Drift Talk: Budget buying guide for beginners
Why have we bothered with a budget buying guide for beginners, well we ran a blog recently where we discussed a good starting point for people, as the advice from local hobby shops (LHS) can be sketchy at best, the blog was well received so we thought we would go all out and give you the best advice we could for those newcomers on a budget or with that little bit more dosh at their disposal. The stuff we are going to suggest is based on what we know, what we have run and not guess work. You may have different ideas on chassis’ and electrics based on what you run but we don’t want to do any guess work on our part.
So let’s just say you’re on a budget your average RTR from HPI is going to cost around £200 but that doesn’t represent the best value for money, it will come with a NiMH battery, brushed motor and ESC and some low end radio gear. You will end up upgrading to a brushless motor and ESC and maybe switching over to lipo batteries at some stage, you will probably want to change the radio gear to give you more control. After all of these upgrades you still will only have a glorified touring car that now owes you over £400.
The question is what else you can get for around that money or just a little bit more and will it be a better option, so if you take the £200 you started with plus about £200 in upgrades, here is what I would be buying with a budget of £400.
For me when it comes to entry level stuff the best option available and it will help keep your overall spend down is the Sakura D4. The D4 is available in both CS and RWD models so you have the choice of which discipline you want to try, it’s worth noting that both can be converted should you not like CS and you want to try RWD or vice versa. The D4 is available in the UK for around £115 you can find it cheaper overseas but then you take the risk of import charges etc. Where possible I always like to support UK sellers.
Although the D4 falls under the budget category it certainly packs some punch straight out the box here are some of it’s out the box features.
Weight Distribution: Allows the battery to be mounted on the rear diffuser or in front of the motor.
Steering: A redesigned steering rack which allows the massive steering angles required for RWD drifting.
Drivetrain: Utilizing a belt drive system, connecting to a rear spool follows the trends of new drift cars.
Suspension: Suspension components have been completely redesigned to accommodate the large steering angle. The D4 Features Y arm suspension on the front which is seen almost all high end cars, will prevent the wheels from hitting the a-arm.
Oil Filled Coil Spring Shocks: 55mm coiled spring oil filled shocks with threaded shock bodies allows a more progressive chassis roll action and easy tuning
Moulded Rear Diffuser: For an added touch of realism, a moulded composite rear diffuser comes standard to give the Sakura D4 the extra attention to detail
FRP Chassis: The Sakura D4 will be outfitted with a FRP lower plate chassis designed with rigidity in mind to ensure efficient side to side weight transfer to easily initiate high speed drifting.
As well as being pretty awesome out the box 3 Racing offer a huge range of upgrades to further improve the chassis. There are also tonnes of third party companies that make upgrades for the D4 including Usukani & Oxygen to name a couple, so the D4 is a chassis you can really progress with.
Electrics is a trickier subject to tackle as there are quite a few budget options available but what you really want is a sensored brushless combo this will allow for smoother control of your throttle. As we are working with a budget you can’t go wrong with Speed Passion Reventon-R ESC-2S-Silver Comp V3.0-10.5R Motor Combo priced at around £80 it comes with everything you need including a program card and if you are like me and not a dab hand with a soldering iron it comes plug and play with dean’s connectors. For the money the Reventon is a very smooth combo it is better than some higher end combos I have used.
You could also check out the Toro 120A Esc which is a step up from the Speed Passion, you will however be paying around £75 for just the ESC but you can add the program card and a motor for around another £60 so you will be looking at £135, which is why for this blog I have gone with the speed passion to keep cost down.
What Servo & Radio Gear?
With our spend currently sitting at around £195.00, with a little shopping around you could shave a little off that figure though so it is worth searching the internet.
So chassis and electrics sorted you need to add radio gear and a servo for me this is where you don’t want to cheap out, a good servo and radio gear will all add to your control over the car.
For your radio gear I would be looking at Spektrum at the DX4C at around £85 but trust me they are worth every penny just have a read through the specs.
Frequency-agile DSMR™ 2.4GHz technology
Includes waterproof SR410 Sport Surface Receiver
Extra channels can be used for other functions with standard receivers
Integrated transmitter antenna
20-model transmitter memory
Comfortable transmitter grip
Compatible with DSMR and DSM2 receivers.
Servo with you can’t go too far wrong with the Savox Digital Low Profile Servo SAV-SC1252MG this will give you smooth and fast turns from left to right and coupled with the Spektrum handset with give you fantastic control over your steering. The Savox will set you back around £40 but again it is well worth the extra.
This is where people will tell you to buy a Sanwa MT4s and RC OMG servos blah blah blah, and I don’t dispute that they are awesome I use both myself now but to start with they are going to increase your spend massively you could easily do your £400 on those two items. If you are not restricted by budget though definitely look at these as you will no doubt upgrade to them at some point if you take to the hobby.
What Batteries and Charger?
By this point your budget has taken a pasting we are £320 in already, however those big items are out the way. Batteries and chargers are always a big debate in the world of RC you can spend huge amounts of money on both but we are on a budget of sorts, so for your charger set yourself up with a Core RC UAC50 Charger at around the £40 mark they are perfect to look after you lipo batteries and can charge just about anything with all the leads provided in the box, I have been using mine for over three years and it hasn’t skipped a beat (although now I have said that it will probably blow up next week).
Batteries again I am going to recommend what I run and that is the Turnigy Nano-tech 5800mah 2S hard case lipo Pack at £25 they are fantastic and have outlasted batteries that have cost three times that price.
Last but by no means least the bodyshell we have already blown £385 so let’s be honest we are going over budget but not by much. For a low cost bodyshell you can’t go wrong with something from HPI or Matrixline they have a tonne of choice including Japanese icons and American muscle cars and you are looking at around £25 tops for one plus a couple of tins of Tamiya paint and your bodyshell will only owe you around £35.
So with all that said you have a dedicated RC drift chassis that has great electrics and high spec radio gear for £420 and as I have said before searching the internet you could easily get that below £400. Another notable mention is the MST MS-01D 1/10th AWD RTR Brushless @ £319 all you would need to add is a battery and charger for a sub £400 spend, the reason I opted to highlight the D4 over this is the option to go RWD or CS. MST do offer a RWD RTR in the shape of the FXX but it pales in comparison to the D4 in terms of its out the box performance.
Hopefully this will help you out if you are looking to get started or you are in the market to upgrade from your RTR touring car that you LHS fobbed you off with. At some stage we might even do a blog about drifting with a mega budget but we don’t have enough money for that.
You can get most of the items mentioned from Dale over at ASBO RC, check out the ASBO Facebook page. Dale is also so the UK distributor for Usukani so he has plenty of upgrades for the D4 available.
Tell us your thoughts on our Facebook page, do you have some better suggestions?