Pro Boat Impulse 26 Review

10/6/2011 by Gary Katzer

Copyright:© 2011 Horizon Hobby, Inc.

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You have a lot of different ways to get involved with RC boating, and Pro Boat has a great boat ideal for just about anyone to cut their teeth on. The Pro Boat® Impulse™ 26 is a great place to get your feet wet with the world of RC boating. Like many Pro Boat models, the Impulse comes out of the box as an RTR, which eliminates any need for complicated building or assembly. That also means that the Impulse 26 includes a Spektrum™ Marine Technology-equipped 2.4GHz transmitter and MR200 receiver, a powerful 550-size brushed motor that is powered by a 35-amp ESC, an ABS Deep-V hull and a lot more. The Impulse 26 is a great looking boat and we're going to see if it performs as well as it looks.

Speed Specs
Impulse 26
Manufacturer:Pro Boat
Part Number: PRB4200
Target Audience: Entry-Level Boating Enthusiasts
Completion Level: RTR

Being an RTR, getting the Impulse 26 up and running was super easy. All I needed to add was a main battery pack and battery charger before getting up and on the water. For this application, I decided to use a Dynamite® Speedpack 5100mAh Ni-MH 6-Cell Flat battery pack. This pack combines the plug-and-play convenience of having the correct Tamiya-style connector with long runtimes and strong performance. For charging purposes, I once again turned to the Dynamite Passport™ Ultra. This has become my go-to charging device thanks to its small size, integrated power supply and excellent performance.

The Impulse 26 isn't a hot rod like its bigger brushless cousin, the Impulse 31, but I will say it can hold its own. The ABS Deep-V hull cut through the water without much effort, a trait typical of this specific hull configuration. It had both good straight-line stability while still providing the desired maneuverability at all speeds. Speaking of the maneuverability, the offset rudder design used on the Impulse 26 is one of the most effective rudder configurations I've ever driven. Many times I felt like the Impulse 26 actually had a steerable drive section, as the offset rudder provided quite impressive steering authority. Whether you're bombing along the lake at full speed or slaloming around different obstacles, the Impulse 26 really drives very well.

The Impulse 26 is exceptionally maneuverable at low-speed. A big reason for this is the design of the rudder in relation to the rest of the hull. The Impulse 26 rudder is offset from the rear of the hull more than a lot of other boats. What this does is provide the rudder with more leverage when you're turning. Think of it like this: If you have a teeter-totter and place the pivot closer to where you're pushing down, it takes more energy to lift the opposite end. If you place the pivot further away from where you're pushing down, you have a greater mechanical advantage, which makes it easier to lift the opposite side. The same thing is true with the rudder setup on the Impulse 26. Being set further back from the aft of the hull allows it to have a greater mechanical advantage on the boat when turning.

When the Impulse 26 is on-plane, you'll see speeds between about 15-20MPH. Not earth-shattering, but for a brushed boat it's definitely respectable. The Deep-V hull cuts through the waves rather effortlessly and the boat is inherently stable. I'm sure the adjustable trim tabs also help in the stability department too. I was able to cut the wheel hard from one side to the other and back again, and the Impulse 26 never showed signs of capsizing, being difficult to recover or other negative handling traits. The Impulse 26 also creates a decent sized wake behind it as it zips around the lake. It's a good amount of fun to create some wakes and then jumping them with the Impulse 26. While not as fast or powerful as a brushless boat, the Impulse 26 definitely has its place and is a lot of fun.

Out-of-the-Box Setup
There are many different factors that make the Impulse 26 the perfect first RC boat for just about anyone. First of all, it's a very complete model right from the box. Spektrum really has their Marine Technology nailed and it works perfectly yet again in the Impulse 26. The transmitter is both functional and comfortable to use and has the right features that someone will need to get started. The brushed motor system is water cooled to keep things cool under pressure and the ESC even features reverse. Sure, that's more of a novelty for me as a hard-core racer, but for beginners it's very nice to have, especially if you get caught up in some weeds and need to clear the prop off. The ABS hull is both lightweight and strong and provides a great platform for you to have fun without breaking the bank. The hull is very low-slung and sleek looking as you're cruising around the water with the Impulse 26. It's a great looking boat on the water or on display on the provided boat stand. I'd like to see this hull design and size with a brushless motor system in it as it seems like it would be more than capable of handling a few extra RPM's and additional power under the canopy. The stock 550-motor isn't bad, but the hull is capable of increased performance if more power were on-tap.

There really has never been a better time to get into RC boating and the Impulse 26 is the perfect way to get into the hobby. From top-to-bottom, the Impulse 26 has all the right features to allow you to be successful right from the box—simply add the battery pack and charger of your choice. The motor and ESC both ran cool all day long, even with ambient temperatures over 90-degrees. The Impulse 26 has enough performance and styling to keep you entertained for hours on-end. The only thing you'll need to have is plenty of batteries to keep the fun going all day long. In the end, the Impulse 26 makes it easier than ever for you to take your first steps into the world of RC boating quickly, easily and with a lot of fun included—just add water.