LRP Twister RTR 1/10 Scale Electric Powered 2WD Buggy
After years of driving exclusively 4WD vehicles (not counting Losi Micro T 1/36 scale) I started to think about getting a 1/10 scale 2WD Buggy. After considering various alternatives, I decided to get the LRP Twister Buggy, based upon positive reviews on a Dutch forum and a local hobby magazine.
The Twister RTR comes in 2 color schemes:
The car comes fully RTR, except for transmitter batteries (8x AA) and in 27 MHz or 2.4 GHz versions. It could be the 27 MHz version is getting phased out of production, as 2.4 will give less interference. I purchased the 2.4 GHz version, and will talk about this version only.
The car is well packed, although in my case the user manual was lying on top of the body, and was pressing down on the wing. This is probably a one time mistake, as I've never heard other LRP owners about it. Receiver and transmitter are already bound, and all that is needed to start running is adding AAs to the transmitter and charging the bundled 1600 mAh NiMh battery with the bundled charger. Well, the charger is of the slow "leave the battery connected for 5 hours or so and it will probably by full by then" type, no charge control, no peak detection, whatever. Nice for if you have nothing, but I tossed it aside and hooked the battery up to my Imax B6 instead.
Pretty standard for a 2WD buggy. Motor mounted behind the rear axle, with the pinion running against a spur gear with adjustable slipper clutch. The power from the gear diff is delivered to the rear wheels using universal joints, that have a sliding part to equalize the difference in space between wheel drive axle and diff outdrives. All gears and wheels are held in ball bearings.
The front drive train is angled for better stability, nothing revolutionary there. The car uses a single piece "bathtub" chassis, that is quite rigid, but can flex a little to absorb heavier impacts. The long suspension arms have oil filled dampers, with adjustable spring pre-load, with clip on rings of varying thinkness.
Steering uses a servo place in the center of the chassis, using a compact adjustable servo saver to deliver steering action to the wheels. The linking feels very solid, without slop. The battery lies behind the servo, held down by a brace that uses body clips to stay locked in place. Right from the battery is the reciever, left the ESC with power on switch.
The body has 3 mounting posts, and fits so snugly around the car, that you can leave out the body clips. The wing has several mounting holes, so height can be altered. Stickers are already applied, and a sheet with spare stickers is bundled with the car.
Btw, people that know the Kyosho Ultima RB5 SP2 may notice some similarities between it and the LRP Twister. It seems like the designers from LRP are looking at the competition and decided it's not always best to "invent the wheel all over again" and start with proven constructions. Just compare the picture of the Twister without body shell to a picture of the Ultima below
A check revealed no screws loose (well not on the car anyway ) and the suspension worked smoothly, so I didn't open up the shocks to check oil level. The radio worked fine, just a little fine tuning on the dual rate of the steering, to prevent the servo from driving too far, and jamming at the end points. There is a large "straw" to guide the antenna up, but this is very long, as it is also used for the 27 MHz version. I didn't use the "straw" and let the antenna run under the body shell.
The wheels did wobble a little, when turned manually (front wheels) or with the motor (rear wheels). I dis-assembled all four wheels and found the hexes had a little part left of the sprue on which these were cut from after production. This made the wheels not sit fully flush on the hexes. With a sharp hobby knife I removed the sprue remains, and after some test fitting, was able to make all wheels run true.
Since this car used a brushed motor, I let it run in before the first drive. You can do this in water, but I decided to leave the motor in the car, with pinion on, and let the motor run on low speed with the wheels from the ground. This way the brushes could wear in without real load on the motor, and the transmission also gets a chance to run in a little. After 30 minutes or so, in 2 blocks of 15 minutes, everything sounded much more smooth, so it was time to get outside.
After being used to superior 4WD traction, I quickly noticed a 2WD requires more throttle management to prevent the rear spinning out, but after a few circuits you get the hang of it quickly. The car feels very response yet stable, when making sudden steering movements on a straight it stays well under control. The steering has little play, and the car runs very nice in a straight line, once trimmed out. Speed seems pretty fast, also due to the sleek lines of the body, probably. Acceleration is very good, if you get the rear tyres to grip. Seems like the manufacturer chose the pinion size more geared towards acceleration and keeping the motor cool, and less about top speed. The fact that I could drive over 15 minutes on just a 1600 mAh battery, seems to underline this.
On later runs, I got the chance to measure the top speed, and clocked it a little above 30 km/h. Not lighting fast, but for RTR, and considering the long runtimes, this leaves option for improvement. Especially as the car handles very well, even on a more bumpy surface.
Recently I replaced the stock battery with a 4200 mAh lipo. Speed has increased considerably, I estimate it to be around 37 km/h now (but no measurements yet though), and the car is more zippy to drive. Considering it's still using the stock 23 turn motor, that revs around 23000 or so unloaded, I'm pleased. Transmission still sounds smooth, and the gear cover does it's job keeping dirt away from the gears.
Good looking, fun to drive and pretty fast for a brushed RTR. The bundled charger is a bit of a joke, but that's not uncommon for RTR car kits with a charger included in the box. It's for the first needs only, but for regular use a better charger is a must. But as a whole, a nice package to get someone into the hobby, or as extra car. For the latter, the Twister also comes as a kit, so you can build it yourself, decide on the paintjob, and add your own components.
P.S. More pictures and perhaps a vid will be added soon.
Installing a lipo battery and HK Lipo Saver
As mentioned earlier, I decided to change the stock 1600 mAh NiMh for a 2S Lipo. A Turnigy NanoTech 2S 4200 mAh seemed like a nice candidate, and was ordered. Because I wanted to keeo the ESC stock, I kept the bulky HK 4mm bullet plug on the lipo, and use an adapter plug to connect it to the ESC. It looks a bit odd, but as the resistance of the HK plug is negligable compared to the Tamiya plug, I don't expect much performance loss. Especially not with the stock motor, that doesn't draw much amps anyway. And should I later on fit a much hotter motor, or brushless, I still have the ESC in stock shape, ready to sell, or install into another vehicle, and put Deans on the new ESC.
The Lipo Saver is fixed with a small tie wrap to the rear damper bridge. It's easily seen when the car is driving away from you, and relatively safe from dirt etc.
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