The Buggy That Will Make You Look Twice!
Words: Carissa Smyka
Photos: Walter Sidas
Racers all over the world are enjoying some of the best times in RC now that history has come full swing and there is a surge in 1/10-scale electric racing. The two-wheel drive buggy class is once again the more heavily attended class at the track in both stock and modified racing. Because of this, manufacturers are hard at work engineering cars in hopes of attracting racers to wheel their brand. One company, Intech RC, has been in the RC industry for just over ten years and has really gained some attention recently with their newly released ER-12 buggy. Intech has hit the ground running on this one. The new ER-12 buggy has many features that are optional upgrades on other popular brands of 2WD RC buggies. This buggy was definitely designed to be one of the top contenders in the competitive 2WD buggy market and is something we had to try out at the track.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Intech
WHO IT’S FOR: Pro Drivers
PART NO.: #ITRER-12
HOW MUCH: $299.99
BUILD TYPE: Kit
• Solid 7075 hard anodized aluminum chassis not only looks nice but is very durable.
• Large 12.5mm threaded aluminum shocks are included in the kit; these days bigger is better and these shocks are silky smooth.
• The ER-12 can be set up either mid-motor or rear motor design and all parts are included in the kit.
• 4mm thick graphite shock towers offer sturdy mounting locations for the ER-12’s large bodied shocks.
• The ER-12 is one of the most tunable 2WD buggies out there.
• The hingepins seemed to go in slightly tight so maybe a hingepin reamer will come in handy to get them to free up the arms.
• Transmission had a little binding and eventually wore in.
If you get your hands on an Intech ER-12 I’m certain you’ll be pretty amazed at the options on it in stock form. The quality looks like it’s all there–hard anodized aluminum chassis, shock bodies, carbon towers and carbon battery strap–this car has the look. Then at the track, I started out with a basic setup and was astounded by how well the ER-12 handled. The buggy needs a few tuning tweaks, but that’s part of racing.
• The 7075 aluminum chassis offers good looks as well as durability. Down the center, you’ll notice a number of countersunk holes that allow you to position the battery stops in order to shift the battery position to adjust weight bias. The chassis comes with 25 degrees of kick-up built into the front end and the sides are outfitted with plastic side skirts to help keep the dirt out. The buggy is braced across the battery and to the transmission in the rear, while up front it has a pitchfork brace and servo mount that look eerily familiar to another buggy on the market.
• The large 12.5mm shocks allow the ER-12 buggy to take the jumps and bumps with ease. 4mm graphite front and rear shock towers are durable and provide a solid mounting location for all four shocks and not only look great but offer great functionality. Many suspension tuning adjustments can be made to the ER-12’s suspension; inserts into the caster block offer caster adjustment anywhere from 15 degrees to 35 degrees of caster. Be sure to double check that the inserts are in the same on both sides or you can have a crazy amount of bump steer! Wheelbase can be adjusted with shims in both front and rear arms. The rear suspensions mounts are aluminum and capture the arm pin that sits in a pivot ball to eliminate bind. You can adjust you amount of rear toe using different inserts included with the kit. Up next are the shocks, they are outfitted with aluminum caps, threaded bodies, aluminum bottom cap and aluminum spring adjuster nut.
• The ER-12 has a dual swinging bellcrank system that rotates on ball bearings. The thick graphite Ackermann plate provides the ER-12 with highly reactive steering assembly that reduces unnecessary slack. The entire steering assembly including the servo is angled to match the kick-up of the buggy so the front end sits on the same plane. Adjustable turnbuckles allow toe adjustments and turn the steering knuckle and stub axle.
• The three-gear transmission goes together well and can be built either as a mid or rear motor set-up. Inside the tranny, there is a sealed gear diff so you can change diff action with fluid. A gear diff is also a lot better for the casual racer who doesn’t want to put up with the maintenance of a ball diff. The gears all ride on ball bearings and the top shaft is fitted with a slipper clutch that sits inside a low profile gear cover; the slipper adjustment nut is on the opposite side of the tranny. Our tranny did have some binding issues once it was built, but after a number of runs, it eventually broke in and smoothened out. My only other gripe with the tranny is that the camber link mounting bosses are part of the tranny case; I hope one never breaks.
• A few running changes have been made since we received our kit. New Intech ER12 owners will find the kit now comes with longer rear shock bodies for more down travel and to limit the up travel and prevent the piston from hitting the bladder. Since the rear travel has been altered, the kit will also come with rear CVD bones that are 1mm shorter to allow more up travel. The last change is that the kit will come with a new Lexan gear cover, which will allow you to run the motor plate on the right or left side of the gearbox for MM3 (mid-motor 3-gear) setups.
• The last of the details on the ER12 is its body; it comes with a cab-forwardish body with a sleek roof drop down to the back. The body is narrow up front and expands out to cover the side pods. We had our body painted up by Bradley Fine Line designs; impeccable work. The wing is a high-downforce type that can be cut to alter air-flow. Two wing mount pairs are provided for both rear and mid motor set-ups. Rims are included with the kit, the rear wheel uses a 12mm hex and the front wheels house the bearings they ride on. We wrapped the rims in VP Pro rubber for the review.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• Turnbuckle wrench
• Short or long 2S LiPo
• Compatible charger
• Allen driver set
• 5.5mm and 7mm wheel nut driver
• 3000 or 5000 weight silicone diff oil
• TrakPower 17.5 combo system, TKPC6045
The TrakPower MS-1 ESC has many features that can be used to help customize the ESC’s programming to your driving style. The 17.5 TrakPower motor gave the ER-12 plenty of infield power along with plenty of RPMs for the long stretches.
• Hitec HS-7966HB servo, 37966S
This Hitec high-speed servo does the job getting the ER-12 around the track. For someone just starting with this buggy, it is a good performing servo with a great price.
• TrakPower LiPo 2S 7.4V 6000mAh 80C, TKPC0515
For plenty of power, we went with a TrakPower 80C 2S LiPo. With 6000mAh inside, there is plenty of run time on tap.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED
• Robinson 25t PINION, 1025
• VP Pro Turbo Trax Evo and Friction Tires, VP-403/ VP-203
• Futaba 4PKS-R Radio system, FUTK4903
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• Complete Ball Diff Assembly, VP-100062-BC
While the gear diff is nice, tunable and low maintenance for the racer, it’s still hard to beat the performance action of a ball differential. Luckily, Intech offers a complete ball differential kit to upgrade to, although it will require new CVD bones according to the website.
• Steering Block Front 12mm Hex Conversion Kit, VP-100072C
This conversion will allow the use of 12mm hex-style front 1.10 buggy wheels on the ER12, rather than using the bearings in the wheels.
• Low Frequency Shock Spring Set, VP-700010-2
Having additional springs on hand for tuning is never a bad thing. Low frequency springs are a popular tuning option for many 1/10 machines.
ON THE TRACK
Steering can be manipulated in any vehicle as long as you know how to set that car up. The ER-12 is so adjustable that it just took a matter of some trial and error to fi nd the right setup that worked well with the track and my driving style. Once I sauced the tires up with traction compound, the grip was much better. Initially there was some oversteer because with the battery forward, the weight gave the nose to much bite, but as I got the rear traction dialed in, the turn in was more controllable. There is certainly plenty of steering throw to take advantage of when grip is up.
ACCELERATION & BRAKING: Good
The TrakPower 17.5 motor and ESC system gave the ER-12 plenty of power to clear some of the larger jumps. The throttle band was very linear when accelerating out of the tight, low speed corners. Again a lot of acceleration was dependent on grip and I spent a lot of time softening the tires with traction compound to get the bite. Braking with the TrakPower MS-1 was phenomenal. With some minor ESC programming, I was able to dial the brakes into the ER-12. The brakes did not over-correct the buggy while in the air off some of the jumps.
SUSPENSION: Very Good
The ER-12 was very responsive to the driver’s input and the suspension reacted well when hitting rough sections of the track. There was an off-camber turn in one section of the track and chassis roll was minimal while throttling around this tricky obstacle. Over a quick double jump in the sweeper, the buggy settled in nicely and didn’t slap or check up the rear. Weight transfer under braking did compress the suspension a little which caused some of the oversteer mentioned before, but a small adjustment in driving settled the car in just fine; perhaps a set-up change would help too, but I wheeled the car with confidence and decided not to go too tuning crazy.
JUMPING: Very Good
Thanks to the 12.5mm shocks, the ER-12 handled jumps with ease, giving the buggy a smooth ride. With some minor throttle and braking adjustments while in the air, I was able to correct the ER-12 just enough to land some jumps after some awkward take-offs. After five packs, I had the buggy’s number and was popping over double jumps with nice smooth landings. Even with the 17.5 motor, the buggy had enough power and minimized suspension compression to allow it to glide over jumps rather than chassis slap on the faces.
DURABILITY: Very Good
I found the ER-12 to be a very durable buggy and trust me, it got a fair test on our indoor test track. A number of pipes saw this buggy face-to-face during testing and I thought there would be several instances where I’d be ordering arms, but the ER-12 rolled away just fine. I don’t foresee this buggy having a racer spend more time on the bench than on the track.
SPECS & TUNING OPTIONS
LENGTH: 14.43 in. (392mm)
WIDTH: 9.76 in. (248mm)
WHEELBASE: 10.87-11.26 in. (276-286mm)
WEIGHT: 2.3 7 lbs. (1075g)
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
BODY: Cab-forward clear body
WHEEL ADAPTER TYPE: 12mm rear hex, ball bearing front wheel
TIRES: Not included
TYPE: 4-wheel independent
SHOCK POSITIONS: (F) 3-tower, 3-arm, (R) 3-tower, 2-arm
CAMBER: Adjustable turnbuckles
ROLL: Adjustable ball stud heights and suspension mounts
WHEELBASE: Adjustable shims
RIDE HEIGHT: Threaded shock collars adjust ride height
TYPE: Ball bearing dual bellcrank
TOE: Adjustable turnbuckles
TYPE: Hard anodized aluminum chassis with plastic side guards and built in 25 degrees of kick up in the front end.
MATERIAL: Aluminum and plastic
TRANSMISSION: 3-gear transmission
DIFFERENTIAL: 6-gear, silicone oil filled Differential
CLUTCH TYPE: Dual pad slipper
GEAR RATIO: Optional pinion and spur gears
BEARINGS: Full set of metric ball bearings
The Intech ER-12 2WD buggy has definitely hit the mark. This buggy offers many tuning adjustments along with numerous standard features that are considered hop-ups on other models. The price point is right in line with many other manufacturers’ competition-level buggies and although it looks like a combination of a few buggies on the market, as many critics will point out, it has its own unique blend of features that makes it a worthy competitor and buy. So if you’re in the market for a new 2WD buggy kit or looking to get into the growing class of 2WD buggy, take a look at the Intech ER-12 and you just may be taking one home!