Radio-Controlled, All-Terrain Goodness
How many times have you wished you could wheel every day? Throw some dirt after dinner? Crawl some rocks after work? Well, now you can, easily, with Traxxas' new four-wheel-drive Summit radio control (R/C) truck.
If you haven't been following what's going on in the R/C hobby world, it's time. This market has exploded in recent years as advances in technology have ushered in a new wave of incredible R/C vehicles. The Summit is one of those vehicles. This rig is way cool, and it has a mind-boggling number of features us wheelers are very familiar with, like long-travel four-wheel independent suspension, selectable diff-locks, and high/low range.
The Summit is manufactured by Traxxas. They're the leading seller of nitro and electric R/C vehicles for the last four years running. Traxxas has been in the R/C business since 1986, and they're the folks who pioneered the concept of offering fully assembled, hobby-class R/C cars. Back in '86, this was an entirely new concept; up until then, R/C cars had come unassembled. Traxxas called this new class of cars "Ready-To-Run" (RTR), and it revolutionized the market. Today, Traxxas offers a huge variety of RTR R/C vehicles. Further, Traxxas has become a major player in the wheeling world. For instance, they had a huge presence at the 2008 SEMA show in Las Vegas, the 2009 King of the Hammers (KOH) race in Johnson Valley, California, and they're the big name behind the Traxxas Off-Road Championship (TORC) short track racing series.
So what components did Traxxas integrate into the Summit and what's it like to drive? Read on.
PhotosView Photo Gallery
Traxxas engineers designed the Summit's nylon composite chassis to be lightweight, integrated and rigid, with a smooth center skidplate to protect the driveline. The gray-colored areas are the vented, dual integrated battery compartments, which are scalable for different-sized batteries. They were integrated low and close to the center of the truck to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. To the right of the battery compartments you can see the dual digital waterproof steering servos. These servos deliver a combined 250 ounce-inch of torque (think of this as Traxxas' answer to hydraulic-assist steering). Speaking of the steering, it's ball bearing-supported for strength.
The Bottom Line
The Summit's design and features culminate to create a rig that's a blast to drive on all types of terrain. Transitioning from high-speed driving to rockcrawling and vice-versa is as simple as pushing the high/low transmission shift switch on the controller. Similar to the lockers in many OEM four-wheel-drive trucks, you can select between unlocked differentials, front diff lock, or front and rear diff lock, and we found that the T-Lock diffs locked and unlocked quickly. We think that one of the Summit's coolest features is the waterproof electronics. This means water, mud, and snow are obstacles to be enjoyed and not avoided.
The Summit is also durable. We endo'd, barrel-rolled, stuffed, and augered the Summit throughout testing and so far it has suffered no damage. This says a lot about its construction quality.
To us, it's clear that the 1/10-scale Summit was designed to appeal to a wide variety of users, no matter what discipline of R/C wheeling they're into. This is a rig you can unpack from its box and confidently crawl rocks, throw dirt, jump, or blast through water. If we could liken it to a real-world rig, we'd say it's similar to the type of rig used in the KOH race. It's mega versatile and tough. Clearly, there are some experienced wheelers working at Traxxas.
With a street price of around $500, without batteries and charger, the Summit is competitively priced in the world of RTR R/C trucks, especially considering its lengthy feature list. We think it's a small price to pay for such big fun.
Model: Traxxas Summit
Length (in): 22.17
Width (in): 18.48
Height (in): 12.6
Wheelbase (in): 14.84
Center ground clearance (in): 4.76
Front track (in): 18.48
Rear track (in): 18.58
Weight: 10 lb., 9 oz.
Speed control type: EVX-2
Motor: Titan 775, fan-cooled
Transmission: Two-speed (low 70.18:1, high 25.34:1)
Differential type: T-Lock, remote-operated
Gear pitch: 32
Drive system: Shaft-driven four-wheel drive
Radio system: Traxxas TQ-4
Top speed (mph): 20+
The Rockin' World of R/C
Delving into the R/C hobby world is a fascinating experience. Not only are there some great RTR trucks like the Summit, the R/C truck aftermarket is very similar to the aftermarket for real four-wheel-drive trucks. Electric winches; replica Rockwell, Dana, Toyota, and portal axles; beadlock wheels; a replica Atlas transfer case; a wide variety of tire types replicating the tread designs of popular brands; a special transmission that allow front "dig" capability; and piggyback- and remote-reservoir shocks in both single- and dual-spring applications are some of the cool items we've seen. Rockcrawling is one of the hottest new trends in R/C, and indoor and outdoor races are commonplace. Many of the rigs in these competitions are custom-built by their owner, much like the real thing.