Goode Sport have posted a video explaining some of the Bird2 features with an introductory offer for a tube of Bird2 shuttles: http://goode-sport.co.uk/buy/bird-2-composite-trial-pack/
We have had lots of good feedback from early sales. The most common comments refer to the much more feather like feel and performance. Players appreciate the extra precision and control on all shots, notably around the net where one has to work a bit harder than with a regular nylon shuttle as Bird2 doesn't ping off the racket so easily. Some nylon users take a while to get used to this but feather users appreciate the extra control which allows them to keep the net shots tight. Most people are getting about 4 games before small splits occur in the top of the flight, however they remain usable as this has little affect on performance. We feel this level of durability is about right; we can improve durability further at the expense of a little bit of control around the net but we will probably introduce another product to the range for general use which will be more durable.
It has taken 3 months to fine tune the new mould tools in order to get the process capability right and get a shuttlecock with the playability and durability we were looking for. The result is exciting; lighter and more consistent, giving more stability on net shots and better all around durability. We have identified eight different process factors which affect the impact and flex resistance of the flight mouldings and now we are confident to scale up production for high volume. For retail sales go to www.centralsports.co.uk who will be relaunching the new Bird2, and talk to Nick Goode at www.goode-sport.co.uk for wholesale and overseas distribution.
The new mould tools are due to be resampled this week (4 Sept ’14). Difficult to see on the pictures @ https://twitter.com/BirdDesignLtd 18 Aug, but there are a number of detail changes which improve the processing and the on-court performance. Whilst the radical two-piece design enables the unique support ring to be added inside the skirt, the success of the Bird2 design is largely due the attention to detail and optimization of every feature from the tips of the flight to the means of securing the base. In terms of design, this approach means a large number of small, often incremental, changes add up to a large leap forward in performance which is very difficult to emulate.
This ‘Kaizen’ approach to design, processing and quality management runs throughout Bird’s entire business. A concept developed in Japan more than 60 years ago, it has never been fully understood in other countries where the ‘big idea’ or a philosophy of ‘if it ain’t broke don't fix it often prevails. At Bird Design it drives the continuous improvement of existing products and new designs aimed at the standard shuttle market and enhanced, more feather like, products which are due to be launched in 2015.
We need much more information on a tube of shuttles. I think the minimum categories should be: Speed; Flight curve (peak & drop);Tumble stability; and Durability.
Speed, flight curve, and tumble stability are all a direct correlated function of the weight and dimensions, surface area continuity, weight distribution from base to tip, spin rate and rigidity. All these attributes can be measured fairly simply in a standard test laboratory in any country. Durability is more difficult as it needs custom made test equipment, although not very complicated.
For now our priority is to complete the funding round for our high volume manufacturing processes and get everything working well for the new badminton season. We will be continuing with this work and would be interested in any comments.
At the moment the only information on a tube of shuttles is the speed and there is no recognized standard for this. In a sport where the characteristics of the projectile is fundamental this is ridiculous.
We at Bird Design are working on some simple tests to set a standard. Weight and size are already defined. Final spin rate and rate of spin acceleration need to be defined. Porosity of the skirt is easy to measure. Rigidity of the skirt is easy to measure. Grip on the racket face can be measured. Flight parabola (peak and drop) is less easy to measure but is a function of the value of all the other attributes.
Any inputs to this work would be welcomed.
A recent question at https://www.syndicateroom.com/Bird question and answer section queried the size of the market. Here's my response, any information anyone has to substantiate this would be welcomed.
Thank you for the question, there are different types of shuttles used a varying rates dependent on the standard of play. If the note below does not fully answer your questions I can send a full business plan and further information. There are no published stats for this market.
How long a feather shuttle lasts depends on the standard of play. Most usage is for club play. A gentle match between skilled players may use 2 feather shuttles per set. Big hitting performance players will use 3 to 5. Most feathers are used in China and I expect they make them last a lot longer, let's say 1 per set.
The case with plastic shuttles is less varied. One good quality nylon shuttle will last 3-5 sets.
The total number of regular players in the world is estimated at well over 100 million. Let's say they play a minimum of 20 times a year. At clubs or coaching sessions one would expect to get at least 2 sets or equivalent playing time. Therefore the estimated total number of sets played is 4,000,000,000. Most play is in doubles format, therefore divide by 4 to get a representative figure for shuttle usage, = 1,000,000,000 sets.
It is thought that there are 3 times more feather users than nylon. So the usage is split thus:
750,000,000 sets at 1 feather shuttle per set = 750,000,000 per year
250,000,000 sets at 5 sets per nylon shuttle = 50,000,000 per year
Based on these figures, which I have tried to keep conservative, to replace the whole market with nylon shuttles would need 200,000,000 (200 million)
This is conjecture and considerably larger, but probably more accurate than, the information in the Syndicate Room summary which is based on available references. This is purely an illustration based on my research.
The business plan and financial figures are conservative in that we assume we take 10% of the nylon market and no significant part of the feather market. Should feather shuttles continue to increase in price relative to nylon shuttles or be affected by bird flu or other issue the growth illustrated could be multiplied several times.
We are raising £130k towards the building of a new high volume production line and the share offer is now live on a crowdfunding site at: https://www.syndicateroom.com/Bird . We have raised £62k from our existing investors and received a further £12k from 3 new investors on the Syndicate Room site in the first three days since launch. This work is well under way and the new line is due to be commissioned before the start of the new badminton season in September.
This offer is compliant with EIS (Enterprise Investment scheme) and we have just received authorisation from HMRC to issue EIS1 forms related to any investments made under this round of funding.
One of the benefits of the two piece design of Bird2 is the ability to vary the material in the stem section and the flight section. This means we can use a slightly more rigid material in the lower stem section as it is less vulnerable to breakage. It also allows the use of different colours. At present the only option for the stem section is dark grey. Although most people thought this looked interesting, there was some reaction to the unconventional appearance. However, in use people quickly warmed to the two tone design as it significantly improved visibility. Ceilings are normally white or light colours so the dark stems give more contrast.
The flight section has a denser infill pattern which has a number of benefits but notably gives a more opaque appearance and reflects more light, again improving visibility.
One of the most confusing things in initial trials of Bird2 was the huge difference in preferred and also perceived speed. Trialling was initially done with county standard or feather club players and the speed was set to their preference. When we started to test in larger numbers with nylon clubs the early production was thought to be too fast. Measuring ‘medium’ speed Yonex 370s and 300s and others they averaged slow to very slow in speed tests. The assumption is that nylon club players like a good rally and the slower shuttle gives a bit more control around the net where the standard nylon design is less controllable off the racket face. Feather users expect to be able to clear from back to back without straining every sinew to do so, so feathers shuttles are very carefully measured and are offered in a bigger range of speeds but on the whole faster than nylons in terms of distance travelled.
However there are many different aspects to speed. Speed is a function of shape, structure, spin and weight. The standard nylon design is inherently slower so they tend to be heavier than feathers as they move slower through the air. But, in reverse, when playing a tight net shot they travel faster, as they bleed air more readily and therefore travel further upwards before turning over. This leads to a higher bounce (less control) and slower ‘righting’. It also explains the odd description of ‘heavy’ from players who have not used feathers before. Feathers form an almost complete baffle and cup more air when in reverse and, along with some other unique characteristics of feathers, this means a slight hysteresis on contact and an increase in perceived weight. This means that they travel slower, bounce lower and right more quickly. Even with Bird2 shuttles of the same actual weight as standard nylons they were sometimes referred to as feeling heavy as they cup more air similar to feather shuttle. The new production tools will produce a slightly lighter shuttle but with the same ability to cup more air.
Hi, I'm the designer of the revolutionary Bird2 shuttlecock. Let's change Badminton for the better, together; all comments and feedback are essential to perfecting our products.