For Bashers, By Bashers!

Monster Truck Madness – Putting Some Pep Into An Axial SMT10

Had some good e-mails in the queue, so this week I wanna catch up on them here.

Hey Doug,
I read your articles on Big Squid and follow your Trigger King Youtube page and enjoy all of it. I have an SMT10 that I use for bashing and I’m having some trouble finding some info on wheelies. I have the updated 2020 model SMT10 and my kids and I were a little disappointed that I get pretty much zero wheelies out of the box with it. If I put a brushed 17T motor in, will I get some wheelies? Or would I be better off with a short wheelbase kit? I don’t want to dump a lot of money in it because it’s just for backyard bashing (no racing near me) but I mean, come on, a monster truck needs some wheelies! I bought your recommended wheelie bar (RH Designs) before I purchased the SMT10 but I haven’t even installed it because it would serve no purpose for me lol.
Thank you for your expertise and your time,
Ryan Black
Proctorville, Ohio

Hey Ryan, thank you for reading! So, you bought an RH Designs Wheelie Bar kit (big recommendation by the way) and you are looking for a reason to install it?

Yeah, the Axial SMT10 in stock form isn’t going to be ripping power wheelies. The combination of soft power and a long wheelbase aren’t conducive to this.

I don’t think using a 17t brushed motor is going to accomplish what you want. I use those 17t’s with advanced timing and my Axials still don’t wheelie. Even in high bite situations. You, my friend, are going to need to upgrade to brushless.

I’d keep it simple and cost effective. Go with a Castle Creations Sidewinder 4 system with 5700kv combo. You don’t need a sensored setup to have fun and that is plenty of power to pull the front wheels up. You’ll then get to start upgrading the powertrain as you break stuff, and hopefully you can find enough info to understand what you’ll need to do when it’s time for that! Thanks for reading/watching!



I have watched a ton of trigger king vids. Love it! I am an old school rc dude, grasshopper II and lunchbox. Always wanted to step into the clod game… but college and stuff was always in the way. Now I am in a place where I can get back into rc and I love what tk is doing. I am trying to start a solid axle club up here in Portland, Oregon, but I need all the rules… your website is epic, and it has most of the rules, but I need to know about: what is considered a penalty, how do you bracket races, how do points work, what are the dimensions of the ramps and tracks… I know I am leaving stuff out, there is a lot… Dude, you guys rawk and any info you could provide would be much appreciated. Love the pulling trigger vids too. This is growing and you guys are heading the charge and making rc fun again. Great job!

Thanks, -Eric H.

Hey Eric, thank you for the e-mail and the kind words.

So, there is a lot here. I won’t be able to answer all of it, but I can tackle some.

First off- anyone wanting to race solid axle monsters up in Portland, OR? If so, e-mail me at and I’ll pass your e-mail along to Eric. That’s really step one.

Track dimensions are all over the place. We’ve raced in small 20′ x 20′ areas, up to huge fields. That can be flexible. Our ramps are typically 36″ wide. Some clubs use smaller ones. We like them being a bit wider since it makes hitting them at speed easier.

As for penalties assessed during a race – 2 seconds added if you don’t get your two front tires up on a ramp, 4 seconds if you totally miss a ramp or other obstacle, DQ if you red light, DQ if you go into the other racer’s lane and hit or impede their progress.  That’s most of it.

As for how we run our brackets, due to time constraints for the day we do random seeding. All of this is done in this free bracket website – Chollonge. Completely recommend it!

Thanks for writing in Eric and good luck getting stuff started in Portland!

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Posted by in Monster Truck Madness on Thursday, April 15th, 2021 at 3:50 pm