Thrust-UAV Riot 250R Pro FPV Quad Review
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Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner
Stock Riot 250R Pro
3s 1300mah battery
4s 1300mah and 1550mah batteries
Spektrum Satellite RX w/ Spektrum DX9
- Solid build
- Tons of easily customizable LEDs
- Tuned to perfection
- Fast as hell
- Very well balanced
- U.S. designed, developed and made!
- GO USA!
- High quality components
- Included Torx wrench stripped
- No "feet" underneath, just screws
- Hassle to change camera angle
- No built in beeper
Disclaimer: I am not, nor do I claim to be a pro quad pilot. This review is from the perspective of an average drone pilot.
If you've read my other drone reviews, you know I am fairly new to high-performance drones. I have learned a lot this year about them, but I still don't consider myself at expert level with flying or all of the technical aspects of them. I have been dying to build my own quad, but getting a few of my ready to fly quads in the air has been difficult enough, since many do not come with instructions. As I started getting better at flying FPV, I decided I was ready to move into a high-end race quad. I asked around, looked around, and did tons of research. I couldn't get a consensus on a model...mostly I was told to build my own, but I didn't want to yet. I almost decided on a Vortex, but some of my buddies told me that they were overpriced and clunky. Then I saw the an announcement for the Thrust-UAV Riot 250R Pro. I didn't know anything about it but the specs seemed great and it looked damn nice. I asked the fellas at Buddy RC and Stone Blue Airlines about it, and they told me it was a GREAT all around quad. I admit, I was a little intimidated by the price, but I really wanted something nice so I was willing to shell out more than usual.
I ordered directly from Thrust-UAV, which is based in Boise, Idaho. As I am in Northern Virginia, it was only a couple day trip for my Riot. My excitement level was pretty high for this quad so I actually worked from home on delivery day. I met the mail-woman outside and brought my new toy in. I sliced open the outside box and pulled the Riot box out. The box is about as sexy as a box can be and holds the quad nice and secure. You get a wrench, a harness for programming the FPV camera, and some extra props. The quad requires no building, but you have to add your own receiver and batteries. In the box, you also get a certificate of authenticity which is great in this era of knock-offs, and a MANUAL, yes, a MANUAL! Thank you Thrust-UAV! My hope is that other quad companies will follow suit and at least put enough info in a kit to get a complete newb in the air. As for the quad itself, it really looks and feels great. I never thought I'd say a quadcopter is beautiful, but this one is. It is well balanced, has a great layout, and the clear side panels really give it a unique look paired with the white coated carbon fiber. The Riot is truly a work of art. One last thing I noticed is that there are no "feet" of landing pads on the Riot. I guess this means no landing on pavement for fear of tearing up the Torx heads. I also hope that dirt won't pack into the Torx heads from landing on dirt and grass.
The final thing you get in the box is invisible, yet really valuable.. :) That is not a typo. What I am talking about is the "TUNE" or set-up already programmed into the Riot. This programming was created by some of the top guys in the drone world. Knowing this added to my excitement.
Eager to get my Riot going, I got my Spektrum satellite receiver and went to unscrew the screws holding the hatch. It was here that I had my first issue. The Torx wrench worked well with 2 of the screws, but tore up a few others. I was able to get them off using my own Torx wrenches, but several were pretty much toast. A quick email to Thrust-UAV was all that was needed to get them to send me some replacements (thanks guys). Adding a Spektrum RX is easy peasy as it just plugs into an already existing slot inside the compartment. From there, you secure it with double sided tape, bind it, and get your quad connected to BetaFlight.
I went through the manual to make sure all the settings were where they needed to be, then fixed the subtrim and endpoints in the RX tab. Finally, I set my switches for flight modes and for arming the quad. It was the quickest quad I have set up to date. The only thing that took a little more time was having fun with the LED settings. There are over 50 LEDs and each one is customizable. There are several colors to choose from, and as I was feeling patriotic, I went with a red, white and blue scheme.
Flight (Line of sight):
As we are in the middle of winter, getting to my flying field has been quite difficult. I did my first few tests out in front of my townhouse. The flight video at the far bottom of this page is my second flight with this quad. I mounted a Go Pro Session for a little on-board footage, but also filmed from the ground. This flight was pretty much just getting a feel for the settings and getting a feel for the speed and power of this quad. The first thing I noticed was just how much dang punch the Riot has. A few naysayers had warned me that the Riot was really heavy, and I guess in the grand scheme of things, it kind of is, but I assure you get no feeling of it being heavy whatsoever. If you punch out and drop down 20 or so feet, a punch of the throttle gets you right back in control of the quad. You will not feel a lack of power with the equipment they are using on this quad. I can imagine it will be a competitive quad for racing and also great for freestyle with the power and speed it has.
For my next flight (second video below), I waited until night to see just how visible the 50+ LEDs were. Holy cow, this sucker is bright. You will have no issues at all doing some night flying with the Riot. As you see in the video, I don't do anything crazy because, though I could see the quad, I didn't want hit someone walking their dog or hit a car pulling in.
After these initial flights, I had to wait for better weather. I wasn't able to get to my normal flying field, but I got to a field with enough room for further testing. In the this flight (top video below), I set out to test the Riot in Acro mode and in Horizon mode. I want to tell you in all seriousness, before the flight below, I had only ever flipped a quad once (my Shuriken 180). It had crappy settings at the time, so it was the sloppiest flip I had ever seen. Now, I'm not patting myself on the back or anything, but to go from never really having flipped, to flipping the bejesus out of a $500 quad, credit has to go somewhere! For this I credit the team at Thrust-UAV for their extremely visible design with the LEDs and white coated carbon fiber, and the guys that experimented with the settings to make this quad feel so dang locked in. At the end of the flipping video, I did a few speed runs and WOW does the Riot really open up. It is truly white lightning as it moves across the field. Now, my 3rd small complaint is the Riot's lack of a built in beeper. They are useful for 1) finding your quad if you land in the brush or trees, and 2) beepers help inform you as to your battery's remaining voltage or voltage dips. Since I hadn't been timing my flight, and I had no beeper to tell me my battery was getting low, you'll see the end of the flipping video below, my Riot falls right out of the sky like a duck in Duck Hunt. It was actually pretty funny and it also gave me an unplanned durability test. From it's high fall, the only thing that I found damaged was a prop. I talked to another owner who said his survived a pavement crash with only damage to the props and a small chip off the the white coating.
This section won't go into too much detail because the above mentioned crash damaged a propeller and I didn't have spares with me on this outing. I probably should have done my FPV testing first, but I didn't think I was going to crash lol. I am not showing my FPV video at this time because with the damaged propeller, the video feed had a bit of vibration. I was still able to fly around and do some really fast laps, but the video is no fun to watch. I will shoot more and post it here once I get back out to the field. I have stocked up on some new props, both in white and clear. That said, I did find it flew amazingly in FPV. It felt like I was watching an FPV video in fast-forward. It was fast as hell but extremely controllable. The powerful motors and dialed-in set-up, really make you feel like a pro making those sharp turns and with quick changes of direction. My last itty bitty complaint is that the camera angle isn't easily adjusted. Not a huge deal, but something worth noting.
What can I say, Thrust-UAV has built one HELL of a quad. They have used premium parts, and have done their own R&D. Did I mention that they are based in the USA and built here also!!! That information was part of what helped me justify spending this much cheese on this quad. I know it may give you sticker shock if you are looking at your first, or even second race quad, but had this been out before I got my other quads, this would been the first and only quad I would have needed to buy for a long time. Don't get me wrong, I like my other cheaper quads, but they don't come close to the quality, craftsmanship, programming, build, power or speed that you get with the Riot. Also, Thrust-UAV are certainly not the only ones selling quads at this price-point. Vortex's 250 costs the same and even their tiny 150 size costs about $300. I have ZERO buyers remorse from my purchase of the Riot 250R Pro. If this is your first race drone or your 10th, I think you are going to love it. I almost feel bad for my other quads as I don't think they will get flown much any more. My sincere hope is that Thrust-UAV uses all of the elements that went into the Riot 250R Pro, and make an entire series of quads. Maybe 180, or a 150 or something cool like that. I will be on of the first in line for those too!
To wrap it up, Thrust-UAV has hit a grand-slam with the Riot 250R Pro. If you have the budget for it, nab one with all the confidence in the world that you are buying a premium piece of equipment. If you are thinking about it, but don't currently have the cash to drop on it... start SAVING now!
If you want to talk to more Thrust-UAV Riot 250R Pro owners, come join the Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/239615453141463/