THURSDAY TESTIMONIALS: Exotek Racing carbon fiber chassis for XRAY XB2
Thursday, Jul 7, 2016 04:14pm
By Joe Adragna
Modifications have been a huge part of racing since the dawn of the automobile. I promise the moment Ford Model T’s were rolling off the assembly line, people all looked for methods to personalize their purchase. I’m not a stranger to this, as every car I have always look for ways to make it a little bit different than the next guy’s. Tinkering is what some call it, and it’s really what makes this hobby even more fun beyond just competitive racing.
Most modifications people do are basic: titanium turnbuckles, alloy hubs, and if you have a T-maxx, alloy everything, really. I wanted to think outside of the box when it came to modifications, and Exotek’s Carbon Fiber chassis caught my eye. In the stock pictures, it’s pretty unassuming, a basic chassis that reflects the new design of the XB2, only made in carbon instead of XRAY’s aluminum alloy.
Exotek Racing XB2 Carbon Fiber Bottom Plate, 2.5mm
Unpacking the chassis goes against everything I just said. It’s beautiful: glossy with a stellar looking weave, and the chassis is precision cut and countersunk for any transmission setup you choose to run on the XB2. Included with the chassis is an insert that explains that you need to seal the edges, and to look on YouTube for a walkthrough on how to do this. The process is pretty simple, really; I ran the chassis under water in my sink, and lightly sanded the edges. This lasted about 3-4 minutes, after which my wife found out what I was doing and promptly kicked me out of the kitchen. After letting the chassis dry, I grabbed a bottle of my favorite CA and ran a small bead around the edges, and this is what seals the edges from delaminating.
I’ve purchased products that said they were direct fits, and after time with a Dremel and some elbow grease, finally fit. Not this chassis - after sealing the edges, it was a direct replacement for the factory piece. In fact, I originally set the car up with the stand-up 3 gear transmission, and then the next day moved to the laydown from the Carpet Edition as my plans changed to race at SRS Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona.
A quick breakdown of my equipment:
- XRAY XB2 Dirt Edition
- Carpet Edition laydown transmission
- Reedy Blackbox 410R
- Reedy 1S 17.5 short stack
- Sanwa RX482
- Sanwa SRG Servo
I ran my first 3 practice packs with the alloy chassis, and the car felt tremendous. The layout at SRS is super technical and has no time to rest, forcing the car to constantly deal with jumps, bumps, and turns. The XB2 with the alloy chassis was fast but would sometimes get lost in the chop. The move to the Exotek carbon fiber chassis was drastic. In my first battery with the carbon chassis it showed immediate results; where the car struggled with the alloy chassis, it now would “plant” itself and not be tossed around. What seemed like a simple change was far from simple results. The chassis made another noticeable change; it shed 40 grams off the total weight of the car, putting it near ROAR’s minimum of 1499 grams.
So what else changed for me? My confidence in the car. SRS also has a very troublesome rhythm section that gave me fits all day with the alloy chassis. The car was a handful, and the timing window to be smooth through that section was very narrow. With the chassis change, the car stiffened up a lot as well gave a lot more feedback, which allowed me to recover from mistakes quicker. For the main, the rhythm section was no longer an issue, as the car jumped smoother and allowed the suspension to work instead of the chassis flexing and deflecting.
Super light weight (shedding 40 grams from stock!)
Beautiful carbon fiber weave
Very rigid construction
Rigidity can hurt traction on low-bite surfaces
Value; it seems for the cost, they could have pre-sealed the edges, or included their super-trick battery strap.
I felt this chassis gave me something that I didn’t even realized I wanted; a more stable and predictable platform that allowed me to push harder. SRS has a very high speed chicane, and the chassis switch allowed me to stay on the throttle for longer through this section. I loved the fit and finish, I also love the trickness of the look. I would like a little more value for the cost. Overall, I think Exotek hit it out of the park with this chassis.