How To – Program Your ESC For NiMH Batteries



Axial’s Ready-to-Run (RTR) vehicles are true hobby-grade products and, as such, they use sophisticated electronic components. One of the primary advantages to such high-tech gear is adjustability and an area of adjustability includes battery type. Axial’s electronic speed controls (ESCs) are designed to be used with a variety of battery chemistry types and can, and should, be adjusted for the type of battery you’re using.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As a safety measure, Axial uses the LiPo setting as the default setting on the ESC, but NiMH batteries, are often recommended for use with RTRs. NiMH batteries will provide best performance when the ESC is used in NiMH mode.


LiPo batteries must be run with the ESC set in LiPo for safe use. This isn’t optional. When properly set in LiPo mode, Axial ESCs are designed to eliminate the chance of over discharging the battery and permanently damaging it, which is a potential safety issue. As such, LiPo batteries should never be used in any other mode other than LiPo mode on the ESC.

NiMH batteries will work in LiPo mode, but there will be a noticeable reduction in performance that will suddenly become apparent as the pack starts to lose voltage (discharge). This is because LiPo mode has what is called LiPo cutoff or low voltage cutoff. As the voltage drops in the NiMH pack, it is still delivering usable power, but the LiPo cutoff engages and impairs performance. The LiPo cutoff is designed to reduce power to the motor in order to keep the battery at a safe minimum voltage. Let’s go over setting up NiMh mode on the various Axial ESC offerings so you can get maximum performance when using this type of battery.


axial ae-2 esc

AE-2. The AE-2 is a brushed motor speed control. While Castle Creation’s Castle Link system can be used to link the ESC up to a computer (availabe as an aftermarket item,) for ease of use, the AE-2 can be programmed manually by using the throttle trigger on your transmitter to indicate yes or or no to selections as you scroll through each option. To get the best performance when using a NiMH, the ESC should be programmed to operate in NiMH mode.

When programming, as a safety measure, remove the pinion from the motor. This will prevent the gears and/or vehicle from moving and causing damage to the vehicle or you. Turn the transmitter on and then connect a freshly charged battery to the ESC. Hold full throttle and turn on the ESC. You will hear four tones from the ESC and then another four tones. After the second series of four tones, release the throttle. The ESC will beep twice indicating you’re in programming mode.

There are three settings that can be adjusted on the AE-3. Each setting, in turn, has a varying number of options. You will use your transmitter’s throttle to select yes (full throttle) or no (full brake) for each option. When you select yes, the next setting will come up. Every time you select no, you will toggle to the next option within that setting. When you select yes or no, wait for a continuous tone and let the throttle go to neutral. If you selected yes, the ESC will go to the next setting.

To change to NiMH mode, you will need to go to the first setting. Remember, LiPo batteries must be used LiPo mode.

Setting 1 LiPo Cutoff
Option 1: None (NiMH mode)
Option 2: Auto-LiPo*

Setting 2 Drag Brake
Option 1: Disabled
Option 2: 15%
Option 3: 25%
Option 4: 40%
Option 5: 50%
Option 6: 100%*

3: Brake/Reverse Type
Option 1: Reverse enabled (2-second lockout)
Option 2: Reverse disabled
Option 3: Forward/Brake/Reverse*
* = Default factory setting

For additional reference, view the manual: HERE


axial ae-3 esc

Vanguard AE-3. The Vanguard AE-3 is a brushless motor speed control. It comes preprogrammed in the “Auto-LiPo” mode. Like the AE-2, you can use the Castle-Link to program the ESC with your PC, but you can also manually program the ESC with your transmitter.

When programming, as a safety measure, remove the pinion from the motor. This will prevent the gears and/or vehicle from moving and causing damage to the vehicle or you. Turn the transmitter on and then connect a freshly charged battery to the ESC. Hold full throttle and then turn on the ESC. You will hear four tones from the ESC and then another four tones. After the second series of four tones, release the throttle. The ESC will beep twice indicating you’re in programming mode.

There are nine settings that can be adjusted. Each setting, in turn, has a varying number of options. You will use your transmitter’s throttle to select yes (full throttle) or no (full brake) for each option. When you select yes, the next setting will come up. Every time you select no, you will toggle to the next option within that setting. When you select yes or no, wait for a continuous tone and let the throttle go to neutral. If you selected yes, the ESC will go to the next setting.

To change to NiMH mode, you will need to go through settings one through six to get to setting seven, which changes the battery mode. Remember, LiPo batteries must be used LiPo mode.

Setting 1 Brake/Reverse Type
Option 1: With Reverse*
Option 2: Without Reverse
Option 3: Crawler Reverse. No delay from throttle to brake to reverse.

Setting 2 Brake Amount
Option 1: 25% Power
Option 2: 50% Power*
Option 3: 75% Power
Option 4: 100% Power

Setting 3 Reverse Amount
Option 1: 25% Power
Option 2: 50% Power*
Option 3: 75% Power
Option 4: 100% Power

Setting 4 Punch/Traction Control
Option 1: High
Option 2: Medium
Option 3: Low
Option 4: Lowest
Option 5: Disabled*

Setting 5 Drag Brake
Option 1: Drag Brake off*
Option 2: Drag Brake 10%
Option 3: Drag Brake 20%
Option 4: Drag Brake 30%
Option 5: Drag Brake 40%

Setting 6 Dead Band
Option 1: Large – 0.1500 ms
Option 2: Normal – 0.1000 ms*
Option 3: Small – 0.0750 ms
Option 4: Very Small – 0.0500 ms
Option 5: Smallest – 0.0250 ms

Setting 7 Cutoff Voltage
Option 1: No low-voltage cutoff
Option 2: Auto-Lipo*
Option 3: 5v
Option 4: 6v
Option 5: 9v
Option 6: 12v

Setting 8 Motor Timing
Option 1: Lowest
Option 2: Normal*
Option 3: Highest

Setting 9 Motor Type
Option 1: Brushless*
Option 2: Brushed Reversing
Option 3: Brushed High Power
* = Default factory setting

For additional reference, view the manual: HERE


axial ae-5 esc

AE-5. The AE-5 is a brushed speed control and is by far the easiest ESC to program. To switch from the factory LiPo mode, remove the “jumper” and move it over one position. Not only is this ESC easy to program, it’s also waterproof.

For additional reference, view the manual: HERE

Axial AE-5



AE-1. Axial’s AE-1 ESC does not have a LiPo cutoff. If you use LiPo batteries in a vehicle equipped with an AE-1 ESC you must use a separate LiPo low-voltage cut-off device. Axial does not sell a separate LiPo cut-off device, so the best choice would be to upgrade to an ESC such as the Axial AE-5 (see above), which is extremely easy to program and waterproof.

What’s Your Scale Trail Name?

Words: Rodney “GCRad1″ Wills

What’s your Scale Trail Name?
How I got mine and and how to you get yours.

For me, I’ve been 2RAD, RAD, RAD1 since 1983.
Later in life, GCRad1 on the digital forum walls of social media.

Through my own fascination with hiking one of the big three… Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and the Appalachian Trail (AT), I discovered folks who’ve hiked the big three commonly referred to one another via their “trail name.”
Yes, we are talking about nick names, nom de plume ( aka trail names. It’s a name that people adopt as their “alter-ego” or a reflection of their personality. Or, they earn it from fellow hikers, good or bad, but  bestowed upon them nonetheless.

While many of us are on message forums such as,,,,, you might also be on, or even as well – and most of you have some really cool screen names!

But what about those who are just getting into it? How do you choose a name?

How did I go about getting the G, the C, the R, the A, the D and the “1″ for my pen name?Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 5.21.10 PMIt started way back in the 1980′s. My nickname is derived from the Radical Rick BMX cartoons in the back of BMXPlus Magazine! However, Radical was too long to “write” and I’m no Rick…

In the dictionary, the word “radical” carries the meaning, “favoring extreme change” and for this country kid growing up in the woods of Alabama who later moved to the city, that’s all I needed to see! I just chopped it down to the bare essence of the word – RAD!

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 5.41.03 PM
At the time, I had just entered into design school in Atlanta and needed four letters for my street name. Since Radical Rick was the first “RAD dude,” I wanted to be the “second” so I added a “2″ on the front to make four letters – 2RAD.

Rad1KTDWhen I move to the West Coast to finish college at California College of Art (Bay Area), I changed the “2RAD” to “RAD1″ but sometimes it would simply just be “RAD.” Thus the word Radical has had great meanings for me, and has served me well! Favoring extreme change.

Where did the “GC” in GCRAD1 come from? 4646153448_40a5b8a1d3_z

The “GC” stands for GravelCrew, derived from the term Gravel Cars.


After 911, yes THE 911 in 2001, international air fair rates from the USA to ANYWHERE outside of the USA was at an all time low! My buddy called me and asked if I wanted to go to England for WRC Rally Great Britain. I said that is going to be too expensive! He said, “$400 BUCKS!” And I said that is still a bit expensive… but… he quickly interjected, “NO! Like $400 for BOTH OF US ROUND TRIP!” So, OF COURSE my answer quickly turned into a big “YES!” Then I had to explain to my wife that during the Thanksgiving holiday, ScottG and I would be flying over to the UK for the rally event.

During that trip, after the rally, we spent time with the Subaru World Rally Team as Travis Pastrana was getting his official training test with the team. What caught our eye was the teams utilization of street going, rally prepped, Subaru WRX’s as support cars and pace-note cars, and referred to them as “gravel cars.” Upon our return home, we started the GRAVEL CREW as our crew had daily driven cars with roll cages, mud flaps and rally tires! The name was perfect! We were all socially active on the subi-forums and we would put the crew initials in front of our screen names, so everyone new, it was someone from the Gravel Crew, hence the GC in GCRAD1. So there you have it!

OK, enough about me!
HOW TO GET YOUR OWN TRAIL NAME?32234859584_3df30758a4_z

So there’s my story and here are some ideas on how to get your own nickname:

We made this fun post “What’s your Scale Name?” on Facebook:


More fun reading:
How To Get The Best Trail Name Ever – Appalachian Trials

A trail name is a name that you can either give to yourself or someone will give one to you if you’re on a long hike. Be warned … if someone …

How did they get that name?

Trail Names And How They Find You

Thanks for reading and let us know your trail name by adding a comment on our Facebook post:

A few of my favorites FROM THE PAGES OF


Twisted Creations








Twisted Creations






mAh Per Mile – Part 1 – Formulating the formula


There’s one question we hear a lot – how far will your rig go on one battery? To find the answer, we’ve created a little formula; “mAh Per Mile.”

In Part-1 of this series, we break down the ‘how far will it go’ question and fill you in on how we plan to find out using this formula.

mAh Per Mile started as a controlled test to see how long a stock Axial SCX10 II RTR (using the included 35T brushed motor) can travel based on the mAh of a battery pack. This data can then be adjusted based on the mAh of a larger pack.

mAh Per Mile - Duratrax Onyx Batteries Used


The initial test started off with two different battery packs – a 2S and 3S LiPo. Because we were only looking for base numbers, we chose mini packs so we wouldn’t be walking around for hours.

Both LiPos were charged at the recommended amperage for safety.
Duratrax Onyx 7.2V 2000mAh LiPo Battery
Duratrax Onyx 11.1V 1300mAh LiPo Battery


Using a stopwatch, we timed each battery, running the SCX10 II at full speed on a flat surface until the LiPo cutoff in the ESC stopped the forward motion. This gave us a set of minimum runtime figures with which to start. Here’s what we found:

• The Duratrax Onyx 7.2V 2000mAh LiPo Battery produced a runtime of about 58 minutes at a speed of 4mph.
• The Duratrax Onyx 11.1V 1300mAh LiPo Battery produced a runtime of about 36 minutes at speed of 6mph.

We should note that batteries can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, so your times may not match up to ours.

mAh Per Mile - Recorded Times

So now that we know the minimum runtime on a flat surface, the next step is to get the truck out on an actual trail and see how all this data stacks up.

Stay tuned for Part-2 of mAh Per Mile!




Let’s talk about LIPO-SAFETY-4-AXIALFEST2016! We will be in a camp ground with lots of wood, in the middle of the woods! Wood burns and burns fast! The Fire Department is 10 miles away. You will have 1000+ Neighbors within a 400-acre area of your camp site. Don’t think just about just you, THINK ABOUT EVERYONE – THE CAMPGROUNDS – THE MOUNTAIN SIDE!!!

Fire spreads when its not being fought.

They only “mitigate” the fire thus require more than just the sack! Find the right LiPo sack for you: HERE

3] ARM YOUR SACK with an AMMO can.
Lipo sack inside the ammo can is about the best portable way.

Fire Extinguishers should be on every camp table where there is battery charing going on!!! Matter of fact, Fire Extinguishers should just be on every table! THESE FIT IN YOUR BACKPACK! Think of it as your on-board fire extinguisher.

Check out this Tested article: “RC Battery Guide: The Basics of Lithium-Polymer Batteries”

#FireSafety #CampSafe #Lipo #LipoSafety #RCBatteries #selfreliance #selfresponsibility #SELFSAFETY #AXIALFEST2016 #responsibility #ProtectThyNeighbor

Rock Racing Setup – Key Elements


Rock racing combines rock crawling with off-road racing, and yet, it’s so incredibly different than either. It’s more brash and intense than technical rock crawling and it’s more about sudden bursts of speed than wide-open off-road racing. As such, setting up a vehicle for competitive rock racing can be a little tricky. Whether you’re brand new or already experienced, used this guide to make sure your Axial Racing rig is properly prepared for the ultra-demanding world of rock racing.


Rock racing calls for true dual purpose tires. The tires must deliver high speed performance on dirt and also provide rock grabbing traction—two very different tasks. And, the amount of each type of terrain—dirt versus rocks—isn’t likely to be equal. Depending on where you are rock racing, it may make more sense to concentrate on the high speed portions and go with tires that work best on dirt, or vise versa. No matter what, you will most likely be making some sort of compromise. Typically the compromise comes in the form of the foam inserts. Soft foam inserts will help tires conform to rocks, while firmer foam inserts will improve high speed performance. The track you’re racing on will determine which way to go. When selecting tires for competition, go with a soft compound such as Axial Racing’s R35 (white dot). These will provide the best traction on dirt and rocks.

It’s also worth noting that if your vehicle is hard to control on the fast section and wants to spin out, you can try a harder compound tire up front and/or a less aggressive tread pattern on the front tires. Another secret to know is a larger pinion gear can also cure spinning out as it eases acceleration and the ability for the tires to break traction.


Center of Gravity
In rock crawling there is no such thing as too low of a center of gravity. This still hold true for rock racing. A low center of gravity will improve your vehicles ability to climb without tipping over backwards and a low center of gravity will keep your vehicle stable in high-speed corners. Depending on the class you’re running how you can lower the center of gravity easily varies. If you’re running a full Lexan body, lower it as much as possible and open up the wheel wells to allow room for the tires to move as the suspension cycles. Bodies weigh more than most people realize and you can see a huge performance improvement by simply lowering. Unless rules require it, lose unneeded accessories such as spare tires. While light buckets only weigh a few grams, for the best possible performance, you may consider removing or moving light buckets.


Weight Distribution
Since rock racing involves jumps, weight distribution (also known as weight bias) is very important and a little more complicated compared to a pure rock crawling setup. More weight up front is best for rock crawling, it isn’t that simple for rock racing. A neutral or slightly weight forward weight distribution is preferred as it will not overly compromise rock crawling performance, but too much weight forward of center can cause (or exasperate) nose diving off jumps. You simply have to test on the track your racing or on jumps of similar size at the speeds you’ll be hitting the jumps. While not a weight distribution issue, the first thing to check when experiencing chronic nose diving is your ESC’s drag brake setting. While drag brake is essential for rock crawling, it can cause nose diving by automatically applying brakes when you let the throttle go to neutral in the air. Less drag brake is more when it comes to rock racing. Just be sure to maintain control on the downhill sections many tracks have.


Most people think racing is all about speed—all about being the fastest. In rock racing, durability is far more important than speed. In real racing and in RC, no racing competition is as hard on a vehicle as rock racing. Rock racing is an incredible challenge—one that’s very hard on the vehicle. In full-size rock racing, at events such as the King of the Hammers, most entries don’t finish. RC racing is often the same if vehicles are properly prepared for the rigors of racing. Aluminum parts are they way to go for rock racing. They increase durability without adding too much weight. Titanium, if your budget allows, is an even better choice. Be warned, titanium doesn’t bend and rebound like aluminum. It’s stronger, but it snaps instead of bends when stressed to its limits. Start with an aluminum servo horn. This is an absolute must. Axial’s Universal Axle Set is also an item to have at the top of your list. Other aluminum upgrade parts can be added as parts fail or show excessive wear.


Ground Clearance
Optimal ground clearance will vary depending on the track, but you will want to get your rock racer as low as you can without making it impossible to navigate the rock portions. Scraping and dragging is okay. A lower will vehicle is more stable and less likely to roll in corners, on rocks and when taking jumps. Few crashes means less waiting for corner marshals and much faster laps.


The fastest car isn’t guaranteed to win in rock racing. While you don’t want purposely make your vehicle slow, don’t worry too much about having the fastest vehicle on the track. Stability and durability are far more valuable in rock racing than speed. Axial’s brushless setup are more than fast enough for rock racing. Some classes allow 3S LiPo batteries, which will provide a significant speed increase. If the track has a good amount of high-speed sections, running a faster 3S setup may be ideal.


Axial vehicles all have highly adjustable suspensions. While you can change internal shock components such as pistons and oil viscosity, a lot can be done to dial in handling by simply changing shock springs. Axial offers a wide variety of springs in both firm and soft rates. The goal is to have a plush suspension. Most rock racers are setup with overly stiff suspensions that don’t absorb impacts well. You can see these vehicles reacting to everything they hit as both ends bounce up and down without the suspension really working. Setup up your vehicle so that it lands from a one-foot-tall test drop with no bounce. It should land as if there were a pillow under it. This may require experimenting with oil and pistons to get just right. Thicker oil will absorb more energy and keep the springs from acting like pogos and smaller holes in the piston will slow down how quickly the oil can travel through the piston and slow down how quickly the suspension compresses. This will help keep the chassis from slapping the ground. A little chassis slap isn’t a bad thing. You just don’t want hard hits. Use sway bars to compensate for this soft suspension. The sway bars will keep the vehicle from rolling over in the corners.

The biggest factor in how successful you will be at rock racing is you. Of course, you provide the driving skill, but what is really at stake is how well you take care of the vehicle on the track. There’s an old saying in racing that goes: to finish first, you must first finish. These words couldn’t be more true than they are for rock racing. Don’t let the other vehicles determine how fast you go. Know what your vehicle can handle without breaking or crashing and stick to that pace. If a vehicle passes you, do not chase it down. Pretend you’re the only vehicle out there and concentrate on nothing other than consistent, crash-free laps.

SCX10™ Wheelbase Compatibility Guide


Far to often, questions about the differences between each of the SCX10 vehicles arise, especially surrounding wheelbase and body options. Questions such as “is this body compatible with that chassis?” or “which link kit should I order?” and so on. The beauty behind the SCX10 is its ability to change wheelbase lengths with relative ease, which also makes it possible to choose from a larger array of bodies thanks to this adjustability.

scx10_wb2All great news but what does it mean? Simple, say for example you purchased a Ram Power Wagon RTR (AX90037) but you really want to paint and build up a Jeep Mighty FC Body (AX31268), install the 11.4” TR Links Set (AX30549) to shorten the wheelbase and your ready to go. Or going the opposite direction, you’ve got a Dingo (AX90021) and want to build up a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Full body kit (AX04035), just install the 12.3” TR Links Set (AX30550). At the end of the day, the link kits are your gateway to multiple body options for the perfect look with wheels tucked attractively into the wheel wells.


From a tune-ability standpoint changing the length of your vehicles wheelbase will change it’s driving characteristics. For example, the shorter 11.4” wheelbase will increase slow speed maneuverability while sacrificing some high-speed stability, great for tight technical terrain. While a longer 12.3” wheelbase will improve stability and decrease maneuverability, great for hill climbing. Tech Terms: Wheelbase – The distance between the center points of the front and rear axles on a vehicle. Maneuverability – Able to be maneuvered easily while in motion. Stability – Resistance to change, especially sudden change.


All together for your reference:


Crawler Setup – Key Elements


Whether your idea of competition is attending a national championship or one-upping your friend at the local park, getting your rock crawler dialed in for top performance is an obvious plus. Out of the box, your Axial vehicle is setup for high performance, but so is everyone else’s. You need an edge. The following tips cover the key elements that you should address when you want to have the best setup crawler possible. Every aspect of tuning is not covered. These are the key elements. Also, as you learn about setting up a rock crawler you’ll quickly see that almost everything is a compromise; what works for one type of competition and/or terrain doesn’t necessarily work for another.


Tires profoundly influence performance—maybe more than anything else. While there is no single best tire, you want to make sure you have the best tire for the conditions you’re running on. Also, not all rocks are the same, so there isn’t one best tire for all rocks. For competition, the softer the compound is better. The compromise here is wear and the need to get the tire’s foam insert right for the weight of the vehicle. Axial’s softer and stickier compound is called R35 (white dot).

While outfitting your rig with new tires will cost you, it is money well spent. You can learn more about picking the right tire here.


Center of Gravity
Specifically where your center of gravity (CG) is located isn’t important—meaning you don’t need to calculate its exact position. What is of key importance is that the CG is low—as low as you can possibly get it. A lower CG is always better. On a rock crawler, an optimized CG will help on climbs, descents and side hills.

There are a number of ways to lower your CG. First, identify your heavy components and try to identify ways to mount them lower. Sometimes lowering a component isn’t possible, but lighter options are available. An excellent example is your battery. If you’re using a NiMH battery, a LiPo will make a profound difference. If you’re already using a LiPo, consider a smaller pack. It’s understandable that if you’re trail riding you want maximum runtime. Just know that the compromise of a big battery with a lot of capacity is a higher CG. Instead of one large battery, consider two packs wired in parallel with one mounted on each side of the chassis. Another way to lower the center of gravity is to add weight to your vehicle down low such is in the wheels or on the axles. The problem with making your vehicle heavier is that it can rob power and decrease durability.

A great way to lower the CG is to the body as much as possible. You will need to open up the wheel wells with body scissors, but doing this will make a big difference in handling.


If you’re running a course with gates and judges tracking the use of reverse and each  touch of a gate marker or out-of-bounds line, maneuverability is of huge importance. If available, high clearance knuckles combined with universal axles provide maximized steering throw. If you’re running a G6 or similar event, this can move down your list of importance.

scale comp 14

Weight Distribution
Weight distribution, or weight bias, is a close cousin of CG. Your crawler will perform better on climbs if more weight is located over the front axle than the rear. This is why it is better to have the battery mounted up front. While this makes for a tighter squeeze and is a little harder to access with the body on, the end result is improved weight bias.

The difference between a front weight bias and a low CG is that with a front weight bias, you can have too much of a good thing. A 60/40 split is probably ideal. Like CG, however, it is best to start by moving components as opposed to adding weight.


There are drivers who can compete in competition after competition and never break a single part and then there are drivers who need every single heavy duty aluminum hop-up offered. Axial has numerous upgrade parts that improve durability, but you don’t need to buy them all at once. For crawlers it’s best to start at the front (aluminum servo horn, aluminum steering knuckles, aluminum steering links) and work your way back (heavy-duty gears, aluminum rear axle lockouts). The only exception to the front to back rule of thumb is driveshafts.

king 1

Ground Clearance
Increased ground clearance allows a vehicle to travel over obstacles without struggling or possibly getting stuck. The axles are the lowest components on the vehicle and the most likely to come in contact with obstacles. Without major modifications, the only way to raise axle clearance is to use taller tires.

Center skid plate clearance is increased when taller tires are installed and when the suspension height is increased. The latter, however, adversely impacts the CG so proceed with caution.


Rock crawling has changed. It wasn’t that long ago that rock crawling was literally crawling. Now, competitions are entirely different and you may need some speed, but it depends on the type of competition. The key here is to know what you’re getting into. A G6 competition is going to require you and your vehicle to cover some significant ground in the shortest amount of time possible. A 55-turn motor might be good for climbing, but too slow for the long spaces between checkpoints. If you’re running a G6, consider setting up vehicle so that it’s faster than a brisk walk. In other words, it should be closer to 10 mph than 5 mph. Over 10 mph and you might be giving up more crawling performance than you should, but it really all depends on the terrain. If you’re running brushless, a high voltage, low Kv setup provides the best of both worlds.

If you’re running on a super technical course with extremely challenging obstacles, a slow and torque-based setup might be ideal. Even then, however, having some wheel speed at your disposal can come in handy on many obstacles.


If you are expecting tips and tricks on getting more articulation out of your Axial Racing vehicle, you’re mistaken. The only thing massive suspension twisting articulation is good for is flexed out photos. In the real world, it will hurt far more than it ever helps you. In stock form, your Axial Racing vehicle has all the articulation it needs. More will just allow it to get twisted up like a pretzel.

This article explains why articulation is often misunderstood and overrated.


Suspension Stiffness
Rock crawlers generally work best with slightly stiffer rear springs than front springs and you want to avoid an overly soft suspension that easily collapses when side hilling. Most people don’t consider how increasing the weight of the vehicle with hop-ups and accessories might increase the overall weight and thus require stiffer springs. Stiffer suspension also resist torque twist far better than soft, mushy suspensions.

How To Build a Winning Deadbolt Monster Truck!


How to build a Winning Axial Deadbolt Monster truck!

By John Schultz

All of these trucks are based off of the Axial Deadbolt. With a couple of mods you can change your Deadbolt in to a Winning Monster truck too! All of the suspension is the same as the Axial Deadbolt besides adding some links and some option parts to help with durability.


John Schultz’s winning Axial Deadbolt at the No Limit RC Monster Truck World Finals


Bari Musawwir TQ and Winner in the Mini Shafty Monster Truck Class at the 4 Link Nats


Russ Taking the Win in Shafty Monster Truck Class at the 4 Link Nats

First, what you need to install are AX31109 Yeti Links for the front and rear.  The biggest change will be adding a front and rear sway bar. This is super easy to do. Install the AX80118 Battery tray on the front of the chassis and you will have sway bar mounts front and rear. Use AX30782 Wraith sway bar set with the heavy bar. I also used AXA1429 post to clean up the look of the Sway Bar.


To get the width, I used HPI 88055 Wideners with Tamyia Clodbuster Rims 9335085 and TAM0005294 Adapters, with 10114-02 Pro Line Destroyers!


For the front Axle, use AX30780 AR60 OCP Universals to keep the steering smooth, combined with the AX30760 Alum Knuckles, AX30762 C-Hubs, rear AX30789 Alum Straight Axle for durability, and AX30829 Alum Diff Cover front and rear to polish it off!


For the transmission, I used AX30708 Metal gears, AX30401 36t/14t Front, AX30395 38t/13t HD Machine Ring and Pinion gears and AX31100 Alum Skid plate to plant all the Power!

For handling, install diff gears front and rear. I used the AXA1162 o-ring, AX30390 Diff Gear, AX30170 Diff Pin. Plus, I run a black grease inside the diff.

Shock Set up is different with all 3 trucks, I personally run AX30223 14x70mm 1.04 Springs with 10 wt oil in AX31171 Icon Shocks.

Other Optional parts we use to help strengthen the truck are:
AX30836 Alum Servo Horn  25t
AX30830 OCP Links Mounts
AX31101 AX Alum Shock Brace
AX31099 Alum Upper Link Capture
AX30860 Machine Motor Plate

Here are some under the Hood Pics!


John Schultz’s World Finals Truck


Bari Musawwir’s Mini Shafty Winning Truck


Russ Bryant’s Winning Shafty Monster Truck

Grassroots Competitions


No events near you? No worries. You don’t need a hobby shop or RC club in your town to get in on the fun of RC competition. Don’t join in on the action, start the action. Check out these alternative ways to get competitive with your Axial vehicle. One bit of advice before you tear off: keep the rules simple and the focus on fun.

Backyard Racing

Rock racing is growing quickly, but not every hobby shop has a course. Most hobby shops don’t have traditional race tracks. If you want to race your Yeti across more than the lawn, the best solution might be to to make your own rock racing course. If fact, it’s far easier to make a rock racing course than race track. You’re really only limited by your imagination. The whole course doesn’t need to be rocks. Collect a few wheelbarrows full of rocks of varying sizes to create the rock section. Use dirt to build ramps up onto the rocks. Use a little more dirt to fill in the bigger holes and gaps in the rock piles and you’ll be good to go. Like desert races such as the Baja 1000, a race like the full-size King of the Hammers doesn’t have clearly defined lanes, so don’t worry about creating and grooming a whole track layout. Make your rock section and mix it up with the go-fast sections. A few cones placed around your yard can search as gates that have to be raced through in a certain order. Your homegrown King of the Hammers doesn’t have to be in your backyard. Scout out local parks. Many have rocky sections of naturally exposed rock or areas filled in with rocks. To keep it safe, make sure you’re away from other people.


Truck Pulls

While they are extremely cool, you don’t need an official pulling sled with a moving weight box. A dead weight box is easily made out of wood and good old fashioned tug-o-wars are a lot of fun. Dead weight pulls are best on smooth, level dirt. Make sure you’re prepared to groom the track as needed to keep it fair. Dead weight pulls can work two ways. You can load a box with a modest amount of weight such as one or two bricks and time each truck to see how fast they can pull the weight 10’ to 12’. The key is to use a weight most if not all of the vehicles will be able to get a full pull with. The other way is to start with more weight, measure the distance of pull and add weight for the vehicles that do get full pulls. Generally, the first method works best with a dead weight sled. When doing simple tug-o-war contest, pavement actually works best. On loose dirt, both vehicles often end up in a wheel spinning stalemate. Make sure you practice commonsense safety measures when having a tug-o-war.

backwoods course

DIY Scale Rock Crawling Comps

If there isn’t a scale club near you or if the local outfits aren’t offering what you want, you can host your own competitions. You might find out you’re not alone. One example of DIY scale competitions done right comes from the east coast. Eric Bresnahan of Connecticut and a couple friends started building a course on a dirt mound out in the woods. As their course grew, so did the crowds. Now, 40 people sign up for 1.9-tire based class. They have to cap the classes to keep the day manageable. And, they keep the rules simple and focus on having fun. As a result, hours after announcing a new comp has been added to the calendar, the classes fill to capacity. Many hobby shops and clubs wished they had that problem. The courses are carved into the dirt with a shovel, rocks and some manmade obstacles are added as needed and the whole thing is again only limited by their imagination. The group has also made good use of social media to grow. Almost all of the club’s communication is done via Facebook. As long as you’re extremely careful and exercise common sense safety measures, social media is a good way to find other people interested in RC competition.

racing 2

Alternative Racing

There are a lot of times when things are done a certain way simply because that’s the way it’s always been done. RC racing is often a perfect example of this. Many people stop racing just because they’re bored. Sometimes the focus is far too much on the competition and not on the fun. Nothing changes because people are so used to doing it a certain way. Nothing changes and racers disappear. Some inventive racers in southern California have come up with an interesting twist on the racing format. Two changes make for a very different racing experience. First, after each race, the running order is reversed. Finish first and you’re going to the back of the pack. In a big field, it pays to not break away if you don’t want to have to contend with trying work your way through the entire field on the next race. The second twist in the program is each race goes in a different direction. Talk about really mixing things up. They also allow you to jump in at the start of any race. It doesn’t matter if you missed the first three races. Again, the focus is on fun, not determining who’s the world champion.

Rock Racing Class Selection


R/C is a hobby, and a fantastic and fun one at that, but there is also a competitive side—most often in the form of racing. R/C racing has been around just about as long as there have been R/C cars. Racing first took off in parking lots on temporary tracks. As a whole, the hobby has come a long way from the days of parking lot racing. Today there are all sorts of type of competitions. The rock racing segment is a prime example of the awesome variety available. You can learn more about rock racing here. Getting started in racing or even just a segment new to you can be a bit daunting. One of the biggest questions is what class does my rig belong in and what are the rules. Using U4RC as the guideline, here is a breakdown of what class you can expect to compete in at a rock racing event with your Axial Racing vehicle.


If you have an Axial SCX10 with stock or stock-sized 1.9 tires, you can run and be competitive in the 1.9 Trail Limited or 1.9 Trail Pro classes. The 1.9 Trail Limited class is suggested because it is limited to solid axles only and the competition will not be heavily modified.


The 1.9 Trail Limited class only allows for 2S LiPo and motors are limited to 21-turn brushed motors or 18.5 2700 Kv brushless motors. The SCX10 RTR models include Axial’s 27T motor is within the legal limit for 1.9 Trail Limited. While the 27-turn motor will be slower than other motors allowed, your RTR SCX10 won’t require a motor change to compete.

Motor selection can be a little tricky if you don’t know how the motor nomenclature works. When a motor limit is set at 21-turn, such as in the U4RC 1.9 Trail Limited class, the rule is indicating that 21-turn and higher motors can be used. The fewer turns a motor has the faster it will be compared to a similar motor with motor more turns. If the motor limit rule indicates a brushless Kv rating such as 2700 Kv, the  legal motors are 2700 Kv or lower. This is because the higher the Kv rating, the faster the motor.

The 1.9 Trail Pro class removes the battery and motor limits, but is still limited to solid axles. This class will feature more heavily modified vehicles.

2900 kv

The Vanguard 2900KV brushless motor is legal for the 1.9 Trail Pro class and is an excellent motor for this class.


If you have a stock Yeti, the Yeti Limited class is the perfect class. The rules do allow you to upgrade the servo and servo horn, but the rest should be stock.

The next step up is the Yeti/EXO Pro class. There are no motor and battery limits. EXO Terra Buggies will need to be fitted with 2.2 tires to be competitive.

Heavily modified Yetis and EXO Terra Buggies are ideal for the Trophy 2.2  class. Metal cages are required, so this class is for more advanced racers.


Wraith and Ridgecrest
The 2.2 Competitor Limited class is limited to solid axles only, so this class is ideal for the Wraith and Ridgecrest. The U4RC rules even state, “This Class is designed for RTR and kits with Axial only parts.”

3150 kv

The 2.2 Competitor Limited class does restrict motors to 3150 Kv or less, but 550-sized motors are allowed. This means the Axial Racing Vanguard 3150KV is an ideal choice. This motor is loaded with torque and delivers more than enough speed.

The 2.2 Competitor Pro is also an option, but this class will be faster, so it is recommended that a Wraith and Ridgecrest receive some attention before entering this class. This class is ideal for a modified Wraith.


Yeti XL
Even though the Yeti XL RTR can handle 6S, the Yeti XL class is limited to 4S to keep speeds reasonable.


Don’t Stress
U4RC is understanding that many people may be building rigs without a real understanding of their specific rules, so they will allow anyone to compete the first time they show. They will review the rules and your vehicle and explain what needs to be done to comply with the rules. Violations will not be an issue for the first race day, but will be expected to be resolved for the second race.