Steering is one of the most critical functions of an RC truck. Race trucks need to track straight, turn with precision and react quickly. Rock crawlers, on the other hand, need a durable setup that offers up lots of steering throw (the more the better). CKRC has an interesting system for the Axial Wraith called the Suicide Switch that is designed on those demands. At first, I wasn’t too keen on the setup, which breaks tradition and uses a separate link going to each tire. In my experience, a link configuration like this can provide sketchy steering. The promise of more steering throw (and thus better maneuverability), however, was enough to sell me on the idea—or at least get me to give it a try. I installed one. I was skeptical but hopeful. I tested and tested it. Check out what happened next (the anticipation is almost too much to take, I know) . . .
It’s a new link setup, so there isn’t much to it. CKRC includes two aluminum links. They are unequal length. CKRC includes Traxxas plastic rod ends with chromed metal balls as well as the thread rod needed to install the rod ends on the links. CKRC also includes the needed hardware to attach the link to the servo horn. Speaking of the servo horn, CKRC includes an aluminum horn, but highly recommends upgrading to its clamping aluminum horn. I did just that. It’s easy to select the horn you want from a pull down menu.
The kit is just that, a kit, and comes unassembled. It’s an extremely easy and quick install. If you were one to worry that this may be too difficult, RC probably isn’t the hobby for you. I suggest staring off into space as a new hobby. Anyway, the install is over before you know. Just make sure you power up your radio properly center the steering before mounting the servo horn.
CKRC states the new geometry of the Suicide Switch provides 2 degrees toe out for increased tracking performance. In my experience, a little toe in increases straight line stability and a little toe out increases responsiveness and can even make the vehicle twitchy as even slight jolts to the front wheels can result in steer response. Anyway, that’s all a bunch of bench racing and two degrees is hardly even noticeable on a 2.2 crawler.
PERFORMANCE AND FINAL ASSESSMENT
As I’ve said, I was in an interesting space with this modification. On one hand, I was skeptical. I wasn’t impartial—that’s our goal here. I was downright doubtful. In contrast, I was also highly hopeful and raring to go forward for any improvement in steering. My Wraith has a Novak brushless system in it and even though I run only 2-cell LiPo, it’s pretty fast. It won’t win a short A-main, but it surprises most people with its power. I mention this because if the CKRC Suicide Switch was going to perform poorly, it was going to do so at top speed. So, how did it handle going all out? Hold on a second. Before I took off, I tested full lock steering radius. I had measured the stock setup previously. My Wraith happens to be wider and longer than stock, so its steering radius is more like a school bus than a Segway. With the Suicide Switch, I noticed an immediate improvement, or I should say reduction, in steering radius. Since my son and I often use this Wraith in scale competitions, it has to be able to go where a typical 2.2-equipped scaler goes. The courses accommodate Wraiths, but are typically tight for this truck. Since my Wraith is wider and longer than stock (doesn’t flip over an easily and climbs like a boss), it can use all the help it can get in the maneuverability department. So, the CKRC kit did exactly what I hoped and what was promised. Score one for the guys in Reno. But, how did high speed handling make out? Um, buzz kill for the haters. I didn’t notice any real difference. “High speed” is a relative term with a crawler. Even though my Wraith is probably twice as fast as stock, it still isn’t all that fast. It’s not set up for RC Ultra4 racing. It’s made to make quick work of off-road courses and made to have enough speed and power to get over obstacles when the only way up is 3, 2, 1 launch. So the bottom line is my Wraith isn’t fast enough to have noticeable steering issues because of the Suicide Switch setup and odds are yours isn’t either. So, from what I’ve seen thus far (and I’ve tested it a lot), the CKRC Suicide Switch is staying. It hasn’t broken or shown any wear and it undeniably improves my Wraith’s maneuverability. And it does it all for less than $40 with the clamping servo horn.