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Traxxas Telluride 4X4 Review

traxxas telluride review

FAST FACTS
Price: $300
Top Speed: 25 mph
Hot
> Versatility–it bashes and hits the trail
> 2.4 GHz radio system
> Durable as all get out
> Love the Telluride name and logo, but . . .
Not
> . . . the rest of the graphics are getting played out
> I’d rather Summit-style hard plastic fender flares
> Tires quickly give up on rocks
> Even 100,000 wt diff fluid isn’t enough

Traxxas Gives Us One Truck For Any Occasion

Fun. It’s a short and simple word, and these three letters are why we do this hobby. Well, fun is supposed to be what it’s all about. We want to have fun, and to have their RC fun, most people like to bash, some race and others rock crawl. And, we accordingly have vehicles built specifically for each segment and even for the many subsegments. But, why not a vehicle that can handle itself on more than one type of terrain and satisfy multiple urges. More fun to be had, right? Well, that’s what Traxxas is going for with its Telluride 4X4. It’s not a one-trick pony, and that’s a good thing. To be more specific, it’s a basher and a crawler. You can enjoy some high-speed backyard action and hit the trails–all with the same truck. Is it right for you? Read on and find out.

HIGHLIGHTS
> Composite plastic tub chassis
> New SUV style Lexan body
> New suspension arms for narrow width
> Brushed 12-turn motor
> 2.4 GHz radio system
> Short course style 2.2/3.0 wheels
> Kumho Road Venture MT tires
> Plastic fluid-filled shocks
> 4WD shaft-driven drivetrain
> 4-wheel independent suspension
> High speed stall clutch
> 100,000 wt fluid in differentials

DID YOU KNOW?
Telluride is a town in Colorado. Okay, you probably heard of the town and probably even knew or could have guessed it was somewhere in Colorado. But, did you know it’s due north of Durango–another Colorado town and vehicle name (in full-size as a SUV and as a vehicle and now an entire brand in RC).

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FEATURES
Chassis
As many of you already know (it’s hardly a secret), the Telluride 4X4 shares the same composite plastic tub chassis as the Stampede 4X4. It is not, however, the same as the Slash 4X4, which is significantly longer. This is mentioned to help alleviate some of the confusion that was abound when Traxxas announced the Telluride 4X4. What this fairly deep tub provides is a strong platform that’s relatively good at keeping dirt out and is easy to work on thanks to Traxxas’ modular design (more on that later). What it isn’t is a scale frame, so if that is what you’re looking for, you need to keep looking. There’s nothing scale about it.

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The driveshaft runs down a center channel and is covered on top by a clear guard. The battery sits on what is the driver’s side (well, driver’s side here in America) of the driveshaft. The servo, speed control and motor all sit on the other side. There is a waterproof receiver box in front of the chassis, right behind the front shock tower. What’s nice about Traxxas’ molded chassis design is that there are molded-in provisions for all the stock components such as the speed control to attach to.

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DID YOU KNOW?
In an effort to describe and market their concept of vehicles that don’t require assembly and include electronics installed, Traxxas coined the term Ready To Run and the oft-used RTR abbreviation. Both terms took off and are now used as the industry standard. Even though everyone uses it, it’s Traxxas terminology.

One of the coolest features incorporated into this platform (Telluride 4X4, Stampede 4X4 and Slash 4X4) is the modular design. With only a few screws being removed, you can slide the front or rear drivetrain and suspension housings off the main chassis.

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Suspension
The Telluride 4X4 uses the same independent suspension setup as the Stampede 4X4, but with new shorter arms for a narrower, more scale stance. The upper camber links on the Telluride 4X4 are fixed length plastic pieces. Some may have concerns of durability of the plastic camber links, but it’s doubtful the lack of adjustability is a real issue. It’s also doubtful the links will have durability issues. The arms offer three lower shock mount options with the inner most mounting hole being the one used from the factory. Unless you’re looking to tune the Telluride 4X4 for on-road use, odds are the factory setting is the one to stick with. It may seem like a small thing, but Traxxas actually does you a huge favor my designing the Telluride to use the same suspension arms front and rear. While the camber links are unlikely to break (in my opinion), the steering links are older Traxxas tech and look like they could bend. Traxxas offers optional heavy duty camber and steering links.

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The shocks are Traxxas’ Ultra units which are basic plastic bodied shocks that use a bladder and dual X-ring seals. While aluminum caps are recommended, these shocks are plenty smooth and quite appropriate for this sort of application. The beefy shock towers give you three upper shock mount locations. Unfortunately–at least in my opinion–the front and rear shock towers are not the same part. Not a big deal, of course.

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Drivetrain
The Telluride 4X4 is four-wheel drive. What gave it away? The name? The drivetrain is essentially the same as the Stampede 4X4 platform it is based off of. Notice I said essentially and not exactly. The Stampede 4X4’s drivetrain is a lot closer in design to the much longer Slash 4X4 short course truck’s setup than the Telluride 4X4 is to the Stampede 4X4. Does it all really matter? Not really. They are all configured the same, but mechanically, the Telluride is the biggest departure. First, the main driveshaft is plastic, not aluminum. The Telluride also uses 48-pitch gears.

DID YOU KNOW?
Traxxas was founded by Jim Jenkins and David Katz. Jim’s son Mike worked at the company and eventually bought the entire company and owns and runs it today.

The real difference in design is the High-stall Gear Clutch in place of a slipper. Many people will wonder what the difference is, so instead of just glossing over it, here’s the scoop. An adjustable slipper is designed to slip when the vehicle is accelerating and when the drivetrain experiences a jolt such as landing (wheels meet resistance when hitting the ground) from a jump while the tires are under power or just spinning. So, a traditional slipper can be used to tune for available traction and to protect the drivetrain. The High Stall Clutch’s only function is to protect the drivetrain. If there is a big difference between wheel speed and the drivetrain’s speed, the clutch will disengage. So the adjustable slipper and the high stall clutch are cousins and maybe even brothers, but certainly not twins.

You may not really appreciate (or even notice) the difference in how the High Stall Clutch performs compared to a traditional slipper, but you will notice the front and rear gear differentials are not coated with grease. Instead, the diffs are filled with 100,000 wt silicone fluid. The gearing is also different on the Telluride 4X4. The final drive ratio is 19.69:1. The Stampede 4X4 is 13.97:1. This combined with the shorter tires means the Telluride 4X4 is geared for torque over speed.

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Electronics
Traxxas has continually evolved its product line over the years and one of the key areas they have addressed is the electronics. The features that we appreciate the most in this department are the waterproofing of the components and the optional Training Mode (allows yo to cut the top speed for beginners). The speed control included is the XL-5 brushed model matched to the tried and true Traxxas Titan 12T (12-turn) 550 sealed brushed motor. While many people will clamor for brushless because it’s faster, the reality is Traxxas’ 12-turn brushed motor is a far better choice for this vehicle than the Traxxas Velineon brushless system. The reason is that a truck being used on rocks, or even trail use, needs to be brushed or equipped with a sensored brushless system. A sensorless brushless, like the Velineon, may be the right choice to satisfy the need for speed, but it simply does not offer the low speed throttle response/control. The XL-5 can handle up to a 8-cell NiMH, but is only rated for up to 2-cell LiPo.

DID YOU KNOW?
So, the Telluride 4X4 is related, quite obviously, to the Stampede 4×4. The original Stampede–the 2WD version–was released way back in 1994. 1994! This platform is still going strong. Talk about a long run. The 2WD and 4WD platforms are similar in dimension and name, but it ends there. The 4WD platform is based off the Slash 4×4 that was released in 2009.

The 2056 servo is plastic geared unit and has an output rating of 80 oz-in for torque and 0.23 second for speed. This is adequate, performance wise, for the smaller tires, but will the plastic output gear hold up? Only time will tell. If you’re worried about the power, the good news is that Traxxas offers a stronger servo, the 2070, that is also waterproof. You can score one for a paltry $40. There are also aftermarket waterproof servos available from Hitec.

6516-TQ-24GHz-(2-ch)

The radio system is Traxxas’ TQ 2.4 GHz 2-channel setup. It’s a nice radio. It’s–as had been said about many RTR transmitters–a no frills radio, but it’s a nice radio. It’s sleek yet comfortable, and it has no external antenna. The receiver is tucked away in the waterproof radio box that was mentioned above. To break away from the objective description of the features for a brief moment, the only reason I would replace this radio would be to add a third channel operated winch.

Traxxas includes a 7-cell 3000 NiMH battery pack and a super simple wall charger. Traxxas includes this setup in many of its vehicles and the battery is a good match for the Telluride 4X4. You’ll love LiPo, but you won’t need to dump this pack right out of the gate.

DID YOU KNOW?
Traxxas owner Mike Jenkins and his brother, Mark, race in the full-size Traxxas TORC short course series against some of the most famous names in off-road racing.. The two brothers honed their skills in the SCCA Mazda MX-5 Cup series, and Mike also has motocross and drag racing experience.

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Tires, Wheels & Body
The Telluride 4X4 comes with what are now known as short course tires. That is to say they are the same style and design (2.2″ outer bead or wheel diameter and 3.0″ inner bead diameter). Specifically, these are Traxxas’ licensed Kumho Road Venture MT Replica tires. Besides having an extremely realistic tread, the compound used is fairly sticky (but not sicky enough if you’re inclined to hit the rocks a lot). Inside the Kumho tires are standard foam insertss. The overall feel is firm, but not excessively so.

DID YOU KNOW?
Kumho Tires is a Korean company that was founded in 1960 (much older company than we expected). Kumho means bright lake in Korean.

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The Telluride 4X4’s body is a molded Lexan generic SUV adorned in Traxxas’ trademark ProGraphix look. It looks very Traxxas. You can get red, orange, blue or green as the main color. The fender flares are part of the body, as in it’s all one piece unlike Traxxas 1/10-scale Summit, which has detachable plastic fender flares.

DID YOU KNOW?
The famous off-road trail Imogene Pass is located in Telluride, Colorado. This trail isn’t known to be exceptionally challenging, but is known for its beautiful views.

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PERFORMANCE
The first thing I did with the Traxxas Telluride 4X4 was take it to a hardcore rock crawling competition. I’m kidding, of course. The Telluride 4X4 isn’t made for that sort of thing and how well it would or wouldn’t do is, well, completely irrelevant. Oh no! All of the jaded crawler experts have nothing to complain about now. I’m so sorry to take that away from you.

What I did do is charge up the included battery (on my charger, not the wall charger) and do some backyard bashing. I am lucky in that I have a lot of exposed rock on my property, so I could really put the multi-purpose nature of the Telluride 4X4 to the test. The fact that it can go just about anywhere is fun–a lot of fun. The Telluride 4X4 doesn’t get boring. Blast down the driveway, cruise across the grass, fly off a jump, climb a dirt mound and, yes, crawl on some rocks–all with one truck. That doesn’t get old and, yes, I said crawl on rocks. Can it crawl like a 2.2 comp crawler. No. No, it can’t–not even close. But, most people will probably quickly realize a truck that you have to carefully drive and try and try again on obstacles is, um, fun. I’m not trying to sing the praise of this truck, I’m just pointing out that if Joe Serious Rocker Crawler could get over himself for a second, he may just have some fun with Traxxas’ Telluride 4X4. It isn’t a true rock crawler (that’s important to note), but it does go off-road over almost any surface–including rocks.

So, what isn’t the Telluride 4X4 good at? Well, the tires are pretty good for most things off-road, but break traction fairly easily on most rocks. You’ll hear them chirp and slip. The differentials, even filled with 100,000 wt silicone fluid, diff out pretty easily on rocks and rough terrain. When that happens, it’s pretty much game over for forward momentum. I foresee some stickier tires and even thicker diff fluid in my Telluride 4X4’s future.

How about some more things Telluride 4X4 does well? It’s suspension is plush and the Telluride 4X4 lands jumps like there’s a pillow under it. It absolutely owns most hiking trails. The type of terrain most of us hike on is the perfect place to use the Telluride 4X4. This is where it is honestly better than many scalers that tend to be rather boring on the flat dirt sections. If you have ever gone on an RC trek, you know what I’m getting at. With the Telluride 4X4, you can zip up and down the unchallenging sections and still give it a go on the technical obstacles you come across. So, it does this and is still entertaining going fast in the backyard. And, that is the whole beauty of the Telluride 4X4.

So, what’s it like to drive the Telluride 4X4? It’s fast, but not too fast. It can take a pretty good beating. This review sample has been hammered on and is, thus far, no worse for wear. The 12-turn motor is tame enough to provide good runtime, and that good runtime became great when using even a rather typical 5000 mAh LiPo battery. So far, the 12-turn has handled the LiPo just fine. Speaking of handling stuff, the Telluride 4X4 can handle rocks. It doesn’t defy gravity like a comp crawler, but with its lower gearing and thick fluid in the differentials, the Telluride 4X4 does work on the rocks. Often, the bottom will scrape along and you’ll need more speed than we might like to see in what we call crawling, but if you want to take on some rocks here and there, the Telluride 4X4 is game for it.

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FINAL ASSESSMENT
If you are a scale aficionado and demand that your RC trucks are realistic models that make people do double takes, the Telluride 4X4 isn’t for you. Well, unless you want a vehicle that has realistic (dare I say scale?) proportions and is as much fun bashing as it is cruising some backwoods trails. The point is the Telluride 4×4 isn’t for everyone. What RC vehicle is? Traxxas isn’t for everyone either. Traxxas products often have pretty sophisticated engineering (e.g., the Revo platform, Stampede 4×4, this truck, etc.), but are not made out of the most sophisticated high-end materials. So, if you can’t bear to have anything but carbon fiber and titanium, Traxxas, as a whole, may not be for you. Well, unless you get that molded plastic parts are durable and generally less expensive in the long run. I’m digressing here. More to the point, the Traxxas Telluride 4X4 has a pretty obvious mission (have fun on a variety of terrains while looking more realistic than most bashers) and it gets the job done. In simple terms, there is no doubt in my mind that a lot of people will have fun with the Tellruide 4X4. Get it out on a hiking trail and you’ll see what I mean. Overall, I’ve personally had a lot of fun with the Telluride. As I’ve said previously, I wouldn’t consider it a true rock crawler, but it’s more than an ordinary basher. It’s a scale proportioned off-roader that is extremely versatile. Like other Traxxas vehicles, it’s also extremely durable. You can break it, but odds are you’ll be doing something pretty wild when you do. We have yet to do any real damage, but we have put a whole lot of scratches in the body and on the underside of the chassis while playing on the rocks. Speaking of rocks, I plan to do some mild modifications to improve the Telluride 4X4’s rock crawling capabilities, so stay tuned.

 

 

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23 Comments

    1. Pit Bull makes scale off-road tires that fit short course wheels. I’d go with those if you want a scale look that will be great on rocks and dirt. Pro-Line has a few great choices if you want a tire that leans more towards general off-road. Pro-Line’s Trencher tire is probably the most realistic of their offers. The Badlands looks like a motocross tire, but actually works pretty good on rocks. I would stick with wheels designed to be 2WD Slash rear wheels. That is what comes on the Telluride and will ensure you have the right offset.

  1. Great review. I bought one of these for my son to go with my scaler. We both like it because it isn’t a crawler only. It keeps up fairly well but can also go fast. I did make a tow strap based on one of your articles and use that to help the telluride over the rocks or such when needed.

  2. What is the run time on the Telluride, with the stock battery and if I upgraded to a 2cell lipo battery what type of run time could I get…
    thanks

    1. Adam, that is unfortunately a very hard question to answer. A lot impacts runtime on the stock battery, such as terrain and driving style. How charged the pack is before you start also impacts overall runtime. Running in grass compared to pavement will drastically change runtime, for example. While the difference would be smaller, using the stock wall charger compared to a digital peak charger will also impact runtime. All said, the Telluride gets pretty good runtime. How much going to a 2-cell LiPo will impact runtime will depend on the “size” of the LiPo you use. The stock battery has a 3000 mAh capacity, so a typical 5000 mAh LiPo will provide a big boost in runtime. Hope this helps.

  3. Great review. I am new to this hobby. I just bought Telluride. My question is, can I replace the stock motor with Axial 55t when I wanted to do crawling. If I change to this motor, do I need to change ESC? Or is there any other side effects if I do that? Sorry if my questions is a stupid one. I do not have much idea how these things work other than reading some of these kind of reviews.

    Thanks,
    EK

    1. That’s actually a great question. The stock XL-5 speed control (ESC) can handle an Axial 55-turn with ease. Both are brushed (as opposed to brushless) and the XL-5 can handle a 12-turn 550 sport motor, so a 55-turn 540 motor is well within its motor limitations. You may find the 55-turn a bit slow, but I think it’s worth trying. Good luck, have fun and thanks for checking out RC Truck Stop.

  4. Hi Matt, thanks for your response. One more question. Do you think I need to change the pinion gear when I change its motor to 55t? is there something else I need to take care of?

    Thanks,
    EK

    1. You won’t need to change the pinion gear, but you may want to try one a few teeth larger to regain some speed. That said, I’d certainly run it with the stock pinion first. Take your time getting the gear mesh set correctly and it should run really cool.

      1. Great. Thanks again. Do you think its a good idea to change the tires to more softer ones? If yes, is there something that I can do it without changing other parts like wheels or something?

        Thanks,
        EK

        1. I absolutely think it’s a great idea to change to softer tires. Pit Bull and Pro-Line make tires that are perfect for the Traxxas Telluride 4X4. You will, however, also have to buy new wheels as the stock tires are glued on. You could try boiling the stock tires to breakdown the glue bond (we have an article here on that), but it doesn’t always work and I would just keep the stock tires for street and driveway use. For rocks, I would also suggest running soft standard foam instead of a firmer closed cell foam.

          1. Matt, Thank you for your advice. It is very valuable for me as I’m a newbie to this hobby.

            Thanks,
            EK

  5. Thanks for the in-depth review. I am returning to the hobby with my son and this will be my first non-tamiya (GASP!) vehicle. I think the jack-of-all-trades nature of it is perfect for my bashing/hiking/camping needs.

  6. I was wondering 2 things I have been out of RCing for a while and don’t know half of the terminology well 3 things actually. 8)

    1. What specific tires do you recommend? I saw you said Pit Bull or Pro-line, but what kind exactly

    2. I have seen other reviews and that the stock motor can’t handle the four wheel drive. Any ideas on a stronger motor. But it was burning up mostly from Crawling and I don’t plan on doing much crawling at all.

    3. Lastly, like I said earlier I have been out of RCing for a while my first and only RC car was the Rhino I got for Christmas way back like 1986ish. So a lot of the terminology is strange. What does ESC mean/stand for.

    Thanks

  7. Also thought of a few other things if I bought a Telluride what would be some things I would need?

    1. Batter charger? Onyx 235? if that is okay would I need to buy anything else with the charger to charge?

    2. Extra Battery? What kind? Just using the Telluride for fun trail riding and playing around the house

    3. Anything else you might recommend as a must have besides charge and extra battery

    Thanks again and sorry for all the questions

  8. Having a problem with my telly. It moves but makes a wineing sound while running. Put some bigger tires on but it was doing it before that. I have changed the clutch and not sure if I have to do the whole drive train next.
    going to put a crawler motor in to slow it down to.

  9. Hi Matt,

    Great review 🙂

    I just bought one and was wondering if it would be safe to put larger Stampede wheels on without changing gearing? I don’t do any low speed stuff like crawling, mainly just thrashing on dirt and grass.

    Cheers!

  10. i have a red telluride i bought off ebay in the box with frozen bearings , i replaced all bearings put a vxl brushless motor
    a hpi esc and a duratrax 5000 25 c lipo battery and proline
    mashers yep much bigger then the stock tires but i tell you
    not much stops this litttle beast decent top end speed and enough power to blow threw the mud cant say enough good things about
    the little red truck and would buy another in a heartbeat

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