Hey, Joe Racer, did you know there’s more to RC racing than short course? We love short course and recognize that it may be the best thing to happen to the hobby since servo tape, but newcomers don’t seem to realize–and even the “old timers” seem to have forgotten–that the hobby didn’t start four years ago. Get this, before there ever was a big-bodied short course truck there were these things called stadium trucks. The history of stadium trucks goes back to the early days of electric off-road racing. In fact, if a company wanted to be seen as a winning company–a choice of champions–it needed to win the 1/10-scale electric classes. So, when Losi wanted to prove to the RC world that it is committed to racing as ever, Losi launched the Team Losi Racing (TLR) brand and unveiled the 22 platform. Following the typical pattern, a buggy was first and followed by a stadium truck. Again, the typical pattern was followed and kits preceded ready-to-run versions. Now, the 22T RTR is here and we’re taking it racing.
> Full assembled ready-to-run
> 13.5-turn Sensored brushless system
> Aluminum chassis
> Aluminum threaded shocks
> Convertible to mid motor layout
> Gear differential
> Spektrum 2.4GHz radio system
> BK-Bar tires
> Sliding steering rack
DID YOU KNOW?
The first production stadium truck was made by Losi and called the JRX-T. Previous to the JRX-T, stadium trucks were made via conversion kits. The JRX-T was designed by Gil Losi Jr and was based on his JRX-2 design. Both vehicles were released in the late 1980’s.
As you may be well aware, 1/10-scale stadium trucks typically use a molded composite plastic chassis. Losi stepped away from the norm with the 22 platform and went with an aluminum main chassis that is significantly narrower than expected. The receiver and speed control do not flank the battery running down the center. Instead the receiver sits behind the steering servo and the speed control is adhered to a molded plastic shelf and brace in front of the rear shock tower. The 22T RTR’s chassis’ non-hard-anodized finish differs from the full kit version which is hard anodized, but the layout and design is essentially the same. It is made out of 2.5mm thick 7075 T6 aluminum which is a high quality heat treated material. The outer edges are angled up for clearance and plastic side braces add stiffness. Like the other vehicles in the 22 family, the 22T RTR’s chassis is designed to allow the transmission to be mounted with a rear motor (as it comes assembled) or mid motor.
DID YOU KNOW?
Most RC’ers know Horizon Hobby owns Losi. Horizon purchased the company in 2001. Gil Losi Jr.–son of Losi’s founder–stayed with the company until 2007. At one point, Ernie Provetti–owner of Trinity–briefly owned a large share of Losi before Horizon bought the company.
Unlike the chassis design, layout and material, the 22T RTR suspension isn’t a big departure from the norm. That is to say it uses the standard lower suspension arms with adjustable upper camber links setup. Compared to other 1/10-scale stadium trucks, however, the 22 platform looks noticeably beefier. The design looks like it has some 1/8-scale DNA. Racers who like to tinker and tune will appreciate that the camber links all use vertical ball studs. The front suspension arms have a gull wing design which is an innovative way to get away with a slightly lower front shock tower and lower center of gravity. The turnbuckles–camber links and steering–are 3.5mm thick to go along with the tough stance of the truck. The rear arms are the same parts as used on the 22 buggy RTR. To make up for the narrowness of the arms, the outer stub axles and hex adapters are longer than typically seen. Long, truck-specific, front arms are used because extended front axles and hexes would cause tire scrub when turning and poor handling. The real stars of the suspension are the shocks. The aluminum shocks feature threaded bodies and large 12mm bores and are frankly far better than expected on any RTR. The are an emulsion design (the kit versions are not), and the shock caps are composite plastic and feature bleeder screws.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Losi JRX-PRO SE buggy was the first race buggy to use a molded composite plastic “tub” chassis. Previously, the norm was aluminum or flat plates made out of graphite or fiberglass. That makes the use or return of an aluminum chassis on the 22 platform somewhat ironic.
Like most 1/10-scale electric off-roaders, the 22T RTR uses a 3-gear “stacked” transmission, and like its 22 brethren, the 22T RTR transmission can be mounted with the motor in the rear- or mid-position. Unlike the kit version, the RTR uses a sealed gear differential that can be tuned with different thickness silicone fluids. The kit uses a ball differential. Another very pleasant surprise on the 22T RTR is the inclusion of universal axles. Of course, the truck rides on full ball bearings.
DID YOU KNOW?
The previous generation Losi stadium truck, the XXX-T, had a wheelbase of 11.1 inches. The 22T and 22T RTR are stretched close to the maximum limit the ROAR rules allow and can be set up with a wheelbase of 11.3 to 11.41 inches.
You may be picking up on an ongoing theme in this review. The 22T RTR isn’t equipped or spec’ed out like the typical RTR. It’s not just that the design is unique–that’s cool–the truck is simply very well outfitted for a RTR. I’m talking about the shocks, universal axles and now the electronics. I was extremely happy to see a sensored brushless system. I expected a sensorless system. I am a firm believer that a sensored system, and the smooth throttle control it provides, is the only way to go for a race vehicle. The motor installed is a 13.5-turn means this truck will be placed in an Open or Mod class which is fine because that is all that most tracks consistently have for stadium truck drivers.
The goodness of the electronics continues with the Spektrum 2.4GHz system. It is the more basic DX3E transmitter, but it offers all of the adjustments you’ll need. Losi rounds out the electronics package with a metal gear servo that puts out 140 oz.-in. of torque.
Body, Wheels & Tires
The 22T RTR is offered in two different pre-painted schemes–one predominately black and one predominately white. The tires are Losi BK-Bar tires mounted on yellow dish rims. The tires are simply listed a “race-compound” and feel soft and reasonably tacky. BK-Bar tires feature a low tread that is best suited for indoor tracks or smoother outdoor tracks with a well established racing groove.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Losi BK-Bar tires get their name from their creator and world champion racer, Brian Kinwald. He created the original tires by cutting up tires and using the low profile inside support ribs as the tread. His cut up and glued together creation worked so well that production BK-Bar tires were then created.
At RC Truck Stop we adamantly believe in really testing a review vehicle. Bashers get bashed and race trucks get taken to the track. I hit up both the local indoor and outdoor off-road tracks. Out of the box, the 22T RTR is very much at home on the typical indoor track. With its well designed suspension, it’s capable outdoors, but most outdoor tracks will more noticeably require a tire change to be dialed in (more on that later).
I did have to perform a quick fix before hitting the track. The wiring from the speed control to the motor was secured too tightly and the speed control was being pulled free of it mount. I applied new servo tape and cut the cable tie binding the motor wires, sensor loom and speed control power capacitor together. I’m all for the wires being neat, but the wires can’t be secured so tightly that there isn’t some room for flex. This isn’t a problem you’re likely to find on every 22T RTR, but instead I’m inclined to suspect this is more of a fluke.
When I tested outdoors at Pin Shop Hobbies in Oakville, CT, the tires were not happy on the unwatered track surface. If the track was watered, it would be a whole different story, but when I tested, if I was too aggressive getting on the throttle, the rear wanted to kick out. This is not a weakness of the 22T RTR; the BK-Bars are simply more of an indoor type tread pattern. Indoors or out, the suspension worked great. The truck is smooth, planted and easy to drive if you’re not stupid aggressive with the throttle.
On to the more important matters, the 22T RTR quickly proved itself to be a racer. It just happens to a pre-built one. The 22T RTR has excellent steering. It’s responsive and carves smooth predictable turns. The indoor track I tested at–RCHR is Waterbury, CT– has, as you expect, one tight turn after another. Even with its box-stock RTR setup, the 22T RTR was able to carry speed from turn to turn and didn’t feel like I had to drive past the truck’s or my limits to be fast. That’s the longwinded way of saying it felt fast without feeling loose. I did feel the steering servo was too slow for competitive indoor racing. I didn’t really notice any steering response lag outdoors, but if I were to race indoors, I’d swap out the servo for something faster. As a race vehicle, the 22T RTR has plenty of adjustments, so if the steering isn’t to your taste, there are plenty of tuning options to get it dialed in. What I liked best was that the truck felt planted when applying throttle in the turns.
Jumping was easy with the 22T RTR. It landed even the biggest jumps without any ill effects. Even better it sailed over small jumps, whoops and rhythm sections presented no problem for the 22T RTR. It’s been awhile since I’ve raced a stadium truck and I have to say it was nice to not have to feather the throttle so much.
As for a damage report, even though I rang the truck’s bell a few times when running indoors, it held up fine. Is it indestructible? No, of course not. Race trucks like this break (and it’s always the harmless hits that spell disaster), but the 22T RTR is built to be a survivor. It will get you through the race day.
The 22T RTR has somewhat of a split personality–in a good way. It is beginner friendly and race worthy. Those two don’t usually go together, but the 22T RTR pulls it off. It is pre-built and appropriately equipped for someone relatively new to RC, and yet, it is well outfitted and capable of being raced competitively out of the box. I wouldn’t say the 22T RTR is a good choice as a first RC vehicle. It could work as a first vehicle, but there are better choices. At $460, it also isn’t cheap. There are plenty of RTR vehicles available for half the cost of the 22T RTR, but makes sure you get your money’s worth as is evident by the shocks, sensored 13.5-turn brushless system, universal axles, metal-gear servo and Spektrum 2.4GHz radio system. The best way to sum up the 22T RTR is that it is perfect for someone not brand new to RC but new to racing. Get a Losi 22T RTR and you’ll know that your equipment isn’t holding you back.
> Sensored brushless system
> Large threaded-body shocks
> Universal axles
> Innovative design of 22 platform
> Servo is too slow for tight indoor tracks
> You have to pay for all those nice parts
> Stadium truck is a spotty class at many tracks
About the Author: Matt has over 25 years of experience in RC and has worked professionally in media for over a decade. Matt enjoys everything from racing to rock crawling to bashing, and he believes RC should be all about having fun. Matt is as at home covering a world championship in an exotic country as he is showing a new hobbyist how to set gear mesh. His desire to share the hobby with as many people as possible inspired him to create RC Truck Stop and RCTruckStop.com.