Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Team Associated Sc5M Review

Short Course’s newest top dog

As a racer, I try to keep all my rides in tip-top shape, both on and off the track. Unfortunately, one of the trucks that hasn’t seen much stick time is my 2WD short course truck. I don’t know what it is, but the SC segment just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Well, anymore until I got my hands on Team Associated’s new SC5M. I’m a big fan of all the A-Team’s 5-Series vehicles and was excited when the announcement came that a mid-motor SC truck was going to be released. I have it, I’ve built it and I’ve driven it. A lot. I also love it. A lot. Yes, it’s that awesome!

Photos: Greg V

WHO MAKES IT:  Team Associated
WHO IT’S FOR: Any racer that wants to win
HOW MUCH: $309.99

•  Based on the popular B5M mid-motor design
 Mid-motor layout shines on high-grip tracks
 Longer chassis leaves tons of room for electronics
 Battery tray accepts saddle, shorty or brick LiPo packs
 Channel under the battery for easy sensor-wire routing
 Includes the A-Team’s super strong heavy duty ball ends
 Extremely smooth Factory Team V2 12mm Big Bore shocks
 Extra tuning parts included to adjust caster, toe and kickup
 Genuine Pro-Line SC body
 Excellent handling

•  No wheels included a standard 5-Series truck issue

One of the things I’ve loved most about all my 5-Series rides is the handling. The build is easy, the design and breakdown is great, but this truck handles like it was built for me. It’s very easy to drive, even on surfaces not designed for mid-motor trucks. Maybe it was just this particular package on this particular test track, but the SC5M was brilliant. It really made me enjoy short course trucks again.

• Turnbuckle wrench, L wrenches, Molded tools

•  Servo, Electronic Speed Control, Brushless Motor, Transmitter, Battery, Wheels, Tires, Paint

• Reedy RS1508 Digital HV Servo When AE sends out a new truck, this is the servo they include with it. I’m fine with that since this servo is a beast, spitting out a healthy 212oz/in. of torque. It’s no slouch in the speed department either; how about a .08 transit time. I’ll keep this bad boy in my trucks all day long.

Reedy Blackbox 410R Competition ESC The Blackbox has quickly become a major competitor in the 1/10-scale off-road market. It features eight custom profiles, lots of adjustability and comes programmed with a ROAR-approved blinky mode; all contained in a pretty aluminum case. The Blackbox PROgrammer is also available, giving you access to any data-logging info in the ESC.

Futaba 4PX Transmitter If you follow any of my articles (why wouldn’t you), you’ll know I have a bit of a thing for my Futaba 4PX radio. It’s one of the best radios I’ve ever used, hands down. Functionality, ergonomic feel and a color LCD screen. Love it.

• Reedy Sonic 540 Mach 2 6.5 Brushless Motor
Reedy 5800mAh 65C 7.4V LiPo
Pro-Line F-11 Wheels
Pro-Line HoleShot SC 2.2 in. Tires
Paint by Kustom RC Graphics

91600 Ti Screw Kit This kit will reduce the overall weight of your SC5M by a bit as well as give it a Factory Look.

91367/91368 Aluminum 25°/30° Front Bulkhead The front of you truck will take a lot of abuse. Trust me. Replace the stock plastic bulkhead with one of these blue aluminum Factory Team pieces.

91545 Carbon Fiber Battery Strap Plastic battery straps are so RTR. Pull the stock one and replace it with one of these carbon fi ber ones.

The SC5M’s chassis is based on a 2.5mm hard-anodized aluminum plate. Plastic cradles attach to the top that house the servo, electronics and battery. Once assembled, this setup forms a very rigid deck. The standard 5-Series front and rear bumpers have been replaced by strong Short Course tube-style bumpers that incorporate a small flex hoop. This hoop provides a little cushion should you crash head-on into something (or someone crashed into you). The servo sits right behind the dual-bellcrank steering and now mounts to the chassis from the top (instead of the bottom like the previous 4-Series). The electronics area has plenty of space for the ESC, receiver and even a transponder. A channel under the battery allows you to feed the sensor wire cleanly to the motor, keeping it safe and out of the way.

‹ As with all the 5-Series vehicles, the SC5M rates high in the suspension department. Up front, interchangeable front suspension arms are used to keep parts count to a minimum. A 25-degree bulkhead is standard but an optional 30-degree one is included. Inserts are used to tune caster, axle location (inline to trailing), toe and rear camber link spacing. AE also includes their fabulous V2 12mm Big Bore shocks complete with bleeder caps, threaded bodies and optional offset spring cups.

‹ Like the other vehicles in the 5-Series, the SC5M uses a bearing equipped dual bellcrank steering system chock full of tuning features. Ackermann, toe and bumpsteer are all adjustable and AE has even included a pair of red Orings over the steering rack ballstud to eliminate slop. The HD ballcups are used here as well, with the ones attaching to the steering knuckles being angled to provide clearance with the wheels when the steering is at full lock. One final upgrade to the steering is the addition of the solid drag link. I’m glad that multi-piece threaded rod has gone bye, bye.

‹ Because this is a mid-motor truck, the transmission has been relocated from behind the shock tower to in front of it. The low profile box houses 4 gears; a V2 aluminum top shaft, two idler gears and the ball differential. A Factory Team V2 Slipper Clutch spools up the internals and powers the HD CVA axles. The whole drivetrain rides on a set of quality bearings.

‹ The battery tray can accept three different types of LiPo batteries; saddle packs, a shorty pack or a larger brick pack. Depending on which battery you decide to use, AE has included different foam spacers to allow you to shift the pack around for weight bias.

‹ The SC5M comes with a Proline body but not wheels or tires. I’m ok with no tires why put something in the kit that most people may not use. The fact that there are no wheels is kind of odd  the same thing I said about the Team’s T5M. No big deal though; Proline’s F-11 Short Course wheels and Hole Shot tires were mounted up. They look great and have excellent performance.

Fall is here which means falling leaves and lower temps. We’re still able to get outside so we’re taking full advantage of it and made our way to our local outdoor track, Wolcott Raceway. The track was fresh from a race the previous weekend so we were able to run on a nicely groomed surface. Yay.

The steering on the SC5M is very good overall. On entry, it took very little input to get the truck to start turning, and it just kept turning all the way through. On corner exit, the SC5M exhibited a bit of a push but that was overcome with a bit more throttle. I’m OK with the extra grip as I’m sure it’s something that can be easily tuned to reduce if I felt necessary. As I mentioned before, the Reedy servo is fantastic and easily kept up with my back-and-forth sawing at the wheel as I counter-steered my way around the track.

I was wondering what was in the water over at AE when they sent me a 6.5T Reedy motor for a 2WD truck. That thought quickly vanished the fi rst time I pulled the trigger and the SC5M launched forward with maximum grip. Wheelspin is kept to a minimum thanks to the
truck’s fabulous VTS Slipper setup. If you’re unfamiliar with this system, it uses three separate slipper pads to control the power, allowing a much smoother application as you pound the throttle. I was amazed at how fast I could get the power to the ground and keep the truck in a straight line.

The handling on this truck is superb. Into the corners, out of the corners, even over the smaller jumps this truck was stable and well mannered. The stock setup is on point and felt good around the track. The shocks are plush and the truck lands with a pretty solid thump before powering off. The only time I had to be cautious was over larger jumps. As you can see from the photos, I didn’t cut out the vents in the back of the body and this led to a few blow overs when jumping into the wind. Unfortunately, most of the big jumps were heading into the wind so I didn’t get a chance to go big.

After a few packs of race-pace running, the SC5M came off the track without a scratch. I fi gured it would be as solid as a rock; the only area of concern being the ballcups. But, thankfully, the new HD ballcups are hardcore; it’s going to take a major hit to pop these babies off!

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LENGTH: 21.2 in. (540mm)
WIDTH: Varies
WHEELBASE: 12.6 in. (320-324mm)

BODY: Clear Lexan Pro-Line SC5M body
WHEELS: Not included
TIRES: Not included

TYPE: 4-wheel independent
SHOCK POSITIONS: (F) 3-tower, 2-arm, (R) 3-tower, 3-arm
CAMBER: Adjustable turnbuckles
ROLL: Adjustable ball heights
WHEELBASE: Adjustable with shims
RIDE HEIGHT: Threaded shocks

TYPE: Dual bellcrank
TOE: Turnbuckles

TYPE: Flat, narrow mid-motor design
MATERIAL: Hard-anodized aluminum

TRANSMISSION: Four gear, centrally- mounted
GEAR RATIO: Optional pinion gears
BEARINGS: Full shielded
CLUTCH TYPE: Adjustable Factory Team V2 slipper clutch

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

Team Associated’s SC5M has single handedly put Short Course racing back on my radar. I knew I was probably going to be hooked based on the other vehicles in the 5-Series, but I didn’t think it would sway my opinion quite so easily. The kit is fantastic to build, fantastic to drive and certainly worthy of a spot in my racing stable. I’m sure it will be right at home in yours as well.

Team Associated, rc10.com, (949) 544-7500
Reedy, reedypower.com, (949) 544-7500
Futaba, futabarc.com, (217) 398-8970
Pro-Line, prolineracing.com, (800) 899-7223
Kustom RC Graphics, kustomrcgraphics.com, kustomrcgraphics@aol.com

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