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Shuriken X1 BNF
Scary fast, ultra agile and tough as a rock
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Flight video by Clark Ponthier
Posted – 5-30-2017
With an on-line nomenclature of Holybro Shuriken X1 V2 200MM F3 DSMX/XSR/Futaba Assemble FPV Racer with 40CH VTX 600TVL Camera BNF, it is fortunate that this quad is far nimbler than its name. Within minutes of ordering my Shuriken X1 I watched a few videos on it and was a bit concerned that I had bitten off more than my fledgling quad piloting skills could chew. But, now after logging my first 7 flights I can say that the Shuriken X1 is a hoot to fly and fortunately just might be tougher than they claim.
The Shuriken X1 BNF is touted to be an ultra-high-performance (200mm motor to motor) racing quad and I can find nothing in how it flies that refutes that claim. This thing is quick, on 3S power! Part of that performance envelope comes from the carbon fiber that makes up the entire structure. The arms are 3mm carbon fiber which allows it to take some scary-looking hits and (as I discovered totally by accident) simply bounce back into the air and fly away!
The electronics include a 32-bit F3 Flight Controller, MPU6050 Gyro/Accelerometer, FC/OSD/PDB/VTX and voltage/current sensor all in 1 board to handle the various flight controls. The Shuriken X1 is available in a few configurations including S.bus, FrSky, or PPM compatible receivers. I bought the Spektrum compatible DSMX version. The Shuriken X1 comes with BetaFlight pre-loaded that lets you tweak its performance easily.
You also get a 5.8GHz, 200/600mw switchable, 40 Channel video transmitter compete with a nifty push button switching and channel display at the rear of the upper structure. The selectable power output lets you play nicely with others when there is a limit on video TX power.
Another “toughen-it-up” touch is the quality antenna that is secured by an extension of the structural carbon fiber plate that removes the strain from the video transmitter board. The Shuriken X1 comes with integrated MWOSD (firmware V1.5 preloaded) that at this writing I have yet to play with. (I been flying….) There also is a RGB LED board I turned off initially as it is obnoxiously-bright in the shop and yard.
Video comes from an impressive 1/3 SONY Super HAD II CCD, PAL, 600TVL Camera, 2.5mm Lens that sends good-looking color video to the headset. The field of vision is very wide which gives you a clear view of the forward propellers. You do sort of forget about seeing them as you watch the landscape go zooming by.
We also get a 3D-printed GoPro Session mount (fixed 35° angle) atop the structure. A strap is included to secure this camera and mount.
The Shuriken X1 comes with OneShot125 BLheli F39X 30A / 40A burst BLHeli ESC's driving 2305-2600kv Motors. (T-MOTOR) compact 5", 3-blade propellers help deliver the punch. We have a wide battery selection with an input voltage range of 7v to 42v. Because of the hyper speeds and handling I have seen in video of the Shuriken X1 I decided to do my initial flight testing on 3S power. However, 4S packs for the Shuriken X1 have been ordered.
The “tun-ability” of the Shuriken X1 makes the application of all that power smooth and predictable. Even for a newbie like myself, flying the Shuriken X1 in Rate Mode is very easy. I was not expecting that kind of smooth control considering that the Shuriken X1 weighs only 343g! (no battery)
Battery mount was slick and the packs tended to slip out of the strap. The fix was simple. I pulled the rubber-like but slick pad off and replaced it with a strip of hook and loop material as I do on all aircraft like this. My battery packs all have the “fuzzy” side of the hook and loop material which eliminates the sliding tendency and lets the strap retain the pack without issue even during violent crash events. That is crucial when flying in an area with tall grass where having the beeper working is the only way to recover a downed Shuriken X1. I should note that in a few particularly hard crashes the battery pack was unplugged even though the pack stayed put. I will be experimenting with ways of securing the battery wire to prevent unplugging.
When I tried to move the camera down to a more legitimate angle for my early flights I discovered that the receiver board had been stuck to the structure directly below the camera. Great idea for protecting the board, terrible if you wanted to lower the angle of the camera. I wound up having to put the receiver on top of the upper camera mount so it will be the camera can be moved through its full travel. Unfortunately, the receiver board is now exposed somewhat so I will be rethinking that installation in the future. I might go to a Spektrum quad racer satellite while I am moving stuff around.
In the Air
Before the maiden flight a friend of mine set the Shuriken X1 up in BetaFlight using base settings throughout. I had updated the firmware earlier but for now I wanted to leave the Shuriken X1 in “out of the box” condition for the initial flights.
What surprised me most about the Shuriken X1 was how easy it is to fly. I had a friend with experience on this kind of quad do the maiden which showed no issues at all. Then I took over and though I began in Angle mode I flipped the switch to go into Rate mode before clearing the runway. The Shuriken X1 feels easier to fly to me without the automatic return to level.
After the first flight, we stepped up the Super Rates a bit but left everything else alone. The only flight issues were coming from my fingers, not the quad. The other factor limiting the flight envelope during the initial flights was the low angle I had dialed into the camera. It is capable of being set to a crazy-looking 70-degrees but I opted for a bit over 0-degrees to let me gain some stick time. This is where I discovered the problem of the camera hitting a board beneath it so I left the camera angle near zero-degrees for the first weekend of flying.
The included camera sent a surprisingly good picture through my FatShark Dominator V3 goggles. I tweaked the brightness and contrast a little but that was all that was needed. There was a small amount of image shift when going from bright sunlight to shade but it never got to where seeing where I was going became difficult.
Going from a hover to full throttle gives you the sensation that Earth is falling away from below you. Staying at full power for more than a second or two is pointless as the Shuriken X1 is already way higher than needed for any type of flying I am familiar with.
The information put out by Holybro, the manufacturer of the Shuriken X1 touts its durability in even high-speed crashes. This is where my lack of multi-rotor experience contributed to my “research”. I inadvertently put the Shuriken X1 through several high-speed crashes that certainly would have killed my other quads. Aside from a couple broken props the Shuriken X1 emerged from those crashes in perfect condition. I managed one unplanned encounter with the Earth at near full throttle, making impact right side up. The Shuriken X1 literally bounced off the grass runway and tumbled back up into the air and I flew away mainly by accident but it did look almost like an intentional move. Again, no damage or change in how the Shuriken X1 flew. This thing really is tough!
The Shuriken X1 is a very quick and exceptionally tough racing quad that is surprisingly easy to fly. But, along with all that speed and handing comes the high-speed crashes. The good news here is that the Shuriken X1 is up to the challenge and withstands what appear to be certain death impacts, so far, with nothing more than a broken prop.
With a street price of $249.99 (5-29-2017) the Shuriken X1 is not a budget-breaker by any means. The selection of included components adds up to a great flying quad with performance and handling to spare. I expect that given an experienced set of fingers the Shuriken X1 can blast through gates and natural openings with the best of them. Yet, it provides a fun afternoon of flying for those with less experienced quad-piloting skills.
Making the price even better is the toughness of this quad that dramatically reduces the flow of parts needed to keep it flying. I’m as much of a novice as anyone on a quad like this and managed to prove that with several high-speed, brutal crashes that had me sure I had just busted my new quad. But, it survived all of them and flew again with no signs of compromise.
If you are looking for a fun, fast and great handling quad on a budget, the Shuriken X1 deserves a hard look. Very often the things I buy for Review are sold soon after to help provide cash for the next Review. However, the Shuriken X1 isn’t going anywhere but to the field with me so I can learn to blast through gates and other fun things. The Shuriken X1 is a keeper because it is fast, tough and easy to fly.
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