Xpress MF1 Build Review and set up tips

You may not be familiar with Megan Davidson, but she signed to the Xpress UK team last year and is in her second year of racing, after taking a break for a very long amount of time. She was racing the FT1 in the BRCA Nationals in the U.K. last year and gained a respectable 1st and 2nd place in the F and E finals (not too bad for her first year of racing at the nationals)

After watching all the recent MF1 videos, the car should deliver what she was after with the FT1, which was more rotation and a slightly more balanced package, especially for smaller tighter tracks in the U.K for the 2WD BRCA Nationals. The FT1 was a cracking car, and the FT1s has dominated our local club (Forest Raceway) in the Forest of Dean, U.K.

Without further ado, let’s crack on with the build. 

As usual with Xpress, everything is packaged in a well organised manner with everything in their respective bags and labelled very clearly; this is something that I have always loved about buying Xpress kits.

Starting with the least favourite job, building the turnbuckles, which was mad a lot easier with the Xpress Shock Assembly Multi Tool (XP-40208).

Building the diff was straight forward with all the weights and oil viscosity labelled in the manual, based on my FT1 and how tight our local track is, I tend to run 500K; but decided to try the stock 1 million diff oil. 

The new aluminium outdrives look amazing and should stand the test of time.

On closer inspection, the servo mount and steering arms have changed compared the FT1 and most of the previous Xpress models.

The bulkheads and pips and motor mounts are again very similar in how they are built to all the Xpress belt drive models, so another straightforward few pages of assembly done.

 The new designed motor mount and spur gear pully adapter cap is just brilliant, making spur gear changes so much easier. This one the only bug bear on the FT1; you had to choose your gearing carefully to avoid the diff from rubbing on the motor. So, the mid motor configuration is a welcomed blessing.

I took this chance to fit the rest of the eclectics as per BRCA regulation.

Again, I went with a slightly different change to the instructions, and installed the diff in the upright position as I tend to run. This tends to give the cars a little more balance in the mid corner, something the Touring car team found and has since crossed over to the frontie team.

Now on to the all-new low profile upper bulkheads for the MF1, these provide a lower centre of gravity; very similar to the AT1 and AT1S. The machining is very precise and clean, so no dents or bits sticking out. These are a thing of beauty and look amazing on the car and the adjustment is a lot easier on these that on the FT1. I did change the grub screws out for longer stainless-steel versions; this will accommodate more shims if needed. Use a tiny bit of threadlock to hold them in!

Building the two-level rear flex adjustment was fun, and I can see this being very beneficial in the handling of the car; especially since 2WD touring cars tend to take a while to get the heat into the rear tyres; this is where I feel this will really shine, especially along with the short shocks.

Building the front drive joints was again very straight forward, but just remember to thread lock the m2 x 2mm holding the driveshaft protector in. As usual taking time to make sure most of the free play is taken out of the bearings; whilst still allowing a smidgen amount of movement.

I did use my obligatory, graphite steering block plates here, again taking care to make sure that this includes the extra washers to match the original hight of the plastic plates.

This kit includes the strong version of the suspension arms and C hubs, these take a lot of stick, especially for tight indoor tracks if you happen to clip a corner. So, this was a very nice addition to the kit.

Having the composite body support brace is a very welcome feature here as well but do have a habit of breaking when racing indoors; so, I wish these would have come up with a stronger version or a different way of mounting, maybe just using long screws like some other manufacturers.

Once Important point to note for the suspension. Make sure it falls nicely under its own weight. I had to run a very small reamer through one of my suspension arms just to make sure it was smooth as silk for dropping on its own weight. If your suspension is smooth, the handling is going to be smooth.

Now on to the new anti-roll bars, these are mounted even lower to the chassis for a better effect and again like everything with this build are very easy to build and install. 

The worst part of any build for me and that’s the shocks. Always messy (but that says more about me than the kit to be fair). I went with the suggested stock oil rating and used my own oil of preference supplied by RC Raceworx, here in the U.K. as you often find different brands of shock oils are slightly different to each other, thereby giving different feelings on track. I also vented the top shock cap using a 1mm piston drill to remove any rebound.

I use the low-profile long travel shocks on my FT1, so I know how they handle.

Including the new spring-loaded battery mount in the kit as standard, was a very nice addition, these is one thing I always ended up buying with every new kit; having it in the box was a godsend. I did have to upgrade this to the Xpress Aluminium Anti-tweak battery (XP-10961), this is no reflection on the stock parts; just like the body support brace, these can break in a bad crash indoors. So, I decided to upgrade that just in-case.

The front bumper with integrated weight is nice and is generally a must have for front wheel drive touring cars, but I did order the extra additional brass upper bumper plate (XP-10925) and the graphite upper bumper holder (XP-10243).

What I love about Xpress cars is that they try their best to re-use parts from other cars in their line ups where they can and innovate in other places. This is good for racers as it means that we just need a single set of spares; so, a lot of the parts are interchangeable with my FT1, XM1 and FM1S.

This build was a very relaxed and I really enjoyed it from the start to the finish, with no need to buy any extra tools to get it setup. I used the usual grey Ride 1/10 belted 24mm tyres that I had on my FT1 to test with, as I know how they performed on that car. So that would be a good test and are very similar to the regulation wheels we must use in the BRCA Nationals.

I opted to use the same Blitz MK9 shell I ran on my FT1 all season as that was a known factor but will be experimenting with other BRCA regulated shells over the coming weeks.

This could affect new builders to Xpress cars and obviously everyone races on different surfaces, indoors or outdoors. But it would have been nice to include a basic setup sheet with stock values as a starting point.

Overall, the build went very smoothly and no major hiccups on my part, the quality of the machining is what I would expect from Xpress and flawless. To summarise the only niggles, I had, pretty much what I’ve mentioned in this article and those were just personal.

To sum them up, it would have been nice to have the stock setup with droop, camber etc defined in the setup sheet at the end. Changing the design of the body support brace to a single metal bolt or similar and adopting some form on adjustment for the rear wing body posts in the form of maybe 0.5mm, 1.0mm and 1.5mm pills that could be switched upside down, to allow for adjustments of the rear body.

These are the values of what I changed over stock for the initial based on a combination of what I used to run in my XQ10F and my FT1.
  • Droop: Front (5.6), Rear (4.6mm)
  • Ride Height: Front (5.2mm), Rear (5.6mm)
  • Camber: -2 degrees all around
  • Rear Tow: 3 degrees
  • Front Toe: -0.5 degrees
  • Pip Inserts (Front): (FF: 1 up, FR: 1 up)
  • Pip Inserts (Rear): (RF: 0.5 up, RR: 0.5 up)

At the Track

So the first race out I really wanting to see how the changes to the rear flex adjustment affects the car as this is a very addition.

Well, it did not disappoint! straight out of the box, it was on point and the handling was sublime, very predictable and planted. I did find the rear of the car stepped out a few times, but only minor and that can be tweaked with setup changes and if I’m honest, at lot of that was attributed to me running my FM1S and my MF1 on the same night at pretty much consecutive heats.

Within a lap or two I was on easily keeping pace with another regular frontie drivers at our local club who was driving one of the most used fwd touring cars in the BRCA nationals. So to say that being able to keep pace with an out of the kit settings and to best my own personal best on the first time out with the new MF1 was amazing.

I will be running the car in the stock trim for the next few weeks or so and then gradually adjusting the rear flex using the new adjustment mechanism. We also had a few of the other Xpress UK team members there, including Team Manager and mentor (Nark Raddenbury), who also happens to be the Chairman or our local club as well, took the car our for a few laps and was immediately impressed at the entire package.

Here's to hopefully a bright and brilliant year at the BRCA FWD Nationals, where I 100% sure the MF1 will be hitting that podium spot many times for the Xpress UK team.

Follow the Team Xpress UK page to see other reports and updates. 
Xpress 3740128865391940901

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