Monday, November 30, 2009

Product Review: B-Fast RC Performance Diff Kit : Part 1

So once again Hot Bodies Team Driver Scott Olenik was in touch to rave about these diff rings that all the locals have been using made by a company called B-Fast. He got me in touch with Fred at B-Fast and low and behold he sent me some kits to try out and give my opinion on them. They arrived two days after the initial build of my RB5SP (go figure) but at least this will give me a good comparison between the build and feel of the stock rings and balls over their hand finished rings and carbide balls. I know the stock Kyosho balls are soft and wear out relatively quickly and I have been using ceramic diff balls for ages now so it will be interesting to see if I can feel/see differences between them all.
I was browsing their website: and see that B-Fast comes from a 27 year background as a machinist so they know a thing or two about carbide and precision parts. Their philosophy is that perfectly flat diff rings coupled with the extreme toughness of carbide diff balls will make your car handle better, make your diff last longer and smoother in action by sharing the load on all of the diff balls equally (not possible with stock rings which have slight high and low spots). I am a firm believer in having a properly built diff for optimum performance on the track (and smooth shocks) .

Showing the difference between stock rings and B-Fast rings using a bluing agent that machinist use to see high and low spots on a metal surface:

So I have been running on the stock rings and diff balls for a little bit now and when I break it down for a rebuild I will take some pictures of how the stock parts held up and change it out with the B-Fast gear......To be continued.

Power Supply Envy....

MuchMore Power Master Legend (~$200)
So I broke down and got what I think is the coolest power supply out there. 44 amps of DC goodness. I looked at smaller cheaper ones along the way but just couldn't get away from this one. Price be damned, it is too damn sexy! Too much power is never a bad thing and all the hook up ports are sweet. I may be a fashion whore, but hey, I have to look at it on the bench all day long at a race, might as well be pretty! haha. So if you are pitting next to me, feel free to tap into the gluttony of power I now possess!

The contenders were (quick rundown):

Much More Power Master 24 Amp (~$140)
+ Powerful little package
+ Good looks
+Dual outputs
- Higher priced
- No USB port

ProTek RC 40 Amp (~$130)
+ Awesome value
+ USB Port
- Not as good looking
- Only 1 output for this much power

Competition Electronics 23 Amp (~$130)
+ Decent power for price
- Single output
- No USB

ProTek RC 20 Amp (~$65)
+ Good value
+ USB Port
- Not sure if 20 Amps is enough for me
- Single output

Integy Super Station 27 Amp (~$150)
+ Good power for value
+ Good looking
+ Multi outputs
+ Nice footprint
- No USB

Checkpoint 25 Amp (~$90) (Available Here)
+ Great power to value ratio
+ Dual outputs
+ Small footprint
- No USB

Generic 40 Amp (~$100) (Available Here)
+ 40 amps for $100!
+ Multi outputs
- A little thick in height
- Wonky terminals
- No USB

Thanks to A Main Hobbies & Robot Marketplace for the pics!

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Indoor Dirt Track!

So the new Glenwood track is almost ready to go! Those guys don't mess around and got it built fast! I think it is just outside Buffalo, so it is a short drive for us in the Greater Toronto Area. Here are some of the pics of the new place. They should be open next week I think.

Picture credit to:
More info at:

Fastcats Fall Trophy Race

Great turnout, great track, great racing. Par for the course for a race at fastcats. John, Pam and crew there always put on a professional show and the track always delivers fast tight racing. Truly one of the best racing facilities in North America.

Well, I was off for a good 6-8 month hiatus not racing at all. Had the RB5SP built up two days before the race but didn't have any time for pre race day practice. I made sure to get there first thing on Sunday though and managed to bang off two packs worth of practice. My set up was vastly different than the current crop of fast guys there (I just threw the Tebo dirt set up on there with the exception of stiffer rear springs). I wasn't too too far off the pace though (better than expected after not driving for so long). I had a few fast guys in my qualifying heat and managed a couple of third place finishes. Man, it is tough here just to make the A Main as there are so many fast guys and the pace is really tight. I managed to squeak my way into 6th place on the grid for the A Main though, bumping some pretty fast guys out of the show.

At the tone for the main we all got off pretty clean. A few laps in though there was some carnage up front and I managed to weave into 4th place. Didn't last long though as a crash dropped me back a few spots. You ABSOLUTELY cannot make a mistake here. Clean, precise driving is what it takes to win when the field is so tight. One crash can put you literally down to the bottom! TQ Justin DaSilva I think had a pretty clean go at it from the tone and took his RB5 to the win. I tried to push from the back, but a few more bobbles really costed me and I had to settle for 7th place. I am still pretty happy with that actually as most of these guys have been running here for months and have their cars dialed in pretty good. My goal was to put the car in the A Main for my first race back. I think there were some videos of all the mains and I will see if I can steal them. Results should be posted soon too for everyone. Kind of short coverage this time out as I had to duck out right after my race to go to a family dinner (good thing it was only 10 minutes from the track as I just made it on time!). Thanks to Steve for grabbing the door prize for me (I think I won a Lipo battery...sweet). I know the 4wd A main was going to be killer too as racing was crazy tight as well.

Random Thoughts:
- Fastcats "Fast Laps" computer is quite possibly the coolest piece of hardware (and software) you will encounter at any race. You can track all your laps and print out all the data. this will provide proof if your changes are working or not. I believe John programmed and built this whole thing himself (he is a computer guru). Amazing.
- I love 2wd.
- The Orion 8.5 V2 is a great motor. Not too many people know about it as shops don't seem to stock it.
- Carpet racing is soooo much different than racing on dirt. Traction is insane and the cars really rail around the track
- I think it is easier to get up to speed on this type of surface and I think that helped me make the A Main after so much time off. If it was a loose surface I probably would have been cursing. The high traction is forgiving to the trigger finger.
- I want to thank everyone again for helping me get everything built up and for the power supply use etc. Great bunch of friends!
- The Durango 4wd buggy is SUCH a work of art. Cool to see someone buy one up here. Can't wait to see it on dirt too.
- Half of the place shut down when the hot chick came in to watch her nephew race. This I would think would be par for the course at any RC
- There is lots of talk for CRCRC this year. Looks like there will be about 8 of us making the trip from these parts this year.
- Panzerotti's are soooo good.
- I love my wife. She actually set foot into an RC track to bring me some bubble tea (Asian thing) on her way to her parents house who live a few minutes away from the track. Local tracks have their advantage!
- My 2.5 year old was in tow as well and he loved watching the cars. He didn't want to leave! Watch out Tebo...he is coming.
- Lots of DSLR cameras out there now. Not in Almost Live's budget (and the wife won't let me use hers) so you guys will have to deal with my trusty pocket camera!
- I applaude Martin P's pit space. Very OCD in its cleanliness and organization!
- Anyone else ever see the Tamiya shock pump? It pumps the air out of your shocks when building for a perfect build every time. It was pretty cool even if it looked like a penis pump....

EDIT: Tools showed up today...haha typical!

- Jay had some of the worst luck today.
- I don't think he finished any of the first round quali's (and he was running 3 classes!)
- I say it is the diffs....haha
- Jay may be the new Mike Gremk. His pit was all over the place. My space shrank as the day went on.
- Jay's Pop Tart shock oil box is awesome although it made me hungry.

Pics and video are on the new "Almost Live" facebook page as it is way easier to upload stuff there: "Almost Live" facebook page

A Few pics that camera pro guy Martin Pillmajer:

Me snipping up some tires.

A Main line up

J.B. Catricala staging up.

Concourse winner

Track shot

johnnyboy working the blog

More pics by Martin here:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Almost Live is Back!

Well off to fastcats for the one day trophy race on their indoor carpet off-road track. I have been out of the game for a good 6-8 months and was up until 2 am building up a new RB5SP car. Thanks to Tamiya Canada racer Abiye Birku for loaning me some tools to build it (as my new Kyosho Kanai super bling tools are still on order). Going to be a little rusty, but no better way to shake out the cobb webs than to just jump right back in on a race day with zero practice! LOL. I forgot a bunch of set up stuff but Joe Pillars at Kyosho/Peak endured all my e-mails regarding car set up and motor settings. I know the car at least turns on and goes straight from testing it in my basement and I only had a few extra screws left over after the build...haha. The new body isn't done but my old one still has life in it. So good to go. I know a lot of the guys there have stepped it up and gotten quite fast on the super high traction surface. I guess I will have to get there early and get as much practice in as I can as I missed Saturday practice and it is really quite different than driving on dirt. Anyways, stoked to be back and can't wait to get some indoor action in!

Randon thoughts:

- The RB5SP has some great running changes. Mainly the new beefed up steering racks. No need for alloy ones anymore.
- The new turnbuckles, while not as bling as the gold ones, do not bind up on the springs and are just as strong.
- I have finally made the switch to the Kyosho hex wheels over the proline ones. The hex is where it is at! No more roll pins!!!!
- The Orion servos are really quite good. Very fast and strong.
- I am so stoked to have an Orion 8.5 V2 Vortex brushless motor. 8.5 is my favourite wind in a 2wd.
- I still need to clean up/stealthen the wiring but it was 2am and I was too tired to change wiring etc.
- The new Orion charger is also killer! up to 10 amp charge for LiPo. 2C charging finally!
- I sold my power supply to Fred and Chet then like a week later I decide to race again and have no power supply. I am a dumb ass sometimes.
- I will however sign the cheque and get the new 44A Much More power supply and be the envy of all!

.:insert photo here:.
- Jay went back to the B4
- Jay hopefully will not forget to pack his 2wd for this race
- I am willing to bet Jay's diff's need re-building
- Jay is stoked for CRCRC Miswest Champs race