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Team Durango DESC210 Race Ready RTR Review

We are obsessed with instant gratification. Food needs to be fast and shipping must be overnight. It could be argued that time is the most precious commodity in our world, so who has the hours or days it takes to build an RC truck these days? Well, usually racers will find the time because a proper race truck can only be had in kit form right? Perhaps not. The folks at Team Durango may have the answer for impatient racers who are short on time but still want a capable racer. The company, whose corporate motto is “Serious about Racing” has recently come out with a line of seriously cool race-ready RTRs. But, speaking of time, don’t waste any and check out this test of the new DESC210 Race Ready RTR.

HIGHLIGHTS
> Fully assembled and ready-to-run
> $445.00
> Mid or rear motor configuration
> 2.4GHz radio system
> 13.5-turn sensored brushless motor system
> Hard-anodized, over-sized shocks
> 2WD drivetrain with sealed 3-gear transmission
> Fluid-filled gear differential
> Captured CVD drive shafts
> Dual pad slipper clutch
> Injection molded composite chassis
> Race-proven geometry

DID YOU KNOW?
Before Durango was a brand, it was, first, the name of the 4WD electric race buggy created by Gerd Strenge in 1999. The Durango buggy was essentially a Team Associated TC3 on-road touring car converted for off-road use. The sealed front and rear gear boxes and shaft drive of the TC3 made it an ideal platform to create an Associated-based 1/10-scale 4WD electric buggy.

FEATURES
Chassis
The DESC210 RTR uses an injection molded composite plastic chassis which is safe to say provides more flex than trucks using aluminum chassis designs. The generally accepted theory is having extra flex gives the truck stability which helps to inspire driver confidence while still providing a sturdy and durable foundation. It’s safe to say the jury is out on which design is better. It’s quite possible that the more flexible plastic–which is more forgiving and easier for most to drive–may be the ideal choice for the average club racer, The chassis is also significantly light in weight, which is a hallmark of the DESC210 RTR. A long battery channel is formed in the center of the chassis allowing for multiple battery positions. There’s plenty of room on either side of the battery for a nice, clean looking electronics layout.

  

Suspension
As you’d expect, 4-wheel independent suspension is used on the DESC210 RTR. The geometry of the suspension comes directly from the full-blown race edition truck, the DESC210R. The front arms are a gull wing design. This bent arm slightly drops the middle of the arm and lowers the shocks. This, in turn, slightly lowers the DESC210’s center of gravity. The DESC210 RTR has silky smooth, threaded hard-anodized, over-sized shocks designed to soak up the roughest terrain. While the shocks are certainly some serious eye-candy, the shock caps are still plastic. I’ll jump ahead to some of the performance assessment and point out that the plastic caps were not a problem and didn’t show any sign of leakage. Overall, the shocks are undeniably high quality and exceptional for a RTR. As you may expect, there are loads of fine tuning options on the truck including camber angle, toe, droop and multiple upper and lower shock positions which can help to dial in the handling to better suit your style and running conditions. Team Durango includes a turnbuckle wrench that makes it quick and easy to perform track-side adjustments to the suspension and steering angle.

DID YOU KNOW?
In 2012, U.S.-based Hobbico (one of the largest RC distributors and brands) purchased Durango from Kingstar (one of the largest RC manufacturers and located in Taiwan). Also part of the deal were Axial, Arrma and dBoots.

Drivetrain
At first glance, the transmission on the DESC210 RTR looks to be your standard issue three-gear gearbox. There, however, is a bit more to the business end of this 2WD short course truck. For starters, there is a dual pad slipper clutch which allows for precise power delivery. 2WD trucks are notorious for being unable to put all of their power to the ground. Even though its primary job is to protect the drivetrain, a quality slipper will become your best friend when it comes to actually making use of all the power on board. The dual pad design has twice the surface area of a single pad slipper. Additionally, the DESC210 RTR has a sealed gear differential which is fluid filled. Commonly found on 1/8scale vehicles, this type of diff is both adjustable and durable. You can simply add thicker fluid to achieve a tighter differential action. Instead of the typically used dog bones, the DESC210 breaks RTR tradition and uses universal axles–very nice universal axles.

DID YOU KNOW?
The name Durango comes from a movie–A Clockwork Orange. Stanley Kubrick’s famous film featured a unique car called the Probe 16. In the movie, the oddball vehicle is known as the Durango 95 and had one door–a sliding roof panel.

What really sets this transmission apart is the ability to convert it from the traditional rear motor configuration to a mid motor setup. With minimal effort and added expense, you can convert the DESC210 RTR to a mid-motor truck. Depending on your track surface, the mid-motor configuration could improve traction and handling. You can also go from three gears to four gears allowing you to switch the motor from the left side to the right. Best of all, both changes can be made without replacing the gearbox case or altering the suspension setup.

DID YOU KNOW?
The interesting nomenclature of Durango vehicles allows you to quickly “decode” what the vehicle is specifically. In the case of the DESC210, the D stands for Durango, the E means it’s electric powered and the SC means, of course, that it is a short course truck. The 2 is used because it is 2WD and the 10 is for 1/10 scale.

  

Electronics
Team Durango includes a Speed Passion Cirtix Stock Club Race sensored brushless system with the DESC210 RTR. Experienced racers know that sensored brushless motors have a much better feel and throttle response than their typically lower cost sensorless brothers. The motor itself is a Speed Passion 13.5-turn motor that features bullets integrated into the can.

You can adjust brake strength, drag brake and thermal protection on the Speed Passion speed control, however, there is no option to enable reverse. Since most race programs ban the use of reverse during racing, this can be a good thing, but reverse is a feature normally found on RTR vehicles, and for bashing, reverse is welcome.

A 2.4GHz radio system gives reliable glitch-free control while adding steering dual rate, trim and servo reversing. The receiver is a 3-channel model and very compact. Team Durango also includes a waterproof, plastic-geared steering servo, but none of the other electronics are waterproof (more on that point later). The servo delivers approximately 70 oz.-in. of torque.

DID YOU KNOW?
Speed Passion was founded in 2005 and won an IFMAR world championship in 2010. Marc Rheinard (who’s also great at tennis) won his third 1/10-scale electric touring car championship (ISTC, International Scale Touring Car) using Speed Passion equipment.

Tires, Wheels & Body
When it comes to racing, tire choice is about the most common (and useful) change racers make. Not only do tire choices vary from track to track, but sometimes a tire that works during qualifying may not be right by the time the mains roll around. And, because tire choice is such an individual decision, it makes some sense that Team Durango would simply equip the DESC210 RTR with a general all-purpose tire rather than picking one race tire which only works for few racers. The included black wheels and tires are your run-of-the-mill, semi-hard compound, long-life all-terrain tire that are usable on almost any surface.

DID YOU KNOW?
The original Durango buggy took approximately five years to design. Durango’s founder, Gerd Strenge, states that he is developing prototypes for Durango and the current project being designed is an electric 4WD touring car. So, look for Durango to be an on-road contender soon (You heard it here first!).

The included body comes in either predominantly red or blue. The detailing and design make for what is hands down one of the most attractive RTR body designs I’ve seen. There are four colors used in the design, including the main color, silver, white and black. The main color and silver are a reflective metallic type of paint, which really pops, and the design incorporates the logo of Team Durango while being very visually interesting. You’ve probably caught on by now that I like it. Though the DESC210 RTR does not use a licensed body, the short course truck looks stylish with aggressive lines and it’s functional to boot! There are multiple locations molded into the body where one can cut out vents to help mitigate the dreaded short course parachute effect.

PERFORMANCE
I have driven and owned a few other Team Durango vehicles, so I had high expectations for the DESC210 RTR. But before going to the track, I  did my usual new-vehicle quick shakedown outside my house to make sure everything was set properly. I could instantly tell the DESC210 RTR means business. On pavement, where tire grip is not an issue, the truck’s turning was ultra sharp. After setting the trims and dual rate, I packed it up and headed to Pin Shop Hobbies in Oakville, CT. After all, if this truck is “Serious about racing,” it should be track worthy right out of the box, right?

Pin Shop’s track surface was hard packed on the driveline with a hefty amount of dusty, loose dirt in the corners. While I know the included all-terrain tires were not ideal for racing, as long as I could stayed out of the fluff, they were actually able to do a decent job providing traction. I set the slipper a bit loose to help control power delivery and I was good to go. As I sent the DESC210 down the main straight, it became clear that the 13.5-turn motor was quick enough to put a grin on my face. It wasn’t ballistic, but it was fast. In the corners, the DESC210 RTR shows its racing lineage as it carves a super tight line and easily dives inside other vehicles on the track. I did feel like the steering servo was a little slow or underpowered for the way I was driving the truck. A servo upgrade, of course, will instantly resolve this issue. In the whoops section, the truck soaked the consecutive bumps up in style–credited to its race-proven suspension geometry. The final test was the big jumps. Here too the DESC210 flew straight and true. Like most 2WD trucks, once you leave the jump, you can’t do as much in-air correcting as, say, with an 1/8-scale buggy, so throttle control at launch is important. If you’re way nose high when airborne, a panic stab of the brakes will drop the nose, but that’s about it. Most in-flight attitude is impacted at takeoff. Thankfully that sensored motor gave great feel and response so controlling launch was easily accomplished with a little throttle blip right before the truck left the ground. Landings were silky smooth and most importantly composed. This allowed the truck to settle after touchdown and give me plenty of time to setup for the next corner.

After a few runs, the track crew decided to heavily water the track, but I elected to keep testing. The track was unusually wet from the fresh soaking. The DESC210 RTR is not sold or promoted as being waterproof (except the steering servo) and it was clearly unhappy to be running in the wet conditions. After a few momentary losses of control the truck simply stopped running. I was able to get it going again by drying the receiver and speed control, but this is one truck that does not like to run in wet conditions (i.e. don’t drive through big puddles).

DID YOU KNOW?
In addition to this 2WD short course truck, Team Durango offers two other RTR vehicles, the DEX210 RTR and the DEST210 RTR. These vehicles are a buggy and a stadium truck, respectively. The three are all built on the same platform and similar in design. Currently, Team Durango offers 13 vehicles in its lineup.

FINAL ASSESSMENT
It didn’t take long for me to realize that the wizards at Team Durango did exactly what they set out to do with the DESC210 RTR; they created a legitimate race-worthy RTR. More importantly, with a few very minor and typical tweaks, this short course truck isn’t just a contender, it could easily be a podium regular. Racers know that tires are important and the included tires are great for bashing, but for racing, you are going to want to pickup the tire of choice for your track. Just ask the fast guys or track owners what they run and get a set of those tires and you will be golden. Aside from that, adding a faster and stronger steering servo will help extract every bit of race suspension geometry magic from the truck. It’s built on a solid and proven foundation; with those two minor upgrades you have a winner on your hands. Durability is also important in any short course truck and the DESC210 RTR had no problems except for the minor water and electronics issue noted above. Generally, I do believe that you get what you pay for in life, and while the DESC210 is a tad pricey, it uses quality components that combine to form an RTR that truly is a few notches better than what we have come to expect from previous RTRs. Since Team Durango is now making an entire lineup of race ready RTR vehicles, I’ve got a feeling that I’ll save some time and pick up one of those the next time I want to try out a new race class, maybe you should too.

Hot
> Race proven geometry shows on the track
> Sensored motor has great feel with good speed
> Attractive and stylish body
> Excellent jumping and bump handling

Not
> No reverse
> Tires are not as racy as the rest of the truck
> Lackluster steering servo
> A tad expensive

Links
Team Durango
Speed Passion

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9 Comments

  1. I’m really interested in this truck! The my only question is, can you run it on a 7-Cell Ni-MH pack, or does the ESC only take LiPos?

  2. I just purchased thus truck. What’s the top speed for this truck with a 2s Lipo? Can you run a 3s? Or will the engine or ESC overheat?

  3. hey i was messing with the brake setting on this truck and i just lost all the throttle response what do i do to fix that

    1. and i tried doing the throttle trimming to see if that would bring back the throttle responce but still no response

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