Thunderbird vs Firebird

thunderbird vs firebird

Innova offers more than a hundred disc options for its customers – that’s a lot of discs. Beginners and veterans alike may not have the time to go through each of those discs to determine which is the best. Though trying out each disc is the preferable scenario, it is not practical. So to help you decide which Innova disc is for you, I’m giving you the comparisons of Innova’s flying drivers. This is the Thunderbird vs Firebird comparison.

I will discuss their dimensions, ratings, flight patterns, plastics, primary usage, and required skill level. Let’s get to it!

Thunderbird Firebird
Dimensions
  • D: 21.2 cm
  • H: 1.6 cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.1 cm
  • Rim Width: 1.9 cm.
  • Maximum Weight: 175 grams
  • D: 21.1 cm
  • H: 1.4 cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2 cm
  • Rim Width: 1.9 cm.
  • Maximum Weight: 175 grams
Ratings
  • Speed: 9
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: 0
  • Fade: 2
  • Speed: 9
  • Glide: 3
  • Turn: 0
  • Fade: 4
Stability Stable Very Overstable
Plastics
  • Champion
  • Star
  • GStar
  • Metal Flake
  • Pro
  • DX.
  • Champion
  • Star
  • GStar
  • DX
Primary Usage
  • Control Driver
  • Long-distance Straight Shots
  • Controlled Hyzer
  • Placement Shots
  • Headwind Drives
  • Forehand Drives
  • Flex Shots
  • Hyzer Shots
Required Skill Level Beginner-friendly Advanced Players

Dimensions

In the dimensions category, I will give you the physical characteristics and measurements of the two discs.

Thunderbird

The Thunderbird has a diameter of 21.2 cm, a height of 1.6 cm, a rim depth of 1.1 cm, and a rim width of 1.9 cm. Its maximum weight is 175 grams.

Firebird

The Firebird has a diameter of 21.1 cm, a height of 1.4 cm, a rim depth of 1.2 cm, and a rim width of 1.9 cm. Its maximum weight is 175 grams.

So far, the two discs seem almost exactly the same except for very small differences in height and rim depth. But those two differences give these two discs very varied performances.

Ratings

Every disc golf player should know how to read disc ratings. The ratings give the players an idea of how the disc will perform under perfect conditions.

Thunderbird

The Innova Thunderbird disc has a speed rating of 9, a max glide of 5, 0 turn, and a fade of 2.

Firebird

On the other hand, Firebird has a speed rating of 9, a glide rating of 3, 0 turn, and a high 4 for the fade.

As you can see, there is a lot of difference between how the two discs should fly. Let’s look closer at how the two discs will fly under perfect conditions. By perfect conditions, I mean with the right technique, the proper arm speed and strength, and the appropriate weather conditions.

Flight Pattern

Every disc golf player should know how to read disc ratings. The ratings give the players an idea of how the disc will perform under perfect conditions.

Thunderbird

The Thunderbird is a stable disc. That means that it is not very speed-sensitive (unlike an under stable disc) and will likely fly very straight with a right-hand backhand (RHBH) throw. Of course, it will only fly straight if the proper throwing technique, arm speed, and arm strength are applied.

Under perfect conditions, the Innova Thunderbird will fly only slightly to the left with an RHBH throw. For about 300 feet, it will maintain that course then it will fade a little to the left for about another 80 feet.
If thrown right, the most probable distance you can get from the Thunderbird is somewhere around 350 to 400 feet.

Firebird

The Firebird has the same turn rating as the Thunderbird – but they have different stability. The Firebird is very overstable. Compared to the Thunderbird, the Firebird fares better against headwinds.

When you throw the Firebird RHBH, you will see it veering to the left for about 300 feet. Then you will see it fade very hard, because of its high fade rating, as it loses speed. The longest flight distance you can get from a Firebird is very close to 360 feet.

Plastics

The general flight pattern is not set to stone. The plastic with which the discs are made affects their flight pattern slightly. With that said, let us look at the available plastics in which the Thunderbird and Firebird come.

Thunderbird

The most common plastic for the Thunderbird is Champion. However, even with this one plastic, you are getting many options. The weight system available ranges from 166 grams to 172 grams.

Aside from Champion, the Thunderbird comes in rarely comes in plastics such as Star, GStar, Metal Flake, Pro, and DX.

Firebird

The Firebird also most often comes in the Champion plastic. And like the Thunderbird, you’re getting a lot of options on that front.

However, it also comes in all the plastics the Thunderbird comes in except for Metal Flake and Pro. So it is available in Star, GStar, and DX.

Primary Usage

comparing thunderbird vs firebird

Both discs are categorized as control drivers. But their differences in their stability, flight paths, and ratings also give them an edge over one another in different scenarios.

Thunderbird

Because of the Thunderbird straight flight, neutral stability, and minimal fade, it is a better option for accurate drives. In my opinion, it is the better option for an accurate, long-distance shot compared to the Firebird.

Also, it is good for controlled hyzer shots and placement shots because of how predictable it is. If you need your shot to end in a spot relatively straight from you, the Thunderbird is the best option to go for.

Firebird

Due to its over stability, the Firebird is highly effective for headwind drives. In my opinion, it works better as a forehand driver because, with that throw (RHFH), the disc is mostly unaffected by a strong headwind.

The disc also works great for flex shots and big hyzers. However, it will take quite a highly skilled and strong player to pull those throws off with the Firebird.

Required Skill Level

The Thunderbird and Firebird discs have enough differences that they require differently skilled players.

Thunderbird

The Thunderbird is more beginner-friendly. It flies straight and has a minimum fade. Even beginner players can predict the Thunderbird’s flight path accurately. But more than that, the Thunderbird flies with the control of a fairway driver, even though its range matches a distance driver. It is an easier disc to throw compared to the Firebird, yet it produces extremely predictable results.

Firebird

The Firebird is a harder disc to throw and expect it to fly according to the results you want. The disc is very fast, yet predictable. Even though the disc is less beginner-friendly, I emphatically suggest the Firebird for your first very overstable disc due to its predictable and reliable nature.

Conclusion

Thunderbird vs Firebird – which is better? Honestly, I’d say that the Thunderbird is a better option for most players. But if headwinds big hyzers, and flex shots are in the equation, I will immediately go for the Firebird. In terms of skill level, the Thunderbird is more accommodating of the two. In terms of accuracy, the Thunderbird wins again. But when the shots become more difficult, I will pull out the Firebird over the Thunderbird.

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