PHOTOS JASON BOULANGER AND HOPE MCCALL
THE RETURN OF THE KING
Without question, the Traxxas Slash is the king of all short course trucks. It’s wildly popular both with bashers and racers looking to get into SC racing and set the stage for the biggest RC craze in modern times. With that said, the Slash 4×4 Ultimate has always reigned supreme as the most cutting-edge, feature-filled version of the entire Slash lineup. The Slash Ultimate has always been awesome—everything from aluminum parts and 2.4GHz radios to the best performance upgrade from the Traxxas’ parts bins have to offer. Never content to rest on their laurels, Traxxas has revised and released an all-new Ultimate as a revamped, race-ready truck equipped with everything they’ve got to throw at you. The original cast of The Blue, the LiPo, and the Brushless returns with all-star trick parts like the Docking Base-equipped TQi radio, installed telemetry sensors, GTR shocks, and the low center of gravity chassis that set the world on fire in the 1/10 Rally. It all comes together for this very special episode to keep the Slash 4×4 Ultimate atop the mountain as the ruler of the roost (dirt roost that is) and the monarch of the mud.
- Price: $640
- Wheelbase: 12.75 in. (324mm)
- Width: 11.65 in. (396mm)
- Weight as tested: 80.4 oz. (2280g)
- Slash fans looking for the best of the best
PROOF OF PERFORMANCE
Until now, if you wanted factory-installed telemetry you had to spend $1,000 on the XO-1, but now the Ultimate comes complete with a full set of telemetry sensors to give you everything from motor rpm, transmitter battery level indicator, battery pack voltage, speed and much more. Used in conjunction with the Docking Base and Traxxas Link app on your iPod touch or iPhone, the telemetry puts you behind the wheel of your truck.
To put the power down, the Slash 4×4 Ultimate comes resting on a full set of Traxxas’ super-soft S1 compound BF Goodrich replica tires. The tires are mounted to standard Slash wheels that come in a few colors to match the body of your choice.
At the heart of the Slash 4×4 Ultimate is the biggest thing to come from the Traxxas racing end of the spectrum in some time—the low-CG chassis from the 1/10 Rally. Along with revised front and rear ends and motor and battery mounts, the low CG chassis drops the weight closer to the ground to improve handling.
The Slash 4×4 Ultimate includes the 2.4GHz Traxxas TQi radio system complete with Traxxas Link to connect to the installed telemetry sensors. To harness all of the info and add extra adjustment, connectivity, and more to the TQi transmitter, Traxxas also includes the Docking Base, which allows the use of an iPod or iPhone to get inside the head of the new Ultimate. If you don’t have an iPhone or iPod to take advantage of the feature, don’t worry—you don’t need the Apple gear to operate the truck or make transmitter adjustments.
In the past, the Slash 4×4 Ultimate included Traxxas’ Big Bore aluminum shocks but for this new version, Big Bore volume has been bumped up by 70%. These 13mm GTR shocks share their design with the ones on the Revo but are longer to fit the 4×4′s suspension. They feature threaded bodies for clipless preload/ride height changes, hard anodized bodies, teflon-coated bores and Titanium Nitride coated shafts for smooth, consistent damping and long lifespan.
Whether the Slash 4×4 Ultimate is headed for the track or backyard jump fest, increased durability is a must.
All the aluminum goodies in the world just wouldn’t be enough if this Slash didn’t have mind-boggling speed. To guarantee this, Traxxas installs their waterproof Velineon VXL-3S brushless system complete with 3500Kv motor. The Velineon speed control is packed full of features like a training mode that lets you hand the transmitter to your beginner buddy, reverse for bashing, and reverse lockout for racing. There’s even Low Voltage Detection to cover the included LiPo pack.
Whether the Slash 4×4 Ultimate is headed for the track or backyard jump fest, increased durability is a must. To keep the truck up to the task, it includes a full set of aluminum upgrades; everything from rear carriers, front blocks and knuckles are aluminum and the Ultimate even includes 4mm steel camber links and tie rods for when things get brutal.
With the included 5000mAh LiPo on board, you’ll have plenty of run time before you need to lift the body for a recharge.
The lowered chassis began to show its true objective as the truck rolled a lot less, allowing the wheels to keep on the ground even through high-speed corners.
I’ve driven a lot of Slash 2WD and 4WD vehicles as well as the new 1/10 Rally so I couldn’t wait to see how the new low CG chassis would translate to a truck and compare against its taller siblings. My first experience with the Slash 4×4 Ultimate was on our photo shoot at the beach where the sand and shells have proven tricky for many vehicles to get through. One of the best parts of the Slash 4×4 has always been its drivetrain and suspension and as expected, the truck is very easy to drive on the loosest of surfaces. The new and larger GTR shocks worked wonders soaking up the bumps over partially buried rocks and contours in the beach’s surface. Once we were done with pictures, I took the Ultimate up to the parking lot and its adjacent field for some time on a surface many Slash 4×4s undoubtedly see during their lives, park grass. Again, the truck pulls hard and straight with every yank of the throttle. The lowered chassis began to show its true objective as the truck rolled a lot less, allowing the wheels to keep on the ground even through high-speed corners. Traxxas includes their S1 soft compound tires, which gives them plenty of grip over any surface. When paired with the truck’s four-wheel drive, the combination means the truck goes where you point it and stays on course every time.
While many Slashes never see a race track, it’s impossible to deny the truck that started short course racing. I grabbed my EZ-Peak Plus charger and headed to indoor track at Wolcott Hobby in Waterbury, CT, to plunk the flagship Slash down in the middle of practice for some track time. The track’s surface is super hard-packed and for racing, almost everyone uses low-profile racing tires designed for blue groove tracks. I opted to leave the S1 compound BF Goodrich’s on the truck and see how it held up against race prepped vehicles. Under heavy throttle the truck initially spins the tires; no fault of the tires at all, if you had Traxxas’ VXL 3s brushless system pumping power through your legs you’d slip too! Slippage however is brief as the truck tracks straight and thrusts forward in a hurry. Around the bends, the truck is very stable, a credit to its all-new chassis, and rarely gets out of shape unless you really throw it into the corners. Throughout the course, the truck handled very well and I found myself passing numerous 2WD buggies and even other short course trucks that I was sharing the track with. Through the handful of switchbacks in the layout, I found it easier to heave the truck into a slide and power around the corner in a drift which, while it may be a little slower, sure was a spectacle to watch and if I’m honest, was very realistic looking in comparison to a full size Pro4 truck. Lap after lap, the truck was one cool customer. I’m positive that with a proper set of the correct racing tires, this truck would be on point.
New Slash 4×4 Ultimate with LCG chassis
At the heart of the new Slash 4×4 Ultimate is the low CG chassis design that debuted on the 1/10 Rally. By dropping not only the chassis, but also the heavy electronic components that sit above it, the LCG chassis significantly alters the truck’s cornering performance. Body roll is reduced, cornering speeds are increased, and the truck’s transitional agility is magnified by swapping relatively few parts.
If you’ve been into short course racing for long enough, odds are you have or have owned a Slash. The Slash 4×4 Ultimate’s fully decked-out trim not only gives it an insane amount of value, but also pushes its performance through the roof. The Ultimate good stuff is all there, from aluminum upgrades to 2.4GHz control„ but what takes this new iteration of one of RC’s most beloved 4×4 trucks is the addition of the telemetry, better shocks, low CG chassis and so much more. If you thought you knew all about Slash 4×4 performance, you’ll find there’s still more to learn when you’ve parked the new Slash 4×4 Ultimate in your RC garage!
- Traxxas traxxas.com