1/10-SCALE ELECTRIC 2WD SHORT-COURSE TRUCK | KIT
PHOTOS BY JOEL NAVARRO
This kit is greater than the sum of its parts
Throughout Pro-Line's history in RC, now spanning over 30 years, they've been responsible for some of the most innovative and influential products in the hobby — and while best known for producing tires, wheels, and bodies (some of which have been included in kit boxes for decades), they've made chassis components and conversion kits for many popular vehicles. Pro-Line's first-ever kit, the 2WD short course truck called the PRO-2, collects all of their conversion parts for the Traxxas Slash in one box. Individually, Pro-Line's many upgrade parts replaced every part of the Slash with the exception of a few bits of hardware. Offering the parts as a complete kit only seemed logical, as did completing the package with a SC body, and shod with pre-mounted rubber; after all, Pro-Line was the first company to make a tire/wheel combo for the Short Course class over five years ago. Pro-Line's accessories have won 11 IFMAR World Championships and graced thousands of scale builds, race cars, and backyard rigs, but how did they do in their first foray into the kit business?
Item no.: 4001-00
Width: 11.6 in. (295mm)
Height: 7.1 in. (180mm)
Ground clearance: 1.2 in. (30mm)
Length: 22 in. (559mm)
Wheelbase: 13.9 in. (335mm)
Weight, as tested: 4.6 lb. (2097g)
Chassis: Hard-anodized machined aluminum plate
Type: Lower H-arm with upper camber link
Inboard camber link positions (F/R): 3/3
Outboard camber-link positions (F/R): 3/6
Shock positions, towers (F/R): 2/2
Shock positions, arms (F/R): 2/4
Shocks: Threaded aluminum coilover shocks
Type/ratio: 3-gear transmission/2.72:1
Spur gear/pinion: 86/not included
Slipper clutch: Dual-disk with vented plates
Differential: Oil-filled gear
WHEELS & TIRES
Wheels: Pro-Line F-11 wheels, “ProTrac” offset
Tires: Pro-Line Blockades, M3 compound (premounted)
Body: Pro-Line Flo-Tek (painted by Fatty Grafx)
Transmitter: Airtronics M12 2.4GHz (Part no. 90482, $480)
Receiver: Airtronics FHSS-4 4-channel receiver (Part no. 92014, $140)
Speed control: Novak GTB 2 (Part no. 1749, $115)
Motor: Novak Vulcan Spec 17.5 (Part no. 3647, $98)
Steering servo: Hitec HS-5565MH (Part no. 35565S, $70)
Battery: Thunder Power 5300mAh 2-cell/2S 7.4V G6 Pro Race 65C LiPo (Part no. TP5300-2SPR65B, $100)
*Varies by dealer
LONG ARM SUSPENSION
Beefy! Every component in the PRO-2's suspension is built for bulletproof durability.
The PRO-2 offers plenty of tuning options, including six holes in the rear hub alone.
The PRO-2 uses Pro-Line's ProTrac Suspension Kit, which utilizes zero-offset wheels (the same front and rear, thanks to inboard front hub bearings) and hub carriers in order to use the longest suspension arm possible given the truck's wide inner pivot blocks; the longer suspension arms experience less of an extreme angle change through out their movement, making the suspension action more consistent. There are several different mounting options for the adjustable front and rear camber links to change both camber rise and roll center, offering an incredible amount of tuning options. Pro-Line's PowerStroke shocks with a 10.8mm bore are mid-sized and feature bladder-sealed aluminum caps, huge 3.5mm shock shafts for extra durability, and threaded preload collars to adjust the tension on the dual-stage springs. The dual springs are separated by a plastic collar; the short spring's softer rate is meant to absorb small bumps while the longer main spring is stiffer to take care of cushioning jump landings and large hits.
Small vent holes in the slipper plates allow the clutch assembly to breathe, which keeps its temperature in check during long races.
Reducing rotating weight was Pro-Line's mission with the Performance Transmission, which is built with a typical three-gear setup, using high-impact plastic for the diff gear and steel for the top and idler gears, and the lowest transmission ratio of any truck in the 2WD short course class at 2.72:1. A gear differential based on that of a ⅛-scale buggy, sealed using four O-rings and a gasket to hold in the 5000wt oil that comes packed into its case, provides smooth action in corners while offering bulletproof durability. The transmission is further protected from drivetrain shock thanks to the dual-pad slipper clutch with vented plates for consistent action during hard running, and even the slipper is pre-set from the factory. A machined aluminum motor plate, milled for both additional cooling and extra style, helps hold the whole assembly together. Steel outdrives are keyed and fastened to the differential shaft, which mate with the steel CV-style driveshafts for a drivetrain assembly that's ore than capable of handling tons of power!
Pro-Line's PRO-2 LCG Performance Chassis is a narrow plate of machined aluminum onto which the truck's front and rear assemblies are fastened, using countersunk screws on the bottom for a smooth and snag-free finish. Behind the Performance Steering Kit, which uses an inline drag link and bearing-mounted dual bellcranks pivoting on aluminum posts, is ample room for a receiver and personal transponder. When the speed control is installed on the shelf over the battery the truck's electronic components are mounted along the truck's centerline, improving weight distribution and enhancing maneuverability. Large Velcro straps, looped through the chassis-stiffening side pods, hold batteries of all sizes, and the battery tray itself has plenty of room to slide the pack toward the front or rear to change the truck's weight distribution.
Pro-Line's entire list of accessories would take up several pages of magazine space, and much of the real estate would cover bodies, tires, and wheels — it should serve as no surprise that the PRO-2 kit is complete with PL's top-shelf offerings in those departments. Their Flo-Tek line of short course bodies with pre-determined vent suggestions has grown to include officially licensed Chevy, Ford, and Toyota versions, but the original (and most racy) version is spec'd for the PRO-2 kit and held in place by the Secure-Loc threaded body post caps. And if it wasn't enough that the chassis, shocks, and transmission are built before they're placed in the box, Pro-Line's Blockade tires, made from gumball-soft M3 compound rubber, come pre-glued to black F-11 wheels in ProTrac (or zero) offset.
Novak's new Vulcan 17.5 motors are offered in both “Spec” and “Outlaw” flavors and provide plenty of power for short course racing.
With a book full of tuning options and this tiny receiver, the Airtronics M12 is a favorite among many racers.
Any of Hitec's myriad servo options are more than up to the task of turning tires. I chose the HS-5565MH for its combination of speed and torque.
LET IT FLOW!
The PRO-2's Flo-Tek body has beautiful curves and an aggressive stance, but its real magic lies within the cut line suggestions on the fenders, hood, and bed areas; those vent holes are what put the “flo(w)” in Flo-Tek. Leaving the body uncut will preserve its durability for those all-out crash fests in the backyard, but you can cut out the holes in order to change how the truck flies through the air, and it's especially helpful in windy conditions. If you notice that the truck is getting blown over backward, cut out the louvers in the front fenders and the opening at the base of the windshield. Are the back fenders parachuting in the air? Cut those out, as well as areas around the rear roll bar. And if you're strapping in a bunch of horsepower looking for big air, cut out everything!
BEHIND THE WHEEL
WATCHING THE TRUCK NAVIGATE SMALL WHOOPS WAS LIKE WATCHING A FULL-SIZE DESERT TRUCK RAVAGE A DRY WASH WITH THE TIRES DANCING OVER THE BUMPS
Partial preassembly makes final construction a breeze
Versatile platform is right at home on the track or trail
Top-shelf (pre-mounted!) tires, wheels, and body are aftermarket options for other trucks
Lack of setup information in manual to describe the truck's many adjustment options
Stock tires are fantastic in certain environments but the Caliber SC would've been a more versatile option
Threaded body mount caps hold the body securely but aren't as quick and easy to use as body clips
If you purchase a PRO-2 kit, don't plan on building it over a few days while waiting for your painter to slap a coat of “cool” on the inside of the Flo-Tek body; because the chassis, transmission, and shocks are pre-built, the final assembly is a breeze, and I had a running truck complete with electronics in just a couple of hours. Once I got the body back from Fatty Grafx and mounted it to the truck with the threaded Secure-Loc caps, it was time to take this rig for a spin. The included Blockade tires work in a variety of environments thanks to their sticky material, but because they weren't ideal for the loam and sand of my first testing area, I swapped them for a set of Pro-Line Badlands (premounted: part no. 1182-15, $31) and the truck instantly transformed from “this thing works pretty well” to a “rut-destroying monster” that never seemed fazed by what I put in its path. The PRO-2 carved berms and jumped sketchy gaps without a hint of drama as its well-sorted suspension kept weight transfer to a minimum, which helped reduce the “weeble-wobble” behavior for which SC trucks are known. Watching the truck navigate small whoops was like watching a full-size desert truck ravage a dry wash with the tires dancing over the bumps — no doubt a testament to how well the Power-Stroke's dual springs work.
When I took the PRO-2 to SDRC Raceway in San Diego, those driving traits uncovered during my open lot testing paid even bigger dividends. Sure-footed stability through ruts and bumps turned into confidence-inspiring and forgiving handling on the track, rewarding me for clamping the trigger from corner to corner. The M3 Blockades worked well on the packed clay, though they're still better suited for the varying surfaces of an outdoor track. Instead, I opted for some Ion SC tires in MC compound (part no. 1191-17, $21) mounted up to a new pair of F-11 wheels. With the added grip, the truck not only became easier to drive but also had more steering, making it easier to drive hard into the corner and crank it around the apex with a tap of the brakes. The PRO-2 made short work of the track's many rhythm sections, righting itself several times after less-than-perfect landings and allowing me to get back on the power as soon as possible.
A manufacturer releasing its first-ever kit for what's currently the most popular class in RC can be a risky proposition, as the spotlight is focused on how well the offering fits among more well-established options. Pro-Line went after the 2WD short course class head-first — after all, they have more experience making SC-specific products than any other brand in RC. The fact that the melding of so many different parts, which work great independently of one another, function flawlessly when bolted together, speaks volumes of Pro-Line's design staff. I can only hope it doesn't take them 30 more years to come out with another kit!