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Thread: Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 4, South Mountain, Phoenix

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Old 03-23-2014, 09:46 PM   #1
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Default Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 4, South Mountain, Phoenix

Warning: this thread is not for slow connections! Lots of pics!

A bit of info for the out of AZ readers. South Mountain Park… what can I say? I love this place! I used to live close and it was my weekend playground. This Mountain in the heart of Phoenix is the largest Metropolitan Park in the USA; yes, even bigger than Central Park in NY. South Mountain has a bit of everything for everybody. You can hike and watch flora and fauna (watch out for rattlesnakes I saw one on my last hike on this trail). You can ride a mountain bike in cross country “baja” style near the desert floor (Desert Classic trail), you can get more technical on National trail, or really go downhill banzai on places like Holbert, Bajada and Geronimo trails. There is an organized shuttle bus at 6am on Wednesdays just for MTB downhillers, do not apply if you are not really good and have less than 6” of suspension travel. You can pedal your roadbike through Central Ave and go 4 miles straight up to the lookout or simply ride your motorcycle on this winding road and take pictures from the top. You can rent a horse and ride the trails, or hike the desolated west side, or invent multiple loops in the trail network on the east side where you can stay at a Spa and golf (not for me). And now with the RC community, the crawling comps are organized at “Nine Tables” a bit west of where I will climb.

So the chosen trail for today is a tough climb with lots of steps, usually only hikers (and their dogs) use the trail, it’s too tough uphill for MTB, and downhill… well, there are too many hikers. This is the Mormon trailhead at 24 Street where it reaches the mountain. I started at 9:45am, at first It seemed like everybody wanted to hike this place today, a lot of people… but nobody objected to the crawler.

I usually let hikers go by so I can drive the crawler with nobody behind, I need to choose good lines when I get to the steps section.

Some sections look like a rock avalanche fell there…

Hiker reaction was interesting. Some preppy folks just walked by like nothing, not even bothering to look or maybe because they didn’t know what they were looking at. Others smiled, most said “that’s cool!” or “I want one of those!” ,a lady said: “now I’ve seen everything on this trail… horses, dogs, now R/C cars!”. I usually responded to everybody; if I saw some serious faces I just said “sorry, I don’t have a dog!” and they would break into laughter and break the ice, or “I don’t need a leash!” to dog owners... well you get the picture, you want the hobby to be accepted not people pissed at you.

On this climb section, I found two difficult and narrow areas with man made steps where the Mad Torque could not make it. The steps were like 15” tall and with an undercut, so there was no way to get traction there, A little push up was necessary. Then I arrived at this junction with National trail, where I have to follow to the right. National trail goes through all South Mountain from east to west.

Then got into this downhill, this is fun on a mountain bike!

Then uphill again…

Last edited by 2WheelFlyer; 03-23-2014 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 4, South Mountain, Phoenix

Then I took a left at the Hidden Valley trail:

And a view from atop one of the huge boulders near the entrance to “Hidden Valley”:

Now you might ask, how do we keep people motivated to stay in shape when coming here? Well, to enter Hidden Valley through this side you have to go through the famous “Fat Man’s Pass”! And to answer the dreaded question, can a Mad Torque fit through here?

The answer is “NO”… I tried sideways, but about a foot farther in than the picture shows, the bottom tires where almost horizontal and digging in the deep soft sand, the body dragging and slowing it even more until it just dug in.

Of course I had to remove my backpack to fit in as well.. then you contortion into like an “S” shape and make it to the slide on the other side… you can see the light shining though the pass on the right. Also notice how shiny and polished the slide is from all the butts that have slid through here for decades!

OK, so now we’re into Hidden Valley! If you are wondering, yes there is a “cheater” bypass if you don’t fit though fat man’s pass! Good thing is I had this trail almost to myself, the further up you go in the Mountain the less people you see, most turn around well below here.

The Mad Torque had no problem going under this little rock:

And out through the other side… you might notice this rocks look like lava layers, they are very smooth and slippery, easy to slip and slide if you’re not paying attention.

Then I had to come to a stop… below this square cut rock, there is an 8” or so crevice (not visible), it would swallow the whole front end of the crawler… so I had to help it to the bottom rock

Which is this one:

Climbing around some of the flat rocks found here, the light footprint of the crawler on soft tires makes less impact on the environment than a 180 Lb. hiker, those are the scrape marks you see where some layer areas have chipped off from people walking on the boulder.

Last edited by 2WheelFlyer; 03-23-2014 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 4, South Mountain, Phoenix

OK, going down…

I attempted this drop with little hope of making it, the crawler wedged in and went over, and then started to roll to the right, I caught it before it dropped like 20ft. down. This rocks have too much slope and too slippery, I started to slip and had to jump a bit so I would not fall too.

Some of the weird caves and rock formations you can see and explore at Hidden Valley:

And then reached the tunnel at the other end of Hidden Valley, this time no problems making it though

OK, done with Hidden Valley, got to the junction with National trail, I’ll take a left this time.

300 Ft. from there, battery change time. The lipo alarm has not sounded or cut yet, but if I made it this far on the first battery, I’m confident with the second 5000Mah I can make it back down to the parking area.

OK, time to go back down… through all those steps. Uphill was a challenge, going down is relatively easy, the ESC works great helping to control the descents.

Back at the starting point. A couple girls starting the hike asked me about the crawler and could not believe it had gone up and down.

A shot with some local flora examples… a bit different than Wyoming or Florida huh?

OK, so time for damage assessment. Basically just some scratches on the body from the couple front flips when descending those square steps, and some more scratches on the links on the bottom and a bit on the center skidplate. The black plastic is actually pretty tuff and resistant to scratches, I though it would be destroyed the first time out. The front axle homemade skidplate is working wonders as you can tell by the scratches. The hubs are showing a little bit of play, I’ll probably just put a couple wraps of Teflon around the axle ends to tighten the clearances for the next drive. The ESC double sided tape seems to be losing its stick… and if it lifts a bit dust gets underneath further reducing the stick, so I’ll redo that for next time. The Towardpro MG946R servo its showing a bit of pivoting play on the shaft since the last outing at Papago park… guess I’ll start looking for something stronger before its excessive play. Now I’m carrying the stock servo as a spare in my backpack. Time to clean the crawler so it looks good for the next drive. Other than that this Mad Torque is like the Energizer bunny…

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Old 03-24-2014, 01:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 4, South Mountain, Phoenix

nice pictures, thanks
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 4, South Mountain, Phoenix

Nice pics and test. Do you have any vids of your tests? How do like your mt? Did you get the artr or rtr?
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 4, South Mountain, Phoenix

Originally Posted by Dezertdirt View Post
Nice pics and test. Do you have any vids of your tests? How do like your mt? Did you get the artr or rtr?

No Dezertdirt, I don't have videos, maybe if I go with someone else on my next outings I can get some taken. I got the RTR because it was more cost effective, it was only like a $20 difference. If the transmitter or rx fail I'll just get a Spektrum Rx to bind to my other remote.

So far I love the Mad Torque, have never been stranded on any trail due to mechanical failure. Its fulfilling its mission as being able to go longer distances anywhere I hike rather than just a smaller pile of rocks. That was one of the reasons of choosing a 1/8, The key is just: "correct wheel placement".
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