A Critical Look: The Crisis That Never Came

A Critical Look: The Crisis That Never Came

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article examining a new policy from Traxxas: a complete lock-down of their high-current connectors. I warned of a coming crisis and feared how the hobby industry would react. There are many ways in which that article and I were wrong, and we’re going to talk about just how wrong I was and why my perceived future never came to pass.

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A Critical Look: What I Want Out of 2019

A Critical Look: What I Want Out of 2019

2018 was, by any metric I could use, a disappointing year at best. Instead of dwelling on the past, however, let’s put on our rose-colored glasses and look into the future — a bright and prosperous future for the hobby industry as a whole, and our store in particular. What does this utopian future look like? Let’s talk about that.

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A Critical Look: 3 Ways Traxxas Could Change the Game

A Critical Look: 3 Ways Traxxas Could Change the Game

Traxxas has emerged as one of the most influential companies of the hobby industry in the modern era. They tower above all other individual R/C surface manufacturers, and even Horizon Hobby, with its multiple brands and worldwide status, seems to be trailing Traxxas in product innovation and dominance in the world of R/C cars and trucks. With Traxxas’ sizeable influence on the overall hobby market, let’s look at some things Traxxas could do that will further shake up the industry. Whether these hypothetical actions are good or bad is a matter of perspective, but there’s no doubt, if enacted, they would cause quite the stir.

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A Critical Look: More Industry Turbulence as Horizon Drops Traxxas

A Critical Look: More Industry Turbulence as Horizon Drops Traxxas

This past Friday, Horizon Hobby informed retailers they will no longer be offering Traxxas products, starting the beginning of 2019. Was this Traxxas improving their profit margins by cutting off their last major distribution partner, or was this Horizon ratcheting up the tension between the two companies, between whom there appears to be little love lost?

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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.

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A Critical Look: 2018 is Make or Break For Hobbies

A Critical Look: 2018 is Make or Break For Hobbies

2018 has arrived, and with it a fresh start to a new year — but 2018 will be a tremendously important 365 days for our industry, and like Forrest's box of chocolates, there's no way to know what's in store until we experience it first hand. Plenty of stories will continue into the new year, but here is my personal list of stories from around the hobby industry that I'll be keeping an eye on throughout 2018.

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TRX-4 Impressions From a Crawling Enthusiast

TRX-4 Impressions From a Crawling Enthusiast

Over Memorial Day weekend, we lent out our demo TRX-4 to Matt Bedtelyon of RC4X4, a manufacturer of crawler links here in Mid-Michigan. As we don't have anyone on staff that is into crawling, getting Matt's perspective was crucial to understanding Traxxas' new platform well enough to sell it. What follows are Matt's thoughts and words after his extended weekend with Traxxas' new TRX-4 crawler.

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A Critical Look: Traxxas' Connector Crisis

A Critical Look: Traxxas' Connector Crisis

For the last thirty plus years, the hobby industry has been largely built around the concept of openness — that any, say, speed control, from any manufacturer, can work with any motor, or receiver, or vehicle that the user wants. This has lead to a lot of hodge-podging, but it also fostered competition and drove down prices, because no single company cornered the market on anything.

Today, I want to talk about how that foundation for our industry is being jeopardized. It will likely start the hobby industry down the road leading to higher prices, fewer choices, and, eventually, a series of "walled gardens" between which nothing can be interchanged. This future is now, and the first shot fired in the revolution centers around a surprising and seemingly innocuous component: the humble battery connector.

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LaTrax Alias Review

LaTrax Alias Review

Way back in 2012 (seems like forever ago, doesn't it?), Traxxas announced not one, but two helicopters would be their entrance into the radio controlled helicopter market. I, for one, was pretty excited about Traxxas' arrival in the R/C heli world; we've had such good luck carrying their R/C cars and trucks, and that success seemed destined to carry over to the helicopter world. Unfortunately, things didn't work out that way, and we had some bad experiences with Traxxas' quadcopters when they came out. And when Traxxas announced the LaTrax Alias, we hesitated on it. Blade was coming out with their Blade 180QX HD, a similarly-sized quadcopter that came equipped with a camera. And while the new Blade quadcopter was a bit pricier than the Alias, we felt that Blade had a better track record, and opted toward them.

We had the Blade 180QX HD for a while (and still do - you can see our first hands-on video here), and it became obvious that the higher price point was preventing some people from purchasing it. Other features were lacking as well, namely navigation lights. And so we decided to give the Alias another look, to see if Traxxas had stepped up and fixed the issues that plagued our first batch of helicopters. Here's what we found.

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Why We Won't Carry Traxxas' Helicopters (For Now)

Why We Won't Carry Traxxas' Helicopters (For Now)

When the rumor that Traxxas was getting into the radio control helicopter game hit the ‘Net, I, like most people, was enthused and excited. Traxxas is known for high quality radio control goods; with them getting into R/C helicopters, it would mean that the incumbents would face some stiff competition. And since competition is ultimately a good thing for consumers, the news was welcome.

That utopian future did not come to pass.

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