Product Review: Salient Prometheus

By Steve Hill, Jack Trageser and P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical about Salient Discs.

The company was first announced on the discussion forums at DGCourseReview.com, with no proper website or social media account in existence. The tone of the company’s representatives was exuberant, boasting unseen consistency and quality, but also referred to the manufacturing style of other, more established brands as “hippie engineering.”

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Needless to say, without a product to hang its hat on, Salient didn’t make a great first impression.

However, it is difficult to judge a company based on forum posts without a product, so I was excited to finally receive the Prometheus, Salient’s first disc offering, and see if the hype was legit.

At Rattling Chains, we each received two Prometheus discs, both in Salient’s “Liquid” plastic line. A transparent blend with some gummy flex to it, the plastic feels excellent and, to me, a lot like Discraft’s Z FLX. It is a bit malleable, and doesn’t deflect too far off of trees, which is a very nice quality.

The other striking quality about the Prometheus, though, is its size. This thing is massive with a capital M, as Salient struck out to produce something different with a large diameter, wide-rimmed driver. With a diameter of 22.6 cm and a rim width of 2.6 cm, the disc feels like nothing else in the hand. It’s almost a dinner plate.

As a result, it is a disc that requires a bit of a learning curve. If you are looking for a disc that you will immediately click with, this probably isn’t it.

However, if you give it some time and some patience, you’ll be rewarded with some nice lines and pretty tremendous glide.

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Product Review: MVP Resistor

By Steve Hill, Jack Trageser and P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

What’s in a name?

For most golf discs, not much. Monikers such as Teebird, Roc, Wizard, or Buzzz don’t tell much about how a disc will fly, rather lending themselves to artwork that will attract consumers. It’s the same as a car, beer, or many other products.

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For the Resistor, the new fairway driver from MVP Disc Sports, though, the name tells it all.

With a healthy serving of high speed stability, this disc resists turning over on a flat throw, helping it live up to MVP’s “stable-overstable” label.

With a rim width of 1.7 centimeters, the Resistor falls into the same speed class as the aforementioned Teebird, a slower disc that is meant to be used for control and precision. While this represents a step down in speed from MVP’s other driver offerings, I feel it represents addition by subtraction.

By dialing down the rim width, MVP is offering a disc that has the same beefy flight of its other stable-overstable driver, the Shock, while adding a level of reliability that comes from being housed within a more comfortable, easier to control shape.

At 174 grams, my flat-top, hot pink tester was the epitome of stable. When I gassed it, it would fly straight with a forward-penetrating fade at the end of its flight. In this regard, it reminded me of a longer version of the Tensor, MVP’s overstable mid-range.

Also similar to the Tensor was the Resistor’s flight on a hard anhyzer — it would turn a bit but never all the way over, then start to fade back at roughly three quarters of the way through its flight path. So, while it certainly has enough stability to be relied upon for a needed fade on dogleg holes, its not overly piggish to where it cannot be used to shape lines. In fact, I think it makes a better line shaper because you can intentionally torque it and know it will come back without fail.

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Product Review: Vibram unLace

By P.J. Harmer, Steve Hill and Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

Oh, Vibram.

It seems whenever I am away from the game for a while, Vibram releases a disc to get me interested in things again. Those who know me can tell you I’m a bit of a Vibram fan boy. I don’t hide it. That also means I usually hold the company to a much higher standard.

product_reviewI had been excited for the release of the Lace. And though others gushed over it, I couldn’t get into it. It was too much disc for me. I couldn’t handle it or make it do what it should do.

With that in mind, I was skeptical for the release of the unLace, Vibram’s second distance driver and the understable partner to the Lace.

Realize this, too — I carry one distance driver, and occassionally a second one. Both are Innova products and both are at 150 grams or lighter. The main one is my Blizzard Katana (132), and I sometimes carry a Valkyrie (150).

So how would a 172 unLace match up?

Holy smokes!

Maybe it’s because I haven’t thrown seriously in a couple of months. Could it be that I forgot all my bad habits and, in turn, was doing something right? I took the disc out on an open field to see what kind of things I could do with it.

The first throw went about 230 feet or so.

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Product Review: MVP Tensor

By Steve Hill, Jack Trageser, and P.J. Harmer – Rattling Chains staff

When I spoke with Chad and Brad Richardson, the brothers behind MVP Disc Sports, for an article late last year, I specifically asked them how their signature overmold would translate to a truly overstable disc design.

To that point, MVP had not released anything with serious beef to it, but Chad mentioned that, due to the gyroscopic nature of the overmold, their version of a meathook would have more of a forward-penetrating, transitional fade as opposed to just dumping off at the end.

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The MVP Tensor.

With the Tensor, MVP’s new overstable mid-range, they nailed it spot on.

Packing plenty of stability in the beginning of its flight and a nice, late, smooth fade, the Tensor is an excellent addition to MVP’s current crop of mid-ranges.

I was able to throw a 167-gram Tensor, which is a bit lighter than I normally use for mid-ranges. However, I think the lighter weight in this case was helpful, as I was still able to get the Tensor up to its cruising speed with a little less effort. When thrown off the tee, I was getting dead straight for about 85 percent of the flight, with a solid finish right (I’m a lefty). Without sounding blasphemous, off the tee, it flew like a shorter Teebird.

But this disc is no one-trick pony. While it is overstable enough to provide a hook, it handles low lines very well and, when powered up and thrown low, loses the fade and just becomes a laser. When powered down, it can be used on short flex shots around trees to provide a reliable landing right near the basket.

The best part of this disc, though, is how it resists turning over, even when torqued with bad form. I have done it quite a few times with the Tensor off the tee, where I try and overpower it to make sure I get some distance, and rather than holding left like a lot of mids will, it will nicely “S” back to its fade. In this sense, it is extremely reliable.

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Product Review: DGA Breaker

By P.J. Harmer, Steve Hill and Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains Staff

Rattling Chains was lucky enough to be one of the sponsors for a tournament that had the DGA Breaker as part of a player’s pack.

In fact, it was the first tournament to have the Breaker with a custom tournament stamp.

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The DGA Breaker

Still, if the disc doesn’t deliver, then it’s nothing more than eye candy.

When I play in tournaments, I usually find the nicest disc with the tournament stamp and keep it. I don’t throw it at all, rather allow it to become a wall-hanger to show what tournaments I’ve played in. Usually, I hope it’s a disc I’ve already thrown or own.

I was lucky enough to be able to grab more than one disc from this tournament, which allowed me to have something to throw, too.

Score!

I’m not one to get into technical details of a disc. As barely a 700-rated player, my disc choices are based on feel and what the disc does for me.

And I’m digging the Breaker.

With a lower — and flatter — profile and a different feel to the underside, I wasn’t sure what it would do for me. But it fit what I was looking for — a putt-and-approach disc I could use in multiple situations. What I really like about it is it doesn’t seem to do anything silly once it lands.

Within 100 feet or so, I usually use the Innova JK Aviar. I still will use it as it’s reliable, but the Breaker is going to start pushing its way into play. The reason being is when the Breaker heads toward the basket and slides in, it stops. The Aviar, as well as a few others I’ve used, will sometimes hop up and bounce or roll away.

The Breaker didn’t do that. I’m not saying it’s not possible for it to do it, but it hasn’t in the times I’ve used it. For me, that’s enough to put it in the bag.

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Product Review: Flywood Walking Stick

By P.J. Harmer, Steve Hill and Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

Nature is something most disc golfers can relate with.

And it’s probably safe to say most disc golfers have had a close-up and intimate relationship with trees at some point during their playing days.

But it’s not too often when one gets to throw a tree. That’s what you get when you throw a Flywood disc.

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The Flywood Walking Stick is a fun disc to throw and the sounds it creates are quite unique.

The Pennsylvania-based company sent Rattling Chains three discs to test — all the driver called The Walking Stick. Though I had learned about the company a bit when we ran the story about Flywood, it still wasn’t the same as seeing what the disc was all about.

As many may know, I’m not a long thrower. So I usually go based on feel and how things seem to come out of the hand on a throw when trying out discs.

The Walking Stick was quite interesting and I really liked the feel of it. I was worried at first because it’s wood. But it actually felt lighter than a regular disc. It had a nice look and the sound is something pretty cool, too. I also liked the way it came out of my hand. I didn’t think it felt all that different with discs I normally play with and thought it remained comfortable throughout the motion and release.

As for how it flies, it did what many drivers do for me (as a right-handed-backhand thrower), it got out 200 or so feet and broke hard to the left. I threw it many times and got some nice throws, but for the most part, it broke hard.

To a better thrower, I can imagine it being something really to use during round not sanctioned by the PDGA.

The only thing I’m curious about? What happens in six to eight months if the disc gets beat up some? Is it like a plastic disc where the flight characteristics change? Or does it hold the same line. I’ll be excited to find out.

The disc itself needs a little more care than the regular plastic. One needs to clean it and wax it sometimes to make sure it stays protected. The discs come with the wax needed.

I’m not going to lie, either — one of the coolest things? The sound. When it hits a tree or the chains. It’s not what a disc golfer is used to. There are times it sounds like a baseball bat hitting a ball. Definitely cool and one will be easily able to tell where the disc may have gone based on the sound.

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The wax is needed to keep your disc healthy.

Eventually, I hope to try out the mid-range and putter offered by Flywood. I think those will be more toward my style and something I can use a bit more. I will keep working with this disc in the hopes of being able to utilize these discs for many casual rounds.

Though they are a bit on the pricey side ($30 per disc), the discs are made by hand and show the personal love. Our discs came hand numbered, including with a card showing the information about the disc. A great touch that separates smaller companies from the big boys.

In the end, it’s a cool disc. Is it perfect? No. But I’ve yet to see a perfect disc. It’s a solid addition to a casual bag and the quality is unmatched. Mix that with the personal touches and what the disc can do, and it’s definitely worth having.

Steve Hill

I usually get pretty excited for any new discs we get to review for Rattling Chains. After all, when a company takes the time to recognize what we do, and we get to try something for free, I’m all for it.

But I don’t think any release – with respect to other manufacturers, of course – had me as excited to get to the mailbox as the Flywood Walking Stick.

After reading a little about the discs online, and then watching the video on Flywood’s website, I had a feeling we were going to be receiving something special. True, the disc isn’t PDGA-approved, which might be a drawback for some. But, with a two-year-old at home and the family commitments that come with that, I play maybe one PDGA-sanctioned event per year. As a result, I can throw whatever I want and not have to worry about it fitting the standards.

Flywood's discs come with a nice and personal touch.

Flywood’s discs come with a nice and personal touch.

And I am glad I don’t have to do that, because the Walking Stick is a tremendous piece of hardware.

The disc I received had a delicious, candy apple red finish to it, and it weighed in at 172 grams. However, in the hand it feels much lighter than a plastic disc of the same weight. Perhaps it is due to the material, or the multi-ply construction – I’m not sure. But it feels light in the hand.

My main concern with this disc – which I am sure others are worried about, too – was that it would feel uncomfortable ripping out of my hand on a drive. With it being made of wood, and therefore being less flexible, I was concerned that it might result in some distressing callouses. I am happy to report, though, that the finish on the disc, particularly on the rim – is smooth and easy to release.

As for the flight, this may be one of the only discs that I have ever been able to make replicate its flight chart. On a good rip, the Walking Stick would fly dead straight for about 65% of the flight, then start to make a gentle, late turn before fading out at the end of its ride. When I didn’t really dial it in, it was still plenty useful, with a straight-then-fade flight reminiscent of an Innova Teebird. It can easily be a workhorse off the tee.

However, out of the box it is still too stable to hold an anhyzer line. As a result, it was great for flex shots, but certainly couldn’t be a one-disc-wonder. Rather, an understable complement would pair nicely with it.

Flywood's discs come with a nice and personal touch.

Flywood’s discs come with a nice and personal touch.

There is, though, one major downside to this disc – it is too pretty for me to want to throw. I’m worried about clanging it off of the rocks that line some of my home course’s fairways and taking dings out of it. I just want to keep it in mostly pristine condition and hang it on the wall to stare at.

Maybe it is time to add another Walking Stick to the collection – one for the bag, one for decoration. It truly works well for both purposes.

Jack Trageser

When I first became aware of Flywood disc golf discs, my initial reaction was intense curiosity. Wooden discs that are meant to be thrown and used in actual disc golf play? I always get excited about anything in disc golf that truly breaks new ground.

However, I’m first and foremost a competitive player, and after a quick check I realized that a disc made of wood would never be approved by the PDGA for use in sanctioned events due to the inherent rigidity of the material. Right away it was clear that these discs are not going to be “game-changers” that break records in terms of distance or control. That would be pretty cool though, wouldn’t it? It would be the opposite of what happened in ball golf when titanium drivers replaced woods.

Regardless of my discovery that wooden discs would not be vying for a spot in my competition bag, I was still eager to see how one looked, felt and flew. When mine arrived in the mail, I have to admit I was impressed.

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The Flywood, tombstones.

The company’s driver, The Walking Stick, came packaged with Boobee wax, which is used to improve the grip, and, I suspect, when applied to their putter it also helps (at least a little) to grab the chains. I’m not sure, but guessing that is also verboten according to PDGA rules as well.

Another great touch is that the disc has a card attached that actually numbered my disc (#371) and dated it as well. This was a great reminder that I didn’t just have another disc on my hands, but a handcrafted work of art. I’ll finish by returning to this point, but for now I’ll just say this is where I think Flywood can get the most traction with its products.

When it was time to take my Walking Stick out for a test, I picked an area where it would land on nothing but soft grass. I know, ideally, I would have tested it for durability as well as flight characteristics, but I just couldn’t bring myself to purposefully inflict damage on such a work of art.

Unfortunately I don’t have much positive to say about the flight of the disc, except that it did indeed fly like a golf disc, and it was reasonably stable. But compared to plastic or rubber discs, it didn’t seem to have much sail or float to me, wanting instead to plunge back to earth as soon as the energy I put into the throw had dissipated. Also, as the disc released from my power grip, there was noticeable discomfort. The inner edge feels smooth enough to the touch, so I suppose this is due to the rigidity of wood.

It seems to me that Flywood has two different markets for its disc — the first is a small subset of the disc golf crowd, players who care deeply about the environment and desire that as many products as possible that they use and consume be completely natural. If you love disc golf but have issues with petroleum-based plastics, these discs are your answer to being able to make an already environmentally-sensitive sport even more so.

The other market for Flywood — and the one I’d think could make these discs quite popular — consist of people who feel that the flying disc is an ideal subject for all forms of art. I love the idea of a hand-crafted disc, especially if it’s master-crafted the way these are. If you’re the type that collects all things disc golf, the price tag of $30 is well worth it for what you get. Just imagine having a perfectly shaped wood disc on your wall along with all your other wall discs. Which one do you think will catch a visitor’s eye first? Exactly.

If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, ideas or anything else, feel free to e-mail me and the crew at: pj@rattlingchains.com. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Product Review: MVP Tangent

By Steve Hill and P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

At this point, the output from the MVP Disc Sports factory has to be nearing the level of its automotive counterparts in nearby Detroit.

The Tangent, scheduled to hit stores this Friday, is billed as a slightly understable mid-range driver. With this release, MVP has knocked out four molds since October. And while most MVP fans were probably hoping for the brand’s next offering to be a distance driver, I feel confident in saying the Tangent will be more than enough to hold the devotees over.

product_reviewMore importantly, I think it will bring a lot of new MVP throwers aboard the bandwagon.

See, while MVP’s prior offerings have been enjoyable, none have been quite so effortless to work and manipulate as the Tangent. Case in point — my first throw in the field with the 170-gram, lime-green tester I was given produced an audible “holy crap.” With an easy, smooth toss, this disc got up and ran straight out to about 250 feet, gliding with ease to a soft landing almost straight in line with its release. For me, that’s a good pull with a mid.

But anything can happen in the field, so I knew I had to temper my expectations for this disc until I gave it a true workout on the course. Content to continue working with the 170-gram disc from the field, I decided to use it exclusively for a round of 18 at Brengle Terrace Park in Vista, Calif., to try and unleash all of its potential.

And, I knew I needed to have some additional perspective on how it flew. So, I took it out to the course with the Mikes, two guys I play with who are, without question, huge fans of the MVP Axis, the company’s stable mid-range. I knew that, with their bigger arms and MVP experience, they would be a good measure for how the Tangent would perform.

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Product review (and contest): Vibram Lace

By P.J. Harmer and Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

Vibram has taken its next step in the disc golf market.

After months of anticipation, the Lace — Vibram’s first long-distance driver — was released to the public Nov. 23, or Black Friday as many refer to the day after Thanksgiving in the United States.

Reviews from around the Internet seem to be extremely positive for the new disc, which Vibram says is a stable driver.

When you get to Jack Trageser’s part of this review, you’ll get a more in-depth feel about the disc and what it can do for somebody with a stronger arm and with more ability to do what he wants with the disc.

My part is going to talk about the disc from the vantage point of a light-armed thrower and one who doesn’t have a lot of control over a disc.

Allow me to note I’m a Vibram user. The Ibex is one of my best discs as I can actually  get it to (usually) do what I want. I also putt with a Summit and, in the past, I’ve carried and used a Trak, V.P. and Ascent. So it’s safe to say I like Vibram’s products.

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Noodle-Armed Review: Innova Starlite Roadrunner

(The Noodle-Armed Review is intended for those players, like myself, who aren’t power arms and don’t quite hit 300 feet. Sure, it would be nice if you could throw longer, but let’s just hope you have a solid mid-range game to make up for it.)

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Arguably one of the most successful disc golf ventures of the last year is Innova’s Blizzard Champion plastic, in which air is injected into discs during the molding process to make them lighter. Used to bring down the weights of warp speed drivers like the Boss and Katana —  as well as a host of others — it was only a matter of time before Innova extended the Blizzard trend to Star, their top-of-the-line, opaque plastic.

But when Innova announced that its first foray into this field would be used on the Starlite Roadrunner, I was counted as one of the skeptics.

Already a massively understable disc, the Roadrunner is one of my favorites. You can go full bore on it for easy distance and big turnovers, or use it for precise hyzer-flip flights through wooded courses. It is a pretty underrated disc, in my opinion.

However, given its penchant to be a bit flippy in regular weights, the thought of it moving down into 140-gram territory seemed unnecessary. Innova’s previous lightweight discs were all in the stable-to-overstable category, and making them weigh less served to lower the cruising speed they needed to reach their optimal flight. But since the Roadrunner already did not require much power to fly correctly, making it in this new Starlite plastic seemed like a runaway train to roller city.

But when I went out to play with some friends one day, another guy had picked one up and let me give it a toss.

I immediately went from a skeptic to a devout convert.

The ease with which the disc flew, and the lack of effort needed to make it do so, was quite enticing. As a result, I picked up a couple of my own to see if they could make the bag and help me reach that ever-elusive noodle-arm barrier — a 300-foot drive.

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Disc review: Vibram Obex can’t be beat

(Editor’s note: Three people associated with Rattling Chains tested out Vibram’s new mid-range disc, the Obex. Below you’ll find the reviews. All three are different level players, which we hope will allow you to see the differences in the disc via their thoughts. The first part is by Jack Trageser, a pro based in California).

The new Vibram Obex can’t be beat. Believe me, I tried!

Over a couple months’ time I threw it into strong headwinds, threw it with as much power as I could muster, AND threw it with full power and a sharp anhyzer angle. It didn’t buckle and irrevocably turn over one single time. (As a reference point, I don’t have a huge arm, but can still exceed 400 feet with accuracy.)

Vibram’s new mid-range disc is the overstable compliment to the Ibex, which is pretty stable as well, but noticeably less so than the Obex. Steve Dodge of Vibram in fact describes it as a modified Ibex. According to Dodge, Vibram
“took the Ibex and added a Ridge bead to it for stability.”

I like having both because they feel the same in my hand, yet I can tell that the one is a step up from the other in a similar way that a five iron is similar, yet different, from a six iron in ball golf. I guess you could say they compliment each other, which I think is Vibram’s master plan for its eventual complete lineup.

I’m not one to talk in technical terms about a disc — diameter, bead, flight plate, and such. I’m all about feel and performance, and as with all the Vibram discs I’ve tested before, it scores very high in both categories.

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