Sideways Its Business, Business is Good!
Photos Walter Sidas
Drift cars are becoming ever more popular each year it seems. Certain movie franchises and drivers like Ken Block are dazzling crowds and theater goers with their clutch burning performances. Couple that with all the hot new import offerings in the full scale market that are perfectly suited for drifting with high output motors and all-wheel drive. This drift craze is more than just a fad and it is here to stay. NitroRCX has had a few machines out to this date that fit the bill, but none more capable than the all-new X10DR. With a silky smooth two-belt drivetrain and enough tuning options to make any tuner blush, this vehicle means business and is poised to put on a choreographed drift display right out of the box. It is important to note that the manuals included with the X10DR are among the best we have seen. There is even a pamphlet designated specifically for safe LiPo charging and handling.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Team Energy by NitroRCX
WHO IT’S FOR: Bashers & Drifters
PART NUMBER: 88C216
HOW MUCH: $259.99 (RTR version only)
BUILD TYPE: RTR
• Dual belt design
• Front one-way diff
• Loads of alloy parts stock
• Hop-ups available
• Tires needed to be glued
• No gear cover to protect the spur
“A wolf in sheep’s clothing” is a phrase that comes to mind when describing the X10DR from NitroRCX. Don’t let the price tag fool you; this is a performance based TC and not your average plastic RTR. There are loads of shiny alloy on the X10DR right out of the box, including threaded shocks and a front one-way differential. The potent 3300Kv motor delivers all the power needed, and more, to break the super slick tires loose and tuning options such as droop screws and optional sway bars only further sweeten the pot when considering a new drift ride. The body looks killer and is reminiscent of an early Corvette blended with a Skyline … or something of that nature. Great looks, great performance and a modest price tag. Sounds like a winner to me!
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• Bind plug for the radio, decal sheet and extra body mounts.
• (4) “AA” batteries for the transmitter
• Compatible LiPo charger
• Sky RC E4 2-4 Cell Lithium 100-240V AC Balance Charger (26P-E4-Charger-II) $19.95 The E4 from Sky RC is about as economical as they come when considering LiPo chargers, but it does a great job of keeping our Team Energy 3900mAh 2S batteries in perfect shape. With a maximum charge rating of three amps, higher capacity packs will take longer, but at less than 20 dollars for an E4, you could grab a few and still save some cash. Best of all, there is no programming to be done with the E4. Simply select your battery chemistry (LiPo or LiFE), select your charge rate and then plug the battery in. The E4 will do the rest for you.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED
• Nitro RCX 1/10 Touring Car Wheels/Tires (19P-A-20003) Four at $4.95 The X10DR is a purpose built drift machine, but being racers at heart, we felt it was only necessary to see what it could do with a little traction. These five- spoke black rims look killer on the X10DR with its Vette-esqe body lines and their stickier compound will have the car firmly planted on the asphalt.
• Nitro RCX Shock Oils (17P) $3.30 each The stock oil in the shocks on the X10DR felt a bit light, so we grabbed up a bunch of different weight oils from Nitro RCX to tune the car to our liking. At $3.30 per bottle, you can buy a whole assortment for not so much money.
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• Team Energy Front/Rear Suspension Shim Set 0.5mm (88P-R120081) $6.15 True, this car isn’t a full-blown race machine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tune it to your preferences … even for drifting. This shim set from Team Energy will help drivers set up their individual X10DRs as they see fit. Adding or removing shims for droop, anti- squat and roll center adjustments can be tweaked to infinity in conjunction with the droop screws.
• Team Energy 2.5mm Carbon Fiber Chassis (88P-R128118) $75.82 The stock chassis on the X10DR is listed as Carbon Fiber, but it is actually fiberglass. That’s fine for novice drift enthusiasts, but this hop-up 2.5mm Carbon Fiber chassis from Team Energy is sure to stiffen things up. A more rigid chassis converts directly into more pre- dictable handling which is just what every parking lot drifter and would-be club racer needs. Team Energy also offers up a 2mm version for those who might want a little more flex. The CF chassis plates also fur- ther strengthen an already robust frame.
• Team Energy Alloy Steering Plate (88P-R125014) $10.25 This alloy draglink from Team Energy will take a good bit of the slop out of the entire steering sys- tem, giving the X10DR a more solid feel. The plastic factory link is fine for just cruising around the drive- way, but if you want to nail those apexes tight and close every time, this alloy link will give you consis- tent feel up front.
The drivetrain of the X10DR is probably the best part about the whole vehicle. The dual belt design delivers smooth power, which is key to holding clean lines while drifting. Upping the ante even higher, Nitro RCX added a front one-way diff and locked diff in the rear. The one-way provides consistent power to both wheels so the front end will stay planted where you want it without unloading to one side or the other. The locked diff in the back makes it tough to accelerate hard in a straight line, but straight lines aren’t what drifting is about anyway.
The suspension on the X10DR is far more adjustable than you’d find on your average 250 dollar RTR. The threaded alloy shocks not only look great, but keep the car firmly planted on all four wheels. There are also three tower mounting positions in both the front and rear and if that’s not enough in the way of tuning, each arm has a droop screw. Changing the ride height and roll center has never been easier. All of this also means that if you wish to strap a set of sticky shoes on the X10DR, it should be able to hold its own in a TC class for club racing.
Right out of the box, the X10DR is adorned with a healthy dose of orange alloy parts. The arm mounts, diff mounts, outdrives and bell-crank posts are all anodized in a sweet orange color. Team Energy also offers up a bunch of different hop-up parts for the car, so you can bling it out until your heart’s content. Among the hop-ups, there are also a couple of options for Carbon Fiber chassis conversions. You know, just in case you might want to make you X10DR look even better and be more durable.
Topping off the RTR package, the electronics used to outfit the X10DR are more than your average RTR fare. The Dimension GT3X transmitter features tuning options normally found on more advanced, aftermarket radios. 10 model memory, expo rates, ABS and a backlit screen are just some of the bells and whistles on the GT3X. The business end of the X10DR is the Team Energy 3300Kv motor and 50 amp ESC. Yes, they are sensorless, but drifting is all about keeping those wheels spinning, so this system is perfect for this car.
ON THE TRACK
We were a bit suspicious of the steering when we first laid eyes on the unique setup, but we were wrong. The X10DR has plenty of throw and authority, even when carving hard turns with the power cranked up. In fact, we dialed the Dual Rate down on the GT3X radio to keep from oversteering. Of course, the one-way diff in front pulling both wheels equally isn’t going to hurt in the steering department either, especially when the rear end can be broken loose at a moment’s notice. The included Team Energy waterproof servo actually packs a good bit more speed and strength than we were expecting as well. It shines brightest when counter- steering to hold that oh so perfect drift.
Acceleration is perhaps the only weak spot in the armor of the X10DR. However, that is largely due to the nature of the hard composition drift tires. The stock shoes on the car are very, very hard plastic and offer very little in the way of grip, but that also makes it much easier to drift. Judicious use of the throttle and/or feathering of the acceleration will result in straighter launches. A ball diff out back coupled with some slightly stickier tires would make for much easier straight lines. The braking of the included 50 amp ESC is great right out of the box, but it can be tuned even further with the ABS and drag brake features. Bear in mind though that drift tires don’t like to stop on a dime, so less is usually more in the stopping department.
Handling on smooth pavement was awesome with the X10DR. The myriad of options for setting the chassis and suspension up make it perfect for weekend warriors and competition tuners alike. The butter smooth action of the alloy threaded shocks keeps all four corners planted and the camber can be cranked in for that modern “stance” look … if that’s your cup of tea. On glass- like surfaces, the droop screws can be buried into the arms to slam the chassis down to minimum ride height. This produces a nimble platform with almost no chassis role. Using the rear gear diff from the X10TC, a new set of sticky TC tires would make the X10DR perfect for club level Touring class racing. The added option parts from Team Energy for the car will only further enhance its capabilities on the drift course though. Sway bars, spring sets and spur choices can bring your X10DR to the next level of performance.
The absolute only reason our test vehicle didn’t get a 10 in this category was for the fact that the 2 rear wheels departed from their respective rims within the first 2 minutes of runtime. The remedy was a quick shot of tire glue to each bead on the rims and sliding the tires back into place. Patience was exercised and we had all four tires firmly glued in place with- in five minutes. Throughout our testing, we encountered many a brush with the curb and even a few light poles. The beauty of the hard com- pound drift tires is that there isn’t really enough traction to cause the car to stick on impact and break something. Of course, the foam bumper didn’t hurt either when we encountered an obstacle head on. Throughout it all, the X10DR was left with no signs of wear or breakage, save for a little scuffing on the front bumper portion of the body.
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SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
LENGTH: 14.17 in. (360mm)
WIDTH: 7.48 in. (190mm)
WHEELBASE: 10.09 in. (256mm)
WEIGHT: Varies with batteries used
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
BODY: Pre-painted on-road
WHEELS: Black multi-spoke
WHEEL ADAPTER TYPE: 12mm front and rear
TIRES: Pre-mounted drift slicks
TYPE: 4-wheel independent
SHOCK POSITIONS: (F) 3-tower, 1-arm, (R) 3-tower, 2-arm
CAMBER: Fully adjustable links
ROLL: Adjustable with spacers
RIDE HEIGHT: Droop screws front and rear
TYPE: Bell crank with drag link TOE: Fully adjustable links
TYPE: Flat pan
TRANSMISSION: Dual belt with center spur
DIFFERENTIAL: One-way front, Locked diff rear
CLUTCH TYPE: N/A
GEAR RATIO: N/A
BEARINGS: Full set of shielded
Performance – Acceleration: 7
Performance – Steering: 8
Performance – Handling: 9
Performance – Durability: 9
Feature Breakdown: 8
Overall Value: 9
Since I got my start in RC by off-road racing back in the 80s, I was a little late to the party, so to speak, when it came to the drift trend. Times have changed and I have embraced the hard-slick, sliding nature of these machines, but I had yet to settle on a design that I really liked … that is, until I got my hands on the X10DR. The RTR version with the GT3X radio and 3900 mAh 2S LiPo is ready to rock and roll right out of the box after charging the battery. Sure, it can be tuned as mildly or wildly as you like, but who cares about tuning when you’ve got a fresh pack in hand and light poles in the parking lot begging to be drifted around?!
NITRO RCX nitrorcx.com