In order for an enthusiast to have a race quality FPV drone, it’s always been taken for granted that a lot of work goes into combining components into a finished unit.
The model I’m about to share may well be a new standard in pro-grade RTF.
It’s the RISE Indorfin 130 Racer from Hobbico, or by the time this review is published, from Horizon Hobby.
My sample, one of the first complete RTF models out of the first shipping container at Hobbico – and possibly one of the first in private hands – had been arranged with Hobbico’s Matt Cookson back in March 2018. This was prior to the official announcement in early April of the purchase of the Hobbico R/C divisions – including Tower Hobbies – as part of Hobbico’s bankruptcy resettlement.
As a result, Matt asked me to refer to the Indorfin as a Horizon Hobby product. Despite who actually distributes this model, it has quickly proven to be among the finest RTF quads I’ve ever flown as I sit down to write. For here is a fully assembled and complete package bristling with the finest ideas and open source programming the brushless quadcopter and FPV worlds have to offer. At present, only the full package with transmitter, goggles, etc. is available, but a model-only version under part number RISE0211 soon will be.
While that may sound like ad hype, it is not. It’s based on my initial impressions of both the Indorfin’s specifications and overall performance.
Size: 5.3″ (135mm) diagonally motor-to-motor
Width: 5″ (127mm)
Length: 4.3″ (108mm)
Height: 1.9″ (47mm)
Flight Controller: OMNIBUS F3 with Betaflight
Motors: RISE 1104 4100Kv brushless outrunner
ESCs: RISE 3A (4A peak) with OneShot 125 firmware
Propellers: Three-blade 2.75″ (70mm) diameter; pitch not specified
Battery: Onyx 740mAh 3S 20C lithium polymer with XT-30 power plug and JST-XH balancing plug (ONXP2125)
Transmitter: RISE J2000 2.4GHz SLT protocol six-channel with dual rates, digital trim tabs, three flight modes and monitor holder
Weight: 3.7 oz (106g) less battery
Operator Skill Level/Age: Intermediate; 14+
Catalog Number: RISE0210
Price (USD): $299.99
Available From: Any hobby shop which stocks Hobbico and Horizon products
Input Voltage: 3.6-5.5V
Working Current: 550mA @ 5V maximum
Video Resolution: 640x480p VGA
Video Format: AVI
Size: 4.3″ (109mm) color LCD
Receiver: Five 5.8GHz bands (A, B, E, F and R); 40 channels
Antenna: RP-SMA 3dBi “rubber duck” with SMA connector
Video Format: NTSC/PAL; adjusts automatically
Memory Card Port: Compatible with micro SD cards up to 32GB
Battery: Built in 1400mAh 3.7V lithium polymer
Operating Voltage: 3.6-5.5V
Claimed Operating Time: 1.5 hours
Fully assembled model
RISE J2000 six-channel SLT protocol transmitter with three flight modes and dual rate modes
Four AA-cell alkaline transmitter batteries
Spare propellers and mounting screws
Tactic FPV-RM2 monitor, Tactic FPV-G1 goggles, receiver antenna and optional self-stick foam liner to retain other monitors
Flight battery and charger with AC adapter
USB monitor charge cable
Detachable propeller guards
Illustrated instruction manuals for the model and monitor
Required to Complete
Technician Class or higher amateur radio license for FPV operation in the USA; residents of other nations should check local rules
Computer with Betaflight Configurator, available free online through various sources
Micro SD cable for connecting the model to a computer; the cable supplied for charging the monitor will work as well
Micro SD card up to 32GB for recording video via the monitor
Inside the beautifully printed display box are neatly packed components; standing out among them is the cleverly named Indorphin itself.
The chartreuse and black color scheme definitely runs in the RISE family with the Indorfin’s top shell and enclosed electronics giving it a far more finished look than what is usually found on similar models. It’s similar to that of the RISE Vusion House Racer I reviewed for RC Universe last year.
By itself, the Indorfin is a more attractive looking model than most in this class of quadcopters:
Both models share the same SLT transmitter, receiver and goggles as well, but that’s where the similarity ends.
Underneath the high impact shells surrounding the electronics is a one-piece carbon fiber frame. Four of RISE’s own 4100Kv outrunners are at each corner. Coaxial VTX and receiver aerials are clipped to either side of the shell and everything is easily removed to access the electronics. Unlike “no name” RTF quads of this type, the manual has excellent instructions on how to remove the shell and replace the components beneath.
Things become really interesting upon closer inspection.
A standard micro USB socket is on the right side of the Indorfin while underneath, perhaps a first for an RTF of this type, is an SBUS connector for an external receiver.
Those with Futaba, Spektrum, FrSky, FlySky, Graupner and other radio systems with available SBUS receivers, please take note. Users of Tactic or high end Hitec radios with SLT capability can bind directly to the Indorfin. Sanwa and Airtronics users can use PPM or PWM protocols via the SBUS port; all of these procedures are clearly outlined in the manual.
While an external receiver isn’t a direct plug-in, it’s reasonably close and the manual has an excellent section on what is needed and necessary to make the adaptation. It’s beyond the scope of this review to go into such detail; a PDF version of the manual may be downloaded here.
Since the Betaflight firmware is already installed, there’s no need for any changes unless one wishes to make some based on personal preference. That leaves charging the flight battery and monitor and installing the supplied AA-cell alkaline transmitter batteries. Propeller guards may be installed if desired.
All of the model’s accessories are neatly bagged:
Charging the monitor is a simple as plugging it into a USB socket or AC adapter with the supplied cable; when the light on the monitor goes out, it’s all set. An excellent 2S/3S balancing charger with AC adapter is included and it did a superb job of readying the flight battery, but it lacks a USB socket. One should keep in mind that the battery compartment seems to be designed for this specific battery, but they’re easily obtained through a local hobby shop for under twenty bucks.
While the model itself is new, the peripheral components are not. As I’d mentioned, the Indorfin comes with the same transmitter, monitor and goggles as the less expensive RISE Vusion House Racer.
The transmitter’s required alkaline batteries are provided as well.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the full-sized sport transmitter is neat and uncluttered with good heft and stick feel. The monitor is sharp and clear, but using it is less than intuitive given the rather cryptic control markings.
It’s shown here in the box with its sunscreen already attached as well as the battery charger:
The goggles are the weak point of the package, at least for those of us with heads larger than those of small adults. The straps are way too snug and uncomfortable even when they’re adjusted outward as much as possible. I knew that going in since I had the same problem with the Vusion. The front panel which retains the monitor doesn’t do the best job of staying shut. It fell open when I was trying to get the thing on my head, sending the monitor crashing to the ground. No damage, I’m pleased to say.
There was also no need for me to tune the monitor since it came already set from the factory. Tuning the monitor is simple, but tuning the VTX is less so. There’s an LED display inside the battery compartment connected to the camera and VTX which alternately displays the band letter and channel number. The six screws holding the upper shell to the carbon fiber frame must first be removed in order to access the selector button. Odds are quite good that one will never have to change the VTX channel unless one is flying in a crowded field of competition.
For readers here in the good old USA, a Technician Class amateur radio license or higher is required to operate this or any FPV system of more than 25mW output power on 5.8GHz. That’s because the frequency is part of the allocated amateur microwave operating band.
Should one wish not to get a ham license, a 25mW camera/VTX is listed in the manual under part number RISE2140. As of this writing, the official Indorfin website lists it as “pending.”
To become a Tech, one must first pay a small fee at the testing site and pass a 35-question multiple choice test, primarily on basic electronic theory and good old-fashioned common sense. Morse Code is no longer required for any level. The American Radio Relay League is chock full of info for new hams and so to is this guide by the Federal Communications Commission. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to become hams for emergency communication purposes; classes and tests are often held at local LDS churches and local amateur radio clubs are likely within a short drive of anyone reading this review. I highly recommend books by Gordon West; his popular study guides can be found on Amazon.com and other booksellers.
There’s really very little to do to get ready short of installing the transmitter batteries and charging the flight and monitor batteries as I’d mentioned earlier. Unless one is installing an external SBUS receiver or changing transmitters prior to flying, no binding or further setup is necessary.
The RISE J2000 transmitter is a model of simplicity; there are digital trim tabs, the power switch, indicator lights for verifying power and binding and a couple of toggle switches. The one on the right is for high and low flying rates while the three-position switch on the left selects three different flight modes. They are:
- Angle mode with all accelerometers on, meaning the Indorfin is in the self-correcting flight mode most familiar to new users. Maximum tilt is 55 degrees which allows the Indorfin to bank steeply, but making it impossible to flip.
- Horizon mode keeps the accelerometers switched on while allowing the Indorfin to flip and roll. For newer pilots used to “one-button flip” found on many an entry-level quad, this mode allows for flips simply by manipulating the sticks. The model will continue to self-level.
- Acro mode means not only are the accelerometers fully turned off, all bets are off as well. This mode has no self-leveling giving full maneuverability (and maximum insanity) for advanced pilots.
The model arms only in low rate mode, a nice safety feature but…one which can be overridden in Betaflight if desired.
Initial testing in full angle mode showed the Indorfin to be a smooth, powerful and predictable machine. Someone making the transition from a less powerful model will feel right at home. The power and speed are different stories. This is a small, lightweight model running a 3S li-po with four very powerful brushless outrunner motors. Both climbout and speed are several factors above those of an introductory quad. The maxim “forewarned is forearmed” really applies to new users.
Despite the incredible power on tap, the Indorfin has no bad habits whatsoever. Inexpensive quads often suffer from mushy control, slow gyros and the like when pushed to the limit. Not so the Indorfin. Sudden climbs, stops and turns didn’t faze it in the least.
Later tests in more open areas showed just how powerful the Indorfin happens to be. If anything, I found myself wishing for a bit more bank and pitch on full angle mode, again, something easily changed in Betaflight.
Flipping on the horizon mode allowed more bank and pitch, but it’s easy to go over a bit too far if one isn’t careful. I had a wonderful time practicing manually controlled flips, but it was back to angle mode for line of sight and FPV.
Speaking of flips, I was able to inadvertently put the model’s ruggedness to the test. The next time I would try the horizon mode would be on an overcast day with the model more than “two mistakes up.” The flips were successful, but my recoveries slightly less so. The first one resulted in a hard bounce on the grass and a bent landing foot when I lost orientation. The second unsuccessful flip made me think that I’d really broken something. This time, I bounced it off of pavement and into the grass.
To my astonishment, all I’d done was to break a blade off of one of the rear props and bend blades on two others. I installed one of the spare props, checked for other damage (there was none), straightened out the other blades as best I could and took off once more.
Perfect. Just perfect. The model and camera responded without any problems and I might add that the battery enclosure saved the battery. An exposed battery would likely have been damaged and rendered useless. As for the other parts, a call with the part numbers to my friend Rob Thomas at nearby Rise Up Hobbytown showed the landing feet and props to be available for order and, I should mention, at affordable prices. By the time this review is published, the model will be as good as new, that is, assuming I don’t go too crazy practicing flips!
Here am I flying the Indorfin at some popular local flying spots:
Whether one thinks of the RISE Indorfin 130 Racer Brushless FPV Quad Race Pack as either one of the last Hobbico releases or a new Horizon release, one thing is certain.
This model is a winner.
It’s a fantastic, all-in-one package for someone looking to get into serious FPV racing and/or freestyle. Unlike overseas brands, this model is now backed by the legendary customer support of Horizon Hobby. If I have any gripe, it’s in regards to the goggles with its tight strap and loose front panel. Those with their own goggles or who prefer to investigate the possibilities of other goggles will soon be able to buy a model-only version.
Two thumbs up just as high as I can give.
Thanks go to Matt Cookson at Hobbico who arranged to send this terrific model my way. Thanks as well to Rob and Erin Thomas, owners of Rise Up Hobbytown in Palm Desert, California for the second flight battery, propellers and landing feet. Nathan Maat mans the administrator’s desk here at RC Universe on behalf of our readers like you.
Pluses and Minuses
- Outstanding flight characteristics
- Outstanding documentation
- Can be easily fine tuned or realigned after component replacement via Betaflight
- Incredibly rugged
- Affordably priced
- Incredible speed with lightning quick response
- May be used with any radio system which supports an SBUS, PPM or PWM receiver
- Powerful VTX means long distance FPV flights with less possibility of signal loss
- Readily available and inexpensive parts
- World class Horizon Hobby customer service
- Should be at or near the top of any multirotor enthusiast’s short list
- The strap on the goggles is too small
- The front panel of the goggles doesn’t close firmly