It’s a funny thing once you start talking about R/C cars amongst mountain bikers, you realize far more of us are into it than we’d ever have thought. After a few events this summer where the post-ride activities involved racing short course trucks around manicured dirt tracks, jumps and turns, we decided to look into this a bit. What we found was, among tons of killer trucks, one perfectly sized little 4×4 that offered big features for a seemingly too-low price: The Traxxas 1/16 Slash 4WD Pro Short Course Truck.

Here’s why this one stood out:

  • At a retail price of $215.99 it’s well below most other “pro-sumer” level 4×4 models from any brand.
  • Electronics are sealed and waterproof.
  • It’s almost completely rebuildable, and (most) spare parts are cheap.
  • It can take dual batteries, and runs on both NiMH and LiPo.
  • It’s the perfect size for stashing in your car for a little post-ride racing action with friends.
  • It’s highly rated in online reviews around the Interwebz.

TRAXXAS 1/16 SLASH 4X4 UNBOXING & ACTION

The Traxxas 1/16 Slash 4×4 comes out of the box “ready to race”, which is what the RTR moniker stands for if you’re shopping around. You do need to charge the battery first, which means bringing it out to your car as it only comes with a 12v DC charger in the box…which is perhaps the only complaint we could come up with. I recommend ponying up for the DC-to-AC converter so you can plug it in indoors, or upgrading a bit further with their smart charger, because if you’re like us, you’ll eventually want to add more batteries.

Video above shows the unboxing and first drives, with plenty of sick slo mo. Included in the box is the remote, which had 4 AA batteries preinstalled, the truck, their iD-equipped 6-cell NiMH battery, instructions, spare stickers and the tools used for repairs. The only assembly needed was adjusting a set screw to hold the antenna in place and installing the pins to attach the shell to the body. You can choose from four stock color/graphics combos, and clear shells are available separately if you want to paint your own.

TECHNICAL DETAILS

2017 traxxas slash 1-16 4wd remote control short course truck review video and tech details

The 1/16 scale truck comes in at about 14″ bumper to bumper, which they say is about half the size of their 1/10 trucks. Which makes it the perfect size to stuff in a backpack or gear duffel. The included remote works on 2.4GHz and self selects a non-competing channel on that wavelength, so you could have 20 buddies racing them with zero interference.

Controls are super simple, just a throttle/brake/reverse lever, steering wheel, and steering adjust. And an on/off switch. It weighs virtually nothing, and is sized to fit both kid and adult hands well.

2017 traxxas slash 1-16 4wd remote control short course truck is the perfect rc car for kids and adults

The electronics are where the real value for this model comes in. All iesvos and controllers are sealed and waterproof and come with a lifetime warranty. The 12T 550 motor is the same one used in their larger 1/10 trucks, all wires are heavy gauge for maximum power transfer, and the speed control has three modes: Standard, race and training. Race mode simply disables the “reverse” for events that don’t allow it, and training cuts the speed in half for younger drivers to learn how to control the truck more easily.

A single on/off button on the ESC unit also handles battery type selection, which is important if you’re upgrading to a more powerful LiPo battery. If you do, you’ll need to hold it down to switch the battery mode and enable the built-in low power warning so you don’t ruin your LiPo battery.

2017 traxxas slash 1-16 4wd remote control short course truck is the perfect rc car for kids and adults

2017 traxxas slash 1-16 4wd remote control short course truck review video and tech details

The four wheel independent suspension is supported by oil-filled coil shocks that allow for independent adjustment. I gave all of them a few twists to stiffen the suspension a little as it seems a bit soft, especially once the battery is installed. This brought the front end up a bit, which I think helped it get over the fallen leaves and mid-height grass. Which brings up a point worth noting: At this size, the truck isn’t really made for driving through thick grass. But on dirt and crappy, sporadic grass like we have in our neighborhood common area (it’s tree covered, so whatever), it managed. I did have to clean a few leaf stems and bits out of it between runs.

2017 traxxas slash 1-16 4wd remote control short course truck is the perfect rc car for kids and adults

Notice all the bolts? Every single one of the drivetrain, suspension and body parts can easily be replaced.

2017 traxxas slash 1-16 4wd remote control short course truck review video and tech details 2017 traxxas slash 1-16 4wd remote control short course truck is the perfect rc car for kids and adults

Another feature uncommon at this price point is the ability to run dual batteries in a series parallel for longer run times. The vented gray compartments house their 6-cell NiMH or LiPo batteries and allow heat to escape so you don’t ruin the power source. You’ll need to buy a cable splitter adapter to use two batteries simultaneously. Personally, I think this would add too much weight to the truck and handling would suffer.

OFFICIAL SPECS LIST

2017 traxxas slash 1-16 4wd remote control short course truck review video and tech details

  • Officially Licensed Race Replica body styles: Mike Jenkins Edition (Traxxas #47), Mark Jenkins Edition (Traxxas #25), Scott Douglas Edition (AMSOIL®), or Greg Adler Edition (4 Wheel Parts)
  • Full-time 4WD for superior handling and control
  • XL-2.5 Electronic Speed Control
  • High-torque Titan® 12T 550 brushed motor
  • Waterproof electronics
  • Ready-To-Race® with included 6-cell NiMH Power Cell battery with iD
  • 2amp peak detecting DC fast charger
  • TQ 2.4GHz radio system
  • Revo suspension technology
  • Torque-control™ slipper clutch
  • Sealed differentials
  • Patented Traxxas High-Current Connector
  • Metric hex hardware
  • Rubber-sealed ball bearings
  • Length: 14″ (356mm)
  • Front Track: 7.3″ (185mm)
  • Rear Track: 7.3″ (185mm)
  • Weight: 35oz (1000g)
  • Height (overall): 4.92″ (125mm)
  • Wheelbase: 8.1″ (206mm)

COMMONLY BROKEN PARTS

2017 traxxas slash 1-16 4wd remote control short course truck is the perfect rc car for kids and adults
Even the steering servo (blue) and its internal gears can be replaced. In an age of throwaway consumer goods, this is refreshing.

I asked their sales rep which parts are most frequently replaced, and here’s the list:

  • Part #7051 – driveshaft
  • Part #2081 – steering servo
  • Part #2082 – steering servo gears
  • Part #3785 – motor
  • Part #7078 – differential gears assembly
  • Part #7032 – rear suspension arms
  • Part #7029X – bulkhead for rear
  • Part #7031 – front suspension arms
  • Part #7030X – bulkhead for front
  • Part #7046R – spur gear (this one just wears out over time)
  • Part #7043 – connector arms for steering assembly

Not everyone will break these things, and a lot of it depends on your driving habits. Some of his recommendations included letting off the throttle when airborne (so you don’t strip the differential) gears on landing at full gas; letting go of the steering wheel if you know you’re going to hit something or land hard (so you don’t break the steering servo); and don’t run the motor all-out for more than 5 minutes at a time. Most of the parts above are under $10, all are under $30.

DRIVE REVIEW

review of traxxas slash 1-16 4wd remote control truck

Here’s why the Traxxas 1/16 Slash 4WD is the perfect starter truck: It’s small, fast, nimble, and easily repaired. Basically a scaled down version of their 1/10 Slash, and half the price. There are upgrade parts, but my hunch is we’ll keep it stock and just enjoy it in a recreational manner. Like our mountain bikes, you can go nuts with suspension parts and tuning, electronics (you can actually get a telemetry unit that’ll send real-time performance data to your smart phone), and drivetrain mods. And like our bikes, it’s easy for things to get real expensive, real fast. But, again, like our bikes, this one is perfectly capable and super fun right out of the box.

I like the size, too. I could hide it under the seat of our mini van, then bust it out for 15 minutes of fun at the trail head. Or bring along on family trips for those times when everyone else is zonked in front of the television or I need help procrastinating.

That said, it’s definitely called a Short Course truck for a reason: It’s going to excel on non-grassy terrain where obstacles are limited to an inch or so. Fallen tree limbs easily send the truck off course, and any grass deeper or thicker than what’s shown in my video up top would potentially overwork the motor and transmission. And, with just ~1″ of ground clearance, basically it would struggle to plow through it. If you have a lush green lawn, you’re gonna need the 1/10 scale (which starts at $205 for 2WD, but jumps to $425 for 4WD).

It’s also easy to flip if you come from a high speed straightaway directly into a corner. So far, though, no damage. Go down the rabbit hole of YouTube and you’ll see just how tough these cars are, though. And, rebuildable.

One of four stock colorways, each a replica of a pro driver’s truck. Photo: Traxxas

Driving is straightforward, just pull the trigger and off it goes. It’s fast, with a top speed of ~25mph. Pushing the throttle forward acts as a brake. Once completely stopped, the trigger resets to allow reverse, but you’ve got to come to a stop, release the trigger, then push forward again to make it go backward. Not so if you’re already moving backward and wanna gun it forward, but you might strip some gears if you abuse this. The steering bias adjustment knob makes it easy to fine tune the truck’s tracking, which can get jostled off center over time.

Bang for the buck, the 1/16 Slash 4WD is impressive. Give it a look if you’re into RC trucks and want something small, manageable and affordable. Heck, give it a look even if you just think you might wanna be into it.

Traxxas.com


Editor’s Note: Before you comment that this is a cycling website and we should stick to that, yes, we do occasionally review and write about things that aren’t bikes. Because variety is the spice of life. Or maybe we’re just teeing up the launch of RCTruckRumor.com.

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34 COMMENTS

    • I got about 15 minutes out of the stock NiMH battery, haven’t tested the LiPo battery yet but they’re on the way. Charge time is under 30 minutes with the included DC charger hooked to their AC-to-DC converter. I ordered their smart wall charger along with the LiPo battery.

    • PS – also worth noting that LiPo batteries require more care in charging and storage, which is why I also ordered the smart charger. You can find horror stories about LiPo online, so if you’re getting these for kids and want spare batteries, probably safer to stick with NiMH.

  1. Review something bike-related but not specifically a bike -> commenters lose their minds.
    Review something that is not even remotely a bike -> results are generally positive.

  2. I have one of these and love playing with it. A bunch of guys at the shop have them and we will race a small track in the back of the parking lot after work. During winter we put slicks on them and race them inside the store when customers aren’t around.

  3. Be careful running in series or parallel, if one batter is charged less than the other, when it dies it can explode. LiPo or NiMH. The LiPo will get anywhere from 15-40 mins run time since you can jam about a 2400mah into it, but less if you’re running a 3 cell LiPo. Fun little cars!

    • The site’s mobile layout is crap now, & the last thing I want to see is reviews of non-bike related stuff. It used to be a great site to check multiple times a day, but it’s definitely beginning to suck.

  4. My Tamiya Hornet chewed up most of the money my paper round earned me back in the mid ’80s, replacing worn out tyres and broken bits and pieces. Had lots of fun with it for a couple of years in my early teens.

  5. Surely you mean that you can run two batteries in parallel to increase run time? Series connection would increase the voltage, not the capacity of the battery.

    • Yes, I think on this model you’re correct. They do have some models that can run the batteries in a series to almost double their top speed when used with a brushless motor. Article corrected.

  6. what MTB guy doesn’t like something with 4 wheel drive, long travel suspension, and colorful graphics? And one that allows you to completely hoon without breaking your wallet, or your ass?

  7. Sweet moped bruh! Just kidding, I love this. OMG I want one so bad for Xmas now. I think I’m buying Santa a present to give myself.

  8. My boy wanted an RC car last year for xmas, and after a bunch of research I settled on the Dromida 1/18 RTR. Scored the brushless version of the monster truck for under $100, got a couple of extra batteries, and have not looked back since. Daughter ended up wanting one too, so we got a brushed short course truck for $60, and its pretty awesome too… though it runs so hot the solder melts off the motor leads if you run it too long. They are definitely cheaper feeling/looking, but are unbelievably fun (and fast for their size- the brushless version is almost TOO fast), and have readily available parts/upgrades for cheap. The pump track with these things is amazing, but I do not recommend the concrete skate park!

  9. dude, keep your personal hobbies personal. ok, i get it, this is your show… but, seriously this is not something related to bikes or bikers. what percentage of cyclist drive rc cars??? Off the bike sure, what about say actual cars, or wives, or kids, or real-estate, or bitcoin, or education, or professional development? I mean where does this bs end? sorry – i dont care about your rc car. if bike rumor is bike rumor, stick to bikes – we already have to see the ebike crap, now its tiny e-cars. if you want an rc car blog, make it. :-/

  10. I just got my son a 1/12 scale that can go over a mowed lawn fine, spitting up a rooster tail of cut grass. For <$100 it's a bit stripped down- undamped springs for the suspension; slow charger, but at least it uses easily sourced 18650 batteries; lower quality receiver with internal antenna, but it still has enough range to work across the school black top. With a claimed 30mph- I'd really like a half speed training mode.

    Not only is it fun, but it's also harder to lose than a drone. BTDT.

What do you think?