AT A GLANCE
WHAT IS IT: HB-P1803 Rock Crawler
WHO IT’S FOR: Entry level drivers
HOW MUCH: $27.99
BUILD TYPE: RTR
INCLUDES: Assembled and Painted Rock Crawler (available in 3 color schemes), Radio, three AA batteries, 4.8V rechargeable battery, instructions, wall charger with EU plug.
Length: 10.744″ (265mm)
Width: 6.22” (158mm)
Wheelbase: 7.44” (189mm)
Authors Opinion: For a small scale rock crawler under the $30 mark, I had fun with this machine when driving it from the viewpoint of a young entry level driver. More importantly my kids had an absolute blast driving it over a dirt pile we have in their backyard. It doesn’t have proportional steering or throttle but its quick, it turns and has better speed than some other toy grade RC cars we’ve driven. New young drivers are sure to have fun with the HB-P1803 Rock Crawler.
+ Cool rock crawler styling
+ Complete RTR package
+ Easy to drive indoors and out
+ Good ground clearance and suspension articulation
– Tires are not glued from the factory
– Body and tires are a direct copy of the Slick Rock
– Charger had an EU plug
– The frame on the Rock Crawler is basically a plastic box to contain the electronics board and battery. There are three pivot mounts in the front and rear for the suspension to link to and the upper part of the shocks mount to this box. Protecting the frame box is a rock racer like cage with painted lexan body panels for styling. Since RC Driver is a hobby focused publication, we have to point out that the cage and body panel design is a direct copy of the Vaterra Slick Rock with the exception of the paint scheme and a small faux tire mounted to the back.
– For suspension the truck uses a simple three link set-up to mate the solid axles to the frame box. The link ends are a ball type that mate up with sockets in the frame and axles. Friction spring loaded shocks allow for good suspension articulation on this small machine.
– A solid front and rear axle set-up gives the truck its off-road crawling ability; the axles give it full time four wheel drive. A motor is housed in each axle to drive the wheels. Steering knuckles are housed in the front axle assembly and allow for good steering throw. The wheels and tires screw on to the ends of the axles. First we noted these too looked very much like the Slick Rock tires, but the rims are different. The other thing worth noting is the tires are not glued to the wheels. Perhaps this is to allow some slip in the system so gears don’t get damaged, but we’ll try gluing them ourselves later in the testing to see how the crawler fairs.
– On to the integrated electronics. Hidden in the frame box is the electronics board that powers the front and rear motors, powers the servo motor located on the front axle and receives signals from the included 2.4gHz radio. To trim the steering, a tab is located on the bottle of the axle to tweak the servos position manually. A 4.8V 700mAh NiCd battery is included with the kit to power the crawler. A basic charger was included too, but came with an EU plug so we weren’t able to try it. Since we’re hobby oriented, we cut the plug off the charger, soldered bullet plugs to the end and used one of our fast chargers to charge the pack. Finally three AA batteries were included for the radio.
The kit comes RTR, but as we mentioned in the features breakdown, the wall charger was equipped with an EU plug. You may need to find an alternate charger to charge the included pack.
OUT FOR FUN
To get the Rock Crawler prepped for running you’ll need to complete a few steps. First pop the battery door on the back of the radio and install the included three AA batteries. Then you’ll need to charge the included 4.8V battery. Again we rigged up an adapter to use a hobby grade charger to charge the pack. Once the pack is charged unscrew the battery door retaining screw on the bottom of the crawler frame, plug the battery in and replace the door and screw. The screw is a must to retain the door or it may pop off in use.
With the Rock Crawler prepped, we headed out to the gardens outside of our office to wreak havoc on the landscaping. Instantly we discovered that the steering and throttle are not proportional and there is a slight delay in the steering response. You get full steering lock side to side with steering input and full or reverse throttle depending where you move the radio’s trigger. This meant one thing, full on bash mode testing! We grabbed throttle and tore through the woodchips and dirt, zig-zagged around and over plants and crested a number of rocks. Although it didn’t have the hobby performance traits we were used to, it was fun just romping on the Rock Crawler without worry, we were having fun! Then we put it in the hands of who this rig is truly meant for, the young first time driver. My kids were game for some off-road fun and cranked on the radio’s wheel and trigger running the crawler around. The Crawler climbs small hills well, churns up the dirt and spits out mulch. I let my kids drive the truck for a number of battery packs and although it wound up covered in mud and grime, it held up to their torture test. When they were done, we did glue up the tires and the Crawler had better pull up the hills without the tires slipping in the rims and their seemed to be no additional stress to the drivetrain.
RATING TALLY: (Rated for young first time driver)
Performance – Acceleration: 7
Performance – Steering: 7
Performance – Handling: 7
Performance – Durability: 8
Feature Breakdown: 7
Overall Value: 8
THE LAST WORD
The HB-P1803 Rock Crawler is basically a toy grade machine with a few hobby grade styling cues aimed at the young entry level RC driver who is excited about off-road fun. For the price tag of under $30 we would recommend this all day long for gifts and just for fun purchases IF you have the ability to charge the battery or if a US plug option is offered soon. The Rock Crawler is simple off-road fun!
Test sample provided by: Gearbest.com