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Hobbyking rally car line up and review

Rally is one of the most exciting classes of motorsports. Watching the drivers harness the incredible power of their cars as they weave a...


Rally is one of the most exciting classes of motorsports. Watching the drivers harness the incredible power of their cars as they weave around dangerously tight routes hunting down their competitors times is exhilarating for drivers and spectators alike.

Like most forms of motor sport, there is an equivalent radio controlled class which has had a renaissance lately with the popularity of the excellent Ken Block videos. Importantly the radio controlled cars can help you recreate the full rally experience for a fraction of the price (and the danger), but still provide a great deal of fun.


Hobbyking have a range of Rally RC cars and and they have supplied 3 different Rally cars from their range scaled from 1/16 to 1/8 and covering a wide range of price points. So let's take a closer look:

First up we have the 1/16 scale 4WD Mini Rally - Extreme edition. This is the smallest out of the three cars we are testing.
Nice orange rims!
This pocket rocket is actually pretty big for a 1/16 scale. It is 180mm wide and 325mm long.
Alloy shaft driven drive train
Taking of the shell we can see that it is a shaft drive 4WD with a solid alloy shaft in a nice dark blue.
A slipper on the shaft!
The centre-shaft has a slipper clutch to soften the initial launch and to protect the drive train against the spirited brushless motor. The car also features front and rear differentials.
The included 4800kv brushless motor
The car has an included 25a esc that powers the 4800kv with 2 and even 3 cell lipos! The esc has a XT-60 connector which is common for the type of small lipos that this car requires.
Adjustable plastic shocks
The car is really well featured, it has threaded plastic shocks and front and real stabiliser/sway bars. As you can also see the car is also very adjustable with steel turnbuckles allowing you to change the front and rear camber and front toe-in.

The RZ-4 1/10 Rally Racer is next up and when you open the box you cannot fail to be impressed on how cool it looks.
Looking good!
The striking livery looks really smart, and you need to build a rear spoiler that comes in the kit to give it that finishing touch.
Alloy instead of carbon on this car!
Removing the shell and you can see that the chassis looks like it shares a lot of the same design principles of a 1/10 onroad Touring car, however instead of carbon parts this car has alloy to ensure it can take on the rigours of rally racing!
Front spool.. is it cool?
Here you can see the strong aluminium front shock tower, but also notice that this car has a front spool. This is quite different to many rally cars, and I think this is actually going to be a good thing if the car is able to still have enough steering.  It is also important to note that the suspension pin mounts are also solid aluminium. Plastic versions are one of the first things to go on a rally car. 

The rear end has a gear diff and it feels really smooth. (And it seems leak free after a fair few track sessions). The lower arms are also mounted in strong aluminium suspension mounts. It's fantastic how much thought has gone into making this a 'Hardcore' version of a TC.
Rally spec tyres and great ground clearance.
The ride height is really impressive for a 1/10 rally car at 25mm, it really is an impressive looking car.

The final car we are looking at is the mighty BSR 1/8 scale 4WD rally car. Its built on a 1/8 buggy chassis layout with a 327mm wheelbase and an overall length of 530mm and a width of 305mm.
You cannot smuggle this in without the wife noticing!
As this has a large rally shell sitting on the top it looks much bigger than a std rally car, and it is great to see that there has been some care and attention on this shell with details such as wing mirrors, wipers and even little aerials on the car adding to the scale look.

Again this car was ready built so let us take a look under the shell. The first thing that stands out is that the car looks really solid and well built. The Electrics are really well installed, and the powerful 2100kv motor looks ominous.
Chunky and reassuring for something that will have 4 cells running it
The motor drives a solid steel drive train that spins the front and rear differentials to help maintain cornering speed and grip on the slippery surfaces.
Chunky aluminium towers
The car weighs at over 5kg but the 17mm big bore shocks should be able to help soak up the bumps and landings. The shocks are not threaded like the other two cars but you get a bag with some spacers for the shock included in the package.
You can tune this car to get the most from a range of surfaces
Like the other cars there are a lot of tuning options included, including roll bars and adjustable steel turnbuckles. The upper arms and lower hinge pins are also held in with locking nuts to ensure that things are not going to come loose easily.
The turnigy 5000 mah batteries give excellent punch!
The 120a waterproof esc is powered by two separate 7.4v lipos. The chassis has two slots either side of the chassis where they are mounted to ensure you maintain a good weight balance, essential to have a car that handles well.. talking of which, let's try these cars out :)

Roadtest!

The Hobbyking Rc Rally car challenge was ready. We thought we would do a range of tests to try out these cars and to see if they were rally capable. We chose a venue that had a range of surfaces from smooth tarmac, loose dirt, gravel and debris and slippery tiles. This would allow us to see if these Rally cars had what it takes...

Challenge 1.. The Drag.

Batteries charged, cars ready for a thorough test!
The cars were all lined up and we wanted to see how quickly they could do a short drag test. This will test the smoothness of the included brushless systems, along with the grip of the tyres. The  1/16 extreme rally was first off the line. As the throttle went down there was a little slip from the tyres and the car wiggled a little but it was easy to reign it in and guide to past the marker. Final time : 3.58s

Second was the 1/10 RZ-4 rally, the longer suspension movement threw the weight towards the rear wheels as it drove off the line, the car felt very stable under hard acceleration, thanks to the spool, this couple with the smooth power deliver from the electrics pushed the he car past the line in 3.08s

The final contender was the 1/8 BSR rally.  The trigger was squeezed and the powerful 2100kv motor made the car spin out and face the opposite way.. I was quite staggered at the torque and power that this had on 4 cells. So I started again, this time I was much more gentle on the throttle and the car managed to give me some grip. I had to battle with the torque trying to change the direction of the car but I held it in a straight line and once it was settled I could get to full throttle and watch as the car charged off passing the line in 2.89s

So the winner of this stage was technically the 1/8 basher but with only 6 tenths of a second between all three you can see that they are all quick of the mark.

Challenge 2: Gymkana

Next up was a Gymkana round, here we basically took the cars and thrashed them around trying to pull slides, do last minute swerves around obstacles and to try to jump off some of the gravel piles that were scattered around. The goal was really to test the manoeuvrability of the cars and to see how they felt to drive.

The Extreme rally was first up and the car launched off. The car had a lot of rear end grip on the asphalt, it was actually quite hard to slide the car. The rear grip made the car prone to under-steering, ensuring that was easy to drive but not to kick out into a powerside. The shaft driven drive train was very responsive, the one thing that I was not so keen on was that the drag brake was quite notable. 
Smashing!
The heavy drag brake would slow the car quite quickly when off power. It did made the car very easy to get out of situations where it may collide with bricks or debris, however It was quite hard to carry speed around corners unless you were quickly on the throttle once you had thrown the weight forward under braking.

As I took it onto the slippery tiles the car gave up quite a lot of its grippery characteristics and became much easier to slide. The on-power under-steer was eliminated and I was able to have some Ken Block moments as I crashed though piles of debris. The little car did well to cope with the different surfaces, but it's lower ride height (around 15mm) ensured that it was not as able to tackle the larger gravel piles and it would skip into the air when it hit quite minor ledges.

The Basher RZ-4 was next up. The car's belt driven drive train felt incredibly smooth compared to the Extreme Mini Rally, and I had a great amount of throttle control. I instantly felt more at home with this car and was able to slide it on the asphalt and then put on the power and counter-steer holding some epic slides.

A gently dab on the brakes would throw the weight to the front of the car allowing me to pirouette the RZ-4 around ensuring I could do some very slick looking moves. The suspension movement and higher ground clearance allowed it to tackle the different terrain conditions with relative ease. The tyres were also very impressive, giving me just the right amount of grip on the slippery tiles. I could reign in the rear of the car as I whacked on the power, and conversely they would give up grip on the asphalt when I threw the weight quickly to the side, if I wanted to pull a drift. 
Wallop!
The car was also able to attack the larger gravel piles, the RZ-4 looked epic as it threw all the of the stones and debris behind. There were a few larger stone block that seemed to appear out of nowhere and the RZ-4 hit one with a massive whack! Sending it flying into the air and narrowly missing one of the guys taking photo's! More importantly the car was fine ;) it simply rolled on the ground and quickly drove away intact.

The cars handling was very neutral, with a slight amount of under-steer if you push it on the corners (No roll bars and high ride height can account for this),  the underlying DNA of the design is based on a touring car and it is evident in how it feels to drive. The RZ-4 exhibits a well balanced feel when you push it hard. Another thing that I was happy about was the belt drive, although exposed, it had been able to cope with all of the dirt and stones and it seemed to be fine after a day of thrashing around in these tough review conditions.

The BSR 1/8 Beast was next and it was time to see what this rugged looking car could do. When the trigger was squeezed the tyres literally squealed away from its standing start as the 6.3kg car launched away. The combination of the 2100kv brushless motor and the 4 cell 5000c batteries ensures that this car has a lot of power to move the weight. 
Smash!
For such a large and heavy car it is quick to change direction and feels responsive when navigating the terrain, this is probably down to the shortish wheelbase and the roll bars that ensure that the car is really twitchy. The BSR had no problem with some some of the larger changes in track height as the large 17mm big bore shocks just soaked up the impacts. The tyres offered good grip on the asphalt and I was able to get the car to drift with a bit of effort, on the tiles and gravel surface the tyres didn't seem to have the same level of grip as the RZ-4. The power, weight and immense torque made the car quite a bit harder to keep under control, although it was fantastic fun trying to reign it in :) 
3,2,1 take off!
The car would take on the larger mounds of gravel easily and I was able to do a few decent jumps despite the weight. Again the large dampers just soaked up the landing and the car's direct shaft drive system allowed me to make exact throttle responses to throw it around. If anything the car would be prone to over-steering on the the throttle as the roll bars gave it a very exact steering feel, ensuring that the tyres were gripping well as the car leans into the corners.

All three of the cars were great fun to mess about with, although the scale of the 1/16 extreme rally stopped it doing some of the more extreme parts, that will have to put it in third place for this challenge. the remaining two were both fun but I would say that the RZ-4 had the edge as I was able to control the car and break the grip into a power-slide more easily than the BSR and it just had a better overall balance.

Challenge 3: Looks

Whilst changing the batteries we discussed which of these three cars had the best looks. RC rally is about scale as well as performance and all three of these cars have attractive shells, the BSR also has a lot of nice little details such as wing mirrors, aerials and windscreen washers. In the end and after a bit of heated discussion it was decided that these little details gave it the edge on the others, although I personally preferred the RZ-4 as I love the livery.


Challenge 4: The timed rally stage

As the sun was setting the last main track challenge was a circuit that we had devised. The cars had to do 5 laps in the best possible time. 
Lined up and ready to race!
First up again was the plucky extreme rally. The starting section was on the tiles so a smooth getaway was needed to stop spinning out and this little car managed it easily, it skipped and jumped over a few of the the larger steps where tiles were missing, but it kept on track.

The on power under-steer coupled with the quite strong drag brake did make some of the tighter sections of the track feel as if the car was loosing quite a lot of time, but it did ensure that the car was easy to keep out of trouble, as the laps started to accrue I was feeling very comfortable with the car and I kept trying to take corners quicker, I soon realised that I was on the edge with the corner speed and if I continued to keep pushing it would only get slower as the car pushed itself away from the apex.

The RZ4 was next and I was looking forward to putting this car through it's paces. The car car again started well on the slippery tiles and it just soaked up the different steps thanks to it's smooth shocks and large ground clearance. Clearing this I then kit the grass tufts and the RZ-4 grabbed minimal air importantly ensuring that the rubber was staying on the surface. I settled the rear and swung the car through the barriers keeping a lot of corner speed and drove over the gravel and dirt.
Rally good!
Here I was impressed on how the car seemed to cast the stones away as if it was a boat going through the water, the grip was lower but I was able to slide it through the brick chicane and then launch through the two bushes. As before I became more comfortable with the car as the laps increased, but this time I felt as if I was able to push the car more and I was taking sections increasingly quicker and smoother. I did clip one of the bricks in the chicane as I pushed a little too hard and lost some time, but that was simply driver error.

Finally the BSR rolled up as the sun was setting. The start was not so good as the very bottom range of the car's acceleration was not as smooth as the others and I nearly did a 360 on the slippery tiles. Once I managed to gain some speed the car started to come into it's own. It soaked up all of the drastic elevation changes, and this ensured it stayed true on the tiles, it also didn't batter an eyelid on the grass tufts. I approached the barriers and slammed on the brakes and threw the car around, the tyres had worn in and were feeling great on the Tarmac, as I weaved through the bushes onto the gravel the BSR felt quite twitchy and I had to ease off a few times to stop the torque from spinning the car out.

The brick chicane was next as I was racing towards it at an incredible rate, as I swerved the car looked like it was going to roll, but I was able to calm it down and fly through the bricks. As the laps increased I kept pushing, the car was twitchy on some surfaces and this made it harder to drive at times, I managed to spin it out on the gravel but the car was still flying forward and I caught it and kept racing ahead (It looked cool). For the remaining laps I did take it easier on the gravel to ensure that I didn't crash, but on the more grippery sections I was able to really hit the throttle and the car looked spectacular at full speed.

Final times
  • Exteme rally 2:11.45
  • RZ-4             1:57.11
  • BSR              2:01.11
The RZ4 pipped it, thanks to the better low speed driveability. The extreme was impressive for the size and the BSR lost out just because it was hard to harness the power on the really slippery parts.

Challenge 5: Durability

After the race the controllers were passed around and people just thrashed the cars until the batteries were low. Due to some inexperienced drivers and the cars almost begging to do some crazy stunts the cars had quite a few rolls, one head on (The BSR knocked the extreme rally flying!). I'm happy to say that there were no major breakages. In fact the only issues we had had in the day were:

The RZ4 broke / cracked the lower spoiler on the shell (we did this when testing the car before we all met, it hit a kerb at full speed!), The BSR did have a couple of wheel nuts come loose (Needed to be tightly wrenched on, and then were fine). The Extreme Rally was fine, not breakages or anything.

Here is a video of the cars in action!


Overall

As you can see these cars look great tearing around and they are also really good fun. Rally cars fit the bill when you want something that looks scale, and you can take it out on the street and on dirt / gravel paths and have some unadulterated fun.
big hump!
We have loved putting these cars through their paces, and it does tick a lot of boxes for me as I like cars to look scale, and I also enjoy pushing them to do driving moves that could feature in a hollywood car chase.

Infact the 1/8 BSR has now got a few other rivals to race against as some other friends who have seen this in action have ordered some so we can have some rally cross races..

Out of the 3 cars I cant really recommend one over the other, they all come in at quite different prices and scales.

The smaller 1/16 extreme rally is not going to be able to tackle the same amount of terrain as it's larger stable mates, so if you want to race on rougher surfaces you will need to discount it. However for scale terrain it was very durable, fun to drive and it felt great on the gravel and smooth dirt sections

The 1/10 RZ4 was probably my personal favourite, I felt comfortable with the car and was able to make it easily perform hero moves which are so much fun when rallying. It also looks fantastic as the scale shell leans around the corners on a powerslide. The belt drive may prove problematic if certain debris gets in the car, but I have not had any issues yet. (Note The 1/10 RZ4 now has updated electronics which will only make the car better.)

The 1/8 BSR Basher Rally is a beast of a car, it's fast and agile and seems to be very tough. You will need a very large area to run this car safely as it could cause serious damage if it hits anything. However if you do have a large area that you can run it on, it offers a thrilling drive that provides the heart in the mouth experience that I would assume many rally drivers can experience.
All three of these cars are available at your local Hobbyking warehouse.

4WD Mini Rally - Extreme Edition - Check your local hobbyking here
Basher BSR 1/10 RZ4 - Check Your local hobbyking here 
Basher BSR 1/8 Rally - Check your local hobbyking here
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