Losi 1/24-Scale Micro Chassis Review

Posted:  Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Written By:  Gary Katzer
Copyright:© 2010 Horizon Hobby, Inc.

     Losi has a history of making some very fun and performance-packed micro vehicles in recent years. From the original Micro-T, Micro-Desert Truck and more they’ve established themselves as the kings of the sub-1/18 scale. They’re back again, this time with a slightly larger platform in two different flavors in the 1/24-scale Micro Short Course Truck and Micro Rally Car. Sharing most major components between both platforms, these are two vehicles that can truly bridge the gap between the mini and micro worlds.
     Designed from the ground-up with a full-time 4WD drive system featuring full ball bearings and an integrated slipper clutch, coil-over oil-filled shocks, powerful micro motor and more, these are two spectacular vehicles. We had an opportunity to go doorhandle-to-doorhandle with Losi’s Andy Ziegler on one of the prototype tracks that was set up in an office. Yes, it was a closed-door meeting where my beating Andy and putting these cars through their paces was high on the agenda.

Speed Specs
Micro Rally Car
Micro Short Course
Part Number(s): LOSB0240 (SCT); LOSB0241 (Rally)
Vehicle Class/Type: 4WD Micro
Target Audience: Beginner-to-advanced Rally or SCT enthusiast
Completion Level: RTR

     I had a chance to get some time behind the wheel of both the Micro Rally Car and Micro Short Course Truck before we actually filmed due to my involvement with the Try-Me Track we ran at iHobby 2010. My reaction was that these were fun and fast vehicles and the Losi track set was just too cool. Once we got back I was able to get more running with these vehicles and was truly impressed.
     Straight from the box both the Micro Rally Car and Micro Short Course Truck feature the same basic configuration. Both chassis are equally equipped with full ball bearings, a 4WD shaft drive transmission and some of the smallest oil-filled shocks I’ve ever seen. These cars are designed to not only drive well and be fun but to be extremely durable. I gathered up one of each chassis and headed to an office where a prototype of the Losi Micro Track was set up. And to make things more interesting I called Losi’s Andy Ziegler to issue a challenge, which he accepted. With the gauntlet laid down Andy chose the Micro Short Course Truck for his weapon while I was armed with the Micro Rally Car. With batteries charged it was time to head into battle.

Top Speed/Acceleration
     Both the Micro Rally Car and Micro Short Course truck come out of the box with the same motor, battery and gearing so I expected the top speed and acceleration to be fairly identical and, as expected, they were. With the kit gearing both vehicles sped away quickly and reached top speed in relatively short order. I’d estimate the top speed was about 10- to 12-MPH stock which, for this size of a vehicle is pretty good.

     I’ve had a chance to drive all of the Losi Micro vehicles to-date and each has a personality all its own. My first impression of the Losi Micro-T was that it steered a lot and needed more ground clearance. The Micro-Desert Truck improved upon the platform and had better handling thanks to the longer wheelbase. The Micro Rally Car and Micro Short Course Truck are both larger still and that translates into the best handling off-road micro I’ve ever driven. This is a really competent chassis, which may catch folks off-guard. The chassis has a little bit of an understeer characteristic which makes it pretty forgiving to drive. It’s not going to be a line-carving 1/12-scale sedan but then again it’s not designed to be. For a car of this size it jumps well, changes direction competently and is very predictable.

     One thing about both chassis is that it’s designed to catch air. Now let’s be realistic here- you’re not going to sky these over a set of triples on a 1/8-scale track. You’re going to jump it over things like the Losi Mini-T Jumps, the Micro track and things along those lines. In those cases these chassis handle very well.
     I was able to spend some time driving on the “real” Losi Micro track at iHobby and Rich Trujillo opened up a section of the track that made it really fun and challenging. Basically he pulled the top of the “table top” off, creating a gap between the face and landing of the jump. I was able to get a line figured out after a few laps that was both fast and fun. One thing I did notice however was that the Micro Rally Car did have a slightly greater tendency to nose-in after a jump due to the lower height of the front valence and bumper. The Micro Short Course Truck has a higher bumper and almost never nosed-over.

     With a vehicle that has this low of a ground clearance there’s not a lot of chassis roll side-to-side or front to back. There just isn’t enough of a suspension to allow the weight to transfer. Off-power both chassis seemed to have a slight understeer regardless of the surface that we were driving on. This lack of initial turn-in could be improved by tapping the brakes but, more than anything, this simply slowed the car or truck down more than transferring weight to the nose. I’ve heard of some people shaving the steering knuckles slightly to increase the steering throw and improve steering. I’d rather get more traction out of a vehicle by changing the suspension and tuning that way than increase mechanical throw. Honestly, I was having too much fun to let it bother me much.

     Just like off-power the Micro SCT and Rally Car had a bit of an understeer on-power. This isn’t totally unexpected with a 4WD system, as they do tend to have a natural push on-power. If I rolled on the throttle instead of just gripin’ it and rippin’ I could reduce the on-power push. Again I think this can be easily tuned out of the chassis with different springs or shock oil. These are just fun vehicles to drive though and I see more people going out and just running them and having fun than necessarily trying to get the “perfect lap” like I was here.

Out-Of-The-Box Setup
     For the money you can do worse than the 1/24-scale Micro Rally Car and Micro Short Course Truck; a lot worse. They’re fast enough to be fun but not so fast that they’re difficult to control. With the included battery pack run times were between 8- to 12-minutes depending on throttle use and adding the Li-Po battery just totally pushes the envelope and increases the speed and acceleration even more. At the same time they also feature a competent chassis that handles well and can take a pounding. The chassis has a slight understeer characteristic stock and that makes it forgiving to drive. It’s a lot easier to let off the gas or tap the brake to turn than it is to chase the rear end of a vehicle that’s too loose. In all I’d say Losi got the setup right, and for those looking to get the edge you can always go to town and equip your vehicle with tuning and option parts to get the baddest Micro in town!

     When I heard we would be having a Try-Me track at iHobby two of the first vehicles that I wanted to make sure we had for people to try were the Micro Rally Car and Micro SCT. Both are vehicles that anyone can be successful with and, knowing that many of the people who would be driving would have zero-RC experience whatsoever, I was confident that they would be durable enough to take the abuse they were sure to see. And I was right—as the only real issues that cropped up were one toasted motor, one stripped pinion and we had to clean the fuzz out of the bearings every once-in-a-while. If I could ever ask for a more brutal durability test, I don’t know what would top this!
     From their good looks to their handling, these are two vehicles that just nail the “fun” factor right from the box. I know people who have never even thought of racing that have pooled together to buy a couple of the Losi Micro tracks and are starting weekly Losi Micro Racing. Even airplane guys are getting into the act! I was geeked when I got to see the prototypes in June with Todd Hodge and he should be proud as he has hit a home run with these. Oh, and for the record, yes, I beat Andy Ziegler ,but with how much fun these are I can expect a phone call and a challenge to be issued. Wait, my phone just started ringing— I need to charge more packs and hit the track against Andy again. Don’t feel bad for him, he’s getting used to finishing second.

Tips & Tricks