R-01 Continuously Variable (aka "not Gears") 

Manufacturer: SXS
Price: $70 USD
Available: Now 

Comments:  I never had a G1 Gears and he hasn't gotten the Classics treatment (so far) so I sprang for this third party guy (there's also a iGear version out there, btw).
   As a toy he's comparable to the Deluxe class size that Hasbro puts out. He comes with two hand guns (same mold, different colors). Contrary to the BBTS website, the toy does not have swords (no idea why they're pictured).
   He's not bad... my only real complaints are that his head seems a bit flat. It turns 360 degrees but they could've added a little bit more "bulk" to it, made it more rounded out (like I always pictured Brawn being). Also, his backpack in robot mode (i.e. car rooftop, wheels, etc.) doesn't really lock down as well as it could. They really should've made a piece to clip it together instead of hoping it would more or less stay where it is (some of Hasbro's Classics toys also have this problem though).
   His SUV mode is pretty good overall. It does lock together fairly well and looks quite good. I suppose they could've made some holes for his weapons to store on the vehicle mode (but it's not a big deal really. I'm just nitpicking now).
   The price is...iffy. Honestly, this toy should be a bit cheaper. I realize all third party toys are expensive and they're a very small run compared to what Hasbro or Takara do, but part of me wonders why a Deluxe sized toy is so much money. Couldn't they have sold it for, say, $50 instead?

Verdict:  Good. If you love Gears and don't mind the price, pick this guy up. He's not perfect (what is, though? :) but he's fairly decent overall.

Flat head