Radio Control Car Action

Bergonzoni Brave 2

Bergonzoni Brave 2

Pond, Steve

track test



MOST OF US WANT TO OWN AND RACE LARGE– SCALE RC CARS, but when it’s time to pony up the dollars, most of us fall short. The big cars are expensive, so it isn’t hard to see why their popularity has so far been relatively limited.

Blackhawk RC in Vancouver, WA, hopes to fuel the growth of large-scale racing in the States. The company imports the Bergonzoni line of cars and accessories, and the sharp-looking, reasonably priced, % on-road Brave 2 car is the first in Blackhawk RCs effort to allow us to fulfill our big-car dreams.

Blackhawk RC refers to the Brave 2 as a “club” racer. It does without all the eye-candy anodizing and the titanium and hydraulic parts of the most expensive 1/5-scale machines, but as the core machine of Bergonzoni’s line, it has most of the essential race components and none of the unnecessary heavy metal or expense.


VEHICLE TYPE 1/5 on-road 2WD

BEST BUYER Intermediate to advanced RC enthusiast who want, a large-scale vehicle

KIT RATINGS (poor, satisfactory, good, very good, excellent) Instructions Satisfactory Parts fit and finish Good Durability Very good Overall performance Very good



MODEL Brave 2

DISTRIBUTED Blackhawk RC Corp.


PRICE (varies with dealer) $879


Wheelbase 21.2 in. (538mm)

Width 15.4 in. (392mm)


Total, as tested 355 oz. (10,064g)


Type Single lower plate

Material 8mm-thick aluminum with radiused edges


Type Rear-wheel-drive exposed “gearbox”

Primary 25T clutch bell/ 42T spur gear

Transmission ratio 3.0:1

Final drive ratio 5.04:1

Drive shafts Steel dogbones

Differential Silicone-filled, plane tary gear differential with aluminum housing

Bearing type Metal-shielded bal bearings


Type (F/R) Double A-arm/lower H-arm with turnbuckle adjustable upper link

Shocks Threaded aluminum-body with Teflon shaft guides and bladder seal


Type One-piece molded plastic


Medium-compound, treaded racing tires


Engine Bergonzoni Boss 23cc pull-start engine with integrated cooling fan

Carburetor Double-needle butterfly-valve carb

Exhaust Two-piece, double– chamber tuned pipe

Fuel tank 700cc molded tank wit threaded filler cap


CHASSIS. The beautifully machined, 8mm-thick, high-grade aluminum chassis is one of the Brave 2’s most impressive features-a slab of alloy that has been whittled into a work of art. It has nicely rounded corners in some areas and blind lightening slots in others. There are some rough edges here and there, but it’s certainly a piece that machinists will appreciate. The chassis spans the length of the car and is lightly supported above by the radio tray, suspension bulkheads and the engine. It’s a single-plate design that’s much like the chassis on many other cars of this type.

Aluminum bulkheads are installed for the front and rear suspensions, and there’s a nicely laid out aluminum radio plate that has room for one or two large-scale steering servos and two servos of a more regular size (one handles the throttle and the rear brake; the other is reserved for front braking). The mount for the receiver pack is at the rear of the radio tray, where it’s attached to the fuel tank. This car requires a 5-cell sub-C pack– 1 cell less than we’re used to seeing power our 1/10o electric cars. These big packs have lots of servos to move around, so it’s good they have gobs of reserve battery power.

DRIVE TRAIN. This couldn’t be any simpler-at least, going by its appearance. The Brave 2’s drive train consists of two steps of gear reduction accomplished with two pairs of very large, wide, straight-cut adjustable gears. The drive train’s outer simplicity is refreshing; inside the nice machined– aluminum housing, it is more sophisticated than you might expect. Power is directed through a centrifugal 2-shoe clutch and then through the gear diff and, finally, to the rear wheels by means of thick steel dogbones.

ENGINE AND ACCESSORIES. The Brave i’s engine is listed as the Boss 23cc. This isn’t a leaf-blower mill that has been converted for RC use; it was engineered by and produced for Bergonzoni. It boasts an impressive 3.5hp, and it offers tons of torque to blast the Brave 2 out of the corners at an incredible pace. An optional 3-chamber pipe is claimed to bump power output to a staggering 4.1hp.

The standard exhaust system features a bolt-on header with a spring coupler that resembles the couplers used on better 1/8-scale exhaust systems. This coupler makes a cleaner, more solid joint than the usual high-temp hose and hose clamps. The pipe is a two-chamber design with a wire mount, and a rubber extension hose gets the exhaust gases out of and away from the body.

SUSPENSION AND STEERING. Strong, very rigid, machined-aluminum bulkheads anchor the front and rear suspension. There are molded double A-arms up front and molded lower H-arm/upper-link suspension in the rear. Unlike aluminum-alloy suspension components, the molded-composite suspension will “give” in a crash and allow the Brave 2 to roll away instead of hobbling into the pits with a bent arm or broken mounting screws. The composite arms are lighter than aluminum would be, and that gives the Brave 2’s stock suspension an advantage in the unsprung-weight department.

The rear suspension’s lower H-arms feature turnbuckle adjusters, which allow quick changes to be made to rear toe angle, and droop-adjustment screws to vary ride height and roll resistance. You have a choice of two lower-shock mounting holes. The upper links have a wide inner portion– almost like an A-arm-and are secured to the bulkhead with long hinge pins; this creates a little extra front-to-rear rigidity. Turnbuckle adjusters in the middle of the upper links allow quick rear-camber tweaking.

The front suspension is of the typical upper and lower A-arms variety, but there’s a twist: the lower arms have considerable kick-up, but the hinge pins for the upper arms (they control the pivot angle) lie almost flat. This leads to decreasing caster in the outside suspension as it’s compressed by cornering forces. The idea behind this design is to obtain a sharper steering response in the corners by reducing the caster angle while the suspension is loaded and also to enhance straightaway stability with maximum caster when the suspension is relatively unloaded, i.e., the car is going straight.

All corners are damped with oil-filled aluminum shocks, and extra-beefy, coil-over springs with humongous 3.1mm wire keep the chassis suspended.

BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES. This particular car came to us with a nicely painted and mounted Mercedes CLK GTR body, but if you buy a kit, the painting and detailing will be up to you. If you want to stick with Bergonzoni’s “D2” scheme, it isn’t all that difficult. A few cans of silver paint and the included decals should do the trick; just be sure to paint the car outdoors, because the overspray when painting such a large body would surely cover half the basement floor. No matter how you choose to finish the body, you’ll have a very sharp, and scale-like completed shell.

The trick-looking turbine-style wheels are outfitted with nice, medium– compound rubber tires. The compound appears to offer a nice balance of traction and reasonable wear. The tires won’t last a season, but they’ll last longer than just few runs.


Having properly prepared the Blast 2, Kevin Hetmanski and mixed Sunoco Racing Fuel-formerly known as “CAM2” fuel-with a high-quality synthetic lubricant to maximize performance. In truth, as far as performance goes, it’s probably hard to tell the difference between racing fuel and high-octane pump fuel. But we wanted the distinctive smell of burnt racing fuel and the cool fuel-can sticker!

The Boss 23cc engine fires easily and holds a good idle. The mixture settings were a little off for the test-day’s temperature, but after tuning the engine for about 15 minutes (using the same general procedures as we would with a nitro engine), we had the Boss dialed in. Yes, these bigger, ringed engines take a fatter mixture setting than nitro engines, but you still have to listen for the same engine sounds, so tuning the engine for maximum, safe performance is fairly routine.

Our test car came with the standard exhaust system that helps the engine produce a claimed 3.5hp. Whatever the number, I found the engine exceptionally strong and also controllable. Power delivery is more subtle at lower speeds, such as when coming out of tight corners, and that helps to keep the rear tires stuck to the ground. When the car picks up speed again, however, the engine gets “on the pipe” and makes the real power that gets the Brave 2 up to a very impressive mph on the straights. The stock engine is powerful enough to get the wheels spinning with less than ideal tracks-with the lesser of the two tuned pipes. I imagine that when using the optional pipe, you need a more measured, more deliberate throttle application.


Very powerful engine.

Nicely machined Smm chassis.

Good value for money.

With the optional front disc brakes, cornering is commendable. The brakes’ extra stopping power and consequent increase in controllability makes them well worth the increased expense. Stopping the car is easy enough with just the standard rear brake, but but it takes much longer and control is less predictable.


Radio tray accepts only large– scale servos-no dual-standard– size option.

Instructions, though good, leave a lot to the imagination.


Bergonzoni is a strong player in the 1/5 market; it offers a wide range of vehicles to satisfy everyone from budget-minded bashers to the most discriminating racers. The new Brave 2 falls somewhere in the middle of the pack; its list of features makes it well suited to those who want more than a basic bare-bones car but don’t want to spend a fortune on a super trick, top-end machine. The Brave 2 has all the essentials except front brakes, but even when you add that expense, it still has a tower price tag than a fully equipped competition 1/8 buggy or on-road car. If you’re interested in graduating to the big-scale stuff, It’s certainly worth a good took.


BLACKHAWK R/C CORP (503) 816-8343;

FUTABA (800) 637-7660;

HITEC RCD INC. (858) 748-6948;

Copyright Air Age Publishing Dec 2002

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