In the last year, Redcat Racing has
brought to the market a wide range of vehicles from 1/16 scale all
the way to 1/8 scale nitro. They have also included in their
line four 1/10 scale electric vehicles, making your selection even more
Since everyone knows
the bigger companies in r/c vehicles and the quality often
associated with them, I was looking forward to seeing what Redcat
brings to the table. They have very tough competition and will
need vehicles that are affordable and can take abuse in order to
The 1/8 scale
Avalanche XP is the big dog in their line, being slightly larger
than the earthquake. My first impression is good. I like
how it looks, the wide stance, it looks strong and has beefy
components. I'm excited to see it it's as fun and strong as it
Let's go have some
1/8 Monster Truck
1:17.7 Single Speed
2.5" 6061 Aluminum
4 Adjustable Oil Filled
Dual Steel Disk
impression is when you lift the top off the box for the first
time. The big bright and colorful body is the first thing
you see. It looks great and the paint scheme is pretty
cool. It's noteworthy to mention if the colors of this
body are not to your liking, Redcat offers 3 different paint
schemes you can choose: blue/yellow, red/green and
red/yellow. The website also mentions a grey body, but it
doesn't look to be available.
The next thing I
saw after opening the box was the decals. Saving the buyer
a step, Redcat Racing has pre-applied the stickers. For
guys that want to simply get out and run, it's great. For
guys like me, particular with what goes on the body, It's not so
great. The stickers are not applied straight in some cases
and not all are applied in places I would want them. There
is no decal sheet, so you're limited to only what they
As I was critiquing
the decals I noticed the body was not completely finished.
The body mounts are pre-drilled as is the antennae
opening. However, it looks as though I will have to cut
the opening for the engine, and make room for the exhaust.
I enjoy working with truck bodies so this will be kind of fun,
and it only takes a few minutes with the right tools and we'll
be ready to roll. Here's how I did it.
I started the
opening with a hobby knife and a new blade, cutting the rough
shape where the engine is located. This step involves
mounting the body to the chassis several times to ensure I don't
under or over cut the opening. I want it to be centered on
the engine and not too large.
Once I have the
rough shape finished I took a variable speed rotary tool and a
drum sander attachment and slowly smoothed out the rough
cut. It's really easy to melt the plastic, but working at
a slower speed and using very light pressure I got a nice smooth
finish. I won't be able to start the truck with the body
installed, but the opening should provide the engine plenty of
The exhaust also
comes into contact with the body, but preventing that is
simple. I took the same rotary tool and drum sander and
hollowed out the section where the exhaust tip exits the body.
The result is a
very clean look.
included with the package is better than average. In fact,
it's a nice addition to this truck. In many cases, when
the transmitter is included it's very ordinary and plain.
Redcat Racing included with this package a transmitter equipped
with an LCD screen and several options allowing for quick
The power switch
is on the side of the case, to the left of the LCD screen.
It's out of the way and never to be accidentally turned
off. Very nice. The antennae is nicely angled and balances
well with the rest of the transmitter. The grip is
comfortable and the transmitter itself light.
The main edit
keys are on the right side of the wheel, opposite the LCD
screen. Directly behind the wheel you'll find 2 digital
trim keys. The top left key (DT1) is for throttle and the
top right (DT2) is for steering. It took me a couple
minutes to remember which was adjusting what function, but now
that I've got it adjustments while driving could not be any
available are trim keys DT3 and DT4 which adjust dual rates for
steering and throttle ATL.
All this makes
for a decent transmitter that offers easy to use functions
FEET & BALL BEARING
For this review,
I also picked up Redcat Racing's Work Stand I saw them using to
display their cars at the iHobby expo in Chicago. You can
find it on their website
I've had a few
stands and this one by far is the best I've owned. It's
anodized blue metal which gives it a very solid feel. It
comes with a pad to both protect your vehicle from scratches and
hold it securely to the stand. If you'll also notice the
picture of the underside, the stand sports padded feet to avoid
slippage and a ball bearing so the plate that holds your vehicle
spins freely. As a result It's an incredibly smooth stand and
extremely sturdy for just about any vehicle. You'll also
notice it has a magnet for body clips.
As you can see, it
holds the Avalanche so the tires are just off the ground.
Perfect. Whether you're a Redcat Racing vehicle owner or not,
this is a great work stand for only $20 and you owe it to yourself
to pick one up!
You will notice
the Avalanche shares it's chassis with other models in the Redcat
lineup. However, it benefits from bigger tires, stronger
shocks and towers. It's what I would call a small 1/8 scale
monster truck or a big truggy. Regardless, it looks as
though it will take some punishment as it should with the monster
The hub assembly
is very robust and I'm not sure it can be broken, it looks that
strong and well built. Based on my experience, I think this
truck's steering components will be able to take a lot of
torture. The turnbuckles look strong and don't appear
will be prone to the effects often encountered with strenuous
OF FOUR SHOCKS
Take a look at
these pictures and notice the strength with which this truck was
built. It comes with 4 adjustable oil filled shocks and the
adjustments you can make to them seem endless. My favorite
suspension test is to drop the truck from chest high and see if it
bottoms out. The shocks do a great job in this case to
secure the truck to the ground, not letting it bottom out and not
letting it bounce. This gets me excited to see how it
jumps. The suspension feels stiff enough to load up on a
jump and send it flying, yet soft enough to let it land softly and
under control. I'm
looking forward to seeing if that's true with the Avalanche.
me this is a monster truck is the strength to which it appears to
be built. I keep talking about it because it's noteworthy and
differentiates the Avalanche in the Redcat lineup. The
shock towers are remarkably easy to disassemble when you need to
get at the differentials or make adjustments of any kind.
towers are two braces, front and rear. It reminds me of a
cross-member in a full size car, the sole purpose is to lend
rigidity and reduce flex in the frame. These two braces are
thick and will do exactly what they're suppose to do in keeping
everything together and strong for those high jumps and
potentially destroying impacts we all seem to encounter. I
like it when I feel the chassis of a vehicle will keep up with my
expectations of what it should do. So far the Avalanche's
design is making a believer out of me.
Next, we can look
at what makes the Avalanche tick. The engine is a .28 big
block from SH Engines, anodized in the same color blue as the
chassis. When the trigger is pulled and the engine comes to
life, applying that power is handled by a robust 3-shoe
clutch. The clutch on this truck works very well, it grabs
slowly and confidently as you ease into the throttle. It
also grabs instantly when you let it rip from a stand still.
The Avalanche means business when the trigger is pulled back and
you better be ready.
The muffler is secured by wrapping a spring around
the engine, a fairly common practice with car engines.
Keeping the header sealed to the engine is a firm rubber
grommet. While the muffler can be moved around, the rubber
seal and spring combination seem to hold the muffler to the engine securely.
I'm not too
excited about the muffler. There is no doubt it will do what
it's suppose to do, but It's definitely screaming for an upgrade.
The coupler holding attaching it to
the header is held on with two zip ties blew apart under hard
acceleration. I secured it with two more zip ties, pulling
them as tightly as possible and it has not come apart since.
If it happens again, I will sand the ends of the header and
muffler and flare the edges a bit so the coupler has something to
grab onto. That will definitely hold it together.
Either that or I will upgrade the whole thing.
muffler in place at the tip is a wire attached to the
chassis The factory location of the wire causes the muffler
to rub against the fuel tank. The combination
of vibration and heat will surely damage the tank over time,
sending you to the local hobby shop for a replacement.
Instead, before you even start the engine, adjust the spring wire so the
muffler is safely away from the fuel tank. A simple fix to a
& TOE ADJUSTMENTS
Now that you've
got the Avalanche tearing up the grass with that big block, you
need to keep the power going to the wheels. Taking on that
task are the metal front and rear differential gears. Redcat
Racing is serious about the strength and longevity of this truck
It's great the
truck is fast and durable, but you will eventually need to slow
down. Stopping the Avalanche are front and rear
brakes! Sweet! What's even better is both brakes are
fully adjustable so the driver can tune the bias toward either the
front or the rear for whatever action you're trying to
Before I begin
breaking in the engine, I flipped through the manual and found
very little information I feel is useful. For the beginner, this manual is inadequate. For guys with a little experience,
take what you've learned on prior vehicles and apply it to the
Avalanche. I would
rather you check out RCU and Redcat's
support forum to learn how to break in an engine if you're
unsure about anything. I wouldn't recommend following the instructions
included with this truck.
On a side note,
the support team on Redcat's
forum are great. They're fast to answer questions and
they know the Redcat line of products inside and out. From
what I've read, no question has been asked too many times or is
too simple for them to answer. Good support is one of the things I
look for before I spend money. As of this writing,
Redcat earns my business with their top notch support.
I guess after that
ringing endorsement for the instructions you're wondering how I
broke in this engine. The first tank I ran at idle, checking
the temperature to ensure it wasn't overheating yet still getting
warm. It idled well the entire first tank and never got
warmer than 230 degrees. After the first tank, I let the
engine cool for about a half hour and did the same a second
time. After the second cool down, I ran a third tank through
it as I drove around the yard, accelerating in short bursts to
clear out the excess fuel and driving around at lower
throttle. Plenty of smoke was visible and the temps seemed
to top out at about 200 degrees. After letting the engine
cool once again, I started to get on the throttle a bit more with
the fourth tank.
The factory needle
settings were not set very well for the cooler weather we're
having, so it took a couple more tanks to tune the engine for
rapid acceleration and strong top end speed. It
was probably around the 6th or 7th tank of fuel the engine started
to come into its own and running strong, though I'm still working
on getting the rapid acceleration dialed in. It seems once I
get it accelerating off the line on one tank, the next tank it
needs to be adjusted slightly. Cooler weather brings with it
some challenges when it comes to tuning a nitro engine and the SH
was no exception. It's an engine that is really strong in
the Avalanche, but it will take patience to tune for optimal
performance. That said, it's also probably one of the best
idling nitro truck engines I've ever run. It will hold a
smooth idle for days it seems.
Since it's a
monster truck, I wanted to see how it would handle more situations
than simply running at a track. I found a great sand bowl
behind my house that has become a proving grounds of sorts for
these reviews. The Avalanche handled it like a champ.
Because it's light, powerful and uses a single speed transmission
hill climbing here is a breeze. Once you crest the hill with sufficient speed it's easy to launch
the truck too. The truck is extremely responsive in the
air. The big tires, strong steering servo and dual brakes
make staying right side up really easy. Unlike most of you,
my jumps are not always the best so I greatly appreciate the
Avalanche's ability to help me correct itself in the air.
It's impressive and a lot of fun in the air.
It was about now I
realize the tank is probably smaller than it should be. I'm
not sure how to fit a larger tank on this chassis, but it's too
small for the demands of this thirsty big block. I found the
run times had me stopping for fuel about every 8 minutes give or
take a few. Of course I was running fairly rich, so that
doesn't help run times either.
I also really like
the suspension. It's a very simple truck to drive whether in
the grass, on pavement or in the sand. In the yard even
under hard acceleration and a strong turn the truck did not have a
tendency to go up on two wheels thanks to it's stance and
suspension. In the sand, the suspension digs the tires into
the sand for a strong off the line start and lands softly on
jumps. It's a good balance.
The dual brakes
are great. They really work well and compliment the truck. No matter how hard I run, the brakes remain
strong. They are also extremely helpful in balancing the
truck in the air. In the times it's needed, push the throttle back to hit the brake
and the truck will help you balance for a smooth 4 tire
landing. Well, most of the time anyway. I occasionally
miss the mark, but that has to do more with the driver than the
truck. The Avalanche makes jumping pretty easy.
Finally, while the
body looks great it's not too surprising it was unable to
keep up with my driving. One or two less than
perfect landings was all it took to separate the fenders
from the rear of the truck. On the positive side, I no
longer have to remove the body to start the engine.
Bonus! And quite honestly, most truck bodies don't
make it all that long, so I don't consider it a strike
against the Avalanche.
pictures will be coming shortly as weather allows.
Avalanche is not without it's flaws. The body needs some
work before you can have some fun, a few minor adjustments
elsewhere are also needed prior to starting it, the fuel tank is
too small to feed a .28 big block, the instructions are useless,
the engine is proving to be a bit on the sensitive side and the
muffler could be upgraded.
However, it also
has a few things going for it. It's competitively priced
with other trucks in its category, it's a strong truck, it's fast,
it's light, it flies great, it can be driven almost anywhere and
it's easy to assemble and disassemble for fixing or
cleaning. The other thing that comes with this truck is Redcat
Racing's support team. Not only can you call the company
directly, you can get help 24/7 by visiting their support
forum on RCU. If you have questions, need help, can't
figure something out, don't know how to upgrade a part or whatever
your reason to contact Redcat, they are quick to help and chat
with you about your cars. That kind of dedication to the
customer and their products will keep me coming back for more of
their stuff for years to come.
Avalanche has been a fun truck to drive and it will continue to
give its owner quite a few smiles along the way. I look
forward to the next bashing session.
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.