Redcat Racing  Rockslide Crawler


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Contributed by: Matt Gunn | Published: May 2009 | Views: 32096 PDFpdf icon
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Review and photos by: Matt Gunn
Photos and Video by: Jessica Halsak

Distributed exclusively by:
Redcat Racing
23 West Watkins St
Phoenix, Arizona 850
Phone: 602-454-6445


Rockslide Crawling Video

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Large tires/wheels crawl over almost anything

Crawler-type ESC w/ hill hold

Dual motors

4 wheel steering

Extreme articulation

Body seems a bit undersized compared to chassis



Redcat Racing's first entry into the crawling market is a monstrous bead locked beauty dubbed the Rockslide. This overly large crawler features twin 540-sized motors, four wheel steering, a crawler esc, and more flex than your garden variety Olympic gymnast. Having only operated 2.2 class crawlers, the Rockslide seemed somewhat intimidating with multiple steering settings that can be chosen on the fly. I soon found myself wondering when I would need rear-wheel steering versus front-wheel steering, but after a few trips to the rock piles, I realized different steering settings can help the Rockslide negotiate the toughest challenges. You just have to learn what works best for each situation.

The Rockslide review was shot at Stone Mountain Park, GA. This site has a great mix of loose dirt, pine straw, and granite rocks. As it has many times in the past, I knew the park would put this crawler through it paces.

Name: Rockslide
Price: $289.99 retail price
Length: 680mm
Height: 340mm
Wheelbase: 495mm
Width: 390mm
Motors: Electric Brushed 100T 540
ESC: Crawler Type Auto Hill Braking w/ cooling fan
Battery used: 2000mAh NiMH 6 cell 7.2v
Charger used: Team Checkpoint TC-1030
Radio equipment: (Included) 3 Channel FM Radio, receiver, dual steering servos

  • 8 AA Batteries

Other Helpful Items

  • Thread lock Formula
  • Wheel wrench

Right front
Right front
Bead lock wheels
Chassis layout

The first thing you notice is how long this crawler really is. Its got a whopping 19.5" wheelbase which is only an inch shorter than the 1/5th scale Hurricane C5. The Rockslide stands tall as well, but doesn't seem to suffer too much from it's overly high center of gravity. This is due in part to the location of the motors on each axle; mounting them in such a manner lowers the center of gravity and reduces tipping in all but the most extreme attitudes.

The body is a standard 1/8th scale monster truck shell with professional blue painted graphics. There are no other color schemes currently shipping from Redcat at this time. In my opinion, the only downfall of the Rockslide is the size of the body. I realize the step between 1/8th and 1/5th scales is large and there really isn't any sizes between but to satisfy my own curiosity, I would love to see a 1/5th scale body on this crawler. Now, with that out of the way, I'll admit I love the presence it has. The Rockslide's oversized stature begs for steep inclines and tall ledges that send the smaller 2.2's packing.

Lets take the body off and have a look at the chassis. The Rockslide uses a pair of plastic chassis plates that attach to an upper and lower frame to create a strong box for mounting the electronics, shocks, and suspension links. The battery mounts longitudinally on top of the lower frame while the esc and receiver mount on top of the upper frame. The chassis box frame bolts together with phillips head screws which have all stayed put even after a few months of weekend playing.

The suspension arms are rather unique to say the least; not only do they pivot up and down, but the bottom links attach with ball joints to allow side to side pivoting to reduce the chance of binding and increase overall flexibility. This doesn't affect the alignment of the axles which stay centered but rather allows the bottom of the shocks to pivot left and right slightly. The bottom arms are made of high impact plastic and the upper arms are gold anodized aluminum. All the links held up well to anything I threw at them and I have a feeling they will continue to function without any breakage issues. The Rockslide includes eight oil filled shocks with aluminum caps. They performed as expected and were set ideally for this vehicle. They allow for some serious flex while not allowing too much body roll. Knurled adjusters make adjusting preload and ride height as easy as turning a knob.

Chassis plates
Coil over shocks

The axles are really self contained transmissions with a locked differential sending power to both wheels. Dogbones are used to link the diff to the wheel hubs and everything is encased in a strong nylon axle housing. All the gears are nylon except for the pinion gear and the differential uses a steel rod w/ drive cups on either end and spin agear ratio of 1:41.6. Having a motor on each axle has a number of advantages. First, running two motors means you can turn bigger meats with less strain versus a single motor. Second, the lack of drive shafts means ground clearance and less contact with the drive shafts on the rocks. Third, the motors are mounted low on the axles which keeps the weight down near the wheels where it's needed and lowers the center of gravity. Another plus is there aren't too many dual motor crawlers out there, so you can rest assured that yours will stick out in a sea of similar looking reary-to-run rigs.

The steering system is unique on the Rockslide. It features four selectable modes to help get it up and over the toughest obstacles. You can scroll through the modes by pressing a button located on the grip of the transmitter. For the most part the steering servos did a great job of turning the wheels even in somewhat tight spots. I only had a few times when the big oversized tires were wedged in tight and the servo wasn't able to turn the wheels to full lock.

I experimented with all four steering modes and came to the conclusion that four wheel steering is the most useful of the group. Below are a few pictures of the modes and brief descriptions of each.

The Rockslide has four steering options that can be selected by scrolling through them with a 3rd channel button on the transmitter's grip. The first two are front steer followed by rear steer. Rear steer is my least favorite setting because most all situations can be tackled with either front or four wheel steer.
Your third option is four wheel steer. This is my favorite steering mode because some seriously tight turns are possible. Four wheel steering makes navigating tough courses a breeze.
The last steering option points all four wheels in the same direction. This will crab the vehicle to the left or right. I could see a few instances when this setting would come in handy but it's not one I choose often. I think it just looks cool more than anything.

The steering servos and tie rods are protected by rather large bumpers on the front and rear. they mount directally to the axles and moves independently of the chassis so the servo is always protected. Even though the bumpers are massive, they didn't interfere with the Rockslide's approach or departure angles because they are positioned just behind the front of the tires.

The tire and wheel combo is what makes the Rockslide capable of crawling over stuff that leaves the 1/10th scale crawlers spinning their wheels. These balloon tires put alot of rubber on the rocks and deform quite well to create a larger contact patch. The combo is called the HBX Rock Crawler and features true bead lock wheels that come in bright orange and silver. The tires have massive lugs that carry over onto the sidewalls for added grip. The rims are drilled to let air out quickly so the tires can conform to the rocks better. For what you pay for this crawler, Id say the tires and wheels are a nice balance between performance and price.

540-sized motors front & rear
Esc and receiver
Front end

The electronic speed control features hill hold, also known as a drag brake, to prevent the Rockslide from rolling quickly down the hill when you let off the throttle. This feature classifies the esc as a true crawler-type unit and is a must for any serious crawler. There is also a fan positioned on top of the esc to help it keep cool while it powers the two 540 motors. A standard on/off switch is mounted to the chassis forward of the esc. The motors that power the Rockslide are both 100-turn 540 sized sealed motors. Because they are sealed, there is no access to the brushes, so replacing them is not an option. If they ever do wear out, just replace the motors.

Hub w/ bearings
Bottom ball mounted link
Wheel nuts and 23mm hubs
Front and rear steering servos
3 channel FM transmitter
The transmitter is a 3 channel FM pistol grip with an lcd display. The display shows your current battery voltage, model number, and what steering mode your in depicted by a symbol of a drive train and four wheels. When you click the button on the grip, the lcd will cycle through different modes. The wheels on the lcd will turn to show you what mode your in. It takes a little getting used to but soon becomes as easy as using the throttle and steering. The transmitter has a nice soft foam grip on the steering wheel versus the hard plastic ones you sometimes find on am transmitters. This transmitter also has a 10 model memory ...a first for Redcat Racing.

Like most Redcat vehicles, there isn't much to do to ready the Rockslide for crawling. Add 8 AA batteries to the transmitter, slide the antenna through the included tube and attach it to the chassis, and charge a battery. Make sure to check the servo throws and trims before you head out. You might as well climb around inside the house to get the feel of four wheel steering, which adds another dimension to crawling.

Right off the bat, the Rockslide impressed me with is climbing prowess. I brought a few of my 2.2 crawlers to play with and the Rockslide out performed them hands down; this 1/8th scale crawler is a great climber right out the box.

One sound you wont mistake is that of the servos working. They are loud and work extra hard to turn the big carcasses, especially when wedged in tight. I can count a few instances where either the front or the back servo just couldn't turn the wheels because of being in a really tight spot. I think this is fine because I would rather the servo stop than push until the gears stripped or the servo horn broke. With my favorite steering setting active: four wheel steer, the Rockslide snakes it way up and over rocks almost effortlessly. It can almost turn inside it's own radius and even tighter if it's off camber or using a rock to help pivot. Rear steer just didn't appeal to me and the setting "four wheels same direction" looked really cool but wasn't that useful. For playing around the house, the rocks, or just showing off to your friends, it might come in handy.

The HBX Rock Crawler tires provided some serious grip on loose dirt, rock, pine straw, and even wet slippery granite. I was impressed with how well rounded these tires are and their ability to tackle any terrain. They emit a deep sound as the lugs spin their way over the rock which just adds to the experience of this bigger-than-usual crawler.

There are two types of crawling styles the Rockslide is capable of; you can slowly tackle obstacles with finesse and precision, or you can pin the throttle and conquer the rocks with brute force! The twin 540 motors provide ample torque to push the Rockslide up some pretty steep inclines and while wheel speed isn't much more than a brisk walk, it's enough if you have to back up and gun it to get the rear wheels over a ledge.

I've said it a few times throughout the review, but it's worth saying again; this crawler has some serious flex. You can just about turn the front axle 90 degrees without even touching the rear axle. And when the Rockslide does roll over, it usually leads with one axle, followed by the body, and then the other axle. I sometimes feel like the Rockslide is three separate parts working together towards a common goal; the front an rear axles act independently and the chassis just holds them together. Once you drive it, you'll understand.

Rockslide Crawling Video

Dial up


The Rockslide is the most intriguing vehicle I've ever owned. It's a large 1/8th scale crawler with twin motors, front and rear steering, and almost infinite flexibility. It's equally at home climbing around a make-shift course in your house or the nastiest rocks out in the field. With a price tag under 300 dollars, it can easily become part of your existing rc garage without breaking the bank.

If your looking for your first crawler, or just something new that's sure to turn heads at the local crawling spot, I suggest you get your hands on the Redcat Racing Rockslide wont be disappointed.

Distributed exclusively by:
Redcat Racing
23 West Watkins St
Phoenix, Arizona 850
Support Phone: 602.454.6445

Thanks to racer Jessica Halsak for helping me test the Rockslide.

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