Mini Review – Nanda Racing NRB-5 1/8th Nitro Rally X Buggy

The NBR-5 featured in this mini online article is a great introduction for those wanting the noise and smells of a Nitro car in a 1/8 chassis without the massive expenditure that can come with full-bore racing versions. In fact, for a shade under £200, the NBR-5 is a bargain buy, with a well-built car, engine and radio gear all included. All you need to do is add your choice of AA batteries, fuel and glow starter and you’re ready to tear up the dirt or local Astro for the fraction of the cost of some of the alternatives. So what makes the NBR-5 different to so many of the other RTR’s that are available for similar budgets? This is something I will now attempt to discover and let you, the readers know so you can spend your cash wisely!

The first thing to discover after removing the car from the bright box is that being a Nitro it definitely isn’t ‘Ready To Run’. You still need batteries; a glow start, fuel and a basic Nitro orientated took kit that includes a glow plug spanner, a flat bladed screwdriver and spare glow plugs, and to run in the engine itself. Some of the budget RTR’s out there can also see you needing to fit some parts, be it a rear wing, wheels or some other important component, not the Nanda…so in this respect its more
ARTRI (Almost Ready To Run In!). For the best life and power for the engine you must follow a decent run in procedure, and take it slowly and let it cool between tanks. There’s no fair way to put this, it’s the most depressing part about owning a nitro-powered car, but it’s a necessity. Do it right and the engines normally reward you with great performance and a long life, but cut it short (or don’t do it at all) and you’ll soon find yourself lacking or possibly even seizing…you were warned!

Running in is, as I’ve mentioned already, a frankly quite boring and tedious process and the bane of the lives of most people that own nitro cars. Unfortunately this necessary evil is there for a reason….do it properly and your engine will reward you with a longer life and more power! Therefore a good and very thorough run-in period is essential. For the first tank, I headed out into my back garden with no more than the glow plug igniter and the car – and was immediately presented with my first failure…a glow plug igniter is no use to man nor beast when it has no charge…yes I forgot to plug it in the night before…

A few hours in the kitchen charging was enough to see me heading back out excitedly with car in hand, hoping for an easy time. For this I was rewarded. I have had a few nitro RTR cars now and each one has had its foibles when running in, the majority of them failing to run through a complete tank without numerous restarts. This is quite normal for a new engine too, as components loosen up through use and temperatures start to rise. The NRB was different though. A few tugs on the starting cord was enough to full the short inlet pipe with fuel and prime the carb, then with the (now charged) igniter attached to the glow plug it was only two more sharp pulls before the engine was singing away. Following a cool-down period, a second tank was run through in the exact same manner, although towards the end of the tank I started to add a few gentle blips of throttle – not enough to engage the clutch, but enough to make sure there was some heat transfer through the head on the cold evening.

Tank three was the tank that introduced some driving, with gentle circles on low throttle being introduced for both this and the following tank fills. On the whole, each one of these runs was uneventful and, although it was clear to hear the engine was running rich (burbling on throttle with some hesitation as it was ‘bogging down’), any stalls were quickly resolved with a quick pull on the starter cord. Once these two tanks were out of the way I could begin to introduce some higher speeds, although still nowhere near its full capability. I did this over the next 4 tanks, slowly increasing the amount of throttle I was using, but making sure that the engine had fully cooled between each fill.

I topped the tank up and headed out for some fun. You would expect a .21 engine to be fairly spritely, and this doesn’t disappoint. Pick-up is instant, and the clutch engagement isn’t bad at all. A few revs are needed to overcome the drive train when pulling from a standing start, but once rolling this is almost forgotten as the transfer from the .21 is instant enough to lift an inside front wheel and balloon a tyre when you throttle out of tight bends. Grip from the soft compound tyres is impressive, both on tarmac and dirt. Over all, the NRB-5 is a very capable RTR buggy. It’s a good introduction into the world of 1/8th rallycross as a well handling power basher or club level racer. It’s not suitable for a very young member of the family as his first RC because of the more involved nature of Nitro, the noise involved and places it must be run and the associated dangers of fuel and heat generated by the engine. But under the right supervision this would make a cracking first club car for a father and sibling team to have many hours of fun with. In fact that’s something I intend to do myself with this buggy when the time is right…

Words & Images: Clive Pratley
UK RRP: £199.99