PHOTOS BY JOEL NAVARRO
1/7-SCALE ELECTRIC 2WD DESERT BUGGY | RTR
Kyosho dresses up its just-right-sized buggy for the desert
There are plenty of different classes of RC vehicles that are relatively standardized across multiple manufacturers, like the 1/18-scale mini and the 2WD short course truck, and then there are vehicles like the Kyosho Scorpion XXL platform (reviewed in the February 2013 issue) that rebel against these social norms and dare to be different. The Scorpion's dimensions make it the only 1/7-scale vehicle on the market, slotted between the traditional 1/8-scale buggy and even larger-scale vehicles. The newest version, the B-XXL, adds a heap of scale appeal and radically transforms the driving experience, making it the perfect match for that open lot at the end of the cul-de-sac that's too rough for smaller vehicles but doesn't quite have enough room for a 1/5-scale vehicle to maneuver about. After reading up on this interesting vehicle by Kyosho, and then lifting its swing-away body, I couldn't help but be curious about how well it worked.
Item no.: 30974
Weight, as tested: 12.3 lb. (5600g)
Type: Stamped 3mm aluminum plate
Type (F/R): Lower H-arm with upper camber link
Inboard camber link positions (F/R): 1/2
Outboard camber link positions (F/R): 1/1
Shock positions, towers (F/R): 1/1
Shock positions, arms (F/R): 2/2
Bodies: Plastic 18mm bodies with ride height clips
Shafts: 4mm, plated finish
Volume compensation: Bladder
Type/ratio: 2WD with three-gear transmission/3.49:1
Spur gear/pinion: 63/14
Slipper clutch: Dual-disc adjustable
Differential: Sealed oil-filled bevel gear
Driveshafts: Steel dogbones
WHEELS & TIRES
Wheels: Kyosho black 8-hole wheels with red bead-lock
Tires: Kyosho all-terrain block pattern, open-cell foam
Body: Kyosho matte black Scorpion B-XXL, One11 Ink graphics
Transmitter: Kyosho Syncro KT-201 2.4GHz FHSS
Receiver: Kyosho Syncro KR-200 2.4GHz 4-channel
Speed control: Team Orion Vortex R8 brushless LiPo speed control w/ reverse
Motor: Team Orion Vortex 7 2250Kv brushless motor
Steering servo: Kyosho KS-203 waterproof metal-gear, 128 oz.-in.
TEST GEAR (NOT INCLUDED)
Battery: Peak Racing 4200mAh 2S 7.4V 45C LiPo battery x2
*Price varies by dealer
The engineering work on display here isn't an accident. The shock dropdown on the front arms and the low-axle design of the caster blocks play a huge part in the buggy's cornering performance.
Examples of Kyosho's decades of experience designing suspension geometry for 2WD buggies (with two IFMAR World Championships in 1987 and 2013 to their credit) can be found at both ends of the car. The unique front arm design maintains maximum ground clearance while lowering the shock mount like a gull-wing, and a wide shock tower stands up the coilover dampers for a more linear shock response. Those 13mm bladder-equipped beauties are, surprisingly, plastic — but you'd never know it with their plush action and quality feel. The front spindles lower the axle height significantly, contributing to the buggy's steering response and overall demeanor, and while there aren't many options for adjustment, the buggy does have a vertical ball stud and adjustable camber links at both ends.
FLIPPED 2WD POWERTRAIN
Technically, slipper clutches are not supposed to be used for traction control — they're simply supposed to absorb drivetrain shock through ruts and jumps. With this much power in a 2WD vehicle, though, you'd be forgiven for using that adjustment nut.
The term “mid-motor” is common among 2WD buggy circles these days, but while the Scorpion XXL platform places the transmission and motor in front of the rear axle like many of today's top racing buggies, it still uses a 3-gear transmission like a rear-motor car. — is means that in relation to the chassis, the motor spins in the opposite direction of today's 4-gear tranny-equipped vehicles. After that, the power is guided past a dual-disc adjustable slipper clutch before entering the gearbox, equipped with an oil-filled bevel gear dif ferential that's essential to helping tame a 2WD buggy. Steel dogbones key into the rear axles, which are fitted with 17mm hexes to match the front axles with inboard front bearings.
METAL/PLASTIC HYBRID TUB CHASSIS
Take off the scale front and rear bumpers, and the body mounts on the side, and the Scorpion XXL looks like a race-built 1/10-scale car on Miracle-Gro.
The main backbone of the Scorpion B-XXL is comprised of a stamped 3mm slab of black-anodized aluminum that's fortified with plastic side rails to increase rigidity and provide the mounting structure for the beefy, supportive roll cage. The body mount hinges at the back of the cage and is held down in front by body clips. The cage itself is mounted to the chassis using body clips as well. Up front you'll find a dual-bellcrank steering system with a 2mm aluminum steering rack, while the center of the car has an adjustable battery compartment with sliding side rails and a body-clipped retaining strap to hold a variety of different sized packs. The motor sits immediately afterward, driving a transmission located in front of the rear axle.
INCLUDED RUNNING GEAR
Team Orion's Vortex R8 is waterproof, as is the KS-203 steering servo. Make sure your LiPos are water-ready!
Kyosho's Syncro KT-201 provides all of an RTR radio's basic functions with an easy-touse digital screen, and it's light and comfortable with just four AAs.
Though not fitted with cockpit details like the original Scorpion XXL, the Lexan shell of the B-side is designed to mimic a Class 1 desert racing buggy and painted matte black, with inner front fenders that do a fantastic job of preventing body rattle and protecting the inside of the car from debris. Black and white graphics with red trim, printed by SoCal-based firm One11 Ink, perfectly complement the red bead-locks on the 8-hole black wheels. Those wheels are wrapped with block-treaded tires that are the same size on all four corners — when compared to the tires on the single-seater XXL, the fronts are 10mm larger in diameter and 12mm wider, and the same diameter but 16mm narrower in the rear. Power is provided by a waterproof Team Orion Vortex R8 speed control and the Vortex 7 2250Kv motor is designed for the original XXL, all controlled by the also-shared Syncro KT-201 2.4GHz radio system.
Tons of power
Athletic and thrilling off-road performance
Solid included running gear
Difficult to drive in slippery or sandy conditions
BEHIND THE WHEEL
Though nearly 40mph may not seem terribly fast, a 12-pound vehicle that's over two feet long provides plenty of reason to be alarmed when launching rocks and blitzing through increasingly rough terrain. Remember that whole reverse-rotation thing with the three-gear transmission? The gyroscopic effect of the motor has a slight tendency to make the buggy feel like it's fighting your encouragement for it to go straight, which is only made worse by the amount of horsepower on tap. On asphalt or a high-grip surface it's not very noticeable, but lower traction environments require a gentle trigger finger to harness the Scorpion's full potential. The transmission doesn't seem to affect the car's braking abilities, however, as the car comes to a stop under a reasonable amount of control for a 2WD vehicle that only locks up the rear tires.
It's difficult to believe, with identical suspension dimensions and rear tires that much narrower than that of its predecessor, but the overall handling balance of the B-XXL far outshines its single-cockpit sibling; credit the B-XXL's sure-footed composure on its much softer rubber. With appropriate restraint of my throttle finger (or not), Kyosho's big buggy absolutely shredded both of our favorite SoCal test sites with nimble handling and impressive bump absorption, making quick work of the makeshift track used for our video and soaking up every massive jump off of which I launched it — and there were plenty. Though its size makes it rather numb to mid-air inputs, the B-XXL touched down drama-free unless I was particularly bone-headed or overzealous, and even then it landed rubber-side down more often than not.
Not having the front wheels to pull the buggy along not only makes it more difficult to get the buggy moving quickly, but it doesn't help the buggy's relatively low ride height (for its size) when it comes to bashing through brush and small shrubbery, which trip up the B-XXL more than they would a monster truck. That's not really the point of this desert racer, though — the most brilliant, and rewarding, part of the whole Scorpion B-XXL is how much performance you can coax out of it with a bit of careful driving, versus the grip-it-and-rip-it approach of the common monster truck.
The Scorpion B-XXL stands out from an assortment of cookie-cutter car and truck classes in almost every way possible — its size, design, styling, and driving performance are unlike anything else on the market. Kyosho dared to be different (in a pretty awesome way) and the end result is a vehicle that's well-equipped, innovative, and interesting in every way. It's a bit of an odd size, and its 2WD powertrain requires a lighter touch than a 4X4, but for the appreciative hobbyist looking for something different, the Scorpion B-XXL is an entertaining mix of size, speed, and style.
Kyosho America kyoshoamerica.com
Peak Racing peakracing.com