We originally reviewed the BZ-222 in RTR form back in the June 2015 issue, and Basher has since refined the car with a selection of carbon fiber and aluminum upgrades that earn the machine its new “BZ-222 Pro” name. The belt-drive transmission has also been improved for smoother action, and new plastics help further distinguish the Pro model. Basher doesn’t offer the new car as an RTR, but you can choose from a no-electronics kit, or the well-equipped “ARR” (almost ready to run) version as tested here. The ARR is outfitted with ROAR-approved electronics including a Trackstar 80A speed control, 17.5T sensored motor, and titanium-gear servo. Tire choice, radio system, and battery choice are left up to you, as is the paint job—the body arrives clear, as requested by customers, says Basher.
1. Threaded aluminum shocks, 12mm bore
2. Trackstar 138 oz.-in.servo
3. 3mm aluminum plate chassis with plastic side pods
4. 3.5mm carbon fiber shock towers
5. ROAR-approved Trackstar 17.5T sensored motor
6. Belt-drive transmission
7. Steel CV-style driveshafts
8. ROAR-approved Trackstar 80A speed control
9. Polished steel turnbuckles
10. 2.2″ 12mm hex dish wheels
Aluminum steering hubs, hexes and 3.5mm carbon fiber shock towers are welcome upgrades over the first BZ-222’s all-molded design, and the Pro model’s grey plastics are stiffer and add some durability over the original BZ-222 parts.
The BZ-222 Pro can be built as a mid-motor car, but arrives in rear-motor configuration. Basher traded the first-gen BZ’s 32-pitch gear for standard 48-pitch, so standard pinions can be used. The transmission is compatible with Associated B4-type spur gears, as long as you use the hex-shaped pads that go with them—the BZ’s stock pads only fit Basher spur gears. Check the gear mesh before you run your BZ-222, the mesh was tight on my test car.
The motor is paired with Trackstar’s 80A Turbo speed control, which can spin motors down to 10.5T. A full host of tuning features are available, including punch, initial brake, drag brake, boost timing RPM, boost timing, Turbo settings, and more.
The first-gen BZ-222 included 4WD-width front wheels, but the new car gets proper 2WD fronts. Any standard 12mm hex wheels can be used. The body comes clear; we tapped Charlie Villegas of Cbuilt Designs for the pro paint job.
TEST GEAR: Turnigy GTX3
Turnigy backs a bunch of features into the GTX3, which sells for just $45. A jog wheel makes for intuitive function selection and programming, and the large, blue-backlit screen keeps all of the main adjustments at the forefront, while other items can be accessed with minimal effort. It also boasts 10-model memory and has a surprising feature of being able to connect with the free to download VRC Race Simulator when the optional USB cable is added (not included). However, it does need some big power to fire it up- eight AA’s to be exact, adding a lot of weight to the bottom.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
My BZ-222 test began at the bench, by completing the car with radio gear and setting up the suspension. Basher’s build gets all the parts in place, but you’ll need to spend a few minutes twisting the turnbuckles and shock collars to properly set camber, toe-in, and preload. The car can be configured as a mid-motor layout, but I tested it in rear-motor mode since that’s how the ARR is assembled. This layout suits rougher tracks, ideal for the private track at Oakley HQ where I tested the car. The improvements to the belt transmission make the BZ-222 whisper-quiet and give it strong acceleration, without the drag of the first-gen design. The 48-pitch gears help smoothness too, compared to the old 32-pitch setup. The buggy felt most at home in the track’s looser sections, as high-traction conditions made handling feel a bit lazy. Much of that is likely due to the servo saver; out of the box, the servo saver is sprung on the soft side, and is non-adjustable. A locked servo-saver will no doubt improve handling, and is the first mod I plan to make. Since Basher includes a metal-gear servo and I don’t plan on thrashing the car, I’m not worried about damaging the servo by locking the saver. Stiffer shock springs would also help for high-traction racing, but for the rougher/looser track conditions Basher seems to be aiming at with the factory setup, the stock springs are well suited to the car. No matter where you run, the BZ-222’s fully adjustable suspension and ability to switch to a mid-motor configuration should allow the car to be a capable handler as long as you’re willing to put in the tuning time. Likewise, the electronics package is ready to race. The Turnigy Trackstar 80 amp speed control is loaded with adjustability, and the 17.5 motor delivers smooth and consistent power without any stuttering or cogging, as expected from its sensored design. RPM can be increased via mechanical timing adjustments, and the Trackstar speed control also offers “Turbo” and “Boost” timing to further hone performance.
The Basher BZ-222 Pro ARR is a nice option for someone looking to get their feet wet in the racing scene at a low price, or anyone who likes to hit the track with something different. It’s got the adjustability expected of a track car, and the rear- or mid-motor capability further broadens the range of conditions you can race in confidently. The Turnigy power system is another plus, and well worth the price bump over the no-electronics kit car. If you want to go 17.5 racing, Basher makes it easy to get started. Or, if you just like having fun with race-spec’d cars even if you don’t strap in a transponder on weekends, the BZ-222 Pro has you covered with a good-looking design, lots of pretty parts, and a driving experience that offers performance and precision that’s a few notches above typical bash-around buggies.
– Lots of car for a low price
– Mid-motor convertible
– Plenty of aluminum and carbon fiber
– Includes ROAR-legal 17.5 sensored power system
– Manual lacks tuning advice and information
– Non-adjustable servo saver
Item no.: 9249001250-0
Price: $150 (varies)
Weight as tested: 3 lb., 11.4 oz, (1685g)
Length: 15.6 in. (395mm)
Width: 9.9 in. (251mm)
Wheelbase: 11.4 in. (289mm)
Height: 5.1 in. (128mm)
Type: Plate with plastic side pods
Type: 3mm aluminum
Type: H-arm with steel turnbuckle camber link
Bodies: Threaded aluminum, 12mm bore
Volume compensation: Bladder
Shafts: Plated steel, 3.5mm
Type: 2WD-enclosed belt
Spur gear/pinion: 97/18 (48-pitch)
Slipper Clutch: Dual-pad
Differential: Ball diff
Driveshafts: Steel CVDs
Bearings: Metal-shielded ball
Servo: Trackstar TS-D99X, titanium gear, 138 oz.-in.
Speed control: Trackstar 80A Turbo
Motor: Trackstar 17.5T Brushless Sensored
Wheels (F/R): Yellow dish 2.2”, Yellow dish 2.2”
Test Gear (Not Included)
Transmitter/receiver: Turnigy GTX3, Turnigy GTX3R
Tires (F/R): JConcepts Bar Codes (Mega Soft), JConcepts Double Dee’s (Mega Soft)
Battery: Turnigy Graphene 4.6 4600mAh 2S 90C 7.4V shorty LiPo