Monday, 3 January 2011

Ansmann XPro review

Having run the Ansmann XPro 2 wheel drive 1:10th electric buggy for a couple of races now I thought it was time to do a more detailed review of the car. The car shown in the pictures is my racer, and I'll admit up front that it's not exactly as the XPro comes out of the box, mine has a few optional parts fitted, but I'll point them out in more detail as we go over the car.

The completed XPro from Ansmann

I bought the Ansmann knowing next to nothing about it. I checked a few of the usual places, and saw it was getting some good press on Oople and so figured it was worth a punt. I was even more convinced when I saw the price JE Spares were doing it for on EBay! So good old PayPal swung into action and three days latter the car (in kit for of course) was sat waiting for me when I got back from the office.

The Build
The XPro is fundamentally the same car as the cheaper Ansmann Mad Rat, however the plastics in the XPro are much less flexible due to a higher carbon content and the XPro has a full set of bearings and turn buckles, which the Rat does not.

The build its self is pretty straight forward, 2wd drive cars are not the most technical racers available and all follow largely the same principles. The instructions are pretty good for an experienced builder, but may be lacking for a beginner. They certainly aren't up to the standards of the big players like Losi or Associated and are especially week in detailed ares like building the ball diff and building and bleeding the shocks.

The XPro's design is typical of rear-motor 2wd chassis

One of the major weaknesses of the XPro are the screws used to hold it together. Hex-head screws are used through out and even with high quality drivers the toughness of the high-carbon parts like the main chassis make them very easy to strip. My advice would be to either pre-tap the holes with a tap or high quality screw, or to replace the screws with higher quality items. I went with tapping the holes and had minimal issues, but again this is something that could cause a beginner considerable trouble.

During the build I fitted a number of option parts, partly for looks, partly for performance and mostly 'cause I'm a bit of a tart. Most of the parts were ordered in from from Hong Kong via the web, the car being sold under the Team C banner in the Orient. Delivery was extremely fast, and prices were extremely low. I added carbon front and rear shock towers simply because I like the look of carbon, and a carbon T Plate at the rear end as I have heard the kit item can be a week point (apparently addressed in newer kit's through a running change to the molding of the plastic part). I also fitted a CNC motor plate as it was sturdier and would shed heat faster, and replaced the stock plastic idler gear with a metal part - again for durability as the car would be running a poky brushless set up.

The optional carbon fiber T Piece was added during the build, CNC pin mounts were a later addition

The only other area of concern on the car is the ball diff. I have to admit I've built and run a few of these back in the day when I ran touring cars and PRO10 and have always found them a pain. On the whole I can build them and tune them fine, but they do always seem an Achilles heal for any car using them. I'd heard reports that this was especially true of the XPro, and that most people upgraded to a BFast setup. I decided to try the Ansmann diff and see what I could do. I polished the diff rings using wet an dry through to Simichrome metal polish, and then thoroughly degreesed them. The thrust washer was packed with Losi High Pressure black grease, and then the diff balls and rings given a light coat of the Ansmann supplied diff lube. The whole lot was then assembled and tightened down. I then went through a gradual break-in of the diff using a speed adjustable electric drill, tightening the diff down a little at a time as it loosened. Two races and a fair bit of practice later it still seems pretty smooth, so fingers crossed I've cracked it.

Ansmann shocks are excellent, just wish they weren't quite so green!

The shocks are worth a mention, ally bodies with bladders and breather holes they build into very nice smooth units with minimal fuss. Kyosho pistons can be used as tuning parts if required, and I believe Losi springs will fit nicely. I just wish they weren't green, ho-hum...

Laying down the colour
The body shell is, at least to my eyes, very attractive. Very smooth and slippery it responds well to a nice coat of paint and fit's very snugly to the chassis sides. I shot a simple colour scheme on mine as I needed it in a hurry, but I think it looks OK. The only two drawbacks to the body are that there is a lack of room for the speedo, as the side pods are very low, and the front body clip is a pain to get to as it's under the shock tower. I solved the later problem with copious use of velcro tape to hold the body on. The lack of space is still an issue, in future I may try one of the other shells that fits, maybe the 2wd Tamiya TRF shell or possibly a Proline Bulldog.

Finishing kit
I the spirit of racing on the cheap I spared every expense to complete the car. Wheels are provided, using a hex style fitment, but no tyres are in the box. I ordered up some stagger ribs and yellow min-spikes as they seemed popular. Having run 8th for the last few years I'm no expert in 10th tyre design, but these seem to work and compared to 8th tyres the price is a rather pleasant surprise.

Batteries are budget LiPOs from Hong Kong, they seem to do an adequate job. The 6.5 turn brushless motor, speedo and programming card were £60, again from Hong Kong, and the steering servo is a budget hybrid geared Futaba item. Every thing fitted, just about and with some fine soldering from Mr Tony 'RC' Scott she was ready to hit the track.

I've completed two races with the XPro so far, and it's been fun to say the least. Breakages have been limited to a rear inner hinge-pin holder and a servo arm, both as a result of full-bore encounters with very unforgiving pipe. I've subsequently fitted they very nice CNC machines rear arm holders, and also the front arm holder with extra brass weight. These updates should help with durability, and the extra weight up front has also helped get the nose more planted for high speed cornering.

Having had a quick play with chassis settings during a recent meeting at TORCH I can say that the car responds well to changes, and is pretty sensitive. This bodes well for the future an I hope to get out testing as soon as possible. The shocks are so far stock, but with AE black springs fitted, and I feel this is one area that I can develop to get a more consistent and controllable drive.


Ready to race

Ansmann XPro, TQ Racing SX10, Team C or Kawada. Call it what you will this budget racer can really fly, and to me makes the perfect entry to the world of competitive 2wd racing in the UK. If you can get past the Ansmann branding (and their reputation), a cracking car awaits. Combine the low cost kit with a few equally cheep hop-up, and one of the ever growing range of budget speedo/motor combos and you have a great little club racer that just might show up some of the big name chassis with the right driver on the Tx!

I still have the Team C mid motor version to build up ready for the summer, that version of the car should be hitting shelves in the UK any day now and will be the subject of an update review as soon as I've had a chance to get it built and tested.

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