How my bike is being setup today...

April 13, 2006
(Click on each image to see the larger picture. Clicking on links will open a new window)

In recent months I have done quite a few changes to the bike and added some stuff. Some of these are useful, some others are just adding to the bling-bling factor! No matter what, however, I have enjoyed every cent spent and do not regret anything!


The pic above shows the bike as I ran it this afternoon at one of the huge parking lots of the Olympic Stadium, in Athens (you can see it in the background). However, not all was so shiny! First of all, I recently bought a few used batteries from a friend, all of which have the cells soldered side by side and Corrally connectors (bullet style) soldered to the end cells. This meant that I had to make a few cuts here and there to the stock battery tray, which has been designed for stick packs! When I tried to put the Ducati fairing on, I realized it was so narrow at the bottom, that it would stretch that little bit and rub against the front wheel! So, I ran the bike minus the fairing! The Yamaha R1, pictured below is the fairing I intend to run from now on, however! The Ducati makes for a nice shelf queen, but that's it!

The Yamaha R1 fairing is quite wider at the bottom, so it will accomodate such batteries easily and will not stretch at all! I only wish I had it with me at Olympic Stadium! I hate to run a "naked" bike!

So, this is how the FM-1e is setup today!

Steering, Front Forks, Brakes

The USD forks are those handmade excellent units I bought last year from DMR, coming from Torino, Italy. For more details click here. (It will open a new window).
The front brakes are the famous handcrafted work of Pat from Australia. I have also spoken about them in detail here.

The steering setup I found that works perfectly for me: CNR carbon dual servo plates (I know, red was a quite unfortunate color choice!), OFNA spring set, and that's about it. As I said, I love it.

Wheels, Tires

Finally the wheels shown in the top picture, are those sold by

Even though these wheels look fabulously matched with the Ducati body, they have a small design flaw: They are somehow different than the 5-spoke wheels from CNR or the original TT wheels, in letting the brake calipers drag on their spokes and eventually rub off their color. This is mainly the reason I don't run a rear brake on the bike, or to be more accurate a rear caliper.

The tires I have used were always the GRP mediums, until yesterday, when I was setting up the brushless system, I realized everyone was telling me to use softer tires with such a powerful system! So, I bought a pair of GRP's latest: The B02 and B22 soft compound. The new tires even have moulded lettering on the sidewall too!
I used the medium front and soft rear with very good results. Of course, for the first time, I had to glue the soft tire to the rim with thin CA, because it was ballooning at every chance!

Mtronics Brushless Motor, ESC

I recently ordered and bought an Mtroniks Genesis Ride brushless combo consisting of a Pro ESC and a 4800 motor. I expected a little more from this system... Let me explain myself. The presentation was not quite what I was accustomed to, since I have used products from various other electronics companies in recent years, like Futaba, LRP, Nosram, Tekin, Novak.

It's a fact that I grow old and for the last couple of years I use presvyopia glasses. But this was not really the reason I could not read the instructions that came with the brushless! They were simply printed in soooo small a font that it was difficult for ANYONE I showed it to, to read it! In fact, I took the instructions to my work and photocopied it at 155% to make it readable! I also did a search at mtroniks' site, but this is a very new system and the site has not been yet updated to include it. I downloaded a similar unit's PDF instructions and they printed smallish as well...

Did I mention that this ESC is factory re-programmable when the next software version comes around? Good as this may sound, there are 5 uncovered pins completely naked, waiting for an accident to happen! I covered these with duct tape as well!

Another gripe I had on this system was that the motor came with three VERY short wires coming out of it, which needed some kind of lengthening. But... since this system was specifically designed for a motorcycle, and as we all know that there are basically two kinds of 1/5 r/c bikes available and both have more or less equal dimensions and similar chassis configurations, in my humble opinion this fact should have been given a little more thought. Maybe I am over spoiled by systems that are extremely easy to setup, like a "one-button" LRP speedo or the no-button Novaks, but at least those systems come with some long wires and some plugs included. Oh, okay, the Mtroniks came with a (useless in these times of high amps and Corrally or Dean's plugs) Tamiya style plug and some very good quality silicone covered wires to do the extra wiring!

Not all is bad however, since a quick questioning on a couple of things at the British forum solved all my "problems" with it. Quite a lot of people responded instantly to my rescue! Thanks, Guys, I owe you a beer, each. At the very least!

Speaking of the instructions... It took me and a couple of helping friends a few hours to decipher the tiny instructions and how the blinks worked, but in the end we managed to decrypt them and make the system work. But certainly this system is not for the faint hearted modeller!

Thanks to the help of those same friends from the forum, I discovered the existence of the small Corrally plugs and lengthened the motor wires, covered them in heatshrink and then had to cover a small part of the chassis with duct tape just in case! I was only aware of the large Corrally plugs so far! Oh... I also had to lenghten the ESC's signal plug, because it was way too short to reach the receiver, which on these bikes always sits at the very top and rear of the bike... That was easy to do, using the wires from an old and dead Futaba servo.
I also switched to 48DP gears, the spur being a stock 96T HPI unit that fit on the bike with no drilling or modifying at all, and the pinion used from a vast selection of 48DP pinions I have gathered over the years. The TT came with 05 module gears which are made of... unobtanium! So, to change gearing you either switch to 32DP, as used in current monster trucks or 48DP from touring cars and offroad buggies...

And how did it perform, you ask?! Well... excellently but... You first had to remember not to touch the sticks for a couple of seconds, while the system initialized when you switched it on! If you did, you lost! What? All your previous settings! Switched it on?! Oh well... just plug the battery.

After having learned this the hard way, and having reprogrammed the ESC about 5 times, the bike ran as fast as one could wish, braked very neatly with the ESC and we even experimented with 3 more pinions in search of the wheelie setup, which we didn't (yet!) find! At one time we had it with no motor braking somehow, but thanks to the dual front discs the bike almost did endos, but was clumsy to slow it down while leaned. The front would wash away instantly! Not bad, anyway!!!

Bits and Pieces

The rear shock is a Lauterbacher item, complete with an aluminum bottom stay, courtesy of I don't like the green spring's looks, but at least it's well hidden inside the frame!!!

Kneeboy from England made these fabulous titanium crashbar stays, which justify their weight in gold! Excellent craftsmanship.

I have recently also bought the Venom Racing speedometer. You can read here about its installation. However, today, when I tried to run the bike, it produced all kinds of glitches. At first I plugged it in the BAT plug of the receiver, and it glitched both channels of the radio. Then, I plugged it in CH1 and plugged the steering servo in the VSM. I had the same behaviour, so I just left it unplugged and the radio performed flawlessly. This one will be further investigated, however...

Finally, a hand made present from a friend in Holland: A Carbon fiber rear fender!
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