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Thoughts on the Radian, vs the Bixler?

IamNabil

Senior Member
#1
Hey folks. I've decided that I want a Hawk 1500. Since I only really have experience with Helicopters and quads, with less than an hour on a plane, I've decided to work my way up. I cannot decide between the Radian and the Bixler. The Radian is a much nicer looking plane, I think, but the Bixler is so much more popular that I don't want to feel like I am missing out. Seems to me that everyone has a Bixler as their first or second real plane, but I don't think I've ever seen someone with a Radian. Why?
Thanks!
 

pgerts

Old age member
Mentor
#2
Bixler is more popular on this forum - Yes.
In my opinion - and many others - there is a lot of difference in quality.
I have seen more than one Bixler needing a visible trim on the ail and elev to fly straight.
That is not an issue if you are beginner or intermediate or just using the plane as a trainer.
But - if you want the extra for thermal soaring or sloping ... My choice is the Radian.
Have you searched the tube for Radian? I have found a lot of Radians and Radian Pros.
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#3
Oh, on YouTube and RC Groups, they are everywhere. I was also watching the review of the kinetic 800, and realized I could buy two spirits (the replacement for the kinetic), and a spare radio, for the price of a radian. Still... The radian is sexy.
 

lobstermash

Propaganda machine
Mentor
#4
The Bixler is an allrounder - it will slope and thermal soar happily (done both of these alongside a Radian and the Bix did itself proud), carry insane payloads (read super long flight times) and can be moderately sporty too. It's also an ideal FPV platform. The Bixler is made by SkyAngel, who do really nice EPO, but don't seem to know about glue or threadlock. You'll likely need to make some small improvements, but this really is a wonderful plane for a wonderful price.

The Radian (I don't own one but have flown with a few) is a specialised glider. It flies beautifully and does all the glider stuff. It runs off a 1300 3s. There are a lot of people that aren't enamoured by the quality of the foam. Like most Horizon stuff, it flies out of the box without modification, and seems pretty well balanced.

Price-wise, you could buy two Bixlers and have some change for the price of a Radian. Hence why everyone has one.
 
#6
I've got an AXN Floater that has been through the wars and have since ordered two more. Personally I think it's a brilliant little package and worth the consideration along side both of your other options.
 

lobstermash

Propaganda machine
Mentor
#7
Heartily agree with you there, Steve. The AXN is a wonderful plane and worth considering. The QC is a lot better than with the Bixler too.

On the Bixler 2, I don't know of anyone who's got one yet... The improvements do look to be pretty spunky. I'd love to hear from someone who bought one. There are buddy codes about that take about $7 off the listed price too, so worth hunting around for.
 

glydr

How many letters do we ge
#8
I've flown a Radian several times andc own a Bix v1. My fave of the two is the Radian. I really enjoy thermal soaring and light lift sloping, the Radian is absolutely brilliant at these. Once I was teaching a kid with the Radian, normally I let the student glide down and I'll open throttle to bring back to height and pass over to the student. But with the Radian I'd take over and thermal to height in no time. Brilliant.

But I own a Bix because it is cheaper and more suited to GoPro work, which is what I wanted a foam glider for at the time.

Have a Google for Paul Naton's thoughts on the Radian.
 

glydr

How many letters do we ge
#9
The Bixler is an allrounder - it will slope and thermal soar happily
Yeah, the Bix soars - but its as if the Radian has helium-impregnated EPO!

A friend with a Radian once owned an Easy Star (Multiplex design which looks like a Bix and came well before the Bix) and struggled thermalling. The first time he took out his Radian he managed to catch thermals easily.

But then the Bix... like LM says, it's more of an all rounder and far far cheaper!
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#10
Glydr, this thread is your fault. I found the pictures you posted of the Hawk 1500, and decided that I would own one, god damn it. My plan is actually to purchase it with whichever plane I decide on, just to be sure that it doesn't go out of production before I get my mits on one.
The AXN and the Bixler are both homely little beasts, but they are graceful in the air, and that says something for them. My engineer brain loves things like that. But the radian just out-gracefuls them. Just at a much greater cost. Right now I am using a DX4e radio, and my plan is to include a DX6i or DX7 or DX8 with whatever I pick, which brings the price up for either option. The difference between a DX8 and a radian, vs a bixler and a DX8 isn't much, percentage-wise.
 

glydr

How many letters do we ge
#11
Glydr, this thread is your fault.
You're welcome!

:)

Actually you can blame Lobstermash - he is the one who bought the eHawk (though I think I might have prodded him in that direction!).

Just to make it more confusing - look into some old-school JR DSM sets as well as the DX8 etc. I'm still running my DSM2 DX7 because I cannot go to anything without bearings on the throttle since modifying my DX7 and don't need DSMX. If I was to change over it would be to a JR DSM 11X which is an awesome radio. If the JR DSM 9X had bearings on the throttle (or a successful mod out there) I would have bought one long ago. But possibly your Engineer brain loves telemetry and will go DSMX (and that's cool, we all love gadgets!).

If you aren't thinking of going into aerial vids or FPV (and $$$ don't factor in the equation highly) my advice would be to get a Radian. The reason is that of the Radian and the Bix, the Radian is least like a eHawk. Your hanger will eventually have an eHawk, which is an aileron equipped glider with a bit of zip which is good for slightly breezy days (a Bix is also an aileron glider good for breezy days, though a Bix is no warmliner like the eHawk is!). And with a Radian in a hanger on those beautifully calm sunny days with light thermals around you can ride them more efficiently than with a Bix or an eHawk.

PS- great ehawk thread here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=780835

A lot of people buy a lot of planes which are all the same, but when adding to the hanger I like to have a variety of different aircraft available. I'm not saying a Bix is like an eHawk, but the Radian is certainly less like an eHawk.

For me, price is important. So I don't have a Radian, particularly as I have 2m rudder elevator glider to build.
 

lobstermash

Propaganda machine
Mentor
#12
Oh, yes, the Ehawk is a beautiful piece of kit. I'm pretty new to thermaling and it's lovely on the thermals. I disagree with glydr and think that the Ehawk is more like a Radian in function.

I'm glad glydr pointed me to the Ehawk, because I didn't know I'd get my Bixler back after selling it (I was going to get another one). I now use the Bix for FPV and rocky slopes and Ehawk for thermals.

I only have 2 gripes with the Ehawk - one is the build... it takes forever (no 'back in my day's from you, please glydr) and is fiddly. But once it's done, it's worth it. The other is the motor. It's plenty powerful and nicely efficient, but doesn't brake the prop, no matter the ESC setting.

In spite of the spinning prop, I can still keep it on the thermals for a long, long time using the V-tail and ailerons to get maximum efficiency out of the wings. Looking forward to spring; at some stage I'll have to take the FPV goggles off...
 

lobstermash

Propaganda machine
Mentor
#13
PS Have a very, very serious look at the Turnigy 9x for a radio... It's very versatile, easy to reflash with some pretty stunning open source firmware, has a very cheap and easy backlight mod and fits a 2650 3s tx lipo, which lasts forever between charges. You have 8 channels to play with, plus the option of telemetry using FrSky gear. The best thing about it is it's $60 (give or take). I've flashed mine to ER9x firmware, installed a backlight, run the above mentioned lipo. This setup is well and truly on par with ANY other 8 channel radio, and is about $80-90 delivered. I'm adding a telemetry module for another $50 this week. For the price of a new DX5 or a secondhand DX6i, you've got a radio with more functionality than a DX8...

Anyway, rant over. Just at least have a look. Spektrum is still playing catch-up after resting on their laurels for the last 8 years...

EDIT: yikes, that was a long ps...
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#14
Oh, yes, the Ehawk is a beautiful piece of kit. I'm pretty new to thermaling and it's lovely on the thermals. I disagree with glydr and think that the Ehawk is more like a Radian in function.

I'm glad glydr pointed me to the Ehawk, because I didn't know I'd get my Bixler back after selling it (I was going to get another one). I now use the Bix for FPV and rocky slopes and Ehawk for thermals.
I have already read quite a bit of that forum. Good stuff! The ehawk is a looker, for sure. I've never thermal'd before. (Remember, although I have about a year of helicopter experience, I only have a little airplane experience.) I am not under the illusion that I am going to never crash, or never break anything. I do quite love Horizon, but it is also worth mentioning that the only non-horizon stuff I've played with has been cheap crap. Not inexpensive, cheap. I've never flown anything hobby king. Or the AXN. Or really any plane other than my micro P-51.
Blah. On one hand, if I buy the Radian, I will have it in hand quickly. On the other, I can buy, what, four bixlers, or spirits, and just fly my mQX and P-51 while I wait for them? I live in Burlington, VT. Lots of hills, and the city slopes from the lake up towards my house. Lots of hills and such to fly around. Shoot, maybe I will just flip a coin.
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#15
PS Have a very, very serious look at the Turnigy 9x for a radio...
I've looked at it, but never used one. I don't know why, but even after reading all of the good things people have written about them, I cannot get past feeling that you get what you pay for. If I could find a DSM module (without gutting one of my own radios), that would go a long way to making me feel better about buying one.
 

lobstermash

Propaganda machine
Mentor
#16
With the 9x, you pay for a good reliable system with frequency hopping (which JR/Spektrum have only just ventured into), plus a small profit margin to the seller and the manufacturer. With Spektrum, the actual product itself is a relatively small part of the price, with the rest being profit to the seller, wholesaler and manufacturer, and over-the-top post sales service.

Both products are manufactured cheaply in China. You do get what you pay for.
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#17
That's fair. It appears there is a vendor here that does nothing but 9x radios. Too bad they don't offer the flyer 9X anymore. It was their own sku, with all of the mods, and pre-flashed.
 

lobstermash

Propaganda machine
Mentor
#18
Yeah, was a good thing... I'm not sure why Parke stopped pre-flashing. It literally takes about 5 minutes to screw on the Smartipants boards, plug the USB into a computer and reflash the radio. But his stuff is still pretty good. I think he mostly has the FlySky 9x, which is better than the Turnigy because the modules are easy to switch (Flysky receivers are pretty cheap, which FrSky receivers are more expensive but have longer range and telemetry).
 

glydr

How many letters do we ge
#19
If you opened up your DX4 you'll find it is pretty cheap stuff. Same goes for DX5 and in my opinion the DX6i (DSM2 version, haven't seen a DSMX).

The 9X certainly is good for the $$$ - though as a heli pilot I need the silky smooth gimbals (I'm sure you're with me there iamnabil).

Where you live sounds like RC soarer's heaven! A calm breeze up from the lake will keep the Radian up all day. The eHawk is a fine soarer, but in light lift (like from a gentle slope) a Radian will climb without power while the eHawk will need to open throttle to keep height.

As soon as you look at the price difference the Bix wins through. Here in Aus you'll have the Bix with a nice big ESC (recommend the 40A HK one with 4A BEC) AND the eHawk for the price of the Radian. Possibly even some change.

PS - Consider getting satellite RXs for gliders to get the best chance of keeping a signal when thermalling at distance.
 

lobstermash

Propaganda machine
Mentor
#20
Or a FrSky telemetry module/rx, which beeps at you when you're starting to float out of range...

Yeah, sounds like a nice place to fly! Glydr, I need to go thermaling with you again... Hurry up the warm, calm spring weather, will you? I want to show you what the eHawk can do...
 
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