Coach Paul Stewart conducts regular reviews of shuttles, here's his review of Bird2:
I rarely test nylon or plastic shuttles as I always use feather shuttles. However, I am aware that many players either socially or in badminton clubs use plastic shuttles. There are so few reviews about these shuttles. I had the opportunity to test the Mark 1 and Mark 2 versions of these shuttles over the years with the latest batch ‘Bird 2’ arriving recently.
Bird 2 is a cork-based plastic shuttle that is described as being the closest in flight to a feather shuttle. I would certainly agree with this summary. I felt that the shuttle flew very well, with a high degree of consistency. Additionally, the flight characteristics in respect of spin were far superior to other plastic shuttles I tested and a lot closer to that of a feather shuttle. With the improved Mark 2 version proving to be more robust I can confirm that Bird 2 shuttle is a large step in the right direction and much closer to the flight of a feather shuttle compared to any other I have tested.
Thank you for your reply.
From what I experienced when I played with it the first time on Saturday I can say that the shuttlecock in it’s current design is already very close to a feather shuttlecock.
The Bird2 has many advantages a feather shuttlecock can never provide.
So, it is a good product and I am very confident that there will be a lot of talk about it here in Switzerland once it is introduced.
I assume that this must also have been the case in England, so far. In fact, I cannot imagine a reason why people should not love it.
And you hear these words from me, who only played nylon shuttlecocks (Carlton at that time) in my youth and since then never could imagine to practice with nylon shuttlecocks again!
As you can hear, I am very enthusiastic about the work you have done.
I also bought some of the shuttles (hard to get in Germany, only place was http://www.badminton-total.com );
they´re the best plastic shuttles I ever used:
- trajectory is quite close to feathers, especially the clear shots.
They´re at least as good as cheap feathers, e.g. Yonex TR / Babolat 5.
Also better compared to Mavis 2000, more "bend" in clear shots, same for smashes.
Slice shots are far better than any other plastic shuttle.
- durability is also good; no damages recognized on the shuttles after 2 hours doubles play (with some hard-hitters on court). No experience long-term, but from the experience so far I guess durability is comparable to Mavis350. Compared to the best competitor Mavis 2000 the durability is even better, we usually break 1 or 2 of those in a doubles session.
- price: totally worth it. Paid 15€ for a tube of 6, compared to 9€ for Mavis2000 in the same shop.
* cheaper than feathers (but not quite as good, but good enough ....)
* taking durability into account, cheaper than Mavis2000
I still prefer to play with feathers (AS20, Victor Service, LiNing GrandPrixis the usual choice), but for plastic the Bird2 is the best available shuttle on the market.
Used the Bird2 shuttlecocks for the first time last night. Loved them. I’m 55 and used to play badminton a lot in my younger days. Have returned to the sport and been playing with each Monday for the last 5 weeks – using feather shuttles. Either me and my friend have become extremely good overnight or the shuttles have made a big difference. And it’s definitely the latter. The flight is more consistent and we both found we are hitting better and rallies are lasting longer due to less fresh air shots. I can only attribute this to the change to using Bird2.
PLUS – we were going through about 4 feather shuttles per hour. Last night, the one Bird2 lasted the full 60 minutes and didn’t seem to have suffered any wear and tear.
A bit of background will help with my feedback- I am an ex- county player who predominantly plays with Feathers originally in South Africa. Since moving to the UK 15 years ago I have joined a club and we also play in the leagues with feathers. In addition to this I play every Sunday with a bunch of 12 people who are all league players and would love to play with feathers but the cost makes this prohibitive so we use nylon. It is with this in mind that I bought the trial pack as the blurb was really about "that feather like feel and flight with the endurance of nylon shuttles" and I have to say that I am suitably impressed- and so are the others that have had a chance to try them in the Sunday Club. The flight is very true with no wobble, drops are almost the same as on a feather with tumble at the net- but the 2 tone colour scheme does take a bit of getting used to.
In truth- my club will probably not switch to them for club play unless they are sanctioned for league play also as we need to practice with the shuttles to be used in leagues- and If I am honest I still prefer the feather from a feel point of view- but only just and that is probably historical and due in part to snobbery!
They are a great cost effective (in the long term) alternative to feathers but unless the leagues buy in to them and Badminton England sanctions them- I feel they will be a club shuttle rather than a competition shuttle.
The shuttles have gone down very well with the group I play with. We play recreationally and this is fine for us, as we’re not in a club situation, where the club/league would be using Mavis 370 for example.
We have found, exactly as described, that the shuttles have a more “feather like” flight, and this is resulting in us looking foolish when leaving a shot which then drops dead on the line! They are significantly more durable than the Mavis 370 shuttles, with a single shuttle lasting a whole two hour session, and then some. Even when torn, we noticed that the shuttles still fly very well indeed. We did have one shuttle with an issue whereby the cork base broke off, but this was after a fairly lengthy period of play.
The rigid, dark section offers us an increase in visibility, very well received as the hall we play in has cream walls on one side.
And finally I think that the sound when a correct connection is made also sounds much more feather like, which is nice.
Overall, everyone is very impressed, and we are definitely considering using these for our sessions. Although the price represents a £3 per tube increase over the usual 370s, we think that this will be countered by the increased durability and visibility. When we have finished the tube, we will make a decision on that :)
Many thanks for the email, and the great innovation – many have tried, and failed, to produce a synthetic shuttle which comes close to the feathers, but the Bird2 is by far the best one we’ve ever played with.
I just wanted to thank you for all the support I have received from Ashaway / Goode Sport over the years and in particular your help with my recent little Tournament in Birmingham for the local Chinese Community there.
This was a one day American event which I helped to run as a sociable Badminton Tournament with my long-standing friend Joseph Lee on Sunday June 9th at the Sports Centre within the National Indoor Arena which is the ‘home’ of the All England Championships.
I have run this a few times previously with great success. Over the years we have used differing synthetic shuttles but this time was special because the BIRD2 is a new design which clearly replicates closely the flight characteristics of a natural feather shuttlecock.
I am now using this shuttlecock for many of my coaching sessions and find it so much closer to using a feather than any other synthetic. As someone who has played the sport up to World level with feathers for 60 years it seems to me the design ‘makes sense’ and the product is robust, durable and pleasurable to use for someone who has played virtually all competitive play with feathers.
Usage at the Tournament was excellent and there were NO COMPLAINTS throughout the event – this is unheard of as in my experience someone always complains, particularly if they lose! In fact a number of players were very complimentary about the ‘new shuttle’, including mainly those players who played at a higher level of local league play.
I believe you have developed a ‘winner’ in the BIRD2 and am delighted to recommend it to anyone who wishes to give it a try.
Dave Eddy (former National, European and All England Champion)
"Hi, here is my review, thank you very much for sending the samples I was very impressed!
While I have played with plastic shuttles I always prefer to play with feather shuttles whenever possible, they feel so much more natural. After receiving your sample of Bird 2 shuttles I was very happy, from the first hit the shuttles feel much more responsive, so more than any other plastic I have yet tried. All shots from the back court are very good, and although shots played at the net don't feel as good as with a feather shuttle, it is much better than any plastic shuttle I have tried. The two-tone skirt was in no way a drawback as I could see it just as good as with any other shuttle. The only problem I had was that the plastic skirt did not seem to be very well connected to the cork, after 1 game the skirt was loose in the cork, and if I had played another game it may have come apart, this is the only problem I had.
Out of all the shuttles I have tried, the Bird 2 is by far the plastic shuttle that feels closest to a feather shuttle, and I think it represents excellent value for money."
(Loose cork problem now resolved)
I tried these for the first time today, played a solid hour, and no cork issues. The club I used to play at goes through loads of boxes of feathers per season, and for me I actually enjoyed playing with this shuttle a lot better than feathers and any other synthetic shuttle that I have tried. Don't get me wrong though, I love playing with feathers, but really cannot stand playing on with a few rallies after the feather should be replaced, feathers becomes quite inconsistent to play with very fast. The Bird 2 was a joy to play with, and I will probably never buy another type of synthetic again, unless of course a better product comes out. All 4 players today that I played with were impressed by the feel and control. Well done
My 50+ group had a chance to play with these today and in general the feedback was very positive.
We play at the Woodside Sports Centre in Watford and many are ex-league players. In common with many centres, the lighting is very bright with the flourescent tubes well located directly above the sidelines and large banners with white backgrounds on facing walls!!. Having said that the comparable size to a feather shuttle and the fact that they retained their shape in flight helped.
Speed was fine, even in the well heated hall, with not many overhead clears flying out the back.
Flight trajectory was good, with the shuttle following the expected line of a feather rather than the arc of a plastic, dropping more vertically once speed was lost.
Smashes/flat drives sounded really nice, crisp and accurate, and again because they maintained their shape it helped the defenders.
The general overall feel when serving and netshots enable good control, although after plastics did take a little getting used to.
Durability seemed OK, I can't honestly say how many games were played but of the six, only two broke.
The middle joint started to part company, but none of the black "spokes" or the white top skirting split or snapped, despite numerous miss hits as we adapted to the different flight pattern.
As I said the overall feedback was very positive and we'll certainly give them another outing next week.
Bird built a pilot production line in 2013 in order to prove the production capability of the new processes involved. 10,000 shuttles were built and most were sold on-line in the UK to establish the acceptability of the new design and work out a price that made sense to everyone. Some early production problems were resolved, notably loose bases and material problems on both mouldings, but the overwhelming feedback on this pilot launch has been such that we are confident to scale up production to cope with an anticipated fast growth in world demand. Here are a few of the comments sent back to us:
Extract from a draft magazine article written by Allan Green :
'So, how did they fare on court? The author would regard himself to be an enthusiastic amateur rather than skilled player and is a shuttle user rather than authority. However the contrast with my previous first choice, the Yonex 370, was immediately obvious. I found that their trajectory in flight (as acclaimed by Ashaway) much closer to that of a feather shuttle . A high clear played with these shuttles will stall and fall almost vertically rather than complete a parabola. I found it possible to slice them reasonably effectively. Best of all a gentle slice played at the net will tumble beautifully. The sound they make when smashed is much more like that of feathers than other plastics. This is presumably a consequence of their greater rigidity. The other feature I enjoyed was their consistency. It was possible to backhand flick serve all 12 shuttles on an empty court to the singles back line and get them to land within inches of each other. This was after they had collectively been used for 30 hours or so, so weren’t fresh out of their tubes. I have never been able to achieve this with the 370s.'
Ongoing Bird Forum: Click here for current, unedited direct customer feedback
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