Our last car review consisted of XRAY’s XB9 nitro beast, however summers here, the sunglasses and girls in pretty dresses are out and about so why scare them away with a noisy smelly dirty racer when Serpent have the answer – NeoBuggytakes a closer look at the ‘other’ darker, quieter side to 1/8 Offroad – where fuel is a banned word and the acronym ABC (which usually stands for ‘Always be Closing‘) applies but in this case refers to ‘Always be Charging’…
Serpent is a relatively new name in the modern day off road scene – the Cobra being their first buggy. The Dutch company’s product line now features a complete series of buggys and a truggy. Born from the drawing board of designer Billy Easton, one of the legendary drivers and former World Champion in 1/10 2WD, the Cobra immediately proved itself as a worthy project, reaching the final in 2010 IFMAR World Championship at the highly demanding track in Pattaya, driven by the designer himself.
Review Links: Part 1 – Building the Serpent Cobra Be 2.0 / Build Photo Gallery
After that immediate success, the development of the platform continued, a “Team Edition” came out and was followed by Serpent’s last release the “2.0″ version which sports a completely different rear end. Speaking of the brushless class, Serpent showed faith in the growth of the class allocating resources and a huge commitment in producing their dedicated car, one of the very few factories that decided to redesign a large amount of parts and not simply to alter the existing platform to the different mode of power.
The Cobra Be has been a very successful car, the owners happy with the performance and the look of the buggy that features a very low profile, beautifully shaped dedicated body, and now NeoBuggy gets to play with the new 2.0 version – available to buy online here.
Click ‘More’ to continue part 1 of the build review…
Building the Serpent Cobra 811 Be 2.0
Opening the box, the first thing that comes to attention among the well packed parts is the chassis. Machined from 7075 spec aluminium, its shape is quite unusual for a buggy chassis – wide in the front and narrowing towards the rear. Another interesting feature are the side guards: they do not only perform the task of protecting the car, but actually work as LiPo battery holders, this being a quite unique characteristic of the Cobra Be 2.0.
According to the detailed and well executed instruction manual, the build starts with the differentials, conical gears are one of the new features on the 2.0 version: mounted into the case without adding any washers, making for an easier initial build and future maintenance and rebuilds.
Whilst assembling the diffs, we encountered a small problem, finding two o-rings that wouldn’t fit into the diff case or the bevel gear housing. It was clear that it was a packaging mistake regarding the very first batch of kits our car came from, and that the problem has already been solved. Apart from that, the assembly of the three differentials proceeded without issue.
Before building them, we suggest you adjust the gear mesh in the bulkheads. To do so, assemble the central transmission CVDs with the conical pinion and fit them into the bulkhead, where they have to be secured by 3 screws.
After that, simply screw the 44t bevel gear on the differential case without forgetting the paper gasket, then the two ball bearings and check the play between the gears. Without the outdrives you’ll be able to add or remove the spacers without disassembling anything, for a quicker mesh. Then we build the diffs and, as usual, we decided to follow the manual sticking with the basic setup.
Once the diffs were built, it was time to focus on the front end: the suspension feature a “C-hub” style steering system, with all the parts nicely moulded. The shock towers are made of graphite/ carbon fibre, so we suggest you to seal the edges using some CA glue to protect them from scratches that would peel some of the layers. The geometry features a 10° “C” hub, while the anti-dive, kick-up and roll center adjustments are to be made by using some eccentric inserts into the bracket. To obtain more possible combinations, different brackets are sold as option parts. One cool and very different feature is the anti-roll bar system.
On the arm, the bar rod is linked by a nut that holds a pivot ball into the dedicated housing, this making the play adjustment very precise. On the bulkhead, the antiroll bar works on two flanged ball bearings and is held by two spacers.
We stumbled into another small problem assembling one of the CVDs, when an insert didn’t fit perfectly into one of the driveshafts. We tried mixing the shafts and the inserts without success, so we decided to resort to using a dremel to remove some 1/100 of a millimeter of material with a very smooth bit, and that worked.
After contacting Serpent HQ, we understood they had a very few similar issues in the first production batch, and they already solved the problem. We continued assembling the arms and the hinge pin goes quite tight into them, but that’s ok as the pin will move into the eccentric inserts making the suspension movement free enough. The turnbuckles are, as for every other car, the hardest part to assemble, but the hard anodized uniballs move very free into the plastics, so the overall result is very smooth.
Moving back some centimetres on the chassis, we started working on the central differential and motor support: this is a beautifully machined piece of art, dark grey anodized, that features a slide to allow a precise adjustment of the gear mesh between motor pinion and the 46T spur gear. Once installed the differential, you just need 4 screws to secure it by a plastic cap that covers the gear and holds the diff itself in the housing. Easy & fast – thumbs up.
The rear end is the main news on this car, and obviously is next in line to be built. The main features are: new longer arms that make the rear end wider, with narrower wheel hubs to compensate, new uprights and new wing mount.
The most important feature is that the shocks have been moved on the rear of the suspension arm, in the traditional position. To assemble the rear end you’ll need the manual update provided in the box, and in our case the build went on flawlessly. The antiroll bar system is the same used on the front end, but this time the bar is linked to the wing mount instead of the bulkhead. As with the front, we suggest you to seal the shock tower as it may get scratched during some major crashes.
Once done with the rear end, we were ready to ‘bond’ the two areas on the chassis and our buggy began to take shape. The next step would be assembling the servo saver, which is quite traditional, with the possibility to change the ackermann by using optional steering racks. We felt the steering link turnbuckles quite hard to assemble, and the pivot balls didn’t move very freely.
As shown in the pictures, we solved the problem by squeezing the plastics with a pair of pliers. Not a big deal, but not exactly what you want to do to new plastics to make them work properly. The payback came when we finished assembling the servo saver on the car and we have been able to enjoy the perfect free movements of the whole suspension.
Installing the side guards/lipo holders has been the last move we made for this first part of the review, and once done so the buggy really started to take shape and whet our appetites to get it on the track. While building the car Serpent’s great attention to the detail is evident, and we feel that the materials used for every part are top quality and give a strong look to the whole product.
We only need to fit our electronics, build the shocks and head to the track to see if it drives as good as it looks! Stay tuned for part two!
See the Build Gallery | Buy the Serpent Cobra Be 2.0