March 5, 2023
The Rhino Racing Shark has set a new standard with adjustability and many options. We have been fortunate enough to be involved in the development and evolution of this project. The theme has been to have a lot of adjustment, but for some of us, there is such thing as too much adjustment. Make no mistake, the Shark chassis performs extremely well in it’s stock form. Some love the appearance and options, others feel it possesses too many options and a lot of visual weight.
Scale Reflex has taken what Rhino Racing has offered with the Shark, and has presented their solution. The Hydra Fixed Deck option. A simple, one piece design for both the main and upper decks. This eliminates the multi-piece design, as well as some aluminum adapter plates.
Research and Development
The first prototype landed in my pits a few months back. I was excited to give it a try, as I personally have no interest in changing the wheelbase of my chassis on a whim. If I am going to change the wheelbase, I am perfectly fine with swapping decks. So the added pieces which makes wheelbase adjustment quick and easy, adds a level of complexity that I personally would rather not deal with. Scale Reflex asked Super-G to test and give them feedback and suggestions, as they were not out to only make another deck, but were after enhancing the performance as well. They were fully prepared to scrap the project if it was not going to be a noticeable improvement.
The first prototype was ok. I was not impressed to be completely honest here, but knew there was potential. We got to work with the Scale Reflex team and landed on a design we all felt was visually and mechanically a superior design. This required changing how the DDSS mounts to the deck, but in doing this, introduced some flex to the design which proved to be an improvement in itself. We experimented with a few configurations, and landed on having the mounting point toward the middle of the deck. This allowed the flex area to be spread over a longer span, vs toward the outside which caused the flex area to be confined to a shorter length area. Our testing proved this to be a desirable trait.
Back to the drawing board, we developed a second design lower deck to allow more flex in a more traditional “flex chassis” design. For this round of prototypes, Scale Reflex provided us with a lot of different variations. A redesigned upper deck, in 5 different thicknesses, the standard lower deck, and the new flex lower deck, both in 5 different thicknesses as well. They asked us to test all the combinations, and let them know which thickness and design was ideal.
We started testing the different combinations, and we had the drivers from Team Super-G start testing as well. Immediately everyone felt these new designs transformed the chassis, and greatly improved the handling, speed, and feel of their setups. Everyone tested the various combinations, and without much interaction with each other, we all came to the same conclusions on which decks stood above the rest. Personally I expected to have 5 different opinions, but we ended up with 2 everyone felt strongly about. We also all agreed on 1 upper deck thickness for both lower decks.
The 2 final designs are one Standard and one Flex. They differ in thickness and design, but the overall execution remains consistent throughout both. They posses different characteristics in the way they handle, the Standard is more of a smooth and gradual build of traction as it enters corners or on hard initiations, where as the Flex is a more aggressive bite. Both are NOT the most flexible or most “grippy” we were given to test, but we all felt these were optimum for keeping things smooth and consistent. Both designs are what I consider as Tuned, not just Flex or Non-Flex because of the design, but actually chosen for their unique characteristics after countless hours of testing and research.
The Upper Decks
We all found we could tune with the various upper deck thicknesses and could replicate the handling of the thinner and thicker lower decks by simply swapping the upper decks. We relayed this information to Scale Reflex and were immediately informed they would be offering the upper decks in various thicknesses to allow for quick tuning. The thinner upper deck provides more side bite, where as the thicker upper deck adds rigidity to the entire assembly and can be made to mimic a lower deck with no flex. We settled on 1 standard upper deck, and recommended 2 others for fine tuning. I believe the one supplied with the kit will be the most desirable, as all of the testers kept coming back to the same one.
With the final form in our possession, we headed out to Vertex USA in San Diego and Rolling Garage in Sacramento to get the final testing on some P-Tile tracks. The results were as expected. Definitely a huge performance upgrade on both polished concrete and P-Tile.
We are very excited about this product as we feel it’s an improvement both performance and tuning wise, as well aesthetically
This is a highly recommended upgrade.