In the last days of December, Team Associated has announced their new 2wd buggy. In fact, I should say their new 2wd buggies because Team Associated has decided to offer the B5 (rear motor) and the B5M (mid motor) as two different cars.
At first glance, I really like the whole new design but new features like the multiple inserts for adjusting the steering geometry, the rear hubs, the steering bellcrank system and the front suspension mounts are really exciting and will give to the buggy a lot of adjustability options.
The long-time “rumored” B5 is finally here and I can’t resist to ask to Bob Stellfue from Team Associated those questions to find out more about their latest 2wd buggy!
MyRCBox.com: When did you start working on the B5 project?
Team Associated: A little over a year and a half ago.
MyRCBox.com: What was the main goal when designing the new B5?
Team Associated: Improve on any shortcomings of the unprecedented 5 consecutive time world championship B4 platform, mainly durability and adjustability, with the mid-motor configuration in mind.
MyRCBox.com: Who has worked on the project?
Team Associated: I (Bob Stellfue) was the lead engineer, with great support through the mid-motor configuration from Kody Numedhal. But the entire project has been a team effort involving most of the engineering group, with constant input and development through the race team.
MyRCBox.com: Your web site says that you made the best buggy even better, what makes the B5 a better buggy then the B4 series?
Team Associated: I worked hard to ensure that the B5 was more durable and adjustable than what we had previously raced in the B4. Of course keeping in mind that the B4 was such a successful platform, so no compromises were made through the design and development stages. From suspension geometry to assembly methods, I paid attention to every detail making sure that we would be certain to make a forward step.
MyRCBox.com: No spy shots or leaked pictures. Where and when did you test the buggy?
Team Associated: Some of the concepts were tested using the B4 platform, keeping everything as low key as possible. For others we were lucky enough to have a couple local venues that we could sneak into before or after hours.
MyRCBox.com: During your private track tests, what were the comments about the B5 from your team drivers?
Team Associated: The difference is in the consistency through the corner and its ability to jump and land with less effort. These comments were consistent through all tests and drivers.
MyRCBox.com: When is the first “official” race for the B5 and B5M?
Team Associated: We won’t have enough time with the new car for racing at ’14 RROC, but I’m sure you’ll see the cars out there very shortly afterward.
MyRCBox.com: The B5 and B5M are two different products. Why didn’t you do like others manufacturers and design a buggy that can be converted to mid or rear motor without having to buy a different buggy?
Team Associated: Rear motor and mid motor are really two separate types of chassis layouts, and I devoted a lot of time to determining the compromises if they were to share the same platforms as other manufacturers had done. The position of the motors really drives the difference in platforms when considering the electronics configurations, chassis structure, and suspension arm shape. In both rear and mid motor cases we are looking to optimize the position of the motor over the rear axle. If both platforms are allowed to share the same chassis, this creates a compromise in suspension arm shape and mounting positions that has a negative effect on chassis stiffness and suspension component stiffness.
MyRCBox.com: The B5 and B5M use metric hardware, why go with metric?
Team Associated: The obvious is that our parent company, Thunder Tiger, operates in metric. But the hardware is stronger, and the hex size is larg er and harder to strip out. Also, there are fewer sizes of wrenches necessary for assembly… only 2 allen and 2 nut drivers 🙂
MyRCBox.com: Does this mean that all future kits will be metric?
Team Associated: Probably leaning that way.
MyRCBox.com: Are there parts interchangeable with the B4.2?
Team Associated: Only just a few… misc. diff hardware and shock hardware. Most every part is new.
MyRCBox.com: You released the new B5’s as Team kits instead of Factory Team kits as in the past. Will t here be a Factory Team B5?
Team Associated: Actually these Team level kits are far more equipped than they had been in the past. Shocks are now hard anodized threaded versions and there are a host of other included items such as the VTS3 slipper assembly, blue aluminum servo mounts, and all parts necessary to tune caster, kickup, toe, and upper link length. To be honest, all these Team level kits are missing is the blue Ti turnbuckles and blue aluminum rear wheel hexes… parts that, in the end, will make little to no difference in performance but a huge difference in selling price.
MyRCBox.com: Now that the B5 and B5M are announced, will the T4.2 and SC10.2 receive the same treatment and being offered in a rear and mid motor configurations?
Team Associated: This will take some time in development to determine the necessity… guess you’ll have to wait and see 🙂
MyRCBox.com: There is a lot of talk around mid-motor configuration, some guys say the mid-motor buggies are better on hard packed or sugared tracks with a lot of traction and the rear motor is more designed for the looser track surfaces. What are your thoughts on this?
Team Associated: There is a fundamental difference in the gyroscopic and torque reactions between the two platforms where the motor helps to stabilize the chassis movements in the rear motor configuration but emphasize the movements in rear motor. With that being said, I think either will work in either condition. The difference is that the mid motor versions will be harder to drive, yet quicker around the track. Most die-hard racers will tend towards the mid motor configura tion in most cases, then break out the rear motor when the track conditions are poor enough that even their skill levels require a little more help.
MyRCBox.com: When will you start shipping the B5 and B5M?
Team Associated: Looks like the beginning of Feb ’14.
MyRCBox.com: The B5 and B5M share 90% of the same parts. Will you offer a parts kit to convert the buggy to rear or mid motor?
Team Associated: We’re looking into the feasibility of that now, but it’s likely that we will make it at least to convert mid to rear.
MyRCBox.com: The B5 features new 12mm Big Bore V2 shocks. What’s new in the V2?
Team Associated: We’ve worked hard to refine the sealing of the shock shaft to an even better level. The shafts are now much smoother even though they are not coated, and the o-rings and gland have been updated for minimal stiction and friction. Plus we’ll offer a clear x-ring as an option part for the elite racer that wants an even slippery fit.
MyRCBox.com: Why the aluminum chassis and the gullwing a-arms are reserved to the B5M?
Team Associated: In mid motor or rear motor a composite chassis is always the way we’d tend if we could. They cost less, are much stiffer, wear better, and are more resilient. Unfortunately the position of the motor in the mid motor configuration would not allow for the necessary ribbing to the composite chassis in order for it to gain the stiffness required. This drove the decision to put an aluminum chassis on the B5M only.
As for the arms, either will go with either motor configuration, we just put one set on each car to show they’re both available as tuning options. It should be noted, though, that each has a specific front shock tower to accommodate shock leverage.
MyRCBox.com: The last question is a little bit off topic. In all pictures posted on the web, the new Reedy ESC is always pictured. Any release date for your new ESC? Anything you can share about your new ESC…. Just to tease us!
Team Associated: Like any great racing product, an ESC requires an extensive amount of development. The guys in the Reedy department have been hard at work to make sure that all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed before they release anything. I don’t have any timeline, but I know testing results have been great!
Thank you Team Associated, this is always a real pleasure for having you on MyRCBox.com and I look forward to put my hands on your new buggies!
Meanwhile, for more information, you can follow those links.
Team Associated B5 -> http://www.teamassociated.com/cars_and_trucks/RC10B5/Team/
Team Associated B5M -> http://www.teamassociated.com/cars_and_trucks/RC10B5M/Team/