RCU Review: Traxxas Summit RTR

More On This Product

  • Discussions on this Product
  • Show user ratings
  • Check for Retailers
    Contributed by: Matthew LeMay | Published: October 2009 | Views: 113503 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Traxxas Summit RTR
    Summit top
    Review by: Matt LeMay
    Photos by: Starla LeMay

    Phone: 972-265-8000
    Toll-free: 888-TRAXXAS
    Email: support@Traxxas.com


    See the Summit in action!



    Ready to run
    Lots of extras
    Sealed electronics
    Remote shifting
    Remote locking diffs
    Titan 775 motor
    17mm hex spindles
    Two steering servos
    Threaded aluminum shocks
    Revolutionary design
    External roll cage
    LED lights
    High quality


    Still uses old style radio
    Tires not very durable
    no on/off switch for lights


    Traxxas led the way with the very first Ready To Run vehicles in 1986. Traxxas then blew the minds of many RC enthusiasts with the release of the T-Maxx in 1999, the first nitro powered RTR monster truck with forward and reverse.

    They led the race of Ready-To-Run nitro monster trucks for several years after that. Then in 2004 they surprised us again with the release of the revolutionary Revo. I can remember seeing a picture of the Revo for the first time, it was unlike any other monster truck I'd ever seen. Then in 2008 they released the Slash, which started a whole new class of RC racing.

    Just when you think there can't possibly be any more huge leaps in radio controlled trucks, Traxxas introduces the RC world to remotely controlled differential lockers with the Summit. Is it true? A cross between a rock crawler and a high speed basher? I'm not sure what Traxxas is brewing up next in that mad scientist lab of theirs, but I'm sure it's incredible. For now, we've got a job to do. Let's take a look at this hybrid vehicle they call Summit.



    Name: Summit
    Price: $500.00
    Length: 22.17"
    Width: 18.48"
    Wheelbase: 14.84"
    Weight: 175oz
    Motor: Titan 775
    Drive Train: Sealed remote locking diffs, remote Hi/Lo tranny
    Batteries Used: Two Traxxas "Series 3" 7 cell battery packs
    Radio equipment: (Included) Traxxas 27MHz TQ4 radio, Traxxas EVX-2 electronic speed controller, two Traxxas 2075 digital steering servos, and three
    Traxxas 2065 mini servos for locking diffs and gear shift.


    • Two 6 or 7 cell NiMHbattery packs
    • Battery charger (NiMH compatible)
    • Eight AA batteries for radio
    • Oil if running in water (to oil bearings)

    Left side
    Front view
    Right side

    First glance

    I noticed the box was very attractive and well designed when the Traxxas Summit arrived.  I opened the box and could see that the Summit is very large. While removing the contents of the box I was impressed with the packaging and labeling of the different extras. Traxxas packaged the tools, the hardware, and instructions in neatly labelled packets.

    Included are three allen wrenches, a suspension multi-tool, a t-wrench for removing the 17 mm wheel nuts, a wrench for tightening the antenna retainer nut, another 4-way for miscellaneous nuts, an offset wrench for adjusting the slipper clutch, and two standard wrenches.

    The hardware includes:

    • Ten body clips
    • Antenna tube with a rubber end piece
    • Body post cushions
    • Two battery retainers for use with six cell battery packs
    The instruction packet includes:
    • Summit owner's manual
    • Traxxas service and support guide
    • Registration card
    • Product catalog
    • Decal sheet
    The manual is top notch, very informative, very detailed, and full of illustrations. If you need to know something about the Summit, it's in one of the manuals.

    Let's move on to the Summit itself. The Summit is a big boy. You can tell right away that the platform was taken from the extremely capable Revo. We'll talk about the suspension a little later. The body is polycarbonate with a plastic ExoCage. The roll cage braces off the body and looks awesome. It also adds much strength to the wheel wells. The body posts go right thru the cage so instead of the body clips touching the lexan body, they touch the durable plastic of the roll cage. This puts a stop to pulling the clips through the cracked body mounting holes during a crash.

    Traxxas applies the decals for the windows, grill, lights, winch, and two Summit logos at the factory. The front and rear bumpers house ten LED lights. The overall look and feel of this truck is impressive to say the least. All parts seem to be of high quality plastic and/or metal.  The Summit uses high-quality hex-head hardware throughout for extra strength and easier wrenching. The design lines of the Summit hold a realistic quality to them. It's very attractive so far.

    Left angle
    Rear view
    Right angle
    Rear angle
    Left side toppless
    Right side toppless
    Left angle toppless
    Rear angle toppless
    Tools & extras
    Decal sheet

    Wheels, tires and drive train

    The wheels and tires are very cool looking. They are chromed plastic with outer bead lock style rings. The bead locks are not functional, but they do protect the rim/sidewall joint. The "lock rings" are removable and Traxxas offers them in a variety of colors. The tire compound is incredibly soft and sticky. You can see the tires conforming to the rocks in some of the pictures. The soft tires will definitely help gain traction while rock climbing. The wheels are held on by 17 mm hex nuts.

    The Summit is shaft driven by telescoping shafts with universal joints on both ends of the center shaft and constant velocity joints on both ends of the other four drive shafts. This will provide dependable power delivery to all four tires. No need to worry about dog bones popping out!

    The transmission is a remotely operated two speed design that allows you to select a high gear for tearing up the dirt or a low gear for precision crawling. The shifter is controlled by a mini servo. The gears inside the tranny include two metal gears at key points and the rest are high strength plastic to cut back on weight and noise. From the looks of these gears, I suspect they will hold up really well.

    The Summit has a front and rear sealed differentials which lock remotely. There is a lever inside each differential which engages and disengages the locker gear. The gears inside the differentials are metal and have rubber sealed bearings supporting them. This differential design allows you to tune the front and rear differentials with diff fluid or lock them solid. That's awesome! Each of the diffs is controlled by its own servo so you can lock just the front one or both of them for severe traction. Rubber sealed bearings are used through out the entire truck.

    Massive tires
    Shaft drive
    17mm hex spindles
    Sealed differential
    Slipper clutch
    CV joint on telescoping axle
    Locking differential
    Locking differential
    Locking differential
    Gear shifter
    Tranny gears


    The Summit RTR includes the Traxxas TQ4 27 MHz 4 channel transmitter. Although the design of the radio hasn't changed much since the release of the T-Maxx, it is very comfortable. The ergonomic handle fits the left hand nicely and the foam covered steering wheel feels good to the right hand. The third and fourth channel controls are easy to operate and in well placed locations. The gear shift lever is directly behind the throttle trigger, which allows you to shift gears with the left thumb. The locker lever is in front of the steering wheel, this allows you to operate the lockers with the ring finger of your right hand.

    The locking diff lever has three positions. The up position is for open diffs, the middle position locks only the front diff, and the down position locks both front and rear diffs. The TQ4 features servo reversing, steering and throttle trim, and your choice of 70/30 or 50/50 split throttle neutral position. The 70/30 position gives you 70% throttle throw and 30% brake/reverse throw while 50/50 gives you 50% throttle throw and 50% brake/reverse throw. I can see where 70/30 would give you a smoother and more controlled throttle feel for rock crawling.

    The Summit also includes a waterproof EVX-2 MOSFET powered electronic speed control. The ESC has two battery connectors so there is no need for a Y-adapter. When plugging up two Traxxas battery packs I noticed the battery connecter wire on the ESC could stand to be a little bit longer. The wire that connects to the right battery is pulled very tight.

    The EVX-2 ESC has three modes it can be set.  The first mode is Sport Mode.  This allows 100% power to go to forward, brake, and reverse. The second mode is Race Mode. This allows 100% power to go to forward, brake, and with reverse disabled. The third mode is the Training Mode. This mode only transfers 50% of the power to forward and reverse while still allowing 100% of the power to go to the brake control. The manual gives complete step by step instruction on setting these modes.

    To steer the Summit, twin waterproof 2075 digital servos made by Traxxas are used. The two servos provide 250 oz.-in. of torque combined, plenty of steering power. The servo horns and steering bellcrank with integrated servo saver arms appear to be very durable. Three 2065 waterproof mini servos are used to control the two lockers and gear shifter. The three servos are neatly placed and don't add much weight. Now we come to the receiver box.

    Tucked away inside the receiver box is a four channel micro receiver and a diff locking controller (DLC) mounted on top of it. The DLC has one input from the receiver and two out puts for the diff locking servos and one out put for the lights. The lights don't have a switch on them but they can be unplugged if you don't want them on. One of the coolest things about the receiver is the dual channel one inputs. This means you don't need a y-adapter for the dual steering servos. If you want to replace the servos just plug and play. If you would rather have one high torque racing servo then just plug in one servo.

    Receiver and DLC

    TQ-4 transmitter

    Electronic speed controller
    Battery tray

    Steering servos

    Battery tray vent
    Servo layout
    Shifter, diff, & steering servos

    Motor and Slipper Clutch

    The Titan 775 fan cooled motor is currently the largest motor offered in an electric monster truck. The motor has a 14 tooth pinion gear that meshes up against the well shielded 68 tooth plastic slipper clutch spur gear. The slipper clutch is adjustable by using the supplied offset wrench.

    It is always a bad idea to completely tighten the slipper clutch nut. This could result in broken drive train parts such as gears or drive shafts. Sometimes while rock crawling one of the tires may become lodged between two rocks. If you apply power while this happens you can hear the slipper clutch spin to save the drivetrain from breakage. The Titan 775 does supply ample power to strip parts. Well, there's my two cents. Don't spend it all at once.

    Titan 775 fan cooled motor
    Slipper clutch
    Mid section


    The Summit is equipped with a fully adjustable pillow ball cantilever suspension. What does that mean? It means smoother steering and better damping. It looks really great too. The pillow ball suspension actually has a ball screwed into the end of each A-arm which is locked into the steering knuckle. There aren't any pins and c-clips holding the steering knuckle in, just balls. A very smooth suspension and steering are achieved by this method.

    To set the camber you simply use the supplied tools to screw in or out the pillow balls and adjust the retainers to take out slack and you're done. The cantilever suspension allows the Summit to get 120mm of suspension travel with 87mm shocks. The rockers (the grey levers attached to the end of the shocks) can be interchanged to achieve a different dampening progression rate.

    Long-travel rockers are installed, and three optional rockers are available:, #1, #2, and #3. The lower the number the more constant the damping throughout the suspension travel. The higher the number the greater the progression curve throughout the suspension travel. This means it's almost like having soft springs through the beginning of the spring compression and steadily increasing the stiffness of the springs the more you compress the shock.

    On a standard vertical shock mounted vehicle, the compression rate (stiffness) is the same all the way through the motion. It's flat. On the Summit's progressive suspension the little bumps are soaked up easily while the larger ones get progressively stiffer treatment. You can see how this would help the handling characteristics of the Summit. The particular suspension set up in the Summit is very soft which allows much articulation, but will also contribute to body roll.

    Rear shocks
    Front suspension
    Rear suspension
    Canteliever suspension
    suspension flex
    Pillow balls
    Rear rockers
    Rear pivot points (close)
    Front susp arm

    Action shots


    Performance & Handling

    I couldn't wait to try out the Summit in low gear with the differentials locked. The nice thing about electric power is you can play indoors. I first tried to climb two carpeted steps in my office. I plugged up two 7-cell battery packs, put it on the carpet, turned that baby on, flipped 'er in low, and pulled the trigger. It scared my five year old half to death! That thing lunged forward like a sling shot. Wow, low gear is fast.

    Well, my son left the room and I turned the Summit toward the steps. With ease, it crawled up them at about a 30 degree angle. Now I'm excited. I did this again and again. I was just as successful climbing the stairs with only the front differential locked as I was with both locked.

    Next I wanted to climb some boulders, so I took the Summit to a local construction site to do some crawling. Considering the size and the spacing of the rocks I think the Summit did very well. The suspension articulated over each rock and for the most part, the traction remained clean and controllable.

    The soft tires squished and gripped the edge of the rocks and pulled the truck over. When it was too slippery, or a little too rough, I blipped the throttle and the Summit leaped out of trouble. This thing really is a capable rock crawler, I'm impressed.

    Let's see what this bad boy will do in high gear! I unlocked the diffs, shifted into high gear, and let her rip! The soft suspension handled surprisingly well. Some of the bigger air produced some hard landings as expected, but the smaller jumps did great. Cornering at high speeds proved to be challenging at times. I rolled it over several times but most of the time it landed back on its feet. The ExoCage was doing a great job of protecting the body from damage.

    It was fun climbing hills in low gear with the lockers on and then shifting into high gear to hit the flats. When cornering at high speeds the inside front tire would come off of the ground and because it would spin freely, it robbed the other front tire of power. Because of this, the Summit wasn't pulling through the corners effectively.

    I flipped on the front differential and it pulled those corners so well I had to be careful not to do a doughnut. I was able to corner better and sharper at high speeds with the front locker on. It will be interesting to take it to a track and try to finesse the lockers on each lap to see the difference it makes. Tight low speed cornering however, requires both lockers to be off.

    I see water! I've always wanted to drive an RC monster truck in the water. As you can see by the photos, it's a blast watching the water spray everywhere. It seem like the more you can influence the vehicles surroundings, like flying dirt or spraying water, the more adrenaline will flow.

    The Summit will definitely create excitement. Big yellow handled being in the water very well. Steering was obviously a little more difficult, but still controllable. The gear shifter should be set in the low gear position when running the Summit in the water to keep the motor from being over worked. It works pretty hard rotating those big tires through all of that water.

    If you are going to do much wet driving, you need to take the proper maintenance measures. Oiling all metal components, including bearings, is crucial. The foam inserts inside the tires will retain a large amount of water. If you leave the water in there, it will start to stink and obviously hurt the handling of the vehicle.

    The easiest way to remove the water is to drill two small diameter holes across from each other in each tire. Once the holes are drilled place the vehicle, without body, upside down and give it full throttle. I would recommend doing this in low gear. I know it will take longer, but in high gear the tires have a tremendous amount of strain on them from all of that water trying to force it's way out of two small holes all at once. You could tear one of the tires since they are very soft.

    I checked out all the electronics and everything was fine except for one mini servo. I didn't see any signs of water, but it quit working. I emailed Traxxas and they told me to register the vehicle online, send them the damaged servo along with the purchase receipt, and they would take care of it. That's good customer service. I recommend registering your Summit when you buy it so you won't have to worry about it if something is faulty.

    The water was fun, but it sure is a lot of work to make sure your truck stays in top working condition. Remember, the Summit's electronics are waterproof, but the truck itself is not. There are still metal parts on the vehicle that will rust if you don't care for them as instructed.  The included manual fully details all the maintenance steps you should take after running the Summit in water. Be sure to follow them!

    See the Summit RTR in action!

    Download and Watch in Windows Media Player here!


    The Summit is definitely a well thought out and well engineered RC marvel. All the parts are high quality and assembled with precision. The motor is powerful and handling is superb for a monster truck. The Summit offers something other RC vehicles don't.

    It offers the ability to blast around in the dirt and without blinking an eye, the ability to crawl over large rocks. If you want to experience the fun of rock crawling but still want to be able to bash in the yard or tear up a track, then the Summit is definitely the vehicle for you.

    manu and credits

    1100 Klein Rd
    Plano, Texas 75074

    Phone: 1-972-265-8000
    Toll-free: 1-888-TRAXXAS
    Email: support@Traxxas.com
    Website: www.Traxxas.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Traxxas Summit RTR

    Posted by: Kishon on 10/25/2009
    Posted by: Kishon on 10/25/2009
    Posted by: robwiljas on 10/26/2009
    Nice review, but no offence, the video is terrible. It would be much better if you had left the video speed alone.
    Posted by: trx1 on 10/28/2009
    does the lights have a on/off switch on them??
    Posted by: tymtofly2 on 10/28/2009
    No. The lights do not have an on/off switch. However, you can unplug them near the body mounts.
    Posted by: vpower on 11/24/2009
    yes the chassis is from the revo....kishon. i liked the video now i know what the summit is capable of. good job rcu people good job....................................
    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.

    MOTIV“M-Code” Brushless RC MotoOk, enough about Paul because this article is about the MOTIV line of “M-Code” line of motors. The “M-Code” motors come in ma...12/06/2015
    TrinityD4 1SIn late June, 2014, Trinity released the D4 motor to replace the D3.5. Since that time, the D4 has powered cars to 8 ROAR Nat...12/06/2015
    Matt LemayAirbrushing – Take Your Painting ToI’ve decided to create a series of articles dedicated to helping the average hobbyist get into, or at least consider whether ...12/06/2015
    Tamiya Amarok Custom LiftAs an official vehicle of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Volkswagen built specialized polar edition custom lifted Amarok vehicles u...11/24/2015
    Tower HobbiesJ-3 CubWith its distinctive looks, it is probably safe to say that the J-3 Cub is one of the most recognized and known airplanes in ...11/23/2015
    RCGF21cc Twin Cylinder Gasoline EngineRCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for 'the RC aircraft market. ...11/23/2015
    RCGF120cc Twin Cylinder Gasoline EngineRCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for the RC aircraft market. T...11/23/2015
    TraxxasSlash VXL Brushless with OBAIn June, I tested and wrote about the Traxxas Slash w/ OBA and how much I enjoyed what the Slash offers. It's been a goto veh...11/23/2015
    Seagull ModelsSteen Super Skybolt 15cc ARFSeagull Models introduced this biplane early on in 2015, and SIG mfg. had a pre-production sample at the Toledo Expo. That pr...11/20/2015
    RCGF10cc Gasoline EngineRCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for 'the RC aircraft market. ...11/17/2015
    RCGF20cc Gasoline EngineRCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for 'the RC aircraft market. ...11/15/2015
    RCTECGUsing VRC yet? Why not? After all,You may remember we ran an article not that long ago asking about the value of simulators; you can read that here. Well, as i...10/03/2015
    The World Models30% PT-17 Stearman ARF (U.S. ARMY) Some may call me lucky. I would agree! One of the reasons that the PT-17 is so close to my heart is that I have a personal co...10/03/2015
    RCTECHReliving the excitement of your firCan you remember the moment you got your first RC car? I can remember, as a ten year old boy, walking into my first real hobb...09/28/2015
    This Is Only Asking For Problems.Or Is It?How many times has this happened to you? You just finished building your new pride and joy and you are now installing your el...09/28/2015

      Return to Magazine Homepage

    Copyright MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands Copyright © 2001-2018.
    Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

    Search | Marketplace | Event Central | Local Clubs | Magazine | Product Ratings | New Products | Discussion Forums

    Photo Gallery | Instructor Search | Field|Track|Marina Search | RCU Youtube Channel | | RCU Twitter!

    Member Locator | Advertisers | Hobby Vendor Resources | Rate Manufacturers | Sign In/Sign Up

    Products Videos WattFlyer.com RC Classifieds

    RCU2 | | 0 | 1 | 11:31:18 PM EST | NC