The folks at Traxxas were good enough to set me up with a few of their products. I’ve already spent some time on the beefy bigger brothers, which were very large and powerful, a lot of fun to use, and incredibly well built (if a little short on battery life). When I got to digging in the rather large boxes I was sent, I found something else, a smaller box, containing a smaller truck. Though smaller in size, the little brother had no less attitude and looked every bit as pugnacious as the big boys, it’s the The LaTrax Teton, powered by Traxxas.
What it is
The LaTrax Teton is a 1/18th scale 4WD Monster truck. If you’re unfamiliar with the scale, don’t worry, so was I until research for these articles began. 1/18th is a designation for a smaller class of RC Vehicles, 1/18th the size of a proper monster trucks, When I say that the big boys, E-Maxx and E-Revo were 1/10th scale models, you probably get what I mean.
Under the Hood
As with its larger counter parts my first move with a gadget like this is to have a look at whatever construction I can, to get a feel for how something is made. The LaTrax Teton is of a scale with more conventional RC units, the sort you get from the toy store. Unlike their suburban counterparts and like its older brothers, this unit is an open source, after market, sort of gadget that you can get right into. When you do, or when I did anyway, the quality of engineering that goes into them is immediately apparent; the Traxxas folks don’t muck about. As this is a smaller vehicle, the parts are also smaller, the whole package crossing into the ‘toyish’ range. This makes its design more impressive to me, at this scale developing parts becomes more difficult as you have to balance function and strength with weight, and yet there are no cut corners. This also means that LaTrax Teton can’t take all the abuse its burly relations can, but it took its share of knocks in our time together and came out on top, toyish or no this rig was built tough. It would be impossible to cover off all the highlights of the LaTrax Teton’s construction, but needless to say from its ‘waterproof, all-weather design’, aggressive tires made with a ‘grippy soft compound’, to bumpers that look they could stop a bullet (a really, really, really small one) Teton is no slouch. Due diligence led me to the forums to find out the experiences of other people, and it really underlined how an ‘out of the box’ Traxxas product is merely a starting point. A LaTrax Teton owner, much like the owners of the bigger models, will get as much out of their unit as they’re willing to put in.
If it was a little overshadowed by its siblings the E-Maxx and E-Revo, its only because they cast such a big one. The LaTrax Teton, though of a similar size is not your next door neighbors RC truck. It stands to reason after the spiel in the paragraph above, even at base model, The LaTrax Teton is assembled of high quality components; it shows in performance. With all the speed (if not the same top speeds)and control of the terrain as its bigger siblings, the aggressive tires and torque mean there isn’t much this little rig couldn’t handle, trust me, I tried. I have some great spots for this sort of thing nearby, and I threw some very mixed terrain. It took to all of it, rough earth and gravel, mixed vegetation, though it did get stuck in a bush once. As for elevation, well, it flies! Though I suppose this might pose the biggest threat to it, the LaTrax Teton absolutely hurls itself into the air if you give it half a chance, and I did, I really, really did. Aided by soft rubbery tires and excellent suspension, it took to its landings more than not and with a lot more grace than I’d have expected. I did read some stories about busted Teton’s after some rough usage, but the Traxxas customer support and warrantee seems to speak for itself. The more experienced RC owners trended towards an attitude of ‘when it breaks, that’s when you upgrade’. That said, they are familiar with the world of RC culture, and the more serious members of the community probably already have the parts ready to go. Another advantage of its size, the Teton is accessible to the kids. Obviously the big boys were a hit with the children, but sadly they’re just too much machine for little hands, which is where LaTrax Teton comes into play. Sturdy, this little rig took what the kids dished out, and its controller is of a manageable size for a six year old to handle. The battery life was also much more reasonable, as with all of these vehicles, things can be modded to alter the power consumption (including lowering the top speed for the kids), and it didn’t drain in one play session.
The raw power of the 1/10th models, to say nothing of just how cool they look, isn’t an experience easily topped, and it’s hard not to look back on my time with these vehicles and not get a grin on my face. But it’s what sets cars like the E-Maxx and E-Revo apart from lesser vehicles that make the LaTrax Teton such a great truck. As big and bold and boss as the 1/10th models are, for most of us, they’re simply too much car. Price point alone is a barrier to entry, and while it might not be an impulse buy, The Latrax Teton is very reasonable. When you consider that it is also of a more conventional size and something a kid can handle, the LeTrax Teton begins to look like a great entry into this world. Or maybe it’s just a high quality toy that your kid can beat on… the parts are designed to be replaced, and I can think of worse ways to spend some quality time with your kids.
A big amount of fun in a small package, the LaTrax Teton has all the advantages of design of its larger counterparts, but is much more accessible for the average person. The LaTrax is sturdy, faster than you’d believe, built of quality replaceable parts, backed by solid warrantee and quality support, at a reasonable price. When you put all its qualities together, what you have is a top notch piece of equipment that will serve the average consumer as well as those who gets a lot of out the modification and personalization.
And for all their vehicles and the many parts available for swapping and modding, the Traxxas Brand Store is a great place to start
And a link to myreview of the E-Maxx and E-Revo