Manufacturers - Xray
Xray X1 Review
We couldn't wait to get our hands on the Xray X1 [Editors Note: this is the original X1 2015]. It looks good, it's made by Xray, so a baseline of a well thought out car that goes together well was pretty much guaranteed. But how would it perform? Read on and find out ...
Before we start the review I have a question. Why did they call it the X1? Perhaps their research department isn't up to the normal Xray standard given that the Tamiya F104 X1 only went out of production a couple of years ago :) And that's about all the things to criticise about the car that we could find! (and to be fair to Xray it does follow their normal naming convention - kind of). Anyway on to more important things:
The car went together smoothly. The Xray colour instructions contained their normal standard of detail.
While the car is laid out in the normal link rear suspension style it has some features worth commenting on:
As you'd expect from a car at this price point it is mostly made from carbon fibre and aluminium alloy with some composite plastic components where this makes sense. The only place where composite parts were used where we would have liked to have seen aluminium are in the Pivot Brace (which is a point of failure for other cars in a hard smash).
You can choose to place your shorty lipo battery across the chassis (East-West) for high grip tracks or inline with the chassis (North-South) for tracks with less grip. We used the "across the chassis" install as the car was headed for the Thailand International Touring car Championship and RC Addict is a high grip asphalt surface. For normal use in Australia (low to medium grip asphalt) we'd recommend the inline install. Components for both options are included and the battery is held snugly by carbon fibre and composite plastic pieces.
Central Shock - Xray make a range of shock springs but they are all harder than the kit spring (C=2.2). We had no reason to consider changing the spring (or fluid) in our testing. Xray offer springs from C=2.4 to 3.4 in 0.2 increments.
Side Shock - the side shock comes without a spring as is typical from other manufacturers. Again we had no reason to change the recommended fluid. The car was great out of the box.
Interestingly Xray only offer Standard (C=1.4) and Optional (C=1.7) springs. We had no issues with the springs. Remember that once the car is fitted with electronics to adjust the pre-load on these side springs so that when you turn the car over the rear pod and main chassis are both flat (in the same plane). When you twist the rear pod to one side or the other it should return to being perfectly flat with the main chassis. If it does not then adjust the pre-load on the side spring using the grub screw.
We applaud Xrays design of the front suspension and particularly the carbon fibre "A-arms". Adjustments for front caster, track-width, roll center, camber, and ride height are made via included shims and eccentric bushings.
Caster is adjusted via eccentric bushings, offering 3°, 6°, 9°, and 12° settings.
Camber is adjusted via eccentric bushing, offering 1.0°, 1.5°, 2.0°, and 2.5° settings.
We found the recommended kit settings worked well and are relatively quick and easy to change.
The car is very adjustable and this Xray graphic lists all of the adjustments available:
Ha - another Xray error - you can also adjust the roll center, so they missed it from their graphic. Yes, I'm really looking hard for something to dislike about this car but I just can't see anything so I've taken to attacking their graphics department :)
Xray have gone with a 64 pitch spur gear (96t included in the kit and Xray sell 80t, 78t and 76t as options). We ended up running:
- an 80t spur and 42t pinion at TITC to achieve 1.9:1 final drive ratio (21.5 blinky with no end bell timing adjustable on the can) and
- an 80t spur and 34t pinion 2.35:1 in Australia (21.5 blinky with end bell timing on the can available).
Always carefully monitor motor temperature when changing gearing (refer to our A-Z of Gearing with Blinky ESC's article).
Xray have chosen a ball diff with 12 balls. Once built you can see the balls (as they are not covered by the diff housing) which is a throwback to Xrays 1/12 scale experience. Exposing the balls allows dirt to get in more easily but it also can make it harder for the dirt to remain in the diff. We may see aftermarket diff covers for those who don't like their balls exposed - yes I said it - laugh with me :)
The front wing has a composite lower piece for strength and a painted lexan upper piece. Two lexan wings are included; one for high downforce and one for low downforce. If your local rules don't allow lexan front wings (as they didn't at TITC, ETS or US series) most Tamiya front wings should fit. We used a Yokomo front wing with minor modifications involving a hobby knife.
The kit comes with a lexan body with separate rear wing. The body shell has an integrated driver / helmet. This may tempt you to have the drivers helmet the same colour as the car. Not recommended for realism!
Other Stuff You'll Need
The kit comes with everything you need to get started except for wheels/tyres, paint, battery and electronics.
Hmmm. Looks like we forgot to paint the driver and helmet - I'll have words with our quality control people :)
The car shown in the photos above weighed in at 1075g.
My good mate Chris Bismire ran the car at the 2015 RC Formula1 F1 Series rounds 2 and 3 in Australia and at TITC in Thailand.
Chris achieved 2nd place at each of the rounds in the series. Round 3 was the last of the 3 events attended at which he set a new single fastest lap F1 track record (Geelong track), which was half a second quicker than the next fastest, and won one of the three finals (beating former Australian Modified National Champion Andy Cooke - Andy fought back to win A2 and A3 to take the Round win). At TITC Chris missed out on the A Final by 0.2 of a second.
Chris has campaigned the Tamiya F104 X1, Tamiya F104 v2 and 3Racing FGX and tells us that the Xray X1 is the best F1 car he's ever driven. "It's fast right out of the box", Chris said.
Xray state that "The narrow chassis layout with super-narrow rear pod design allows the composite rear pod links to be placed closer to the chassis centerline, which improves steering response and gives optimal side-to-side weight transition." We were initially skeptical of this until we drove the car. The car has a great deal of steering while still being very planted at the rear. Normally you improve grip at one end of a chassis by taking it away from the other so how did Xray achieve this? Perhaps the above is not just wording from the marketing department!
When I drove the Xray X1 I was surprised at the excellent steering and rear end grip combination. This car is quick!
Thanks to Metro Hobbies for supplying the test car. Visit their website at www.metrohobbies.com.au or pop into their store at Box Hill South or Swanston St Melbourne city to order. Metro Hobbies have been a long time supporter of RC Formula1, and RC car racing generally, and we strongly encourage you to check them out!
For more information visit the Team Xray X1 page by clicking the graphic below: