Review – Gmade Sawback Sport

The Sawback is certainly not a new model, originally introduced a few years ago the model soldiered on before being replaced on store shelves with the newer 4LS. The Sawback debuted with leaf spring suspension and a very old school crawling ability. The newer 4LS leaves the nostalgia look but puts a modern 4 link system under the chassis. Having run the leaf sprung Sawback I definitely prefer the old school setup over the modern iteration.

It’s not because the leaf springs perform better, in fact, they are definitely a limiting factor in extreme crawling. They do offer some advantages and challenges that make them my personal choice.

The major factors about leaf springs, on my RC cars, that I prefer are simple and straightforward. There are no linkages to deal with, no multiple length tubes to create, damage, or modify. They inherently are more stable, are less prone to torque twist, and with proper tuning can replicate true scale movement much easier.

Parts are cheaper, the shocks are easier to build and tune, and they offer you more smiles with less hassle. The other side of that coin is the challenge. Because they don’t flex all over the place because they inhibit some approach and departure options. They require more thought and more technique to scale crawl. That means more areas can be fun with simpler obstacles by taking alternate lines. That’s really what the hobby is all about. Check out the video to see some crawling action and then read all the tech below.

DETAILS

• The GS01 ladder frame chassis is chrome plated for looks and durability. Body hangers are mounted to the sides of the chassis, there are several holes in the chassis for the leaf spring hangers, cross members and the skid plate to be bolted to the platform with ease. Assembly really was simple and straightforward.

• The suspension is based around leaf springs with dampers with customizable springs inside. No shock oil to deal with just some grease for smooth movement. The suspension is tunable with different leaf pack configurations. Handy to compensate for different battery weights and other accessories. The final detail is a set of scale U-bolts with top plates to hold the leaf firmly to the axle. I really like this excellent scale detail.

• Steering uses a tie rod and drag link setup that fits perfectly with the original design. The servo mounts on the front axle giving you plenty of power and keeping the items from binding under flex. We did a tire rod flip with some spacers to get it up and away from obstacles. Gmade offers a CVA kit that gives you not only less slop in the drivetrain, but also more steering than the out of the box setup.

• The drivetrain is one of my favorites in the scale trucks we build. Direct gear driven transmission means no fiddly clutches to deal with. I often hear the argument it’s better than breaking parts when defending clutch packs. I would counter that replacing the clutch after hard driving every third outing is far more annoying than never replacing a broken gear. There is some occasional backlash but all 4 wheels digging with the direct drive to lockers is a sight to behold.

• The body is made out of clear Lexan. Several ABS accessories adorn the body. Steering wheel, windshield bracket, shift lever, mirror, seats, roll bar, tube doors, and light buckets. There are several decals that outline the interior gauges and body details. The body mounts firmly against the front bumper with four body posts, two in the front and two in the bed of the Jeep body.

SPECS & TUNING OPTIONS
DIMENSIONS
LENGTH: 17.4-in. (442mm)
WIDTH: 8.58-in. (218mm)
AXLE WIDTH: 7.2-in. (183mm)
WHEELBASE: 11.3-in. (287mm)
GROUND CLEARANCE: 2.36-in. (60mm)
WEIGHT: 3.75lbs. (1.7kg) (no electronics)

BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
BODY: Clear
WHEELS: 1.9-in. beadlock wheel
WHEEL ADAPTER TYPE: 12mm hex
TIRES: All terrain, MT-1901
TIRE HEIGHT: 4.2-in. (105mm)
TIRE WIDTH: 1.5.-in (38mm)

SUSPENSION
TYPE: Leaf sprung solid axle
SHOCK POSITIONS: Non-adjustable
CAMBER: Non-adjustable
ROLL: Non-adjustable
WHEELBASE: Non-adjustable
RIDE HEIGHT: Non-adjustable
MISC: None

STEERING
TYPE: Tie rod and drag link
TOE: Non-adjustable

CHASSIS
TYPE: Ladder frame
MATERIAL: Steel
THICKNESS: N/A

DRIVETRAIN
TYPE: 4WD
TRANSMISSION: Center mounted
DIFFERENTIAL: Ring and pinion
CLUTCH TYPE: N/A
GEAR RATIO: Optional pinion gears
BEARINGS: Full ball bearings

TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED

• 4-way wrench
• Allen wrenches

ITEMS NEEDED

• Motor
• Electronic Speed Control
• Steering servo
• Transmitter/receiver
• BEC (Optional)

ITEMS USED

• Castle Creations Mamba Max Pro. With drag brake, LiPo cut-off and forward to reverse programming being the top items of adjustment, it’s a very customizable ESC that works well with our choice of motor.

• Tekin ROC 412 3100 KVA brushless motor. Far more power than is needed for this little scale rig but the smooth power delivery, scads of wheel speed, and the extra fun that bit of speed adds is an ideal combo.

• Spektrum 4 channel receiver. Simple, durable, and generally faultless I prefer these over most other receivers.

• Savox SC-1267SG offers you the complete package. This steel geared servo is water resistant with 4 silicon seals implanted. 

HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND

• GS01 Front drive CVA kit, GM52109S. A nice addition to remove slop and add a tighter turning radius.

• Aluminum one-piece Knuckle arm, GM51105S. Adds durability to the steering, allowing the truck to take more abuse.

VIDEO PLAYTIME

William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role having been a cook, a painter, a machinist, part time mechanic, computer programmer, and writer. He also wields a freely shared opinion on just about everything., just ask him.

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