As I sit here, it’s the last day of July, 2013. In the UK, we’ve just endured a heatwave of such epic proportions that the newspapers used up their annual allocation of “Phew, what a scorcher!” headlines in about a week, and have had to go back to talking about actual news.
However. Rewind to December 24th, 2011, and it’s highly likely that - unless you were in Australia (1) - it was pretty cold.
Weather discussions over, and I see from the database at the esteemed Brickset.com, that in addition to being cold, another thing that happened on the 24th was the release of the Lego Technic 9392 Quad Bike.
And that is what we’re here to discuss.
Now a couple of things spring to mind. Firstly, this set’s been available for about 18 months, and if Lego stick to their usual sort of schedule, then the Quad Bike is due for retirement in the next 6 months or so. In other words, I’m not exactly Speedy McQuick when it comes to reviews. But I’ve only just built it, so I’m going as fast as I can. I mean, I literally finished building it moments ago. Well, a couple of hours ago - I had to make our evening meal. And do a bit of washing up.
The second thing that sprang to mind is this :
What stupid kind of date is December 24th to release a new toy? The biggest orgy of toy buying in the western world (2) is occurring on December 25th, so you decide to keep your new toy out of the hands of consumers until a few hours beforehand?
Anyway, that aside, we’ve been out and spent £17.99 or thereabouts on 9392. So what do we get?
Well we get a nice box.
Lego Technic 9392 Quad Bike. The front of the box...
...and the back!
The front shows the Quad bike, and unsurprisingly, the back shows the alternate model, a dune buggy style racer. Opening up said box reveals…
Contents of the box
Two manuals, one for the ‘A’ model, and one for the ‘B’ model, three bags of parts, four chunky tyres and one small sticker sheet. And quite a lot of fresh air. I guess that this is a ‘mid-sized’ set, and warrants a ‘mid-sized’ box, despite the fact that it could have been two-thirds, maybe even half the size. That’s marketing for you, I guess.
Anyway, back to the contents of the oversized carton. Unlike the larger sets, the sticker sheet is just loose in the box - no cardboard backing or what have you. Fortunately mine had escaped any bending or creasing, so that’s all good.
Fishing out some bowls from the kitchen cupboard, I empty out the parts and turn to page one…
To be fair, this is only the fourth set I’ve built, and the first three were all small, but as I got stuck into the first few pages, I thought to myself “This is more like it!” In comparison to the two small trucks and the crane that have gone before (all of which I enjoyed building), the Quad is much more the sort of thing I was expecting. A complex mass of pins, beams, axles and… other bits.
The build starts with the rear of the bike, and you build a sub assembly which goes from what would be the saddle (if it had a saddle, which is doesn’t), down to the rear axle. This axle moves up and down, to soak up the bumps that it will no doubt encounter on living room floors all around the world, and is damped by a spring loaded shock absorber.
This section is then put to one side for a while, and work begins on the front. The steering column appears, and then the front suspension is built up around it. And if you’re me, it's then disassembled as you realise that you’ve put the steering column in upside down.
Anyway, I finally got back on track, and the front suspension is a thing of plastic beauty. I believe (3) that it is what’s known as ‘double wishbone’ suspension. Suffice to say that the independent front axles have a very satisfying ‘springiness’ to them.
Front sub-assembly, which I thought was pretty neat!
Then, like magic (4), this, and the previously constructed rear sub-assembly just clip together! A couple of reinforcing beams snap into place and you realise that you’re actually a good way though the 199 piece build.
The front and rear coming together in plastic harmony!
Next up is the engine - buried away in the midst of the machine, which has a single cyclinder lolloping up and down, driven by the chain, which we’re about to put on.
There is some slight fiddliness when putting the 27 links of the chain together, but once linked up and hooked on, they are extremely robust, and haven’t shown any signs of coming apart.
And with that, the end is in sight. The wheels, with their big, fat balloon tyres go on. The body panels go on. The handlebars are assembled, and we’re finished. I was in two minds about the stickers, but there are only four, and none of them go across two or more pieces, which means that it wouldn’t stop me taking the set apart again.
So after building it ‘stickerless’, I whipped the panels off again, and with some flashbacks of putting RAF roundels on the wings of a badly painted Airfix Spitfire, some 40 years previously, I rather shakily applied the stickers. More by luck than judgement I managed to get them all on pretty much straight, and I have to say they do finish the set off nicely.
9392 Technic Quad Bike - the finished article!
Overall, I thought this was a great set. Fascinating building techniques. A good price. A nice mix of ‘Technic-y’ stuff - the steering, two different sorts of suspension, the working engine...
Complaints? Not really. The only one would be the same thing that just about every other reveiwer has picked up on, and that’s the fact that there’s very little range in the steering, so if you get stuck down a narrow alley, be prepared to do a 47 point turn to get out.
For a smallish set that’s bordering on impulse purchase money, I thought it was great. Highly recommended to those starting off down the Technic road.
I shall admire my handiwork for a day or two, then take it apart and build the ‘B’ model.
Watch this space...
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(1) Other Southern hemisphere countries are available.
(2) I’m assuming this is the case. I have done no research to back this up, so if you know better - well done you!
(3) I’m no engineer - do not assume that this is definitely correct.
(4) Although if you’d paid to see a magic show and this is what you’d got, you would probably ask for you money back.