Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer


Introduction

In the last year, the truggy scene got more competitive than any other RC class. All manufacturers released what they think is the best truggy. Some manufacturers go with RTR’s while others go with kits and RTR’s. The ST-1 was first released as a RTR and many people have been seduced by the specs and the look of the ST-1. Few months later, Thunder Tiger released the ST-1 as a kit with many factory options included.

With time, every owner of the ST-1 realized that the ST-1 was a tough truggy. I didn’t heard anybody complaint about the ST-1’s durability or track performance. I still convinced that the ST-1 RTR is the best RTR truggy out there.

What’s cool with the ST-1 is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money or time to turn this RTR into a great racer.

All those upgrades below will make your ST-1 even better. Like almost all club level racer, I’m a on a budget and I tried to keep cost low.

Tires and wheels

The tires are the most important part of a good race setup and this is why they should be your first upgrade. The ST-1 RTR and the kit come with pins tires that are good for bashing or racing on loose track surface but there are chances that your track requires more race oriented tires.

The stock wheels are 0 offset wheels and work well on tight tracks. However I prefer a wider ST-1 for more stability on rough tracks.

For the tires and wheels, I trust Pro-Line’s products for more than 10 years. Many other companies offer good race tires but since Pro-Line’s tires and wheels work fine for me and for thousands of racers of all level… They should work for you too. To make sure you pick the right tires for your track, have a look to what other racers use. This is the best way to know what tires are the best suites for your track.

My favourite picks
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Pro-Line Crime Fighter MTR
One of the most popular race tires. Good forward and side traction. Works best on med packed tracks.Read review
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles

Pro-Line Bow-Tie MTR
Another great race tire. Has more forward traction and less side traction than the Crime Fighter. Read review
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Pro-Line Hole Shot MTR
The hole Shot tires are designed for hard packed track surface.
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Pro-Line Badlands MT
The Badlands are motocross style tires. At first they more look like all terrain tires but they work great on loose track surface.
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Pro-Line Velocity wheels 17mm 1/2″ offset
I only use Pro-Line’s Velocity wheels on all my RC’s. For the ST-1, I recommend 1/2″ offset wheels, they will add more stability to your ST-1. They are also available in 0″ offset as well in yellow, white or black color.
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Pro-Line molded foam inserts
This molded foam insert replaces the foam that comes with the tires. The molded foam insert fits perfectly into the tire and provides more consistent traction.

Setup your ST-1

You can have the hottest engine, the hottest tires and the hottest electronics, if your ST-1 is not adjusted for the track condition and your driving preference, you won’t do well. Out of the box the ST-1 RTR has a good starting setup that can be modified as you get more familiar with the truggy and with setup technique.

To know more about off road suspension tuning, check this page.

My favourite picks
Richard Saxton’s setup Richard Saxton races the ST-1 for few years now. His “base” setup is a good starting point.Check my ST-1’s setup page

Engine / Tuned pipe

The stock .28 engine has a huge amount of torque and is easy to tune and doesn’t require frequent needles adjustments. This is a perfect engine for a RTR and can be raced too but if you want more power, you’ll to swap the stock engine for something with more HP’s. Switching to 30% nitro fuel will make your engine produce more power.

There is a huge selection of big block engines on the market. Choosing the right engine is not easy and I don’t want to make an engine shootout but try to get the best engine for your budget. I’m not a big fan of all those 400$us engine, not that I don’t like those engines but I prefer engines that are most in a lower price range and this is why I don’t list them but all engines from Novarossi, RB, OS VSpec are great high performance engines. If you pick an engine without pullstart, be sure to also buy a starter box.

The stock tuned pipe is a good pipe but for more power you have to replace it with something more race oriented. Take note that some engines manufacturers recommend special tuned pipe for their engines. Example, for the OS Speed Tuned .21 VZ-B V-SPEC Engine, OS recommends the T-2060 tuned pipe.

My favourite picks

Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
LRP Z28.R Spec 3 Truggy

Excellent engine with a lot of power and rpm’s.The best bang for the bucks engine.Read review
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Ofna/Picco .28
Italian made engine with a lot of rpm’s and torque.Read review
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
OS .21VG
This .21 engine is not the most powerful engine of this list but it’s a strong and reliable engine and will last long time. Run it with 30% fuel and you’ll be surprised by his performance and runtime.
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
OS Speed Tuned .21 VZ-B V-SPEC Engine
A pure race designed .21 engine.
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles   Thunder Tiger’s EFRA 2035 3-chamber tuned pipe The Thunder Tiger’s EFRA 2035 3-chamber tuned pipe (PN 9796-1) is the pipe I use now. It offers more bottom end and the engine gets in to top faster. It’s really affordable to !Read review
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Ofna JP-2 tuned pipe
Jammin/Ofna offers good tuned pipes too. The JP-1 is designed for the low end. The JP-2 is for the high end while the JP-3 increases the low and the top end.

Body

The good news is that the ST-1’s body is one of the most nice looking body of all truggies on the market. The bad news is that no company produces aftermarket body designed for the ST-1… The solution is to go with another body from Thunder Tiger or to go with a body designed for the Mugen MBX5T.

The ST-1 RTR doesn’t come with a wing. Installing a wing should be on the top of your upgrades list.

My favourite picks
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles   ST-1’s wing mount Buy the wing mount (PN PD2320) and install a rear wing. This should be one of your first upgrades.Read how to install a rear wing here.
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Pro-Line High Downforce wing
Install a 1/8 buggy wing. Pro-Line High Downforce is a popular choice among racers. A rear wing makes the rear end of your ST-1 more “planted” on the ground.
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Pro-Line Crowd Pleazer
Pro-Line Crowd Pleazer for the Mugen MBX5T will fit the ST-1.
Electronics
Stock electronics is great for bashing around but an AM radio is not best suited for racing purpose. You better go with a FM, synthesized FM or a 2.4Ghz transmitter.The steering servo is OK for normal use but for racing you’ll need something faster and stronger. You don’t have to change the brake/throttle servo, the stock servo has enough torque and speed for the duties.Some racers don’t like failsafe but as far I’m concerned, I think it’s a good thing to have this kind of protection. This will protect your ST-1 from low receiver batteries and from radio frequency conflict and interference.I don’t think I need to specify that you must replace the four AA’s with a 6.0v humpack.
My favourite picks
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Airtronics MX-3 FHSS
Great affordable radio, has all features a club level racer will ever need.A new MX-3 2.4Ghz will be available soon.
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Airtronics M11
The most popular radio among racers, has all features available. Spektrum modules can be added to convert the transmitter to 2.4Ghz
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Futaba 3PM
Futaba’s Fasst technology with 2.4Ghz frequency. Excellent transmitter for the price.
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Spektrum 3.0
The Spektrum transmitters are really popular, they offer 2.4Ghz technology at low price. The 2.0 has 2 channels while the 3.0 has 3 channels.
Airtronics 94358 servo With 200oz of torque and a transit time of 0.10 sec @ 6v this is a solid servo for the steering
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Reedy 1100 NiMH Humppack
More powerful than alkaline AA’s and last longer.
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Dynamite FailSafe
This little device will protect your ST-1 from runaway. Don’t forget to program it …
Drivetrain
The ST-1’s drivetrain doesn’t require any major modification. CVD’s are used everywhere and the diffs are bullet-proof.The stock clutch shoes are composite, you can install aluminum clutch shoes for more grip. Stiffer clutch shoes springs will provides quicker acceleration because engine will revs higher before the clutch engages.Like all other truggies on the market, the diffs are grease filled. Replace the grease with diff fluid. You’ll notice a huge difference !!!
My favourite picks
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
M2C Racing aluminum clutch shoes
M2C Racing offers clutch shoes specially designed for the Thunder Tiger ST-1
Thunder Tiger ST-1 – From RTR to Racer Articles
Team Associated diff fluids
No matter you bash or race, oil filled are the way to go. This will totally change how your ST-1 performs.A good starting point for the diff oil is:Front: 7000wt
Center: 20000wt to 30000wt
Rear: 1000wt to 3000wt
Steering
The ST-1 steers relatively well but I like my RC vehicles to have more than needed steering for tight cornering. To increase front steering traction, I didn’t install the front sway bar and I filled the front shocks with 40wt oil. I also install an Airtronics 94358 steering servo to have more speed and torque but the stock servo was doing the job well. Also, don’t forget to frequently tight the servo saver screw.There is also a mod that I’ll do as soon as I get my parts. This was posted on Ace Hobby’s forum by Richard Saxton and consists to install longer turnbuckles (80mm) and connect them directly to the bell crank instead of being connected to the draglink. This will increase steering and make your ST-1 turn sharper.
My favourite picks
Steering mod A complete “How-to” will be available soon
Richard Saxton’s setup Once again, Richard Saxton races the ST-1 for few years now. His “base” setup is a good starting point.
Check my ST-1’s setup page

Conclusion

Yes the Thunder Tiger ST-1 is a great truck out of the box. With just few minor mods he can be turned into a real race machine. The stock engine can be raced as well as the stock servos. The most important upgrades are the tires, the rear wing and diff oil. For the rest, you can always buy them when you’ll need to replace the stock parts.Go with one mod at the time, this will let you understand the impact of the mod on your truck. I tried to cover all major aspects of the ST-1. With time, you’ll learn how your ST-1 handles and what you can modify to suite your driving preferences.

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