ST Racing Concepts is releasing CNC Machined Aluminum Front and Rear Shock bodies and lower caps for the Traxxas Slash, Rustler, Stampede and Bandit. The come in blue, red or silver anodizing and will be around $16 a pair. These things look pretty good, and at a decent price.
New from ST Racing Concepts are these CNC Machined Aluminum Upper shock caps for the Traxxas Slash, Rustler, Stampede, Bandit, T/E-Maxx. These upper shock caps are designed to work and thread onto the newer ultra versions of the Traxxas shocks. (with the grey shock bodys)
RPM RC has just announced their Black Revolver 2.2″ Truck Wheels for the Traxxas e-Rustler, e-Stampede and HPI RS4-MT. The advantage to a molded black wheel is the constant color throughout the wheel. If you get a scratch or ding, it will be less noticeable because the color is always there. These wheels also fall under that great RPM warranty!
Ok, yea I know they are already the most popular RC company right now, and they sell like a million cars a day (haha.. maybe the big three US motor companies could learn something from these guys), but if you are not into RC already, the odds of you knowing who or what Traxxas is, isn’t good.
So I opened the Sunday paper, started off with the funnies, and then hit the sales papers to see if there is any last minute shopping I need to ask Santa to do. As I was flipping the pages my eyes just about popped out of my head as I flipped to the Pep Boys ad and saw a Traxxas Rustler staring me back in the face! Its listed it at $199, a ‘Hobby-Grade’ radio control, with battery and charger. 3 Models available.
Now Cubby and I have had many conversations on what it would take to help spread the world of RC to more people, and who’s gonna be the first real ‘Walmart’ vehicle. Traxxas is almost always the name mentioned because it just makes sense. Easy to get into, reliable, and cheap. I’m not sure if this was a Traxxas promotion, or if some genius RC fan at Pep Boys thought it would be cool to do, and I am glad to see it done!
Ok, before I get a call from Cubby that he wants his soap box back, I’ll step off and bring it to a end. If you have the money, and you know a young kid in need of a hobby, go get him/her a RC for X-mas! You’ll have a fan for life!
Keeping up with our MIP theme today, we have the new C-CVD. This new design needs no thread lock or tiny set screw. Just insert the pin through the bone and coupling axle assembly then side the new RED C-CVD Capture Ring over the threads and screw it on. These new C-CVD’s will work on the Traxxas Slash, Nitro Rustler, and Nitro Stampede.
If you have been around the bashing scene for a while, the name MIP should be a familiar to you. I think if you owned a Traxxas T-Max, you were probably running MIP CVD’s. Well, MIP is about to be a name you start to buy again as they are starting to hop-up the Traxxas Slash!
This is the MIP Ball Diff kit for the Traxxas Slash. Actually any Traxxas running the Magnum 272 Transmission, so you can also include the VXL and XL Rustler, Stampede, and Bandit! Their new design, ready for all your brushless bashing and also allows for setting the diff without taking apart the whole transmission! Head over to the MIP site for more details.
As I sit here writing the last of this years Cub Reports, I can’t help but to wonder what lies ahead in 2009.
Will we see any of the big name manufactures close doors due to the economy? Will the sport continue to trend toward the “basher” side of the product lines? Will the Dream Team at Kyosho put out a car the average consumer can’t wait to buy? Will 8th scale brushless ever come to fruition? How many Slash clones are on the way? Will we see an avalanche of litigation towards lithium battery resellers? Will attendance at sanctioned racing events continue to fall? Will track designers ever start putting more thought into track layouts so that more than one racing line is available? Will nitro fuel ever spike in price? Will Losi continue to put out a new car/truck every couple weeks? But perhaps most importantly, will BigSquidRC see yet another huge leap in web-views like in 08? (2008 was AMAZING for BigSquid!) Any which way, 2009 begs to be a pivotal year in rc.
With no further ado, here is my list of the 2008 Cub Awards. The winners are solely based on reader submitted votes, with my personal picks mentioned separately.
08′ Car/Truck of the year- Traxxas Slash. Hands down winner here, with over 90% of the vote. Awesome price point, rugged, stylish, the list could go on and on. An awesome truck that is affordable to buy, and to drive. And above all, it’s just plain trick, no matter how bare-bones the design.
08′ Car/Truck of the year, Cub’s pick- I can’t argue with the public on this one, the Slash simply PWN’d 2008. The first time I saw the truck, I thought it was a born loser, but after seeing how the public has reacted, seeing sales numbers, and getting to drive one, I’m totally on this uber fun bandwagon.
08′ Worst Car/Truck of the year- Losi Desert Truck. Readers were wildly split in this category, with the Desert Truck narrowly edging out the win. It’s not that it’s a bad truck, as it’s based off a great platform. It’s only major downfall being that it’s just not a Slash. The narrow body, and legit 10th scale truck racing chassis (not scale) puts it just enough off the mark to leave a sour impression in readers minds.
08′ Worst Car/Truck of the year, Cub’s pick- I know I caught a lot of slack earlier in the year when I sung the idiocy of this buggy (truck?), but I sternly stand by my call here. JConcepts really is a cool company, and every other piece of gear they put out is outstanding. But, their “J82″ eight scale electric buggy conversion just makes me say, “WTF were you thinking?”.
08′ Best piece of rc gear of the year- Spektrum DX3R. The DX3R seems it has won over the hearts, and hands, of our readers. Fast response, light in the hand, and utilizing the kick ass Spektrum 2.4 GHz technology, puts it to the top of the heap. Best transmitter ever? I don’t know, but I can say it easily won the Cub Award for Gear of the Year.
08′ Best piece of rc gear of the year, Cub’s pick- Castle Mamba Monster. Yes indeed, the Monster had teething pains when released to the public (to say the least), but in the wider scope of things, it’s exactly what was needed to get every 8th scale buggy in the country converted over to electric. It’s big, it’s beefy, drives awesome, and like all other Castle products, it’s available at a very reasonable price point. Regardless of the tough initial release, the Monster is what was needed to continue the evolution of our sport.
08′ Biggest POS rc gear of the year- Our reader submissions in this category were all over the place. No one item got more than 5 votes, so I’m throwing them all out. I did get a readers submission that I took to heart though. It wasn’t about the Biggest POS piece of rc gear, it was about the Biggest F’en A-hole in the sport. This anonymous reader suggested that the fluff-boy that sued several American companies over the “made in the USA” logo truly earned such an award. To all those sue happy pricks out there, this birds for you.
08′ Zero to Hero of the Year (person or item that came out of nowhere to pwn)- Hands down winner here from our readers- Atsushi Hara. Now, it’s not like Hara was an unknown, he certainly wasn’t. Hara has been one of the most elite racers in the world for years. BUT, his win at this years 8th scale worlds shocked the world. An “on-road” guy putting it to the world. A foreigner smoking America’s best on home turf at The Farm. And even more surprisingly, the Hot Bodies D8 he used to win has a Ridiculously low price point.
08′ Zero to Hero of the Year, Cub’s pick- I gotta go with the readers here, what Hara pulled off will be talked about for decades to come in our sport.
Drum Roll Please…….
08′ RC Man of the Year- Seems our readers liked to vote on this category, a Lot. Everyone that voted, penciled in a vote for Man of the year. While the head man at Traxxas doesn’t seem to go out of his way to get his name in the headlines, his products, and his people have made a huge statement in 2008. The Traxxas T-Maxx changed the industry years ago, showing that something new and different could set sales records. For years now, the industry has waited for the “next big thing”. Incredibly, Traxxas pulled another ace out from under it’s sleeve with the Slash. So Mike Jenkins, and the rest of the team at Traxxas, this “RC Man of the Year” is for you.
08′ RC Man of the Year, Cub’s Pick- No, he’s not some crazy snow boarder/skier/mountain biker/X-Games medalist. But, he is Shawn Palmer. Inside the industry, he’s known as the guy with the big smile, great British accent, and marketing man guru. To consumers, he’s the guy that’s willing to do anything for the goodwill of our beloved sport. In 2008 Shawn Palmer went a long ways to increasing the awareness of ROAR, Schumacher USA, and the sport in general, to hard core hobbyist as well as laymen. He’s exactly what this sport needs more of, people going above and beyond simply for the good of the sport.
Congrats to the winners, that’s all for this year Squid readers. Tune back in first week of January, Friday the 2nd (look for all 09′ Cub Reports on Friday evenings!), for the next edition of The Cub Report. Till next year, thanks for reading, support your LHS’s, and support your local tracks!
Your Cub Reporter
Now that everyone has recovered from their turkey induced coma, let’s get down to the nitty gritty-
Tebo is signed up to the hilt with the K-crew. Ya, ya, I know you heard the news days (weeks?) ago, so it’s no huge surprise. What is a bit surprising is Tebo leaving his electrics at AE, having also signed up to exclusively run Kyosho electric trucks/buggies. The nitro MP-9 is more than up to the challenge of winning, K-car electrics, well, have not been dominant for a long, long time. Also, I suppose some people that are not so deep into the sport might think that Tebo changing over to AKA tires and Orion electronics might be a surprise. But seeing as Kyosho owns AKA and runs Orion America, most likely it was just part of the deal. Tebo is nearly 100% Kyosho now, except for now running Byron’s fuel (best fuel on the market, or at the least, the best people behind the fuel, IMO). Before, Kyosho had an “American Dream Team” of talent, now, with Tebo on board, it’s even more so. Here’s hoping the very best to JT with his new Kyosho rides, and here’s hoping that Kyosho and their even stronger “Dream Team” can come up with cars/trucks/buggies that someone wants to buy.
AE, the biggest, baddest, gnarliest American car manufacture announced their way-super-dope RC8 electric conversion this week. Smart move? Those 8th scale electrics aren’t flying off dealer shelves as one would have thought a year ago, so perhaps just putting out a conversion kit is smart. On the other hand, AE is just throwing their hat into the ring of the conversion market, along with Novak, Castle, Tekno, ect. If they’d just sell the buggy already outfitted for electric, there would BE no conversion market.
While I’m on the subject of 8th scale electrics, I had heard weeks ago that Caster Racing might be submitting a buggy for an official BigSquid test. Maybe it takes months to get one? Just say’n…….
Now onto this weeks “Hot Deals!!”.
Traxxas has announced that they will give you two free 7 cell battery packs when you purchase an E-Revo. Props to Traxxas!
HPI has become the second manufacture to announce factory cash back. Buy certain HPI/Hot Bodies products, ship’em your receipt and UPC code off the box, and get $100 back! Props to HPI!
And perhaps the best deal so far? A Tower Hobbies internet special where you got $20 off a $50 purchase. This deal just expired, but every week Tower seems to come up with new hard to resist savings. It’s obvious Hobbico/GP/Tower is trying hard to get your business.
Just a note to all you BigSquidRC readers- if you happen to get a flier in the mail or email box that shows huge savings, forward it to Brian at BigSquidRC dot com so he can share the savings with all our readers.
Lastly, it seems the “Cubby Awards” has taken on a life of it’s own. I get paid per reader, and Brian has always told me I only had 3 readers, resulting in diddly crap for net take home pay. Well, either my 3 readers have been voting 20 times a day, or I have more than 3 readers, because votes for the Cubbies have been pouring in at a rate that even freaks me out. If you have not Voted, it just takes a couple minutes, so start mashing those keys!
Till next week, support your LHS, support your local track, and get those votes in.
Your Cub Reporter
RPM RC has just announced a new set of Skid Plates for the Traxxas T-Maxx (#4908) and Traxxas E-Maxx (#3905). Pay close attention to those numbers. They are the newest versions of the T-Maxx and E-Maxx with the extended chassis rails. The original Skid Plates no longer fit, so RPM designed some new ones that would! If you own a T-Maxx or E-Maxx, you know you need RPM products to keep you bashing!
Check the NEW Product Forum for the full press release.
Gotta love our current economy. The slow last half decade has lead to many hobby shop and track closures, but what lies ahead may leave our hobby unrecognizable.
We are early into this economic downturn, and we are already seeing things we’ve never seen before in our sport. Cashback, GWP (gift with purchase), and Sales!!
Traxxas has a $50 cash back offer on the purchase of a new Slayer. Yes! Just like the full size cars, you get cash back! Send your proof of purchase of a new Slayer to the guys down in Plano Texas, and they send you $50! Once again Traxxas is being an innovator, and we will be seeing more of this in the near future. Not just from Traxxas, who are doing relatively well right now, but especially from those manufactures who’s meager/outdated offerings have deeper roots on the sales floor than a California Redwood.
Horizon/Losi is also running a special, but it’s more like a GWP. Buy a new 18th scale Losi Monster truck, mail in your proof of purchase and get a free Li-po battery and charger. So hit your LHS (local hobby shop to the newbies out there), pick up a new Mini-LST based truck, and Horizon will send you a nice little gift for your purchase. Props to Horizon helping lead the pack on cutting consumers a sweet GWP.
Did anyone say SALE? Well everybody loves a sale, even us rc knuckleheads. MaxAmps isn’t a chassis manufacture (yet), but they do offer some of the best lithium based batteries on the market right now. They are also known for being at the absolute cutting edge of “new age” marketing. Last week, they shot out the emails, shot out the press releases, and their market man posted on lots of message boards information on their battery sale. Yes indeed, a sale on all those high output Li-po’s you need for you brushless set-ups. While MaxAmps has held “specials” before, this is their biggest sale ever, with prices up to 50% off. Oh hell ya! Nothing better than Sale in the middle of the X-mas buying season.
Ok, ok, it’s nice as a consumer to see these specials, but on the other hand, it’s a painful reminder of how bad the economy is. Our beloved rc companies would not be holding these specials if they were making record profits. They aren’t, times are simply tough for everyone. But it’s one thing to hear Circuit Chity filed for bankruptcy, it’s going to be another when we start hearing about rc businesses going under. So all you consumers out there, times are really tough, but keep supporting your sport as much as you can. Family, rent, and food come first of course. But at the end of the month keep your rc hobby in mind with any leftover cash you might have. With the current and upcoming specials, your dollar will go further than ever before in our hobby, and rc cars are a great way to keep a huge smile on your face during the worst of times.
On a different note, during the second week of December I’ll be holding my first “Cubbies” awards. These will be awarded based on reader responses, in conjunction with my input and input from a variety of industry insiders. Email nominees to Brian at BigSquidRC dot com for the following categories-
08′ Car/Truck of the year-
08′ Worst Car/Truck of the year-
08′ Best piece of rc gear of the year-
08′ Biggest POS rc gear of the year-
08′ Zero to hero of the year (person or item that came out of nowhere to pwn)-
08′ RC Man of the year-
Till next week……..
Your Cub Reporter
So let’s jump right into the good stuff.
What was the hottest news at the show (besides the BigSquidRC and IMEX booth babes)? It was a hard call this year. I think the general consensus would have to go to the Traxxas Crawler. It was on display in all it’s glory, and looked really gnarly. Although, in my opinion, it looked a little more “monster truck” than “crawler”. Any which way, it was big, had huge tires, and looked like it could go over or through anything that might get in it’s path. Will it be more well received than the Slash? No way, but as with anything the Golden Child Traxxas touches, it will be a steady seller.
Traxxas had their first entries into the “mini” market also on display. The Mini E-Revo and Mini Slash were both shown under glass because they weren’t even plastic models, they were foam mock-ups. First time I looked at them, I thought they may have been shrunk down models of their larger offerings just for show. But, they are actually going to sell these. The rc world has been waiting for Traxxas to jump into that market for years, and during this time, 18th scale has gone from “hot” to “has been”. These two trucks are destined to pump much needed life into the “mini” market, and become all time favorites of indoor bashers. 18th scale trucks tend to be very durable, have insane run times, and are a blast to drive in your friends driveway or garage. With a Traxxas stamp on top of one, they should set new standards for all the above.
You couldn’t move two feet without seeing a Traxxas Slash at the show. I had personally totally dismissed the Slash when introduced, but it has become the “next T-maxx”. It’s everywhere, and when you watch them being driven, you just have to have one. At most local tracks, rules are strict, keeping them nearly stock. But bashers are having none of it, bolting on every hop-up they can bolt on. A company by the name of Xtreme was showing aluminum chassis’s, towers, and even hub adaptors to run 8th scale buggy wheels/tires on the Slash. The guys at the local track will tire of running bone stock sooner or later, so I can’t wait to see what direction the aftermarket takes with Slash hop-ups. Also can’t wait to see Associated and Losi’s rebuttal’s.
You also couldn’t move two feet without running into a booth selling brushless and li-po. The “new technology bastard” is now being sold by Everyone. It’s amazing satisfying to watch all the “old school” companies who hated this stuff when it was first introduced sell their soul to the devil while peddling it to keep their doors open now.
Sign of the times? Booths featuring 8th scale gas truggies were getting very little attention, yet a booth with a bone stock Slash in it had people stopping and taking pictures.
Btw, pretty much every year for as long as I can remember, the Hobbico/Great Planes/Tower Hobby booth had the prime real estate right at the entrance of the show. This year, there was a full size Traxxas CORR truck parked in front of it.
There were many large companies that didn’t come to the show. Big hitters like Kyosho, HPI ect didn’t make the trip out to the midwest. That didn’t keep exhibitor numbers down, as there seemed to be ten little companies show up for every one of the big guys that stayed at home.
BigSquidRC didn’t just get their name on the map at I-Hobby, nor did they just get their name on the radar of the mainstream dead tree magazines, they showed they are a legit, uber urban hip, and trend setting/digital era media source. The combination of hot booth babes, great view numbers for advertisers (with very reasonable cost per view rates), and very professionally done track demo’s, made BigSquidRC the break out hit of the show.
While walking the show on Sunday, I asked around about attendance numbers. Seems Thursday dealer day was nearly a ghost town, Friday dealer day was steady, Saturday consumer day was extremely heavy, and Sunday seemed about an average turnout. It’s obvious the show organizers have worked really hard, both to provide lots of activities at little to no cost for consumers to enjoy, and also with/for exhibitors to get them good deals on booth spaces and demo areas. The 08′ show might very well have had a record number of exhibitors, and from looking at the demo’s, that might have been a record as well. Nearly all the times were sold out for the BigSquidRC demo track, but there were also tons of airplane demo’s, monster truck racing, tractor pulling, and robot fighting going on. So props to the show organizers, they have their chit together, and put on one hell of a good show. It’s hard to pull record amounts of exhibitors and consumers in such a rough economy, but they pulled it off. All the exhibitors seemed to have gotten their money’s worth, and the consumers looked happy as larks.
To conclude, many say the day of the trade show is dead. While I might agree that they are on their way out the door, the 2008 I-Hobby show proved that they aren’t dead yet, and do serve a purpose, perhaps an even more important purpose in a bad economy. It pumps up those juices (and opens up the wallet) of not only the consumers that attend, but also pumps up those working in the industry.
Thanks for reading, read your BigSquid every day, and support those friendly folks down at your local hobby shops.
Your Le Cub Reporter
Since we already covered the big 1/16th scale news from Traxxas, I figure we better show the Traxxis Summit pictures we took. The coolest thing about it, remote locking differential. Lock and unlock on demand from the remote. You can see the extra mini servo’s inside that make this happen. The truck itself is based on the E-Revo, and while a lot of it screams crawler, they really tried to emphasize monster truck. The transmitter can also shift it from low (70:1) to high (25:1) gear. It also comes with their new waterproof electronics setup and a 10-LED light system! It will be interesting to see if this can hang with the E-Revo. I could use a good electric basher truck! We’ll see how fast it is out of the box.
Yesterday we reported on the new 1/16th scale vehicles E-Revo and Slayer EX, and today we have a few more pics with the prototype bodies!
Even more important is the new 2.4ghz TQ radio from Traxxas! Wow! I didn’t see this one coming either. I don’t really have a lot of details on it, and will do my best to get some more info, but I know they exist, AND I had one in our booth today! Not only that, but we installed one in our demo Traxxas Slash and got to use it! Here are two pics I snapped of it before we gave it back. One with and one without the receiver. It felt just like a normal TQ, so I don’t know if they are prototypes, or what, but I can dream about Traxxas starting to ship these with their vehicles! (PLEASE!)
Also, check out the bodies for the 1/16th E-Revo and Slayer EX. These are also prototypes, and are probably close to what will ship with the vehicles in 2009!