A Critical Look: How Horizon Could Take on Traxxas (And Win)

A Critical Look: How Horizon Could Take on Traxxas (And Win)

In the battle for shelf space in hobby shops around the country, Traxxas seems to be the clear victor. It’s main competitors, ARRMA and ECX, owned by Hobbico and Horizon respectively, have a long way to go to catch up. However, I think Horizon Hobby has a dark horse capable of not only catching up to Traxxas, but surpassing them in popularity among hobby shops, and perhaps even consumers. That contender is Losi, and here’s how I would restructure Losi to take on Traxxas.

Read More

ECX Torment 4x4 Review

ECX Torment 4x4 Review

The brand formerly known as Electrix has a short and storied past. Horizon Hobby, ECX's parent company, wanted to do for the R/C Surface category what their Blade line had done for R/C helicopters: make them affordable and open to anyone. A lofty goal to be sure, but one not so far out of reach as to be unbelievable. I believed in them.

ECX now boasts ten different vehicles (thirteen if you count the discontinued Nitro Revenge and the brushless variants of the 2WD Torment and Ruckus), yet few hop-ups exist for these vehicles. To their credit, the Revenge Type-E did receive a good selection of aluminium optional parts. But their 2WD platform has practically nothing. It's been a point of contention between myself and ECX for sometime.

That having been said, I hope ECX will rectify their situation soon. I look to them to be the competition Traxxas needs to further innovation and drive down consumer prices - and they can only do that if they begin to pull even with Traxxas in sales and after-market support. The new four-wheel-drive vehicles area a good place to start, so let's take a look at this new platform.

Read More

Two Problems ECX Has to Fix... Now (Opinion)

Two Problems ECX Has to Fix... Now (Opinion)

ECX has had a tumultuous history. First introduced in 2010 (and called Electrix back then), they were the answer for dealers looking for a low-cost alternative to the toy industry cars like Nikko and Tyco. They were also aimed squarely at Duratrax, the low-cost R/C car line from their chief competitors, Hobbico; a suspicion that was later confirmed by ECX.

We carried their first batch of vehicles alongside their Traxxas counterparts during the Christmas season of 2010. When we started seeing customers having problems with the ECX radio systems, we dropped the line. I later confirmed there was a problem with the low-end radio systems ECX had used, and that they chased the problem for months and months before making the decision to drop the 27AM radios entirely.

In October of 2012, ECX made a comeback. They shed their problematic radios for 2.4GHz units, upgraded their electronics to be waterproof, and included a 2-Amp peak charger in the box. This drive up the price a bit, but they still maintained their sub $200 price points. We brought back the line and it sold well with few problems.

Since the epic return of ECX to our shelves, they have cemented themselves a position in our R/C car line up. Duratrax hasn’t responded to the increased competition in a meaningful way, meaning ECX has completed the mission they had at the outset. Now it seems they’ve set their sights on Traxxas. But if in fact they want to eat into Traxxas’ market share, they have missed the mark. Here are the two biggest problems (and solutions) for the ECX line.

Read More

Electrix "Circuit" Review (2010 Version)

Electrix "Circuit" Review (2010 Version)

A few months ago, when Horizon Hobby told me that they wanted to re-invent the electric R/C truck market,  I was more than a little skeptical. When they said they wanted to do to electric R/C trucks what they did with electric helicopters (the Blade Heli line), I all but laughed. And when we got the first of their new product line here in the store, I realized I was wrong.

While the brand name (“Electrix”) and truck name (“Circuit”) may be more than a little goofy, the product itself is no joke. It’s built like a tank, and has a number of features I imagine will be copied from here on out. But there is much on the truck that is familiar as well - in some areas, it more than borrows from Traxxas and Team Associated, as well as it’s cousin, Team Losi. But this isn’t a bad thing.

Read More