Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A year with Kyosho

Part 1 - The kit review

The past season has seen me running with Kyosho as my 4wd car, specifically the ZX-5 FS2 SP Lazer. Seems the big K like their code names! This is the top of the range 4wd racer from Kyosho, and represents all they know about the class. It's also my first K car, given how legendary they are in the hobby it's been interesting to see how it worked out.

The Car

The basis of the FS2 is a composite plastic molded chassis, giving a solid base on which to build the two gearboxes Combined with the composite plastic split top deck this builds into a nice, rigid assembly that still provides enough flex to generate grip. A carbon top deck is an option, which I tried but didn't really get on with; I found it made the car too stiff for my liking.

Composite molded tub chassis  with a gearbox at each end
Bolted to each end of the car is a fully enclosed ball-diff. In the FS2 these come supplied with very high quality ceramic balls, and build very simply into probably the finest differentials I've ever come across. The quality is evident with the smoothness of the diff action, and the ease with which they are adjusted to their sweet spot.

The motor bolts to a traditional, machined and anodized motor mount that brings the motor right to the front of the car, meaning a very short front prop shaft. Sitting betwean the two prop shafts is the spur and slipper arrangement. All very conventional, although the slipper does come with two different pad materials to allow for different front and rear slip rates. If this isn't desired the insertion of a pint locks the front and rear slipper assemblies together, so they slip at the same rate. On high bite, smooth UK tracks this is my standard setting.

The motor is arranged to put the pinion right at the front of the chassis

Steering is handled by a very touring car like dual-crank assembly. Stock out of the box very little adjustment of this is possible, however a number of after-market companies are now producing options to strengthen the assembly and allow for more adjustment.

Shock duties are handled by a big-bore version of the Kyosho velvet shocks. They build with the quality you'd expect from Kyosho, and are a joy to deal with, the design being especially easy to bleed. This means consistent shock action, and much easier rebuilds. The big-bore shocks have been a major bone of contention with this kit in the UK, whilst their benefit is easy to see on 'American' style dirt tracks that are rougher and have bigger jumps, it's harder to see on our typical UK astro tracks. Many UK drivers have now gone back to the standard bore shocks.

Kyosho Velvet Coated BB shocks are standard at all four corners
Finally the whole thing is topped off with an exquisite (or though a bit Marmite!) 'Shoot' style shell. This offers plenty of space and with a suitable paint job from Paint by Magoo I think looks rather spiffing. There's also plenty of space to cut out vents when the weather warms up, so plenty of air is directed at the speedo and motor. Given the cooking setups found in 4wd these days that's a major consideration.

'Shoot' shell, PbM colour!

The Build

Effortless. Simple as that. Whilst expensive, the second you start building the K car you realize why you parted with you hard earned - everything falls together and feels utterly solid once in place. The build took me a couple of relaxed evenings, followed by a while sorting out the electronics. Take your time with the ball diff, and use the correct greases (as supplied) and you'll have an insainly smooth, long lasting pair of diffs. In terms of shimming the crown gear and pinion, I went with the instruction manual setup and it's been good for the whole year.

Whilst not as tight as a modern 2wd car, or my old DEX410 there's still not a huge amount of room for the electrics, choose your speedo with care. Servo choice can be either low or standard profile. I ran standard for a while and then put the low profile Savox in recently.

If I were to have one criticism of the build it has to be the below par instruction manual, and absence of any set up advice. Having built any number of cars over the years this didn't really phase me, but it could leave the novice high and dry. 


Simply the highest quality kit I've ever assembled, and a complete pleasure in every way. I liked this car from the second I opened the box; the question is, how did it drive, and how has it stood up to a year of Magoo abuse?

Answers next time!

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