The HPI Savage is one of the first “modern” Nitro Monster Truck to hit the market. Since its introduction, the Savage has become one of the most popular and one of the best monster trucks on the market. Its unique twin plate chassis design and robust components have been tortured by bashers since many years now. The Savage is so popular than it is almost possible to build one with only aftermarket parts. To move this big truck, HPI installed a powerful 4.6cc engine and beefed up suspension and drive train components. Is the Savage the best monster truck on the market? This is a good question. At first glance, it has all it takes to deserve the title.
The Savage X 4.6 is one of the best looking monster trucks. The Nitro GT-2 body comes factory cut and painted (available in blue or red). All you have to do is to install it on the truck. I hardly recommend you to make a venting hole in the windshield. This will increase the air flow inside the body to cool the engine more efficiently. The all terrain GT-2 tires are also huge. They are designed to perform best on multitude of surfaces. They are mounted on chrome Warlock 17mm hexes wheels. Four 14mm hexes are also included if you wish to mount 14mm hex wheels to your Savage.
The Savage uses a unique twin vertical plate chassis design. Each plate is made of 2.5mm thick 6161 aluminum for extra strength. The transmission and radio tray sit 5mm lower on the X version for a lower center of gravity. Robust bumpers and skid plates protect the truck in case of impact. A large 160cc fuel tank is located on the left side of the chassis. The tank gives to the Savage near 10 minutes of fun between refilling.
Another cool feature is the included (but not installed) nylon roll cage specifically designed to protect the engine in case of a bad landing or crash. Take the time to install this free extra protection, I’m sure you’ll land on the top or crash your Savage one time soon!
A 2 channel AM 27 MHz radio with basic functions is included with the truck. The radio offers servos reverse and throttle/steering trims functions. A standard HPI SF-1 servo controls the throttle and brake while a stronger servo (HPI SF-2) controls the steering. The steering servo is a little weak for its steering duty. It only produces 90oz of torque @ 6V. A more powerful servo would have been nice to steer these big front wheels. However, the servo is well protected by a servo saver. A clipless radio tray gives quick access to the receiver and battery pack.
On my reviewed Savage, I had glitching issues with the radio. The servos were going crazy and were not responding. I’ve emailed HPI customers service and I received excellent support from them. As recommended by the support team, I have tried new crystals and this didn’t solve the problem. HPI has quickly sent me new transmitter and receiver and it solved the problem. I received excellent support from Luis Herrera at the HPI customer service.
The Savage has six inches of suspension travel to satisfy any hardcore bashers. The suspension is super smooth and absorbs all small, big and extra big bumps and jumps with exceptional ease. You can jump the Savage as high as you can imagine, the suspension will handle the landing with grace. This is at the condition that you land the shinny side up! Two super long oil filled nylon shocks are located at each corner. I don’t know the weight of the fluid used in the shocks but it was correct setup for my likings and the usage I did with the truck. The ride height can be quickly adjusted with shock preloads.
All suspension components are beefy to handle any abuses. The A-arms are extra long and make the Savage X 4.6 near 17 inches wide for more stability. Both front and rear shock towers have three different shock mounting holes to tune the suspension. The front and rear toe are adjustable, however the camber is not.
The Savage has a permanent 4WD drive train system with a two-speed all metal geared transmission for quick acceleration and good top speed. The shift point can be adjusted for fine tuning. Out of the box, the transmission was shifting right on spot, few thousands of RPMs before the engine tops. You can clearly see and feel the acceleration when the Savage kicks into second gear. The front end gets lighter almost popping an instant wheelie!
New alloy differential cases are now installed on the Savage. They add extra durability to the drive train to handle all the power of the 4.6cc engine. Only six screws need to be removed to have full access to the front or to the rear differential. All the drive train components ride on rubber sealed bearings for less maintenance and more durability. HPI has also modified the clutch bell for better engagement. A standard 3-shoe clutch setup is used to transfer the power to a 17T steel clutch bell. A 49T nylon spur gear is attached to an adjustable slipper clutch to protect the drive train.
The drive train is robust and slop free. Oversized dogbone style drive shafts are used to transfer the power from the transmission to the differentials and to the wheels.
17mm wheel hex’s are standard equipment, They add strength and give you more wheels choice. Dual vented fiber disc brakes are attached to the transmission output shaft to quickly stop the truck. Brakes are strong enough to front flip the truck but they are also easy to gauge for smoother stops. The brakes are adjustable and no fade was noticed during our tests.
The Savage X 4.6 RTR is powered by a powerful Nitro Star 4.6cc (.28ci) 8-port (yes 8 port) engine good for 2.9HP. Newcomers will appreciate how easy it is to start the engine. Simply insert the starting shaft into the back of the engine and press the button on the Roto Start 2 electric starter. The new Roto Start 2 has an overload protection system to protect the engine and the starter unit. The protection acts like a breaker, when too much power is required by the Roto Start to spin the engine, the fuse button pops. It is very useful to protect flooded engine.
Breaking in the HPI 4.6cc engine was easy. The factory setting were a little lean for my climate but the overall break in process went flawlessly. I have let the engine idle for the whole first tank and I have leaned the engine progressively for the next 4-5 tanks until I was satisfied by the engine performances. The 4.6cc engine has a ton of torque to make the Savage pops wheelies on demand and it has excellent RPM to push the Savage in the 40s MPH. The huge purple heat sink keeps the engine cool and the carburetor is made of composite to stay cool. The engine breathes through a big and efficient dual stage air filter. The dual chamber tune pipe made of composite is loud and gives to the engine a unique sound. A cone can be inserted into the tuned pipe for more torque and better fuel mileage.
What I liked:
- Tough…Super tough
- A ton of aftermarket parts are available
- Easy to tune high performance engine
What can be improved:
- A 2.4Ghz radio to replace the AM radio
- A stronger steering servo
The Savage X 4.6 is exactly what a monster truck should be big, durable, fast and fun. I didn’t run monster trucks for a while and I had a blast to run the Savage X 4.6 RTR. This is an excellent truck for anyone looking for fun and durability. A ton of aftermarket parts are available for the Savage so you can customize it the way you want. If you are in the market for a monster truck, take a closer look to the Savage X 4.6, I’m sure you won’t regret it.
For more information, visit www.hpiracing.com