Every year, we look back at the year gone by to see the top performing products in our store. For the first time, we’re publishing that information with some editorial about the products. The products aren't limited to items that came out in 2012; in fact, there isn't a single thing on the list that was new this year. These are simply the top-performing products in our store, by dollars, this year.
So let's countdown the top ten products in our store for this past year. See if your favorite made the list, and tell us what you think in the comments below, or stop by our Facebook Page and chat there!
10. Traxxas Velineon Brushless Combo
The first item on our countdown was a bit of a surprise to me, until I realized that we count Power Up trade-ins under this SKU as well. That means we’ve done a lot of Power Ups this year. The Velineon Brushless Combo handily beats every other motor/speed control combo we stock - nothing else was close on the list.
The Velineon System barely edged out the Hitec X4 AC+ Multicharger to make it on the list, and I think the Velineon System deserves the spot. We’ve done more Power Ups this year than any other, and that’s reflected by the VXL system making the top ten.
9. E-Flite 150mAh 1S LiPo Batteries
Products that stand alone rarely do well over time. Products that compliment a massive ecosystem of R/C helicopters and airplanes make it to number nine on our countdown. This tiny battery is easily the most ubiquitous battery we’ve ever seen. It’s the proprietary battery for more than a dozen aircraft. They are the stock battery for two of the other items on the countdown.
When it comes to a battery that defines an era, I don’t think there is any question that the E-Flite 150mAh 1S LiPo batteries define the ultra-micro era. And that’s why they make it to number nine.
8. Blade 120SR Ready-To-Fly
This is the second year in a row that the 120SR has made the list in some format or another. I really thought the Bind-N-fly 120SR would make the list. I try to emphasise that the 120SR is not a beginner helicopter. But even so, we have sold more Ready-To-Fly variants then their Bind-N-Fly counterparts.
The 120SR does deserve the spot, though. It’s one of the best intermediate-level helicopters in production. And while I recently wrote an article asking for a refresh on the line, it’s not because the 120SR has gotten stale. I know this helicopter can be much more than it currently is, which is saying a lot. The 120SR is a fantastic heli - to make it to number eight, it has to be!
7. Duratrax 5000mAh 2S 25C Hardcase LiPo Batteries
With the amount of R/C cars and trucks we sell, I probably shouldn’t be as surprised as I am to find this battery on the list. I do believe it’s the first time that the highest ranking battery on our top ten list was a LiPo (actually, counting the E-Flite battery at number nine, the top two batteries are LiPos this year).
Duratrax used to be the benchmark for batteries (everyone had a red Piranha 1500mAh battery back in the day). Today, Venom has eclipsed just about every other battery vendor. But with a lower price than the equivilent Venom battery, the Duratrax 5000mAh 2S 25C LiPo offers the power that our customers want for a price they can afford. And with a warranty process even more efficient than Venom’s, we can sell Duratrax’s batteries with the confidence that our customers are taken care of. Those qualities place the Duratrax 5000mAh 2S 25C LiPo at number seven on our countdown.
6. HobbyZone’s Champ Ready-To-Fly
Coming in at number six on the countdown is the only airplane on the list. Small and unassuming, the Champ is certainly more than meets the eye. I remember when it first arrived at the store and I took one home to demo (ah, the perks of working at a hobby shop), I was very unimpressed before I flew it. I figured it would be a one flight wonder. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The Champ is a hell of a lot of fun to fly; I ended up flying it all afternoon - in my backyard. We’ve even flown it in the back parking lot here at the store. The Champ doesn’t require much room to fly, and I think that’s why it’s such a hit. Almost anyone can fly it in almost any environment. With that kind of accessibility, it’s not surprising that the Champ is our first choice for a beginner’s airplane. And with it being Ready to Fly for under $100, it’s no wonder the HobbyZone Champ is number six on our countdown.
5. Traxxas Stampede 2WD (#3605)
In some form or another, the Traxxas Stampede has been on the top ten list for as long as I can remember. The venerable monster truck is truly the king of its kind; no other truck would have been a proper fit for the Monster Jam license. Claiming the highest ground clearance of any vehicle we sell, the Stampede’s ability to conquer just about any terrain is unparalleled.
We really love selling Stampedes - they’re durable, inexpensive, and they wheelie better than anything else we carry. And everyone knows wheelies are cool!
No top ten list of ours would be complete without the Stampede on it. All of the great qualities that make the Stampede a great buy in the shop are the same ones that elevate it to number five on our top ten countdown.
4. Traxxas Slash 2WD (#5805)
I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that Traxxas’ Slash changed everything as we knew it when it came out. People started racing Slashes, right out of the box. The Slash’s release began the era of racing dominated by short course trucks, which continues to this day. Traxxas single-handedly ushered in a new era of radio control vehicles.
Everything we associate with short course trucks nowadays started with the Slash. The odd 2.2”/3.0” rims? First seen on the Slash. From the wide-bodied design to the width of the tires to the wide bumpers came from the Slash (which were borrowed from its full scale cousins).
No one saw it coming, and even Traxxas couldn’t have predicted just how much the Slash would change the industry. Four years later, and the Slash is still selling strong as ever. But even being a watershed product couldn’t get the Slash 2WD any higher than fourth place on our countdown. The highest placing vehicle honors go to the Slash’s four-wheel-drive cousin in third place.
3. Slash 4x4 VXL (#6808)
I’m really happy to have the Slash 4x4 be the top vehicle for us this year. Easily my favorite vehicle we’ve ever carried, the Slash 4x4 deserves the top spot. It’s incredibly easy to work on with its modular chassis design. It’s the most durable truck out of the box we have, and quite possibly the most durable truck out of the box we’ve ever had. It has the same killer looks as the Slash 2WD (although the body selection isn’t as good - I’d really like a Robby Gordon orange Slash 4x4). It comes with the VXL Brushless Combo installed, so it can be very fast.
All said and done, what’s not to love about the Slash 4x4? My truck of the year is in it’s rightful place - at the top of the vehicle-laden hill, and number three on our top ten countdown.
2. Hitec X1 AC+ Multicharger
I wouldn’t have guessed the rank of this charger in a million years. We’ve only been carrying this charger for a short time (a little more than a year). I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a charger in our top ten, which makes the Hitec X1 AC+ all the more special.
The best thing about the charger is really the price tag. By far the biggest obstacle for people getting into the hobby is the cost of all the necessary products. With its sub $70 price tag, the Hitec X1 makes the hobby more affordable for more people. Even better is that it doesn’t skip on the features for that price tag: it still has built-in LiPo balancing and storage modes, can handle up to 6-cell LiPos (15-cell NiMH or NiCd!). We sell these chargers with almost every LiPo we sell, and we’ve had less than ten require warranty service. With a great record like that, we’re happy to have Hitec on the shelf and in second place on our countdown.
1. Blade mCX2 Ready-To-Fly
The Blade mCX2 has been at or near the top of the list ever since it came out in May of 2010. It’s easily one of our favorite products to sell. It’s simply the best beginner radio control helicopter on the market. It’s stable, easy to fly, and durable. And it’s easy to sell; one demo flight and someone’s up at the register, ready to join the legion of pilots learning to fly helicopters.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what makes the mCX2 so special. It’s only an incremental improvement over the original Blade mCX. But it’s the attention to detail of the mCX2, I think, that makes it so compelling. The thicker rotor head design prevents breakage better than its predecessor. The heading lock gyro is superb. And the full body design is great looking. The hidden greatness to the mCX2 is Horizon Hobby’s unparallelled warranty service and product support personnel.
The Blade mCX2 will remain one of our best sellers until the Blade mCX3 comes out to take over the crown - keeping the best-selling title in the family.
That rounds out our top ten products of the year for 2012. In a year that saw change as the only constant, it’s kind of nice to see that very few of these products are “new”. None of them came out in 2012. Sometimes, the ol’ standbys are still the way to go.