- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Review of the Traxxas Stampede 4x4 VXL Pro Grade RC Truck
The Traxxas Stampede 4X4 is a high quality RC truck that durable, fun to drive, and good for beginners looking for their first professional grade RC and experienced hobbyists looking for a durable truck to bash around, and most everyone in between. Here are some vocabulary words that will help the rest of this article be understood.
Professional (pro)/Hobby Grade RC: These are RC vehicles that are usually faster, more durable, and (sadly) more expensive than their RadioShack or Walmart counterparts. There are almost always upgrade and replacement parts available in case something breaks or you want to get more performance out of your RC vehicle. Pro grade/Hobby grade vehicles are often very tunable and (most of the time) easy to work on as well.
Brushless motors: These motors are mostly LiPo battery compatible and often more durable and fast than brushed motors. This could be much more detailed, but this article is not about motors.
Pinion/Spur Gears: The pinion gear is the gear that is attached directly to motor, the spur is the gear that is next to the pinion.
Now, for the overview of the Traxxas Stampede 4X4 VXL.
Overview Of The Stampede 4X4 VXL
Out of the box, it's impressive. Four huge tires with beautiful blackish chrome rims, a wheelie bar (needed), and awesome graphics on the body. But will it perform well? The answer is yes.
After fully charging the battery, securing it into the truck and putting on the body, this thing is a beast. It wheelies if you punch the accelerator, drifts around loose gravel and dirt corners, and jumps smoothly. However, I found that the shock absorbers were a bit too low for the size of jumps i was doing, after about 3 minutes of installing the provided shock absorber shims, the truck stood up to its full height and handled the jumps even better.
Did I mention it's fully waterproof? It's not fully submergible though, I did fully submerge mine, luckily it still works but only after I took apart the receiver and dried it off, don't worry about driving it through rain or puddles though.
The transmitter (controller) is sleek and well built. However, I sort of wish it had a drop down steering wheel like many other RC cars have, it has one that is above the trigger. Otherwise, I have had no problems with the transmitter.
Ease Of Use
The Traxxas Stampede 4X4 VXL is easy to use. The truck has all hex head screws so it is very hard to strip them, it is also built to be easy to work on. There are four screws on the bottom that, when removed, allow the front and back of the truck to be pulled away from the middle of the truck. This makes servicing and fixing differentials or the main driveshaft very easy. Also, accessing the pinion and spur gears is as easy as removing one screw. In general this truck is very easy to work on, and if something proves difficult, there is usually a tutorial on YouTube.
As far as driving the truck, it is very easy to drive, however if it is turned to sharply on a high traction surface, such as grass, it will roll over (traction roll).
The radio system has a whole bunch of features and options, but in order to change anything, you need the manual to find the button code to do it because there are only two buttons on the transmitter.
This truck is unrealistically durable. I have crashed mine more times than I can count, including falling about 12-15 feet (from a jump) and landing upside down to flipping while going 35 mph and going into uncontrollable barrel rolls, I've crashed my Stampede in every way imaginable. It also has a waterproof brushless motor, which are more durable than their brushed brethren.
However I did break it in half one time when I crashed it into someones real truck at top speed. I fixed it in about 45 minutes or less (after getting parts). It is also waterproof so you don't have to worry about puddles, mud, snow, or rain (do NOT fully submerge it though). A common problem with this truck seems to be breaking axles. There are plastic axles on all wheels, and sometimes when I nail the throttle or when I land from a jump while going full throttle, an axle will snap (this is a sign of extreme torque). You can buy upgrade axles, but I don't recommend it as something else in the drivetrain may break that could be worse than an axle. Another thing, the shell (body) of the truck tore after about a month or two. I fixed this with some velcro and it doesn't affect performance, but it still was kind of annoying. Either way, this truck is very, very durable.
Who Would I Recommend This Truck For?
I would recommend this truck for just about anyone. However I would not recommend it for you if:
You don't like maintaining anything - Just like a real car, all RC cars require maintenance, the Stampede requires less maintenance than most though. It needs to be cleaned every time after being run (use water, cloths, and a toothbrush), dried after being cleaned, and oiled, among other things.
You have a low budget - At almost 450$, this is no cheap toy, but for me it was the best 450$ I ever spent.
You are under 13 - I wouldn't recommend this for anyone under 13, but hey, go for it if you have the time and money.
You never go outside - This is NOT an indoor car. You will break your walls.
That's about it. I also highly recommend going to your local hobby store to purchase anything you may need that is RC related, the people that work there (usually) know what they are talking about and can help you out quite a bit.
I bought my Stampede 4X4 VXL in 2011, and it is still running in 2014 and I expect more years to come of performance and fun out of this truck. It is a durable, fast, reliable machine that I would recommend to just about anyone.
If you are interested, here is the link to the truck on the Traxxas site: http://traxxas.com/products/models/electric/67086stampede4x4vxl