The vast majority of RC trucks being sold are RTR (ready to run) and we’re happy to pint out that the vast majority are well equipped. But, even with substantial improvements in technology and quality, there are still a number of essential modifications that almost all RTR trucks will greatly benefit from having installed. Even if you’re an experienced racer, you probably have at least one RTR in your fleet. So, whether you know it all or are just getting started in RC, check out this list of our top 5 essential RTR truck modifications and make sure your ride is properly equipped.
METAL GEAR SERVO
Not that long ago the servos included with RC trucks wouldn’t last much past the first few runs. Even though better servos are being included, a RTR servo is still a RTR servo. Upgrading wisely will yield a highly durable servo that is both faster and more powerful. When shopping for a servo, always go with a metal gear model–regardless if your truck is a 1/8-scale truggy or a micro. In general, select a servo with a transit speed of 0.20 or faster. Anything faster than 0.10 is usually unnecessary. As long as the servo is 0.20 or faster, go with the highest torque rating you can find and afford. There are numerous servo manufactures, but popular choices for replacing RTR servos can be found from companies such as Savox and Hitec.
METAL SERVO HORN
Most RTR’s–and even kit RC vehicles–include plastic servo horns which are a notorious weak link. Plastic horns have an undesirable amount of flex, break fairly easily or strip out. There are a number of aluminum servo horns available now, and while not absolutely necessary, solid aluminum servo horns preferred. The absolute best choice is a clamping servo horn with 3mm mounting holes such as offered by Axial Racing and others. If your servo horn doubles as servo saver as it does with vehicles such as the Traxxas Stampede and Monster Jam Replica trucks, we recommend a Kimbrough servo saver.
2.4GHZ RADIO SYSTEM
If your RC truck doesn’t have a 2.4GHz radio system, this is money well spent. Even better, this systems aren’t all that much money. All of the radio companies offer 2.4GHz systems and they all wisely offer less expensive setups that are ideal to use for RTR replacements. It is highly advised to spend a little extra and get a computerized model for easy programming. Also, if you have a rock crawler or scaler such the Axial Wraith, get a 3-channel model. this will allow you to control an auxiliary item such as a winch or dig unit in the future. Spektrum RC put 2.4GHz on the map and is still a very popular choice at the track and with bashers. When the 2.4GHz revolution first took off, all we saw were silver Spektrum transmitters, but we now see many of the previously popular brands more often than before.
We have seen huge advancements in battery technology over the years. Not that long ago, the improvements were essentially only in capacity. These increases in runtime were welcome. There were increases in voltage (or punch), but this really only mattered to racers and just meant there was a new “must-have” cell every other month. The advent of LiPo technology meant huge increases in runtime. Now, 5000mAh is typical or even small and many bashers run 6500mAh packs and up. On top of the runtime, LiPo packs can be charged faster, have more power and can be charged and discharged multiple times per day. everything about LiPo batteries is better than older battery technology. There are many LiPo battery brands and there are choices for every budget. We often use maxAmps.com because the cells are high quality, but we mostly often choose MaxAmps.com because they are waterproof.
RTR tires are made to last, and while some are better than others, most manufacturers know that RTR’s are going to see a lot of street action. As a result, many RTR tires are a pretty hard compound. Switching to softer tires, and provide such a significant improvement in performance that tires get our vote for best bang for your buck upgrade. Dollar for dollar, nothing improves performance like new tires. Companies like Pro-Line (in business for 30 years) offer a wide variety for racing and bashing tires. Pro-Line even separates race tires from all-terrain tires on its website which makes finding an ideal tires easy. Also, check out companies such as AKA, Axial, dBoots(Arrma), Duratrax, Hot Bodies, IMEX, JConcepts, and Panther. When upgrading your RTR tires, don’t immediately go with the softest compound as it will often just wear too quickly. Also, decide what terrain your drive on most often. If you only run on grass and dirt, you can go with a tire like Pro-Line’s Badlands. if you’re like many bashers and hit the street as much dirt, select a tire with flatter lugs instead of spikes or knobs.