Axis R/C Body Brace for Traxxas Slash and 1/10 Rally [Review]
Out of the box, the Traxxas Slash is a capable machine. It's got power to go almost anywhere, and do just about anything that you'd like it to and if you're looking to add to it's already-impressive performance, there are a plethora of options you can choose from. Since I made my initial purchase, I've added a few items to my Slash, such as a sway bar kit (affiliate link)
, Pro-Line Gladiator SC tires and Pro-Line Performance Shocks (rear). It didn't occur to me how many upgrades I had done to my machine until I started talking with Clint Dehnert from Axis R/C.
If you're not familiar with Axis R/C, they're a shop in Fort Atkinson, WI that produces some great pit tools and hop-ups for a variety of popular r/c models. They specialize in items for 1/5th scale vehicles, but do produce some nice pieces for the Traxxas Slash and Traxxas Rally 1/10. They sent me one of their products to bolt on and test out, the Axis R/C Body Brace ($39.99). As upgrades go, this one is well worth the investment.
A quick glance inside the body brace's packaging reveals all you need to know about this item. You'll find the brace, a foam block (to help support the roof of your r/c body), screws (longer than stock), bushings, and washers (for use on the Rally only) with the kit. The brace itself is composed of a carbon fiber rod and two aluminum clamps on each end. It's not only very strong, but is also lightweight. You won't sacrifice weight for performance with this upgrade.
After you get the parts sorted out, it's time to get to work. The first items to remove are the body mounts. The brace is installed in-between the mounts and the shock towers. Without fastening the brace in place, I noticed it had a nice, snug fit as the aluminum clamps sat atop the towers. After inserting the bushings, simply place the body mounts on top of the brace clamps and fasten it together with the included screws. It's as simple as that.
I did notice the screws didn't get as tight as I'd have liked them to when they were fully installed, however the mount felt very secure after all was said and done. Part of the problem in dealing with stock plastic pieces is the fact that you'll likely miss the secure "feel" that you might be used to with other materials. I point out that this isn't an issue with the body brace or installation kit, but is something to be aware of if you're dealing with stock body mounts and shock towers.
Before I took anything off of the Slash, I did some highly (un)scientific testing of the chassis. I applied manual pressure to certain points and did what I could to measure body roll and overall stability. With those items in mind, I was pleasantly surprised with the changes I felt after installing the body brace. From the moment I picked the Slash up to take it out for a test run, the chassis felt solid, more-so than it's stock configuration. I couldn't get the chassis to flex when applying front-to-back pressure. Overall stability didn't seem to change that much, which is to be expected.
After putting the body on, I took a quick survey of the overall look of things. The body will sit a little higher on the chassis, but it's nothing a little shock adjustment can't fix. It also doesn't look out-of-place, so it's up to you if you choose to correct it. With the body pins in, it was time to hit the track (my backyard).
Where the rubber meets the off-road
I made a few passes through the backyard before the body brace install and got another (un)scientific baseline feel for how the Slash handles. There are a few dips and bumps in the yard, so I was able to get a feel for how it would perform on unstable terrain. With the brace installed, it felt like a different truck. When bumps were encountered, the truck seemed solid in it's handling and turning (while not greatly impacted) was crisp and responsive.
Before I ran out of juice, I ran the Slash on some paved surfaces and was happy with the performance. The next step is to get this to a real track to see how it performs with (and without) the brace. After some light bashing, I can say that this is an item that's well worth the $40 investment. Given the small price, you can help turn your Slash's performance up a few notches.