Competition racer with radical design
This article was originally published in RC Driver’s February 2016 issue.
Words: Raul Garcia
Photos: Edwin Rodriguez
Speed and strength in the perfect combination is the Holy Grail when it comes to these modern day 4WD 1/10 racing buggy rockets. Usually he who lasts the longest in the main wins. All current buggies out there are looking for the ultimate handling, the ultimate durability and the most user friendly servicing. Sworkz has not only bundled this all into one ball of wax, they nailed it. Read on to see the highlights of the S104 EVO.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Sworkz
WHO IT’S FOR: Advanced drivers
PART NUMBER: SWX-910021
HOW MUCH: $439.99
BUILD TYPE: Build up kit
• Durable, adjustable and user friendly
• Floating servo
• Fluid filled gear diffs front, rear and center
• Cam style motor mount provides ease of adjustment
• Emulsion style big bore shocks
• 4mm carbon shock towers
• 14mm hex size is not mainstream
Every once in a while when I am sitting there building a car kit, I say to myself, “Self, it would have been cool if they did this or did that” and during this build I found myself saying a lot of, “Wow, they did this and did that”! Almost every positive choice made in the design of this buggy is well thought out and definitely well executed. It’s probably one of the few car kits I have built where I couldn’t add an option or modify something to make it better on the initial build. That was a pleasant and unexpected surprise.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• Sorry, but not in this kit. You’ll need it all … fluids, tools, glue, paint and such.
• ESC, motor and pinion
• Servo- short or standard size
• 2S 7.4V 96mm LiPo and Charger
• Radio with receiver
• HobbyStar 120A Pro ESC (360-10-066) $89.99 This company is new to the game and this system offers program tuning, dynamic boost timing, punch rate adjustment, stability mode for boost, multiple protection and even a program card or Star-Link USB link for firmware updates.
• Protek 160SS low profile aluminum servo (PTK-160SS) $93.4 This is my first Protek servo and I cannot rave about it enough. The case is strong and its operation is smooth and authoritative. The servo comes with a pro style clamping aluminum horn. It works perfectly in the S104 EVO.
• Protek 2S 4250mah 100C 5MM bullet battery (PTK-5102-15) $55.24 This small pack is perfect for high current draw applications such as in 4WD electric buggies. The pack is fitted with 5mm connectors and comes with bullet plugs to solder to your ESC.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED
• Venom Pro Duo charger
• Devil Spit Black Label traction sauce
• MIP Speed bits
• Pro-Line Prime M4 slicks
• Hobby Star 6.5t pro motor
• Garcia Graphix custom paint
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• I used stiffer springs track side. AE 12MM Red front and Green rears.
• I added 2mm shims on the steering plate by the wheel to eliminate the bump- steer. It worked perfectly.
Well as we know, 4wd buggies are the highest competitive form of 1/10 racing to date. The S104 Evo buggy is chock full of options straight out of the box. If there is an adjustment that can be made, Sworkz has thought of it and made it possible on this kit. No options needed! A truly well thought out design here. Starting with the chassis, many holes in the aluminum allow for complete chassis adjustment. Its black hard coated, so scratching is minimal. The motor and battery layout can be adjusted for all you tuning geeks out there. Shorty LiPo packs are the way to go and this buggy allows you positions that pack in several locations. There is a carbon fiber multi-pieced upper deck for easy servicing.
No main stream 1/10 design in the front suspension here folks. The front suspension uses a pillow ball style set-up with firm composite plastic upper and lower control arms. Inserts on the lower and upper aluminum hinge pin mounts are also adjustable. Big Bore emulsion style shocks with Ti-Nitride shafts, silicone o rings and hard anodized shock bodies also feature dirt shield spring perches. Rear suspension is typical upper camber link, lower control arm and also adjustable inserts at the lower hinge pin mounts. Super thick carbon towers provide the mounting point for the upper aluminum shock mounts.
A scaled down 1/8 style steering rack plays the part of a heavy duty steering system on the S104 and allows for more adjustments. The main post features a threaded aluminum sleeve with spring to clamp the composite and aluminum servo saver arms. Ball bearings in the rack and posts provide super smooth operation.
Three fluid filled differentials with smooth mesh work with lightweight steel driveshafts to get power to the wheels. Of course, the entire driveline rides on quality bearings. The center shafts enter the gearbox in a well-designed way. The bevel pinion also serves as the cup for the driveshaft so pins can’t be ejected from the universal. A cam style motor mount provides simple and quick pinion adjustments. The position of the clamp bars screws are easy to get to for gear mesh adjustments.
Let’s talk other features like the floating servo mount that reduces flex inconsistencies in the chassis. There are 14mm wheel hexes to prevent the wheels from stripping out from high powered electronic systems unloading on high grip tracks. A molded black wing takes place of a Lexan wing for better durability. Carbon steering plates are attached to the steering knuckles and can be swapped easily. Lexan side shields protect the electronics from grime spraying off the wheels and a stubby mini bumper protects the front end.
ON THE TRACK
What better time to test a race buggy than an actual race. So that’s what I did. I ventured out to our state’s newest indoor facility, Speed RC in Moorseville, North Carolina. It’s nestled in the same area as the Richard Petty training center for the pit crews. The track was hosting the final leg of a point series, The Carolina Triangle Series, and it was the final race day on the current layout. As so many times before, we arrived early, with plenty of time and yet I didn’t find time to practice. I managed to get about 10 laps in before racing began. Qualifying was my practice and they were using qual points to boot. Initially, all I was thinking was, don’t hit that, don’t hit that and don’t hit that! I reserved myself because I didn’t want to break or even scratch the new car, but on the first tumble, the gloves were off. I managed to make it into the A main, with a field of about 20 buggies, finishing in the sixth position. I was quite pleased, the HobbyStar electronics provided super smooth, efficient operation all day, the Protek battery took a beating and kept on ticking and the servo was butter smooth and very responsive. I ended up changing throughout the day to AE springs for a little stiffer feel on the front and a little softer on the rear. It all worked out in the end.
I never thought too much steering would be a complaint, but this buggy delivers immense amounts of steering and follows through until the end. I found myself dialing back the EPA all day to a comfortable 45%. The Protek 160SS worked its gears off and asked for more. The ball raced rack, provided consistent and super smooth operation all day long. I added a 2mm spacer at the steering plate to eliminate the unwanted bump steer from the initial build. It worked flawlessly after that.
Straight and to the point were the words that came to mind. The HobbyStar combo with a 6.5t motor launched this buggy off the line and into every corner with authority. Braking was so excessive, I again found myself dialing it back with the provided LED programming card provided by HobbyStar. Once I found the braking sweet spot, the car tipped the nose down and carved through the corners like no other. Simply awesome!
The ride height requirement for the track was about 21mm so I found myself lowering the car even more to 18mm. I was worried that it would bounce of the face of the jumps and pancake on the landing. I was utterly amazed, the suspension not only absorbed the jump, but the landing was quiet and undetectable, as if the jumps weren’t even there. The kit sway bars were very effective all day long, needing no adjustment. The only thing I changed was AE 12mm red front spring and AE 12mm green springs.
Built like a… well you know what… house. The S104 is basically a radio controlled Sherman tank, it is unstoppable. A notewor- thy feature in today’s high grip, high speed race tracks. You will be the last man standing with the Sworkz S104 EVO.
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SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
Length: 15.16 in. (385mm)
Width: 9.76 in. (248mm)
Wheelbase: 10.8 in. (275mm)
Weight: 9.2 lbs (1770g)
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
Body: Clear body
Wheels: White dish
Wheel adapter type: 14mm hex
Tires: Not included
Type: 4 wheel independent with front pillow ball
Shock positions: (F) 3-tower, 2-arm, (R) 4-tower, 2-arm
Camber: Front Pillow Ball, rear camber link
Roll: Adjustable heights
Wheelbase: Adjustable shims
Ride height: Threaded shock bodies
Misc: Anti-squat, kickup, chassis layout
Type: Dual bellcrank
Toe: Adjustable turnbuckles
Material: Hard coated aluminum
Transmission: X Drive ring and pinion
Differential: Fluid filled gear diffs
Clutch Type: Fluid filled gear diff
Gear ratio: spur 87t, ring and pinion 42/17
Bearings: Full set of shielded
Feature Breakdown: 9
Overall Value: 9
If you were hesitant in the past to jump into the world of 4WD 1/10 buggy racing because you thought it was expensive or super high-maintenance or too costly, now is your chance to dive in head first with a buggy that defies those fears. The SWorkz S104 Evo is a great kit to build, the manual is clear and the performance is unrivaled. The car proved to be durable and easy to setup as well as maintain. SWorkz has really come onto the race scene strong with their competition line of vehicles and they’ve shown that they are a force in 1/10 off-road for drivers from intermediate to pro level skill.