Round 2 for the SoCal Region has just passed and it was an amazing event! We started earlier this time around and it seemed to make a big difference. I wish we could start even earlier, but it seems just about everyone in SoCal works on Saturdays. For a lot of people, it’s a stretch to get here in the evening.
After a stressful couple weeks leading up to Round 2, we got our second shipment of the new DS Racing – Comp III LF-5 tires. These are the new spec tire for Super-G R/C Drift Arena. We were extremely pleased with the new tires. A little less side-bite and forward-bite, but still extremely well balanced traction. The new tires are considerably more consistent in shape and handling characteristics through different temperatures, and break-in is very quick. Some have claimed 5-10 minutes, I have found after about 5 laps they are good to go.
The judges for the event were the usual suspects, Shaine Collins and Manny Campalans alongside of myself. They did an outstanding job as always. Huge thanks going out to these guys for making it happen.
Qualifying The qualifying for Round 2 had some great runs! Even the beginners were putting down some good runs, but there were 2 that really stood out among the rest, Jason Fordyce (Team Futaba USA / RawFew) and Mikko Yang (Team ReveD / Team D-Style). Jason had pulled off TQ last round, so Mikko knew he needed to really turn up the wick this time. It was so close, we had a tie at 86 points each. We went to a single run tie-breaker. Jason put down a near perfect lap. It was really a mind blowing run! Next up was Mikko and he puts down an equally as impressive lap! Both were pulling off insane 90 deg wall-ride entries that were so close to the wall everyone was holding their breath, waiting to see that bounce that never happened.
This time around Jason turned up the intensity and went hard. Mikko answered back just as aggressively pulling off the same runs again! Unfortunately for Jason, he went a little too aggressive on his run and had some contact, giving Mikko an extremely hard fought for win and one of the most deserved TQs I think we have witnessed to date! It was nuts!
Tsuiso Battles The Expert class came down to Alan Benites (Team Zenshin), Mikko Yang (Team ReveD / Team D-Style), Alfredo Chan II (Tech 1 Drift), and Aydin Angulo (Team Zenshin) for your Top 4.
First up was Alfredo vs. Aydin battling for 3rd and 4th spot. Both put down great runs, but Aydin had some contact on his chase, giving Alfredo the win and 3rd spot on the podium!
Then it was down to Alan and Mikko. Alan was the winner of Round 1 and Mikko being TQ of the day and the US Drift King, we knew we were in for a treat! Mikko’ s lead was what was to be expected, a blistering run, with Alan hot on his door! Both drivers were well aware of what needed to be done in the next run. Alan takes the lead with Mikko on the chase! Alan puts down an amazing lead with Mikko giving him serious pressure! Then at the Scale Reflex Tire Stack (a barrier on the inside of a high-speed turn) Mikko made a very slight miscalculation and gave it a nudge. This was enough to give Alan the win, and Mikko a solid Second Place!
Congratulations to First Place – Alan (Team Zenshin), Second Place – Mikko Yang (Team ReveD / Team D-Style), and Third Place – Alfredo Chan III (Tech 1 Drift).
Sportsman Class was full of exciting battles as well! We all love watching the growth of our newer competitors as they earn their wings and become seasoned experts.
Congratulations to First Place and graduating to Expert Class – Eddie Reyes, Second Place – Dennis Hemmen, and Third Place – Jason Popp!
Round 3 SoCal Region is Saturday, April 10, 2021. See You There!!!
This past weekend we finally kicked off the Super Drift Championship 2021 Series here in SoCal. With 2020 being what it was, and 2021 still falling inline with more of the same, we were sure what to expect. I can say I was surprised and impressed all at the same time.
Since we weren’t sure what the turnout would be, we prepared for a good sized group. We set up designated driving spots around the track at 6 feet apart. We were able to get 20+ driving spots while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Everyone respected this and throughout the day we noticed the group was self-policing themselves. Everyone wore their masks and sanitized often. Great job guys!
The tires. As we approached the season opener, there was a surge of tire sales. Most likely due to tracks opening up around the nation. One of our other regions needed tires, and since we had another shipment on the way, we dipped into our stash to make it happen for them. I was tracking our shipment and it would make it to us with plenty of time to spare. As the days passed, I realized it wasn’t moving and it was stuck in Texas. I’m assuming due to the extreme weather conditions there. I contacted Jerell at Desert Hobbies and luckily he had a few sets he could sell us, but we only had a day to get them. (I was panicking). The homie Ted Britt (Team Bubblemilk / T.E.D. Totally Excellent Drifts) lives in Arizona where the tires were. I told him the situation and within hours he was picking up the tires and they were on the way to Super-G! Ted saved the day! Thanks Ted!
For those who are not aware, each of the rounds are separate competitions. Although we keep track of the points earned, they only come into play at the end of the season. So anyone can join the comps at anytime. For the SoCal Region we have 8 regionals scheduled. To qualify for the The Finals in October, you need to participate in a minimum of 6 if you want to qualify by participation. Also, each podium finisher in the Expert Class and the Regional Champion qualify as well.
The judges for the event were Shaine Collins and Manny Campalans judging along side myself. It was nice to get back at it. Huge thanks to Shaine and Manny, as anyone who has judged a comp knows how stressful it can be.
The qualifying rounds went really well and it was obvious during practice everyone knocked the cobwebs off and were back with some serious skills. Even the first timers were doing great! In the first sweeper we have a long zone that spanned the entire sweep, many had a hard time scoring full points in this area, but one person in particular nailed it! With an aggressive entry and riding the wall the entire zone, Jason Fordyce (Team Futaba USA / RawFew) landed TQ (Top Qualifier) with a blistering 95/100. Followed by Shaine Collins (Team D-Style) with a 87/100, and Aydin Angulo (Team Zenshin) with a 81/100. Congratulations to Jason Fordyce for TQ of the event!
The battles were intense for Round 1. If this is any indication of what is to come, there will be some world class drifting going on this season! Even the newer guys have stepped it up to a level that is unexpected.
The Top 4 came down to Alan Benites (Team Zenshin) and Mikko Yang (Team ReveD / Team D-Style) for 1st and 2nd, and Jason Fordyce (Team Futaba USA / RawFew) and Shaine Collins (Team D-Style) for 3rd and 4th.
First up was Jason vs Shaine. These guys threw down some amazing runs! It was really some of the best driving I have seen so far. On Shaine’s lead, he flicked extremely hard into the sweeper, but Jason was able to answer right back and was mere inches off Shaine’s door going in. Shaine’s lead was as close as you could get to a perfect lead, with Jason’s chase being about as good as a chase gets. Then it was Jason’s lead. Jason throws this HUGE initiation into the sweeper and is on the wall well before the sweeper even begins. Shaine was right on Jason’s door, but was unable to get on the wall to match Jason’s chase. The rest of Jason’s lead was as close to Shaine’s as it gets, but how Jason handled the sweeper both on his chase and lead gave him the edge, and the victory!
Then it was time for the finals, Alan vs. Mikko (The 2020 Drift King!) Both Alan and Mikko threw down some amazing lead runs. It all came down to the chases, and Alan was able to lock it down with a better chase and tighter proximity. This gave Alan the win and the lead in points for the SDC 2021 Series!
Congratulations to First Place – Alan Benites (Team Zenshin) Second Place – Mikko Yang (Team ReveD / Team D-Style) Third Place – Jason Fordyce (Team Futaba USA / RawFew)
Congratulations to Gerald Maugeri for taking the win and graduating to the Expert Class!
First Place – Gerald Maugeri Second Place – Jose Juarez Third Place – David Sissum III
Usukani for years has been one of the most under-rated manufacturers in the R/C Drift Scene. In talking to various people, it seems to stem back from when they were first getting their start a few years back. There were a couple products that just didn’t hit quite right and seems to have put some off a bit. At the same time, I have known people who own Usukani chassis, and they have always loved them. I had finally broke down and gave the PDSR-SE a chance and was instantly won over. Usukani has just released their latest version of the PDS, the PDS MIX. I grabbed one and got to building.
From everything I had seen about the PDS MIX I thought it was going to be a mid-motor version of the PDSR-SE, that ended up to not be the case. One thing I have always been told about Usukani is they are always evolving and improving. This seems to be the case, as there were a couple things I felt could be improved on the PDSR-SE, but nothing worth noting. When I started building the PDS MIX, I was pleased to see they were addressed.
The first thing I noticed was the chassis deck itself was very different than I expected. The trend recently has been ridged decks. The PDS MIX chassis was noticeably thinner than most and flexible. The rear section where the gearbox and rear suspension mount to had been cut narrow deep into the chassis itself. This reminded me of back in the CS days where people were cutting their chassis for added traction. Engineered flex, this has really sparked my interest. With the top bracing added, there is no flex front to rear, but there is noticeable twist.
The front end for the most part has not changed in regard to functionality. It’s a design that really agrees with me since I’m a fan of the no nonsense approach.
Previously the upper control arms were only supported on the front side. It never caused me any issues, but it just never felt right to me mentally. The PDS MIX addresses this with the addition of a rear supporting brace. Minimalistic, but effective. It has put my mind at ease if nothing else. They have also changed the fastening for the front lower control arm assembly. Now instead of using a through screw, they are using a notch and set screw. I believe this will eliminate the chance of it loosening over time.
I have installed the optional IFS (Inboard Front Suspension) since I have become accustom to this system from the Overdose Galm and the PDSR-SE. I have grown to prefer this type of suspension. Being able to adjust ride height independent of shock length and preload work well for me. Not to mention having the added clearance up front doesn’t hurt. The Usukani IFS works really well, so I see no drawbacks.
One of my favorite features, the adjustable servo mounting position. Quick adjustment of steering geometry.
While we are on the subject of servos, those of you who wish to use the ReveD servo may run into issues. It’s a well known fact the servo is taller and has been having issues in some chassis. The PDS MIX is one where it’s not just a drop in. It appears it can be made to work with some shims, but I’m not quite sure how well since it will lose the positioning provided with the Usukani servo mount.
The PDS MIX front steering knuckle is very light weight. It has 0, 6, and 12 degree KPI options. Note the steering stop. It is easy to adjust, light weight, and effective.
Closed gearbox with inline gears. Usukani now has a gear diff that utilizes straight gears rather than bevel gears that are traditionally used. It seems to work well, but time will tell how durable it is.
The battery holder is very light weight and effective at the same time. I am definitely a fan of this.
The PDS MIX can be configured with the motor in the high or low position, as well as many different battery placement options. This should appeal to both the high and low motor people out there. I always gravitate to the low mount (Low Center of Gravity) setups since it fits my driving style better. I can drive both ways, but always prefer low mount for some reason. I have built 2 PDS MIXs to compare, and again have found the LCG setup to my liking.
The factory supplied dampers. I will be the first to admit whenever I see sandpaper included to sand any burrs off, it’s a quick pass for me. This was no different and I jumped immediately to my personal setup to test the chassis itself. However, when it came to testing the kit as it comes, I had to take the time to build them and see for myself. The dampers are not that bad, in fact, they are very smooth and more than acceptable. There are worse aluminum dampers out there. There are small burrs that need to be removed from the side of the pistons, but if done correctly, the results are really good. It took maybe 2-4 light swipes directly on the burr itself and it was perfectly smooth. I didn’t go by sight, but by feel. If I could feel it by running my nail over it, it was still there. When it was not detectable, then I knew it was smooth. For a plastic shock, they are surprisingly good. I have no issues with them.
I have 2 setups to test, High Motor and Low Motor. I am always very partial to low motor.
For the Low Motor setup I chose the Futaba CT700 Servo, Futaba GYD550 Gyro, Futaba MC970CR ESC, Overdose/Acuvance 10.5T Motor, and paired it up with my Futaba 7PXR Remote. This is my go to setup and one I am very familiar with. For the High Motor setup I chose the same, but with a Acuvance Xarvis ESC and Acuvance Agile 10.5T.
Enough talk, so how does this thing slide?
The first thing that I noticed was there was a lot more side bite than I had expected. Not just from this chassis, but any chassis. I believe this is due to the added flex in the lower deck. I would say it is safe to assume this was the intended result from the chassis design. The LCG setup was definitely to my liking and I found myself impressed with the agility that comes with this setup. The optional IFS setup worked as it should and I found myself not wanting to stop driving since I was enjoying the feel of this chassis so much. I should disclose the setup I used was what I have come to use on the PDSR-SE and not the setup from the instructions. The testing this time around was more about how well will this chassis performs rather than how does it drive out of the box.
The HCG setup felt like the typical High Motor chassis, with the added side grip. It drives as expected and is definitely a solid chassis. For those who are accustomed to the HCG chassis, I’m sure you will feel right at home.
Overall, this chassis really agrees with me and my driving style. Coming in at just over $300, this may be the best Bang for the Buck! The necessary changes I would recommend are using different ball cups (I used Yokomo), as the Usukani ball cups leave a lot to be desired (you have been warned), and possibly dampers at some point, but not really necessary. Some may argue there are good chassis available at $100, but definitely not at this quality. Full carbon and aluminum with decent shocks and gear diff. Even at the $200 price point, you are barely getting into a plastic chassis. Since I have built the PDS MIX, quite a few people have been able to test drive it. I will just end this by saying the Usukani PDS MIX has been flying off the shelves here.
You have seen the videos, you have kind of checked a few groups on Facebook, and you have visited you local hobby shop. Now you are ready to pick up your first Drift chassis.
WAIT! DO NOT BUY ANYTHING UNTIL YOU READ THIS! Especially an AWD Chassis that “You Want to Convert”
Whatever you do, do not run out and buy what your local hobby shop tells you until you make sure they are up on the latest trends in R/C Drift. I’m not saying don’t support your local hobby shop, what I am saying is make sure you are picking up the right stuff. If they don’t have a decent supply of CURRENT R/C Drift Chassis and accessories, please do more research. It’s not like it was years ago where you buy a good touring car chassis and throw plastic tires on it. That’s not where R/C Drift is at any longer.
R/C Drift isn’t about Touring Cars with Plastic Tires R/C Drift has evolved into it’s own segment of R/C, and just like On-Road, Off-Road, Touring Car, Drag, etc. they all have their own purpose built chassis. Picking up an older AWD (All Wheel Drive) Touring Car and wanting to convert it to drift, is like picking up an Off-Road Buggy and wanting to convert it. Yes, you’ll have fun, but will you be competitive in the end? The simple answer is no, and you will live to regret your purchase. You will be left with 2 choices, buy a dedicated Drift Chassis, or quit. You may hear differently, but of all the people we have seen go this route, we have yet to see them stick with that particular chassis only.
This is for the person just getting into R/C Drift If you jump on Facebook and ask, you will get a lot of information. Like anything else, you will hear good and bad. Being a beginner, how do you know which to listen to and disregard. You really don’t. My objective here is to break it down into the simplest terms. I will try to keep it as beginner friendly as possible, saving the technical side of things for later so it doesn’t get overwhelming. We get beginners here at Super-G daily, so I understand the challenges you are facing.
Where Do I Start? The first thing you need to do is set a realistic budget. Starting is at about $400. Any less and you may want to reconsider R/C Drift. It is probably the cheapest of all the R/C disciplines to be into, but don’t mistake that with being able to do it without any type of investment.
Buying Used There is nothing wrong with buying used gear, but as with anything else in this world, you really need to know what you are buying. More times than not, the people selling used on Offer Up and Craigs List are off loading what hasn’t worked for them. For the more experienced R/C Drifter, there are some deals to be had, but for someone with little to no knowledge, there is a good chance you will be buying something you will regret sooner than you realize. From what I have seen come to our track, I really wish more people would just buy new and get something they can use. I’m not saying buy from us, I’m saying a solid foundation makes for a more enjoyable experiences. Nobody likes feeling like they threw their money away. Sadly we get people coming in telling us “This is a good one right, it’s Yokomo”. It was good about 6 years ago, but now it’s obsolete. I can’t stress this enough, You need to know what you are buying.
RTR (Ready To Run) In the RTR game right now, it seems MST has the market cornered. This looks like it will be changing soon, but at the moment, this is your only choice.
For someone just getting into R/C Drift, I would only recommend going the RTR route for 2 reasons: If your budget will only allow you spend $400ish to get in, AND you don’t see the available funds increasing in the next month or so to allow you to get a kit and separate electronics. Or you are not serious and don’t want to spend more than around $400 to get a car to drift around.
Other than that, I would strongly recommend getting a kit and better electronics. The electronics that come in the RTR kit are the very basic components to get you going, but nothing you will use to continue your journey into R/C Drift. You will replace ALL of the electronics sooner than you would like to believe. You would have basically spent $200 on electronics you will never use again.
You will find a lot of “Stuff” for sale out there. Some of the hobby shops that have been around for awhile aren’t in tune with what has changed in the R/C Drift scene in the past few years, so they might try to sell you a AWD “Drift” car. That’s not something you want to pick up. The trend for the past few years has been RWD (Rear Wheel Drive) and they are designed for R/C Drift from the ground up.
What are Low Mount, High Mount, Rear Mount Motors What is the difference and why do you care? This is something that has a lot to do with personal preference and it seems overtime people form strong opinions. What works for some doesn’t work for others. This is something you will actually need to figure out for yourself after you become a proficient driver. As a beginner in R/C Drift, none are easier or harder to drive, despite what you may hear.
Low Mount Motor Low Motor or Low Center of Gravity setups are the more traditional type. They have the motor and battery set low on the chassis. The tendency is for quicker transitions and the need to “force” the rear end to stay out.
High Mount Motor High Motor or Weight Shift setups are where the weight of the motor is put up high. It causes the weight of the motor to transfer to the outside as you transition. In theory providing more traction on the outside wheels. It has a tendency to “keep moving” once the transition has begun. At least more so than the Low Mounted Motors generally.
Rear Mount Motor Rear Motor setups can be both high and low setup. Since the weight is over the rear of the chassis, and behind the rear axles, it typically puts more weight on the rear wheels which translates into faster exit speeds. It has a tendency to have a “pendulum” effect where the rear wants to swing more and typically has slower transitions. They can handle similar to the Low and High motor setups with the correct tuning.
Again, as a beginner these probably wont make a huge difference in your driving. Most beginners adapt to what they have since they haven’t had the experience that provides them with any type of style. If you have a local track you plan to drive at, the best advice I can give is to go there and see what everyone there is driving. Having the same chassis as the majority of the people you will be driving with will make your entry into R/C Drift so much easier.
Base, Mid-Range, Fully Upgraded As you step into the chassis game, you will find there are many different options. To make it simple, you have 3 levels. Each step up gives you better performance and a good savings on the upgrades they come with. Everyone in the hobby is constantly upgrading for the most part, so if you are looking to save a bit, you should take this into consideration. Just to give you an idea, if you start with a base model YD2S and upgrade individually to a YD2SXIII, you will spend approximately $300 more than if you would have purchased the YD2SXIII initially. The mid-range kits offer a little more value and will get you started in the right direction.
Base Of the above listed chassis, the 3Racing Sakura D5 (Rear Motor), MST RMX 2.0s (Low and High Adjustable Motor), MST RRX (Rear Motor) and the Yokomo YD2E (Low Motor) and YD2S (High Motor) are your base models. These are all mostly plastic and the shocks will get you by. Most people start upgrading these chassis almost immediately. 3Racing Sakura D5 MST RMX 2.0 MST RMX 2.0 (With Body) Yokomo YD2 E Yokomo YD2 S Price Range: $100-$220
Mid-Range In the Mid-Range category we have the Yokomo YD2 E+ and YD2 S+. These come with Carbon Fiber Decks, Aluminum Shock Towers, and Upgraded Shocks. These provide better value for your money as you will save on the upgrades you will most likely do right away if you purchase the base models. The shocks they come with are the same ones that the fully upgraded models come with which is a definite plus. Yokomo YD2 S Plus Yokomo YD2 E Plus Price Range: $370-$400
Fully Upgraded The Fully Upgraded chassis are the most bang for the buck as you typically save at least 30% when compared to starting with a Base Model and doing all the upgrades. The Yokomo YD2 EXII and Yokomo YD2 SXIII are the latest Yokomo has to offer. These are basically 80% upgraded with Carbon Fiber, Aluminum Parts, Upgraded Shocks, and also include the upgraded steering system (Slide Rack) which most prefer. Also in this list is the Usukani PDS. This chassis kit is only available as a fully hopped up kit. I would recommend upgrading the shocks for the full package since the included shocks do leave something to be desired. Usukani PDSR-SE Usukani PDS-MIX Yokomo YD2 EXII Yokomo YD2 SXIII Price Range: $550-$600 (Yokomo) $350 (Usukani)
The radio system you choose will most likely follow you around through many different chassis. Most people change chassis often (once a year or more) and most people will keep their radio for 2-3 years, depending on which one they have. Once they get to the top of the line remote, they are usually content, but then again, there’s nowhere left to go. A good rule of thumb is, You get what you pay for. This isn’t more true than when it comes to your radio system.
Just remember, this is the only link between you and your car. A poor radio system can ruin the experience for you.
Entry-Level For the entry-level remotes, I would not recommend anything less than the Futaba 3PV or the Sanwa MX-V. I would go as far as to say I would not recommend any other brands. Flysky and Spektrum have been proven to be problematic and lead to issues a beginner just doesn’t need to contend with. I have seen both the Futaba and Sanwa entry-level radios on the podium here at Super-G many times. At this level, anything less and you are not saving much. You will be far better off saving that extra $50 to get one of the recommended entry-level radios listed here. Futaba 3PV Sanwa MX-V Price Range: $95-$130
Mid-Range In the mid-range category you will find the Futaba 4PM and the Sanwa MT-S. Both of these radios will have all the functions you will need in R/C Drift. The feel is typically better than the entry-level systems and work well. Futaba 4PM Sanwa MT-S Sanwa MT-44 Price Range: $290-$380
High-End The high-end radio systems are the cream of the crop. Here you will find the Futaba 7PXR and the Sanwa M-17. Both of these are extremely nice setups and have very fast reaction speeds. They can do everything you need for R/C Drift and a whole lot more. Color Touch Screens, Telemetry, and the ability to make changes to your car on the fly are just some of the extras that make the high-end radio systems worth it. Futaba 7PXR Sanwa M-17 Price Range: $550-$600
Forget what your common sense tells you. R/C Drift has been evolving and if there is one thing that confuses people just getting into it is the motors. R/C Drift is a game of traction or lack of it. So everyone is trying to milk every last bit of traction out of their tires. Imaging you are driving on ice. Do you want the fastest engine, or the most controllable? If you are just spinning your wheels as fast as you can, you will have no traction at all. Same with R/C Drift. Unless you are on carpet, then that’s a different story.
10.5T, 13.5T 10.5T and 13.5T are the most popular motors at the moment. Basically the 10.5T is a higher revving motor and the 13.5T is lower revving, but more torque. This is a preference thing, but generally the 13.5T will be less touchy and easier to control wheel speed/spin. Keep in mind, a faster motor does NOT translate to a faster car. Let me repeat that, a faster motor does NOT translate to a faster car.
Adjustable Timing The lower-end motors are usually non-adjustable timing, and the higher-end motors are usually adjustable. This means you can give the motor more or less “umph”. It allows more fine tuning and is very helpful as you progress.
This is the one place where the beginners tend to underestimate what they will ultimately want from their first setup. There are many different flavors out there, and they all have their place. The big misconception a lot of beginners have is Boost and Turbo is for advanced drivers, so they don’t need it “right now”. I would say usually in the first month or so they start asking how they can get “that sound” and they start on a mission to get an ESC with Boost and Turbo.
Boost and Turbo Boost and Turbo are the electronic method of advancing the timing on your motor. Boost works off of RPM. When your motor reaches the RPM you choose, it starts to advance your timing and makes the motor spin faster. This allows you to have a mild motor in the lower RPMs where you are trying to maximize your traction, but giving you more RPM up top when you may want to spin your wheels. Turbo is trigger activated. When you want to get that extra wheel spin, you pull full throttle and the timing will advance and you will get an instant increase in RPM. Helpful when you want to get the back out more, or hold angle but slow down. ESC’s with Boost and Turbo have their advantages and you will wish you had it if you don’t get it.
Amps Amp rating let’s you know how much the ESC can deliver. For most applications it solely based on how much the motor itself draws. In R/C Drift people run Boost and Turbo, as well as various light kits and anything else they can think of. Also, the higher the amp rating, the better they are at dissipating heat. The best way to look at it is, you can have a car that is capable of 80 mph max compared to a car that is capable of 180 mph. If you run both of them at 80 mph, the car capable of the higher speed will run cooler and with less strain. Anything over 60 amps will be fine with whatever you throw at it in R/C Drift, but it doesn’t hurt to have more.
Capacitor All ESCs come with a stock capacitor. The capacitor stores energy and can quickly discharge it when needed. So if your battery cannot discharge fast enough to supply the motor with the power needed, the motor will slow, lights will dim or flicker, and in some cases the ESC will reset or turn off. Since all the power comes from the ESC, a power-hungry servo, lights, and such can all exceed what the battery can provide. This is when you want to run an upgraded capacitor. I always run a good quality capacitor that keeps my car on for a few seconds after I unplug it. This ensures my power delivery wont be interrupted.
There are many different servos to choose from, and they all have different characteristics for the most part. Presently there are 2 different approaches, Slower moving and Quicker moving.
Slower Servo The recent trend has been for a few companies to release “Drift” servos which have a slower movement. This reduces shaking and twitchiness. Some feel Drift doesn’t need fast servos, where as others prefer being more in control of what the car is doing. Some slower servos are: Yokomo SP-02 D, SP-03 D, and the ReveD RS-ST. Presently, the ReveD RS-ST seems to be a favorite among the people who prefer the slower servo type. As a beginner, your preference will probably be determined by which servo you start out with.
Quicker Servo If you are from the old school, you will most likely feel more at home with a quicker servo. I have found for myself, when I need the servo to turn slower, I naturally turn the wheel slower to “Drive” the front wheels, but there are instances where I rely on the reaction to be snappy. I know a good amount of people who feel this way as well. So it really all depends on preference. The Quicker servos are the KO Propo RSx3 One-10 Ver. D, Savox 1251MG, Futaba CT500 (Not Released) and CT700. Again, as a beginner you will probably become accustomed to which ever you start out with.
Programable Servos The latest trend is for the servos to have the ability to be programmed (Tuned). This allows the user to change different parameters such as speed, torque, as well as many other settings. Keep in mind, each servo has it’s limits, so just because you can program them, it doesn’t mean they can all perform the same. I have found the CT700 can mimic just about all of the servos since it has such high speed and high torque, but that comes with a steep price tag. You will also need some considerable knowledge to be able to take advantage. I would suggest leaving any programming until you are really proficient at R/C Drift.
Servos are one of those things where they can be as cheap as $12 and as much as $250. Metal gear and higher torque usually means a more durable Servo. Torque above 110g and Speed faster than 11ms is about the minimum I would recommend. Servos less than $40 tend to be more problems than they are worth.
Yes you need one. The gyro is one of the main components that will affect the way your car drives. There are a few different options, but again as a beginner, as long as it works well, you should be good to go. Not all Gyros are built the same, so it’s not as simple as just picking the best looking one and going for it.
Entry-Level The earlier Gyros were very basic in the way they work. They are preset to keep you from spinning and you add more or less as needed. A lot has changed from the days of this type of Gyro, but there is really nothing wrong with them. There are better performing options out there now days, but as a beginner these will get you going. The D-Like Gyro (Both metal and plastic housing) and the Yokomo YG-302 seem to bet the standard. There are other branded versions of these same Gyros with little to no difference in performance from what I have found. None of these have End Point Adjustment with makes them entry-level. Onisiki High Stability Gyro D-Like DL159 D-Like Premium DL182 Yokomo YG-302 Price Range: $40-$75
Mid-Range The Mid-Range Gyros are the generation where they introduced Endpoint Adjustment. This means the Gyro wont try to slam your servo to 100% left or right every time it feels the need to do so. Now you set where the Gyro will stop. This also allows the Gyro to operate in the correct range. Some of these mid-range gyros also have different modes such as Assist or ACVS mode. This is a different type of mode and a different style of driving. Some recommend that for beginners, others say to stay away from it, yet even other seasoned drivers use it. So you need to decide for yourself. The KO Propo KGX, Yokomo V.4, and the Futaba GYD450 are all popular Gyros. Power HD G1 Yokomo V.4 (Black)V.4 (Red)V.4 (Purple) KO Propo KG-X Price Range: $50-$75
High-End Recently Futaba released their GYD550 Gyro. This gyro has created its own class since it has put the ability to program just about every parameter into the users hands. To take it a step further, Futaba made it programable from your remote, as long as you are using Futaba’s 7PX or 7PXR. I would not recommend this as it is a advanced option and without knowledge of what you would want, this will no doubt create issues for any beginner. I am simply listing this so I can say this is something you may consider in the future, but as a beginner should be passed for now. Futaba GYD550 Price Range: $130
For the beginner I recommend something in the Mid-Range area. Yokomo V.4 or Futaba GYD450 are great choices. The KO Propo KGX is a little more of an advanced Gyro, but still falls into the same category.
Conclusion In the world of R/C Drift, there are as many variables as there are opinions. The needs of a beginner are a little more in-depth than just what is the best? As with any hobby there are entry-level to super advanced options. Sometimes it’s not the best route to get everything high-end since sometimes it takes experience to be able to utilize what the advanced equipment has to offer. There are a lot of times we see beginners leading beginners and taking them down the wrong path with them, and as a beginner it’s almost impossible to know who really knows and who doesn’t. The purpose behind this article is to try to give the beginner some sort of understanding of what they are getting into and not blindly trying to sort their way through all the accurate and not so accurate information floating around out there. The quickest way to become discouraged is to buy a bunch of equipment, only to find out you need to scrap it and start over.
Legendary That seems to be the most fitting way I can start this off. The Overdose HG (High Grade) Dampers have just been released in their Version 3 form. It’s no secret, I’m a huge fan of these dampers. For me, it is the standard in which all other dampers are compared. I have yet to find another damper which even comes close in my opinion. That is not to say there are no other dampers which perform as well, but when it comes to performance, design, and build quality, the OD HGs are second to none. Let’s take a look at the version 3s.
Attention to Detail If you are familiar with Overdose products, you are aware the attention to detail is incredible. The v.3s are no exception. The time around OD has machined the Spring Retainers and Shock Caps for a more unique look. Not to mention, weight savings. Another feature of the new design which I like is being able to see the top of the shocks though the newly cut windows in the cap. This helps when you are adjusting the shock length to see exactly where things are at. Another difference I found when comparing to the v.2s is the v.3s are now shipping with 6 hole .6mm pistons which is what most of us would purchase along with our HGs to begin with. Looks like Overdose has been listening.
Quality Overdose quality stands above the rest and the v.3s don’t disappoint. In fact, I didn’t see a difference in the overall design other than cosmetic. Then again, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. The HG shocks have some of the tightest tolerances I have come across in the R/C Drift game. So much so, you MUST use their specially formulated shock fluids. When I first became familiar with the HG dampers, I picked up some MST #5 Mineral Oil since I didn’t have any OD fluid. What a mistake! Using the MST shock fluid didn’t allow the shock to compress at all. As it turns out, OD partnered with Wako Chemical to produce their special formula for use in their HG Dampers. It is claimed to not attack the O-Rings as aggressively as the other shock fluids, as well as to maintain it’s viscosity with the changes in temperature. I have found my dampers will last a year or more with no noticeable change in performance.
The Assembly If you don’t like E-Clips, then you will love OD HG Dampers. They use a screw to hold the piston in place instead of using 2 E-Clips. If you are like I am, and you swap pistons often, you will appreciate this feature. Another feature is everything loads from the bottom, piston and shaft included. Every component is of the highest quality, something I really appreciate.
Adjustability I have heard a few people complain about adjusting Overdose HG Dampers, and I can never figure out what they are talking about. The only conclusion I can come to is they are not using them correctly, because of the many sets I have owned, they have all been great.
Overdose give us an adjustable top which has an O-Ring inside to keep slight pressure on the threads and keeps it from free spinning. I use the adjustable shock length often, and this is a huge feature for me since I can use this to corner-balance rather than to use the preload adjustment (That’s a topic for another discussion). In addition, they also have a locking screw on the preload collars. This is genius since the preload collars can be very loose (Easy to turn) when adjusting, but snugged up once the preload is set. This translates into extremely easy preload adjustment, but also once the collars are snugged up, it provides a easy place to get a grip on to adjust the damper length. It also provides a great reference point for adjusting either.
NOTE: When using the locking screws, they just need to be “snug” they are small screws and are not meant to be cranked down on. Also, if you leave them completely loose and take a couple laps to test, the screws will be gone the next time you look at them. You have been warned.
My Favorite Feature If there were 1 single feature of the HGs that I feel puts it over the top for me, it is the design of the body itself, and the method for closing up the dampers. With all other dampers, the bladder itself has many different ways to be installed. Everyone has their own method that works for them, (Some better than others) but the HGs are fool-proof.
Step 1 – Fill with Overdose Damper Fluid. I won’t bore you guys with what you should already know, so just make sure you get the air out and fill just OVER the ledge inside. I have found I don’t need to use a shock vac for these.
Step 2 – Insert the bladders and gently submerge them. Allow the fluid to come over the top edge and inside of the bladder. DO NOT press the inside surface of the bladder, ONLY the thick outer edge. Otherwise you will force excess fluid out and over the bladder, and you will have uneven dampers.
Step 2 Continued. Note, just the thick edges, never the middle. Make sure the bladder is resting completely flat on the ledge.
Step 3 – Use a piece of tissue or paper towel to soak up the fluid FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE BLADDER. NEVER SOAK IT UP FROM THE EDGES. If you soak up from the edges, it will wick fluid from underneath the bladder and cause air to be introduced to your dampers.
Step 3 Continued. Remember, only soak up the fluid from the middle of the bladder.
Step 4 – Install Caps. It’s a simple process since the bladders are set inside of the shock body, and there is no way you can mess this step up. Just gently thread in the cap and tighten it down. Since you aren’t fidgeting around with the separate bladders, caps, and shock mounts, all while trying to make sure the bladder doesn’t move, it’s the most fool-proof design I’ve used so far.
Conclusion The Overdose High Grade Dampers are my favorite, hands down. I appreciate the build quality, tight tolerances, and the functionality. They are extremely consistent, which is something that separates my top damper choices from the rest. The Version 3 seems to be a cosmetic update and for those who love Overdose, will find these to be a must have. Overdose listened to what the people wanted, and now provides their dampers with what is likely the most popular configuration for the pistons. Some have said there is a 1mm increase in length. Unfortunately I cannot confirm or deny this, as someone bought my v.2s before I could measure. Overdose quality, engineering, and design. Yes, I am a fan. They are a little pricey, but this is one product I feel I can see where my money has gone.
3 Racing recently hit the scene with their latest offering, the Sakura D5. People quickly began building them and seemed to be really happy with the performance right out of the box. Coming in at what is the cheapest price point for any hobby grade chassis, we quickly saw the D5 become the recommended chassis for anyone inquiring about which chassis a beginner should get. From our experience, initial price shouldn’t be the only consideration, and possibly not even the main consideration, so I decided to build one and see if I would recommend it as eagerly as I have been witnessing over the past month or so.
At the price of just over $100 USD, it’s hard to argue this chassis isn’t a smoking deal. At the same time, the cheapest price doesn’t always coincide with the best deal. I decided to step away from my typical build style and venture into the more budget-minded approach. I chose to go with what I would recommend as a good starting point. Decent servo, mid-grade gyro, motor with adjustable timing, and a ESC (electronic speed control) capable of boost and turbo. This isn’t the cheapest stuff I could find, but more about getting some good performance without going all high-end.
The Kit The kit itself is as good as any other kit. Nothing really stands out to me one way or the other. For someone building a kit for the first time, I can definitely recommend it. The parts are well sorted, instructions are clear and straight forward, and there was nothing difficult.
Quality There are a few areas where I found myself very conflicted. The quality of the D5 kit doesn’t appear to be all that bad, especially when you consider how much heft you still have in your wallet. As I was building the D5 I found myself constantly thinking, “This isn’t bad”. When I think back, I feel I should have been thinking, “This isn’t bad FOR THE PRICE”, because I don’t think I would be thinking this if I had paid the same as a YD2, RMX, or any other hobby grade chassis. I still have to say, it’s not bad.
3 Racing has an interesting design here with the rear lower control arms. I wasn’t quite sure what the reasoning was behind it, but as I’m sitting here writing this, I don’t think it was for any type of weight savings. When compared to an all plastic control arm, I feel the added screws would put these over on the weight. I can’t be certain at the moment, but I can’t see it being weight savings.
As the chassis started coming together, I was able to really see what I was working with. For the beginner, the fiberglass chassis will look great. It has a nice shape to it and resembles what most other chassis look like. It’s not bad, but again this is not a high-end chassis either.
The completed chassis looks pretty good appearance wise. The cantilever front suspension isn’t bad. Being the decks themselves are fiberglass rather than carbon allows it to have a good amount of flex. The shocks went together better than expected for a kit of this price.
If I had any one complaint, I would say I don’t care for the gear box. I feel the gears are a little rough and a bit loud.
With the motor in place, the weight seems to be a little far back for my taste. Again, it’s not bad for the price.
The Test Build For the Sakura D5 I have chosen: Savox Black Edition Servo, Yokomo V.4 Gyro, Hobbywing XR10 Pro 60 amp ESC, and a Yokomo Zero 2 13.5T motor. Everything was built to stock spec and the only thing I changed were the wheels and tires since I was going to be testing it here at Super-G and we require DS Racing FFFF Zero Mark II tires.
How Does It Perform Taking the price into consideration, it drives fantastic! How is it compared to the other offerings? It’s decent. With out of the box settings, it drives. With a little tuning, it actually is surprisingly good.
So Is It Really Is “The Best” For The Beginners? Now I didn’t say that. Since we deal with a lot of first timers, we are very familiar with the struggles they face. I think the best way to look at it is to break it down into a few different categories.
RTR The RTR (Ready To Run) at the moment is only offered by MST with the RMX RTR. It comes fully built with electronics. The electronics from start to end are all Entry Level and if you want to continue with the hobby, you will need to upgrade ALL OF THE ELECTRONICS. However, the RTR RMX chassis is the same chassis as you would get with the RMX 2.0s Kit with a few small differences, but overall is a chassis that can grow with you. Price: $350 approx.
Sakura D5 with Mid-Grade Electronics The Sakura D5 chassis comes as a kit. I always recommend anyone wanting to get into R/C in general to build the kit themselves. It teaches them a lot and you can always make the repairs you will absolutely need to make regardless of what car you have.
As I have tested the D5, it has Mid-Grade Electronics that can carry over into any chassis you may upgrade to in the future. This eliminates the downfall of the RTR in my opinion. So the money spent on the electronics is not wasted. The chassis on the other hand is another story.
The D5 chassis is inexpensive ($120ish) and does work out of the box. HOWEVER, none of the components are anything I would be wanting to take with me on my R/C Drift Journey. At least at the time I am writing this, there are really no upgrades available. So you get what you get. I feel the D5 is a great chassis for the price. I stress, for the price. However, I’m not a huge fan of the gearbox or any of the components for that matter. If you drop $100 into any upgrades, you could have spent the initial $120 toward a YD2 or RMX and would be continuing down a path toward a top quality chassis.
I believe $120 as an initial investment in the chassis is not a bad way to go. The reason I chose to test with the mid-grade electronics and not the RTR equivalent is I feel there would be no point to going that route, and would ultimately be a worse route than the RTR. With the mid-grade electronics, it’s not a bad way to go and gets you in with a minimum investment. You can easily slide into a better quality chassis and your electronics will still be sufficient. Price: $520 approx.
Yokomo YD2 or MST RMX 2.0s with Mid-Grade Electronics If you decide to purchase what most would consider the Entry Level Yokomo or MST chassis, you would get the YD2E or YD2S, or the MST 2.0s chassis. These are priced about $100 more than the Sakura D5, but are proven chassis and are very capable in their stock form. Their components will carry throughout the time you stick with any of these chassis, and all can be upgraded to fully upgraded versions of the respective chassis. This has been my recommendation to anyone just trying to get into R/C Drift since it is ultimately the most budget friendly route. Each component in this equation ends up being a stepping stone or investment toward a fully hopped up setup with nothing needing immediate upgrades. Price: $620 approx.
Conclusion The 3Racing Sakura D5 isn’t a bad chassis for the price. It works well and for most of us with multiple chassis, time into the hobby, and tuning tricks up our sleeves, it’s a great additional chassis. It’s fun, it works, and it’s affordable. It has strong rear motor characteristics, and the build quality isn’t the best. It can be tuned to be a real performer, so overall it’s a winner. I can say it’s definitely a fun chassis.
So the big question, is it the “Best” chassis for the person just getting into the hobby with no prior experience? I don’t think I can say it’s the best route, but it’s an optional route, and not a terrible one at that. It now gives that middle tier between the RTR and the base models with the mid-grade electronics.
In my opinion it’s pretty clear now, if you are looking to get into the hobby, (not just try it out) while spending the least amount possible. Based on being new and on a budget:
Recommended Starting Point: Mid-Grade Electronics with either a Yokomo YD2E or YD2S, or MST RMX 2.0sPrice: $620 approx.
Second Best: Mid-Grade Electronics with a Sakura D5 Price $520 approx. Total cost to get to “Recommended Starting Point” $720 approx. Parts needed = New Chassis such as YD2 or RMX
Most Affordable Starting Point: MST RTR RMX 2.0 Price $350 approx. Total cost to get to “Best Starting Point” $800+ approx. Parts needed = Servo, Gyro, Esc, Motor, Radio System, Misc. chassis parts.
Keep in mind, this is only my personal recommendation for someone basing their initial purchase on budget. There are many other aspects to take into consideration if initial cost isn’t a huge factor. This is all based on the experience I have had with people just getting into the hobby.
This past weekend here at Super-G we had the honor of providing the venue for Team D-Style’s Santa’s Shootout 2020. This was a real change of pace for me in particular since I took a backseat to Shaine and Mikko and let them make all the calls. As they say, too many cooks spoils the broth. I am a firm believer in this, so Shaine was the Chef in charge.
Earlier in the week, Shaine pulled on his experience from his travels in Japan to bring a Japan Comp style layout to The Arena. RawFew’s Nick Lepisto also came to help with the huge task of laying down the tape for the track. It’s an exhausting task and not fun to be perfectly honest. I was glad to see everyone was on the same page and gave Shaine full control and I must say he did not disappoint! This layout was definitely a different style than what we are used to, but for good reason, the style of competition is also different.
We were also excited to test out Super-G’s latest addition, the second floor. We constantly find ourselves in need of more pit space, so this seemed like the most logical move. More than that, it provided a place for the judges to observe the comps from. We (The Judges Shaine, Manny, and myself) were not sure what to expect since this was our first time judging from up top. All I can really say is it is a game changer! We went from averaging 10+ replay sessions per comp to aid in making the right call, to only 1. I am extremely pleased with this, and excited for the 2021 season. We have just leveled up on the judging game. Everyone can be assured the quality of judging has just made a huge jump.
With the COVID shutdowns in place again, we found ourselves missing one of the main dudes, the US Drift King, Mikko Yang (Team DSytle / Team ReveD). The RawFew quickly stepped up and handled all the other tasks that go along with hosting a comp. (Brackets, Tech, etc) It went as smoothly as expected, especially since this is nothing new to anyone here. Team DStyle is constantly working hand in hand with RawFew here at Super-G, and this was no exception.
Qualifying For this competition there were some differences from our usual Super Drift Championship Series we are used to here. There was heavy focus on the initial entry to the sweeper, and we were also allowing “some” contract with the walls and barriers. This brought out some wicked entries and some really gutsy moves. It wasn’t enough to just be able to drive smooth and exact, you needed to bring that style! Although many obviously came out to prove they can throw down, Aydin Angulo (Team Zenshin) threw down some mad qualifying runs and landed TQ (Top Qualifier) of the event! Slide Ti donated a cool titanium turnbuckle wrench for the TQ of the day!
Tsuiso Then came time for what this was all about, the tandem battles! A couple changes compared to what we normally look for was heavy emphasis on the initial entry to the sweeper, and we were allowing contact. The battles were really intense! It was clear there was some serious skills in the house!
It all came down to the Top 4, which by TDS standards, everyone in the Top 4 was taking home a trophy. The Top 4 was Alfredo Chan III (Tech1Drift) vs. Aydin Angulo (Team Zenshin) for 3rd and 4th, and Zerek Fewell (Slide Ti) vs. Jason Fordyce (RawFew / Team Futaba USA) for 1st and 2nd.
First up with Alfredo and Aydin! Their first round resulted in a OMT (One More Time) since they were so close on their runs. The second round, Aydin wasn’t taking any chances and went DEEEEP everywhere. Aydin clearly took the 3rd spot and Alfredo locked down 4th!
Then it was time for for the Main Event, Zerek vs. Jason for 1st and 2nd! Both put down some serious runs, but Jason pulled off an insane entry AND rode the entire sweeper wall within fractions of an inch!!! The rest of the run was impressive as well, but the entry and wall ride was enough to seal the win and 1st place! Zerek took home a hard fought and well deserved 2nd place!
Congratulations to 1st Place – Jason Fordyce (RawFew / Team Futaba USA), 2nd Place – Zerek Fewell (Slide Ti), 3rd Place – Aydin Angulo (Team Zenshin), and 4th Place – Alfredo Chan III (Tech1Drift).
A huge shout out to Team DStyle, Shaine and Mikko for putting on a great event! Everyone seemed to have a blast and in the end that’s what it’s all about!
Earlier this year Axon hit the R/C Drift Scene with a new set of dampers, the Axon Revoshock Dampers (Version 1). They had a unique piston design and sealing method. Unfortunately they were plagued with leaking issues. (At least for me and confirmed by many) The dampers themselves felt great, but leaky shocks just don’t cut it for me.
Enter the Axon Revoshock II Dampers. It looks Ike Axon took what they learned from the Revoshock 1s and applied it to the latest release.
Axon Revoshock II Dampers I was excited to test the latest Axon Dampers since the v.1s were great other than the leaking. The first thing I checked was how Axon was going to attack the bottom seal. I was pleased to see a single, larger O-Ring in place of the smaller, double O-Ring system they had previously used. I found myself still a bit concerned as I dug deeper since it turns out they are still using a double O-Ring system. One large one, and an even larger, but considerably thinner one as well. From all my past experience, double gaskets / O-Rings will always leak.
Pistons One thing that really stood out to me was how Axon approached the piston game. Right away you will notice their pistons look like nothing else in the game. Huge holes, a lot of them. It allows you to have a finer range of damping with the available shock fluids. For example, the difference between 100 weight and 200 weight seems to be considerably less than a 50 weight difference. I also noticed Axon has gone with a 12 hole front and 16 hole rear piston (or vice versa) which I like. I usually run heavier damping on the front, which would allow me to use the same fluid front and rear with heavier damping on the front.
The Build I’m no stranger to building dampers. As far as how many sets I have built over the years, I couldn’t even begin to count, but I always consider myself a student in the learning phase, so I turned to Mikko Yang of Team ReveD and D-Style for any build tips. He recommended to pre-soak the O-Rings for 5 minutes prior to assembly, and then to coat them with O-Ring grease. Of course I listened to the 2020 US Drift King! I also built according to the supplied instructions and rather than to build with my standard push-out, I followed Axon’s recommendation of no push-out and not using the shock vac which I have found myself not using much these days. I also noticed the bladders fit better this time around. No complaints here.
Performance The Revoshock IIs feel just as good as the v.1s. With the piston design change with less holes for the front (or rear) I found them more to my liking. You will notice immediately they are extremely smooth and without the extreme play inherent to the Yokomo Big Bores. The finer adjustment between fluid weights is definitely something not to be overlooked. Probably the single greatest feature of the Revoshock II. They feel great and if you run a softer setup as I usually do, they seem to be right at home without much change.
Conclusion Many may have been wondering why I have taken so long to do a write up on the Revoshock II. I feel for the Reveshock v.1 I was a little quick to give the thumbs up, so I wanted to give these some time to show their true colors. After a few days, I found a small amount of leakage going on. It appears to still be coming front the bottom seal. I DO NOT feel it is enough to be a deal breaker for most, and the benefits may outweigh the downside of needing to rebuild more often. I have heard of people storing their chassis upside down to minimize leaking which is a good preventative measure if that works for you.
Overall the Axon Revoshock II is a winner in my book. Slight leaking although not something I personally am ok with, is really not enough to make this a bad product. Just a high-performance damper that will need a little more maintenance than your average set. I have heard of people using Yokomo Blue O-Rings as an alternative, but that’s really not something I am here to test at the moment.
At this moment in R/C Drift, there are 2 mainstream players dominating the chassis game. Yokomo’s YD2 line is by far the most popular, with the MST RMX 2.0 in a distant second. For most, it’s exciting to be a part of the in-crowd, for others, it becomes a bit boring and they search for an alternative. For myself, I find excitement in both aspects.
The Usukani PDS R-SE Not new to the game, but new to me, is the the Usukani PDS line. More specifically, the PDS R-SE. It has been in my possession for the better part of this year, and I constantly find other projects to give priority to. I will be the first to admit I wasn’t very excited about this chassis. The main reason being, I’m not a fan of Rear Motor Chassis. I have built a few and they just don’t do it for me.
Setup As always, I give any chassis I test the best possible chance of success. For this round I would be using my go to electronic setup. Futaba CT700 Servo, GYD550 Gyro, MC970CR ESC, R334SBS-E Receiver, Acuvance Agile 13.5T Motor (Not pIctured), and the Futaba 7PXR Remote to control it all. I had also chosen some Overdose HG v3 Dampers since I’ve been using them on all my builds recently. Note: The Yokomo DX1 13.5T Type R (Titanium Shaft) motor was being tested when I took the pics. Not my normal setup.
The Instuctions The first thing that struck me as different was Usukani provides the instruction manual on a USB drive. My initial thought was this was a good idea and very trick! I quickly figured out this just wasn’t the business for me as I kept getting messages as I was building and it became a pain to keep going back to open the PDF. It works, but I prefer a hard copy of the instructions. The instructions themselves were good. Easy to understand and I didn’t run into any issues.
The Chassis The chassis itself is really a no nonsense type of chassis. The shape and the appearance didn’t really wow me (good appearance is nice, but doesn’t make or break a build for me), but there were some features that sparked my interest in this build.
Ackerman Adjustment Usukani has used servo mounts that allow the entire servo to move front to back for quick and infinite adjustment of the Ackerman. No more going back to the pits and adding spacers. Just loosen two screws, move the servo, and you are back in business. It looks like my mount is slightly crooked, but since I only use one side to keep track of the position, it doesn’t really change anything. For tuning, this is a great feature that I really came to appreciate.
Servo Lever I absolutely love this servo setup! Usukani’s included Servo Lever is awesome. When I was putting this together, I quickly realized I didn’t need to center my servo before assembling the steering. They provide a splined insert that fits onto the servo, which is smooth on the outside. Then the actual lever clamps to the insert. Zero out your trims, center your steering, and tighten up the clamping screw. Perfect setup! The lever length is also infinitely adjustable which is also nice. Talk about options! One thing I really like about the CT700 is the ability to program the center point. Not even necessary with this system.
Knuckles Previously, I had heard about there being some issues with quality with the front knuckles on the PDS. I found no issues at all, and in fact found them to be on par with any of the mainstream chassis kits available. They are aluminum and come with aluminum wheel hexes as well. Initially I didn’t care for the way Usukani did their steering stops, but after using them, I found I actually prefer them to the solid posts used by other manufacturers. I can get them exactly where I want them with ease. This is a good example of function over form.
Front Suspension From my experience, only Overdose has made a cantilever suspension that I feel works as well as shocks mounted directly to the arm and tower. All the others have some sort of binding or drag and that translates to not working very well. Usukani now makes it onto my short list of cantilever suspension that I feel works well. One thing I felt didn’t sit right with me when I built this kit was the Front Upper Control Arm being supported on only one side. Interestingly enough, both the PDS and the ReveD front end utilize a one-sided support for the UCA with no issues. I still prefer both ends of the hinge pin being captured, but if it works, I guess why fix it.
Rear Mounted Motor The PDS R-SE is the PDS Rear Motor version and it comes with an open 3 gear transmission. It uses all YD2 compatible internals, so there is no issue with parts. It comes supplied with a solid spool, but since I always use a gear diff, it was only fitting I dropped one in to make sure I get a good comparison. The fit and finish is excellent. No complaints here. I also used a Kamikaze Battery Holder since I decided mounting my battery sideways would be better suited for what I was trying to accomplish. The supplied battery holder mounts the battery inline with the chassis, and is very minimalistic. I was disappointed I was not able to use it as it is extremely lightweight and functional. There are many mounting holes for the battery, so adjusting weight bias is a breeze.
Weigh In The PDS R-SE is a light weight chassis with a 30/70 front to rear weight bias (As I have it setup). An interesting side note, my ReveD/Yokomo MC-1 and my PDS R-SE both weigh EXACTLY THE SAME at 1173g, but my MC-1 has a 35/75 front to rear weight bias.
Driving Impressions So, how does this thing drive? Not how I expected. I always try to come into any type of test with an open mind, but of course there will always be some sort of predetermined thoughts going on. I was already thinking it was going to be rear-heavy with a strong pendulum effect going on, just like all the other Rear Motor chassis I have had. I couldn’t be more wrong.
The first thing I noticed was it has great corner exit speed. Something very familiar to any rear motor setups I have driven. What was missing with the heavy pendulum characteristic. In fact, the transitions and overall driving of this chassis doesn’t scream Rear Motor at all. It is a well balanced driving chassis which really does agree with my driving style. I had received a tip from my homie, Karlo, suggesting going heavier on the rear shock fluid to help with the heavy rear setup. So rather than my normal setup of lighter fluid in the rear, I started out heavier and happened to be just right. (OD 6 hole pistons with #15 Front and #20 Rear, stock springs all around.)
Final Thoughts What can I say, the Usukani PDS R-SE really surprised me. There are so many things I like about this chassis, I need to ask myself what took me so long? I have always heard great things about the PDS line, but it was always followed by some of the downfalls of the kit. I addressed some of the issues before even getting started and it seems to have given me great results. I was warned the ball ends the kit comes with don’t last, so I replaced them with Yokomo ball ends (just the cups). I have been told the dampers are “decent” but knowing myself, I would most likely upgrade them anyway, so I did. Added a gear diff and titanium turnbuckles to top it off, which I would do anyway. I’m just missing my titanium screw kit, and it will be setup the way I like it.
Probably the best way I can end this is, during the past 2 weeks I have had 2 new chassis on my pit table. The PDS is the one I have been drawn to every day. It will most likely be my main chassis for the foreseeable future (Which in my case is usually not very long in all fairness) To add to this, we have dozens of YD2s, MC-1 conversions, and Galm v2s in stock, but we don’t have any PDS R-SEs at the moment. So you can believe this is not a sales pitch.
This past week has been an exciting one for me here at Super-G. The much anticipated Reve D MC-1 conversion kit for the Yokomo YD2 had landed. I had to finish another project before digging in, so I must say it lit a fire under me for sure. It was Friday afternoon and I had a few hours before we opened, so I got to it.
Being as there is a lot of hype surrounding this chassis, everyone has been quick to put their reviews out. So rather than to just give a rehash of what everyone else has been posting, I decided to just touch on some key points I have found on my MC-1 build.
The build went really quickly. In about 2.5 hours I was ready to hit the track. Since it’s a conversion kit, it uses parts from the Yokomo YD2 kit to complete the build. Specifically, it uses the entire front end and the rear suspension blocks out. The MC-1 is basically the lower chassis, upper deck, a couple braces, gearbox, rear shock tower, propeller shaft, spur gear holder, battery holder, and rear esc mount. I decided to use my SXIII as a donor chassis since I view this as an upgrade.
The conversion is impressive. Everything fits well and there is plenty of attention to detail. The beveled carbon parts are a nice touch and gives it more character. I was pleased to find a aluminum open gear box. It goes together well. Something I have always wished Yokomo would do. There is something about their molded plastic gear box that has always bothered me. I guess it’s because it reminds me of the old RC10 Stealth Transmission gearbox from years back. So this in itself is a great improvement. Using the idler gear shafts as part of the structure is just efficiency at it’s finest.
The motor mount is a very unique design. It is infinitely adjustable and is held in place by a big locking nut. Reve D supplied a thin wrench to make adjustment easy. I had questioned if it would be able to support the motor with all the torque being applied to the mount, but after a hard night of driving, it didn’t seem to even be phased. Reve D had announced the spacing on their mount for the motor was not correct, so knowing this ahead of time, it did not bother me. It was a bit on the tight side, but it worked. I have had worse fitting parts from other manufacturers in the past. I’m glad to see Reve D got ahead of this and let everyone know. It’s useable with the Acuvance Agile motor in case anyone is wondering.
Another welcome addition is Reve D’s battery mount. It is a very good design and really straight forward. Simple and effective, just the way I Iike it.
Including a channel to run the esc wire through is nothing short of awesome! I’m always in search of a better way to do my wiring, and this just made my life a whole lot better! Great job on that!
My Setup Electronics: Futaba CT700 Servo Futaba GYD550 Gyro Futaba MC970CR ESC Acuvance Raiz Capacitor Acuvance Agile 13.5T Motor Chassis: Full Reve D front end conversion (Upper and lower control arms and knuckles Reve D MC-1 Conversion Kit Overdose HG v3 Dampers #15 F/R
Ok ok, so how does it perform. Since I had my SXIII set up to my liking, I didn’t mess with the settings other than to increase the rear preload slightly and lengthen the rear shocks a bit to compensate for the added weight in the rear. On my first lap I felt my body was on crooked, so I brought it in and found it was just fine. I put it out again and again it looked strange. Then I realized I was just getting A TON of roll going on. Not just side to side, but all around. Very reminiscent of the DLike Re-r. I would say it’s almost like an Re-r on steroids. (Not a bad thing IMO) It has a lot of traction, and although there is a lot of weight in the rear, I didn’t notice any type of pendulum effect going on.
Versatile I was lucky enough to be able to be testing alongside of Mikko Yang – Reve D Factory Team Driver x Team D-Style and Shaine Collins – Team D-Style for their maiden voyages on a track as well. Three different setups, three different styles of tuning, and all 3 of us had great results. Even though everyone was wearing masks, it was clear there were some big smiles going on!
Overall, I have to say this is a very impressive conversion for the YD2. I really liked my SXIII, and this was an improvement all around for me. I can’t wait to get a few tuning sessions with this chassis. I’m sure it’s only going to get better. I’m certain this one has found a home in my stable. Highly Recommended.
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