-by Ernst Schneidereit
Discraft is the industry heavyweight in this competition between drivers. We'll do a statistic analysis between the Polaris LS, exp1 and QJLS in this test of David versus Goliath. The Reaper, Predator and Cyclone in Discraft's beautiful Elite Z plastics were the featured competitors against Millennium's challengers.
A long time favorite of many for a straight driver is the Polaris LS (Long Straight). After finally throwing it for myself, I can see why. It has a flight pattern much like my favorite, the Discraft Elite XL (try X or Z plastic or the sweet Signature model available at Disc Fly and featured in our last review), but with somewhat less distance. The LS had the best average distance in the backhand portion of this test and the longest throw in the sidearm portion. While it goes straight with little fade when backhanded, it is not as straight a flyer as the XL when thrown sidearm and tended to fly left for right-handers. It also finished up with roll at the very end on half the sidearm throws, for those of you who prefer rollers-something an XL will seldom do.
The exp1, or Millennium Experimental Driver, is advertised as "Super Fast, Super Fade." I'll buy the "fast" part of their description, but the "fade" is far from "super." It is fairly overstable, but the Predator and Reaper had far more left-to-right in their flight patterns. I would even venture to lower discgolfreview.com's rating on the fade portion of their statistics. This review comes three years after their stats were created, so slight changes in plastic or weight classes could be responsible. Nevertheless, the exp1 had the best average distance for the sidearm portion of the test and also didn't seem to be as hard to throw as the discgolfreview.com numbers would lead you to believe. It's not a beginner disc, but intermediates could make good use of this driver. Just avoid Millennium yellow if you play around a lot of dead grass or golden weeds.
The QJLS features Millennium Quantum plastic. This was tough stuff and stood up well to the proven Z plastic from Discraft. The QJLS had the longest throw for the backhand portion of the test, but seems skittish. I also wouldn't recommend it for sidearm throws. Plan on using this disc on calm days or for downwind shots when you face a wide fairway.
The Reaper draws rave reviews from those who favor Discraft. Some buyers have such a strong loyalty to the disc that they pick up multiple copies in different weights in one order. It is very similar in flight to the Predator when backhanded. Both are very overstable (with a high Discraft stability rating of +2.5), but the Reaper is a straighter flyer when sidearmed. Along with the exp1, this was my personal favorite for the sidearm portion of the test and it performs quite well into the wind. If you deal with windy conditions you should consider the Reaper.
Speaking of the Predator, you could call this a thin-rim predecessor to the Discraft Crush. While not as overstable as the Crush, it has a predictable right-to-left flight when backhanded and left-to-right when sidearmed. You will reasonably know what this disc is going to do every time you handle it. It has a lower durability score than the Cyclone or the Reaper (although the same plastic) since the Predator seemed to land hard every time-not a lot of low-speed float here.
The Cyclone has been around a long time in various forms and plastics. Its best feature, for three-fingered backhands, is a lip on the rim that lets you really get a firm hold on the disc. This feature could also offer some new options for sidearm grips for the experimental thrower. Definitely less overstable than the Reaper or Predator (the Discraft rating is +1.5), it was more reliable as a backhand disc, but can be used well with either throwing style.
While I would not say that Millennium slew the giant, it did compile the best average and distance awards for backhand and sidearm tosses. Nevertheless, the Discraft models offered better predictability. Of our three driver tests so far, however, these discs were the most closely matched to one another. So when choosing from this selection, you have to decide which is more important to you-going long, or knowing where you're going.
Disc Ratings (based on the discgolfreview.com system)
The Polaris LS and exp1 ratings come directly from discgolfreview.com, with suggested updates noted in parentheses. The Polaris LS was the benchmark disc for this test. Distance and Fade are on a ten-point scale (least to greatest). Skill level, Predictability and Durability are on a five-point scale.