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HPI Savage RC Review

Review by Hunter Wick

I bought the Savage XS SS RC kit because I had heard the thing was the best vehicle to ever be classified as a mini, but I'd also heard that the stock electronics in the RTR version weren't all that great. So why not build myself the kit version and have the ability to choose my own electronics? Well, let's find out if this kit was worth the eight hours of time I took to build it or not.

In addition to this written review we have prepared videos documenting the build of the Savage here.. Also be sure to take a look at our Savage Unboxing and Bashing, and electronics we used in the HPI Savage videos.

We also made a pros and cons video for the Savage for you to check out.

Steering - 5/10

I was very disappointed in the Savage XS's steering radius. To be fair, the servo I used probably only had around 90oz of torque, but it was just as much the fault of the built-in servo saver. The servo saver was ridiculously forgiving, to the point where it made the steering feel "squishy" and caused the servo to work overtime, trying to make up for the servo saver giving way constantly. Not only did this cause the servo to become pretty warm, but it also reduced the steering radius to darn near pathetic. I actually ended up installing an aftermarket servo saver directly onto the horn of the servo and using CA glue to lock the built-in servo saver. While I don't usually recommend disabling the servo saver, this made the truck turn slightly better and I knew my servo would be fine because of the addition of the aftermarket servo saver.


Acceleration - 9/10

The ESC and motor combo I picked for this RC truck provided plenty of pick-up-and-go, but the stock tires that the kit comes with really limited this because of their hard compound. When using a 3s LiPo battery, it was possible to do a standing backflip with the truck, but keep in mind that this is a sure way to beat up your body. The truck allowed for good acceleration after getting up to around 10mph, but if you just tried to punch the throttle from a standstill the truck would simply break the tires loose and spin out of control. To sum up acceleration, the GForce 4 pole 2800kv 540 size brushless motor provided great acceleration, but I would like to see some better treads included for this truck in the future.


Braking - 9/10

The ESC and motor combo I picked for this kit provided great braking. Really, it would have stopped on a dime with the addition of some sticky tires. The stockers allowed the truck to skid several feet before coming to a standstill, so once again, new treads would have helped the truck's performance.


Suspension - 7/10

I loved the shocks that the SS version came with. Unlike the RTR version of the Savage XS, these shocks were anodized, threaded-bodied, aluminum, good-feeling shocks that performed just as great as they looked. The only downfall to the stock suspension is that there are very few available adjustments, with only one mounting position on the a-arms, and only two options up top. While it's a monster truck so it doesn't need a lot of tuning options, it would be nice to see HPI thinking outside-the-box. Also, the shocks are in need of some slightly stiffer springs. You can make the stock springs work by adding around an inch of preload all the way around, but I think that it would just be easier to include stiffer springs. The stock 80 weight shock oil was perfect. I am so sick of seeing vehicles marketed as bashers, yet come with way too thin of shock oil to actually bash the truck. Smart choice of shock oil, HPI.


Jumping - 8/10

This truck is part of the Savage lineup, and anyone who's been into the hobby for very long knows that Savages are famous for being great bashers, and what basher doesn't jump well? The XS jumped acceptably and those great shocks that I loved allowed the truck to land smoothly. The real downfall to the truck's jumping ability is its small wheel base and relatively large tires. This makes the truck very sensitive to throttle and braking when in the air, but this is just something that all minis have to deal with.


Durability - 6/10

It's pretty obvious that this truck is a basher at heart, so durability is very important. I was kind of surprised honestly at this truck's not so great durability. While only one part actually broke, I had several issues with some parts that I shouldn't have. On my first battery pack, I popped off a steering linkage twice, and then a third time during a later run. While the ball ends didn't actually break, it became very annoying having to repeatedly stop and snap the ball end back onto the ball stud. The second issue I had was that one of the rear drive cups got pretty bent out of shape in a mild crash, and most of the abuse was on the front end. This in turn popped the dog bone out of place, meaning that now the truck was only front wheel drive. Having driven to the bash spot and forgotten my tools at home, I wasn't about to head back and end the day early. I decided just to keep on going in front wheel drive, which wasn't nearly as fun. The last and most worrying issue I had is that I blew a tire completely in half! I will admit that I was ballooning the tire just for the camera, but I was only giving it half throttle, and all of a sudden the entire tire came in two! This seems to be a common issue, because I have seen other people experience the same issue. Once again, a new set of better treads would help the vehicle immensely.

In the end, I did have fun with the Savage XS SS, just not as much as I had been expecting. The truck received an average score of a 7.3/10. I do think that HPI could easily improve on this, though, because most of the issues that I experienced were easily fixable, but I just couldn't understand why HPI didn't fix them themselves. Good job HPI, but I think you all can do better.

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