Epic Disc Golf Driver

abepic
  • New epicyclic design combines the ultra long range of a wide rim with an optimized ergonomic grip.
  • Easily tuned by bending the rim to maximize distance and accuracy for your personal throwing style and speed.
  • PDGA Approved

Tuning Long Range Drivers for Desired Flight Characteristics
Alan Adler - Superflight Inc, Palo Alto, CA

Most disc golf players have noticed that their long range drivers change in flight characteristics as they become beat up over time. But of the many players I've worked with while developing discs, none were aware that they could deliberately tune their drivers to suit their throwing style and speed. No tools are required other than your own two hands.

I first learned how to tune flying objects while developing my Aerobie flying ring (which holds the Guinness World Record for a throw of 1,257 feet), so it was natural for me to apply tuning to discs when developing the new Epic long range driver.

Before we get into the details of how to tune a disc, let's establish some terms. The discussion below applies to a backhanded throw with your right arm. Reverse any references to right or left if you throw either left-handed backhands or right-handed forehand throws.

Stability

Stability in the disc golf world has come to mean a disc's resistance to rolling right in flight.

An understable disc begins to roll right early in the flight. Understable discs must be launched with some downward lean (Hyzer angle) to counter their right roll.

An overstable disc is so resistant to right roll that it begins rolling left early in the flight. However all drivers tend to fade (roll left) near the end of the flight. Fade has been attributed to loss of spin during the flight. However it is actually caused by loss of forward velocity near the end of the flight. The more stable the disc, the more severe its end-of-flight fade. This can be countered by launching the disc with upward lean (often called AnHyzer).

Wind and Velocity Effects

Long range drivers are velocity sensitive. The greater the airspeed, the greater their tendency to roll right. Thus when you throw into a headwind it's necessary to launch with more Hyzer angle. Conversely, when throwing downwind you will need to launch with less Hyzer or even some AnHyzer angle. You can also tune your discs for different wind conditions.

Tuning

Tuning discs, by bending them, works on long range drivers. I do not recommend it for shorter range discs. A typical long range driver has a rim about 3/4" wide, which is about the width of a penny. Our new Epic driver has a variable-width rim which varies in width from one inch to 1.6 inches (fig 3 below). The wider the disc's rim, the more it responds to tuning.

To decrease the stability of any driver, you simply bend it downward. This can be done either by just flexing it like a taco, or by working your hands gradually around while bending just the rim. I prefer this latter method because it doesn't leave the disc looking like it just encountered a freight train. Fig 1 shows a disc rim being bent downward to decrease stability. Start at one place on the disc and repeat this bend about every 45 degrees around it until you are back where you started.

And of course, to increase the stability, you simply bend the rim upward (fig 2).

What's Happening?

Downward bending reduces the height of the outer edge of the disc and that's what changes the flight. Upward bending increases the edge height. It's as simple as that.

Many players whom I've taught about tuning have worried that the disc won't hold its tune but I can assure you that your disc will retain its tune very well. I often measure the heights of disc edges with a special instrument that I made just for this purpose (fig 3 below). It's accurate to one half-thousandth of an inch and has proven that discs hold their tune indefinitely. This instrument has been useful to my disc research, but you don't need it to tune your own discs. Just go out to an open field and start bending and throwing.

Of course any disc, tuned or not, will become distorted if you leave it in a hot car with a pile of heavy stuff on it. So, if you're serious about accurate flights, you should store your discs properly without any pressure that might bend them.

Most players have noted that well-used discs tend to become less stable with time. It's often thought that dinged edges are the culprit. However I've deliberately dinged the edges of discs and observed no change in flight stability. Thus I think it's likely that the disc's edge has simply been bent downward from accumulated encounters with trees, rocks and other hard surfaces.

Disc Materials

The least expensive discs are made from polyolefin plastic which is easy to deform. You've probably noticed that these discs ding more easily than the premium material discs. The easier a disc is to ding, the easier it will be to tune -- either deliberately or accidentally when scrunched under something heavy. Premium discs (including our new Epic driver) are made of more expensive elastomeric materials which resist dings. Thus they need more aggressive bending when tuned. Most premium discs require about three times the bending effort to achieve the same change in flight. So keep the material in mind when you tune.

Tuning In the Field

I recommend that you only tune your drivers on the practice field, never during a game. Label your drivers with a permanent marker for convenient reference during a round. You'll probably want to tune some drivers for neutral stability -- that is for level flight (with your arm speed) during the first three quarters of the flight. It's also worthwhile to tune at least one driver to be overstable -- for those upwind drives.

Some players like to throw rollers. As one fellow told me at the Master's Cup, "Roll is the great equalizer". You can turn any driver into a roller by severely tuning it with downward bends. Ugh, just the thought of ruining a beautiful flight makes me cringe!

Finally, if you're interested in distance competition, or the longest possible drives, you should try a slightly understable tune. That will cause the disc to roll over slightly beyond level -- but not so much that it ends up a roller. This type of tune reduces end- of-flight fade and extends the glide, but it's a bit more challenging to control.

  • Diameter 21.1

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

the epic is the disc that i can throw the farthest in my bag. the key is to throw it overhand(tomahawk or thumber), and let the disc do the work. it takes a lot of practice to conquor the flight, it should be thrown as hard as possible and preferably into a head wind to allow for maxium distance. after released it does a double barrel roll then continues a flight similar to that of a lefty heizer. if all goes as planned it will actually Anheizer then heizer. i have thrown this frisbee over 500 feet. and if you look on the website it tells you how to tweek it. i personally grab the frisbee at both ends(the skinny and fat ends) and push down with your thumbs, or pull up from the underside to corespond to the throw you desire. mess with it a little bit after some practice you will throw like a pro

The disc was fantastic with both types of tomahawk (2 fingers, and thumbing). Really it is the best tomahawk disc I have ever used, and suprisingly it wasn't bad for approaching either. I tried it side arm a few times but only once did I get the super long flight on it. So it has the ability to really go far when thrown side arm if you can master it. Tomahawk is where it shines. I wasnt getting super long distence as some people claim, but I was getting the complete barrol roll in a straight line and it would stop on a dime on the green. It also would flip back over for a sort of 1 1/2 barrol roll on its back and skip closer to the whole and then die. Great disc if you tomahawk. Im not sure why some people have a hard time throwing it. I've never thrown one and I played 36 holes with it. It was just like any other disc, but it rolled over better. Oh and on the ability to bend the rim to create different flight patterns my buddy bends this disc down everytime and honestly it doesn't seem to change the flight pattern. I'm sure it can be done but it takes quite a bit of bending, molding and shaping to see the changes.

This is my second season throwing the Epic as my long range distance driver. I throw right handed fore hand. It took me quite a few throws to learn how the disc flies but now I consistantly throw it farther than any other disc often overthrowing the pin. It flies very fast and turns very well allowing me to get around big obstacles directly in front of pins. Definately a disc for people who are willing to learn the finer techniques of throwing.
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