When Axial released the SCX10 III it took the RC Trail and Scale community by storm. Not only did it improve upon an already capable and well-respected chassis, but it incorporated some innovative features as well. One of the biggest features of the new chassis design was the addition of new portal axles.
Now to some, this was a welcomed change since portal axles, after all, have a lot of positives to them and some serious strengths for technical crawling. But to others, this was seen as a step away from the heart of scale crawlers and took away from the platform’s aesthetics and high-speed capabilities.
Since its release there really hasn’t been an easy option for straight axle fans so if they wanted to enjoy the SCX10 III, they had to stick with the portals that came with it. Well, we are happy to say that is no longer the case. The day has finally come for solid axle fans to rejoice with the release of Axial’s Standard Axle Conversion Kit for the SCX10 III, and easy all-in-one conversion kit to change your SCX10 III from portal axles to solid axles.
What’s in the box
Axial includes everything needed to convert your SCX10 III to solid axles front and rear. The conversion kit includes fully assembled AR45 solid axles trimmed in metal 12mm wheel hexes. The front axle comes with metal steering links and is designed to provide up to 45 degrees of steering angle for a smooth, high performance feel.
New metal suspension links with stainless pivot balls along with a set of fully assembled threaded aluminum coilover shocks have been included to accommodate the solid axle suspension geometry. 20T/35T transmission gears have also been included to pair with the solid axle gear ratio. The conversion kit is designed for a 12.3” (313mm) wheelbase, but Axial states that the kit will support all other SCX10 III wheelbases including 11.4” (290mm), 12” (305mm), and 13.9” (353mm).
Why Solid Axle?
Okay, okay, so I know what some of you might be thinking. Portal axles are better for technical crawling, why would I want to convert to solid axles? Well, that really comes down to personal preference and vehicle application. Some of us just prefer the look of solid axles since they still are the truest to scale for most vehicles out there. Solid axles also pack quite a few performance benefits over portal axles.
One of the biggest advantages of solid axles is they provide a lower center of gravity compared to portal axles. This comes at a small loss in ground clearance but can be a big benefit depending on your application. According to Ian Roberts, Product Developer and Rock Crawling Innovator at Pro-Line Racing, “Portals raise the center of gravity of your crawler. Ideally you want as much weight as possible below the centerline of your wheel. [With portals] you can offset this slightly by lowering your chassis with softer springs or a shorter shock [but this comes] at the expense of wheel travel. The weight of the axle shafts and the ring and pinion will still be above the centerline.” So, what that means is if you’re looking to optimize your rig’s center of gravity then solid axles are the way to go.
Another big benefit of solid axles is that they are better suited for high-speed applications. The more intricate design of portal axle gears may help in reduction but can’t really cope with the stresses of high speed, high torque applications in the long run. Solid axles also have a greater potential suspension up travel, making them more capable for dealing with rapid movement over ruts and bumps. Combine this with the capability for power and speed, solid axles are ideal for rock racing and rock bouncing vehicles.
WHICH DO I CHOOSE?
So now you might be left thinking should I stick with portals or go with solid axle? Well once again this comes down to personal preference. If you’re strictly a crawling enthusiast sticking with portals might make the most sense due to the benefits of higher ground clearance.
According to Wyatt Mellon, Axial’s Surface Product Development Engineer, “For an all-around vehicle [he] would choose portal axles” and suggests “1.9” wheels, 1.9”x4.75” Pro-Line tires, 1.9” Pro-Line dual stage foams, 90mm shocks, overdrive portal gear sets in the front axle, and brass knuckle and portal covers” as potential option parts. Wyatt also mentioned this about portal axle gearing benefits: “As far as gearing options go portal axles can achieve a larger gear ratio difference to overdrive the front axle. A straight axle is limited to the bevel gear sets only, whereas a portal axle can use the bevel gear sets in addition to portal gear sets.” So, keeping the portals on your SCX10 III may be a benefit for general crawling applications.
Ultimately what the new Standard Axle Conversion Kit means for SCX10 III owners and enthusiasts is there are now more choices available to set up your rig exactly the way you want it and for exactly the type of application you enjoy the most. RC is all about options, so the new conversion kit is a welcomed addition to the SCX10 III lineup of parts. Thanks to the guys at Horizon for chiming in with their thoughts on solid and portal axles, and to all of our readers I’ll see you out on the trail.