This article was originally published in RC Driver’s June 2015 issue.
Words: Nate Myers
Photos: Walter Sidas
Axial’s release of the Yeti may have been 2014’s biggest highlight for scale off-road enthusiasts. While it appeared to be a cross between the Exo Terra and the Wraith, the true beauty of the Yeti was its removable roll cage. When the first RTR Yeti was delivered to my local hobby shop, I was there with the employees as they pulled it out of the box. After I heard a kit version was going to be released, I tried to be first in line to get the new kit, like a kid at Christmas, I could not wait!
• Great build with high quality parts
• Awesome driving experience
• Excellent adjustability with the included parts
• Unique driveline configuration
• Extremely realistic looks while still allowing for easy access to the chassis
• The instructions can be challenging to understand
The Axial Yeti build was a pleasure, but it does take a considerable amount of time and patience. There are a large number of sub-components that must be assembled with exacting precision and by researching different setups online prior to tackling the build, the final product is an amazing piece of eye candy that performs as well as it looks. The instruction manual does not explain all the features of the kit. One example is the 2.2 Method IFD Beadlock Wheels. The wheels have adjustable breather holes for fine tuning tire support, but this is only discussed on the website and not in their manual. When building the kit, pay attention to even the smallest details to ensure you can obtain the highest level of performance from your Yeti.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• 4 -way wrench
• Motor and ESC
• Transmitter and receiver
• Steering Servo
• 7.2NiMh, 2S LiPo, or 3S LiPo battery pack
• Multi-chemistry battery charger
• Onyx 1/10 Scale Brushless System – 4-pole 3650Kv. The Onyx brushless system includes a waterproof 80 amp ESC with a 520 amp burst capability. The system does a good job getting the Yeti into action. The 4-pole motor provides a good combination of torque and speed powering the Yeti over obstacles and plenty of speed on the straightaways. The cost of the system is very reasonable and I would recommend ordering the optional programming card to allow you to fine-tune your ESC.
• My radio of choice is my trusty Futaba 4PL combined with a R2104GF receiver. The receiver is compact and lightweight, leaving ample room in the Yeti radio compartment. The Futaba 4PL offers more features than I will ever use in an easy-to-use 2.4GHz radio system.
• A Futaba S9352HV servo was used for steering. My best description of this servo is “WOW.” I respect the importance of a quality servo in a build for steering control, but I will say this has to be the best servo I have ever used. For most of my builds, scalers typically, I only require a good torque and decent speed. This servo is easily three times faster than any servo I have ever used with twice the torque and the result is mind numbing, jaw dropping performance. While I know it’s lame to get this stoked over a servo, if you ever get a chance, order one and you will hear what I am saying.
• The Trakpower 7,200mAh 2S LiPo provided the motivation to the Yeti. With a 90C rating, the battery pack can power the craziest brushless setups without an issue. The 7200mAh rating promises to provide extended runtimes for extended trail runs. The battery came with Deans Ultra Plugs installed and fit perfectly within the battery compartment on the Yeti.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED
• Robinson Racing Pinion
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• Axial Yeti Rear Sway Bar, AX31058, $30.
If you are looking to dial-in your Yeti, the three-piece rear sway bar kit will allow you to fine- tune the handling to fit your needs.
• Aluminum Wheel Hub, VPSAXYETIKIT, $31.
Several folks online are having issues with the plastic wheel hubs. Several vendors are putting kits together to replace the plastic parts with aluminum to ensure you get the most from the Yeti.
• Machined adjustable motor mount, AX31156, $65.
If you are planning on running an insane powerplant, or 3S, then I would recommend running an upgraded motor mount to ensure you minimize flex and maximize gear life.
The Yeti chassis is a unique combination of a tub chassis and truggy mix. The tub chassis extends just over half the length of the chassis and provides the required rigidity and support for the independent front suspension. The design of the chassis allows for easy access to the front axle and the transmission for performing maintenance since either set of components can be removed with a limited number of screws. While there is not a lot of extra space on the chassis, the location for the optional shifting servo and simulated fuel cell provide additional storage options for BECs, winch controllers, and LED driver circuits.
The front suspension of the Yeti provides ample adjustability for tuning the vehicle for any trail condition. In addition, the kit includes adjustable aluminum turnbuckles for the front and aluminum lower link plates for the rear. The included, threaded, oil-filled shocks come with several setups described in the back of the instruction manual. The rear four-link suspension offers excellent travel and when combined with the sway bar assembly, the tires stay planted under throttle. There are additional aftermarket sway bars available to further tune your vehicle.
The kit version of the Yeti utilizes a dual shear steering rack which has been updated with full ball bearings and machined steel steering posts. The steering setup is nestled near the front of the chassis which does a good job at protecting the steering components from rough terrain and wicked wrecks. The plastic steering linkage is also upgraded in the kit to adjustable aluminum turnbuckles. Utilizing the Futaba S9352HV servo provided insanely responsive servo movement with no lack of power. Regardless of the terrain, I was able to point the Yeti in the direction I wanted to go and continue on my way.
The Yeti reminds me of an exotic, mid-engine sports car. The motor is attached through cam mounted motor plates, allowing for what seems to be an infinite number of gearing options. The power is then directed through a transmission, which will be able to accept an optional two- speed conversion, and then feeds to the center mounted transfer case. Power is then split between the front and rear axles. The front axle is driven by a metal universal shaft with a WB8 HD center CVD joint while the four-linked rear axle receives its power from the WB8 HD Wildboar driveshaft. The WB8 HD driveshaft specs boasts larger diameter cross pins, 4mm set screws, and a beefed-up splined slider that floats between the ends of the driveshafts.
ON THE TRACK
When the Yeti was released, I could not wait to get my hands on one. I started thinking about where I would take the vehicle to have a little fun. It needed a good combination of dirt, jumps, hills, rocks, and maybe a couple of smooth sections to test out the top speed. The Yeti is a true rock racer crossed with scale goodness and there is a location near my work that met all the requirements for the Yeti.
On the flat dirt paths, the Yeti handled very well for its size and combination of IFS and four- linked rear axle. The Yeti was easy to control. The sway bar, while still allowing for ample suspension travel, is an awesome addition to this chassis. The rear sway bar provided good stabilization by minimizing torque twist and body roll which kept the wheels planted for speed runs.
Moving to rougher sections of the field allowed me to check out the full capability of the suspension. The front independent suspension ate up imperfections on the roughest trails. The amount of rear suspension travel is awesome and keeps the rear wheels planted. When airborne, it was awesome to watch the rear axle droop like a real stadium truck and the landings were smooth. From takeoff to landing, the truck was a pleasure to control.
It was hard to move from the previous sections of the field to the rocky area just because I was having a ball running in my own Baja-style race. While the Yeti is not a rock crawler, it does fairly well on the technical trails. Over the rocks, the sway bar impedes performance by limiting the articulation of the rear axle, but the Yeti is more than capable and would nearly keep up with a Wraith.
The Yeti was a blast to drive on all terrain. While it is not a rock crawler, with the proper line, the Yeti performed well. On the dirt trails and jumps is where the Yeti shines. It is a beautiful combination of Exo Terra and Wraith and blasts down the trails. The Onyx 1/10 brushless system was a beast and powered the rig over the craziest jumps and with my 7,200mAh Trakpower battery, I had tons of play time.
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SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
LENGTH: 19.5 in. (495mm)
WIDTH: 12.3 in. (312mm)
WHEELBASE: 14.25 in. (360mm)
WEIGHT: 6.51 lbs. (2.9kg)
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
BODY: Clear Rock Racer Style
WHEELS: 3-Piece beadlock
WHEEL ADAPTER TYPE: Cross pin
TIRES: Large off-road lug
TYPE: IFS front/4-link rear
SHOCK POSITIONS: (F) 3-tower, 2-arm, (R) 2-tower, 2-arm
CAMBER: Front adjustable turnbuckles
ROLL: Front adjustable ball heights
RIDE HEIGHT: Threaded shock collars
MISC: Adjustable rear link positions and sway bar locations
TYPE: Dual crank
TOE: Adjustable turnbuckles
TYPE: Tub Style
TRANSMISSION: Shaft drive
DIFFERENTIAL: Front gear diff, locked rear
GEAR RATIO: Optional pinion gears
BEARINGS: Full set of shielded
CLUTCH TYPE: Adjustable slipper
Performance – Acceleration: 10
Performance – Steering: 9
Performance – Handling: 9
Performance – Durability: 8
Feature Breakdown: 9
Overall Value: 9
If you dig either scale vehicles or just off- road fun, then the Axial Yeti is a must have. The combination of the IFS and four-link rear axle is an awesome combination and provides a unique driving experience. The adjustability of the chassis with the numerous mounting locations of the shocks, rear four-links, and sway bar, allows the Yeti to perform well over a wide range of terrain, but it also gives the driver the ability to fine- tune the entire setup to a specific type of terrain. If you are looking for awesome performance and a unique ride, then set aside some of your tax refund and make sure you pick up an Axial Yeti.