- Schumacher CAT K1 - Review -
The 2013 IFMAR 1:10 Electric Offroad World Championships are just around the corner. Manufacturer's around the world are preparing their best drivers and latest vehicles for the event in hopes to grab the World Championship crown. One of the UK's more popular vehicles in the 1:10 4wd buggy class is none other than the Schumacher CAT K1. Sightings of the CAT K1 here in the United States has slowly become less of a rarity, as more and more drivers are trying out the unique 4wd buggy. It just so happens, we were lucky enough to get our hands on the CAT K1 for a little testing of our very own.
The Schumacher CAT K1 buggy is a lightweight twin belt design with carbon fiber towers, top deck, and aluminum chassis. This buggy is the latest in the CAT series of 4wd buggies and includes a wide range of new features including the lightweight chassis design, molded side pods, mid-motor design, black anodized parts, titanium nitride shock shafts, small bore shocks with big bore springs, cab forward body design, and more.
The Schumacher CAT K1 buggy features a very easy to follow and high-quality instruction manual. All of the parts and pieces are neatly organized, and fit together like a dream. With the K1 buggy there was no question as to why a screw won't fit or thread into a piece. Better yet, with no additional reaming, trimming, or cleaning of the a-arms, hinge pins, and suspension parts, the K1 went together with ease with no binding what-so-ever.
(Exploded view of the CAT K1.)
While the CAT K1 buggy was designed and primarily found racing the astro-turf courses of England and Europe, we decided to test it out USA style. The K1's paws hit the practice track to see what it could do on a long, bumpy, dry, and dusty American style track, and it did not disappoint.
The K1's unique twin belt design with CNC pulleys provides a very quick throttle response, making the CAT leap out of the turns at cheetah speeds. While this buggy does not feature big bore shocks, it does feature big bore springs. The small shock body and oversized spring combination actually works quite well together handling the bumps and jumps. In the hot and bumpy conditions we found the stock setup for the buggy to be a little "bouncy", but after a changing out the shock oil and re-adjusting ride height we were able to tame the CAT K1 to perform quite well.
The CAT K1 features a lightweight, yet durable, aluminum chassis. The chassis provides a solid base for the buggy, but does weigh slightly more than the more traditional carbon fiber chassis. Ball differentials both front and rear provide very smooth operation, however, for those of us lazy racers who prefer not to constantly be re-building a ball diff, there is an optional gear differential available as well.
One of the main focuses of the new K1 buggy was the steering geometry. The engineers developed a new steering rack for the K1, and it proved to work beautifully. If you want a car with instant cornering, this CAT is meowing your name. The stock setup features a LOT of steering, in which we weren't accustom to, therefore we decided to make a few changes to take away some steering for our driving style.
Carbon fiber shock towers are always a scary proposition, as they tend to be fragile, however the thick 4mm towers on the K1 proved to be quite durable. In addition, the plastic parts are ultimately quite durable as well. We were able to break a front a-arm, however, we cannot blame the car for that (instead we blame the driver behind it).
- Very easy to build.
- Carbon fiber swing-away battery straps
- Unique twin belt design provides a quick and lightweight setup.
- Aluminum chassis and thick shock towers provide good durability.
- Ball differentials included, with optional gear differential available.
- Tons of steering right out of the box.
- Aluminum threaded shocks with big bore springs are easy to build, adjust, and tune.
- Anodized alloy parts, and driveshafts stamped with signature Schumacher logos for that "factory appearance".
- Cab-forward body is sleek and stealthy looking.
- Requires the use of Schumacher specific wheels.
- Dirt setups are hard to come by, as this buggy is primarily raced on carpet/astro-turf.
- Belts are exposed to dirt, dust, and grime.
While the Schumacher CAT K1 may not be among the most popular cars in America, it definitely has the potential to be a winner. A precision designed buggy intended for racing it's home country of England, this kitty has no problem hopping the pond to play in the dirt. The is easy to build, handles well, easy to tune, and is fun to drive. The Schumacher 4wd buggy is proven to be a race winner on the carpet overseas, and we believe it has the potential to be just as successful on dirt. This is a full fledged race car, and while the price is a little higher than some, overall we were very impressed with the new CAT K1 and expect to see more and more of it clawing its way to the top step of the podium worldwide.
Beacon Rating: 4/5