Saturday, June 15, 2024

Basher RZ-4 RTR Review

Throw Some Terrain!

This article was originally published in RC Driver’s January 2016 issue.

Words:  TY Giebel
Photos: Edwin Rodriguez

Rally has been a steady segment of RC for 25 years, and manufacturers have done everything over the years in the 1/10-scale segment of RC. But often the vehicle works either on the dirt or on tarmac. Seldom can a vehicle conquer both types of terrain and still keep going. The HobbyKing Basher RZ-4 has been built like a tank to rule the rally track and take on any challenge
you can throw at it.

WHO MAKES IT:  Hobby King
WHO IT’S FOR: Intermediate Drivers
PART NUMBER: 9510000551-0
HOW MUCH: $208.61

• Great Price point
Full metal chassis
Smooth belt drive
New tire pattern
Tons of power
4WD is very responsiv

• Steering servo is slow
Needs an underbody

It’s no secret that I am a rally fanatic; from driving to watching it, I just can’t get enough. Over the years I have owned almost every rally platform that has come on the market and every single one of them has needed something to get it up to par to be competitive. The RZ-4 is a solid platform. With the exception of needing a servo; this car is race ready and can easily be maneuvered through the tight courses of the Colorado Rally Championship.

•  4-way wrench
 L wrenches
 Turnbuckle tool

•  Transmitter Batteries
 2-cell LiPo Battery
 Battery Charger
 Allen Wrenches
 4-way Wrench

• Turnigy TGY-T168HV High Speed- High Torque Servo, 9468000018-0, $61.19,  A great improvement over the stock servo to increase vehicle reaction time

CHASSIS: The chassis of this rally car is fierce; the thick metal double-decker platform can handle the toughest challenges that exist, scraping across big gravel or keeping sand out of the drivetrain. With rally, a precise platform is not nearly as important as staying in one piece. With a plethora of metal parts on this chassis there is no problem staying in one piece, but the metal also leads to a rigid platform that can be very precise, allowing the car to be very consistent and predictable.

‹ SUSPENSION: The suspension of the RZ-4 is pretty standard when it comes to a 1/10–scale 4WD car. It’s comprised of plastic arms and adjustable camber links front and rear. The car sits at 190mm wide, making it capable of hundreds of body options. A large part of rally is body customization and the RZ-4 is capable of this; working off the most popular width and wheelbase, there are nearly limitless options. As far as dampers for the RZ-4, they are aluminum-threaded bodies with ball pivots on both sides. The threaded bodies allow for fine-tuning and the full metal bodies are the epitome of durability.

‹ STEERING: The steering is comprised of a bell crank system with plastic knuckles coming off the front A- arms. To allow maximum steering, the RZ-4 is paired with CVD style driveshafts. These allow a tighter turning radius without the driveshaft disengaging from the drive cup. Pushing the wheels is a 3kg servo. Through the entire steering system there isn’t a single fault, except one. While the steering servo has plenty of power it is nonsensically slow, the low speed of the servo doesn’t allow for the reactionary driving that is necessary with rally. While I complain about the servo, it really is the only fault of the entire car and can be easily replaced.

‹ DRIVETRAIN: The drivetrain of this car is incredibly simple. With a pinion pushing a spur gear and one belt going to the front and one belt going to the rear there really isn’t much to go wrong. While a single belt may have been a simpler solution I am quite fond of the duel belt system. With a duel belt system if for some reason there is a belt failure there is still power going to part of the car. For a race vehicle, this is a great characteristic, as it will allow you to finish a race regardless of what happens to the car. In the rear of the car is a ball diff which allows fine tuning. In the front of the car is a spool, the spool locks both front wheels to spin at the same speed, this can harm the turning radius a little, but because most cornering in rally is done in a slide, it allows the front end to pull and keep the car going exactly where the wheels are pointed.

As I pulled the Basher RZ-4 out of the box I glanced at all the metal tying the entire vehicle together and I quickly plugged the battery into the charger and waited impatiently for it to peak. As my charger began to beep I pulled the plugs apart and hooked them up inside the car, I was finally ready for a drive. For the first few minutes with the Basher, I took it to a rough single track to test the low-end control of the non-sensored brushless system and the durability of the drivetrain. Bouncing and scraping across the rough terrain was of little consequence to this car. As I headed down the trail I pushed the RZ-4 over rougher obstacles, going airborne as the chassis scraped across rocks and was flung into the air. As I neared the end of the trail, I picked up speed and whipped the car into a power slide to turn around and head back the way I came. The way back led to the car bumping, jumping and scraping its way back up the trail in a similar fashion to the way down. As I reached my car I yearned for more of a challenge with my new found little rally tank.

The following weekend was the first event of the 2016 Colorado Rally Championship series. It’s one of the tightest tracks of the series with some parts of the course being only 14 inches wide. With elevation changes, loose dirt and the odd flying tree, one lap of this course can be a task, albeit a fast one. Around every corner the RZ-4 was in full control of the slide, working the throttle to keep the rear end kicked out and spraying dirt to the outside of the corner. After a few practice laps, I wanted to really put this car through its paces. I lined up to race side-by-side with another driver. As we prepared ourselves someone said, “Go,” and we were side by side into a tight uphill switchback. On the outside of the first corner I was pushed out and had to fall in single file behind. Right on his bumper as we snaked around and quickly dropped off the hill, another pinch in the track between two trees and still not a single chance to pass, dropping through the trees and over a bridge to a hairpin left and it seemed like the lap was already nearing an end and there was nothing I could do to pass. As we continued to wrap around the corner we slid under the bridge we had just passed over and over a small crest to a tight right hander and still no opportunities to pass. By this point we had both bobbled at the controls once and the situation had remained the same with me just catching him as he recovered again and kept his lead. As we exited the tight right hander we entered a tight hair pin left that is beginning to rut out from all the cars, throwing the loose dirt to the outside of the corner. Going straight out of the corner we were nearing the end of our lap. And I was still sitting behind him waiting for my moment. Next we entered a fast right corner and slammed the throttle to slide all four tires around a sweeping left hander. Then a slight panic began to rise as there were only two corners left before the lap was over. I began to push the car beyond my limits to make up any ground I could, but to no avail, as we wrapped around to the right and onto a slick concrete pad we rounded the final right-hand corner and jumped across the finish line. I could never recover on such a tight track and often had to push the car only to fall behind again. The car has great potential and with a few laps I could figure out many of the predictable traits of the car and learn to slide through the corners.

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LENGTH: 365mm
WIDTH: 190mm
WEIGHT: 2663g

MOTOR: 3300Kv non-sensored brushless
ESC: 50A non-sensored brushless
RECEIVER: 2-channel 2.4GHz
SERVO: 3kg
TRANSMITTER: 2 channel 2.4GH

BODY: Pre-painted and cut rally car
WHEELS: Spoked 1.9mm
TIRES: Off road rally tires

TYPE: 4-wheel independent
SHOCK POSITIONS: (F) 3-tower, (R) 3-tower
CAMBER: Adjustable turnbuckles
ROLL: Adjustable ball heights
WHEELBASE: Adjustable shims
RIDE HEIGHT: Pre-load adjustable threaded shocks
MISC: Anti-squat, kickup

TYPE: Dual bellcrank
TOE: Adjustable turnbuckles

TYPE: Flat

DIFFERENTIALS: Ball diff/ locked diff
GEAR RATIO: Optional pinion gears
BEARINGS: Full set shielded

Opinion: 7
Performance – Acceleration: 9
Performance – Steering: 5
Performance – Handling: 7
Performance – Durability: 6
Feature Breakdown: 7
Overall Value: 7

Some say rally is a niche segment of RC; it’s had a background presence for nearly 25 years. Groups start and end almost constantly. But from my experience it is the most versatile form of RC racing in the world. There are multiple formats that lead to great fun and there is no such thing as a weather delay with rally. In Colorado, we run our rally series from October to April and in five years have never canceled a race. We race in and on snow, rain, mud and ice and smile and have a great time regardless. The Hobby King Basher RZ-4 is a great vehicle for just what we do. With a need to have strength and performance all in one, the Basher is out of the box ready to rally!

Hobby King, hobbyking.com

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