Review: 2nd hand DEX210 Buggy

So following on from the article about Taking our own Advice, I now have a quite nice DEX210 from Team Durango to drive, and so I thought i’d review it for others interested in this vehicle.  It’s not the first or last vehicle that i’ll be reviewing as I will have another buggy to review after next week. So in Taking our own Advice we left off after my first race with the, new to me, buggy.  So what have my impressions of the kit been since then and have I finally painted that new body?

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I’ll start off with looking at the kit and what it is fitted with.  I race indoor on a predominantly carpet track, so mid mounted buggies are the name of the day and the setup reflects that.

Manufacturer: Team Durango
Kit: DEX-210
Website: http://www.team-durango.com/race-cars/dex210/
Servo: Savox SC1257TG
Radio: Spektrum SR300 and Dx2.0
ESC: Tekin RS
Motor: Tekin 17.5
Body: Pulse RC
Rims: Team Durango
Tyres Front: Dboots Blockpass
Tyres Rear: I got 3 sets with the car, so working out what works still.
Differential: Optional Gear Differential
Motor Configuration: Mid Mount 4 Gear
Optional Items: More than a few are fitted actually, and it wasn’t until I started giving the car a once over I realised how many. Carbon Battery Strap, Aluminium CVD Rear Axles, Alloy Battery Thumb Screws, a host of things like alloy hub carriers etc that I got as spares but have not fitted.  Quick Adjust shock mounts I almost forgot (I am definitely converted to these, so much easier to use)

First Impressions

Looking over the kit for the first time in detail, I have to say that i’m very impressed.  The engineering is all logical and practical and looks very solid.  Adaptability is another factor of this kit that impresses, and not just in the big things.  The ability to covert the same kit from rear to mid mounted motor, and vice versa, is an impressive feat, and is achieved with a minimal of extra parts.  However the smaller impress as well such as the ability to change the castor by changing inserts, and the inserts to adjust steering from inline to trailing, and a few steps in between.  Whilst I didn’t build this kit myself, many of the cars I have had are RTR cars, whereas this is a Racing Kit, and  was blown away with the quality and fit of the parts of this kit that add up to a quality buggy.

The body really isn’t a Durango item I know, but to answer my earlier question, yes I finally did get it painted, and while I couldn’t quite replicate the scheme on my SCT and Rally car, it’s a close enough family resemblance to be identifiable as mine on  the track.

The Drive

Let’s face it, this is the important one! My racing mainstay for the last four years has been the HPI Blitz ESE at the local Launceston RC track. The DEX210 on comparison was a complete revelation! Some of this comes down to a setup that suits my driving style of course, but when you can configure this vehicle in so many different aspects of it’s geometry and handling anybody should be able to find a setup that suits them.

In a straight line the car was smooth, quick and composed.  However it was in the corners where I was blown away. The steering response when entering a corner is incredibly crisp and direct.  It took me some time to stop turning into the corners much too early.  However not only was the response good, but the stability and composure in the corner was fabulous.  It only took small adjustments to take a corner tighter, let it drift wider, or avoid a slow or crashed vehicle on the track.  This kind of steering precision is somewhat foreign to me on a race track after 3 years of Short Course racing, but it is like a breath of fresh air.  One disadvantage of the crisp turn in response on a high traction carpet track was crashing.  The car really doesn’t understeer in it’s current configuration on this track, it simply catches the front wheel when too much steering lock is applied, and you cartwheel down the track.  Part of this is the far from perfect driver of course, but it isn’t a downfall of the car.  Have you ever complained that your car turns too well on a track, ever heard the guy next to you on the stand complain?  I didn’t think so!

The back end however hasn’t been so confidence inspiring with it occasionally breaking loose with a vengeance.  However this seemed to be more about tyre choice as a change of tyres turned it into machine that would swap ends at the drop of a hat to one whose grip level was progressive all the way to the limit, and even beyond allowing the driver time to collect the car and maintain momentum.  So more of a setup and driver issue than one inherit with the kit.

Bumps and jumps are tackled with aplomb.  Like most 2wd vehicles they don’t correct their attitude well mid flight, but there is enough control to land the way that you need to (if the driver remembers).  If anything it tries to fly a little nose down but a bit of throttle keeps it up. Small bumps in the track seem to be soaked up well by the suspension and the Wall Ride section of the track doesn’t present any challenge for the DEX210 which maintains composure throughout and catapults itself down the straight on the far side of the wall.

How did it go on the loose stuff, umm, well I don’t know.  they only place I have driven it is on carpet and on bitumen where it behaved well.  However i’ve no doubt that, with the right setup, it would eat up any track of any surface.  How do you know what setup that is?  well talking with locals at your track helps, there are also some great online guides to car setup out there as well.  However Team Durango do post some setups on their website (just go to http://www.team-durango.com/in-the-pits.php and put in the kit and surface you are intrested in), and a variety of setups for a variety of surfaces and countries can be found at Petit RC here http://www.petitrc.com/setup/durango/SetupSheetsDurangoDEX210.html

Damage

Well, to date it has been minimal thankfully.  To be honest from what I have done, and seen, as well as looking at the design, I don’t expect there to be much.  I did have one altercation on the last corner of the track which sent me flying into the leg of our steel drivers stand.  The result, one broken Aluminium CVD rear axle, right where the pin goes through.  I was fortunate to be given a set of steel ones as well, so they have gone in, and there they will stay.  I prefer durability over light weight for the most part.  For what was a brutal, wheel first impact, I was amazed that more parts weren’t broken, damaged or bent, so a big thumbs up for the strength of this kit.

I also did bend the Pulse RC wing quite badly on the first outing, and whilst it looks good and works well, it isn’t the strongest and may get a replacement in time.

Parts Availability

With a major distributor in Australia in the form of Hobbies Australia, parts are fairly easy to find and well priced for what is a quality racing kit.  However there is a vast number of aftermarket extras are also available, and rather than reinvent the wheel with what is already available, I will point you in the direction of the Durango Fansite which lists all of the available parts for the DEX210 as well as it’s siblings.  Drool over the goodies available here: http://durangofansite.com/main.php?vehicle=DEX210&page=aftermarket

Modifications to be Performed

Well, I have plans for a few, some Green DE Racing rims should match my paint scheme nicely, and some Schumacher carpet tyres on all four corners. Obviously I have already gone back to the steel axles. If I hadn’t been lucky enough to have a gear diff as part of the purchase that would have been an upgrade as well as I don’t get along with ball differentials.

Photos

Final Thoughts

I think you get the impression that I like it, and not not just because it’s mine.  I love the design, I think the layout is practical and better drivers than me have proved that it can be a world beater in the right hands.  Yes, the DEX210 V2 has a number of improvements, but a 2nd hand DEX210 is far from a poor investment with parts being readily available and the vehicle dynamics still being up to the minute.  I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another DEX210 or DEX210V2. In fact I dont think I would hesitate to buy any Team Durango kit on the back of this one. I must admit I have been eyeing off the DESC-210 that runs regularly at our track as the Blitz ESE is getting a little long in the tooth as a race car against newer designs of SCT, but I doubt my tight budget will allow an upgrade any time soon.

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