This article was originally published in RC Driver’s December 2015 issue.
Photos: Edwin Rodriguez & Greg Vogel
Let’s go through the checklist of what today’s 4WD 1/8 monster truck enthusiast expects, not demands, from a truck that they intend to purchase. One, the truck must be big; well the new Losi LST XXL2-E fits that bill, its platform can even be considered oversized. It must have large wheels and tires, yep; the XXL2-E has some burley 420 ATX wheels and tires to grab the ground. It must have the latest radio gear and the truck you see here has that, too, with water proof electronics complete with high tech Spektrum AVC (Active Vehicle Control) to assist drivers with keeping their machine in control. Finally a modern monster needs to have massive power capability. Of course the pros at Losi know this last need all too well and outfitted the XXL2-E with a 6S capable Dynamite Fuze system ready to unleash raw power. This new release from Losi is built on a proven platform and tweaked for modern demand. It has monster truck enthusiasts everywhere chomping at the bit to know how it performs, so we’re going to deliver the deets. Read on!
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Losi
WHO IT’S FOR: Intermediate to experienced
PART NUMBER: LOS04004
HOW MUCH: $659.99
BUILD TYPE: RTR
We’ve moved into an RC world of powerful 6S monster trucks and Losi delivered an awesome offering with the LST XXL2-E. This RTR truck had us scraping our jaws off the ground after it amazed us with its power at the first pull of the throttle trigger. But where Losi gets the real props is making the powerful truck easier to handle with the included Spektrum AVC.
• One 14.8V LiPo battery with EC5 plug or two 7.4V or 11.1V LiPo battery pack with EC5 plug
• LiPo Charger
• Two Dynamite Reaction 11.1V 5000mAh
• 50C LiPo packs, DYNB3811EC
• Dynamite Passport Ultra Duo, DYN4300
TOOLS & ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• Two multi-tools, pinion, allen wrenches, four-way wrenches, “AA” batteries, EC5 series plug harness, bind plug and manual
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• Blue Aluminum Shock Caps, LOSB2802, The composite shock caps on the LST’s never let me down, but that “what if” is always in my mind. Swapping the stock caps for aluminum caps would eliminate the possibility of stripping a cap off the body in a hard crash.
• Losi Wing Set, LOSB8150, Ok, so the XXL2-E doesn’t exactly need any more downforce in the rear, but the wing set in my opinion makes the truck cool. Plus the flexible wing will absorb some of the impact of a crash.
• Losi Aluminum Spindle Set, LOS344000, The front spindles on any 4WD off-road truck are a potential wear or breaking point if hit just right. Losi offers beautifully machined aluminum spindles to replace the stock composite units and they are a direct bolt-on with no modifications.
Eye catching red anodized 2.5mm aluminum is used for the main chassis plate with upper and lower plates that sandwich composite bulkheads to help reinforce the chassis assembly. The XXL2-E has the same tried and true LST platform Losi developed years ago for a nitro platform, adapted it to electric and currently offers as a gasoline engine powered LST XXL2; the platform is that versatile. A battery tray capable of holding a variety of packs sits mid-rear on the chassis and four hefty Velcro straps are used to secure the packs. Up front is the radio box with single clip access to pop the top and gain access to the Spektrum receiver.
The front suspension on the XXL2-E consists of a number of shared parts between the front and rear for easier parts accessibility in case you find yourself needing to replace a component. Upper and lower H arms are universal from side to side and only unique between top and bottom. We were happy to see hefty swaybars installed on the truck to help settle the machine and offer excellent handling. Damping the suspension are Losi’s over- sized aluminum shocks similar to those we saw on the first generation LST which really sent the big shock movement into motion in RC. The shocks are now red anodized with composite cap and still eat up lots of oil when you rebuild them. But the plush ride is worth it. Hefty composite hubs support the axles in the rear and the front features a composite C-hub with composite steering knuckles stuffed with large bearings to support the driveshafts. Other bits of the suspension include stout shock towers with body mounts incorporated into them, thick 4mm hinge pins and aluminum plates to brace the hinge pins and bulkheads in the center of the truck.
Four-wheel drive is a must on big monster trucks and Losi has bulked this driveline up to handle 6S power in abusive environments. The center transmission was developed for nitro use, but tweaked for the modern brushless power plant. Inside the case is a series of steel gears to send power from the transverse mounted motor to the front and rear wheels. Power from the motor is sent from the massive pinion to a steel spur with a series of slipper pads behind it to protect the driveline from shock. Steel universals put the power to the rear steel gear sealed differentials encapsulated in cast aluminum cases that are painted red. 5mm thick universal driveshafts are supported by bearings like the rest of the drivetrain and mate up with 20mm hex hubs with 17mm serrated nuts to pinch the wheels.
The steering assembly sandwiched between the upper and lower rear chassis plates with support from the composite braces remains unchanged from the previous LST. A wire drag link connects the two cranks and two servo-saver style horns have short rods to push the cranks. There’s two horns because there are two Spektrum S601H servos handing the steering power.
Now on to the big show, the Dynamite 90A 6S capable brushless electronic speed control. This mighty ESC is fitted with a high current EC5 connector, features 10AWG wiring and has a cooling fan to protect it from overheating. The ESC is secured to the top of the transmission with two screws which is so nice to see rather than tape or zip-ties. The only issue we have with this ESC is the decal kept falling off and collected dirt on the adhesive backing; oh well. The motor is a Dynamite Fuze 2200Kv brushless in-runner motor with 60,000 max RPM. This motor too has 10AWG wiring and features front and rear ABEC-1 bearings. The motor sits inside an aluminum housing then bolted to the chassis. The motor can be repositioned on the chassis for optional pinions like the speed pinion that comes with the kit. Controlling the truck is easy and comfortable with the Spektrum DX2E V3 transmitter that has the basic trims you need for an RC machine and is capable of tuning the AVC from a knob. Speaking of AVC, the little magical Spektum SRS4200 receiver not only works the throttle and steering but assists the driver in keeping the truck under control. The Active Vehicle Control can be set to however much assistance you need from none, to some, to more.
Finally let’s go to the finishing touches, starting with the body. The XXL2-E is a truck and the truck body included is painted from the factory with some cool graphics backed with lighting. The body’s shape reminds me of an imaginative variation of a Chevy Avalanche with tall bed sides. I see what Losi was doing here, creating a sleek truck body with shallow bed to reduce the chances of breaking during bashing, I like it. Behind the truck a wheelie bar is bolted to the rear suspension brace plate with two plastic wheelie wheels and an aluminum support brace. Love it, leave it, you’re going to need it; this truck spends a lot of time lifting the nose. The wheels are a cool dark chrome with spoke style rims and 6-bolt hex nut cover plates. 420 ATX tires are glued to the rims from the factory and have a firm tread to conquer all sorts of surfaces. Now I have to ding Losi here. Two of the four wheel nuts were not completely tightened down to secure the wheel, but the nuts were secured in place with red thread lock. The wobbly wheels could have worn or stripped if I didn’t notice it before running so I suggest you take the time and check all four wheel wheels to make sure they are held on tight before your first run.
ON THE TRACK
The local BMX track is a great play venue for many RC vehicles so we headed to ours and luckily there wasn’t a bike in sight. It was free reign on huge jumps, tabletops, washboard section, paved berms and big empty dirt parking lots for wheelies. Test day is going to be a fun day!
With 22.2 volts of power turned on in the LST XXL2-E it was time to see what the truck would unleash and in the large dirt lot the front wheels instantly pointed at the sky when I grabbed the throttle. Dirt was also flying and it was an intense few seconds when I let off the throttle to let the wheels touch the ground again. This time I rolled on the throttle and sent the truck across the lot, riding on the wheelie bar with dirt spraying from the rear tires and off the bar’s wheels. It was amazing the power on tap and using the throttle control to keep the wheels in the air. It was clear that the AVC was working as the wheels were twitching to help keep the truck straight. Wheelies can be some- what unpredictable but the AVC helped dial in this rig and made long wheelie runs a blast.
After a bunch of runs back and forth in the lot it was time to hit the track for some jumping action. There is a series of large rolling jumps and table tops on one section of the track and if I stand on one berm parallel to this section I can drive a vehicle with ease. Perched on the berm, I sent the XXL2-E at the jumps. I had plenty of power laid down to the ground and I hit the first jump and sent the truck sailing into the air, the nose was heading straight up and tipped backward past vertical. I saw the truck descending and gave it a stab of the brakes to drop the nose back down. With my heart pounding, the nose dropped, the truck was level and landed on the ground…way past the downside of the jump. The drop from the high altitude gave the suspension a workout, but there was only a small bounce and the truck recovered. Since I overshot the landing, it threw off my timing for the rest of the series of jumps. But now I knew how to throttle the truck and I sent it back for another run. This time I hit the first jump right, the truck landed plush on the downside, and then I hit another tabletop and landed the down side and had plenty of steam to clear the huge double jump which I did, again overshooting and landing flat on the asphalt start to the berm. The truck landed hard but drove off unscathed. What does that mean? Reset and repeat! Over and over I sent the XXL2-E sailing through the air, I could see the AVC working the wheels to assist in keeping the truck under control and my jump sesh was a success with minimal tumbles all of which didn’t phase the truck.
The steering was spot on for what I would expect from a monster truck, you’re not going to carve tight corners on a track but out in the play fields, the rig turns well and the servos do a great job of keeping the wheels pointed where you want them. Then on to the durability analysis, the truck faired just fine without any incidents to report. I like how the new body style is ramped so the body is sturdy and slides on the body’s ramp-like shape rather than getting tossed around when a squared cab catches on an uneven surface. My only gripe was the wheel nuts not being completely tight from the factory. XXL2-E owners, it’s tedious, but pop all the wheel caps off and make certain the 17mm sits tight against the wheel.
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SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
Length: 26.5 in. (673mm); 23 in. (584mm) without wheelie bar
Width: 18.5 in. (470mm)
Weight: 14.6 lbs.
Wheelbase: 15.3 in. (391mm)
Ground Clearance: 3.7 in. (94mm)
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
Body: Modern sleek truck style with shallow bed
Wheels: 420 Black chrome spoke type
Wheel adapter type: 20mm
Tires: 420 ATX all terrain tread
Type: H-arm upper and lower
Shock positions: 2 tower/ 2 arm
Ride height: Shock Pre-load collars
Misc: Swaybars included
Toe: Adjustable turnbuckle
Type: Machined plate
Material: 6061 T-6 Aluminum
Transmission: Center gearbox
Differential: Oil filled gear differential
Clutch Type: Multi-pad slipper
Gear pitch: 1.0
Module Bearings: Metal shielded bearings
Performance – Acceleration: 9
Performance – Steering: 9
Performance – Handling: 10
Performance – Durability: 9
Feature Breakdown: 10
Overall Value: 9
Everything on the Losi LST XXL2-E seems oversized, from its large wheels to the bulky suspension to thick layered chassis, big transmission and those can’t miss oversized shocks. It’s no wonder the LST platform has been a basher truck of enthusiasts for so many years. Then Losi went and threw in an oversized power with the 6S capable Dynamite Fuze brushless system along with the high tech Spektrum AVC for driving assistance and now this monster truck pumps out some incredibly exciting performance. The fun factor of the LST XXL2-E is just as oversized as the truck making it a top contender in the recent 6S monster truck manufacturer race.
Dynamite, distributed by Horizon Hobby, dynamiterc.com, horizonhobby.com 800-338-4639
Losi, distributed by Horizon Hobby Inc., losi.com, 800-338-4639
Spektrum, distributed by Horizon Hobby,spektrumrc.com, 217-352-1913