When they first came out, I was interested in them, but I had just purchased a set of Traxxas Big Bore shocks for my truck. Everyone said the Big Bores were the way to go. Turns out, everyone was wrong. The Big Bores did solve some of the issues I had been having, like popping caps, but they really didn't improve my ride. Plus I was still bending shafts on a regular basis, not to mention my a-arms still turned themselves into pretzels.
Pro-Line's PowerStroke shocks solved all of my issues. Out of the package they come almost assembled, and you really just need to add in the shock oil, which they actually provide for you! It's a little light at 30 weight, but great that it actually comes with the kit. One of the first things I noticed was that these things were BIG. I like BIG! Next to my Big Bores, they really looked like the next generation in shocks.
The next thing I did was squeeze them. The dual rate is really an impressive setup and it's cool to see how they work. Squeezing slightly compresses the top (softer) spring. Once that spring is pretty compressed the power transfers over to the larger (harder) spring on the bottom. I understood what the shocks were doing, but it really wouldn't sink in till I was out in the field testing them. More about that later. The shocks also come with their own sleeve setup to help keep dirt and debris away from the shafts.
Next I noticed was the lack of a spring on the second shock. These are the by-pass shocks. They contain about 40% more fluid then a conventional shock, and have position sensitive damping ports. This way as the shock gets compressed, the dampening rate increases. Again it's really great the way this works. So if your shocks are pretty well extended, it's very easy for the shaft to travel in and out. With this new design, the shocks are ready for catching some big air, or just keeping all the wheels on the ground! Between the dual rate springs and the dual rate damping, it's really tough to actually bottom out.
The install went smooth, and with the whole shock body being threaded, it was really easy for me to get the ride height I was looking for. It was time to head out to our
test track, when I ran into a small problem. Our local track was closed because they are moving to a bigger and better location. Since part of being a basher means pushing RC to it's limits, I figured testing shocks should be no exception. I made a few phone calls, and got myself some testing time on a popular BMX track. Now this is no normal track with little 3 foot jumps, this is an extreme downhill large jump track! The first jump is 12 feet high with an 8 foot table top! The second and third jumps are similar, with at least 3 more just like it later down the track.
I lined up the truck on the starting hill, and it was do or die time. I gunned it down the hill, and kept the throttle pegged up the first huge jump. The truck was about 3 feet in the air above the table top when I realized that from my view was about to loose site of the truck as it fell about 15 feet down on the other side. I saw Neil (holding the camera on top of the other hill) wince as the truck made a very poor landing. I ran over the hill to find the truck in perfect condition! None of the shafts had bent, and it was ready to go. I drove back up to the starting hill, and made sure I was going to be in position to have a better chance of attempting a landing. I raced down the hill, up over the table top and landed about half way down on the other side. It was a vision of beauty. The landing was so soft, and so smooth from that height! I then proceeded to take the next 2 huge jumps in a similar fashion. I made the turn, and raced towards a huge set of moguls. I flew through the first few, but then had another big crash on the last set. Still the truck was in perfect running condition. I spent the next hour or so just bashing these huge jumps and tearing up the track.
The center of the track was very rough. It was made up of grass, gravel, and dirt. The shocks dual rate system really shined! The wheels hugged the ground as the softer springs absorbed every little rock and bump like I was driving in a flat parking lot. It was really hard to believe that I was jumping 12 foot table tops, and then tearing up a field all with the same setup.
To wrap things up, these shocks are amazing! The price has come down lately to make the extra few dollars justifiable, and if you look around on the internet, you can find them for about $100! After experiencing them first hand, they are worth every penny and more! To make them an even better deal, there are now a few vehicles that actually come with the PowerStroke shocks installed like the Tamiya TNX Nitro Pro RTR! If you are looking to upgrade your stock shocks, these are the shocks to get! They will fit the Traxxas T-Maxx, and there are also kits for the Team Associated MGT and HPI Savage. If your a basher, these are truly must haves!
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