RCU Review: HPI Racing Savage FLUX HP

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    Contributed by: Matt Gunn | Published: May 2009 | Views: 101884 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Savage Flux

    Review by: Matt Gunn (webdr)
    Photography and video by: Jessica Halsak

    Savage Flux HP
    Distributed exclusively by:
    HPI Racing
    P70 Icon St
    Foothill Ranch, CA 92610


    Savage Flux in action!

    Dialup 8mb

    Broadband 28mb


    Insane torque and speed

    Durable Savage heritage

    Savage XL based suspension

    Wheelie bar that can take abuse

    Easily programmable Blur esc

    NiMh or Lipo compatable

    Lipos with female bullet connectors won't work.

    The urge to hop-up your rc truck is quite normal, and under-powered monster truck owners everywhere unanimously agree that the best way to combat it is to throw copious amounts of cash into your truck, making it faster, but at the expense of reliability. So you throw even more money into your little speed demon to beef up it's suspension arms and strengthen differentials that were never designed for the amount of power you now have on tap. Pretty soon, you've sunk near a grand into a 350 dollar platform that's becoming increasingly difficult to tell what it originally was.

    Luckily, HPI has come forth with a Savage that is guaranteed to out perform almost any other monster truck out there, stock or modified. The Savage Flux HP is by far the baddest Savage to date, thanks to a brushless motor/esc combo dubbed the Tork and the Blur. Both are high current, super high-quality units capable of accelerating the Savage as fast as a slingshot up to a mind numbing 62+ mph mark that's sure to put the brakes on your buddies nitro stompers.

    It's time to put away the nitro fuel, the packs of spare glow plugs and the bottle of air-cleaner oil and replace them with two battery packs and a charger. The Savage Flux HP is the first in a new era of brushless 1/8th scale monster trucks that has the competition scrambling to catch up.

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    • Length: 21"
    • Width: 16.8"
    • Height: 10"
    • Wheelbase: 13.6"
    • Track Width: 16"
    • Transmission: Single speed
    • Motor: Tork 2200kv brushless w/ heat sinks
    • Esc: Blur esc w/ reverse. Up to 6s lipo
    • Available colors: Dark gray w/ red flames
    • Batteries used: Racers Edge 2s 7.4v 5000mAh lipos
    • Included: Flux Tork 2200 brushless motor, Flux Blur ESC, HPI TF-3 radio system, SF-5 high torque metal gear steering servo, painted & trimmed body, wheelie bar, instruction manual and HPI RC Cars DVD

    • Two 6-8 cell NiMh packs, or two 2s or 3s lipo packs
    • Charger
    • Lipo balancer
    • 8 AA batteries for transmitter

    Other Helpful items

    • Thread lock compound
    • Optional Castle Creations ESC programmer available from HPI

    Left side
    Left front
    Body off
    Body off front

    The Savage Flux arrived just like all my Savages have, packaged securely and in a ready-to-run state that required only batteries and a quick esc programming. The body is the well known GT-2 style but with all new graphics to complement this all new truck. The scheme is gray with red flames and is arguably one of the baddest paint combos out there.

    Remove the heavy duty body pins and you'll see a TVP (Twin Vertical Plate) chassis made of 2.5mm thick aluminum plates, very similar to the nitro Savages. The transmission case, differentials, and motor plate form the backbone of the chassis and provide rigid mounting points for the chassis plates. On either side of the chassis are lightweight battery compartments with included rubber locking straps. I tried running around without the rubber straps but the plastic snaps like to pop loose when you roll, so make sure to run the Flux with the rubber locks installed. The battery compartments are long and wide enough to accommodate the big 11.1v lipo packs and the longer 8 cell NiMH packs but includes foam blocks to reduce the area inside the compartments when your running smaller packs such as the 7.2v NiMH battery. Deans connectors come standard and there is an area at the rear of each battery compartment for the wires to exit. Take care when you close the compartment as to not pinch the battery wires, it can happen. At the front and rear of the Flux are the standard Savage heavy duty bumpers. After numerous nose and tail landings, the bumpers have maintained their rigidity and appearance ...no broken plastic to mention.

    Sticking out the back of the Savage Flux like a giant tail is the wheelie bar equipped with bearings for less drag. The wheelie bar comes in handy quite often but progressive use of the throttle is key or else the Flux will flip right over it like it wasn't there. The bar comes packaged in the box and must be assembled then installed. It isn't a painful process but does take a few minutes to bolt it all together. Two bar positions are available and I chose the one that put the bar closer to the ground for more realistic wheelies. The wheelie bar is as stout as they get and has survived alot of rear end landings without breaking.

    Tork 2200kv motor
    Battery boxes

    The brushless motor and esc combo included with the Savage Flux bring the 1/8th scale monster truck game to a new level. Raw unstoppable power on demand is what you get, even when running small 6 cell NiMh packs. Drop in a couple of 11.1 volt lipos and you've just given the Flux the ability to break most speed limits. The motor, called the Torq, is rightfully named due to it's instant power from the beginning all the way to wide open. The Torq is a 2200kv brushless motor equipped with heat sinks to help draw the heat from tit. With a 5mm motor shaft, it can accommodate a wide range of pinion gears for higher top speed or more torque down low. To keep the motor firmly mounted in place, a 3mm 7075 aluminum motor plate and 8mm billet aluminum clamps are used for protection against the insane torque it produces.

    To keep the Torq brushless motor running, a massive esc was in order. HPI chose the Blur speed control for its ability to handle up to 6s lipo power without skipping a beat. Fitted with 6mm bullet connectors and 10-gauge wires, the Blur delivers maximum power efficiently. Deans connectors that come pre installed make for zero power loss between the batteries and the motor. To keep the unit cool, a fan is mounted on top of the esc. The Blur esc attaches to the chassis with double sided servo tape and a large zip tie. Although not included with the Savage Flux, an optional programming kit is available so you can connect the Blur to any Windows-based PC to control all the various facets of its power delivery, braking, throttle curves, battery cut-off and much more. You can also save various profiles to have profiles for racing, speed runs, stunts, fun running and more. Even if you don't buy the programming kit, you can still do some basic programming from the transmitter and detailed instructions are included.

    HPI took a step in a different direction by including big bore nylon shocks on the Savage Flux instead of the dual-shock configuration that has been so popular with previous Savage versions. These big bore shocks are plush as can be and are set from the factory with a few ride height adjusters installed. I chose to remove one from each shock to lower the Savage a little. Even when lowered slightly, the Flux maintains respectable ground clearance while reducing the chance of roll over.

    The suspension is a direct pull from the Savage XL and the large front and rear hubs look like they should be on a Baja 5B. The a-arms are reinforced with cross braces for added durability and the upper arms are thick to reduce the likelihood of breakage. Overall, the setup has proved worthy of the Flux and has caused me no problems even after repeated cartwheels and off camber landings.

    Big bore nylon shocks
    Wheelie bar
    Blur esc
    Radio box
    Suspension arm

    Power is transferred from the Torq brushless motor to the wheels via the single speed transmission with all metal gears to help cope with the power. Sealed ball bearings are present throughout to help reduce drive train drag. Unlike the 2-speed transmission on the Savage XL, the Flux tranny cannot be opened up without removing it from the truck. Tying the motor and transmission together are a pair of hardened steel gears. The pinion comes from the factory with 20 teeth and the spur with 44 teeth. The mesh was set well from the factory.

    From the transmission, power is carried through hardened steel dog bones to the front and read differentials. Again, because of the massive torque generated by the brushless motor and lipo batteries, the dog bones are thicker than normal to prevent them from twisting under the extreme load put on them. The differentials are hardened steel as well and are designed to take some punishment along with the rest of the drive train.

    The tire and wheel combo on the Flux is a take-off from the Savage X 4.6 RTR. The GT-2 tires offer great off road traction as well as on road grip ...a great feature for a vehicle that will probably spend some time making high speed passes on asphalt.

    Steering servo
    Oversized Savage XL knuckles
    Racers Edge 7.4v lipos
    Hardened steel diff gears
    Heavy duty metal differentials
    TF-3 transmitter

    My battery of choice was the Racers Edge 7.4v lipo. This battery packs in a whopping 5000mAh to provide long run times even with the power hungry Flux system. Racers Edge packs are ROAR legal due to their impact resistant hard shell cases and feature balancing connections that work with any Align or Electrify type charger or balancer. You can choose from Traxxas or Deans connectors when you order your packs from Racers Edge. You should take note that lipo batteries with female bullet connectors built in to the case will not work with the Flux's battery box unless you can solder the connectors at right angles coming out of the case.

    The transmitter and receiver combo are your standard HPI electronics package we've come to know and love. The TF-3 transmitter features a dual rate knob and two trim knobs. Servo reverse switches are also present for all you left handed drivers out there. As usual with HPI transmitters, the system functioned flawlessly and I never had a loss of reception. The receiver is housed in a receiver case mounted on top of the steering servo. Taking care of the steering duties for the Savage Flux is the metal-gear HPI SF-5 high-torque servo, which has plenty of power to turn the front wheels at low and high speeds, in any sort of terrain. The servo provides 8.9kg/cm2 at 6 volts (126 psi) of power.

    To prep the Flux for running, we need to program the esc. This is very easy and is detailed in the instruction manual. It only involves pushing the throttle full forward, neutral, and full reverse when commanded to by a series of beeps. The esc is pre programmed from the factory for lipo batteries. Consult the manual on page 30 for instructions on how to set it for NiMH. Install your antenna tube, wheelie bar, and add 8 AA batteries to the transmitter and your ready to run. It is suggested that you remove the wheels and place the Flux on up off the ground when programming. The wheels spool up very fast and can cause damage if its sitting with the wheels on when you are setting the esc for the first time.

    The Savage Flux is insane when running on 2s and pure evil on 6s. I found its driving characteristics somewhat touchy even on 7.4 volt lipos. 11.1 volt lipos definitely take a little getting used to. But for this review, we will report on 2s lipos.

    Progressive use of the throttle is key when learning to drive a truck with instant throttle response. No longer can you just pin the throttle from a stand still and expect the truck to do anything other than flip backwards. Ease into the throttle and the Flux will take off very fast. If you feather the throttle just right, the Flux will hold a wheelie indefinitely. It doesn't have any bad tendencies when riding a wheelie like some other vehicles I've driven.

    From the factory, the shocks have two spacers installed for a relatively hall ride height. If your running around on a track or making alot of sharp turns, you may want to lower the truck for added stability and less tendency to tip over; I pulled out one spacer per shock which really helped the handling. The suspension is pretty plush and soaks up everything you can throw at it plus there are no bad bouncing habits after landing. Of course with a super plush ride comes alot of body roll; the Savage Flux pitches around a little more than my Savage XL when navigating around the track. The tires are also very soft and contribute to the lean as they begin to roll under the rim when cornering hard.

    The Savage Flux is capable of some impressive aerobatics thanks to its brushless torque on demand. As soon as you leave the jump, pin the throttle and watch the Flux back flip effortlessly. If you want to stop the rotation, throw the brake full forward and the motor braking stops the wheels almost instantly. Its also fun to point the Flux to the sky, then apply the brakes at the last moment to level it out before landing. I feel the Flux is a great platform to learn how to control a monster truck in the air because it is so responsive to throttle and brake inputs.

    If you want to navigate the Flux around a track and keep from spinning out or overshooting your turn, you have to respect the throttle. A little goes along way on the short sections of the track. As you approach the front or back straights, ease into the throttle to prevent a wheel stand and the Savage Flux will accelerate blisteringly fast but let off before you reach the first turn or you'll end up in the fence. The GT-2 tires provide adequate traction off road but seem to struggle with lateral traction on dusty dry tracks. If there was one change I could make for off road performance, it would be a set of pin tires like the Savage XL TerraPins.

    Run time with the 5000mAh Racers Edge lipos was a respectable 11 minutes on the course. If your making high speed passes in a parking lot, expect a little less run time due to the Torq brushless motor drinking up all the power it wants. After all, this isn't a 1/10th scale street cruiser.

    Savage Flux in action!

    Dialup 8mb

    Broadband 28mb

    HPI has set the bar for all companies with a high performance 1/8th scale monster truck that has the acceleration and speed of a smaller 1/10th scale brushless. The Savage Flux's insane performance is reserved for those seeking way more than any nitro vehicle could ever deliver. Even on 7.4 volt packs, the Flux is borderline out of control ...drop in two 11.1 volt packs and it becomes a handful for even the most experienced drivers. But it doesn't take long to learn how to drive this truck with authority and once you do, be prepared to destroy the competition.

    If you want to have the baddest truck currently available, I suggest you pick up a Savage Flux and see for yourself how far brushless technology has come in recent years. Thanks for reading my review and have fun with it!

    Savage Flux HP
    Distributed exclusively by:
    HPI Racing
    P70 Icon St
    Foothill Ranch, CA 92610


    Thanks to Jessica Halsak for helping me test the Savage Flux.

    Comments on RCU Review: HPI Racing Savage FLUX HP

    Posted by: Red Shirt Ensign on 05/17/2009
    Matt great review !! Would love to see it do some high speecd asphalt too! What was the crowd reaction?
    Posted by: Freezetron on 05/19/2009
    Got mine 3 weeks ago and I farking love it!! But you gotta know the limits of the vehicle and the ESC when your pushing 6S power. People have been frying/destroying from one or all of the following: Poor LiPo quality packs / Incorrect gearing / Not compensating for larger tires/Added weight from modifications *ahem, Integy users* / Expecting this thing to be completely bulletproof from the amount of power that Flux system puts out
    Posted by: camo51 on 05/25/2009
    nice riview, but with all your respect, it sounds biased. It wasnt necessary to mention you have a savage to see you have a special attachment to the truck name. nice vid....
    Posted by: BrothrBob on 06/02/2009
    Not bad at all. But still refer the nitro version.
    Posted by: aramid on 06/11/2009
    Instead of 8.9 kg/cm^2 and any number of PSI (which are pressure, not torque) I think you mean 8.9 kg-cm and 123 oz-in. Also, This review is sickeningly positive. I've noticed this about a lot of RCU reviews, but was there genuinely nothing whatsoever wrong with the truck? The battery box clips weren't insecure or a huge irritation? The speed control and motor were so buttery smooth even at very low speeds that they didn't warrant a comment (and you managed to not mention the names Mamba Monster, CC Neu, or Castle Link)? Every screw, nut, and bolt is easily accessible and working on the truck would be an absolute joy were it not evidently indestructible? The metal pinion and spur didn't create en epic level of gear noise? Come on. It's a review, not a press release. Even the advertisers will understand if you can find a few niggling faults. Nice truck, though.
    Posted by: SportsFans on 06/11/2009
    Very nice, but nitro thru and thru here.
    Posted by: Revolauncher on 08/30/2009
    Needs velcro straps around battery doors!!!
    Page: 1
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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