How To – Going Fast with the ECX 4WD Circuit
Axial Yeti Review – A Rock Racing Beast – With Video
Unboxing – LOSI LST XXL 2 – 1/8th Scale Gas Monster Truck
HPI Racing Savage XL Octane Review
BigSquidRC Road Trip – Pro-Line Racing
What's new: Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
Venom has another new charger and this time it’s a fancy one. The Venom Pro Charger Ultimate DC Multi Charger has many features that high-end users expect. As the name implies it is a DC only charger that can charge multiple types of batteries, including LiPos, LiFes, NiMHs, and Lead Acid. It’s capable of up to 10 amps of charing output and up to 5 amps of discharging. The Pro Charger also has a 5V, 1A USB connector for charging cell phones and MP3 players.
The Venom Pro Charger Ultimate will be arriving towards mid-October and have a MSRP of $99.99. Check out the Venom Group web site for more info.
Venom thinks that all these super complicated chargers are overrated. So they decided to simple it up a tad with their new Easy Balance LiPo Charger. To start with this new charger is made only to charge 2s – 4s LiPos, no other chemistries are supported to complicate things. Simpling it up a little more, they’ve made only one thing adjustable, the charge rate, and it’s done via an old school analog knob from 0.1 up to 4.5 amps. And the Easy Balance charger uses plain old green and red LEDs instead of super fancy LCD screens to tell you what’s what. It includes an AC adapter so you can use it at home without the need for a separate power supply. So if you’re in the market for a new charger and are frightened by all those fancy chargers with tons of buttons and flashing screens then this may be the charger for you.
The Easy Balance Charger should be hitting store shelves around mid-October for an MSRP of $64.99. Check out the Venom Group web site for more info.
While we were working on the HPI Racing Mini Trophy Truck Review, just like all of our reviews, we are usually shooting some video footage, and below is the result. If you double click the video, it will take you to YouTube where you can watch it in all it’s HD goodness.
Don’t forget to subscribe while your watching so you don’t miss all our new released videos. Don’t forget to check out the full Mini Trophy Truck Review.
What's new: Monday, August 23rd, 2010
Despite all appearances Kershaw Designs is not just obsessesed with 1/5 scale brushless conversions. They also offer plenty of stuff for other scales. One of their newest products is the Gen 2 Brushless System for 1/10 scale vehicles. The Gen 2 ESC will support up to 3S Lipo or 4 – 9 cell NiMHs. The Gen 2 motors are available in 2450, 2726, and 3065 KV ratings.
The Gen 2 system is priced to sell at $69.99 for the ESC, $59.99 for a motor, or an incredible price of $99 for a combo.
Check out the Kershaw Designs web site for more info.
Kershaw Designs loves them some brushless converted 5Bs and 5Ts and to prove it they’ve expanded their line of Mod 1.5 pinions that mesh with the stock spur gears on the Baja Fives. The full line now includes 12 – 20 tooth 8mm bore steel pinions and 14 – 20 tooth 10mm bore hardened steel pinions. Prices are $14 for the 8s and $24 for the 10s.
Check out the Kershaw web site for more info.
There’s no such thing as having too many tools. Unless you have to carry them all around. Team Associated has created a way to help you lighten your load with their new Stamped Multi Tool V2. This new version is now compatible with all the V2 shocks that Associated is putting on all of their new kits. It will also hold 1/8″ turnbuckles, the 5mm AE hex ball cup and 3/16″ shock bushings. It’s an ideal tool to put in your pocket and take with you on all of your bashing adventures. Best of all, it’s only four bucks. The Associated Multi Tool V2 should be on your hobby shop’s shelves now or very soon.
Check out the Team Associated web site for more info.
How are tracks keeping their doors open now days? Have you looked at weekly attendance at your local tracks? More likely than not, your local track is getting 15-40 entries on a weekly basis, hardly enough to keep the lights on and rent paid. Well, I’ll tell ya how many tracks are keeping their doors open, big “trophy” races. Many tracks depend on trophy races to bring in enough dinero to keep from going under, without them, they simply could not make it.
Depending on trophy races to keep your doors open is not how a “fun” hobby should operate. A “fun” hobby should depend on building up a base of local/not so serious racers that come out religiously every weekend. Having a strong “fun” local base makes noobs feel more comfortable, creating a snowball effect, one that encourages first time racers to come back every weekend, giving a local track a steady growth of new blood.
Walk into an “average” track now days and you’ll find the same 20 hardcore racers you would have found there in 1996. Hundreds of noobs have come, felt uncomfortable and/or totally uncompetitive, and never came back a second time. Those 20 racers are the ones that will go out of their way to win at any cost- from cursing, to not sharing common set-up information, to hacking, to flip’n out on marshals, to generally doing anything to run away potential challengers to their spot as local fast guy. But, these few local hardcore guys (the ones that are willing to travel to race) are the ones keeping most tracks open. Out of their pockets come the $30-$150 entry fees for all those trophy races that keep tracks open. The real question is, how much longer can our hobby keep milking these guys dry every year before they start asking themselves is it really worth it? At what point will the local hardcore guy see that he spent 15k last year for a few plaques and a couple of partial sponsorships? Was spending 15k and missing his kids grow up worth those plaques and partials? Those guys are hardcore, but they aren’t stupid (perhaps a bit obtuse), and many of those aging hardcore guys have just about had enough.
Not helping are some track owners. I’ve talked to several new track owners lately who just can’t wait to hold big races. They see “big” races as the only way to make any money. They see big races as the only way to establish their track as being a “good” one. They really could care less about what their local noobs want, they only people they seem to listen to are the hardcore racers on RC Tech who live 50 miles away but swear they’ll support their track (well, if the makes the rules and the track the way they want them).
Also not helping is ROAR. ROAR gave up on local racing years (decades?) ago, seemingly now only caring about nationals (upon nationals, upon nationals). After seeing dwindling membership year after year, they seemingly came up with the brilliant idea of holding as many different national races (and classes) as possible. They seemingly think the only way they can make more money is via entries to their national events, so they hold a ridiculous amount of them (anything for a buck eh? no matter how much it devalues their winners). If you race full scale motorcycles in the USA (dirt or street, it does not matter), you are most likely an AMA member, as nearly all local Joe Blow tracks in the country require an AMA card for even the most basic of events. It seems like ROAR is all about the money these days, funny that they don’t understand the real money is to be had at the local level.
Ok, to finally digress- the most important people in racing are the noobs, the guys that show up with the Stampedes, Red Cats, and T-Maxxs. Yet, while we all know that, nobody caters to them. We see it every single day. We see the future of the racing side of our hobby die a little each time a noob walks out the door never to return.
Enough of this racing talk, I could go on, and on, and on, so……
On to a different subject, we’ll be starting our 4S 8th scale Lipo shootout in mid September, and will hopefully be publishing the results the first week of October. On board so far is Thunder Power, Ace, and Checkpoint. Rumors still abound around the office that MaxAmps is IN.
Speaking of shootouts, our high zoot editor Brian says he has a boner to do a 2.4 Ghz transmitter shootout, lets say Futaba 4PK vs Tactic vs Spektrum DX3R vs one of the affordable alternatives. If you are a manufacture up for the challenge, fire off an email to Brian at BigSquidRC dot com, and if you are a consumer who thinks such a shootout would be cool to see (and what some of the criteria should be) send an email to that same email addy.
Ok, I’ve gone wayyyyyyyyy too long this week. As always, thanks for reading my drivel (sarcastic English butchering rants), and get out from behind that tube (ok LCD screen) and hit up your LHS, local tracks and bash spots!
YOUR Cub Reporter
What's new: Saturday, August 21st, 2010
Photo of the Week:
Bridge Crossing by Pah co chu puk
If you’ve found a great link, photo, or video out there in the last week, feel free to drop us a line about it to brian AT bigsquidrc.com. Put “Around the Web” in the subject line to help us sort it from all the hundreds of other emails we get.
Giveaway: EuroRC, a new Europe based online hobby shop is giving away a Team C TR02 RTR Brushless to one lucky person. Just sign up for their mailing list or “Like” them on Facebook to be entered.
Next weekend: Traxxas TORC R/C Challenge – Route 66 Raceway, Chicagoland, IL. R/C and full scale short course racing action. Plus a chance to win a ride in the full-scale Traxxas pace truck or a Traxxas Slash 4×4 Ultimate.
Shameless Self Promotion: Unboxing the Axial XR10
Video of the Week:
What's new: Friday, August 20th, 2010
We got our hands on a Axial XR10 here at the Big Squid RC Headquarters, and I have to say the guys here are pretty stoked about it. This is going to be one of those kits you can’t rush, but when it’s done, it will all be worth it!
As expected here are the official unboxing photos. I’m not sure if they all come this way, or if were special, but it was wrapped very well. The box itself is cool, flat black has been the trend lately, and this box looks really good with it. It’s a true kit, and lets you know your going to need a good amount of stuff to complete it. Not recommended for kids under 10… now we are in trouble!
Unlike most unboxings, we have a ton of parts here, an no big ‘chassis’ to look at, so this is all you get. We haven’t opened all the bags yet, we don’t want to loose anything before the rest of our parts (motors, esc’s..) get here. Hopefully these few pics will hold you over till we start the build!
Check out Axial’s site for more info on this beast!
Word from Traxxas is that NASCAR Star Kyle Busch will be racing at the Traxxas Torc Series in the Pro 2WD Class and hist first race will be next week at the Route 66 Raceway in Joliet Il!
This is pretty big news for the Torc Series! Members of Big Squid RC will be on hand checking out all the action, so if you see one of us, make sure to stop and say hi, and pick up some stickers! If you can’t find us, we’ll probably be hanging out with Kyle, giving him some tips, and daring him to go big on the triples!
Read all about it on theTraxxas Website!
What's new: Thursday, August 19th, 2010
A couple of months back we mentioned that the Hot Bodies TCX kit would most likely be shipping in August, well guess what! Hot Bodies just announced the new HB-TCX kit is starting to ship!
This thing has a TON of features that make the on-road guys weak at the knees like 50/50 centralized weight distribution, narrow bulkheads, LiPo/Life ready, dual link steering and a bunch of other stuff.
Check out the Hot Bodies site for more info, specs, and pictures.