Category Archives: Tech

Assisted vs. Non-Assisted R/C Drifting

September 10, 2021

Assisted vs. Non-Assisted R/C Drifting
I should start by going on record stating I am in no way trying to take away from today’s style of R/C Drifting. Rear Wheel Drive R/C Drifting with a Gyro has come a long way and is a ton of fun. There is no arguing it has brought the R/C Drift Scene to a point many never imagined. Anything I state is not knocking Gyro users. I will however be expressing how I personally feel, and it may feel like an attack, but it in no way is meant to be taken as such. I will refer to Gyro and No-Gyro as Assisted and Non-Assisted Drifting since that’s really what it is.

Past Experience with Non-Assisted R/C Drift
As many of you may know, I have ventured into Non-Assisted R/C Drifting a couple times in the past. What is probably not so clear is why. To put it simply, I feel this huge disconnect while using a Gyro. Everyone told me the Gyro was necessary and I heard a ton of explanations as to what and why it does what it does. It simulates this, your brain can’t do that, etc. I just could not get past the fact that the car is doing stuff for me that I am not in control of.

When I first started out, I instinctively wanted to counter-steer. I had to unlearn this instinctive reaction. Isn’t that what drifting is at it’s core, getting your car to slide, and you counter-steer into the drift? We aren’t supposed to do that though because the Gyro is acting like a real car with the tendency to self-steer? This self-steering people speak of, does it also keep you from spinning out? At any rate, I’m sure we can all agree that the Gyro is at least PARTIALLY driving the car for us. On a side note, I kept thinking about the days of Off-Road and how I was able to drift around all the corners without a Gyro, easily. So why am I using a chassis specifically for drifting, but I NEED a Gyro to just drive around the track, even at slow speeds. It just doesn’t make sense.

Futaba GYD550 – Mindblowing Control, Overdose DAIS -So Good, Yokomo V.4 – Good and Simple

Dissecting the Gyro
I’ve always been the type to admit when I’m wrong and when it comes to what the Gyro does, I have to admit in my previous write-up I over-simplified the role the Gyro plays in Assisted Drift. When I was finally able to drive without it, it was clear the struggle was to keep a balance between the throttle and steering. What wasn’t so clear was just how far off I was from actually having it down well enough to make it a thing. This time around I had to break it down to it’s core, and I have to admit the Gyro is a technological marvel. It is doing more than what anyone is really giving it credit for, and also in my opinion the Gyro is what is driving the whole speed drifting thing. Seeing people practicing “backies” and “360 entries” is a indication that Assisted R/C Drift has become too easy for a lot of people. It seems a good number of people are in search of that next challenge.

So what is my point?
There is so much that is intertwined here, I think it will be best to break it down into sections. In my opinion, just about everything we have been doing up until now has been based on the Gyro and it’s limitations. The better the Gyros get, the more extreme the tuning gets. The more extreme the tuning gets, the faster the cars get. The faster the cars get, the slower of a tire is needed. So since Assisted Drift has begun, it has been a constant chase of the next slower tire. It’s just a vicious cycle. If you took a chassis from the start of RWD R/C Drift, and put the hardest tires we have available now on it, it wouldn’t even be able to get out of it’s own way. With a modern day chassis, you put those same tires on, you will be just a tad slower than the fastest guys. That’s technology at work.

My Journey
There are many moments that seem insignificant to most, but can spark something in others. This journey of revisiting Non-Assisted Drifting was triggered by a post Bob Rock had made a few months back. The topic was, What is next for R/C Drift? I posted Gyroless Drifting. Bob’s response,

”I think you may be on to something there. It’s going to be a big challenge to drift Gyroless and as much as my mind is telling me that it can’t be done, I really got to simply think back. When you do that, one realizes that there have been numerous difficult obstacles and challenges that have been overcome from a point where something was deemed impossible. So I think that perhaps now is the right time to explore Gyroless drifting. The advancement of drift tech and products may possibly make it easier to get this right. The process should definitely be documented to which I hope you would do so that we can follow your progress and then join in.” – Bob Rock

Up til this point the response has always been, “Meh, go ahead and try.” ::Rolling Eyes:: Finally, someone viewed it the same as I. To make a change, it’s not going to come easy, but it needs to be done if change is to happen at all. I knew at this point if I was going to make another push, I needed to document it. So to do this, I needed to really understand what was going on. Challenge accepted!

The Chassis
I wanted to choose a platform where I felt changes would be simple and quick. With my past experience, I was prepared to change my entire setup if necessary. At the same time I felt our tuning has gotten to a point where it’s pretty refined. I chose the Usukani PDS Mix for my starting platform. The main reason was I have been using this chassis as my personal driver and I really like the steering system and the ease of setup. I knew I could make quick changes which is essential to deciding which setting is better. I have it outfitted with Tamiya TRF dampers and N.E.R.D. Adjustable Piston/Shafts to further speed up my tuning. In addition, I choose the Acuvance Xarvis XX ESC and Fledge 10.5T Motor since I wanted the smoothest setup I could get. Finally, I chose the Futaba CT700 Servo to use with my Futaba 7PXR Transmitter so I could adjust all my electronics on the fly. My hope was my setup would be really close to what I need to start laying down some serious laps right out of the gate. WRONG!!!

The Format
Since my schedule is pretty stacked throughout the day, and our track is open just about every day now, trying to get any R&D time for something as unstable as this, is really tough. Trying to get on the track and figure this out would be highly disruptive to our customers and was not an option. So if I were to do this, the only way it was going to work was to show up an hour earlier in the morning and get my Non-Assist Drift session on. This worked out well. It allowed me to document my time into this, which would be a good indicator for others as to the difficulty level associated with making the switch. As much as I would have liked to put more time into it, it was limited. I believe the switch would have been much quicker as far as days are concerned, if I could have had solid 2-3 hour sessions, rather than the 1 hour sessions. Although I made a daily log of the journey, I will spare you the wrong paths I had gone down. (There are many) A few have made me want to quit, but as any tuner knows, you have those days where you make break throughs and others where you try to make one more step forward and you end up taking 10 steps back. You can’t enjoy the sweet without the bitter so they say.

Starting Out
Since my chassis was set up pretty well and I could kill it on our track, I removed my gyro, plugged directly in to my receiver, and I was good to go. At least that’s what I thought. Right away, it was comedy hour. Spinning, crashing, just overall struggling was going on. I realized my suspension was setup extremely light. I had a lot of snap-oversteer going on, and not much damping at all. I started to think about the progression we have made over the years, and looking back on when we started, we were all running stiff suspension and pretty heavy damping. There was a lot not making sense to me. I needed to really take a step back and figure out what was going on here. All I was certain about at this point was nothing made any sense.

The Colin Chambers Approach
A few years back my good friend Colin (who was active in R/C Drift and helped write the Super Drift Challenge Rules) used to come in after his 1:1 drift events with video of what he was doing out there. He was just starting out and he was always excited to show us his progress. Was it spectacular? Was it crazy? No, not at all. In fact, it was the opposite, but it always showed progress and how much fun he was having NOT being a pro driver. One day he came in and was excited about being able to finally tandem with is friend. It wasn’t like Formula D, but it was my friend having a blast. That’s what it’s all about, right? Having fun? Colin showed me you don’t need to be a superstar to have fun, and everyone needs to start somewhere. There’s no shame in that, and everyone needs to go through these stages before they get to the top. So why was I out here trying to pull Pro Driver Justin Pawlak type of laps, when I’m not even close to that level. I mean, I can’t even go down the straight cleanly. I should be taking it slowly and working my way up. Non-Assisted Drifting is something totally new it seems. It was time for the Colin Chambers Approach.

A New Perspective
Since I was now in the mindset of starting over and figuring this out from the ground up, I reflected on something my friend Randy had mentioned to me years back. I don’t even think he knew it even made an impression on me, but it did. He basically said, if you are having a hard time with a track, drive it slowly at first. Keep speeding up, and eventually you will be drifting it. This is exactly what I set out to do.

A Revelation
So I started out again fresh without any type of preconceived path. I started out slow with the goal of driving around the track slowly. I found I needed to go EXTREMELY slow. Slower than I would have thought. This again didn’t sit right with me. How slow do I actually need to go to make it around the track? Maybe a scale 5-10 mph. You mean to tell me I need a Gyro to drive at a moderate speed just to make it down the straight? It really felt as if I was driving on ice. WAIT!!! ::LIGHTBULB::

Do 1:1 drifters drive on ice? Of course I can’t drive around the track! I can drive any other R/C Car with no assist around the track with no problem, but I can’t drive my Drift Chassis around the track without a Gyro? With little to no traction it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible. Has the Gyro made the impossible possible? Yes, it definitely has. The modern day gyro is so good, it has made it possible for us to basically drift controllably on ice. Without a gyro I can’t make it down the straight, but with it I can go as fast as is physically possible with no issues. Still feel it’s not like auto-pilot? The gyro is driving the car down the straight, allowing an extremely hard flick into the corner, and keeping it in control the entire time. For me that would equate to auto-pilot. Something that is out of my control. Not just simply simulating some sort of auto-centering or auto-steering, but full on auto-pilot. At this point I am simply adjusting the direction and speed.

The Game Changer
After realizing we are basically trying to drift on ice, I spoke with Wee from DS Racing. I explained my findings and my theory that what has been hindering the advancement of No Assist Drifting is the tires. I felt I needed something with more traction than what we have been using, but still hard enough that we could slide them without too much effort. I gave him a few examples of what I was doing and what I felt I needed, and he said he had exactly what I was talking about. He sent 5 different compounds to try. My man! When I think of companies who support the R/C Drift scene, DS Racing is always among the top few.

Tires – The real game changer! DS Racing HF-1 and HF-2 are the magic compound for Super-G

TIRES (or more traction)
This was the missing link the entire time! The point where RWD R/C Drift started from, right after CS (Counter Steer) we were already headed in the wrong direction. Since we were dealing with AWD, the speeds were high, so we were already using slick tires to slow the cars down. Then when we went to RWD, we all threw on Gyros and slapped on slightly grippier tires, and we were on our way. That was already too slick! We already had considerably less traction than the old HPI T-Drifts. Everyone accepted the fact that RWD was going to be slower than AWD, but look at us now.

The DS Racing HF Series is the ticket!
They have a higher friction coefficient than what we have been using all along. This has made all the difference and now EVERYTHING makes sense. I don’t know of another tire that would make this possible since all the tires available are either grip or slip. DS Racing’s HF-1 and HF-2 for our surface has really opened this up. With the added traction, “Driving” the track is no problem at all now. My car feels like a normal R/C car that I can drift. With the change to the new tires, it has become obvious we have been tuning around the Gyro. The car now reacts very realistically. Remember how realistic Assisted RWD Drift was when compared to AWD? Non-Assisted vs. Assisted Drift is at least equal to that or even more. 

Chassis Setup
Now that we have a solid starting point and I can actually drive around the track like a normal car can, it’s time to start setting up to be Drift specific. The first thing I noticed is the chassis is very unstable. With the added traction it is even more apparent. Snap oversteer is huge. Soft rear springs, light damping, rearward weight bias, I can’t event come off a corner without the rear end snapping the opposite direction. Time to slow the suspension down and add more damping. In fact, things got a whole lot better as I stiffened everything up a bit. The bouncy, floating stuff just doesn’t play well without a Gyro compensating. I also went stiffer and slower on the springs and that added to the stability as well.

ESC and Motor
ESC and motor settings are also important. At least in the beginning stages, limiting the output is huge for me. I am running no boost and low turbo. I am finding I need to modulate the throttle quite a bit since I am basically steering with the throttle and making small adjustments with the steering (Like a real car), but when I want the back end to hang out, I go full throttle and have the turbo kick in and keep the wheels spinning. Too much turbo timing and it will induce a spin. Not enough and it won’t be enough to keep the back end out.

Drag Brake plays an important role as well. There is a sweet spot where it will pull the car back and save it from spinning. Too much Drag Brake and you’re spinning. Too little and you’re gripping up and going straight or fish-tailing out of control. I’m running a 13.306 FDR All this keeps the power delivery smooth and manageable. Maybe in the future I can turn things up, but for now, I need to keep it on the conservative side.


Servo
I have also played with servo speed and I have found with the Futaba CT700, a slightly slower overall speed seems to work well for me. Not a slow setting, but I definitely have taken the edge off. I found once I went too slow on the servo, it would want to spin very easily. Probably due to not being able to keep up with the angle.

Ackerman
I have played around a lot with parallel and positive ackerman and have concluded for myself that some positive ackerman works best for me. It allows me to continue to push the back end out, vs. trying to keep things balanced all the time. It’s working best for me right now, but who knows in the future. This has changed since the last time.

Weight
Weight plays a pretty big role as well. Since things are more and more like real 1:1, I am finding that I need some added weight to keep the car moving when it’s sideways. Too light and the chassis wants to stall pretty quickly. Too much weight and it wants to keep going. So there is a balance I still need to fine tune. More weight = more stability, but also more inertia. As far as weight bias, my current setup is 35/65 and it seems to work well. I briefly tried 50/50, but found it wanted to straighten out more. I did not try any tuning around this setup, so I would say closer to 50/50 weight bias has not be explored on my end yet.

Low Motor vs. High Motor
I always prefer Low, so this is what I have started out with. I recently set up a Yokomo SXIII and it seems to do well also. I will be experimenting more with that in the upcoming sessions to see where I am at with it. There are definitely some major differences and I’m not quite sure if it’s beneficial or not. 

Not there yet, but getting there.

The Video
With the limited time I have had as far as track time, I still get nervous when the camera comes out. I’m not about editing or putting together a video to show “how good I am”. If that was the case, I would keep doing takes til I put together some laps that are as smooth as if I were using a Gyro. Those times are more often than before, but not predictable enough where it wouldn’t take some serious effort to capture it. What I really want to show is how an average set of laps comes together for me at the moment. I will have days I’m smoother and days I am twitchier, but this is what I put down today. The twitchiness you see is not necessary, it’s just how I’m driving today for some reason. I am still experimenting with the setup, and I recently pulled one of those 1 step forward, 10 steps back tuning days.

Looking back, I wish I took video of my progress. It would show how much I struggled, but then overnight things just clicked. This video is with me having 17-20 hours of drive / tuning time. Right now it feels as normal as it could possibly get. This feeling came after about 7-8 hours of not touching a chassis with a Gyro. 

Comfort Zone
The reality of Assisted vs. Non-Assisted is the room for error. The use of a gyro allows you to be very free with and dare I say sloppy when compared to Non-Assisted. Any miscalculation without a gyro to make the impossible possible and you are going to crash. Coming in too short, you’re not correcting it. Committed to a shallow line, you are going shallow. Manji too hard, you’re fish-tailing out of control. Didn’t get the weight to transfer on your initiation, you’re going straight. Lift in the corner and you’re out of control. It’s really real world driving.

Conclusion
Now it’s really a matter of getting that seat time in, but that’s just not a possibility at the moment. 1 hour sessions broken up by days is a little rough. I can say with all seriousness, there has been nothing more satisfying than pulling a perfect lap without a gyro. Knowing it’s all me has me driven to be able to do that every lap. That challenge is addicting for sure. At the moment we have 4 people who can drive decently with no gyro. I actually believe this has real potential to become the next step. It just depends how many are up to the challenge.

Futaba Hauler – The New Style!

August 26, 2021

The New Futaba Hauler!

I’m going to start by saying, I always struggle when it’s time to hit the other tracks, or go to events. I always like to travel with minimal bulk and the standard haulers are bit too heavy-duty for me. With all the wheels, extending handles, etc. the entire package gets to be pretty hefty. I always feel the hauler itself is adding most of the weight.

Boxes can be carried in the standard orientation, OR flipped on their sides to keep the chassis flat

Well it looks like Futaba was listening when they made their R/C Car Hauler. With 2 large main compartments to hold chassis, bodies, etc. and 1 smaller side compartment for a remote and smaller items, it seems to be just right. Right away I noticed the weight savings, and a quick check on the scale showed the Futaba Hauler to be a tick over 3 pounds lighter than my current hauler that has become the standard.

Small side compartment – Perfect for transmitters and other small items

I was pleased to find out I could easily carry everything I would need when visiting different tracks. 1 or 2 chassis, Transmitter, Tool Box, Charger, Batteries, and of course merch for giveaways. Saving 3 pounds overall will make a huge difference. I also has hoops on either side for a shoulder strap (Not Included) which will make it even nicer.

Fits standard drift bodies with no problem. A nice amount of extra space, but not excessive

As many have found, generic R/C haulers sometimes won’t fit our R/C Drift bodies. If they don’t, then what’s he point? The Futaba Hauler fits perfectly with just enough extra space to fit the longer bodies, as well as some extra cargo such as batteries, tires, tools, etc.

Nice padded and reinforced side compartment with plenty of space

The side compartment fits my Futaba 7PXR with the drop-down adapter and Scale Reflex Steering Wheel Grip. There is also enough space where I can carry my tool box, charger, batteries, and whatever else I want to throw in there. With the reinforced sides and bottom, I feel confident it will all be safe.

The New Futaba Hauler

In closing, I must admit I’m a fan. This is a product I have been hoping for. Light-weight, well thought out, and one of the biggest selling points for me, not branded with a chassis brand. I don’t change my brand of radio gear. I have been a loyal Futaba user from the age of 13-14. I have experimented with other brands, but I ALWAYS come back to Futaba. Now I can change chassis brands and not feel like my new chassis doesn’t belong in my old hauler. Another point I should point out is there is no nonsense going on. I never cared for a dedicated compartments to store tools in a strange configuration that I will never use. I always prefer to have my tools in a small box so I’m not continually going back into my hauler to get various tools. Get me and my gear to the track, and I’ll organize myself. I feel Futaba hit this one right. No nonsense, simple design, and at an affordable price. $119 MSRP is a smokin deal in my opinion.

Super-G will be getting their shipment in shortly. Don’t miss out!!!

FIRST LOOK: MST LBMT Mustang WIDEBODY

MST Finally drops their Mustang Widebody Bodyset. A very nice 200mm and 206mm width! The aggressive styling is a must have! One of the best looking newer gen Mustangs on the market!

Looks like it comes with some realistic light buckets (already painted black), molded flares and wing, and even a rear defroster!

Order yours today! We have it IN STOCK as of JULY 29, 2021:

ReveD Tire Test

Here at Super-G I am constantly testing tires. We are always on the hunt for the next Spec tire, so I was really exited when a set of the new ReveD tires landed on my pit table.

The first thing I noticed was the unique matte finish when compared to just about every other tire I have used. I was curious as to if this would have any effect on the tire when new. No break-in, quicker break-in, longer break-in, no difference? They looked cool and seemed to be a little lower profile than what I am used to. The ReveD outer diameter measures 60.50mm, when compared to the DS Racing Comp III LF-5 that comes in at 62.50mm so they are indeed smaller.

Asymmetrical profile and very flat surface
Asymmetrical profile and very flat surface

The fit was spot on as expected from ReveD. Easy to install, but snug enough to stay on. I had one tire start to come off during our testing, but with any tire, wheel size and foam thickness and condition also play a factor. I attribute this to user error, not the tire’s fault. The shape is true and consistent as well.

Nice, even wear from about 45 minutes of driving
Nice, even wear from about 45 minutes of driving

Testing

The way I always test tires is to compare to our spec tire at the time (DS Racing – Comp III LF-5) here at Super-G. This makes it easy to spot any and all differences in a tire’s characteristics. I installed the ReveD tires on my personal car and set out to session with Team Super-G Driver, Nick Lepisto. Our tunes are extremely close and I could count on him to put down some consistent laps, so this would provide an excellent baseline. Our surface is Polished Concrete.

Break-In

Without as much as a single lap on the new tires, I started running laps with Nick. His tires had already been broken in and so his speed and handling would be as consistent as possible. Immediately I was almost identical in speed. The forward traction was definitely something I was familiar with. I felt comfortable pushing it with one lap in. Sideways traction was also very similar to our spec tire as well. A very nice balance.

At about the 10 minute mark the ReveD tires began to increase in traction. I began to inch away from Nick on the straights and in the sweepers. I was also able to drive more aggressively on initiations and in the tighter transitions. They had a nice forward to sideways traction balance.

At around 20-25 minutes into the break-in period the tires really came on line and seemed to reach their true traction potential. I found I was able to pull away from Nick at will. Putting the power down in the sweepers allowed me to increase the gap or slam the gap closed if I was on the chase. On the straight I could easily gap Nick if I was leading, or push him the entire straight if I was chasing. The balance remained good, and the handling was excellent.

Looking back on our previous tire testing, I would say the new ReveD tires are very similar to the Comp III LF-3 tires both in speed and handling.

High Traction and Standard Wheels – ARGH!

I have made an error while testing the new ReveD tires. I am posting my findings despite my mistake since I think this still gives a good indicator of where these tires fall when compared to other known tires.

I normally use Topline High-Traction wheels. For this test I mistakenly mounted the ReveD tires on Topline Standard wheels. That being said, the ReveD tires would be a little faster and have some added sideways traction at every point in this test if tested on High-Traction wheels. This would only increase the difference in the comparison for those concerned with the speed of the tires.

Conclusion

The new ReveD tires are definitely a high quality tire. The shape and consistency is some of the best I have seen in a R/C drift tire. The smaller diameter provides more fender clearance, but also reduces your ground clearance. I did not notice any type of difference with the matte finish other than it looked cool and different. Break-in was about as standard as it gets, with the times being very close to the other tires available today. With the contact surface being very flat, and the corners being sharp, this tire will find a lot of speed right out of the gate. The forward speed to sideways traction is good and comparable to the other tires in that traction range. I suspect they will find themselves being slightly slower than the Yokomo DRC, but don’t quote me on that. That test is for another time.

SEE YOU ON THE TRACK!

Futaba HPS-CT500 Servo – BANG FOR THE BUCK!

Futaba HPS-CT500 Servo

5/11/21

Futaba’s Flagship Drift Servo and his little bro, the HPS-CT500 Servo

There’s quite a few of us who have been waiting for Futaba to drop their latest servo. In the past few years, Futaba has been making some serious waves in the R/C Drift Scene. When I think of the top electronics for R/C Drift, the Futaba 7PXR Remote, the Futaba GYD-550 Gyro, and the Futaba HPS-CT700 Servo come to mind.

CT700 – Aluminum Housing. CT500 – Plastic Lightweight Housing

The HPS-CT700 is Futaba’s flagship drift servo and quite honestly is the absolute best servo I have used for drift, hands down. While adjusting the settings via the 7PXR on the fly, I can mimic just about any servo on the market right now, and also do things others can’t. But enough of the HPS-CT700, we are here to talk about his little bro.

I need to apologize for the dirt and dust. I just wanted to get on the track and test.

Enter the HPS-CT500 Servo. What can I say, I am pleasantly unimpressed. WAAAAAIT UP!!! What? Read on.

The HPS-CT500 Servo is obviously the little bro to the big daddy, the HPS-CT700. As soon as you see it, it has the same size and shape, but instead of the really nice aluminum housing, it has a LIGHT WEIGHT plastic housing. The HPS-CT500 is 10g lighter. The specs are impressive as well. When compared to the CT700, the CT500 is slightly faster at .06 vs. .07, but with less torque at 291.6 oz/in vs. 416.6 oz/in. I personally feel both exceed anyone’s servo needs for drift.

There’s more! The HPS-CT500 is also fully programmable via the S.Bus if you are using a 7PX or 7PXR (possibly a 4PM as well?) With the programming options Futaba gives us, the HPS-CT500 can mimic the other servos being used for drift right now, and can be further tweaked to meet any needs you may have. The theme with Futaba lately has been about customization, and this servo does not disappoint.

The HPS-CT500 tucks away nicely in the Usukani PDS MIX. An application where Low-profile is a must.

Tonight I put in my settings from my HPS-CT700 and it was amazing! When I say I was unimpressed, I meant it. I admit, I am spoiled by my HPS-CT700 servo, and I have come to expect the performance and feel I get from it. Changing to the HPS-CT500 servo, I did not skip a beat. In fact, if someone swapped it out, without my knowledge, I have to say I wouldn’t have even noticed a difference. I did a session tonight and my chassis felt every bit as dialed as it always does. This servo felt “Normal” to me, and that means it feels every bit as good as it’s big bro.

Specs are definitely more than acceptable

My conclusion. At this moment, I believe the Futaba HPS-CT700 is the best servo for R/C Drift. (IMO of course) The main drawback has been the hefty price tag. The Futaba HPS-CT500 gives you that performance and programmability at a more wallet friendly price point. I personally will still opt for the CT700 as the .01 transition speed isn’t noticeable for me, so I will take that added torque, but I would not hesitate for a second to run a HPS-CT500 Servo. It is easily a close second to what I consider the best servo on the market for R/C Drift. The HPS-CT500 Servo is definitely a winner and a top contender. For anyone weight conscious, this may very well be the top choice above all. At a projected sub $200 MSRP, it really packs a good bang for the buck.

Check it out here!

SEE YOU ON THE TRACK!

Tamiya vs. Yokomo – What’s the Diff?

April 28, 2021

For some time now, there has been a few people who have been using Tamiya gear diffs instead of the Yokomo gear diffs in their YD2s and just about any other chassis that accepts that style. I would say until recently it’s been a pretty well kept secret, but recently it seems to have become really wide spread knowledge. I want to credit Allen Shilun Gu (Sensei) for this helpful tip. I will go on record right now and say he is one of the most innovative tuners I have had the pleasure of knowing.

When using a gear diff, different fluid weights are used to achieve more or less diff action between the left and right rear wheels. The effects of this goes deep enough to to warrant it’s own write-up, so we won’t go into detail here. This is just meant to show the difference between the two.

What most people are unaware of, is the diffs themselves introduce their own resistance just due to the design, materials used, tolerances, etc. The less resistance created by the diff itself will mean the change in fluid will have a greater and more consistent effect on the diff action itself.

Both Tamiya and Yokomo have a very similar design and are interchangeable for the most part. I have only seen 1 instance where it didn’t work, so make sure to check before taking the plunge. The Tamiya diff is about 1.2mm narrower, so I put .6mm of shims on either side before installing the outer support bearings to keep everything nice and centered. I have also been in the habit of using the Tamiya upgraded drive cups with the plastic inserts. It just seems to be the best setup for me. The upgraded drive cups are 2mm shorter than the Yokomo, so this may or may not require you to get longer driveshafts. I personally have not found this to be an issue yet.

To clarify, this is NOT to demonstrate how to get the freest spinning gear diff. This is to show if you are tuning, the diffs introduce their own resistance before you even get started. For example, you can still tune a Tamiya diff with lower viscosity fluids and still control the amount of resistance you have, where as with the Yokomo you will find it no longer makes a difference at a certain point. If you start taking out gears and O-Rings and such, everything is out the window. An old trick to get a free spinning gear diff is to remove the O-Rings. You will lose the ability to tune your diff with fluid since it will all leak out, but it will be more free. Removing spider gears will also make it more free spinning. Again, this is not what this is showing. If I find the sweet spot with a Tamiya gear diff with 2500 fluid, I will not be able to get that same setting with the Yokomo gear diff since the Yokomo effectively stops at approximately 10,000 in the Tamiya. Is completely free spinning the best? Hmmm.

Rather than to try to show the difference with a series of pictures like I usually do, I have made a short video clip to explain here. I built both diffs the same and I used the same light grease I always use on both.

Link for Tamiya Gear Differential here:
Link for Tamiya Upgraded Drive Cups here:

Tamiya vs. Yokomo Gear Diffs – Both assembled using the same light grease

I hope this can help to show why so many are doing this, and what the difference really is.

SEE YOU ON THE TRACK!

Usukani PDS MIX

February 15, 2021

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.

Tamiya TRF Damper Bodies with HRC NERD Pistons and Shafts, Pure Fire!

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.

ReveD Servo fitment. 3mm taller than ideal.
ReveD Servo fitment. 3mm taller than ideal.
Futaba CT700 Servo - Correctly positioned on mount
Futaba CT700 Servo – Correctly positioned on mount

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.

High Center of Gravity (HCG)
Low Center of Gravity (LCG)

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.

Factory Supplied Dampers – Better than expected

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.

High Motor Mount Position
High Motor Mount Position
Low Motor Mount Position
Low Motor Mount Position

I have 2 setups to test, High Motor and Low Motor. I am always very partial to low motor.

The Futaba GYD550

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.

SEE YOU ON THE TRACK!

Usukani PDS MIX Chassis Kit Here!

So you want to start R/C Drifting? BEGINNERS GUIDE

January 4, 2020

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.

You can scroll down to the bottom for the Quick and Dirty Buyers Guide. For those who don’t care to read and learn, but just want to know what to buy. The very bottom has a link for preconfigured packages which make it even easier.

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 recent months the RTR game has changed. Up until then, MST had the RTR game on lock with the RMX 2.0 RTR. Now Yokomo has entered the RTR game with the YD2RTR. These companies took different approaches to the RTR game. I still stand behind my original thoughts on RTRs, but I will elaborate on them in a bit.

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.

Ok, so you read that and you still feel the RTR route is the path for you.
Let’s look at the differences between the two:

MST RMX 2.0 RTR
MST has taken the approach of providing a TRUE Ready To Run solution. They test each and every chassis to confirm it works correctly before it gets packaged and shipped. (Tires all show wear as proof it was tested) It works well right out the box, but with some limitations.
MST uses solid links for all the tie-rods. This ensures it will stay in the correct alignment and will work correctly after taking hit after hit which is common with someone just starting out. Once you get to the point where you want to start adjusting your alignment, you will need to purchase a turnbuckle kit. It’s around $20ish.
The electronics leave a lot to be desired, so just know the electronics will only get you by for a short amount of time. Upgrading one component usually leads to upgrading everything. (Just be aware)
The great thing about the MST RMX 2.0 RTR is it comes complete with body, wheels and tires. The only thing needed is a battery and charger and you are good to go.
TRUE COST TO GET UP AND RUNNING
$379 Kit
$50.00 (Or more) Battery/Charger
$430 TOTAL

Yokokmo YD2 AC (Assembled Chassis)
Yokomo has taken a different approach to the RTR game. With the YD2 AC, you are basically purchasing a YD2E which has been pre-assembled. From our findings, it ships assembled, but definitely not tested and the quality control does leave a lot to be desired. We have found a multitude of assembly errors, from upside down arms, shocks not built evenly, gears not even touching, and generally not put together in a drivable condition. That is not to say it’s a bad car, it just NEEDS some cleanup and adjustment/tuning. If you are looking to bypass the building process, Yokomo has provided this, but you will still need some know-how to get it driving well. It comes with turnbuckles, so you will be able to adjust your suspension without any additional purchases.
With the Yokomo YD2 AC, the supplied battery and charger are literally just a throw in. I would use it to try the car, but if you want to do any more than just mess around in your living room, I would say a LiPo Battery and Charger are a necessity. The supplied battery and charger are literally obsolete technology, and I don’t even know if you can still purchase those types any longer. The rest of the electronics are about equal to the MST offerings.
One huge difference between the Yokomo and the MST RTRs, Yokomo does NOT come with a Body or Wheels and Tires. The benefit, you choose what you want to run. The downside, You still need to paint the body, choose wheels, and figure out tires. Not to mention the additional cost.
TRUE COST TO GET UP AND RUNNING
$389 Kit
$50.00 (Or more) Battery/Charger
$110.00 Body/paint/wheels/tires
$549.00 TOTAL

For more information, click the links below:
MST RMX 2.0 RTR
Yokomo YD2 AC

Recommended Chassis

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.



For the Beginner I would ONLY recommend (In no particular order) the following chassis:
3Racing Sakura D5
MST RMX 2.0s
MST RRX 2.0
Yokomo YD2E, YD2E Plus, YD2 EXII
Yokomo YD2S, YDS Plus, YD2 SXIII

Yokomo YD2R Plus
Usukani PDS

Usukani PDS MIX
All the above listed are proven performers right out of the box. They can all follow you well into your R/C Drift journey with minimal frustration.

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)

Radio System

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

Motor

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.

My recommendation for a beginner would be a 10.5T or 13.5T Motor with Adjustable Timing
Yokomo Zero 2
Much More Racing Fleta
Yokomo Racing Performer
ReveD Absolute1
Acuvance Agile
Acuvance Fledge (Black) Fledge (Red) Fledge Purple
Price Range: $70-$200

Electronic Speed Control (ESC)

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.

ESC’s can all be programmed to some degree. Some more than others. They also have different methods. Hobbywing, Yokomo and Graupner have a program card and/or a WiFi module and you can program from your phone. MuchMoreRacing uses a program card. Acuvance and Futaba have a program card, Bluetooth, and/or direct programming from your Futaba 7PX, 7PXR, or 4PM Remote. These are the main brands I recommend since we have had great luck with them. Some of the others, not so much.
Hobbywing QuickRun 10BL60
Hobbywing XR10 Pro
Yokomo BL-SP4
Yokomo BL-Pro 4
Yokomo BL-Pro 4D
Yokomo RPX II D Black RPX II D Red
Acuvance Xarvis Black Xarvis Red Xarvis Purple
Acuvance Xarvis XX
Price Range: $80-$200

Servo

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.

It seems the most popular recommendation at the moment is the ReveD RS-ST. Although not my choice, it seems to be a solid purchase with most people really supporting it.
Yokomo SP-02D (Slower)
Yokomo SP-02D V2 (Programable) (Slower)
Yokomo SP-03D (Programable) (Slower)
ReveD RS-ST (Programable) (Slower Can Be Set Faster)
ReveD RS-ST Anniversary Edition (Programable) (Slower Can Be Set Faster)
Savox SC-1251MG (Fast)
KO Propo RSx3 One10 Ver. D (Fast or Slow)
Futaba CT500 Plastic (Programable) (Fast or Slow)
Futaba CT700 Aluminum (Programable) (Fast or Slow)
Price Range: $70-$250

Gyros

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.

SEE YOU ON THE TRACK!!!

The Quick and Dirty
For those who don’t want to research, but want to know what to get. This is for you!

What chassis should I get?
For the Beginner I would ONLY recommend (In no particular order) the following chassis:
3Racing Sakura D5
MST RMX 2.0s
MST RRX 2.0
Yokomo YD2E, YD2E Plus, YD2 EXII
Yokomo YD2S, YDS Plus, YD2 SXIII

Yokomo YD2R Plus
Usukani PDS

Usukani PDS MIX

What Controler should I get?
Entry-Level
Futaba 3PV
Sanwa MX-V
Price Range: $95-$130
Mid-Range
Futaba 4PM
Sanwa MT-S
Sanwa MT-44
Price Range: $290-$380
High-End
Futaba 7PXR
Sanwa M-17
Price Range: $550-$600

Which ESC should I get?
Hobbywing QuickRun 10BL60
Hobbywing XR10 Pro
Yokomo BL-SP4
Yokomo BL-Pro 4
Yokomo BL-Pro 4D
Yokomo RPX II D Black RPX II D Red
Acuvance Xarvis Black Xarvis Red Xarvis Purple
Acuvance Xarvis XX
Price Range: $80-$200

Which Servo should I get?
Yokomo SP-02D (Slower)
Yokomo SP-02D V2 (Programable) (Slower)
Yokomo SP-03D (Programable) (Slower)
ReveD RS-ST (Programable) (Slower Can Be Set Faster)
ReveD RS-ST Anniversary Edition (Programable) (Slower Can Be Set Faster)
Savox SC-1251MG (Fast)
KO Propo RSx3 One10 Ver. D (Fast or Slow)
Futaba CT500 Plastic (Programable) (Fast or Slow)
Futaba CT700 Aluminum (Programable) (Fast or Slow)
Price Range: $70-$250

Which Gyro should I get?
Entry-Level
Onisiki High Stability Gyro
D-Like DL159
D-Like Premium DL182
Yokomo YG-302
Price Range: $40-$75
Mid-Range
Power HD G1
Yokomo V.4 (Black) V.4 (Red) V.4 (Purple)
KO Propo KG-X
Price Range: $50-$75
High-End
Futaba GYD550
Price Range: $130

Make it simple for me:
Electronics Pack – Chose your Option (Basic Pack, Plus Pack, Pro Pack)
Pre-configured electronics packages to keep things simple. Favorite choices based on budget.

3 Racing Sakura D5 – The “Best” Beginner Car?

December 11, 2020

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.

Sakura D5 with Mid-Grade Electronics

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.

Let the build begin!

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.

Interesting Lower Control Arm Design

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.

Black colored fiberglass looks almost as good as carbon fiber to the untrained eye

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.

Built up looks pretty nice

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.

Those look like some knarly gears

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. 

Motor in place

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.

All built up with electronics installed

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.

The 3Racing Sakura D5

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.

SEE YOU ON THE TRACK!