I hear a lot of talk of break in to make a disc fly right. The idea being that smashing into trees, or whatever "tunes" the disc and starts the disc towards being more of a turnover disc and somehow increasing the glide.
Indeed, discs can be tuned, the DX variety plastic is very easy to tune, no need to smash into trees. Bending the rim down forces the dome up at the ring. This will indeed make the disc more understable but will not increase the speed of the disc.
The CE discs however, are nearly impossible to "tune" and seems to shrug off tree hits like it never happened. There seems to be no apparent change to the dome on old discs. I found this to be true even on discs found in the used bin at the local disc store that seems to have hundreds of rounds on them.
However! What I am seeing is something completely different and significant.
Most (if not all) of todays extremely overstable discs have some degree of wing bottom "undercamber" (the concave portion of the rim) along with a "stabilizer" ring (the lip at the innermost diameter of the rim at the bottom). The more "undercamber" and the taller the "stabilizer" the more overstable the disc.
I think if you look you will see that this stabilizer ring wears pretty readily even with premium plastic with several rounds. Once this ring starts to wear, the discs will pick up speed and become less overstable. All of this without a tree in sight or any manual tuning. This makes a great deal of sense to me. The cross sectional area of the wing airfoil is reduced slightly with wear along with the drag under the plate, creating more SPEED because of a simple reduction in drag. Thinner wings go faster, in general. I never understood how simply changing the airfoil nose to more "nose down" (read that ***hitting trees***) would make the disc go faster ALL BY ITSELF (which I now believe it does not). While doming the top may make a disc more understable, the loss of the stabilizer ring is more significant IMHO.
For example, I have a Surge I have been working with. This disc has NEVER hit a tree. The rim is pristine. It is also apparent that that this inner stabilizer ring (very slight, sharp bump on a Surge) is nearly completely gone already (it is about a month old). This has made the disc more of a super fast turnover disc as compared to the "dead straight" new Surge disc I picked up Saturday (which still has a sharp stabilizer ring). Not a bad thing mind you, as the speed and glide is much improved with the stabilizer ring blunted, but the disc is no longer suited for shots into the wind (where the new one performs beautifully).
I also have an Orc that I have been playing for 6 months. It is also no longer suitable for into the wind shots, but is a super fast, super long, straight consistent disc for me. I picked up a mate to this disc the other day (same weight, plastic, etc). I could not believe how much the rim of my old disc has worn compared to new one. The new disc has a significantly taller and sharper stabilizer ring compared to my old disc, and consequently is slightly slower, shorter, and predictable for overstable flight.
This would also explain what I was see occurring with the Cylcone design. Due to the plastic flow in the mold (as explained by Blake), the old Cyclones had a signicantly shorter stabilizer on the bottom, making the disc faster and more flippy (not to mention the pointier nose). Then new plastics appear to flow in the mold much better than the old plastic, so apparently the disc stabilizer is more "true" to the mold. The result is a more stable and slower disc that requires "break-in" (read that "wear" on the stabilizer IMHO) to be more like the old Cyclone.
Consequently, a lot of the inherent overstability that comes from "better" plastic, may actually be coming from the more perfect molding properties of the better plastics creating taller stabilizer profiles. When actually the manufacturers should be reducing the stabiizer profiles with the better plastics.
BTW, this is nothing new. When I was a kid Wham-O frisbees came with instructions to sand the base of the disc on the concrete to make the disc more understable.
Hey, if you don't believe me take you best "broken in" overstable driver disc and compare it to a new disc. Look at the stabilizer ring (not to mention feel it). I think that you might find a significant difference.