Top positive review
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Much more than meets the eye.
on February 12, 2013
Let's start off by saying that this is not a $250 Hobby grade RC, it's a toy. But it is also a lot more than 'just' a toy. for one, I haven't seen many toys that had a fully articulated multi-link suspension, with roughly an inch and a half of travel (that's the body sitting flat. If you lift one tire, you'll notice that you can lift it 3 and a half inches before it lifts another tire.) From a mechanical side, it's a very clevery built starter to test interest in hobby RC; if this truck is fun, then a hobby grade RC will thrill. And, this truck has a lot going for it to make an excellent starter truck for budget minded individuals. Another great benefit of this truck is that it IS highly articulate. Many toy RC trucks with 'suspension' are for looks, but this truck has shocks with coilovers, and they DO work when you put the truck in a bind. They suspension linkages and shocks aren't cosmetic, they're fully functional.
It is slow, but if you look at the real world crawlers, speed isn't the end goal; torque is, and this truck is surprisingly torquey to be powered by six AA batteries. It's not a wall climber, but it will climb up rocks as tall as it is, and sometimes taller depending upon the approach side of the rock. It's capable considering the cost, and it's also very sturdy. Just this morning I had a little testing session, and I can't tell you the number of times I jarred the bottom casing off of rocks and while the crunch sound was unnerving, the bottom side of the truck is still in good shape. Yes, the rocks have dinged it up in places, but that's part of the brilliance; it's less than $50 shipped, so a ding isn't the end of the world. Do people who spend $500 feel the same way? Maybe, maybe not.
This truck is not without fault. For one, the steering is dodgy. One time when you turn the wheels, it'll turn some, the next time it'll turn much more. Considering that 99% of the design is towards moving the truck over obstacles and not something like figure 8s, it's not a big deal. The turning circle is pretty large, but if the wheels turned very sharply, I'm betting they'd shear off the truck a lot easier when you bounce it off a rock at a funny angle.
The controller I do not like at all. It's a pistol grip style, and no pistol grip controller has ever satisfied me. A personal different, but not a big one. I'd prefer two toggles in a hand held controller, but we don't always get what we prefer. If the choice is a lesser truck with a controller I like, or this truck with a controller I don't like, I'd pick this one.
Liking or disliking RC often confuses because people use the vehicles for purposes that they weren't designed for. This is a crawler, not a racer or a trophy truck. It's meant to go up and down rocky terrain, not go 99 MPH and turn like an F-16. With that in mind, this truck is a good one. The tires have some grip, the body is positioned so it does look weird, but the body isn't bouncing off of obstacles, and the gearing is there in spades.
For mine, it's destined to be modded towards hobby grade. The truck is literally that good, and I've driven some pretty costly hobby RC crawlers to compare it to. Rather than go the conventional method to Hobby grade and throw money at the hobby, I'm going to make this one a long term build for me. Being able to build a competitive hobby crawler on a $40 base, and effortlessly shove it up a trail that $500 machines struggle with, that's what it's about! First up is a heavy dose of protective copper cladding underneath to keep those rocks from cracking the gear housings. ;)