The better basher buggy!
This article was originally published in RC Driver’s May 2015 issue.
Photos Walter Sidas
Photos: Walter Sidas
Pro-Line Racing has been hard at work making some of the best upgrades and performance parts in recent years. They’ve focused on one of the largest areas of growth in the short course truck arena with different tuning kits until they recently put everything together in one box to create the Pro-2SCT kit, an all-in-one platform that brings together all the best parts and pieces. As a follow-up, Pro-Line decided to enter into the Short Course Buggy class with the new Pro-2 SC performance buggy kit. Like the Pro-2 Truck the Pro-2 Buggy features top-of-the-line parts and equipment in an attempt to be the best car in its class.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Pro-Line Racing
WHO IT’S FOR: Beginners and Intermediate Short Course Buggy fans
PART NUMBER: PRO400201
HOW MUCH: $389.95
BUILD TYPE: Kit
• In a world of RTRs its still nice to build a kit
• Top-quality parts and materials used throughout
• This is the easiest to install and remove body of any SCB I’ve ever used
• Excellent tires
• Partially-assembled chassis reduces build time
• Many times you’ll need to open multiple bags for one assembly step
• Currently no RTR option for those who would prefer it
• Our diff leaked slightly out of the box.
I’ve been impressed with Pro-Line’s kits since the original Pro-2 truck first debuted. Since then the Pro-2 MT and now the Pro-2 Buggy have been worthy follow-ups. The buggy is nearly identical to its truck brethren, sim- ply tweaked to best accommodate the stance and appearance of the buggy body. The kit includes top-of-the-line materials from the aluminum chassis plate to the shocks, servo mounts to transmission.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• 4-way wrench
• Motor, ESC, Servo, Transmitter, Receiver, 2S LiPo battery, Charger and Paint
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• PRO626900 – Front Sway Bar Set
Whether it is a short course truck or buggy, installing a front sway bar is one of the first tuning options I generally turn to. Generally speaking, a front bar will reduce initial turn-in and provide additional stability.
• PRO606701 – Aluminum Steering Rack
The stock steering rack works well; however, the molded components can develop some slop over time. The Aluminum steering rack will give you the precision and durability you’ll want, especially if racing is in your future.
• PRO609306 – 8mm Indoor Chassis
There has been a movement in many different classes toward shorter wheelbases and Pro-Line has you covered here, too. The optional chassis has the same look and feel of quality as the stock unit but the shorter chassis should provide a more responsive buggy.
• PRO608500 Light Bar Kit
If you’re going to run short course buggy you really should add a light kit. They not only look cool but also help you see the racing line that much easier. This set includes the mounting buck- ets but the LED lights are up to you.
• MIP13375 Super Ball Diff Kit
Gear diffs provide very good performance and less maintenance than ball diffs; however, ball diffs still have an advantage in terms of handling. Pro-Line and MIP have worked together to cre- ate this compatible ball differential set for the Pro2 Buggy (it also fits the Pro2 SCT and Pro MT) that is infinitely adjustable.
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In an interesting departure for the class, the Pro-2 Buggy comes as a kit. While this may not get you up and driving as quickly as an RTR you will definitely know your kit better, inside and out.
One thing to keep in mind with this vehicle is that it is technically based on two trucks. The first clearly being the Pro-2 SCT, the second being the Traxxas Slash. Pro-Line has integrated everything they have learned from their option parts (Pro-Trac suspension, PowerStroke Shocks, Wide-Trac Suspension arms just to name a few) to create possibly one of the best handling and most durable platforms of any class.
The Pro-2 Buggy’s fit and finish once complete were exceptional. The suspension components went through their range of motion freely and I didn’t have to hand-fit or modify anything. As far as this is concerned Pro-Line has their molding and parts fit quality nailed!
The build occurred over a few days and would have gone faster if Pro-Line better sorted their hardware and parts bags. I’m not a fan of having four separate bags open to get the screw, washer and nut needed just for one assembly step. If there is one area Pro- Line could improve this is one of them.
When you first open the box you’ll see a partially assembled chassis with the transmission assembled and bolted in place. There was a slight amount of diff oil leakage when I removed the transmission. I noticed the screws on the sealed gear diff were about one half
a turn loose which led to the leakage. Thankfully Pro-Line includes a bottle of diff fluid that I used to top things off.
As you would expect from a Pro-Line buggy, Pro-Line wheels and tires are included in the box. The M3-compound Blockade tires are premounted to F-11 wheels and provide enough grip for bashing while being hard enough to better withstand running on driveways, parking lots or other high-wear surfaces.
One of the main things that separates a short course buggy from a short course truck is the body. The multi-piece body and roll cage look great, just be prepared to work in some tight spaces when attaching the different pieces of roll tubing. Having both a 2mm and 1.5mm ball end Allen wrench will make things easier.
Since it is a kit you’ll need to add in your own electronics. We opted to use a Spektrum S6030 servo, SRS4210 AVC receiver and DX4C transmitter. We used a Hobbywing 17.5T motor and EZRun-Stock Spec ESC.
ON THE ROAD
Short course buggies are unique in that they are the best-handling short course vehicles that no one has driven. By that I mean that short course buggies have never seen the popularity that their truck brethren have enjoyed even though they drive leaps and bounds better. We’ve all heard about the dreaded “parachute effect” that every SCT has. It’s that floaty feeling when your truck is in the air over a big jump. Thanks to the narrower buggy body, the Pro 2 Buggy doesn’t exhibit any parachuting effect. None. The buggy body hugs the chassis close, preventing air from getting trapped or having the car hang in the air like a kite. Jumping the Pro 2 Buggy is truly a joy.
The Pro 2 Buggy also features a slightly different front shock tower than the Pro 2 SCT that changes the shock angle slightly. This placement leans the tops of the shocks in slightly which made the car change directions and feel slightly more responsive than an SCT. Driving through quick left-right-left chicanes the car just carved through like a warm knife through butter. It didn’t matter if I was on a prepped race track, running around in the street or even at the local ball field.
The HD Performance transmission is simple in its design yet amazingly effective. While there was some diff oil leakage out-of-the-box once I refilled it and tightened the screws down I never had another issue. The car accelerated straight and true each time and always felt in-control. The slipper clutch definicely helped keep wheelspin to a minimum while also providing the protection to the internal gears you’ll need. Best of all the transmission was quiet and free spinning, something you’ll really appreciate if you’re running 17.5T as we are here.
One major difference between short course buggies and trucks is clearly the open wheel nature of buggies. With open wheels, side-by- side driving gets a lot more interesting, especially when things get super-close. As such you tend to see much more spectacular crashes when things get too close with SCBs.
We did take the Pro-2 Buggy off of some pretty steep jumps at the local skate park, trying to break something, anything. We’re pleased to say that the Pro-2 Buggy survived everything we threw at it with- out bending or breaking. We’re honestly not surprised, these parts have been available as option parts or on the Pro-2 SCT for some time and have proven their durability.
To see exactly what the Pro-2 Buggy could do I mounted up a set of Pro-Line’s excellent Ion SC tires in their M4 compound, the hot tire and compound for my local track. Where the M3 Blockades felt decent and were great for bashing and park running they were a bit hard for a prepared racing surface. The M4 Ions however eliminated some of the edginess that could be directly attributed to the harder compound and larger pins of the M3 Blockades. I haven’t had a ton of experience with the SRS4210 AVC receiver but it really made a noticeable impact on my driving experience, especially when airing things out or running on loose surfaces like at the baseball diamond. The throttle assist, heading lock and steering augmentation kept the buggy going straight when it had no right to be. It was really cool to see the system work when I took to the air; if I had a less- than-perfect approach the AVC system helped get everything straightened out before I landed. Best of all I was able to put the receiver in “blinky mode”, disabling AVC entirely, when I hit the track to be totally legal.
SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
LENGTH: 22 in. (559mm)
WIDTH: 11.6 in. (295mm)
WHEELBASE: 13.9 in. (335mm)
WEIGHT: 3.7 lbs. (1.688kg)
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
BODY: Clear Pro-Line Short Course Buggy Body and Roll Cage
WHEELS: F-11 SCB Wheels
WHEEL ADAPTER TYPE: 17mm Hex TIRES: M3 Compound Blockade SCT
TYPE: 4-wheel independent
RIDE HEIGHT: Adjustable Threaded Body Aluminum Shocks Pre-Load
MISC: Adjustable Caster and Anti-Squat
TYPE: Dual Bellcrank TOE: Adjustable (front)
TYPE: Plate MATERIAL: Aluminum THICKNESS:
TRANSMISSION: 3-gear with bottom diff DIFFERENTIAL: Fluid-filled gear
GEAR RATIO: 2.52:1
BEARINGS: Full Set of Shielded Bearings CLUTCH TYPE: N/A
Performance – Acceleration: 9
Performance – Steering: 8
Performance – Handling: 9
Performance – Durability: 10
Feature Breakdown: 8
Overall Value: 8
The Pro-Line Racing Pro-2 Buggy is a really unique vehicle. It handles better than the wildly popular short course trucks but short course buggies are by and large less popular as a whole. The Pro-2 Buggy could change that as it is the only out-of-the-box kit in its class, includes what would be tuning or option parts and comes with the best tires out of any buggy. It is hands-down the best handling short course buggy I have ever driven, and I’ve driven some cars that are really, really good. Driving the Pro-2 Buggy is similar to driving the most dialed-in short course truck you’ve ever driven, yet better thanks to the chassis-hugging body and the elimination of any parachute effect. The car is smooth, durable and dependable which makes it one of the most fun cars I’ve driven in some time.
Pro-Line Racing, prolineracing.com, (909) 849-9781