Axial Wraith Review | The Ultimate Trail Basher

Value

Features

Durability

Speed

Aftermarket Support

Summary

One thing that every Axial model owner will tell you is that they make beautiful products. Just looking at the Wraith, you can tell that a lot of effort and love went into designing it. It really feels like you’re driving a scaled-down version of the real thing. However, it goes beyond just the chassis and the wheels. Even the smallest details, such as seats and the gear shift, look like they just came out of the assembly line of an actual truck. One thing you’ll adore as a Wraith owner is how you’ll be able to mod it. You can get many different accessories from Axial and pimp your ride any way you like it.

8.5/10
Overall

PROS

  • Realistic design
  • Impressive durability
  • Easy to use, assemble, and modify
  • Fast on rough terrain
  • Uses different battery packs interchangeably
  • Well balanced

CONS

  • Doesn’t turn well at high speeds
  • Not enough torque for rougher terrains
  • Balance and movement are off with heavier batteries
  • The price is a bit high

Take heart, RC cars and scale truck lovers. Axial Wraith another amazing truck in their lineup that you can run on rougher terrains. If you’ve been searching for a good RC truck that can scale rocks, grass, mud, and debris, then Axial Wraith is your go-to product.

Also Known as The Wraith 1/10th Scale Electric 4WD Rock Racer. The truck itself looks realistic, and its chassis is built of sturdy, durable material. You can run it on sand, a mountain trail, a rocky road, in a swamp, or even in your own backyard.

Uneven terrain is not an obstacle for the Axial Wraith – it goes fast anywhere.

Body and Chassis

The Body

Possibly the biggest selling point of Axial Wraith is its body build. Literally, no other truck on the market looks like the Wraith, other than a few new products from Axial themselves. The tube frame this truck uses is resistant to blows and rough terrain. It’s that resistant because it’s made of powerful composite plastic. In addition, the team behind the Wraith screwed several plastic panels onto the tube frame using hex screws.

You can remove these panels easily with a screwdriver in no time. The inside of the truck looks spectacular as well. Axial used Corbeau LG1 scale race seats, gauges, and shifters, giving this bad boy a very realistic look.

Lighting

Wraith has a lighting system with 4 LEDs at the front and 2 at the rear. Your night runs will look awesome as a result. But more than that, it further adds to the realistic look of the Wraith. But, if that’s not enough lighting for you, don’t worry. Axial provides their Wraith customers with additional light buckets. You can customize your ride with more lights as a result.

And yet, that’s still not all! One more exceptionally cool feature is the Axial Night Vision system. It will provide your Wraith with tail and brake lights, as well as turn signals.

Power and Control

​​The Batteries

Installing and removing batteries is easy. They go just behind the seats, on the rear. There might be some minor issues with the battery connector, though. It passes through a tiny hole within the truck, making it a bit tricky to insert the battery, but not much.

Another potential issue is the weight of the battery. If it’s heavier than usual, you might not get the best crawling action, though you could pop wheelies very nicely. The Axial’s ESC can support 2S LiPo batteries, as well as 7.2v NiMH battery packs.

If you go for lighter batteries, you can get more runtime and speed. Furthermore, you’ll have less weight in the rear. You also needn’t worry about the batteries falling out. Two heavy-duty Velcro straps hold the batteries in place.

​The Radio

Axial opted to give the Wraith a new 2.4 GHz AX-3 radio. You can tell it’s lightweight just by looking at it. On top of that, it has a comfortable grip. Some basic adjustments of the radio include brake trims, steering, and the steering dual rate. If you choose to upgrade the steering servo or the ESC, you can do that. The transmitter has the reverse-steering and throttle functions that let you do so. On top of this transmitter, you can see a small lid. This lid protects all switches and adjustment trims from dust and dirt.

Power-wise, the Wraith’s AX-3 radio uses four AA batteries. This number is significantly smaller than the one radios usually require, which is eight. You should remember that the receiver and the transmitter must be bound in order to work. Normally, Axial does this right at the factory, so you’re covered there.

The Servo and the ESC

Your Wraith steering will work flawlessly, considering it uses the AS-2 servo. The amount of torque you can get with it is 132 ounces per 6V. Not good news for rock crawler enthusiasts, as they usually need more torque. However, if you’re using the Wraith in your own backyard, 132 ounces is plenty of torque.

In terms of ESC, Axial gave Wraith a brand new AE-2 one. They developed this ESC in partnership with Castle Creations to give you the best product possible. Fans of extreme crawling, for instance, will love the drag brake feature. Another cool feature of Wraith’s ESC is the built-in LiPo-powered cut-off. You can program this cut-off using the Castle Link cable, which you’ll have to buy separately. When it comes to batteries, Wraith’s ESC supports 7.2V NiMH and 2S LiPo packs.

The Motor

Unlike most other features, the motor of Wraith isn’t a new one. It’s Axial’s standard brushed 20T motor. However, they didn’t choose to reuse it for nothing. This motor will provide your little truck with enough power to move in any weather. On top of that, the receiver bit is very well protected from any damage. And, if you’re looking for the power switch, don’t worry – it’s right there under the dash.

Steering and Drivetrain

​Drivetrain

The drivetrain itself is very durable. An adjustable slipper clutch protects it if you happen to lodge the wheels in tight spots, or when your Wraith lands after a jump. This clutch links to the transmission. Most other Axial rock crawlers use the same type of transmission Wraith does. Said transmission is extremely reliable, and it comes with full ball bearings. Your drivetrain will run smoothly as a result.

However, the drivetrain isn’t the only part that’s protected. Both the spur gear and the pinion have a plastic gear cover over them. You will require less maintenance time, and your gears will be safe from damage. For an even better rock crawling experience, the team gave Wraith an additional, optional dig unit which you can install in the transmission.

​Axles

When you look at the axles of Axial Wraith, you’ll notice a slightly different design from what older models of rock racers have. This offset pumpkin design offers the truck more ground clearance and an improved driveshaft angle. Most of the details a rear axle usually has are no longer here – you can have far more ground clearance this way.

The Wraith’s AR60 OCP-Axle fits the rough nature of the truck. The team opted to use a strong composite material with a low flex rate that doesn’t break as often as glass-filled nylon. The axle’s tubes are reinforced with a truss which distributes stress when driving in a larger area.

You can see the reasons behind these axle choices the minute you start up your Wraith. It moves without any issues on the roughest terrains.

Suspension, Wheels, and Tires

​Tires

Just looking at the Wraith’s tires gives you a sense of awe. The realistic 8-Spoke Rebel wheels utilize 2.2-inch Ripsaw tires. They are 5.5 inches high, giving them more ground-covering ability. Durability and an R35 compound build give the tires amazing traction. You can use them on rocks with minimal tearing, for instance. Furthermore, they flow well on dirt and don’t get stuck in the mud as often. In other words, these Ripsaw bad boys are not just for show. They will go anywhere.

​Suspension

Powerful trucks like Axial Wraith require a lot of suspension travel. They need it to perform well on uneven terrains such as deserts or mountainsides. Axial chose to go with the 4-link suspension design for the Wraith. This type of suspension will lessen the axle steering.

Furthermore, it will optimize anti-squatting and rolling. Looking at the four-threaded shocks, you can see that they’re really smooth. Beyond that, you will be able to mount them in different places, so you can fine-tune the suspension. The shocks’ bodies are all threaded, so you can set the height in a short time and with minimal effort.

The shocks use shafts that are 3.5mm thick and coated in nitride titanium. Axial opted for these shafts to increase smoothness and durability.

Furthermore, you can have full aluminum shocks to improve performance. However, there really is no need, as the built-in shocks are durable and sturdy as they are. You won’t have to replace them for a while.

The Verdict: Is the Axial Wraith a Good Buy?

Naturally, the Wraith comes with its own set of problems. You should probably not run it at top speed on edgier terrain, as it doesn’t do well in high-speed turns. More often than not, it will just flip over on its back. Nobody likes to stop their RC car driving so that they can walk over to it and physically pick it up. Of course, the torque issue is still there, but if you’re not heavily into rock crawlers, it won’t bother you too much.

Heavier battery packs can offset the weight of your Wraith. You can easily solve this by simply using lighter batteries, but then you might not get the power you need to enjoy your Wraith.

Finally, there’s the price. Of course, no RC car is cheap, but Axial Wraith’s $400 and up can be steep for most. You can find it at local retailers for $50 less, but it’s still a pretty penny for a rock crawler.

As is the case with 1:1 scale vehicles, rock crawlers have to endure rough terrains and rough weather. Every single material used for making the Wraith can do that. You can toss this car into the rockiest place or the wettest mud, and it’ll still run (but don’t chuck it off rooftops or anything).

And, speaking of running, the Wraith can really run! Its top speed is roughly 11.5 MpH on a decent battery pack. Though not the fastest RC car on the market, it certainly is among the fastest rock crawlers.

Most of its weight is well distributed across its body. This weight distribution allows the Wraith to scale rough terrains more easily and with less effort.

Conclusion

Durability, speed, safety, and amazing design make Axial Wraith one of the best rock crawlers out there. Despite its flaws, you will enjoy this RC car for a long time. If you can, get your hands on it as soon as possible, and let the rubber burn.

Also be sure to check out our full Top 10 RC Rock Crawler & Trail Truck Guide.

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