Fire breathing Monster!
Words: David Harrington
Photos: Edwin Rodriguez
This article was originally published in RC Driver’s August 2016 issue.
HoBao is back! I wanted to write this article just so I could say that! Under their previous distribution it was sometimes unclear … was the distributor the brand or was the company that manufactures the car the brand? So some may be a little confused over my excitement. HoBao is the company that made all those great Hyper vehicles; the Hyper 7, the Hyper 9, the Hyper MT. Starting to ring a bell? For those that don’t know, HoBao has a reputation for delivering extremely durable RC’s. They had to be durable, because they often came packed with excessive horsepower and at a modest price point. Everything someone could desire in their ﬁrst RC, but these machines also handled well too. I bet a lot of people got their ﬁrst track experience with a HoBao. The truck I am going to be covering here, the Hyper MT Sport Plus, is kind of special to me because it is a big nitro monster truck and ten or ﬁfteen years ago nitro monster trucks became a huge fad. I’m not just talking within the industry, I’m talking everywhere, like yo yos, razor scooters or like quads and drones are now. While trends change, that doesn’t change why they became so popular to begin with. They are fun! Big, fast, loud, drive- anywhere vehicles that can take a beating. With advancements in technology many have moved to electric, but there are many reasons to run nitro. Beside the sights, sounds, smells and feel you can only get from a nitro car, if you have a gallon of fuel, you can keep topping it off and run all day, as opposed to stopping every 15 to 20 minutes to charge your expensive battery. Let’s see if the Hyper MT delivers all the thrills and excitement I remember.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: HoBao
WHO IT’S FOR: Beginner to Intermediate
PART NUMBER: HB-MT-C30- BUN
HOW MUCH: $559
BUILD TYPE: RTR
• Extremely solidly built
• Smart chassis design
• Monster horsepower from the Hyper 30
• Giant 17mm shocks
• Big Burly Tires
• Huge. Just Huge!
• Radio has a nice feel to it.
• Really nice looking truck body
• Servo is really good, but the tires are so big it could use more muscle
• I would like to see a rechargeable receiver pack included. “AA”s seem antiquated
I expected to get an RC that deﬁed the price and not only did I get that, but HoBao has once again exceeded my expectations. This is not the ﬁrst incarnation of the Hyper MT and while we have missed them in the U.S., they have been out there in a worldwide market listening to customer demands and making tweaks along the way. So it is well reﬁned and leaves little to complain about. I think it is great for the person looking to get his or her ﬁrst taste of nitro and anyone who has loved a nitro monster in the past will probably fall in love with this one.
• Glow Igniter, Fuel
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• CNC rear shock tower, 11061, $11.30, Looks good and improves durability and handling.
• CNC front shock tower, 11060, $10.60, Looks good and improves durability and handling.
• Savox monster torque steel gear servo, SV- 1272SG, $98, Monster trucks can always use more steering. This servo is much stronger and faster than stock.
• Reedy LiPo receiver pack, ASC640, $39, You’re going to want a high voltage pack to really take advantage of that high voltage servo.
The idea of a monster truck chassis is that the running gear sits up high with the drivetrain underneath, which gives better ground clearance so it does not get high centered on larger obstacles like dirt clods and rocks that you may encounter on unprepared off-road surfaces. In the past there have been two main takes on this, a twin plane chassis with a stamped U-tunnel bottom and an upper deck or the twin vertical plate chassis, which narrowed up the chassis for better handling, but tended to twist under heavy running. HoBao has come up with what I see as a hybrid of the two designs. It is a stamped U-plate chassis, but it is narrow, has raised sides and the center bottom section is cut out, so it really starts to resemble a TVP chassis. It should deliver the best of both worlds. It is not designated as such, but it is actually the same length and wheelbase as the other monsters with extra large designations. So it is huge!
The suspension uses extra burly A-arms, as a proper monster should. They are symmetrical so they a reversible from side to side. I’ll tell you why that is nice. If you drive in a place where you constantly make left hand turns, you’ll probably clip the right front wheel a lot. When you buy asymmetric arms in pairs, you’ll end with box full of left ones. With a symmetrical suspension, you’ll have a spare for either side when you replace an arm. The ear that the steering link hooks to on the uprights is a commonly broken area. The Hyper MT’s uprights have a separate ear that screws on either side, so you can just switch sides if it breaks. No cost fix. Its suspension is designed to save you money on repairs. The shocks are huge 17mm big bores, with threaded aluminum bodies. That right there is the extra bit of quality you get from a HoBao model that you wouldn’t expect for the price.
The Hyper 30 power plant is another area that exceeded my already high expectations. HoBao makes their own stuff and they know nitro! I used to run a Hyper 21 in a buggy and it somehow hung in with the race motors, always started right up and lasted forever which is why I still have it! So I expected nothing less from this motor. This 3-port engine is a beast. Good RPMs and lots and lots of brutal horsepower. It has a turbo head, which means it uses a turbo style glow plug. This is a plus because it contributes to the awesome performance, but a bit of a minus to bashers as the plugs are little more expensive. If you’re a gearhead that loves engines and shiny things, you’re sure to love the polished aluminum tuned pipe hanging off the side of the motor. Just another extra that HoBao included that some may consider a hop up. A large 250cc tank feeds the thirsty engine, to minimize time between refuels.
The power from the engine is transferred to the clutchbell via a 3-shoe clutch. The clutch bell drives a steel spur which might seem small, but I think they did this to move the motor closer to the center for better handling. The smaller spur gives you a faster gear ratio, but with the reduction from the steel 3-gear transmission, the ratio is right on for the powerful engine. You also get a little gear reduction at the differentials. Which are ﬂuid ﬁlled steel units. HoBao is known for producing excellent quality gears with that are extremely durable and have very little drag. The diffs transfer the power to the wheels via dogbones in the rear and universals in the front. CVDs are another bonus you wouldn’t expect for the price.
The included radio is your basic Ready To Run affair. I don’t say that to be negative. I used RTR type radios for many years before upgrading to a programmable one. It is just when I review them I feel like a broken record; it has all your standard features, steering and throttle trim, steering and throttle endpoint adjustments and servo reversing. All you really need. With that out of the way, the main thing is how it feels and this one feels superb, just like a high quality race radio, not your typical RTR affair. The steering trims are also digital, which I prefer. It is 2.4GHz, which is a huge improvement over the AM radios that were inadequate for nitros, yet included with many nitro RC’s back in the day. The steering servo is a metal gear high torque unit and while it is more than you would see in most RTRs, a huge monster truck could always use more!
Part of the “Plus” designation of the Hyper MT is the made-over body and wheels. The previous incarnation had an odd body that looked kind of space buggy-ish. Now it comes with a proper truck body, just like something you would see driving down the street. The tires have become bigger and wider. The tires are actually so big, that in pictures they make everything else seem small in comparison, but make no mistake, that is a long chassis and those are huge shocks, to go with these huge tires. The tires appear to have an aggressively offroad oriented tread pattern, perfect for churning up loose dirt and spitting out dirt clods, but they work well on the street too and have a fairly soft compound with nice ﬁrm foam insert inside. The tires are wrapped around updated stylish six-spoke wheels. All in all, a great looking package.
ON THE TRACK
Nitro RCs require a bit of patience, especially during the initial break-in process. However, I haven’t run a nitro RC in a while and was feeling no patience on this day. So I excitedly ripped it out of the box, set it up and tested the servos. Before you could blink I had it fueled up and was getting the fuel line primed. That’s when I noticed the little nub at the end up the pull starter. I gave it a couple of tugs thinking it could work, but it was very awkward and did not. Then I happened to look at the bag where the instruction were and saw a big green detachable handle, labeled “Easy Pull”. I immediately snapped a picture and texted my friend, “Coolest pull start ever?”, then I proceeded. Having such a large handle to pull on deﬁnitely made it easier. The problem I found though is when a motor is difﬁcult to start we tend to pull harder, ultimately breaking the pull start. With this I found myself falling into that bad habit. The trick is short quick tugs. I also managed to ﬂood the engine, which caused me to have trouble starting it. I thought, “Oh yeah, nitro, I remember now!”. Patience and know-how is the only thing that will get you through this … which I’ve developed and now remembered. So I pulled out the glow plug and turned the truck upside down and gave the pull start a few tugs to clear the chamber. I replaced the plug and not even a half a tug later it ﬁred instantly. When everything is in place, a nitro car will run, you just need to ﬁgure out what you did wrong if you have a problem. I’ll spare you the break-in process, but I will say that on my second tank I could hear the RPMs picking up as I did partial throttle bursts and when I was hitting the gutter in front of my driveway it was starting to catch air. I was pulsing the throttle with evenly timed blips, not paying attention to the terrain and accidentally front ﬂipped it, scratching the engine head with the nice etched graphics on it. That knocked the new off it! It’s on now! Let’s drive! I don’t like to go straight to a performance tune. I prefer to slowly lean it as I feel the engine loosening up. I had it running in the 200 degree range, so I could have got more out of it, but it was already yanking the front wheels off the ground. From a dead stop, full-on wheelies were no problem. Even at half throttle, with the truck moving along at a good pace, it would start to yank the front wheels up. This motor has a lot of power throughout the power band. I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to get it to some dirt! I took it to a dirt ﬁeld around the corner and it was just spraying dirt and rocks everywhere. The material was really loose and dry, so I quickly started to create a dust devil. It wasn’t long before I couldn’t see the truck through the cloud of dust. That was too much fun, but now I was going to have to make this quick before I attracted any negative attention. So I started ripping across the ﬁeld, and it is fast, but I didn’t have enough room to even wind it out. While it is a fairly large ﬁeld, it still had a lot more speed on tap. The supple suspension just soaked up the bumps like nothing. It felt like I was driving on ﬂ at ground. I found some hills to get some air on. Rounded hills don’t have a lip to kick you up like a proper jump and tend to make any RC buck. That was the case here, but the huge tires had so much rotational mass, that all I had to do was get on the throttle and it would stand straight up. Overall really great performance. It just took a bashing like nothing!
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SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
LENGTH: 22 in. (559mm)
WIDTH: 17 in. (432mm)
WHEELBASE: 14.5 in. (271mm)
WEIGHT: 10.3 lbs. (4582g)
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
BODY: Realistic pickup truck
WHEELS: Oversized 6-spoke
WHEEL ADAPTER TYPE: 17mm hex
TIRES: Soft compound with large lugs
TYPE: Independent A-arm
SHOCK POSITIONS: 2 upper
CAMBER: Adjustable turnbuckle
RIDE HEIGHT: Threaded shock bodies
MISC: Front pillow balls
TYPE: Dual bellcrank
TOE: Adjustable turnbuckles F and R
TYPE: Stamped Truss Style
THICKNESS: 3mm aluminum
DIFFERENTIAL: Fluid ﬁ lled steel gear
CLUTCH TYPE: 3-shoe
GEAR RATIO: Optional clutch bells
BEARINGS: Full set of rubber shielded
Performance – Acceleration: 9
Performance – Steering: 8
Performance – Handling: 9
Performance – Durability: 10
Feature Breakdown: 10
Overall Value: 9
When I broke the news to the local hobby shop owner that HoBao was back with US distribution, he threw his ﬁ st in the air, and exclaimed, “Woo hoo. Yeah!” So I am not alone in my excitement. Maybe it is because HoBao makes RC’s that are extremely reliable and that is one of the most important aspects of an RC being fun. Of course there’s power, speed and handling that make it all so exciting and the Hyper MT checks every box. I am extremely impressed with the overall quality. It wouldn’t be so surprising if you didn’t look at the price. The Hyper MT is a great truck at any price, but it is also a great deal!