I'm thinking of purchasing a short course or rock racer truck for my oldest sonís upcoming 10th birthday. (and also for my next son who will be turning 8 three months later) and for sure Dad will be getting one eventually.
I want to make the right choice because I want to stick with one platform.
70% of the use would be racing around our tight 18' x 26' backyard BMX track, 20% would be bashing / jumping at the local dirt jump spot (mostly smooth dirt), and 10% would be rough terrain bashing. Maybe some crawling if I go with the rock racer style. However, we have a Losi Night Crawler, but the kids are not into crawling, and it mostly sits around collecting dust. The #1 consideration is durability.
Since most of the use will be at our tight backyard track, I was originally looking at things like the 1/18 Losi Mini Desert Truck, 1/18 Latrax Teton, 1/16 Traxxas Slash, and 1/14 Tacon Thriller, but those trucks will get destroyed in short order at the dirt jump spot, and they are no good for rough terrain bashing or crawling. There's also the 1/16 Traxxas mini Summit, but that's very overpriced for what it is.
Since my kids are younger and inexperienced, Iím drawn to the Traxxas line. While pricey, Traxxasí parts support and availability is unparalleled. Also, they have the 50% training mode and waterproof electronics which are good features for kids. The lower end Traxxas models have brushed motors and NiMH batteries, which Iím OK with, but I own an old Cellpro 4S charger which only charges lipos, so if I get a NiMH setup I need to buy another charger (unless I want to wait forever for the wall wart chargers to charge the batteries).
However, after looking at reviews, I think the SST will be too squirrely in general, and pretty much useless on rough terrain. The Teton looks to be a better choice; better handling and better bashability, but itís out of stock everywhere.
The 1/16 Slash is tempting because itís only $50 more than the Latrax models and a lot more truck. However Iíve read that itís nose heavy during jumps and not durable, so it sounds like it will turn into a money pit as soon as we hit the dirt jump spot.
So even though our backyard track will be VERY tight for 1/10 rigs, Iím starting to lean in that direction. Here are my thoughts so far:
Traxxas Slash 2WD 1/10
Pros: least expensive option ($189 for RTR minus batteries), Traxxas parts support, waterproof ESC, training mode, in theory more durable than a 4x4
Cons: more difficult to drive than a 4x4, less versatile in rough terrain due to less traction (2WD), and this video turned me off to the 2WD truck because of all the durability issues he pointed out: https://youtu.be/mMNfOReWX8w
and I have to buy a NiMH charger.
ECX Torment 4x4 1/10
Pros: affordable way to get into a 1/10 4x4 compared ($240 RTR vs. at least $450 for a Traxxas Slash 4x4); seems to be durable from this review: http://www.bigsquidrc.com/review-ecx...-course-truck/
Cons: no LHS parts support, so mail order needed for all spares, much less aftermarket support / parts availability than Traxxas, no training mode, need to buy NiMH charger.
Valterra Twin Hammers 1/10
Pros: low top speed (18 mph or so) should theoretically lead to less breakage; best rough terrain bashing ability; uses Losi style shocks so lots of tuning parts available, can be used for crawling too; uses Lipos out of the box so no need to buy a NiMH charger
Cons: getting up there in price ($300), no LHS parts support, high center of gravity will it roll over too easily? Won't handle as well at speed as a SCT; durability in jumping situations unknown.
Losi Baja Rey 1/10
(Note: $450 seems like the minimum ante for a 1/10 4x4, so this is in the same category as the Slash 4x4, Axial Yeti SCORE, Associated SC10, etc. from looking at the reviews the Baja Rey seems to be the most durable, and it has LHS parts support, so that is why I'm leaning toward the Rey in this category.)
Pros: Great motor, suspension, etc. out of the box, no need to upgrade to brushless etc. in the future, highest quality platform, so can stick with it for a long time (buy once cry once); good LHS and online parts support.
Cons: very expensive ($449, no Lipo included), will this be too much truck for the youngsters? (30 mph on 2S, no training mode), how durable is it?
Any thoughts/input appreciated.