Last night I got my hands on the Spec-R S1 Kit and put it together in a single sitting in 50° on a bench at the local RC track. The temperature didn't bother me though because the Kit, I'm happy to report, gave me a case of the warm and fuzzies.
For a "Sport" version this thing is pretty freakin sweet! The cuts are clean, the holes are perfectly placed and the composite is strong and clean out of the box. Interestingly.. I did not use a reamer at all in this build, the plastics almost seem to suck the screws in on the kit I built, they tightened up and the plastics didn't feel mushy, you get a definite "Bottomed out" feeling when they tighten all the way in. there is a good amount of "Flex" in the bulkheads but the castings were very clean and very little flashing to be found. Once buttoned up they stiffened up nicely. Oh, and they molded in space for the bearing holders in the the upper bulkheads, so no shimming required with the plastic units!
Ease of building
What can I say? This kit almost seems to "WANT" to be put together. The plastics can take a good bit of gorilla wrenching compared to say the plastics from an associated kit like the old TC3/4s. The instructions are high quality and they are laid out a bit differently than the R1 instructions so be mindful when building the kit to not go just on memory from the R1 because there are subtle but critical differences. Overall it was a dream to build, interestingly with this kit I got zero end play on the layshaft.. it was a silver shaft instead of the black one from the R1 kit and it seemed to tighten up nicely with just the kit shims, The spur gear adapter does seem to rub just a tad on the upper deck, so file the edges around the adapter down just a bit.
If you plan to run a Blinky class, VTA, or any kind of "Stock/spec" racing you simply can not go wrong here. the build and the quality is just top notch. The plastic shocks are threaded for instance and the threads are high quality and the shocks are surprisingly good for plastic units. The "compromises" to keep costs down are intelligent, well thought out and still provide excellent bang for the buck. Running Mod classes may require a few key upgrades but I think it'll be a perfectly capable club racer if you set it up correctly.
things to consider.
1: Get some aluminum wheel hexes ASAP, the plastic ones are crap, we all have known this for years about plastic hexes so no big surprise, Losing the dang pin 14 times a night just isn't cool. I understand it's a Value kit but still, they are $5 to order... I'd pay that on top of the kit just to avoid the plastic units all together.
2: Break in time is a must. don't expect perfection the second you toss it together and hit the track. The plastic pivot balls and the arms need time to free up. Graphite powder or a good grease is a great idea in these areas. They aren't super stiff but an Arm reamer and some sanding would go a LONG way, I did this on my R1 but didn't bother on this kit, I wanted the "new racer" experience of building it and I can say after 2-3 runs it will loosen right up and move freely.
3: Steering Rack shimming. It's a must in this case. the plastic Rack goes together nicely but don't over tighten the screws or it'll stick pretty roughly. On the chassis posts for the rack there is also about .3 - .5MM of play up and down, not a ton but It really needs some Shims. some sanding of the rack components would be a good idea, but they will break in over time and it's by no means "Sloppy" in it's range of movement. I think the Aluminum rack would be a decent upgrade IF you've done the other suggested upgrades first.
4: The Motor mount is ever so slightly less adjustable than the R1 version. It seems to lack about .2MM adjustability of the R1 mount. Not much but in 17.5 blinky or VTA, etc it may be an issue. On my r1 I ran an 86/47T spur and pinion and it just barely fit but the gears meshed perfectly, On the S1 this combo had the spur and pinion just barely making contact, not enough to actually run it, had to go up to a 49 pinion to get it to fit well.
Alu wheel hexes. Nuff said.
Aluminum suspension mounts/inserts. The plastic ones are fine to start with but they seem to have a bit more flex than I like, the Aluminum units would bee more rigid and better at keeping suspension geometry I think.
Alu Spacers, 1-3MM. The plastic ones just seem like they are a bit soft and will deform in a collision.
Metal Pivot balls. Plastic deforms, the metal pivot balls will also move more freely and create less suspension drag, and they are dirt cheap. There really is no reason to ever use the plastic ones unless USPS is being a douche and not delivering your order of the metal ones till after the next race.
Alu Steering rack. Like I said above, this is a "last upgrade" sort of thing once you have all the rest done. At $24 it's hard to justify for me as some shims and break in time will let the plastic unit work 99% as well..
Alu servo mount. I hat plastic servo mounts. they flex, they break, they suck.
Bulkheads and the like are really only necessary if these plastic ones "break" a lot.. they seem soft enough to take an impact but sturdy enough to not create too much flex. Only time will tell but for the short term, Bulkheads would just end up increasing the cost to near R1 levels. If you want more stiffness the Graphite top deck may be a more cost effective way to mitigate it than spending $60 on aluminum bulkheads. The one exception may prove to be the plastic upper bulkheads, if the shock tower is flexing because the plastic upper bulkhead it could cause some suspension issues due to it deflecting but It seems far fetched.
(I didn't cover the suspension arms, Diff, one way, chubs, knuckles, rear hubs, etc because it's all the same as the R1, nothing note worthy here. that hasn't already been said.) Thanks to the Guffinator for allowing me the honor of assembling his S1!
(don't laugh at the fatty with the Grump face! I never said no to a Cheesypoof!)
Laugh all you want at the Baldy Guffinator, God knows he gets it in the bedroom enough to give him a thick skin :-P