Product: HPI Racing Savage X 4.6 RTR Monster Truck
Manufacturer: HPI Racing
MSRP: $410 [BizRate]

Introduction
I've owned a couple of RC cars over the years, starting with the Team Associated RC10 1:10 Buggy that was all the rage in the early 90's. After a break of about a decade, I decided to revisit the RC scene, but this time with a vehicle of a distinctly different pedigree. I was looking for something with substantial power and ready to run out of the box. After looking around and comparing prices and features, I decided to purchase the HPI Racing Savage X 4.6 Nitro Monster Truck, which can be had for about $400.



Historical Perspective
Back in the olden days, if you wanted to get the best in RC you'd have to buy a kit and build it part-by-part. Otherwise you could always buy a Tyco, but the distinction between a kit car and an off-the-shelf car was night and day. While the kit building experience is definitely a learning experience and one of my own cherished memories, it undoubtedly relegated performance RC to the enthusiast crowd rather than the masses.

The Savage X 4.6
The late 90's saw the introduction of many pre-built so called “RTR” (ready to run) versions of the popular kit cars, and the Savage X 4.6 falls squarely into this category. All you need is batteries and fuel to get it running, and boy does it haul. I don't have a radar gun to measure the speed, but HPI's site claims that the Savage X 4.6 can achieve a top speed of over 45 mph. The F4.6 Big Block 4.6cc Engine delivers 2.9HP at 32k RPM, enough to propel the Savage at some ungodly and nearly uncontrollable speeds.

The factory build of the Savage X 4.6 is extremely good. All of the components were properly secured and the Twin Vertical Plate Chassis was stiff enough that I couldn't cause a noticeable deflection when trying to bend and twist it. Having a stiff chassis means that the suspension geometry is properly maintained under stress, allowing for better handling.

On the subject of suspension & handling, that is clearly one of the areas where HPI cut costs in order to bring the price down to a more fathomable level. The 8 oil filled coil-over shocks are made from plastic, which is a far worse choice than what you want, which is hard anodized aluminum. HPI supplies a mind-boggling array of hop-up parts that includes aluminum versions of almost all of the plastic parts on the Savage. You could easily spend a couple hundred more on these upgrades.

Usage
The decision to brand the Savage X 4.6 as a RTR vehicle suggests that any RC newbie can buy one and get it running with few hassles. For the most part, the Savage delivers on this criterion, however there were instances where my previous experience in nitro RC got me out of a bind. For instance, there were times when starting the beast required a little manual intervention. The starter system is the easiest I've seen from an external starter, however it did not effectively prime the engine for a first start from empty fuel lines. No matter how many times I applied the starter there was not enough pressure in the fuel line to properly prime the carb. I ended up having to siphon fuel manually in order to fill the fuel line to the carb. It would help to have a primer pump or bulb, which you can pick up aftermarket.



Once the Savage X 4.6 is tuned, it is a beast. The pickup has a little lag which is a characteristic of nitro RC, but once it gets going it wails and generally tears it up. Durability is one aspect of RC cars that can make or break your experience. On that front, the Savage is a clear winner. It took some serious bashing without any apparent damage. You can take jumps with abandon, and even cartwheel the truck wheel over wheel. The body will get dinged up, but the workings of the car are beefy enough that it handled everything I threw at it with aplomb.

Check out the numerous YouTube videos of the Savage X 4.6 to get an idea of how this RC Monster Truck performs. While you're at it, scope out the competition such as the Associated MGT and the Team Losi LST2.

Conclusion
The HPI Savage X 4.6 is an excellent RTR nitro Monster Truck. Careful consideration has obviously been made in the design of the Savage, resulting in a vehicle that can take you from being an RC novice, to spending a couple more bills on the plethora of upgrade parts that are available. You'll have a ton of fun along the way, with minimal downtime due to the nearly bulletproof construction of the Savage.

Included with the Savage X 4.6
R/C Truck
Transmitter
Roto start System
Body Removal

Requires
Glow starter
Nitro Fuel
Fuel Bottle
Charger for Roto Start
Charger Glow Starter
12 AA Batteries
HPI racing Temp Gun (recommended)

Image Gallery


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    mitda Ben's cred: 88
    Posted 2:29 pm PDT 04/17/08

    kickbacks much?

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    LiveSquid Ben's cred: 213
    Posted 2:35 pm PDT 04/17/08

    Wow, a review for a full priced RC truck! What a bargain! Thanks Ben!

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    dhho1 Ben's cred: 221
    Posted 2:43 pm PDT 04/17/08

    $400?! anyone has any coupon code?

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    m0f0kid Ben's cred: 21
    Posted 2:47 pm PDT 04/17/08

    this will be m0f0's mode of transportation.

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    cherrypop Ben's cred: 19
    Posted 2:57 pm PDT 04/17/08

    Dood, Ben, didn't know you were into this stuff. Embarrassed to say, I've got five cars right now. T Frog, T TamTech Frog, T Wild Willy, D Vendetta and D Vendetta ST (both all graphite, on lipo and brushless, run at around 50).

    Enjoy!

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    X_Specter_X Ben's cred: 17
    Posted 3:01 pm PDT 04/17/08

    I have a savage X and a Traxxas T-Maxx. The savage isn't quite as fast but definitely a better truck. They made it alot easier to fix and replace parts. On the T-Maxx, it eats up differentials and it can take an hour to change them out. On the Savage the same repair is about 20 minutes and doesn't happen as often.

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    m0f0kid Ben's cred: 21
    Posted 3:06 pm PDT 04/17/08

    #5, that's a lot of different names for your genitals.

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    Speedi4got Ben's cred: 10
    Posted 3:12 pm PDT 04/17/08

    I have 3 T-Maxxs, Micrbacon and a Vintage Blackfoot. The Blackfoot has the thorp rear end in it and a nice set of rims. My T-Maxxs are a 2.5r, 3.3 and a Big Block .28 all decked out with Integy hobaconp parts. They are quick as heck. If you're looking for a place to get some great parts cheap go to rcuniverse.com they have all kinds of people on there selling parts or want to trade. Also visit beatyourtruck.com Shocked to see some cool videos of people bashing their trucks it's pretty darn sweet!!!! Shocked

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    Statler Ben's cred: 36
    Posted 3:18 pm PDT 04/17/08

    How nice it must be to have all that spare time.

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    c00b Ben's cred: 69
    Posted 3:20 pm PDT 04/17/08

    Keep on truckin'.

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    billy_bob Ben's cred: 62
    Posted 3:25 pm PDT 04/17/08

    Oh noes, you got dust on your new Dell!

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    reminvestor Ben's cred: 12
    Posted 3:42 pm PDT 04/17/08

    Is Ben rubbing this in our face or going to buy us all one of these?

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    Blinkdog Ben's cred: 19
    Posted 3:42 pm PDT 04/17/08

    I strap one of these to each foot and use them as roller skates.

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    lawnsprinkler Ben's cred: 191
    Posted 3:45 pm PDT 04/17/08

    Can you put Barbie in there, or does she just sit on the dumpr on the sidelines?

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    linkmon Ben's cred: 24
    Posted 4:04 pm PDT 04/17/08

    Who gives a tit??

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    rebate_king Ben's cred: 35
    Posted 5:15 pm PDT 04/17/08

    these trucks are great! i've been playing with them since the 80's before RTR. now, i've owned nitro a few nitro cars / trucks. the trucks can take a serious beating with little or no damage. my nitro RT is small, 4wd and is so solid that it will never flip. the t-maxx does wheelies and if pushed hard enough it will roll. nitro fuel is around $30/gallon and you should can get about 25 to 30 tanks out of a gallon. engines need to be broken in properly or they loose compression, they're 2 cycle. some cars / trucks eat glow plugs.


    BEN - a tip to help prime the TVP beast. put your finger on the pipe while pulling the cord, the fuel tube that runs from the pipe to the fuel tank adds pressure to the tank. this will push the fuel through the line to the carb (primer).

    Editor's Note: I actually tried that before resorting to siphoning... need to get an in-line primer bulb I guess.

    Reply: You can put the bulb in, however - there is a great chance of flooding the carb. if the finger over the pipe does not work then replace the fuel tube between the pipe and the fuel tank, it might be clogged.

    nitro fuel turns to a gum after exposed to air for sometime (depends on humidity). if not using the truck, blow out all the lines and run after run oil through the carb. (clean the air filter too). now, i am starting to get more sophisticated. look into the RTF heli's. this takes tons of skill and is a bit more on the wallet. electric is best, no messy fuel, keeps the bird cleaner.

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    justmythoughts Ben's cred: 117
    Posted 5:36 pm PDT 04/17/08

    Great thread. Nice to see we have other lives...

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    Speedi4got Ben's cred: 10
    Posted 6:02 pm PDT 04/17/08

    Yeah it really sucks when you get a mouth full of nitro. I use to siphon the gas but after a few times of sucking in some nitro I gave up on that. But that's a good trick to do is put your finger over the exhaust pipe (when it's cool) then use your starter to get your truck going.
    The trucks are a lot of fun but you'll dump a lot of money into it just on replacing parts that you've broken off the beast. That's if your a true backyard basher like myself. Well I have a full roll cage on mine now got to expensive buying replacement this and that after every time I ran the piss out of it.

    Hope you have fun bashing your truck!

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    cyberwire2000 Ben's cred: 5
    Posted 6:43 pm PDT 04/17/08

    get a Traxxas Revo.

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    jklyank Ben's cred: 27
    Posted 7:06 pm PDT 04/17/08

    A toy?

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