Scouting Custom Chassis' vs. KOP Chassis'

Our team was wondering if other teams take into account the team’s chassis and what role it plays in their decision on picking or generally working with the team.
Please vote and comment any input that you have on this topic.

  • KOP teams go on a do not pick list
  • KOP counts against a team in our scouting data
  • Neutral
  • KOP is given a bonus in scouting data
  • We must pick a KOP

0 voters

Edit: I made a mistake on the poll type so please only vote for one

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Curious why this even matters?


KOP is reliable and many teams find success with it. 7457 from last year is a great example.

In line with that, reliability is what we look for first and foremost in a drive train. If it fails mechanically in a match, or runs poorly in some fashion in general, that’s a red flag to us.

I don’t see any huge downside to the KOP drive train, so I’m not entirely sure why the distinction appears to matter.


Prefer to evaluate on field results


Kit of parts is a rock solid drivetrain - you can probably inspect it to see how well the team had built it if you have the impression that it’s amateurish, but it’s often a stronger and more reliable drivetrain than first year custom drivetrain teams who attempt something like mecanum or swerve.

For example, one of the strongest performing perennial teams in New England, 133, has been using the kit of parts drivetrain for years. Pay more attention to the mechanisms instead.

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The KoP is a perfectly valid choice. Custom chassis are also perfectly valid choices. How the choice impacts the build and competitiveness of a robot are what really matter - you can be competitive with either one.

The myth that custom chassis take longer isn’t necessarily true, although it can be. We had a driving custom chassis by the end of week 1. We placed our order for parts the day of kickoff, spent most of week 1 doing strategy and design work for the rest of the robot, and put it together after parts came in the first Saturday.

The myth that the KoP can’t be competitive is also not necessarily true. Competitiveness is much more driven by your drivers and what you put on top of your chassis, than it is your drive train (so long as that functions well, which the KoP one does). Additionally, there are plenty of upgrades that can be done to enhance the drivetrain of the KoP chassis - shifting gearboxes, switching to Falcon’s, etc.

In short, Chassis choice shouldn’t play any role in picking a team - look at how they perform on the field, and decide based on that.


We have had some thoughts that teams may be looked over due to the fact that they use a kit of parts chassis and were curious how other teams view them, especially since most very high level teams use a custom chassis. I land somewhat neutral where if they can compete well, it doesn’t matter the chassis type.


Cowtown robotics, winner of 2019 Carson and Consumer’s Energy divisions, used a KOP chassis last year as well.

Personally speaking, I see no value in caring about if it custom or KOP, it doesn’t really make that much of difference, each one can perform just as well, or worst, or better, as the other one. While you may want to look into drivetrains, the chassis themselves is just a base. The only time it worth actually thinking about this is if the chassis is falling apart might that be from aggressive matches or just running out of resources. Beyond that the chassis are simply just the main body you put stuff on.

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I don’t care what makes them move (unless it is mecanum or treads but that is just a consideration not a DNP), but if it makes the move well, I could care less


If their robot performs well, then I want to be on an alliance with them, no matter the chassis. If a team decides to use the KOP chassis to put money into other parts of the robot, or go to another event, sweet! If they use their own chassis for different specs and shape, cool!
Also, judging a team that uses a KOP chassis is unfair for teams who can’t afford one to make their own.

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All other things equal, I consider a team using a kitbot to be weighted higher on a pick list than a custom drivetrain. You can be almost certain of a reliable drivetrain if they use the kitbot, not so much with a custom drive.

Usually at the top end of pick lists, “all other things equal” never happens, though. This is more for the bottom half of pick lists, when trying to pick a support or defender robot, particularly when we don’t know the teams in question well.

Neutral I can understand, but if you rate kitbots negatively on your pick list, you have no idea what you’re doing. Sorry.


This is pretty much how I feel. I can confidently say that kitbot vs custom chassis has never decided a first round pick for us, but is a definitely a (small) bump for second round picks for whom reliability is typically a much greater concern


KOPs are a known quantity. A robot with a KOP chassis can drive (in to other robots) without deformation. Custom chassis can be more easily messed up, but they have a higher ceiling. It’s generally pretty easy to tell who’s messed up visually.

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We care about whether it was reliable in matches, which comes out of our scouting data. Whether a team used a KoP chassis or custom generally never comes up

If anything, a KOP chassis is proof that a team can follow directions! That’s a great quality for a potential alliance partner.

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The team I mentored last year said a team told them that team would not pick a team using a KOP chassis. I asked my team “would you cry if that team did not pick you?” and “is that team frequently in a position to pick?” My team couldn’t remember what team it was…

I also emailed the lead mentor and the head scout of two local teams that my team would definitely want to be picked by. Both said they valued on-field performance and consistency and that a KOP chassis was not an impediment to being picked by their teams. One said he felt that he had more confidence that a robot built on a KOP chassis was more likely to be reliable in elims. Both these teams have lead a winning alliance at least once in each of the last several years and have earn a spot at Houston Champs in the last several years.

We did not discuss the topic any further, went with a KOP chassis and played in elims at both District Events.


I’m surprised there’s so many neutral votes.

Yes, you’re all correct that nothing’s inherently wrong with a KOP drivetrain.

But you also can’t observe this in a vacuum. When ranking teams for a pick list the teams drivetrain matters when being compared to other drivetrains.

Nearly every kitbot I’ve seen is a 4 CIM drive. While it’s not “bad” by any means, there’s so much diversity performance wise when you expand your search to custom drivetrains.

Having a kitbot doesn’t count against you, but the alternative of a 6 NEO custom DT becomes much more appealing to teams looking for a defense bot. We track on-field performance for every match.

That said, driver competency IMO is weighted MUCH higher than the drivetrain capability. A really good defender with a 4 CIM DT could be a much better pick than an inexperienced driver using a 6 NEO DT.

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We seem to have a hard time actually winning tournaments, but with fair or even hard schedules last year we went undefeated in qualifiers at FLR, and the year before were 9-2 in qualifiers, both with the KoP chassis. The year before that we were utter trash on fire with swerve.

Your mileage may vary.


My couple of observations. Non of the elite teams that I know of run the KOP chassis. (My team does not fall into the elite category BTW). All the elite teams that I have worked with value reliably high in their sort list. Particular for their 2nd picks. They get that data from their scouting. On field performance is weighted a lot higher than chassis choice. A well built robot will get a lot more scouting points than chassis choice.

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