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Unbelievable RC

Tyco Turbo Pro Wheelie Cycle

November 2009

Street Price: $49.99 US
Manufacturer: Tyco RC / Mattel
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8
Our recommended age range: 10-13
Primary use: Outdoors
Top speed: ~10mph
Radio: 49mhz (27mhz also available)
Includes:

  • Assembled bike
  • Controller
  • 9.6V battery pack
  • 2x AA batteries for the controller
  • Charger
  • Instructions
  • 2x spare side skids
Requires:
  • Just a driver!

Initial Impressions

With the exception of the huge 1/3rd scale Suzuki GSXR-1000 I reviewed a few years ago, Tyco's RC motorcycles have been consistently good. It's been awhile since I've driven a dirt bike, so this one really interested me. The bike itself looks pretty realistic with the rider and all. What's really new with this one in particular is the controller, which is made to look like handlebars!

  detail

It gets better! To accelerate, you twist the right grip just like a real bike. Both levers behind the bar are brakes. What about steering? Well, supposedly all you have to do is tilt the whole controller to the left or right and it will sense the motion and turn the bike. I can hear a small clicking sound inside, so I'm assuming there's a switch in there with a weight on it.

Preparing to Drive

I always love it when an RC comes with all batteries included, and the Turbo Pro Wheelie Cycle is no exception. It comes with AA's for the controller and a 9.6V rechargable for the bike, plus of course a wall charger. It's too bad the rechargable pack is a unique size, though, so if you already have some packs from other vehicles, they won't fit.

Testing

The very first time I put the bike down and twisted the throttle, it sped off and ran like a champ without falling over! I did use one special little trick, though. For stability, the Turbo Pro Wheelie Cycle has a thing called a "gyro" in the rear wheel, which is basically a heavy metal wheel that spins at a really high speed. The faster it goes, the harder it is to make the bike fall over. By running the bike in the air for 5 to 10 seconds before you put it on the ground, you can spin the gyro up to full speed to give the bike full stability from the very beginning. If you don't do this, you might not be able to steer successfully until you drive straight for a little while.

Ok, so regular driving works great. It accelerates smoothly and has a good top speed, and it leans in turns just like a real motorcycle. My only gripe is that the steering response is a little slow, but you can get used to that and just start your turns a little earlier. Thanks to the gyro, you can even slow down to a crawl or lean the bike over on its side a bit and then start going again. What about the "wheelie" part of Wheelie Cycle, though? There's a button on the controller that you can push with your left thumb, and that makes the front of the bike pop right up with a really loud click. The wheelies are huge, with the front wheel pointing way up towards the sky, and it can ride them for a long distance if you're on a smooth surface. A small set of wheels on the rear fender let you just keep driving & driving. In fact, it won't come down from a wheelie unless you slow down a lot or hit the brakes. Really great fun. You just have to make sure you're going straight when you pop a wheelie, otherwise it might fall over.

While your left thumb gets a wheelie button, your right thumb gets to have its own fun with the Turbo button. Turbo can be activated at any time for an extra burst of speed. It doesn't make an especially dramatic difference, but it's definitely enough to notice and hear. Best of all, you can hit turbo while riding a wheelie for an even more impressive scene. Getting to the button without releasing the throttle is just a little awkward because of all of the different motions your hands & fingers have to make to reach it all.

Now for the bad stuff. The TV commercials for the Turbo Pro Wheelie Cycle shows it driving on a dirt track, taking all kinds of jumps, and doing flips in the air. Well, I don't know how it can possibly do any of that. The bike drives great on a flat road surface, but bumps really upset it (meaking, they make it fall over). It also doesn't have good traction on any sort of dry dirt. It'll drive straight, but don't try to turn. Don't even think about trying sand or grass.

Video

(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)

Conclusion

As usual, Tyco has delivered a fun and exciting RC motorcycle. The Turbo Pro Wheelie Cycle is an absolute wheelie monster and the handlebar-style controller, while it takes some getting used to, is a great concept that kids should really love. The inclusion of the batteries & charger makes it a good value, though it's a bummer that you have to look for one specific, exclusive, uncommon battery style if you want extra rechargables. It's also too bad that the bike can't be driven off-road, given that it's a "dirt bike" style, but it's still loads of fun. If you have plenty of flat pavement to drive around on, the Turbo Pro Wheelie Cycle will make a good toy for a young motorcycle fan.

B+

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