I have long been interested in history, and recent conversations got me interested in telling you more about two companies I’ve come to really appreciate over the years and one vehicle I will never go without– Traxxas, AMAIN Performance Hobbies, the Slash respectively. Having been in r/c since 1986, I’ve been privileged to see the hobby grow from local hobby shop’s to the internet, from kits to RTR and from Nitro to LiPo. I’ve seen a lot and diving into the history of these personal favorites is a journey I hope you enjoy too.
Traxxas was started in 1986 by Jim Jenkins and David Katz with an idea for what was at that time an entirely new concept for a fully assembled, hobby-class R/C car. This new car would have all the same benefits of a hobby-class kit such as replaceable parts, hop-ups, and a high-quality component radio system, however it would be fully assembled with a colorful body, right out of the box.
Traxxas coined the term “Ready-To-Run” (RTR) to describe this new class. Since a fully assembled, ready-to-run car would appeal to the entry-level beginner, a toll-free customer support line was set up from day one to service an entirely new category of hobby consumer. At first, acceptance of the RTR concept was slow because traditional R/C kits had always been unassembled. Once people realized that a Traxxas RTR had the same performance and quality as the traditional R/C kits, only that they didn’t have to build it, the ready-to-run car was a runaway hit! A kit version would still be offered for those who still wanted to have the building experience.
In May, 2004, Kendall and Kelly Bennett started A Main Hobbies (as it was known then) out of their 2-car garage in sunny Chico, Calfornia. Kendall, with his passion for RC hobbies, having a software engineering degree and experience running a successful software development company, decided to start the company of his dreams. Kelly, coming from an extensive customer service and human resources background, pitched in with helping customers by phone and filled orders, while Kendall worked his wizardry with the website.
The company grew quickly; mostly from word of mouth of RC racers on forums. AMain gained its quality reputation by maintaining a broad selection of inventory, delivering excellent customer service, providing expedited shipping at reasonable rates, and giving back to the RC community by sponsoring races and charitable events.
INTRODUCING THE SLASH
As the owner of Traxxas, Mike and Mark Jenkins have spent a lifetime around radio-controlled cars and trucks, and have fulfilled their passion for life-sized motorsports by competing in motocross, drag racing and road racing. After a trip to Primm, Nev. in 2007 to get an up-close look at short-course off-road racing, the duo recognized the high-intensity motorsport as the perfect fit for Traxxas. That same year, Mike and Mark then formed Jenkins Brothers racing with Mark piloting the Pro 2 and Mike the Pro 4. In 2008, Traxxas signed on as the title sponsor of the TORC Series.
Is it any coincidence this sparked the r/c version we know and love named Slash and an entirely new segment in r/c? Competitors were left scrambling to catch up and since many have created their own versions of the Slash. In the mean time, short course truck racing has become a very popular fixture on local r/c tracks.
Here’s the very first Slash truck introduction video; it’s Traxxas’ entrance into short course (includes narration by owner Mike Jenkins). Who knew the Slash truck would change the R/C world for a third time, following the two previous flagships T-Maxx & Revo 3.3!
Lastly, here is another secondary Slash intro video showing two Slash trucks racing side-by-side at a local R/C track.
THE ORIGINAL SLASH
Take a look at the differences between the original Slash and the 2016 Slash and you’ll quickly see they picked a winning formula from the start. Not much has changed to the original since it was created.
- Available in Race Replica versions with officially licensed Fabtech® and Amsoil® paint and graphics!
- Titan® 12-Turn 550 modified motor
- XL-5 waterproof electronic speed control
- 27Mhz radio
- Water-sealed receiver box and steering servo
- Metal gear Magnum 272™ transmission
- Revo®-spec torque-control™ slipper clutch
- Adjustable steel turnbuckles with captured rod ends
- Scale ProGraphix® truck body
- The tires are mounted on satin-finish 2.2″ Slash wheels
- Powder coated progressive rate white springs
- The ESC and receiver mounted directly to chassis
- Included optional 23-tooth pinion gear
While the basic setup is the same, there have been a few key improvements over the years. This is the 2016 Traxxas Slash 1/10 Scale RTR Electric 2WD Short Course Truck, with an included Traxxas TQ 2.4GHz Radio System. Slash is now LiPo-ready, with built-in Low-Voltage Detection! Award-Winning Short-Course Performance and Fun! The Traxxas Slash is equipped with the exclusive watertight, sealed Traxxas electronics that provides drivers with the freedom to drive where they want to drive.
Through water, mud, snow, and other wet-running conditions that were never possible before. The Slash is brushless ready with a waterproof digital steering servo, full ball bearings, metal gear transmission, Torque-Control slipper, planetary gear differential, and high-quality metal turnbuckles. The Traxxas Slash is fully assembled and Ready-To-Race for immediate out-of-the-box racing fun!
TQ 2.4GHz Radio System
This model is equipped with the TQ 2.4GHz radio system. The TQ’s modern design features an internal antenna for a sleek look, and an ergonomic grip for all-day driving comfort. 2.4GHz technology means there’s no need to worry about frequency conflicts, no matter how many other drivers you’re racing with. Just switch on and drive – the TQ automatically locates and locks on to an open frequency.
Length: 22.36 inches (568mm)
Front Track: 11.65 inches (296mm)
Rear Track: 11.65 inches (296mm)
Weight: 76.2oz (2.16kg)
Height (overall): 8.425 inches (214mm)
Wheelbase: 13.2 inches (335mm)
Speed Control Type: Waterproof XL-5 ESC w/low-voltage detection
Motor (electric): Titan 12T 550 (12-turn)
Gear Ratio (internal): 2.72 (final drive: 12.58)
Gear Pitch: 48-Pitch
Center Ground Clearance: 3.5 inches (89mm)
Top Speed: 30+mph* (with 7-cell battery and included optional 23-tooth pinion gear)
Skill Level: 1
Radio System: TQ 2.4GHz Radio System (2-channel)
Battery Tray Dimensions*: 165×49.5x23mm, 25mm (battery expansion kit available (TRA5827X)
Driving the Slash is fun, that’s about as simple as I can put it. I started by taking it up and down the street to fine-tune the steering while getting used to how it drove as I gradually increased the speed with each pass. The included wheels and tires are 2.2″ and provide significant traction on asphalt, and I quickly learned the Slash was pretty easy to traction-roll as the suspension dives and the tires grip.
However, the tires became predictable on the racing surface at my local track; they were easy to break loose, but provided nice traction when actively managing the throttle. Yes, you have to drive the 2wd Slash if you’re going to hit your corners, nail the jumps and improve your lap times. It’s one thing I love about 2wd SC truck racing, and it’s really satisfying when you get in the groove and get good lap times.
The chassis and suspension dip and dive around the corners around the high center of gravity, which is exactly what it’s suppose to do. It looks like the full scale truck when you’re making your way around the track. You can almost feel that interaction with the chassis through the transmitter. It really adds to my enjoyment.
The steering servo is strong and responsive. Twist the steering wheel to full lock then release it and you can expect the servo to bring the wheels back to center quite well. Put the Slash into a drift and the steering servo will help keep the Slash where you want it to go. I’m pleased with it’s communication with the transmitter and strength out of the box.
Jumping is intuitive. The balance is great, so once you figure out what speed you need through each of the track’s jump’s, the truck does the rest most of the time. If you mis-time or didn’t get the right setup going into a jump, the Slash will forgive you with a little kick of the throttle or tap on the brake; the Slash is rather easy to control in the air. And should you miss your opportunity to correct it in the air (see pics), you’ll find the Slash durable enough to handle the hard landings too.
Since the Slash’s inception, the demand for “More Slash” spawned the nitro Slayer Pro 4X4, the innovative center-driveshaft chassis of the Slash 4X4 (which had set a new standard platform in future Traxxas electric vehicles), the 2WD Slash VXL, the 1/16 Slash 4X4, the price-pointed Nitro Slash, the innovative On-Board Audio (OBA) vehicles, and of course various other editions such as theF150 Ford Raptor, Robby Gordon Dakar, … not to mention, some new and thick short course competition from other top R/C brands.
Since AMAIN Performance Hobbies decided to became an online r/c retailer, they’ve done exactly what Traxxas has done. They’ve taken an idea, a dream, and they built it into one of the best places to buy your Traxxas Slash, and just about anything else r/c related.
These are two great companies that do a lot to support the hobby and its continued growth. Support them and while you’re at it, give that Slash another look. At AMAIN Performance Hobbies prices, it really is one of the best, if not the best, options for the price.