Team Associated RC18T2 Review
Few years ago , 1/18 scale vehicles were very popular and like many others R/C enthusiasts, I’ve bought few 1/18th buggies and trucks that I’ve raced and bashed for two years to finally sold them due to their decreasing popularity.
For me, at this time, my 1/18th scale buzz was over. Apparently, I was not the only one in this situation because many racers have slowly lost interest in 1/18th scale vehicles and the class simply died. For many good reasons, I’ve promised to myself to never buy any others R/C cars smaller than 1/10th.
Few years have passed since my last contact with a 1/18th vehicle and while I was surfing on Team Associated’s website, I was intrigued by the new RC18T2 truck. The truck now comes with a brushless motor/ESC combo, a new belt-driven drivetrain and new steering design. All those new features were enough to convince me to buy one. Few mouse clicks and a credit card number later, my RC18T2 truck was ordered. I know, it is so easy to influence me… 🙂
What’s in the box:
The Team Associated RC18T2 comes with the XP2G 2.4GHz radio, a 1100mAh NiMh battery pack, a wall charger, few basic tools and instructions manuals. The truck and the radio are well strapped into the box to make sure everything stay together during shipping. For an unknown reason, many stickers on the body were almost peeled off of the body. The included 2.4Ghz transmitter is the same radio that equips almost all Team Associated’s RTR vehicles. This is a good radio for a RTR vehicle and it includes all the basic features to satisfy any newcomers or any first time buyers.
The drive train:
The main difference between the previous version and the new RC18T2 is the drive train. The center drive shaft from the original RC18 trucks series has been replaced by a two-belt drive train system. I don’t know the reasons for this change, maybe the addition of the brushless power has justified this change. Team Associated has also added a slipper clutch to the drive train. This is a nice addition, a slipper clutch helps to smooth out accelerations and protects others components from breakage. Even if I have only good words for the old blue anodized drive shaft, the new belts drivetrain is smooth. The downside, the new belt system requires 5 to 6 packs to become smoother. On the first runs, the truck suffered from drag braking due to the belt system. Happily, the drag brake effect was almost all gone after few packs. Just to keep in mind that during the first runs, it is very important to check motor and ESC temperatures. If temperatures go over 150F, let the truck cool down few minutes before going on with the truck.
Without being super beefy, the rest of the drivetrain components are correct for such a little truck. Rubber sealed bearings everywhere will keep the RC18T2 rolling smoothly and precisely and will require very low maintenance over the time. Plastic dog bones are used instead of metal CVDs to keep price low. At first, I was a little sceptical but after few hard runs, the plastic dog bones stay all in one piece and I didn’t feel any reason why they wouldn’t last quite long time. Metal CVDs can always been installed later since Team Associated offers them as option parts.
New steering bell crank and servo saver equip the RC18T2. Besides the new drivetrain, these two improvements are certainly one of the most significant updates made to the truck. If you compare the RC18T to the RC18T2, you will immediately notice how much the new steering feels tight compared to the previous version. Less slop means better handling and less “randomized” control. If you want to look pro, this is quite important! To keep things all connected together, the RC18T2 uses plastic non-adjustable turnbuckles. I don’t much care about the non adjustability of the turnbuckles because the steering geometry is correct out of the box. Titanium and steel turnbuckles are available as option parts directly from Team Associated.
The XP C1016 micro steering servo does the job as it should. The servo has enough torque and speed to keep the front wheels pointed to the right direction. The servo is a little bit noisy but this not an issue at all. With such a little servo, this is very important to make sure end points are adjusted correctly on the radio. Before going on with the truck. Take the time to read the radio section, specially the end points adjustments. This is clearly explained and very easy to do. This comment is not just good for the Team Associated RC18T2 but also for all others RTR vehicles.
The Team Associated RC18T2 RTR comes with four oil filled shocks. The shocks are quite minimalist with plastic bodies and caps. That doesn’t mean they can’t do the job. First, the shocks are completely rebuildable, they also offer a good damping and react well to oil weight changes. The most important thing about the shocks is to not overfill them otherwise they are prone to leak. Ride height can be quickly changed by removing or adding shock preloads. For fine tuning, extra preloads of different thickness are included in the box. Team Associated offers blue anodized aluminum shocks for extra durability, precision and performance.
The Team Associated RC18T2 RTR comes with good electronics. The steering servo, as described above, has enough power and torque to control the truck. The transmitter is also of good quality and offers few features like end points adjustments and throttle and steering trims. They are not 500$ components but for the price, all electronics components are very good. The transmitter fits well in my hand, it is smooth and I never had any issues. This is the same transmitter that comes with all Team Associated ready-to-run vehicles.
Motor and speed controller are top notch. Team Associated has included a very nice and low-maintenance motor/esc combo. The Reedy 5000kV motor and the Reedy speed controller offer a very smooth experience. The combo is also pretty fast. It is easy to get familiar with the the throttle / brake / stop / reverse steps. The speed controller reacts well to brake inputs. Once stopped, re-engage brake to go reverse. This is as simply as that! If 5000Kv is not enough for you, Team Associated offers different motors with different Kv ratings so you can go from fast to stupid fast!
What’s fun when testing the Team Associated RC18T2 RTR is that it can be tested everywhere and under any condition. The truck is fast enough to have fun outside and it is enough easy to control to be used inside the house. The speed controller is quite smooth and works well at any speed, driving the RC18T2 in a house or in small places is not a problem. By adjusting the throttle trims on the radio, you can easily limit the truck top speed which can nice for young kids.
I have first tested my new RC18T2 RTR on my patio. The mini pins tire have plenty of traction on the concrete surface and after few minutes I’ve found myself racing on an improvised track between the long chair and the table. To make sure the entire drive train would break in correctly, I’ve ran the truck by small period of 10 minutes. After a full pack hitting different small and quite big obstacles nothing broke, the electronics was just warm and the drive train was already spinning smoother.
My second test was in my driveway and on the street where I can push the RC18T2 RTR to its maximum speed. The RC18T2 may be small but it has a lot of speed for such a little truck. It is hard for me to evaluate the maximum speed but I would say the RC18T2 can easily get in the 15ish MPH with the stock NiMh battery pack. The truck would have been even faster if I would have used a LiPo battery pack. Ok now back to testing…. My driveway is a mix of dirt, sand and small rocks. The little RC18T2 had absolutely no problem handling this surface and it was quite awesome to see this little truck’s suspension absorbing all the surface imperfections relatively easily. With the front wheels fully steered, nailing the throttle immediately produced a “never-ending” series of 360s and awesome rooster tails. Straight accelerations are also very good, every times I nailed the throttle, the RC18T2 has always accelerated quickly and straight. Reaching full speed is a matter of few seconds. During my testing on the dirt, a little amount of debris entered the chassis. Thanks to the sealed drive train, the RC18T2 can continue to run without issue. To clean, just flip the truck over and shake, the dirt and debris will exit the chassis easily.
To end my tests, the street was the perfect place to push the RC18T2 to its limits. The very first thing I’ve tested was the straight line accelerations. as expected, the RC18T2 accelerates quickly and even at full speed, the truck handles very well. I did some slalom through the street at slow and at full speed. The truck always stayed under control. I know the truck can take more abuse and will stay under control. I have flipped the truck over few times, jumped the curb, crashed into my full size car’s tires and nothing broke. The truck is very durable. On asphalt, the tires wear out a little faster but nothing major.
What I like:
- Complete package
- Ton of option parts available directly from Team Associated
- Durable little truck
- Fun and easy to operate
- Good motor/ESC combo
What could be improved:
- New drive train needs a breaking in period before spinning freely
- Stickers peel off easily
The Team Associated RC18T2 RTR is a really nice truck and has a lot to offer as long as you keep in mind its size. Like all 1/18 scale vehicles on the market, it is best suited to run on a relatively smooth surface. Not that it can’t handle rough terrains, in fact the truck can be run almost everywhere and can take a lot of punishments. The RC10T2 is also offered as kit packed of many option parts.
The sealed drive train is a really cool feature because it keeps debris away from vital components and it also reduces maintenance which means more fun and less wrenching. The overall quality of the included electronics is what I was expecting in a RTR vehicle and it will satisfy any newcomers as well as most intermediates looking for a new ride.
The 1/18th scale vehicles are not the most popular segment but If you are looking for a fun little truck for you or to initiate a kid to R/C, the Team Associated RC18T2 is a truck you should put on the top of your list.
For more information about the RC18T2 RTR, visit www.teamassociated.com