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ARRMA Raider XL RC Buggy Review

I’ll Take Mine Supersized!

This article was originally published in RC Driver’s June 2015 issue.


Words: David Harrington
Photos: Walter Sidas

Time flies! It doesn’t seem that long ago that I reviewed the original Raider buggy, but I guess it has been a few years now. Since then the Raider has proven itself as a favorite among bashers, due to its great handling, durability, and many unique features. Some standout features of this car were the extremely narrow chassis, TVP-type frame rails, tube-style shock towers and a cage that gave it a semi scale look, bottom loading battery door, and an overall look that very much resembled a scaled down 1/5-scale buggy. It kind of took the market by surprise at the time, but where do they go from there with such innovative origins? Duh, you make it bigger! Bigger is always better, right? I thought so. That’s why I could not wait to check this car out!


WHO IT’S FOR: Beginner-intermediate drivers
HOW MUCH: $369

• Powerful brushless system
• Waterproof electronics
• Larger size has many benefits Strong waterproof servo
• Included battery and charger
• Minor refinements for durability

• I love the green body, but if you’re only going to offer one color, at least give us some- thing that complements all the red parts!
• The on/off switch requires alien fingers to reach.


I think the advertised scale could cause some confusion. While it is a true 1/8-scale in dimension, if you’re in the market for a 1/8-scale buggy this one might fall short and you might want to look at other cars in Arrma’s 1/8-scale line. I think when evaluating this car it is important to keep in mind this is a 1/10-scale car with stretched dimensions. With that in mind, it is a much more stable, capable, and better handling car. It has more than enough power for the larger size. It needs the larger size to harness the power of this system!

• 4-way wrench
• L wrenches
• Foam battery block
• Lexan piece to replace lights on the nose

• Four “AA” batteries for the transmitter

• Gens Ace 5000mAh 40C 2S battery, #98p-40c-5000-2S1P, $43.99
• Reedy Wolfpack 3900mAh 35C 3S Battery, 735, $35.99
• Racer Edge EZ80 charger, RCESC1700, $74.99

• Aluminum motor plate (red), AR310394, $22.
This machined plate will be more durable and makes a way cool match to the red motor
• Machined aluminum rear tower brace (red), AR320162, $14.99.
More durability and it looks great!
• Machined aluminum rear tower brace (red), AR330148, $14.99.
You have to match the front to the back!
• Aluminum servo horn 25T (red), AR340057, $11.99.
I consider this a necessary durability upgrade.


The chassis is the standout feature of Arrma’s 1/10-scale lineup. It is made up of essentially a front, center and rear pods attached together by aluminum twin vertical plates. The front end is braced by a lower aluminum plate, and altogether it makes for a super stiff and narrow chassis that contributes much to the Raider’s great handling. To get the longer 1/8 wheelbase, which is more than two inches longer, a longer battery box is used. This is a huge bonus, as the Raider’s bottom loading battery box is super convenient, but was previously tight on space limiting your battery options. That is not the case now, as there is plenty of room for many battery options, and foam blocks are included which allow you to tune your handling by changing the battery position.

The suspension is nearly and inch and a half wider than the previous Raider. To get this width they lifted the arms and shocks from the truck line. I thought this would put it at the same size as a short course buggy, but a side by side comparison showed this car is larger and a true 1/8-scale in size. Almost every part of this car comes from something already in their 1/10-scale line, so parts will already be readily available. The arms have seen an improvement in
durability, as the holes between the webbing have been filled in. I compared them to the old ones, and they do seem to be stiffer. The front shock tower also received an aluminum brace to stiffen it up.

The driveline in Arrma’s 1/10 line has also been updated to handle the power of a brushless vehicle. The all steel gear transmission was brushless ready to begin with, but the old dog bones had a slight taper at the end that created a weak spot and I have personally twisted one apart before, but the new ones are straight all the way across, and should hold up just fine. I saw no evidence of twisting in my testing. Metal hexes have also been added at the rear wheels to better handle the power load. The pinion/spur combo has been upgraded to larger toothed mod .08 gears.

The wheel and tires are much larger than the old Raider’s. They are nearly as big as monster truck tires and are probably 1/8 scale in size. The black chrome wheels look awesome, and the deep, open tread pattern is perfect for churning up loose loamy dirt often found in open fields. The tires are harder compound than I expected from Armma, but that should be fine for bashing. The wheels are on a 12mm hex which opens
up a wide variety of wheel options, but finding the ones with the right look for this vehicle might be difficult.

The servo and ESC are completely waterproof, which is great for the mishaps with water, but remember to exercise proper maintenance when running in water anyway. The ADS-7M servo is a metal gear servo, and at 90 oz-in of torque, and a .12 second travel time, it is the perfect match for this car and even a decent upgrade for other cars. I applaud Arrma for including a good servo in an RTR RC. The ESC and four pole 3600Kv motor are a potent package. The ESC has excellent power handling, and the four pole motor has tons of torque. The ESC has programming for reverse lockout, LiPo cutoff, brake power, drag brake power, and throttle sensitivity.

The included 4600mAh 7-cell NiMH battery is great to get you going, and the mAh rating is actually pretty high for an RTR battery, but I do recommend upgrading to LiPo to really take advantage of the brushless system. The included charger will charge the battery in about seven hours which is fine if you’re patient, but I would recommend a fast charger to maximize your fun time.


When the delivery driver dropped off the package, it was already late in the evening, and I could not wait to give it a go. So rather than use the included trickle charger, I topped off the included battery with my fast charger. By the time I had it ready to go it was already getting dark out, but I had to take it out to the street to see what it could do. One minor annoyance right off the bat was the position of the switch. I have skinny fingers and I could barely squeeze my pinky in there to turn it on. It turned on with a loud musical chime, and the red and blue LEDs on the ESC combined to make an eerie purplish glow that lit up the interior and looked really cool in the dark. I gave it a rip and it was a bit faster than I expected, the rear tires quickly broke loose, spraying small pebbles everywhere. It accelerated rapidly and before I knew it the car was at the end of my block. As I turned it around to bring it back, I quickly realized it has very aggressive steering, and the rear end was eager to break loose and slide around. When I had it closer to me I played with the steering and found with some throttle control I was able to keep the rear end under control. When I turned more slowly it seemed to have some push. I think much of my problem is the tall, widely spaced lugs on the tires are really designed for loose dirt, and just didn’t have the contact surface to hook in the street. So I decided to save it for the dirt. At our large track, also my personal test ground, and also known as Rob’s yard, we got to talking about the old days when it wasn’t really a track, and just a dirt field that we drove in circles around. After reminiscing about the old days, we decided to turn the outside into a high speed ring, with extra-long straightaways, and banked corners on both ends and then some off-road bits in the infield. Perfect for what I had planned for the Raider XL! I started making some laps around the ring with the stock battery. With the new layout larger lug tires haven’t been working as well, and we’ve been switching to more of a mini pin type of tire. The stock tires hooked up amazingly well, though, especially in contrast to the street. As I was making laps I was surprised by how fast and responsive the throttle control was with a NiMH, and then several people asked me in surprise, “Is that the NiMH battery?” In this hobby technology is addictive, and it wasn’t long before I had to throw a 2S LiPo in there to see what that did. The top speed was similar, but the power really woke up. It might have seemed faster if the track would let me put the power down, but instead it was just throwing a larger roost of dirt. I hit a jump, and wow! It jumped as well if not better than the original Raider. Extremely stable and balanced in the air which makes it very forgiving. There were a few comments from the guys about how well it jumped. After confirming that the car drove and got around the track well, it was time for the test I had been waiting for, to drop a 3S LiPo battery in it. With an advertised top speed of over 60 mph, that is definitely something to check out. With the 3S battery I gave the guys a bit of a show, I blasted around the ring at full throttle. I discovered that if I let off too much for the corners, it would try to spin out, but if I barely let off to keep the rear planted, it did well. So I blasted lap after lap at almost constant full throttle, on the edge of control, barely keeping it off the boards, and it really is fast! It is as fast as anything we ever run out there, and everyone was really impressed. I was just getting ready to bring it in but I could not stop playing, it was way too much fun. I started just blasting up and down the front straightway, doing donuts, spraying dirt, being goofy. I did a couple of high-speed passes, and it was starting to lift the front end up, which looked really cool. That’s when I caught a fence pole at high speed. It looked and sounded like a disaster. Completely my fault, and no fault of the construction of the car, it obviously broke. At the end of the day, it was not as bad as it looked. I only needed a front and rear suspension arm, a 10-15 dollar fix, and I was able to borrow the ones from my Granite monster truck until my new ones arrive since many parts are compatible with other cars from the line. I found that to be a big bonus since I already own other Arrma cars and I was starting to fall in love with this one.

You get lots of stuff in the box, the battery and charger, a Lexan piece to replace the lights on the nose, a battery foam for running other batteries, extra servo horns for other brands of servos, various adapters to use the charger in different countries, preload clips to tune the shocks, and the required tools.
With the body off you can see how cool the chassis looks without the body. I honestly almost like it better, as you can see the cool nerf bar on the side that also serves as a body mount.
With the body off you can see how cool the chassis looks without the body. I honestly almost like it better, as you can see the cool nerf bar on the side that also serves as a body mount.
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LENGTH: 18.5 in. (465mm)
WIDTH: 11.2 in. (300mm)
WHEELBASE: 13in. (330mm)
WEIGHT: 4.52 lbs. (2400g)

BODY: Pre-painted buggy
WHEELS: Black chrome 50 spoke
TIRES: Hard compound block tread

TYPE: 4-wheel independent
SHOCK POSITIONS: (F) 1-tower, 2-arm, (R) 1-tower, 2-arm
CAMBER: Adjustable turnbuckles
RIDE HEIGHT: Preload clips
MISC: Battery position

TYPE: Dual bellcrank
TOE: Adjustable turnbuckles

TYPE: Twin vertical plate
MATERIAL: Aluminum and composite THICKNESS: Various

DIFFERENTIAL: 2-gear fluid filled
GEAR RATIO: Optional pinion gears
BEARINGS: Full set of shielded

Opinion: 9
Performance – Acceleration: 10
Performance – Steering: 8
Performance – Handling: 9
Performance – Durability: 8
Feature Breakdown: 9
Overall Value: 9

I loved the original Raider but I found the size of the basher buggy to be a bit small to really bash it in a dirt field. This is why I ended up settling for the Granite monster truck as the larger tires gave it the clearance to get through the choppy stuff. The Raider XL has tires almost as big as the monster, and the longer wheelbase makes it much more stable. I’ve always loved Arrma’s line- up of 1/10-scale cars for their great handling, durability, and just the cool factor they seem to have, but the Raider XL is by far my favorite of the bunch, so far, as they keep getting better!

ARRMA arrma-rc.com

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