A Race-Ready Rally Car for the People
By Jon R. Barnes Photos Walter Sidas
This article was originally published in RC Driver’s November 2015 issue.
HobbyKing’s collection of Basher/Nitro Circus themed 1/8-scale vehicles takes a turn toward the track with the arrival of the Basher BSR 4WD rally car. While HobbyKing’s 1/8-scale releases have thus far strongly favored the off-road crowd and have included an electric powered truggy and monster truck, their latest large scale vehicle is sure to perk up drivers who also like to pound the pavement with their daily drivers. Keen eyed and observant BSR Rally buyers may even notice that a subtle clue in the included assembly manual reveals that this exciting 4WD vehicle ultimately owes its pedigree to another familiar and well respected brand (check the logos on the sketch of the six battery straps on page 20 HINT: it rhymes with Steam Tea). Though the typically higher costs associated with owning a larger sized ride can leave aspiring 1/8-scale drivers reeling with sticker shock, a peek at the bottom line of the Basher 1/8-scale Ready-to-
Run 4WD Rally car had us anxious to take a closer look.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: HobbyKing
WHO IT’S FOR: Everyone
PART NUMBER: 9424000001
HOW MUCH: $299.99
BUILD TYPE: RTR
• Polycarbonate body set comes pre-painted, with bright colored Basher graphics already applied
• Includes scale details like windshield wipers, roof scoop, antennae and side mirrors
• Authentic DMACK motif rubber rally tires
• Durable all-steel full time 4WD drivetrain
• Sturdy 3mm aluminum chassis and 5mm aluminum shock towers
• 17mm big bore shocks
• 4S powered 2100Kv brushless motor and 120 amp, fan-cooled ESC
• Small form factor transmitter for such a large car
The HobbyKing Basher BSR Rally car lets drivers who are feeling the itch to get into 1/8-scale do it without breaking the bank. An abundance of aluminum and steel components combine to help make this nine pound rally car extremely durable and capable of absorbing the abuse doled out during heat- ed racing sessions or backyard bashing extravaganzas. We really like the authentic DMACK rubber tires and the subtle scale details included on the brightly finished rally car body set. On dirt, gravel or pavement, the powerful 4S LiPo powered brushless power system lets the BSR Rally turn and burn with the best of them. Yeah, it’s true … bigger IS better!
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• Radio bind plug
• (2) 30C 2S 7.4 volt 5000mAh hardcase LiPo batteries
• (4) “AAA” dry cells for transmitter
ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED
• Turnigy Matched 2S 7.4 volt 60C 5000mAh hard case LiPos The Basher’s brushless electric power system is designed to run on a 4S LiPo. To help keep the car balanced, the chassis is laid out to use a pair of 2S hard case surface LiPos. Turnigys 60C IR matched packs are perfectly dimensioned to fit within the relatively strict confines of the Bashers battery boxes. These packs come equipped with a JST-XH balance connector and 4mm HXT style discharge connector and can be recharged at a rate of up to 5C.
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• DMACK line pattern street tires with foam inserts, #9424000135-0. Unlike the stock all- surface rubber that comes on the vehicle, these alternate tires feature a true street tread, which is where we prefer to exercise our Basher BSR Rally.
• Turnigy 5mm turnbuckle wrench, #155000036, Nothing beats the right tool for the right job; we did not find any tools in the box and this wrench will make suspension tun- ing an easier proposition.
• Trackstar 1/8-scale red aluminum wheel nuts, #249000377, We like the bling factor offered up by these inexpensive, bright red anodized aluminum wheel nuts; their closed end design will also help to keep the dirt and mud out.
A beefy 3mm thick piece of aluminum stock is the anchor component in the Basher’s sturdy, plate-style chassis. This silver slab of rigidity runs from bumper to bumper; in fact, the front and rear bumpers both mount directly to it. Composite plastic plates attach to either side of the aluminum plate and create a tub effect that helps keep debris from making its way up onto the top side of the chassis. The 5mm thick front and rear aluminum shock towers further extend and reinforce the durability of the chassis plate. Plastic frame stiffeners arch upward and outward from the center of the aluminum plate and key back into the frame at the differentials to help eliminate excessive front to rear chassis flex. Molded battery rails, along with three hook and loop fastener loops per pack, lock each battery securely into place. The clearance between the front edge of the pack on the driver’s side and the motor shaft/pinion gear is a scant one or two millimeters. This close tolerance may alone rule out any chance of squeezing higher capacity packs in place.
Big bore, 17mm aluminum shocks with steel, coil-over springs mount at the top to thick aluminum shock towers both front and rear. At the bottom, the shocks connect to the massively thick reinforced plastic composition lower suspension arms. Spring pre- load is set using plastic spacers. The suspension components on the BSR Rally are a 50/50 mix of reinforced plastic and aluminum components. Metal anti-sway bars snake their way from corner to corner on both front and rear axles. Additional diameters of anti- sway bars are available as an option. The Basher assembly manual provides a nifty setup sheet that can be used to help a driver track any changes made to the suspension. This sheet includes graphics for both front and rear suspension, with space provided to annotate camber, shock mounting positions, the oil weight used in shocks and diffs and a host of other track-related and environmental conditions. Up front, an extra thick slab of foam promises to soak up frontal impacts. In the rear, a plastic diffuser/ bumper doubles as a convenient carrying handle.
HobbyKing uses a 200 ounce, water resistant metal gear steering servo to muscle the front end of the Rally car though the corners. The steering servo is mounted adjacent to a sealed radio box and uses a traditional, albeit somewhat oversized, servo saver. Out of the box, the amount of steering throw available is insane! A thick aluminum steering rack bar is used to connect the adjustable Ackermanns and can be mounted in three different sets of holes, making the steering geometry tunable by the driver. Drivers can also make additional needed adjustments to the steering system using the trio of 5mm turnbuckles that are used to transmit steering input from the servo arm out to the front wheels. As an assembly, the steering system has a little more backlash than we would prefer to see. At least some of the slop seems to emanate from the buffer pins used to anchor the aluminum steering rack to the Ackermanns.
The Basher BSRs shaft-driven 4WD system is powered by a 40mm 2100Kv brushless inrunner. A series of concentric cooling fins on the large, silver colored motor help dissipate racing generated heat. The motor, positioned roughly mid-vehicle, is mounted to the aluminum chassis using a pair of sturdy metal mounts. A 16-tooth metal pinion transfers the motor RPMS to the shaft-driven geartrain. We like that many of the key drivetrain components are steel in composition. These include the front/mid/rear differentials, driveshafts and CVDs. A 120 amp 4S capable brushless speed controller is mounted to an elevated plastic platform that straddles the center differential. A top mounted cooling fan draws airflow across the ESC to help keep it cool. HobbyKing mates a 4mm HXT style battery connector to the 12 gauge ESC power leads; Rally drivers will have to source their own parallel adaptor to connect the pair of two-cell LiPos in series and to the ESC.
Though the two mitts we were born with are smaller than most, we were nonetheless surprised at the smallish form factor of the included 2.4GHz pistol grip transmitter. Drivers with big hands might feel like Goliath trying to grasp a teaspoon when they use this radio. We did like the unique way that the “AAA” battery cradle, housed in the handle of the radio, is released. Push a button on the rear of the transmitter and the carrier pops out from the bottom of the handle like an ammo clip being ejected out of a pistol. Other than a receiver bind plug, we found no tools or other accessories packed in the Basher BSR box. The rally car style polycarbonate body comes fully prepped with a black and red paint scheme that is slathered top to bottom with a variety of Nitro Circus and Basher themed graphics. Cool scale details include windshield wipers, door side mirrors, a pair of roof mounted antennae and a black faux air scoop atop the car’s roof. Authentic DMACK rally style rubber tires feature almost the same exact tread pattern as DMACK’s Gravel Range series of tires and come pre-glued to white plastic 12-spoke wheels.
ON THE TRACK
STEERING As configured out of the box, this rally car has an amazing amount of steering throw lock to lock. The little pistol grip transmitter does offer a rate adjustment dial that can be used to tone it down a little. With it left at the maximum rate, we had a bunch of fun performing tight, tire spinning pirouettes. We found that the multi- surface tread design of the DMACK tires offers good traction on a variety of different running surfaces. Running the BSR on the track required a much tamer steering set-up. This car allows drivers to tune and tweak to their heart’s con- tent. We liked that three different holes are provided on the Ackermann arms. Most drivers should be able to find a steering geometry setup that works for them.
ACCELERATION/BRAKING We expect big performance from vehicles equipped with a brushless power system and the BSR does not disappoint. While the stock 16-tooth pinion gear does not offer an abun- dance of top end speed (we registered radar passes in the mid 30 mph range), it does give this Rally racer a bunch of punch at the low end of things. Rally style racing typically requires a driver to transition across different surfaces on every lap. We found that we were able to finesse the throttle at will, in order to minimize wheel spin when exiting tight corners, and then just as easily break the tires loose when we wanted to send the BSR sliding through large radius sweepers.
HANDLING/JUMPING The BSR feels nicely balanced when taking to the air over smaller jumps. Trying to catch big air more often than not resulted in the Basher executing an inverted, sliding emergency stop that had the body’s scale details crying uncle! The chubby, big bore aluminum alloy shocks feature slightly different spring tensions from front to rear. We liked the connected feel that they and the anti-sway bars create when pushing this car hard into the corners. The thick aluminum chassis plate really restricts excessive flex and roll. And like the steering, suspension tuning options also abound.
DURABILITY One of HobbyKing’s air product lines is named Durafly. We suggest they consider rebadging the Basher Rally as Duradrive. Rally car racing can be a full contact sport and we were duly impressed with the durability of this vehicle. It is not difficult to predict what should happen when nine pounds of metal and plastic mass moving at speeds of over thirty miles an hour slams into unyielding objects. And yet with every tumbling crash and impact we threw at it, the BSR mostly emerged no worse for the wear. We say mostly because one component that DID suffer a bit of distress was the polycarbonate body. Bashing the BSR about as we did resulted in multiple rips and tears to the front spoiler and skirting. However, with pre-finished replacement bodies available from our local HobbyKing warehouse for around 30 bucks, we cry no harm no foul.
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SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
Length: 20.9 in. (530mm)
Width: 12.0 in. (305mm)
Height: 7.9 in. (200mm)
Wheelbase: 12.9 in. (327mm)
Weight: 9 lbs. 1 oz. (4.1kg)
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
Body: Pre-finished molded polycarbonate
Wheels: Plastic 12-spoke
Wheel adapter type: 17mm hex
Tires: DMACK on-road rally tread
Type: 4-wheel independent
Shock positions: (F) 3-tower, 2-arm, (R) 3-tower, 2-arm
Ride height: Adjustable
Misc: Front/rear anti-sway bars
Type: Dual bellcrank
Toe: Threaded rod
Type: Shaft driven 4WD
Transmission: Single speed
Differential: Front, rear four gear
Clutch Type: N/A
Gear ratio: Optional pinion gears
Bearings: Full set of shielded
Performance – Acceleration: 8
Performance – Steering: 8
Performance – Handling: 8
Performance – Durability: 7
Feature Breakdown: 8
Overall Value: 8
For drivers that have yet to taste the bigger thrills offered by a 1/8-scale car, HobbyKing is here to save the day! Rally style racing is our favorite flavor of motorsports and we feel that this eminently tunable and notably durable 4S brushless powered 4WD rally car stands out as an amazing value. We even saw it discounted during one recent HobbyKing sale to an unheard-of price of less than two hundred bucks! Should a modeler somehow manage to break something while bashing the Basher about, a full selection of replacement parts is available from HobbyKing’s international warehouse. NOW is the time to go big or stay home!