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: Bearded Brothers’ energy bars

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

As far as energy bars are concerned, I don’t care if the company making it tells me it’s going to make me run faster, have more endurance, or recover from a workout more quickly. If it tastes like crap, it doesn’t matter.

So when I was presented with the chance to review Bearded Brothers’ offerings the ever-growing bar market, I was pleasantly surprised to find not only no claims of superhuman feats if I ate them, but also – more importantly – tremendous flavor.

product_reviewIndeed, each of the company’s four varieties offer complex, unique, but not over the top flavor profiles. Mighty Maca Chocolate is inherently sweet, but not overbearingly so. Bodacious Blueberry Vanilla mixes the bars titular flavors in a subtle fashion that leaves a pleasant aftertaste, while Colossal Coconut Mango balances texture and acidity in each bite.

The winner of the bunch, though, is Fabulous Ginger Peach. The combination doesn’t sound like it will work at first – for me, ginger brings thoughts of sushi and ale, not energy bars – but opening the package tells a different tale. The overwhelming freshness of the ginger hits the nostrils right off the bat, clearing your senses for the sweetness of the peach to come. Overall, it is an extremely invigorating flavor that mixes sweet and prickly at the same time.

While the taste is all these bars need to be successful, they have a lot more going for them, too. The packaging, for example, is something I wish more energy bars would embrace. It is resealable, so if you don’t want to scarf the whole bar at once, you can save it and keep it fresh. It is also shaped reasonably well so that it can fit in the back pocket of some running shorts, or a bicycle kit, or a small disc golf bag pocket. The outdoorsy background that the creators of Bearded Brothers boast is clearly evident in this detail.

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Product Review: Vibram FiveFingers

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

Depending on when, where, and what type of courses you play, finding the right footwear for disc golf can make or break your round.

Sure, if you play in a manicured park setting that boasts raked concrete tee pads, you can probably get away with wearing those clunky old skate shoes collecting dust in your closet. But if you play on any sort of uneven terrain, or tee off from rubber mats, gravel pits, or – gasp! – dirt, you’re going to need some heavy tread to keep you on your feet.

product_reviewBut, with many of the shoes with this level of grip being accompanied by some serious heft, it can be difficult to find something that will fit the needs of your game without weighing you down.

Enter Vibram FiveFingers.

With a combination of a mesh upper, durable tread, and impressive flexibility, I dare say the FiveFingers make the ideal disc golf shoe.

That is, if you are willing to open your mind.

You see, these shoes are less like shoes and more like gloves for your feet. They look a little odd and definitely feel strange at first. But, like Garth from “Wayne’s World” liked to say, “After a while, they become a part of you.”

Vibram, a long-time purveyor of footwear who a few years back hopped into the disc golf manufacturing game, was kind enough to provide Rattling Chains with a pair of TrekSport FiveFingers back in December. After wearing them for a few months, they continue to hold up tremendously in most conditions and, most importantly, have grown increasingly comfortable with each use.

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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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App Review: Disc Golf 3D

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

If you’re like most disc golf junkies, you probably want to play more than you do. But life — work, family, inclement weather, whatever — gets in the way and keeps you off the course and indoors.

Have no fear. Disc Golf 3D is here.

Nuclear Nova's newest game -- Disc Golf 3D.

Nuclear Nova’s newest game — Disc Golf 3D.

Recently released by software company Nuclear Nova, Disc Golf 3D is available for download for Apple platforms and, for this disc golf junkie, was easy to get hooked on.

I had the luxury of enjoying the game on an iPad 2.

I eased into the fray by testing out the game’s practice mode, where I was presented with a selection of discs from which to choose. Using familiar speed-glide-stability ratings, I was able to play with animal-named plastic like Antelope (driver), Manatee (mid-range) and the aptly-named Sloth (putter).

Once on the course, players are treated to a flyover of each hole that serves to show the lay of the land and basket location. While the graphics aren’t flashy, they are serviceable, with trees that shake to emulate wind and varying levels of blue for water. Honestly, though, you won’t be playing this game for how it looks. You’ll be playing for the fun factor.

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Product Review: DGA Elite Shield disc golf bag

By Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

After using the DGA Elite Shield bag for more than a month, it is my favorite bag ever, as well as the best accessory product ever marketed by Disc Golf Association. Time will tell whether it passes the all-important durability test, but it seems to be very well equipped in that regard as well.

It should be mentioned right that one’s preference of disc golf bags — like the golf discs they are designed to carry — is a highly subjective matter. Most significant in this regard is size. Some prefer the minimalist approach — a bag that is as small as possible and meant to hold a few discs and maybe a water bottle. Others have a rather different philosophy, and represent the “If there is even the remotest chance I might need it, I will carry it” school of thought. These folks want to carry 30 or more discs, two wardrobe changes, enough food and water to survive in the wilderness for 10 days, and seven miscellaneous pockets and straps full of other stuff.

The DGA Elite Shield bag.

The DGA Elite Shield bag.

I prefer something between these two extremes. I want room for about 14 discs, a large water bottle, and the outer layer of clothing I’ll remove halfway through the round. I’d also like several convenient storage pockets for my snacks and little stuff, too. And, now that I’ve gotten used to backpack-style straps, my bag must at least include that as an option as well. Finally, I like to keep the cost reasonable — $75 or cheaper.

Keep in mind these personal preferences when I say that the Elite Shield bag by DGA is the ideal bag for me.

The company is best known for its dominant share of baskets installed worldwide and its pioneering status in the sport (perhaps you’ve heard of “Steady” Ed Headrick, the PDGA’s first member, the father of disc golf and the inventor of the Pole Hole catching devise?), but DGA also markets its own line of discs, apparel and accessories.

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