“ Manufacturer: HPI / Type: Electronic Toy „
Ok so firstly, just to clear things up, I will assume that if you are looking at this review then you know what an RC car is and in particular what this Nitro RC car is and roughly how it works (Single cylinder two stroke engine running nitro methane fuel and is controlled by electronic servo's). With that said I can say that I purchased this truck around 4 years ago now after getting fed up with cheaper brands always breaking and well just not being quick or big enough.
When the parcel arrived that contained this kit I was immediately shocked at the sheer size of the product. Just about everything apart from the engine and differentials has to be put together yourself so thankfully the instructions are extremely easy to follow even for a someone who has never built and RC car before. If you need help however there are many video guides or forums that you can find on the internet that are helpful with this kit as it is just so popular.
After a few days of building the car you are left with a pristine truck (minus electronics) that you cannot wait to actually finish and get running. To finish the truck you will need the following electronics: transmitter and receiver, 2 strong servos', a battery pack and some nitro fuel). The next part of assembly is actually very tedious as it is the running in of the engine which means it's a pig to start for the first time and then it is just sitting there on a box or slowly moving in circles for tanks on fuel on end. The only really satisfying parts of this process is firstly hearing the engine start for the first time and then watch the machine slowly become quicker and more responsive as you tune the engine. And well then that is it! At this point the truck is finally finished and ready to have fun with but beware this is really not a toy!
This truck is powered by a K4.6 big block engine. This means that it has 4.6cc in a single cylinder engine which really gets the thing going, fast! Depending on the gearing that you set up the truck can normally reach speeds of around 50mph though some have been seen at up to 65mph. With enough power to do wheelies on command this truck provides endless amount of fun on all surfaces and even when in the air the rotation of the wheels is easily enough to control the balance of the truck, something that takes a lot of time to master, trust me.
Although there are aftermarket brands out there that make products specifically to fit this truck I have found that the stock truck has insane amounts of strength already. My savage has landed upside down from 20 feet, cartwheeled, and flipped upside down a number of times and yet only the shell or the clutch bell gear has been damaged. Many other products out there are certainly very strong but I have never had one that can compete with the savage in terms of strength and durability.
Okay this is a truck so this may be its downfall, especially compared to a truggy or buggy. The savage generally sits very high off the ground, which is great for clearing rocks and jumping with, but the high centre of gravity means that if you're on a gripping surface and you turn full lock you will roll over. Also the torque required to turn the wheels of this truck is incredibly large, so even with a 20kg servo you cannot turn the wheels when stationary and I am sure that this reduces the handling capability of the truck majorly.
As this truck has sold so much in so many different countries there are hundreds of accessories and upgrades available. It would take me forever to list them all so I will just tell you what I have purchased, which in my opinion are the main upgrades to buy.
Skid plate - To stop loose stones and items from flicking up and damaging the brake discs or gears I have purchased an aluminium skid plate for the bottom of the truck that screws into place. I am happy to report that it does the job very well and I have seen dents in this rather than a vital part of the car.
Wheelie bar - I think this model actually came with a wheelie bar as standard due to the power of the K4.6 engine, but if not this accessory is a must. Due to the power and torque produced if you do not have a wheelie bar you will end up on your back so many times and it won't be fun. With a wheelie bar though this is still capable but you will have endless amounts of fun trying to perform the perfect wheelie before the truck flips over backwards.
Reverse module - this is a little device that fits in the gearbox of the car and when engaged reverses the drive so you can get yourself out of a tight stop without having to rush down to the car and lift it out manually. This requires a third channel on your transmitter/receiver though and another servo.
3rd gear - Although I do not own this yet I am certainly looking in to buying this as my next upgrade. The three gear gearbox for the savage gives a lower first gear and higher third gear than the standard two gears. Friends have told me that this can be tricky to set up so that the car shifts at the right time but I am eager to give it a try for myself, even if it doesn't work and I end up putting it back to just two gears.
Also available are a numerous amount of shells that are pre-painted or that you can even paint yourself to make the car completely unique. (The shell that comes with this kit is clear).
This is a touchy subject as many RC enthusiasts have their favourite car or make but personally I find that the savage is a very beautiful creation. The whole chassis has been designed for easy access to the differentials and other key areas. The shell fits very neatly on the top of two posts out from the chassis and when racing this truck looks exactly like a miniature truck from real life. Or well what we would want a truck to look like.
The nature of this product means it appeals to a wide range of ages that just want to have a bit of fun and become a child again. (Although these are raced very competitively as well - see YouTube). As this product has brought me hours of fun and through It I have made some great friends I cannot rate this product highly enough. If you're looking for an RC truck that will actually last you out then look no further. Enjoy, but use responsibly!