A Critical Look: Toledo Show Comeback

A Critical Look: Toledo Show Comeback

When we took our annual bus trip down to the Toledo Weak Signals Expo this year, I was pretty critical of the show overall, and said I would detail my thoughts on how the show's organizers could best revamp the experience and return the show to its days of former glory. What follows are those thoughts.

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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.

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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.

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1/16 Summit VXL Review

1/16 Summit VXL Review

Let me start off by saying that I’ve been on record as have never been a big fan of anything smaller than 1/10 scale vehicles. I have many reasons for this, but the most relevant one is terrain - or more to the point, the lack of terrain options that smaller vehicles have. They don’t have the ground clearance to do most of the off-road options (grass being the biggest issue). Historically, if you look at the smaller R/C vehicles, starting with the Team Losi Mini-T, which started the trend, they are strictly dirt, gravel, and pavement (or carpet, if you’re indoors) cars. And since the vast majority of our customers tend to run around in the backyard, this can be problem.

I say this because you need to understand why I think the newest addition to the Traxxas 1/16th scale lineup is so cool. Even though it has the moniker of 1/16, it does not act like one. It is 1/10 scale through and through, and handled some of the roughest terrain I never thought it would.

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