but it does feel odd.
All in all, the Cyclone Speed Rope is still all around a great rope. If you’re looking for something to set yourself apart at the box and you don’t want your jump rope “walking off” on you, give it a shot. For beginners looking for a rope, I still wouldn’t recommend something as fast as this, but it is one of the more controllable “speed” ropes that’s going to be fast enough for you no matter how proficient you end up getting at double unders.