If you read my recent review of the very cool Traxxas Stampede, then you already know that the good folks at Traxxas really mean business when it comes to their RC monster trucks. Today we raise the bar yet another notch (or ten) and examine the bigger, badder, and even more powerful Traxxas Summit 4WD 1/10 Scale RC Truck. Keep on reading and prepare to be blown away by the absolute King of the RC monster truck universe!
My first thought when I saw this truck was pure amazement at its size, weight, and the promise of power that it simply exuded. This thing is big, it’s heavy, and it’s something of a work of art. With its beautiful colour scheme, its massive rubber tires, and its real working lights (both front and rear end), everything about the Traxxas Summit immediately impressed me. It even came with a heap of accessories and the ability to download an app for enhanced play. Surely the Traxxas Summit would go on to live up to its amazing first impression?? Hint: It did so in spades!
Charting the Key Considerations
|How much set up time is required?||Only the initial battery charging time―about 40-45 minutes for each battery (if you only have a single battery charger like the fast charger that comes with the truck).|
|What type & quantity of batteries does the Traxxas Summit Use?||The remote uses 4 x AA batteries and the truck itself uses 2 full battery pack sets. See the Batteries & Chargers section below for full details.|
|What are the mobility (& range) characteristics of the Traxxas Summit?||The Traxxas Summit can reach a top speed of 20 mph (32 Km/h) when in high gear. Also, I was able to drive it between 200 and 300 feet away (from the controller) without losing range. I didn’t try to push it any further than that.|
|Does the Traxxas Summit feature any special lights & sounds?||Yes, the Summit has headlights, tail lights, and it sounds just like a real motor vehicle as it climbs over every obstacle in sight. These effects add considerable realism to the Summit, though I do wonder if the very bright lights could cause the battery to drain faster than it should. But even if they do, it’s totally worth while to be able to drive this truck in absolute total darkness without the help of any external light source. With the Traxxas Summit, play time is any time, 24 / 7.|
|What is the suggested age range of the Traxxas Summit?||
The suggested age range for the Summit is 14 years and up, which is mostly meant as the earliest ‘unsupervised’ age. I see no problem allowing younger kids to play with it if adult supervision is available. This one doesn’t go as fast as either the Stampede or the Fox, so it may be a bit safer to drive if you don’t go too crazy. Just remember that the Summit is heavier than the others, so always drive carefully.
|How much of a WOW factor (on a 0-5 scale) does the Traxxas Summit have?||The Traxxas Summit is one of those rare toys in our top 25 list that achieves a full score of 5 / 5 on the WOW factor scale. There are many reasons for this. Among the biggest contributors to this toy’s major awesomeness are its power, its heft, and its beautiful design. It may not be the fastest Traxxas RC truck around, and it’s certainly not perfect, but there’s no truck more powerful & none more impressive.|
Testing & Play
Playing with this thing is major fun. Its most impressive feature is its ability to climb over significant obstacles like large rocks, sticks, tree roots, and even the edges of sidewalks. This truck can pull itself out of holes and climb over nearly anything (within reason). It’s even got impressive speed in high gear. The only problem I encountered was that it would sometimes roll over a bit more easily than I would like. The weight distribution is a bit too spread out I think, so that when turning at higher speeds (or driving sideways on a bit of a hill) it can’t always stay on all 4 tires. A little driving practice should help to keep you out of such situations.
The Summit’s transmitter is quite different from that of the Stampede (aside from the main steering wheel at the top and the trigger underneath for forward and backwards throttle). You pull the trigger towards you for forward, and push the trigger away from you for backwards. Leaving the trigger suspended in the middle (Neutral) position effectively applies the brake. There are also steering “Trim” & “Sensitivity” knobs on the left-hand side of the transmitter, and a switch for adjusting the “Neutral” position of the throttle trigger between a 50 / 50 split and a 70 / 30 split. The 70 / 30 split effectively gives you more room (or “play”) in the throttle forward direction. The controller’s On / Off switch is located at the back / base of the handle, and the red button on the handle (behind the trigger) allows you to put your Summit into either high or low gear with a flick of the switch. You’ll want to use high gear for fast, open spaces, and low gear for climbing over obstacles (as this gear gives you more torque to power through whatever gets in your way). Several other buttons and switches also adorn the controller, though, for the most part, these control more advanced functions and features that many users will rarely need to think about. I would suggest just learning the basics of driving at first, and then building upon that with more advanced knowledge later on.
Part of the Traxxas play pattern involves performing routine maintenance & repairs to your vehicle. Traxxas provides several tools to help with this. They’re included with your Summit and they’re mostly wrenches (10 pieces in all). If you break some component of your machine, various replacement parts are available at Best Buy Online. The best part of this is that you get to play mechanic and / or do customizations to your truck. What could be cooler than that?
For & Against
One thing I really love about the Summit is that it can free itself from nearly any situation. With its giant, monster truck, tires & 4 wheel drive capabilities, there’s scarcely a circumstance that’s too much for this truck! It’s also got plenty of torque to power through those difficulties, and, while it’s not as speedy as some of the other Traxxas RC vehicles I’ve tested, it’s certainly the most powerful! Aside from that, it looks absolutely fantastic and feels quite solid. Of course, I don’t mean to suggest that this thing is bullet proof or something. It’s got its share of spindly parts under the shell, and I’m quite confident that bits and pieces will break from time to time. Even so, I really like the Summit a lot, and I think that you will too!
As impressed as I am with the Summit, there’s always a drawback or two. For one thing, this truck is very expensive, and there’s simply no getting around that. Thankfully Traxxas makes many other RC vehicles that sell for a lot less and also provide great play value. The other issue I found was that the Summit does flip over somewhat easily (mostly when climbing steep inclines or turning at higher speeds). While mildly annoying, this is certainly not a deal breaker for me. The expense, on the other hand…
Examining the Video Evidence
Please check out my short video supplement of the Traxxas Summit 4WD 1/10 Scale RC Truck:
Batteries & Chargers
The battery for this one (shown at left) is actually 2 batteries. They’re both rechargeable, 7-Cell, 8.4V NiMH, 3000MAH Power Cell Batteries. It takes about 45 minutes to charge them (with the [included] fast charger below) or with the more versatile Traxxas EZ-Peak Dual Fast Charger (shown further down). All up, you should get 15-25 minutes of solid play time out of these twin battery packs.
Included with the Summit is a fast charger that plugs into a standard car cigarette lighter (shown immediate right). I DO NOT recommend charging your batteries while driving, as this could be very dangerous. Instead, you may want to pick up a Traxxas AC to DC Power Supply Adapter that allows you to use this charger with a standard wall plug (far right).
Better still, you could just pick up a Traxxas EZ-Peak Plus Fast Charger, which is both safe and easy to use. These chargers employ a system called “iD Auto Battery Identification” to automatically recognize (and adapt to) your specific Traxxas iD Battery. The charger can then optimize the charging conditions for that specific battery, which is very useful. Simply plug the battery (or cell pack) into the EZ-Peak Plus Charger & press and hold the start button for 2 seconds. No extensive battery knowledge is required, and you’ll achieve the highest level of performance from both your batteries and your model.
Even If the batteries you use are not iD batteries, you can still charge them with the EZ-Peak Plus Charger, though you may have to manually adjust the settings to get a proper charge. This is rather easy to do, and the charger even knows whether you’re using NiMH or LiPo batteries & will adjust its function accordingly in the case of iD cell packs. For those with the Traxxas Summit or any other model that uses 2 battery packs at once, do yourself a favour and get the Traxxas EZ-Peak Dual Charger (shown at left). The great thing about this one is that it can charge both sets of batteries at once, which will save you a good bit of charging time with your Summit.
The Traxxas Summit is one fun truck. If you’re really into ground-based RC vehicles, and this one is within your budget, it’s definitely worth picking up. I have no doubt that you’ll have a lot of fun with it. Just keep in mind that these toys do require repairs from time to time, and this adds extra expense (as well as time to do the repairs) to the hobby. I recommend the Summit mainly for serious RC hobbyists that will get plenty of use out of their truck. If you’re not a serious and committed RC enthusiast, then you may be better off acquiring a lower end model, which can still be heaps of fun. My final word is this: Always think things through, & carefully weigh your options. And whatever Traxxas you choose, just enjoy the ride!
Mini Gallery of Additional Photos