Monster Truck Madness – Offsetting Penalties
Wheel offset is a very important choice when it comes to solid axle monster truck building and setup. In some cases it not only affects performance, but determines whether you can even turn the wheels or not!
Until just a few years ago, monster truckers had to make due with stock Tamiya Clod and TXT-1 wheels. This meant getting creative to achieve necessary extra width, whether using very small batch “production” kits like the legendary Thunder Tech Wheel Wideners or hacking together something yourself.
See, a 4-linked monster truck needs a heck of a lot more width than the stock setup provides, and that’s true whether you are wanting to put them on an actual race Clod OR something shaft/Axial based.
That all changed once Pro-Line introduced the Brawler wheel in 2015, as it came in both stock AND +17.5mm options. Those of you that weren’t active in this segment of the hobby back then have no clue as to how important they were in helping to give this niche a much needed boost. In 2016, JConcepts brought out the Tribute Wheel with three different insert choices: stock Clod, +18mm and +25mm. These gave builders even more choice for truck setup.
So yeah, with all of these choices now offered, a very common questions in the pits is “what width do I use?”. Folks, I have tried every combination on pretty much every conceivable type of truck over the last 3 years, so let’s talk about it.
If you are going with a full blown, front steer only race monster truck like a mod-Clod or Axial SMT10, wider is almost always better. It’s that simple really. The increased width not only allows for minimal rubbing of tire to bottom link bar, but also creates a wider, more stable foot print. And yeah, turning radius is helped as well. Just remember that the wider you go, the more stress you are putting on your axle ends, though. You’ll want to bullet proof those for sure.
Ok, so we’ve talked about race trucks. What about old skool-styled retro monsters? That’s a bit trickier. On my classic Clods I constantly waffled between stock and +17.5/18mm. The reason for this is two fold. For starters, when you are talking 4 wheel steering, the extra width makes an already finicky proposition even trickier. A truck with 4WS already has more turning radius than they need, so adding even more isn’t necessary. Yes, it can make your truck more stable, but it isn’t worth the trade-off to me, personally.
The other reason is purely cosmetic. I think a really wide tired classic rig looks kind of dumb. The trucks were tall with tires tucked underneath for the most part, and I much prefer that look. Hey, to each their own though!
So while this is my take on the matter, I’m not saying this should be held as gospel. Some prefer ultra wide retros, others like slightly thinner race trucks. Personal preference/customization is a major part of the fun of solid axle monsters, and I’d recommend you experiment as well!