BERSERKER – Basher or Racer?

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BOX

HobbyKing has released a new truggy under the brand name Basher, called the Berserker. After reading the front of the box, Basher – 1/8 scale 4wd Racing truggy, I was a bit confused as to whether this was supposed to be a “Basher” or a “Racer”. I though I had it all figured out as I was waiting for the package to arrive, knowing the brand name was Basher and all, but when I saw Racing Truggy on the box it threw me off a bit. So, for this review, we’ll find out whether this truggy is best suited for bashing or racing, however, since it says it’s a racing truggy on the box, we’ll critique it as such.

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FIRST IMPRESSION:

Upon opening the box, the naked yellow and black body reminded me of a jacked up bumble bee. My wife even commented on it’s blandness. Lol. I told her I needed to apply the decals to get it to look like the truggy on the box, but we’ll do that in a minute.

Upon first inspection, the truggy is definitely a good looking vehicle with impressive looking aluminum. The use of different colored anodizing on the various aluminum components is attractive, to say the least. There appears to be plenty of chassis adjustments and the truggy looks promising. While the chassis plate is pretty thick, I am curious whether it will be able to handle the abuse of casing too many jumps.

The tires are fairly hard, which is to be expected with a RTR vehicle, and should last a good while on a variety of surfaces. We’ll see after testing how well they can grip a dirt track.

We’ll go over the electronics later in the review, but upon first impression they look impressive.

Included:

Inside the box, I found the Berserker truggy w/body, four wheel/tires, rear wing, six aluminum body retainer washers, 5 body clips, bag of tools, bagged sway bars (front/rear), high speed spur gear (mounted to a center differential) and pinion gear, lap counter mount, four rear suspension arm inboard toe inserts, transmitter, decal sheet, and instructions.

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Decals:

20161110_100145The decals need to be applied to the body, but make sure you remove the clear protective body film before doing so. The decal sheet was laid on top of the truggy and a bit crunched up. It isn’t noticeable once the decals are applied to the vehicle, but it would have been better for them to have been set in the bottom of the box with the instruction manual. The decals are thick, slightly stretchy, and of high quality. Once the decals were applied, the truggy looked much better. I almost wish my first impression of the body was with the decals on. I must mention, much of this body is covered in decals. While it looks good, it took some effort to apply them all to match the box art. Unfortunately, Basher didn’t include a diagram or anything telling you where each decal goes, so some box surfing is necessary. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but I can think of many people who would appreciate some sort of instructional decal diagram.

 

Included tools:

The Berserker comes with two flat wrenches of the appropriate size for the vehicle.

Included tuning parts:

20161110_151448I’m not sure if you caught this earlier, but the Berserker not only comes with a high speed spur gear and pinion, but the spur gear is actually mounted to a complete center differential. They even filled the differential with oil. This will make changing the gear ratio incredibly fast. Pretty sweet! 

The included sway (anti-roll) bar comes with all necessary hardware and is a breeze to install.

The Berserker also comes with inboard toe inserts, which can be used to adjust the amount of rear inboard toe. This effects turn in and straight line traction. The kit already has #2 inserts installed.

A CLOSER LOOK:

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Tires:

As mentioned earlier, the tires are pretty firm. I’ll run them on the pavement first to break them in a bit. The foams are also firm, so they should wear well and be great for bashing however, if you are racing the Berserker, you may want some softer tires. The tires large surface area helps with grip, and the 4WD truggy does get around a loose track, though it slides all over the place. Watering the track helps increase traction, but it’ still a handful to maneuver corners with any amount of precision.

Suspension:

The oil filled coil over shocks are beautiful and work great. The front shocks have very light oil in them, while the rear shocks seem about right. The front oil is so light, I thought they were empty when doing my drop test. There was little to no front dampening. Thankfully it was an easy fix, though these shocks are big and thirsty.  

There are multiple suspension tuning points on the Berserker. this section will cover some of those tuning options.

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Shock angle:

The rear shocks have four upper and three lower mounting positions. 

The front shocks also have four upper and three lower mounting options.

Upper Link:

The front upper link only has one mounting option , but thanks to this unique front upper and lower ball cup setup, it can be slid on the hinge pin for caster adjustments. Small clips are used to set the position on the pin, with the stock setting being centered. By moving the clips to the front or rear of the arm, you can raise or lower the amount of caster. The steering block is held in place by a captured ball cup. This is a great idea and seems to securely hold the ball stud in place, while still allowing the necessary smooth movement for steering and suspension travel. 

Camber is easily adjusted by turning the reinforced threaded rod in or out.

The rear upper link has four inner and two outer mounting options for plenty of tuning options. Like the front, the rear adjustable threaded link is reinforced with aluminum rings. This should prevent the plastic from stripping during hard landings and crashes.

Lower Suspension Arms:

The front lower suspension arms have a single inner and outer mounting option. Like the upper link, the lower front link captures the ball stud with bolt reinforcement. 

The rear lower suspension arm offers some tuning with inner toe inserts and two outer mounting options.

Shock towers:

The machined aluminum shock towers are beautiful. They look amazing! I’ve already gone over the mounting options, but I’ll recap for just the shock towers. This will either confuse, or simplify things. The choice is yours. Lol

The front shock tower has four shock mounting positions and one upper link position.

The rear shock tower has four shock mounting positions and four upper link positions.

Drivetrain:

The Berserker drive train is pretty beefy. Power is transferred from the motor via steel pinion gear to a steel spur gear. From the center differential, power is then sent to steel center driveshafts with dog bones on one end and CVDs on the other. Not only is this great for durability, but the center dog-bones with stay put when you remove the center differential.

Front and rear differentials are made up of steel gears and transfer power to more steel driveshafts. The front driveshafts also use CVD joint at the steering blocks and dog-bones at the diff.

Like the front driveshafts, the rear driveshafts have inner dog-bones and outer CVDs.

Each wheel is fitted with 17mm wheel hexes in a beautiful red anodization. The 17mm nuts are knurled to help lock them in place.

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Chassis:

The main chassis is stamped alloy with beveled screw holes on the bottom to keep things clean. Two machined aluminum chassis braces are utilized to strengthen the whole system. These braces not only strengthen the chassis but also sturdy up the shock towers. Did I mention there’s a lot of aluminum on this truggy?

Electronics:

Motor and ESC:

The Turnigy brushless XK4082 motor is sensorless and turning 1450KV. The purple color looks great in the truggy and should provide more than enough power running on 4-6S.

The Turnigy TrackStar ESC will run 3-6S and is fan cooled. This ESC will power both sensored and sensorless brushless motors and uses a push button ON/OFF switch. A yellow XT60 high current battery connector is sitting at the end of the battery leads. There is a single connector, so you can run a single 3S, 4S or 6S LiPo pack, but you’ll need a “Y” adapter to run two 2S or two 3S LiPo packs. Because I’ll be running two battery packs, I’ll need to solder up an adapter.

For steering these big truggy tires, a Turnigy 1269 high voltage digital servo is used. According to Hobbyking’s website, this servo uses titanium gears, coreless motor, and two ball bearings. Capable of pulling 18kg.cm at 6.0V and 21kg.cm at 7.4V, this servo moves at a speed of 0.18sec.60º at 6.0V and 0.16sec.60º at 7.4V.

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Radio:

The Berserker includes a 2.4GHz pistol grip radio, with 2.4GHz receiver. The radio has a control panel beneath a hinged cover. The controls are pretty standard and include steering reverse, throttle reverse, bind button, steering dual rates, throttle trim, and steering trim.

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The rubber looking light gray grip is actually plastic and the trigger seemed a bit small for my clunky fingers. The bottom of the trigger dug into my finger tip and was a bit uncomfortable. Once I actually got to driving the truggy, it was less noticeable, but still there.

The radio worked without flaw and the truggy basically went where I wanted it to.

Driving:

I’m going to get right to the chase here. My personal experience with the Berserker was somewhat frustrating as I was trying to make some decent laps around an off road dirt track. The RTR truggy was fun to drive, but not what I would consider a “race” truggy as it is out of the box. Here’s why.

Jumping:

The most difficult time I had with the Berserker was with its tendency to nose dive in the air. This was caused by two things, the strong magnets in the brushless motor (as if you were applying the brakes), and the ESC drag brake setting.

Most ESCs i’ve owned allowed the user to change settings in the field without a program card, and it usually has a section in the manual that shows the steps. The included instructions with this ESC say you must have a program card or PC link to change settings. This means I was stuck with the factory setting of 10% drag brake through out the testing period. I would like to think this truggy would have jumped more level without the drag brake set, but I was unable to find out from a lack of PC link or program card. Bummer. 

Unfortunately, with the included sensorless motor, I didn’t have enough low end control to lightly finesse the nose up a bit without the truggy pointing straight up to the sky. 

While this did frustrate me, I think the chassis has potential to be a budget race truggy. Just get the kit version and install a sensored brushless motor system onboard.

While beautifully executed jumps weren’t going to happen with the RTR Berserker, back flips did! On 4S, the Berserker could easily do back flip after back flip. It was a blast too.

Cornering:

Once again, I was plagued with drag brake. The truggy felt as though I was applying the brakes while entering the turn. This of course over rotated the truggy resulting in frequent spin outs. After a while, I was able to manhandle the Berserker around the track and had lots of fun, but it wouldn’t win me any races driving that way.

Durability:

This is actually where the Berserker earned its keep. This thing is tough! Toward the end of the testing session, I gave up on precision driving and threw caution to the wind. I didn’t care if I broke the Berserker, I just wanted to have some fun! 

I drove the Berserker into and over everything I saw. Hit jumps every way while mashing the throttle, not caring how it landed. I had a blast! This thing is tough and an absolute joy to bash on. I had way more fun bashing the Berserker than I ever will trying to race it.

The only thing I broke while driving the Berserker was its rear wing mount. Other than the wing mount, which broke fairly quickly, nothing else broke through all my abuse.

Summary:

I think it’s pretty safe to say that the RTR Basher Berserker is best suited as a hard core basher. While the chassis has potential to be an OK budget racer, This thing just wants to be bashed. It screams for backflips and crazy driving. 

I think I’ll stick to my select brands for racing, but this is totally worthy of being a top notch basher.  I’m not saying it will never break, though it hasn’t yet, but I am saying I’d bash this along side any vehicle and have just as much fun as the other guy. 🙂

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About Author

I built my 1st real RC vehicle in 1986 and have enjoyed this hobby ever since. I like all RCs, cars, trucks, boats, planes, helis, etc. I think every RC vehicle has its place, whether it be toy grade or hobby grade. They're all fun to me, but the best part about this hobby is the people I've met and friendships I've made. But hey, enough about me. Share your background in the comment section of this article.

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