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Dissenting option on the Bixler v1

#1
Well it seems the RC world is in love with the Bixler V1.
And as expected here as well.

Well... I'm going to offer a dissenting opinion here.
Granted I'm only 2 years into the hobby - but I've had a lot of aircraft - probably a few dozen. Mostly foam, some balsa, mostly prop, some EDF including A320, A380, and my current "go-to" aircraft the Habu.

I've assembled FMS/Airfield, Parkzone, and EFlite mainly (and a few odd balls thrown in).

I'm here to tell you the Bixler has been the WORST of the lot. In no particular order :

1)
Delivery times from HK is a nightmare - at least to Canada. Plus - literally a week after I ordered it (but 2 weeks before it shipped) the Bixler 2 was released. Kinda feeling raped over this one but hey. (I admit this point is not a Bixler point - rather a HK point).

2)
Frame came in halves. Ok - perhaps that's ok - it allows you to really customize it - but the halves don't really fit snugly together. No screws - everything relies of glue and lots of it to fill the gaps.

3)
Tail assembly is very flaky. I've used a ton of glue etc. just to try and get it sturdy. Waste of time. And I thought the E-Flight Beaver 25 was bad - it was a dream compared to the Bixler.

4)
On the first flight the motor burned out after 2 minutes. After going back and forth with HK I finally convinced them to send me a new motor - a whopping $8 motor - no wonder it burnt out. You get what you pay for.

5)
Wires from the motor that lead into the body are simply way to short - they don't even reach into the fusalage. Better have some leads or a BEC with long leads on it.

6)
Decided to remove the old motor in prep for the new one. Well - the motor mount is a a bunch of strips of balsa (cut to shape) glued together with hot glue. Nice and cheap :-/. But the hot glue is also on the wires and mounts it to the fuselage. And it's not even glued symmetrically - just one glob of glue on one side - they had to I guess because the fuselage is shipped in halves remember? Basically I tore the hell out of it to get the motor out. The plane is looking like a disaster.

At this point, when that uber-expensive motor comes in - it's going into a draw and the bixler is going to stay in a heap on my basement floor.
What a disappointing piece of crap.

Now - that's the Bixler V1. Perhaps V2 is a lot better? (I can't for the life of me see how it can be worse).

I still order from HK mind you - I've learned my lesson on this one though. Batteries and components only - forget getting kits (unless it's a name brand like parkzone, FMS, etc).

This whole thing got me thinking... didn't Josh Bixler give his stamp of approval on this plane? Didn't they do a review segment on it under sponsorship from HK? Then there was the whole thing about dropping sponsorship because of perceived positive bias (an oxymoron I know). I couldn't help but think perhaps Flitetest did unfairly give it a good review so I pulled up that episode.

Well - actually they didn't give it a "great" review. In fact there was a bit of a cautionary tone there. With other frames that I might have said were "good" I expect Flitetest to say they are "great"... generally flitetest is a little more positive in their reviews than I would have been. So when I saw the Bixler didn't get an excellent review - when really politically it should have - I should have taken that as an indication that this plane wasn't great.

The love affair with Flitetest is still going strong with me. I still love the episodes, and the Josh/Josh team is a winning combo but if I could offer one word of advice to the show...
Be a little more critical of products ok? One of the two Joshs' (or Chad) should step in and be the hard nose. When you guys say something is "fantastic" I want to bank on it - I don't want to have to say to myself "ok - that's code for really good".

A good example of fair reviews : http://www.rcairplanereviews.com/
I've emailed back and forth with this guy a lot. He does real thorough reviews, lots of pics/vids and gives the straight goods. If something sucks he says so.
 

colorex

Rotor Riot!
Mentor
#2
Hey PunkStar, seems like you have had bad luck with your Bixler... IMHO, it's not a perfect Lego-type fit, and it's not super-strong carbon-infused either... But for me it flies really well, can carry a load of weight, and looks fairly well after a great deal of punishment.

It seems to me you'd like to spend a bit more and buying planes from Parkzone instead... They will always be perfect.
 
#3
I admit - I do buy a lot of parkzone/e-flite. I just appreciate the work/effort that goes into design. Yes I find the E-Flite stuff over priced most of the time... until I buy some of the other stuff out there and I come back around. Don't get me wrong - sometimes there are small shortcomings in the design of an eflite model that rub me the wrong way - but in the back of my head the overall quality is good - they just didn't have the creative approach to do this one little area a bit better.

FMS/Airfield seem pretty good (not as perfect but very very good).

IMHO, you can not oversell/overstate good design.

I used to work on fixing computers in my younger days - I remember opening up the Compaq and IBM computers and marveling and the great design and engineering compared to the clones of the day.

Another example. Sure you can build a deck and mount the joists to the side of the support beams coming out of the ground. And if done right, it would probably never fail. But a better design would be to put those joists on top. Guys put them on the side perhaps because it's easier to level them that point instead of leveling the support posts coming out of the concrete (just guessing here).

So when I see the Bixler tail assemply is just kinda sitting in a small indent on the rear of the fuselage - I think "My gawd that's flimsy - why couldn't they have designed this more rigid?".... btw - EFlight beaver did the same thing - which was the only criticism I had for the model.
 

PaulT

New member
Mentor
#4
Call this a descenting descenting opinion:
Lets compare apples and oranges here. My "landed" cost for my HK Bixlers were around $80.00.
What plane can you get for that price at your LHS?
On my side of the country I would likely be spending $200.00 plus tax on something like a Radian.
For a beginner plane (that's what it is), spending $80.00 and lawn darting it, on that ever so perfect landing, is much less
traumatic on the pocket book. IMHO of course.
That and we've seen some of your landings, remember!!:p lol.
HK is a budget mans hobby store. They do have some great products but for the most part the chinese are mass producing things cheaper for a reason. To be cheaper.
Would you buy a Mercedi's for your 16 year old to learn how to drive or a Geo Metro (lawn mower without the blades)?
The original Bixler has lots of short comings ( have you seen the list of must have mods?) but for the price....

We've all heard and experienced the less than ideal shipping times, shipping costs and customer service issues but most of us put up with it because we are inherently cheap. There I said it! The first step, as it were...
 
#5
Hey PaulT.
Sometimes options don't serve the greater good.
For example... our Canadian gov could lift the motorcycle helmet law... giving us the option to choose to wear one or not - probably not a good idea.
We could be given the option to drive a cheap car with no pollution control, or be forced to get emissions tests (required in Ontario but not sure elsewhere).
etc. etc. etc.

The problem is if you allow people to go cheap by putting this "stuff" on the market - it devalues the market on a whole, and the newbie who thinks this might be a good hobby to get into may go cheap - pick up one of these things - have a bad experience and never buy another RC plane again.

Sometimes allowing the market to work it out for themselves is the worse thing you can do (see US economy) ;-)

Cheap and poorly made options isn't an option, but rather a
-cop out
-a way of praying on those less informed
-no better than the typical get rich quick schemes

IMHO of course.
;-)
 
#6
When i came back to the hobby; almost a year ago i was looking for a trainer to brush up my skills.

at first i landed at bananahobby with that skysurfer; saw the video and all that stunts Pete pulled with it; almost bought that but the price of the shipping was above 100,00 to my country.

As i researched more on the web; i found HobbyKing and the Bixler who is essentially the same plane with 1/3 of the shipping cost.

before i even made the order; i continued my research and found the MUST DO mods on it;

reinforcing of the wing spar with a solid rod inside the original (4,5mm)

added a 3mm rod on the fuselage belly channel

ordered a 2826 2200kv upgrade motor as well as 9g HXT900 servos.

added a 6x4 tgs sport or apc propeller


This way my Bixler never flew STOCK; and it performs amazing till this day ! i have lawn darted it; lost half of the left wing (glued it together later) and lost it for 3 days in the swamp (retrieved); it still flying amazing !!


So, to wrap it up: its a matter of KNOW WHAT YOU GET FOR THE PRICE YOU ARE PAYING.
 

bmsweb

Site Moderator
#7
My Experience with the bixler was a little different

1)Delivery times from AU Took 3 Days

2) My Airframe was already glued together

3)Tail assembly was perfectly fine. Some carbon would have been handy to add a little more stiffness

4)I've been flying it for over a year with 100s of flights and the motor is still fine.

5) Wires from the motor that lead into the body were short but not a big deal.

For me Josh's Approval of the model was spot on and I've since recommended it to heaps of people including friends who are learning to fly on it. Shame you had such a bad experience.
 

Tritium

Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
#8
Everything said here about China I heard years ago about Japan. As China's manufacturing matures their reputation will also improve.

Thurmond
 
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lobstermash

Propaganda machine
Mentor
#9
Love my Bixler. And it came in a huge box that included a free $250 RC Lander F9F-8 Cougar. The few minutes it took to put the Bixler together and make the necessary mods were worth it.

But everyone's entitled to have their own preferences/opinions.
 
#10
I swear I'm not trolling!
By the sounds of it - people are having way better experiences than I did.

BTW - is the Bixler 1 supposed to have a carbon spar running down the underside of the fuselage? (Looks like V2 has that).
 

lobstermash

Propaganda machine
Mentor
#11
Nope. A few people have added one, but I don't reckon it needs it. For the record, I wish EVERY plane came split longitudinally. Especially FMS/Airfield warbirds and any plane that was originally designed for NiCad batteries.

It's interesting about the motor mount with the Bixler... I don't know why they used ply, as the Skysurfer (same plane) has a plastic one of exactly the same size and shape. But it works. It's an absolute pain to change motors, but in spite of having to pull 2 out of mine the foam's still plenty sturdy enough.
 
#14
Maybe ask dhsdracer. He has the bixler 2. I have 2 friends who are going to buy a bixler together with FPV. Should they buy the bixler 1 or the bixler 2. They both have no experience with planes. (1 of the friend is on board plane mechanic)
 

glydr

How many letters do we ge
#15
Another bix fan here. I'm just amazed at the $ per plane ratio. Not so long ago I bought a new MPX Easy Star kit for the same price as a landed bix and thought I was getting a bargain. The E* had no servos, no ESC, a brushed speed 400 motor and rudder elevator control. My Bix just needed an ESC and was good to go from there.

The Bix does need a bit of modification: I did the wing retention strap, totally replaced the elevator control mechanism and replaced the aileron controls. Perhaps these sorts of things come naturally to me after ~11 years in this hobby.

The motor leads aren't a problem if the ESC is installed prior joining the fuz (also glad of its separate arrival).

Though I would think it a pain to have to replace the motor having built it!

G

PS - Still think its great for beginners as it is so cheap (my first aircraft with servos and electric motor cost as much as four Bixlers!). For the price of a couple of cases of (good) beer someone can have a reasonable aircraft, including ESC, receiver and lipo! Sure they may need some help setting it up, but 9 times out of 10 they need help learning how to fly the thing!
 
#16
I picked up the bixler with hopes of putting on the ardupilot 2.6 on it and try some waypoint flying.
Dunno.
I've got that autopilot on a hex right now (hoping to try waypoint flying tonight if weather holds up).

Maybe once the new motor arrives I'll put it back together again and figure out what the hell to do with that flimsy tail.
 

glydr

How many letters do we ge
#18
I have to admit to once having a rotten time with what could be a perfectly good plane. It was a balsa 3D model. I had hoped that it would piece together nicely but it didn't. In hindsight I could have got the sandpaper out and made the fit right but instead got a bit heavy handed and in the end I was disappointed with the model.

Sold it for practically nothing as it had no value to me.
 
#19
Punkstar can you post up some pics of the tail? And if you've already got the camera out, showing the poor fit of the two halves would be interesting to see as well. You know, the whole thing about 'A picture says a 1000 words'.
 
#20
Yeah Punkstar you certainly bitch a lot, that I'll give you mate ! Ever thought it may be Karma ?

we in Australia don't have these worries with HK, well me anyway :)
 
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