The quality standard for RC bashers increases with virtually every new model release. Whether it’s that we as enthusiasts are just asking more from our vehicles than before, or the manufacturers just keep on raising the bar, there has certainly been a trend of constant improvement.
A great example of this improvement is the new ARRMA Vorteks 4×4 BLX Stadium Truck. ARRMA has taken their knowhow and expertise and has designed quite possibly one of the best basher trucks ever made for RC to date. The Vorteks is a sleek 4WD Stadium Truck designed to meet the needs of beginners and advanced users alike, taking on all the challenges and abuse that comes its way. Join me as we take a deeper dive into ARRMA’s latest 1/10 scale basher truck.
ARRMA designed the Vorteks as a 4WD Stadium Truck with a serious emphasis on bashing capability. What this means is the Vorteks is low-slung and aggressive, with a sleek body and wing design to fit the part, and packs the speed and durability needed to take on what you throw at it. The chassis and components are made from an extremely durable composite material that features both excellent flex and rigidity where needed, a good sign for longevity. The center tub of the chassis is spacious enough for the large electronics suite and a hardcase 3S LiPo battery without feeling cramped. All components are laid out with a nice flow and both sides of the chassis tub feature high-profile guards to help prevent large debris from piling inside the truck.
The electronics and powertrain components are mounted in removable modules on the Vorteks chassis, specifically designed for easy maintenance. The center driveshaft features a spring-loaded moveable center segment that slides forward to come away from the gearbox spline. This gives the driver access to the slipper clutch adjustment screw for making easy clutch adjustments on the fly.
The motor and gearbox sit in their own power module at the rear of the chassis which can be removed by simply loosening a single screw from the bottom. That’s right, just 1 single screw and you can conveniently and easily remove the motor and gearbox. Don’t worry about the components moving around though, they’re kept securely in place with a locking pull tab and carefully designed segments that fit snuggly into place on the chassis tub. Similarly, the ESC and servo sit in their own module at the front of the chassis which can be removed by loosening 5 screws in total: 4 on the bottom of the chassis and 1 at the servo saver making any maintenance to the servo or ESC a breeze. The receiver sits inside its own waterproof compartment inside the electronics module.
The Vorteks comes equipped with a Spektrum FIRMA SMART 100A brushless ESC. The FIRMA SMART ESC includes 12awg wiring, is waterproof, dustproof, and features Spektrum’s SMART technology for use with their line of SMART LiPo batteries. The truck can be powered by either a 2S or a 3S LiPo battery pack and comes wired with a SMART IC5 connector which is also compatible with similar EC5 connectors.
The truck is also equipped with a waterproof, metal gear Spektrum S651 digital steering servo that provides 101oz-in of holding torque and 0.14/s speed at 6V. At the core of the Vorteks powertrain is the Spektrum 3660 brushless motor, a 3200kV 4-pole brushless motor that packs some serious power. The 3660 comes with 4mm gold bullet connectors for a high efficiency connection to the ESC that can also be easily unplugged in case of maintenance. The 3660 features the Safe-D5 pinion design, a special pinion design that utilizes a “D” style motor shaft along with an e-clip retainer at the end to keep the pinion extra secure.
The Vorteks comes equipped with the same heavy duty drivetrain components as its larger 4S siblings. Heavy duty sealed diffs with durable metal internal gears sit inside the front and rear, and the axles at all four corners are the same super strong composite slip-joint design that provide smooth, reliable power output to the wheels. Steel axle shafts sit at the ends of each driveshaft and are topped off with cast aluminum 12mm hexes. The transmission is a direct-drive design with a slipper clutch unit and castellated slipper pad for precise clutch tuning to match different driving surfaces. To top it all off, the Vorteks is outfitted with a full set of rubber-sealed ball bearings throughout the entire vehicle for optimal performance and longevity.
Like other ARRMA bashers, the Vorteks features fully independent suspension front and rear, with robust steel turnbuckles, composite ball ends, as well as composite hubs and knuckles. Heavy duty shock towers sit at the front and rear for extra durability and are designed to be as compact as possible to fits the Vorteks’ sleek body. A heavy-duty bumper sits up front to take on harder impacts, and a composite wheelie bar with rubber coated wheels sits at the back to keep the truck in line when it inevitably pops up on its rear wheels. The truck is kept upright with large bore oil-filled coilover shocks front and rear. The shocks are non-threaded so ARRMA includes several different spring spacer options so you can fine-tune the truck’s ride height as needed. Finally, the Vorteks sits on heavy duty composite wheels wrapped in aggressive dBoots KATAR offroad tires.
Kickin’ Up Dirt
ARRMA just keeps getting better with their composite materials and their overall designs and it really shows. After taking the Vorteks out for a bashing session I can tell you that this truck is designed to take some serious bashing abuse, survive, and keep on going. From the low-slung geometry and plush suspension to the aggressive tires this truck rips the dirt to shreds.
The independent suspension does a wonderful job coping with all types of terrain. We whipped the truck through slick silt, rocky sand, and rough paved roads and it kept up with all of it, staying on course. The front bumper along with the skids on top of the body helped to soak up the impacts when we eventually crashed and took some spills. I will say that the truck might be a tad bit low for some of the larger rocks we encountered, but even still the durable chassis took the beating without issues. Some might criticize ARRMA for using composite parts throughout the vehicle but the slip-joint axles all around are a good case of why that is the perfect choice for a serious RTR basher. There have been many times that I’ve gotten a little too ambitious with my bashing session and have come away with a bent axle or two, but dare I say that these composite slip-joint axles are actually stronger and more durable than steel CVA’s. Composite material has a way of flexing during a heavy impact which is a great benefit for a bashing vehicle. So, it really was no surprise that even with some seriously rough tumbles the truck came away virtually unscathed.
The Vorteks is most definitely built to take on all the abuse you can possibly throw at it, and then some. During testing we hit some jumps the wrong way and took some gnarly digs and spills into the ground below, only to find the truck happily driving off, ready for more action. ARRMA has engineered the Vorteks to be forgiving of driver mistakes. With all the bad crashes we subjected the truck to, not a single component broke, nor did the truck show any signs of wearing out.
Beyond the durable build quality, the Vorteks is just really fun to drive. The 3200kV brushless motor paired with a 3S battery puts down plenty of power for the 1/10 stadium truck to make some RC mischief. The ESC is also programmable so you can dial in extra punch into the throttle, for those times when you really want to tear up the road. The dBoots KATAR tires perform well on multiple surfaces and even hooked up nicely in soft, loose silt, which made for some nice rooster tails that added to the fun factor.
The sleek body design and integrated wing give the Vorteks an aggressive appearance that looks good from all angles. The driving experience of the Vorteks can be summed up as controllable speed. The large tire tread along with the wide stance keeps the platform manageable, but there’s also some technical trickery going on underneath the lid. ARRMA has outfitted the Vorteks with a Spektrum SR2000A AVC receiver. Not familiar with AVC? Check out the next section,
Easy as AVC
Spektrum’s Active Vehicle Control, or AVC for short, is an active stability function that automatically adjusts your vehicle’s steering angle to accommodate for loss of traction. This feature is especially good in loose, high-speed terrain for times when the truck loses traction in a straight line. The amount of AVC steering compensation can be adjusted at the radio with the dedicated adjustment knob, allowing the user to fine tune and even completely turn it off when it isn’t needed.
I found AVC most beneficial when driving the Vorteks through very loose dust on smooth pavement. Otherwise, on dirt and rougher paved areas I found that I preferred turning AVC completely off. This falls in line with ARRMA’s suggestions, where they recommend turning AVC down or off for more advanced drivers and leaving it on or even turning it up for less experienced drivers or in times when extra traction is needed. Whichever you prefer, the fact that this function even exists makes the Vorteks one of the most advanced bashers on the market. I also very much appreciate that it’s a user-adjustable setting and not some nanny function that can’t be touched. This further emphasizes the tuning and adjustment capability that ARRMA designed into the Vorteks.
ARRMA’s Vorteks brings sophisticated electronics, an excellent design and durable build quality to their already impressive lineup of offroad bashers. We are lucky here at the magazine and get our hands on all kinds of vehicles and I will say that the Vorteks has already solidified a permanent place in my own personal collection. It’s fun to drive, it looks great, and it takes a ton of bashing abuse and keeps on going. ARRMA continues the trend of raising the bar with their latest 4WD 1/10 truck! If you are in the market for a serious 1/10 scale basher, look no further than the ARRMA Vorteks 4×4 BLX Stadium Truck. Until next time, remember that no jump is too big when you’ve got guts, and as always thanks for reading!