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If this will be your first time ordering from Banggood, you should know a few things.

BIND N FLY / RTF

LUMENIER CHIEF

Now you can fly the exact same racing drone that Alex Campbell (a.k.a. Chief) races when he flies MultiGP. The frame and motors are custom-designed for Alex. The other equipment is race-proven. Notable features include motor enamel rated up to 240°, to help make smoked motors a thing of the past (or so they say). The motors weigh just 28 grams, thanks in part to titanium shafts and a minimal base. The Chief is completely assembled and test-flown by GetFPV technicians before being shipped. Just bind, set up your controller, and fly.

The Hawk 5 Pro continues Emax’s legacy of reasonably-priced, durable, and great-flying bind-n-fly quads. The Hawk Pro doesn’t have quite the same level of performance and durability as quads costing twice its price, but it’s a great choice for your first racing drone. And let’s face it: most of the time, it’s pilot skill, not the raw performance of the quad that makes or breaks the race. The one thing about this quad that bugs me is that the video transmitter is direct-soldered to the flight controller with pins. If you end up needing to replace it, it’s difficult to do this without damaging the FC, which is unfortunate. If you end up in this situation, I suggest cutting the pins to remove the vTX, then de-solder the pins one by one from the FC, then install the new vTX by soldering wires instead of using the pins.

CATALYST MACHINEWORKS BESPOKE BUILD SERVICE

If you want one of the best builders in the world to hand-make you exactly the racing drone that’s best for you, this is it. Catalyst Machineworks designs, manufactures, and builds, some of the coolest racing and freestyle drones in the world. They’ll work with you to help decide on the best parts to meet your needs, then build the quad, test-fly it, and send it to you.

FRAMES

This is the racing frame designed and flown by Evan Turner (HeadsUpFPV), one of the fastest, winning-est pilots in the world. It’s also flown by a lot of his competitors, which says something about how good it is! These world-class pilots could fly any frame they want, including designing one to their exact specifications, and they fly the Switchback Pro instead.

The Switchback Pro has an innovative arm mounting method that gives perfect stiffness while still allowing easy, one-screw arm changes. It’s got a variety of custom-designed 3D prints to suit almost any configuration. It’s tough, lightweight, and proven.

But the Switchback Pro isn’t perfect for everybody. It only supports a limited selection of parts, and fitting everything together in such a tight frame requires some expertise. If this is your first build, you might prefer a roomier frame.

The Source Two is one of the best values in FPV frames. It’s community-designed and all the CAD files are open source and available for anyone to manufacture. As a result, the Source Two is one of the least expensive frames you can get, and available nearly everywhere. (You could even cut it yourself if you have a CNC machine!)

While the Source Two will get the job done, it’s obviously been manufactured to a price. It’s a sparse and utilitarian frame, but if you’re on a tight budget, it’s a great choice (and no guilt over buying a “clone”).

SKYREADYRC COBRA

Purchase at SkyReadyRC

The SkyReadyRC Cobra uses milled aluminum arm braces to join the arms together and connect them to the bottom plate. This gives unparalleled durability, at the expense of a little higher weight. The Cobra comes with 3D printed camera holder, antenna holder, and “turtle mode fin”; it can be ordered in a variety of colors at no additional charge. Many other racing frames are so compact that they’re difficult to build. The Cobra is still a compact and lightweight racing frame, but it’s got just a bit more room to give a little more variety in component selection and ease of building. However, like most racing frames, it fits only 20mm electronics and only nano cameras!

MOTORS

The five-inch racing world seems to have mostly settled on 2207 as the ideal motor size. It seems to be the smallest, lightest motor that gives enough torque for excellent handling and enough power for great acceleration and top end speed. The main question left when choosing a motor is the best kv. The kv means the rpms-per-volt that the motor will try to make. A higher kv motor will spin faster and usually make more power, but will be harder on the battery.

Choosing a motor kv is mostly about balancing speed vs. efficiency (flight time). But higher kv motors aren’t necessarily faster for every pilot. Beginners, especially, may find higher kv motors harder to control. For those running 6S batteries, a motor from about 1600 kv to 1750 kv is relatively sedate; a motor from about 1750 kv to 1900 kv is powerful, but still reasonable; and a motor from about 1900 to 2200 kv is probably only recommended for really skilled pilots. (You can effectively scale down a motor’s kv by using the throttle scale parameter in Betaflight’s Rate Profile tab.)

What about the 6S vs 4S argument? In racing, very few people still run 4S. So almost all of the racing motors made come in 6S kv’s only. But I’ve included at least one motor here that comes in around 2400 kv, which is suitable for use with 4S batteries.

FIVE33
2207 1960 KV

Purchase at Five33 (USA) – Single / 4-pack
Purchase at Five33 (EU) – Single

These are the motors designed and used by Evan Turner (HeadsUpFPV), one of the fastest and winning-est pilots in the world. And they’re $21 (at the time of this writing). So you’d be justified in asking why you’d ever pay more? They perform well enough to satisfy a world-class racer, without the ultra-premium name-brand price.

The links above are to standard motors, with bare wires. Five33 also sells the motors with pre-installed MT30 plugs. This allows for faster, no-solder motor changes in the field. This option adds a tiny bit of weight and isn’t for everybody.

HYPETRAIN VANOVER
2207.5 1860 KV

Purchase at Rotor Riot – V1 motor / V2 motor
Purchase at GetFPV – V1 motor / V2 motor
Purchase at NewBeeDrone – V1 motor / V2 motor
Purchase at Pyro Drone- V1 motor / V2 motor

Alex Vanover’s pedigree as a racer includes MultiGP and DRL championships. The HypeTrain Vanover is the result of his collaboration with Rotor Riot to develop his personal racing motor. The Vanover is 2207.5 size, adding 1/2mm to the stator for slightly more torque and power, without adding too much weight (only about 1 gram more than a racing 2207 motor).

After racing on the motor for over a year, Vanover decided to increase the motor’s kv from 1860 to 2021. This, and a few other small changes resulted in the V2 motor. The V2 will give more top end speed and punch, but will be harder on batteries especially if you push the throttle. Beginners may also find the V2 harder to control, since the hover point will be lower in the throttle. (You can always use a throttle scale in the Betaflight Rate Profile section to bring the higher kv motors down if you prefer.) For now, we are linking to both the V1 and the V2 motor since both are excellent depending on the kv that you prefer.

T-MOTOR MCK
2207.5 1910 KV – 2100 KV

Purchase at GetFPV – 1910 kv / 2100 kv
Purchase at RaceDayQuads – 1910 kv / 2100 kv
Purchase at Pyro Drone – 1910 kv / 2100 kv
Purchase at Amazon – 1700 kv / 1910 kv

I’m sitting here writing the descriptive text for these motors, and I realized that basically what I did was, find the fastest three pilots around, and then pick their signature motors to include on the list. I guess there are worse ways to go about it. The MinChan Kim is 2207.5 in size and comes in both 1910 and 2100 kv. In theory, 2100 kv is a 5S motor, but MinChan flies it on 6S because he’s just that ridiculously fast. Regular humans would probably do best to choose the 1910 kv and/or use a throttle scale to bring the power down to manageable levels.

EMAX ECO II 2207
1700 / 1900 / 2400 KV

Purchase at GetFPV
Purchase at EMAX USA

Emax is seriously messing up the whole FPV motor market with their Eco II line. As far as I can tell, they are making a $20 motor and selling it for $12 just because they want to be taken seriously as a motor manufacturer. I have no idea what the actual motivation is, but the Eco II is a seriously great value. It even has premium EZO bearings (an area where other budget motors often skimp).

The main reason you would avoid the Emax Eco would be if you are trying to reproduce your favorite pilot’s exact racing build. If you build a Switchback Pro, like I did, but you put Emax motors on it, then you won’t be able to use Evan’s PID tune, and you won’t know for sure that your quad is flying exactly as good as his. And that might be worth a little bit of a premium to you.

FLIGHT CONTROLLER & ESC (ANALOG)

The flight controller (FC) is the brains of the quadcopter. It receives your commands from the receiver and translates that into motor outputs that make the quadcopter fly. Modern flight controllers may also include accessories like voltage regulators, and on-screen-display (OSD), a power-distribution-board (PDB) and more.

Flight controllers on this page may be marked as “DJI Ready” and “DJI Only”. DJI Ready means that the FC has a plug to allow easy connection of a DJI Air Unit or Caddx Vista. DJI Ready FC’s can still be used with analog FPV systems. DJI Only means that the FC does not support analog video at all, and should only be used with the DJI System. Any FC not marked this way will support both analog and DJI, but if using DJI you’ll need to solder wires to the FC since it doesn’t have a plug.

All of the flight controllers and ESC’s on this page are 20mm size. Although 20mm ESCs are not as durable as 30mm ESC’s, most racers use 20mm electronics to save weight. The electronics themselves are not that much lighter, but they fit into a smaller frame, which saves additional weight. But you can’t race if your ESC self destructs every time you hit a gate, so I’ve tried to only include ones that are known for being especially durable.

AIKON F7 FC &
AIKON PRO 20X20 ESC (DJI READY)

Purchase at RaceDayQuads – FC / ESC
Purchase at GetFPV – FC / ESC
Purchase at Pyro Drone – FC / ESC
Purchase at Catalyst Machineworks – FC / ESC
Purchase at Banggood – FC / ESC

Aikon has made some of the strongest, most durable ESC’s on the market for years. It’s no surprise that their 20mm Aikon Pro ESC is one of the few that can stand up to the abuse of FPV racing. The Aikon flight controller has an F7 processor with plenty of UARTs for peripherals. It’s got a built in 10v regulator to power DJI (if you choose to race on DJI, this is your pick) or your analog vTX. It’s even got a built in pit switch to let you power down your vTX with an aux switch. The main down-side of this FC is that the solder pads are very small, but that’s sort of true for all 20mm FC so maybe it doesn’t matter.

BRAIN FPV RADIX LI FC &
HOBBYWING 40A 4-IN-1 20X20 ESC

Purchase at RaceDayQuads – FC / ESC
Purchase at GetFPV – FC / ESC
Purchase at Pyro Drone – FC / ESC
Purchase at BrainFPV – FC / ESC

There are a couple of things that make the Radix Li unique. First, it’s manufactured by BrainFPV in Portland, Oregon, USA. If you’re American and want to support a small domestic manufacturer, this is one of your only options. BrainFPV hand-checks each board before shipping, providing a level of quality and customer service that giant companies shipping thousands of flight controllers can’t match. BrainFPV also uses a different gyro chip on their FC. The Bosch gyro is designed for automotive application and has built in filtering that some argue gives better results than the Invensense gyros on most other FC’s. (To be fair, some argue it gives worse results, but BrianFPV definitely has its fans.) BrainFPV pairs with a Hobbywing ESC, which has an excellent reputation for durability. It’s also the ESC used by Evan Turner (HeadsUpFPV) in his race builds as of this writing.

One major gotcha of this FC and ESC combo is that its 5v regulator is sized only for powering a camera and receiver. It can’t power a vTX. And many micro-sized vTX are designed to run only off of 5v, which means they can’t be used with the Radix Li. If your vTX is one of these, then the Radix Li is probably not the best choice for your FC and ESC.

If you look closely at this flight controller, you might guess that it’s actually made by Aikon and sold under T-Motor’s branding. The layout is very similar and the features are nearly identical. No matter who makes it, T-Motor has a great reputation for quality and performance. But mostly, I’m including it as an alternative in case the Aikon is out of stock. It’s also the FC used by Evan Turner (HeadsUpFPV) in his race builds as of this writing.

Unlike the other entries, this one is going to start with the ESC, not the FC. Redux Air makes what might be the toughest, highest performance 20mm ESC available today. It uses the same larger, higher-rated FETs used on 30mm ESC’s. How do they fit? The board spills over the sides of the 20mm mounting holes, so you’ll want to make sure it’ll fit into your frame. In my opinion, this is one of the best 20mm ESC’s you can buy today. If you can find it in stock.

This ESC can be paired with almost any FC, but you will probably have to re-arrange the order of the wires in the harness connecting them together.

This is the FC if you want something inexpensive that will get the job done. At the time of this writing, the other FC on this list go for about $60; this one is closer to $40. And it’s got an F7 processor too! What’s it give up? It’s only got four UARTs instead of five, but racers typically don’t need a lot of UARTs anyway; it lacks features like vTX pit switch; it’s only got a 5v regulator, so your vTX needs to run on 5v if you want the cleanest video possible; and it doesn’t have a plug or regulator for DJI (not really relevant to most racers).

You might expect me to pair this up with the Foxeer Reaper ESC, but I’m not. The Reaper looks great on paper, but it’s still too new to have proven it’s reliable and tough enough to make it onto this list. The Reaper is priced the same as the best ESC’s out there. You might as well just buy one of them.

VIDEO TRANSMITTER (ANALOG)

The video transmitter (or “vTX” as it’s usually written) takes the video signal from your camera and transmits it wirelessly to your goggles. The single most important function of the video transmitter, to me, is how easy it is to change channels and transmit power. FPV video transmitters operate like old analog television signals. (That’s an analogy, but it’s also literally true! Your quadcopter is a tiny television station!) If two transmitters are on a channel too close together, they will interfere, and both pilots won’t be able to see to fly. When you fly with other pilots, you’ll have to organize who is on what channel. If you can’t quickly and easily change channels, that becomes a hassle. You’ll be “that guy” who everybody else has to make room for.

Second, they come with different connectors. Video transmitters typically have U.FL or MMCX connectors, due to their small size. These may plug in to a “pigtail” wire that ends in an SMA or RP-SMA connector. For racing, it’s most common to buy an antenna with an MMCX or U.FL connector, because it saves size and weight compared to a pigtail. These antennas are typically held to the frame with 3D printed accessories. Keeping the antenna close to the frame vs. out on a long stalk shortens the range of the video signal (not really an issue for racing) but increases durability. The antennas shown on this page are all MMCX and UFL, but if you need an SMA version, they are also made. If you are buying an MMCX antenna, it’ll almost always work best to get a right-angle MMCX, as having the connector come straight out of the vTX will usually not fit as well inside the build (but every build is different).

Once upon a time, “race focused” vTX topped out at 200 mW. Not any more. The Nano Pro32 hits 500 mW “or more” in an incredibly tiny package. Since it’s a Unify, you know it’ll give strong, clean video. If you’re using Crossfire, the Unify vTX can integrate with the Crossfire system’s MyVTX function, letting you change settings directly from your Crossfire system.

Rush makes some of the best value vTX on the market. The build quality and performance are similar to high-priced alternatives, but at a mid-tier price. The Rush Tiny Tank is fully licensed by TBS to support SmartAudio, so it should integrate with Crossfire peripherals just like a TBS vTX. The main limitation of the Tiny Tank is its max 350 mW output power. If all you do is race, that doesn’t really matter, since you’ll be at 25 mW most of the time.

The Ghost Hybrid combines an ImmersionRC Tramp vTX and a Ghost receiver in one 20mm board. In case it’s not obvious, if you’re not using Ghost control link, this isn’t for you. But if you are using Ghost, this makes for an incredibly simple and clean build. The vTX outputs up to 600 mW, with the same clean and consistent performance Tramp has always delivered.

TBS TRACER / CROSSFIRE SIXTY9

Purchase at GetFPV – Tracer / Crossfire
Purchase at Pyro Drone – Tracer / Crossfire
Purchase at ReadyMadeRC – Tracer / Crossfire
Purchase at Amazon – Tracer / Crossfire
Purchase at Team Blacksheep – Tracer / Crossfire

The TBS Sixty9 combines a Unify video transmitter with a Tracer or Crossfire receiver in a single 20mm form factor. The 20mm board is easy to mount above your FC and ESC if your frame has room for a three-high stack; or it can mount on the 20mm space in the rear of most low-profile frames. Integrating the vTX and receiver saves a few steps in wiring and makes mounting simple.

Compared to a Unify Nano, the Sixty9 has higher output power–at least on paper. It starts at 1 watt, but reduces power quickly as heat builds up. Since racers usually run at 25 mW, this isn’t really an issue.

The AKK race vTX costs about $10 at the time of this writing. It doesn’t have the same quality, durability, or output power (max 200 mW) as the other options, but if you’re racing on a budget, you can’t really go wrong with this one.

This vTX is the go-to of Ahren Ciotti, who specializes in micro-sized builds. He says, “I’ve had amazing luck with the (better than the 2x more expensive Unify Pro32 Nano to be honest) and they even have a microphone on board!” That’s good enough for me.

FPV CAMERAS (ANALOG)

I have no idea how Foxeer pulled this off, but nearly every racing pilot uses this camera. I don’t just mean top pros, who you might suspect were sponsored. It’s just… you go to a race and ask people what camera they’re running, and it’s always the Predator Micro. It’s got high resolution, low latency, wide field of view, and isn’t too expensive. What’s not to love?

If you’re building a frame like the 533 Switchback, which is sized for a nano camera, then pick the Predator Nano instead of the Predator Micro. This camera is available in “pad version” with direct-solder pads or “plug version” for the more typical plug. The pad version makes for the most compact and lightest build.

The Runcam Racer Nano was Evan Turner’s original choice for his Switchback Pro build. And based on that, I put it on my Switchback Pro build too. But truthfully, I never was that impressed with the Racer Nano’s exposure handling. Its image looks ok, but when going from dark to light areas, it changes exposure in a distracting way that makes it hard to see where you’re going. So imagine my chagrin when I found out that Evan had switched to the Predator Nano! So why is the Racer Nano even on this list? Because despite its deficits, it’s still perfectly usable, and sometimes the Predator might be out of stock.

VIDEO ANTENNAS FOR VTX AND GOGGLES

There are three important things to know about video antennas. First, they come in left-handed (LHCP) and right-handed (RHCP) varieties, and you must put the same variety on your quadcopter and your goggles. Most pilots fly RHCP, and that’s what I recommend you start with too. There isn’t any performance difference, but having the same type as everyone else will let you watch them in your goggles.

Second, they come with different connectors. Video transmitters typically have U.FL or MMCX connectors, due to their small size. These may plug in to a “pigtail” wire that ends in an SMA or RP-SMA connector. For racing, it’s most common to buy an antenna with an MMCX or U.FL connector, because it saves size and weight compared to a pigtail. These antennas are typically held to the frame with 3D printed accessories. Keeping the antenna close to the frame vs. out on a long stalk shortens the range of the video signal (not really an issue for racing) but increases durability.

Third, you should never power up your video transmitter without an antenna attached. This can damage or destroy the video transmitter.

LUMENIER AXII 2 U.FL & MMCX

Purchase at RaceDayQuads – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at GetFPV – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at Pyro Drone – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at Catalyst Machineworks – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at Banggood – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at Amazon – U.FL / MMCX

TBS TRIUMPH PRO U.FL & MMCX

Purchase at GetFPV – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at NewBeeDrone – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at Pyro Drone – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at ReadyMadeRC – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at Amazon – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at Team Blacksheep – U.FL / MMCX

The Lumenier Axii 2 and the TBS Triump Pro are the premium options in this category. Both have excellent design and consistent build quality. They are lightweight and compact. The Triumph is rated for 1.6 dBi gain, while the Axii is rated for 2.1 dB, so on paper the Triumph will be more perfectly circular, while the Axii will have slightly better coverage to the sides and slightly worse to the top and bottom. This is unlikely to be noticeable in real life though.

LUMENIER XILO AXII U.FL & MMCX

Purchase at GetFPV – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at Amazon – U.FL / MMCX

FOXEER LOLLIPOP U.FL & MMCX

Purchase at RaceDayQuads – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at Pyro Drone – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at RotorRiot – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at ReadyMadeRC – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at Banggood – U.FL / MMCX
Purchase at Amazon – U.FL / MMCX

These are the budget options in this category. The Xilo Axii is just the V1 of the Axii antenna. It still performs really well and is about half the price of the Lumenier Axii. It’s still made by the same company as the V2, so quality and consistency are high. The Foxeer Lollipop is on the list as a more widely available alternative (the Axii is only sold at GetFPV). The Lollipop is more or less a copy of the Axii design, but build quality is not as consistent as the Axii.

Rush has been known for making high-quality, mid-priced video transmitters. Now they’re taking that same philosophy to antennas. These aren’t the cheapest antennas you can buy, but the quality and consistency is way better than the “cheapest antennas you can buy”. There are a ton of varieties so make sure you get the right polarity (LH or RH — most FPV pilots use RH, but DJI uses LH by default) and connector (MMCX, UFL, SMA, or RPSMA). Not all varieties are available at all stores so if you can’t find what you want, shop around!

BATTERIES

The batteries selected for 5” racing are all 6S. Can you race on 4S? Sure. You can do whatever you want. But 6S is where basically all racing motors are focused today, and 6S is what most racing pilots run. Any of the 4S packs in the 5” freestyle section could work for racing if you need to go that direction.

The main difference between the packs chosen here and the Freestyle packs is that these packs are slightly larger in size. Racers hit their packs hard. A larger pack can deliver more current at the cost of slightly greater weight. Since racing rigs are already pretty light, you can probably afford a few more grams of battery if it means you get to finish your race, or you experience less sag when you punch the throttle.

TATTU R-LINE V4
1300 / 1400 MAH 6S

Purchase at RaceDayQuads – 1300 mAh / 1400 mAh
Purchase at GetFPV – 1300 mAh / 1400 mAh
Purchase at Pyro Drone – 1300 mAh / 1400 mAh
Purchase at Catalyst Machineworks – 1300 mAh / 1400 mAh
Purchase at Banggood – 1300 mAh / 1400 mAh

THUNDERPOWER ADRENALINE
1340 MAH 6S

Purchase at GetFPV

PROPS