In the last months, I had the chance to build, to test and to run the B5 and the B5M buggies. Team Associated has decided to go with two different kits instead of going with a kit that offers a rear or a mid motor configuration possibilities in one box.
This decision from AE has first been seen kind of negatively but when you compare closely the B5 and the B5M, I’m happy that Associated sells the B5 in two separate kits. I’ve built both kits and each kits are made to get the best of each configuration. No compromise in designing a chassis that can be used for a rear and a mid motor configuration. Most parts are interchangeable between the B5 and B5M. The B5M has an aluminum chassis, a different front suspension geometry and of course the motor and the transmission are mounted forward the rear shocks tower.
Even if this was my first experience with the new B5 and B5M, building both kits was really easy and it took me about the same time as I needed to build the previous B4 buggy. Instructions manuals are well made and well detailed. In both kits, parts fit perfectly, no need to sand or to dremel parts, no flashing residue resulting in a tight and solid buggy. In term of parts quality, tolerance and features, the B5 and B5M are the best off road kits ever made by Team Associated. The B5 and B5M kits come with white dish wheels and a clear body and wing.
The only problem I had with the two kits was the placement of the front body clip, right in the middle of the front shocks tower where my big fingers have a lot of difficulties to access. Anyway, it’s only been a problem for few minutes because I’ve cut the body posts and I’ve installed velcro on the chassis sides for quicker body removal and installation.
On the track:
The first buggy I’ve tried was the B5. I’ve ran the buggy with the box stock setup which is a good all around setup for most tracks. As for electronics, I used my trusty LRP TC SXX V2 speed controller, a Reedy Sonic Mach 2 8.5T brushless motor and a XP DS1015 steering servo. I’ve also used SMC 4600 shorty and 5200 square LiPo packs. The front tires were Pro-Line Holeshots and the rear tires were Pro-Line Blockades.
On the first test run with the B5, I’ve felt the buggy more forgiving and more planted than my previous B4.2. This feeling is also shared with the B5M. After few laps to get familiar with my new buggy, I was able to enter hard into the corners and push the buggy hard all around the track without getting the buggy out of shape and most important the rubber side down on the ground. Like all 2wd rear motor cars, the B5 tends to understeer on acceleration. I ran a little more than 10 packs in my test B5. No breakage and all parts stayed tight fit, just like the day I’ve built the buggy.
I’ve took all the electronics and tires off my B5 and installed them into my newly built B5M. The room for the receiver and esc is tight but I’ve managed to fit my electronics in the buggy. I’ve also swapped the tires and the same LiPo pack to make sure I was comparing both buggies with exactly the same equipment.
I’ve always preferred 2wd vehicles that have a little more weight in the front, at least in the middle. This could explain why I run my cars with almost all the battery packs moved forward. I prefer having a little more steering even if I lose rear traction. Good news for me, this is exactly how the B5M feels compared the rear motor B5. More steering and a little less rear traction. For me, the B5M rotates better, accelerates better, gets out of corners faster, jumps better and forgives more on rough surfaces. Maybe it is a matter of preference but I was more confident all around the track with the B5M that I was with the B5. After 10 packs on my test B5M, the buggy was in perfect condition, no loose, no broken parts, and just few scratches on the aluminum chassis.
I’ve built my Team Associated B5 and B5M exactly as par the manuals and I’ve used exactly the box stock setups. No doubt that both buggies are designed to be raced hard and the quality of the material and parts are excellent. The B5 and B5M have many new adjustments and features improving handling and offering more tuning options than ever before. With the tests I did and my driving experience, skills and preferences, I’m not convinced that a mid motor configuration will only work well on high traction tracks. Even with the stock setup, I like how my B5M handles on my medium traction track. The buggy can just get better with few tweaks and more track time. Don’t get me wrong, the rear motor B5 was doing very well but the B5M better matches my driving preferences. If I ever change my mind, Team Associated offers rear and mid motor conversation kits for the B5M and B5 buggies.