Quantifying the Understable MVP Orbital

One of the reasons I enjoy throwing MVP discs so much is that their new releases continue to surprise me. When the 21.5mm Distance Driver lineup of the Phase, Photon, Wave and Orbital were announced, I thought for sure that in this speed class I’d be looking at the Orbital and Wave as the usable molds for my game.



For reference, I max out distance wise in the 385-400′ range, so while I don’t consider myself a noodle arm, I certainly don’t have a cannon like some other players in the game are sporting. So, I figured the two more Understable designed offerings would be to my liking.


Well, the Overmolding Masters at MVP blew that right out of the water when they went ahead and broke protocol and premiered the Stable-Overstable Photon in Fission Plastic and followed that up with the Stable-Understable Wave in their traditional new release offering of Neutron plastic. Loving both of those discs, and being able to get some nice turns out of the Wave in various weights, I thought for sure my usable molds in this distance class were locked down. Once again, as has been the case with other classes of discs in their lineup, I was quite wrong.


When the Orbital arrived on my doorstep I found myself intrigued right off the bat for a number of reasons. First thing that stands out is it’s rim shape. The slope and angle of the upper part of the rim is almost mushroom-esque in that it’s a nice round dome down to the parting line of the mold. When holding it though, it does not feel unfamiliar, which is a hallmark of MVP’s disc classes since they share the same cores as their brethren of the same size class.


OrbitalRimThe feel of the underside of the disc is a little different than anything I’ve had my hands on from them in the past. After the long rounded slope of the top, the underside of the overmold cuts inward abruptly adding virtually no grading to the underside of the rim until you reach the sloping from the colored core. The feel in the hand is definitely an absence of overmolding in that respect, to the point where I actually flipped the disc over to see if there was a “groove” on the underside. While there is no groove or recessed area, the dramatic absence of rim on the underside is prominent. And, if you know a little bit about disc design, the view of this profile says one thing and one thing only: Understable Turn.


OrbitalRimBottomOnce I got it out to the field, it became quite apparent that the Orbital is the most understable disc MVP has ever released. Whereas the Wave (which I threw side by side with the Orbital) is the Stable-Understable release in the 21.5mm line, the Orbital drops the Stable part and is just straight up easy distance and is surprisingly usable for a number of lines. The Neutron plastic also felt great and offered plenty of grip with just the right firmness on a 90 degree day.


I say surprisingly because lots of my experience with true Understable discs are such that is serves a very narrow spectrum of shots before it turns too much and becomes unpredictable. To compensate for that, a more nose up release and higher elevation can be used but can lead to the US disc stalling out in the air to subsequently replicate the line of another, more stable, mold. For example, with the Wave, I can release it with a touch of hyzer, and the 171g one I used for comparison with the Orbital will flip up, turn and give me a subtle fade with less overall turn, but still predictable.


The Orbital takes that turn to the extreme more so than any other disc in this class, or in the entire GYRO lineup. When thrown flat, rollers are a breeze. Fine tuning the angle of release can help you range the turnover so they land and begin their roll at varying distances. Since this disc has soooooo much turn, I found it to really need some elevation to prevent it from just turning over too early. By the time I was done with my test session, this behavior seemed to be very predictable, which is a huge asset for a disc like this to have when reaching for it to throw a confident shot.


With all that turn it needs lots of room to carve its lines. So, it might not be the best option for powered up straight tunnel shots. However, if you need to get around something with a RHBH left to right line in the woods and can give it the elevation it needs, you’re going to be pretty happy with this fella. It’s also very responsive to adjustments on thumb placement and nose angles to get either more or less fade so you can dial it in for your lie. Don’t be afraid to aim left to end up right with this disc either. Yeah, it really does have that much turn!


The 174 Orbital I was testing also seemed to have a ton of usable hyzer release angles as well. What I mean by that is that with the Wave, too much Hyzer angle will just add to the fade to the point where you then start to replicate lines already covered by slower speed discs like the Insanity, Inertia or even a light weight Wrath. The Orbital, on the other hand, seemed to have more of those options available that I didn’t think were already covered by their slower speed class Understable couterparts – The Axiom Virus or MVP Impulse.


When released at a 35 – 40 degree angle I was seeing some beautiful left to right S curves with a very slight fade at the end that had it set down nicely without a roll. I even saw some nice S lines throwing forehand that I don’t see from my Proton Insanity, which makes it even more usable to me as a disc in my bag. The angle of the hyzer release also helped me gague the timing of the turn. With more hyzer, the left to right action would appear later in the throw since it had to flip up to flat first. With less hyzer it would turn earlier. Again, this behavior seemed to be very consistent, which is something I really liked. These are lines that can really come in handy for me at a range that is not being met by other GYRO molds in my bag, especially at distances beyond 230-250′ where the confidence in my forehand throw starts to tail off.


OrbitalandHiveNow, with understability comes the usual “not good in the wind” disclaimers. There was no wind in my testing tonight, but seeing how the Wave can be effected by wind, the Orbital is a disc that won’t be getting the nod for windy shots. MVP has you covered with the Photon or Phase for those windy days, depending on your arm strength and stability preferences.


The Understable Orbital might be too understable for some power players, which is ok and by design. Also, if you do not have a clean release and throw with OAT (Off Axis Torque – the fluttering wobble you may see in a disc immediately after it’s release) you’ll likely see this disc turnover and head for the ground (aka “turn and burn”) more than it should. If so, it’s important to remember that’s not necessarily the discs fault. Spending some time cleaning up the mechanics of your release and working on your form will help you find that this disc will fly truer lines as a result. Overstable discs can easily mask some of those form errors, whereas Understable discs, while easier to throw overall, can impact the lines the disc travels, especially when you have an OAT release.


All in all, I have to say that the Orbital is exactly as designed and advertised by MVP. So, if you felt like the Wave might have been too stable, or want to have something longer than the Impulse or Virus in your bag, then you are in for a treat with the Orbital.


As always, your mileage may vary, and the only way to know for sure how they will work for you in your game is to get your hands on them. Snag ’em both along with Double Stuff Axiom Cookie Minis, 3 different GYRO bags, Backsaver straps and Stools at your favorite retailer beginning Friday, 7/31/15!