Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Custom painted Pro-Line Evo Body

Hello Everyone! I recently painted a couple new bodies for the current racing season and I am pretty satisfied with the results! They are both the Pro-Line Evo SC body part# 3413-00.

Here is a side by side shot of the two bodies. I tried color swapping this time and I am really happy with the results!

I really like these bodies for racing. Going from the Flo-Tek to these was a significant difference. These bodies fly better int he air and provide excellent downforce on the straight aways.

 Here is a shot of the body on my Venom Powered Pro-Line Pro2 SCT.

This picture was taken at round 1 of the Top Notch Series at IERC.

If you ever see me around southern California at OCRC or any of the other tracks that participate in the JBRL or TNS series and your child is starting out as a rookie, give me a blank body and I may just paint it for him or her... that is if you like my painting style! I am always happy to help out the little rookies when I can. 

Good luck at the races! Remember, you can always ask me for help, just look for the Venom powered Pro-Line vehicles and the KLA logo at the track.

-Matthew Garcia

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Top Notch Series round 1 at IERC

Hello Everyone! Happy Holidays!   A couple of weeks ago I attended the Top Notch Series round 1 at IERC. I have been out of the game for a while because I recently got married and did the whole marriage and honey moon thing. I decided to pick up my Venom powered Pro-Line Pro SCT without any prep or practice and head to the TNS race. 

There were a lot of people attending this race and here is a shot of a very busy pit. I must point out IERC is one of the nicest tracks around. They have a huge projector on the wall for tv, coolers for those hot summer days and most important of all a challenging track with consistent traction.
Here is a shot of the track right before you get on to the straight away. There was a fast and flowing section into the straight away that proved to be very challenging. Many vehicles would get the section wrong and either hit the wall or jump out of the track
Here is a shot of the middle triple section. The triple was right after a very tight turn and a very big challenge to clear consistently. Furthermore, your vehicle had to be set up perfectly for maximum traction in order to gain enough speed to make the triple. Most people double singled out on this obstacle. 
Here is a shot of the after the straight away. A drop off and a speed check jump proved to be very fun. It was a great place to pass people. Many people flew off the track at the end of the straight away due to all the traction!

 Here are two shots of my truck.  The truck perform pretty good all day, but I did notice that it was not very nimble in the tight corners. My low speed steering was nil without a little throttle manipulation. Pro-Line has a shorter chassis designed for tighter tracks, part #6093-06. Also, there is a new battery mount for the shorter chassis part # 6093-07. I purchased both parts already and installed them on my truck. I am still doing some testing, but the new parts made the truck handle a lot better.
I will do a review of those parts soon!
My Venom 100c shorty batteries performed flawless all day. I had plenty of power and did not have to worry about my batteries failing me. Venom did a great job with their latest Batteries.

I would say the TNS race went well for me. I ended up getting 11/19 which is not bad for coming out cold, but I still want to get my PRO2 on the podium. I was really close to making the A main, but I did not quite make it. Check out my race for yourself.

Good luck at the races! Remember, you can always ask me for help, just look for the Venom powered Pro-Line vehicles and the KLA logo at the track.

-Matthew Garcia

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Atomik Race Hauler Bag

Hello everyone! Today I am reviewing the Atomik hauler bag, Part#: 2007RE. 

The bag comes in a compact form, with all the drawers folded up. The colors are very vivid and and materials feel high quality! Right out of the box, I was simply impressed with the product.

 The wheels are smooth and easily glide along the sidewalk even with a fully stocked hauler.  There is an awesome telescoping handle in the bag that lets you handle the bag as if it where luggage. The buckles snap together tightly and the all the straps are strong enough to support the weight of a full bag. Although the buckles are sturdy, they are plastic and I often avoid lifting the hauler using the shoulder strap alone. There is a nice handle you can use to lift the hauler bag.
This is the back of the hauler bag, it is a larger pocket that I put all my stickers and manuals in. The pocket proved to be more useful than I had anticipated. I was able to fit several manuals, stickers, set up sheets, and fliers with ease. This image shows the bag in the compact state, but the flap for the pocket is marked by the silver line. The pocket is as tall and wide as the bag.

 The zippers on the hauler bag are very large and heavy duty. I have not had any issues with the zippers and I am actually quite impressed with their quality. I have got dirt and clay in the zippers and I have vigorously zipped and unzipped them. I have been unable to get the zippers to falter in any way. I don't expect the zippers to last forever, but so far they are great.

There is a compartment at the top of the hauler bag that you can organize your tools in and put all of your highly used race day parts and accessories in. I have tools,  ride height and chamber gauges, sticky tape and more in that pocket. There is a plastic tray that you can also put screws and other small parts that you may be using during rebuilds and such.

 Here is a shot of the pocket after I put in some tools. There are several slots to securely store your tools.

The shot also shows all the drawers put together and the flap that covers them, the flap is all rolled up. The flap is very well thought out and conveniently sticks to itself once it is rolled up. The big drawer on top it very large. I can fit a Short Course truck in there easily, but I ended up putting all of my plastic containers full of parts in there, and a bunch of other stuff. There are four smaller drawers, with one of them being cut off a bit so that in can fit next to the wheels.

The drawers them selves and the structure of the hauler bag is made of corrugated plastic. The drawers are very strong and hold a good amount of weight in them. I was able to fit all my parts and electronics in the bag as well as all of my tools. In other words, I fit a ton of stuff in this bag.
 Here is a shot of the bad on a race day. You can fit some vehicles on top to make for even more convenient transport. The shoulder strap doubles as a vehicle strap.
There are also some pockets on the sides of the case, two on the left and one on the right. I store all of my batteries in the left two pockets and in the right pockets I put my Lipo bags and some various papers.  You can see the bright red zippers of the left pockets in the shot on the right.

I really liked the branding of the case, it is big enough the support the brand, but it is not gross and overbearing.

The size of the case is great since it fits all of my stuff, but also easily fits into the trunk of my corolla.

The Cons:
     -I have used this bag for a few months and have taken it to various tracks. While using the tool holders, the stitching on one of them had simply ripped.  I have been very tough on this bag and more than likely ripped the stitching because of the way I pulled my tools out.

    -When there is a lot of weight in the bag, the drawers can sometimes bind and are tricky to pull out.

For build quality I give this Hauler bag a 8.5/10:
     -The bag overall is very sturdy and the materials used make for a high quality product. The stitching did not stand up to my abuse, so I docked the Hauler bag for that.

For ease of use and set up I give this bag 10/10:
    -The Hauler bag is very easy to set up and put together. Everything is intuitively designed and you find that your needs and wants are met. There is plenty of space, but the bag is not too big. There is a smooth and strong telescoping handle that is also well hidden when not in use. The zippers are big and heavy duty, but they still glide and open easily even with dirt, mud, and whatever other things you pick up at the track on them.

Overall, this bag is great and for the price and it gets a 9.25 rating. The size of the case is perfect for the compact racer, but also caters to the racers that like to carry lots of stuff with them. The telescoping handle is sturdy and allows you to easily pull the hauler bag through the pits. All the compartments are well thought out and provide plenty of space to store things. The Hauler bag is not perfect, but it works great and the price point is spot on at 150$.

 Remember to register your products with Atomik so that you can take advantage of their warranty if something goes wrong.

 Good luck at the races! Remember, you can always ask me for help, just look for the Venom powered Pro-Line vehicles and the KLA logo at the track.

-Matthew Garcia

Monday, August 18, 2014

Atomik Brushless Motor/ESC Combo Review

Hello everyone! Recently I picked up the motor and ESC combo made by Atomik RC/ Venom. I wanted to give a thorough review of the combo so I decided to use the electronics during the Pro-Line Surf City Classic. I used the motor and ESC combo in my Pro-Line Pro2 SCT.  
Before I get into the review, I would like to show the electronics I was coming from. I have a Reedy Mach2 7.5 motor and an Orion R10 Pro. The Orion and Reedy electronics have worked great for me in the past, but they are very expensive. For the racer on a budget, these electronics are simply out of reach sometimes. Luckily, Atomik Rc has their combo that can help you keep up with expensive electronics without breaking the bank.
Now Back to the Atomik Motor/ESC Combo. The Part number for this is  Part#13037. The Electronics come in a simple box that contains the motor, ESC, manual, sensor wire and warranty card. Be sure to register your electronics on the Atomic website in order to take advantage of their amazing customer service.

Looking inside the box, we have a very attractive pair of electronics. Everything is neatly packed inside the box and all the wires are already soldered for you.
The wires are very thick and feel good to the touch. Atomik did not skimp on the wire for their ESC and you get plenty of length to fit any vehicle you plan to put this in. There is a fan and some huge capacitors that come pre attached to the ESC. 
Here is a couple more shots of the ESC. The switch is beefy and it doubles as the programming button.  The heat-sink is a cool looking red and the case is a glossy plastic. 

The solder joints are very well done and are ready to take some serious abuse. Overall, the wiring on this ESC is solid and I am very impressed with the quality.
By far the best part of the combo is the motor. The bearings are butter smooth and motor feels solid in the hand. The solder tabs can be a little tricky to work with at first. You must make sure you get the solder to flow on both sides of the tabs to ensure a solid connection.
The motor is rebuildable and really looks amazing overall. There are not many vent holes which means that the motor is great at keeping dirt out and staying smooth. Although, the lack of vent holes means you must get your gearing just right in order to keep temperatures down.
Here is another shot that shows the sensor port and solder tabs. It is easy to adjust the timing on the motor using the three screws above the sensor port.

The programming card for the ESC is 16 bucks and is Part#: 1359. I found that the ESC had all the same adjustments as my Orion ESC which made it really easy and familiar to set up. The programming box is a must have for easy adjustment. Although, the ESC can also be programmed with the switch and beep tones and a little patience.

Performance at the Track:

I did several club races before the Surf City Classic in order to get the feel for the electronics. Just like my Orion ESC, the fan broke on the first battery. Luckily, the ESC does not get hot with a 2 cell lipo, so I did not need it anyway.

The motor has a lot of power and is very, very smooth. The power comes on nicely and the motor confidently accelerates. At first my gearing was off and the motor ran at 160 degrees F. After adjusting, the motor temp was at 135 degrees F.

The default settings for the ESC are way too aggressive, so I found myself turning down the punch to 3. I used 2% drag brake as well and found that the ESC behaved very similarly to my Orion ESC.


I did find some issues right off the bat. If you run a high voltage servo, this ESC will brown out and you will lose steering for a split second. At first I thought I simply had a bad ESC, but I quickly realized that a Glitch Buster would fix the issue, and it did.

Atomik sells a Glitch Buster that works great and it is Part#: 1654.

Once The Glitch Buster was hooked up, the motor and ESC performed Flawlessly. Hopefully the BEC is upgraded in the next version.

The fan breaking was another small issue but I was not really that upset. I saved a couple of grams taking the fan off any way.

The Surf City Classic:
At the Surf City Classic, the motor and ESC performed great! My lap times were on par with my other vehicles that were using the Orion/Reedy combo. I did notice that towards the end of my qualifiers I would lose punch, making it difficult to clear some of the bigger jumps. A gearing change before the last qualifier seemed to conserve battery and give me all the punch I needed for the entire race.

I am running a Venom 3800 60C battery and it usually is enough for any race I have, but it seems that with this ESC and motor, only a solid 5 min race is attainable. The ESC is power hungry, which makes sense since you can run it in an 1/8 scale with a 550 motor as well. I think that the new Venom 4500 100C shorty packs will solve the power issue and allow me to have consistent 10 minute races. Furthermore, I am sure that if you are running a normal size Lipo that you would not have any issues.

Overall, the ESC and motor were a powerhouse and helped my churn out my best laps this year. I narrowly missed the A main in the Pro 2 class that contained some of the top drivers in the world.


For price vs performance I give this set up a 10/10.
-This ESC is amazing for the price. If you are on a budget, I would highly recommend getting this set up. I am actually going to continue to use the ESC and motor in place of my Orion/Reedy set up for the rest of the season.

For Build Quality I give this set up a 8.5/10.
-The fan breaking was a bummer but not that big of a deal. The heat-sink does move a little inside of the plastic case, but performance did not seem to be affected.

For Race Performance I give this set up a 8/10.
-The combo was a little too power hungry which requires a slightly larger battery for peak performance. If weight is an issue, then the larger battery can add extra grams very quickly. Needing a Glitch Buster to get everything to perform properly was unfortunate but is a minor set back when looking at the cost of everything. The power band was nice overall and the throttle feel was smooth and consistent.

Overall I give an 8.8/10
-The value of the Atomik Motor/ESC combo is phenomenal! If you are looking for amazing performance and reliability without breaking the bank, then this is the set up for you.

Good luck at the races! Remember, you can always ask me for help, just look for the Venom powered Pro-Line vehicles and the KLA logo at the track.

-Matthew Garcia

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pro-Line Pro2 Shock tower mod

Hello Everyone! This past weekend I was racing on high traction candy track and I noticed that my Pro-Line Pro 2 could use some more side bite in the corners. I inspected my rear shock tower and looked for a place to drill a hole.

Some tools you will need is a drill, a rotary tool, some safety goggles, a cutting tip, a grinding cylinder and a #36 size drill bit
The first step is to take a look at the shock tower. You will notice a indented circle. The circle is where you want to drill the hole. If you have the carbon stiffener attached, then just drill right through it. Make sure you take the shock off before you drill the hole.
Once the holes are drilled, you will notice that there are pre molded shock standoffs. The standoffs will get in the way when the shocks compress. You will need to use the rotary tool with the cutting tip to cut the standoffs. The goal is to get the shock tower to become smooth.
Here is a shot of the tower after the modification was complete. There needs to be a spacer to replace the shock standoff that we cut off. I looked in my box and noticed that one on the nylon nuts that comes with a new Pro-Line body would work perfect. The nut actually measured nearly identical to the amount of material that was cut off.  There are some shots below of the nylon nut and the size of it. You can use any spacer that measures about 4.6 mm. 

I made this modification at the track a few races before my main event. During the main event I ended up breaking, but the laps I did make were the fastest laps that I had ran all day. The truck was much easier to drive in high traction conditions and it cornered phenomenally. I will be testing the mod more in my preparation for the Surf City Classic!

Good luck at the races! Remember, you can always ask me for help, just look for the Venom powered Pro-Line vehicles and the KLA logo at the track.

-Matthew Garcia

JBRL Pegasus Hobbies

Hello Everyone! This past Saturday I raced the JBRL electric series at Pegasus hobbies. The track turned out to be very technical and sugar coated. The traction on the track was amazing! This was my first time driving on a high traction candy track and to be honest, it was some of the most fun I have ever had racing. I was really able to tune my vehicles and not worry too much about trying to find traction. I ended up racing Pro 2 and Mod Buggy. I ended up breaking in Pro 2 by dropping a pinion in the final and melting my slipper clutch and spur gear in the heats. It was a rough day for me in Pro 2, but I still had a lot of fun and I came up with some mods that made my truck handle better than it ever has. In Mod Buggy I finished 10th out of 12 racers. I was really happy with my first showing in Mod Buggy and I cant wait to race it again. My buggy really worked great throughout the day and I would really like to thank Venom, Pro-Line, and Buddy Blacksmith Designs  for creating such amazing products.

Here is a shot of the step up that led into a high speed sweeping turn. This Step up was very tough to hit clean and many people flat landed or got this obstacle wrong.

After the step up, this high speed turn caused a lot of people to traction roll, hit a wall or a pipe. The turn lead into the straight away.

 The long straight that was partially blind due to a larger double double in the middle of the track. The straight away was very fun and all the traction let you wheelie!

This is a shot of the turns at the end of the straight. There where lots of bumps that would set you up really wrong and flip you over into the wall. The best line was really close to the pipe.

 This is a shot of the double double that was actually really difficult. Many people tried to triple single out but that didnt seem to be very fast. The second double had a nice kicker on it and would really send you flying if you had too much speed. Many people got this obstacle wrong as well. I found myself flipping here a lot because of the speed I was carrying into the jump.

 Here is a shot of the double in the middle of the track that led into the step up. This part of the track was actually not too hard and very fun to get around. although it wasnt to hard, a lot of people still over jumped the step up.

Good luck at the races! Remember, you can always ask me for help, just look for the Venom powered Pro-Line vehicles and the KLA logo at the track.

-Matthew Garcia

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Friday Night Racing at OC/RC

Hello everyone! This past  Friday I did some club racing at OC/RC. If you dont know, Friday is called "Fill em Up Friday" where you can pay for one race and race as many classes as you want! I decided to race my Venom  powered Pro-Line Pro 2 truck.

My truck was pretty dialed with Pro-Line Ions Product ID : 1191-17 , in the rear and Suburbs Product ID : 1171-17 , in the front. The track proved to be quite challenging and I found myself constantly having to pay close attention to all the of obstacles.

The double and turns that lead into the straight away where a big challenge for me. Over shooting the jump killed your momentum into the turn, but landing perfectly and turning too soon meant clipping the pipe. I had to try and set everything up perfectly and the only way I was able to do that was to take this part of the track slow.

The end of the straight also was a tough one. I had to try an perfectly land the high speed jump and carry that momentum into the corner jump, all without clipping the pipe. Eventually I got this part of the track down while keeping a reasonable speed.

Here is a shot of the rest of the track. The double triple section in the middle of the track has not changed much, but I still had to try to carry the momentum of the vehicles through the corners in order to stay smooth. I noticed that this track layout was fast and flowing. In other words, as soon as you get out of rhythm, you start to hurt your lap times dramatically. It was crucial to keep flowing like water. The only way I was able to stay in the groove was to slow down and concentrate.

Despite all the hurdles and tough obstacles, I qualified 4th in the A main and finished with a solid 3rd place. I am super happy about having a podium finish and I must thank Venom Batteries and Pro-Line for producing such amazing products!

Good luck at the races! Remember, you can always ask me for help, just look for the Venom powered Pro-Line vehicles and the KLA logo at the track.

-Matthew Garcia