Friday, January 27, 2023

Hot Bodies Pro5 Review

This article was originally published in RC Driver’s December 2015 issue.

Photos: Edwin Rodriguez

The Pro5 is HB’s first competition level TC since the TCXX was released back in 2012. This all new road rocket sports some unique features that are sure to catch the eye of even a seasoned on-roader. Being the only asphalt guy in the office, there wasn’t too much of a fuss when I yanked the Pro5 from our UPS delivery and started running down the hallway to my office! Mine, I say, mine! It’s my Pro5 precious.

WHO IT’S FOR: Intermediate to Advanced Drivers
HOW MUCH: $499.99

• New, narrow 2.25mm carbon chassis and 2mm upper deck
Compact bulkheads are fully symmetrical front to rear and left to right Split B and C arm mounts allow more chassis flex
Floating carbon fiber and aluminum servo mount
Modular-design inner adjustable ball link
Threaded aluminum ‘big bore’ shocks
New suspension arms and uprights with carbon fiber steering arms
Fine pitch body posts
Front and rear anti-roll bars

•  A lot of front-to-back slop in the suspension arms
 Requires a ‘shorty’ servo

I’ve been running HB Touring cars since the Pro 2 so I was more than a little excited to see how the Pro5 would pan out. I’m happy to say that, other than the slop in the arms (see the Feature Breakdown section), this car went together well and is constantly improving on the track. If you’re a die-hard HB fan or even someone looking to get a state of the art TC, the Pro5 delivers

• Turnbuckle wrench
L wrenches
4-way wrench

• Servo
Electronic Speed Control
Brushless Motor

• Futaba BLS571SV Shorty Servo I initially chose the BLS571SV for its shorty size and programmable S.Bus features, but soon realized that in stock form this servo puts down some manly numbers; 153oz/in. of torque and a .08sec. speed.

LRP Flow Works Team ESC LRP has also been my go-to ESC’s for the HB cars forever as well, so it was only fitting that I partnered up the Blue-is-Better in my Pro5.

Futaba 4PX Transmitter I know I use this radio a lot, but the fact that it’s compatible with the T-FHSS, S-FHSS and FASST receivers makes it hard not to use it (I have quite a few older receivers).

•  LRP Vector X20 8.5T Brushless Motor  HPI Plazma 6500mAh 95C LiPo Battery  LRP VTEC G36 Pre-Glued Tires  HPI Subaru Impreza Type C Body  Paint by Kustom RC Graphics

• 114463 Carbon Fiber Battery Stopper Kit Why use the stock plastic stoppers when you can use carbon fiber?
114465 Carbon Fiber Steering Post While the stock aluminum one will do just fine, it’s hard to pass up carbon fiber.
112797 Washer Set A lot of the tuning on this car is done by adding or removing shims. This package has quite a few shims and, even better, they’re matching orange

The backbone of the Pro5 revolves around the narrow 2.25mm carbon fiber chassis. New, compact 7075 alloy bulkheads are fully symmetrical, meaning you can switch them from the left to right or front to back. A 2mm top deck adds support with multiple attachment points to tune chassis flex. The motor mount has been optimized to bring the motor inboard as much as possible, keeping the weight closer to the center of the chassis. The ESC, receiver and servo are all mounted as close to the centerline as possible.

‹ The suspension is completely adjustable, allowing you to tune everything from wheelbase, caster, camber, ride height, toe, etc. Both the alloy B and C arm mounts are split, allowing more flex in the chassis, and etchings on them offer easy identification. Big bore shocks are new as well, with threaded bodies for precise ride height adjustment. The Pro5 also features super thick shock towers, front and rear anti-roll bars, all new suspension arms and easy-access ball cups so you don’t have to pop the cups off to move the ball stud locations. One of the coolest features is the modular inner camber link mount. This system uses shims to space the mount in or out, allowing for a very wide range of adjustment. After building, I found that both the front and rear suspension arms had quite a bit of front-to-back slop; we’re talking easily 1mm each. I checked the instructions and the width of the required shims and everything was hunky dory, so I’m not sure what’s going on. I decided to run the car in this configuration but brought along a few extra shims just in case.

‹ A lot is going on with the new steering system on the Pro5. A dual- bellcrank setup is utilized complete with alloy arms and draglink. Ackermann can be adjusted using shims and the entire system is bearing supported and extremely smooth. Out on the steering knuckles, carbon fiber steering arms have been included for strength. The Pro5 uses a beautiful alloy and carbon fiber floating servo setup. Because space is at a premium on the electronics side of the chassis, a low-profile servo is definitely recommended.

‹ The Pro5’s drivetrain features an aluminum spool up front and a fluid- filled gear diff out back, both using large, 40-tooth pulleys. Looping around those are a pair of high-efficiency Kevlar drive belts with a bearing supported tensioner mounted midway on the top deck. DCJ universals spin the front tires while thin-profile 12mm clamping hexes help secure the wheels. Standard universals and standard wheel hexes are used on the rear.

‹ There are a few other notable features on the Pro5. The fine-pitch body posts allow you to fine-tune your body height. The battery stops have screws in them that let you position your pack forward or back for better weight distribution. Chassis space behind the motor can be used to mount a cooling fan. I also have to mention how much I’m a fan of the orange anodizing. It looks really good speckled throughout the entire car.

Greg and I took a little road trip to a local on-road track to check out the Pro5’s awesomeness. The track had been blown off earlier in the day but did have a little dust on it still. The weather was warm so there was decent grip, enough to try and put down some fast laps.

As expected from a top-end touring car, the steering is quick and precise. Initially I found myself using the entire steering throw to get the car to turn, but that resulted in a loss of speed as the front tires scrubbed across the ground. Slowing down slightly before the turn and using lighter inputs helped the Pro5 carve through the turn with much more cornerspeed – one of the biggest track factors in a touring car. This car can be driven aggressively, but I found that a smoother line pulled faster lap times.

With the combo of 4WD and the spunky LRP power unit, the Pro5 is a complete rocket around the track. Power delivery is instantaneous and, even though I could break the tires loose on some of the dusty sections, the car always pointed straight and forward. Once again, smooth power delivery will net the fastest lap times, but I know how diffi cult that will be with all that power. Braking is good as well, but I expected to hear a lot of skipping from the front belt as it seemed a bit fl oppy for my taste. Fortunately HB has it set just right and I never heard a peep from it.

This TC has excellent track manners but you’ll need to fi nd its sweet spot to reap the rewards. Too much speed into the corner and you’ll push wide which, of course, will ruin your middle and exit speed. Slow down just a touch and the Pro5 will whip through the corner like it’s on a rail. It took me a few laps to fi nd this spot and once I did, I was able to put in some very competitive lap times. The only issue I had was a bump leading into the sweeper off the straight; the car felt a little unsettled if I hit it too fast. I wasn’t sure what was causing it so just to give it a try, I shimmed up the suspension arms to take out all the slop. That seemed to help quite a bit, so it’s something you might consider doing during the build process.

I’ve put quite a few touring cars into the wall at maximum speed before, only to sweep them into a bag and go home. Thankfully, though, the Pro5 wasn’t one of them. I had my share of rollovers and collisions with other cars on the track, but nothing that did any major damage. There were a few scrapes on the chassis and some scratches on the body, but overall the Pro5 held up very well.

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LENGTH: 13.9 in. (353mm)
WIDTH: 7.5 in.  (190mm)
WHEELBASE: 10-10.2 in. (254-260mm)

BODY: Not included
WHEELS: Not included
TIRES: Not included

TYPE: 4-wheel independent
SHOCK POSITIONS: (F) 5-tower, 1-arm, (R) 7-tower, 1-arm
CAMBER: Adjustable turnbuckles
ROLL: Adjustable ball heights
WHEELBASE: Adjustable with shims
RIDE HEIGHT: Threaded shocks

TYPE: Dual bellcrank
TOE: Turnbuckles

TYPE: Flat
MATERIAL: Carbon fiber

DIFFERENTIAL: (F) Spool, (R) Gear differential
GEAR RATIO: Optional pinion gears
BEARINGS: Full shielded

Opinion: 8
Performance – Acceleration: 9
Performance – Steering: 9
Performance – Handling: 8
Performance – Durability: 8
Feature Breakdown: 10
Overall Value: 9

Touring cars are not for the faint of heart. They’re quick, require cat-like reflexes and can set you back quite a bit if you wad one up. However, that’s also what makes them so intriguing. There’s something exciting about blasting past someone or out-braking them into a corner that you just don’t get in other forms of racing. If you’re looking to get into TC racing or ready to upgrade from an older model, HB’s Pro5 has the latest and greatest features that can help put you on the podium.

HPI, hpiracing.com, (949) 753-1099
LRP, lrpamerica.com, (949) 276-6060
Futaba, futabarc.com, (217) 398-8970
Kustom RC Graphics, kustomrcgraphics.com, kustomrcgraphics@aol.com

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