Before we get into it, let me start by saying, in the beginning we had some issues, but please keep reading the full review.
Things definitely get better.
Our review process with the Mini-Quake got off to a shaky start. The first day out of the box, I got the battery charged,
and was ready to go. I was trying to drive it around, and noticed it was going faster in reverse then forward. I thought,
hmm.. maybe the ESC just needs to be reset. So I pulled out the directions and reset the speed control. Put it down for a
test, and it seemed worse. I went to pick it up and the thing was blazing hot! It turns out there was two problems.
The first being, that it looked like I got a bad ESC. Hey when your shipping so many, once in a while thereís a bad one.
So itís not big deal, just a bummer to wait for a replacement. The second problem was that the instructions on how to
reset the speed control were incorrect. So if you have a Mini-Quake, or are thinking about buying one, download the
new instruction manual, it will save you some headaches.
(here is a link to the PDF manual file)
Duratrax Mini-Quake Manual.
So after getting a new speed control back from Duratrax I charged the batteries again, and was ready to go.
(BTW Duratrax has a very good customer service department. The people I talked to on the phone were always
friendly, and they did a good job of keeping me informed about my part/problem.)
Back to the garage! The first thing I noticed was
it was VERY glitchy! It was taking off in reverse, going forward, turning, all sorts of craziness as if someone else
was on my channel. I took off the body, and noticed that it was very neat under the hood. The antenna tube they give
you is about 4 inches shorter then a normal tube, yet you have a normal size antenna wire. So my first mod was to put
the antenna in a real tube. I put it down, and it was a little better, but still glitchy. So I put it back on the work bench,
and started just moving the wires around. Every touch caused some glitches to happen. To try and keep things nice
and neat, Duratrax zip-ties all the wires together. The receiver, the motor, the power, everything. So my next mod was
snip the zip, and separate the wires as much as possible. I put it down, much better! I was now able to get some
laps around the garage.
My first impressions after the mods were ĎWow.. this thing is pretty fastí. We clocked it at about 17mph which
was a really good speed. It took turns well, and has a nice center of gravity to it. It never felt like it was going to
tip over, or get out of control.
So enough garage fun, lets bash! We loaded up the truck, and headed out to our local dirt track. I was a little
scared at first. It was open practice, and later that evening was Monster Truck race night, so here we are, with a
1/18th scale truck, about to race right along side 1/10 scale monster trucks, 1/8th scale buggies, and everything in-between.
My first lap I took with caution. I wasnít sure how it was going to take the jumps, and I was also trying to pull over
to the side, and stay out of the way of any Revoís and LSTís looking to use me as a speed bump.
I made it around 1 full lap, and it seemed to handle pretty well, so it was time to actually drive it like I was going to race.
Our mouths dropped when we saw it take the first jump. The truck had great traction, and a lot of torque to muscle
it up and over. It was a little nose heavy, but keeping on the throttle let me land it with no problem. I flew through the
first turn, and noticed a 1/10th scale electric truck on my tail. I decided I wasnít going to pull over, and just see what
I could do. I took the two sets of doubles perfectly, and was able to corner very tight and quickly to the back straight.
I punched it, and the truck really took off. The 1/10th scale caught up quickly on the straight and was right next to me.
He started to slow down early to make the turn, and I actually was able to regain the lead since the Mini-Quake
cornered so well. I hardly had to slow down. I managed to stay in front of him for almost the full lap and was pretty
happy! Then out of nowhere I was hit from behind by a Gas Monster Truck. It was pretty funny, because I was mid-air
over a jump when he hit me. It literally launched my truck ahead like a rocket, but I landed it. WOW! I was having a
great time, laughing and really enjoying the drive. I would occasionally hear ĎWhat the heck? What is that?í from people
on the drivers stand, when their 1/8th scale buggies were trying to pass me. Iím not sure they were as amused as I was,
and I know for a fact there were a few people trying their hardest to use me as a speed bump again.
A few days later, we had it out in the parking lot, and was jumping one of those black Ďbike/skateboardí ramps,
and the Mini-Quake did great. It was landing well, the oil filled shocks could really absorb the landings, and it
had a good top speed. We did a good job of bashing this little guy, and it really shined with flying colors.
Sadly, the glitch problems arose again. I am starting to wonder if when the ESC fried, it took some of the receiver
with it. I replaced the stock receiver with an extra AM I had in my pit box, and the glitchís are gone! So I have sent
the receiver back to Durtrax, to have them take a look at it.
A few things of note. The run time is a little short. The stock battery is only 600mah. An upgrade to a quality
1100mah pack I think will be a nice improvement. The battery they supply just fits, so it might not be so easy to
squeeze in some aftermarket packs. The speed control only has forward with instant reverse. In this modern day
and age, I would like to be able to expect ESCís to come with Forward, Brake, Reverse, and Reverse lockout for
racing. Even the Kyosho Overland had a brake, and the double tap for reverse. There have been many times on the
track and in the parking lot where I just want to slow down fast, not lock up the tires, and slam into reverse. This has
to be rough on the gears as well. Checking the Duratrax web site, they have all these features on many of their other
ESCís just not on this one. Lastly, donít forget the Duratrax Stress-tech guarantee! They will replace a lot of the parts
you might break in the first 12 months for free! I think thereís a few things they donít cover, but not many other
companies will do that! So hurray for Duratrax! They rock!
In the future, we will be doing some side by side comparisons with the Mini-Quake and many of the other 1/18th scale trucks.
So a few quick comments from our early tests. Compared to the Team Associated 18T, itís a bit heavier, and larger,
so itís acceleration is a little slower, and it does not jump quite as far. Compared to the Minizilla, it really does not look
like a monster truck. The Minizilla really looks and handles more like a monster truck. The Mini-Quake seems to fall more
into the Ďtruckí category, but thatís fine with me.
Overall, we were extremely impressed with the way it handled the full size track! Itís been amazingly durable,
and pretty fun to drive and jump. It has a few little problems like the glitchyness, but with a few simple modifications,
it can be corrected. Iím happy to start to see some cool after market parts coming out for it. I saw some pretty cool
carbon fiber parts on a friends recently, and he had some other mods for wheels as well. Our next mod is going to be
brushless! The truck has a lot of power, and is really good with the stock motor, but we are curious to see if it can handle
the big speeds. It seems like the truck is geared for high end, but still decent on the low end, so weíll see how that plays into
the power. If youíre looking to get into 1/18th scale, or if all your friends are getting Mini-Quakes, and you are not sure if
you want to join them, just know youíll need to do a few things first. Make sure to separate those wires, download the new
instruction manual, maybe change out the receiver, and youíll have loads of fun! All electronic issues aside, itís a solid truck.
It would be cool of they released a pro kit, then you could just supply your own electronics. If youíre into racing or RC, you
probably have a spare receiver laying around anyway.
Like with all our stuff, if you see us at the track, or an event, feel free to stop by and check it out!
Time to Bash
7/10 We had some issues with the ESC, and glitches, but eventually got things corrected!
9/10 So far we have not broken a single part, so we havenít had to really repair much. Swapping out the electronics was nice and easy.
Car Show Rating
8/10 Itís a good looking truck. It fits the scale well. I had a lot of people checking it out at the track, and there are some cool hop-ups coming.
10/10 Whether youíre jumping, racing, or imitating a speed bump, this little guy can take a beating.
Big Squid Rating
8.7/10 Tentacles.. If youíre going to replace the electronics anyway, go pick one up. Itís a great little truck!