Traxxas Quality in a Scaled Down Package
Words Chris Kovachevich
Photos Walter Sidas
This article was originally published in RC Driver’s October 2015 issue.
No one can deny the popularity of stadium-style short course racing. The Stadium Super Truck series has introduced this type of racing to crowds all over the world – many of which will never see the excitement of these highly competitive and well designed trucks in person. The folks at LaTrax are giving us this opportunity in a compact package that can be enjoyed by RC enthusiasts and stadium truck fans alike.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: LaTrax
WHO IT’S FOR: Beginners
PART NUMBER: 76044
HOW MUCH: $129.99
BUILD TYPE: RTR
• Robby Gordon replica paint. Rockin’ the orange
• Good run time with the supplied NiCd battery pack
• Great performance from the 370-size brushed motor
• The drivetrain has great strength with aluminum drive shaft and metal ring and pinion gears in the differentials.
• LaTrax electronics warranty is hard to beat – $15.00 to repair/exchange any electronic component
• The radio system has good range and no glitching. Reliability increases the fun factor!
• The steering can be a bit vague in high traction situations due to flex in the servo saver.
The Robby Gordon LaTrax SST is a fun vehicle to drive and requires very little maintenance between battery charges. A bit of oil on the motor bushings from time to time is about all it takes to keep this willing little truck on the race track or in your backyard. All components of this truck are engineered for durability and long wear. Should something break or wear out, replacement parts are available either direct from Traxxas or through your local hobby retailer.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• 4-way wrench
• Hex wrenches
• Battery Charger
• Multilingual Quick Start Guide.
Note: There are several must-have items avail- able for download from www.latrax.com/prod- ucts, including an exploded parts diagram, a full manual and a parts list. All of these contain more information and better detail than the Quick Start Guide.
• Nothing – it all comes in the box.
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• #7659 Firm shock springs $3.00. These can help the truck land over larger jumps when combined with a bit heavier shock oil (say around 50 weight).
• LiPo (7.4) battery pack and charger. These items can provide increased power and longer run times but a LiPo specific charger must be used with LiPo batteries.
The molded composite chassis is designed to not only be rigid but also to provide protection to the power train and electronics. All electronic components are mounted securely to the chassis. The battery pack lives in its own ‘cocoon’ of plastic and is held in place with a metal body clip. The front and rear of the chassis are protected by well designed bumpers that do their job without adding a bunch of weight.
Damping is provided by four coil-over composite shocks that are oil filled. The four wheel independent suspension consists of lower arms supported by fixed upper control links. The shocks are fully adjustable for preload in addition to changes in viscosity of the fluid for increased damping.
The steering consists of a dual bell crank connected to a one-piece Ackermann plate. A 32oz. /in. servo drives the steering and works adequately for the intended use. Fixed length steering links connect to the hubs, creating a simple but effective steering system.
The drivetrain of the SST consists of front and rear differentials connected by an aluminum drive shaft. The composite spur gear meshes smoothly with the metal pinion – resulting in a strong and fairly quiet drivetrain. The 28 turn 370-size motor offers a lot of power for such a small vehicle. Fun stuff to drive! A nice feature is that the entire drivetrain is enclosed, helping keep debris out of the differentials and the pinion/spur gear.
Wheels and tires are good replicas of their full scale counterparts. The grip of these tires is remarkably good for a 1/18- scale vehicle that isn’t really designed for racing. Tires can be easily replaced with new ones available from LaTrax.
All wire connections are bullet style so that if a replacement is necessary it’s simply a ‘plug and play’ fix.
ON THE TRACK
The SST truck is a really fun vehicle to drive – be it on dirt or concrete/pavement. A simple course can be constructed on either surface using homemade jumps. Nothing fancy is needed to replicate the excitement of Stadium Super Truck racing. Traction on pavement borders on too much (really … can there ever be too much traction?) due to the compound of the tires – they’re a medium compound that really has good grip! This little truck can be drifted through corners and squared up for jumps and other obstacles with ease!
The steering of the SST is a mixed blessing. The 32 ounce servo does a really good job of turning the wheels but much of this turning effectiveness is lost in the rubbery servo saver. Like many other RTR vehicles the SST becomes a bit unpredictable when pushed hard due to the servo saver doing the job it’s designed to do. Hopefully LaTrax can reach a compromise between effectiveness and overkill because it will make these vehicles a lot more fun to drive fast.
As I mentioned earlier, the little 370 motor does an excellent job moving the SST. The supplied 60/10 gears seem to be an excellent compromise between good battery life and accelera- tion and a fast top speed. A freshly charged pack will provide some excellent drifting opportunities along with realistic approaches to some simple homemade jumps.
Good braking is the product of several areas; all of which the LaTrax SST handles with grace and precision. First and foremost, the speed control must provide the electronic ‘drag’ which creates braking and the tires must provide sufficient grip to execute it. The speed control in the SST scores very high in this area – the application of brake is smooth and progressive.
The SST does a really good job of jumping and absorbing bumps. There is really very little suspension travel in this vehicle and therefore bottoming out is common when overly large jumps or ‘big air’ are attempted.
The SST is a willing jumper when reasonably sized jumps are attempted. As I mentioned above, go for big air over large jumps and the SST will bottom out both on launch and landing. More than likely some stiffer shock springs and thicker shock fluid will help this.
If you wonder how I found out about the limits of the suspension and jumping I guess you could reason that I was trying for a lot of big air. The best news about all of those attempts is that the little SST just took everything I threw at it and came back looking for more. Over a long period of testing, I did break a shock shaft and some sand did get caught in the spur gear.
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SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
LaTrax offers several tuning options for the SST including a complete Hard Anodized shock set with extra springs and several wheel and tire combinations in various colors.
Length: 12.16 in. (309mm)
Width: 6.73 in. (171mm)
Wheelbase: 6.44 in. (163.5mm)
Weight: 26.06 oz. (739g)
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
Body: Pre-painted and cut short course
Wheels: 5 spoke 1.38” outer diameter
Wheel adapter type: 12mm hex
Tires: SST grippy, soft compound, aggressive tread pattern
Type: 4-wheel independent
Shock positions: (F) 3-tower, 2-arm, (R) 3-tower, 2-arm
Ride height: Preload clips on the shocks
Type: Dual bell crank
Material: Molded composite
Driven Differential: Gear diff
Gear ratio: 2.5:1
Bearings: Full set of shielded
Performance – Acceleration: 8
Performance – Steering: 8
Performance – Handling: 8
Performance – Durability: 7
Feature Breakdown: 8
Overall Value: 8
Many hobbyists enjoy upgrading their vehicles; the LaTrax series of trucks don’t lend themselves to that simply because they are offered with the good stuff right out of the box. Upgrading to hard anodized aluminum shocks will certainly make a difference in the handling and durability of the SST. Probably the best ‘mod’ would be an appropriately sized LiPo battery and charger which will pro- vide longer run times, lighter weight and faster charge times. The SST is truly a vehicle that is a lot of fun right out of the box and has a proven record of durability. Great attributes for a first time RC buyer and lots of fun if the whole family joins in!
La Trax latrax.com , 888-872-9927