Eye Protection is Recommended!
Recently, the editors and I were chatting about current vehicle offerings from manufacturers and Traxxas became the focus as we have not seen an all new vehicle from them in quite some time. We were speculating on what and when the next big release would occur. We all agreed and hoped it would be an entirely new vehicle and not simply an updated version of a current model since it has been a while that we have seen one. We started listing off the recent Traxxas vehicles and found the last two releases that featured completely new designs were the Funny Car and XO-1 supercar. None of us could venture an educated guess as Traxxas has constantly surprised us with ultra unique and cool offerings in numerous different RC categories, especially since the last two releases were on road vehicles and this is from a company that made its name with off road products.
When Traxxas first announced the X-Maxx monster truck, we were giddy with excitement. A new vehicle that carries the ‘Maxx’ name is something very special considering its impressive lineage. As more details were released, it became crystal clear that the X-Maxx deserves its renowned name. It is an enormous 4WD, high voltage, brushless monster truck that sits over one foot high and is nearly two and a half feet long thus making the X-Maxx truly a monster. On top of that, it is packed with some very clever features like self righting ability, Traxxas Stability Management (TSM), convenient modular design, is fully waterproof and clipless body mounting to name just a few. The X-Maxx will be what everyone will be talking about and is a potential game changer in the large scale monster truck arena.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Traxxas
WHO IT’S FOR: Intermediate to advanced drivers
PART NUMBER: 77076-4
HOW MUCH: $899.95
BUILD TYPE: RTR
• Giant, go anywhere size
• Extremely powerful and durable
• Self righting ability
• TSM equipped
• Modular design makes wrenching easier
• To achieve 35+ mph, the required dual 3S LiPo batteries are a significant extra cost
• Limited suspension adjustments
• Instruction manual is not included and has to be downloaded, but Traxxas does provide a quick start guide to get you going
I absolutely love to see that Traxxas has continued with its ‘Maxx’ line of vehicles since it is so well known in the RC community. Thanks to iconic trucks like the T Maxx and E Maxx, the ‘Maxx’ name has become synonymous with high quality monster trucks and the X Maxx definitely carries forward this tradition in a big, big way.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• 2.5mm “T” wrench
• 2.5mm “L” wrench
• 2.0mm “L” wrench
• 17mm wheel nut wrench
• Slipper clutch wrench
• Battery spacers
• Two 3S, 5000mAh or greater, LiPo battery packs with Traxxas High Current Connectors
• LiPo balance charger
• Four “AA” batteries for the transmitter
The layout of the chassis is pretty typical with the electronics mounted down its centerline and the battery packs resting on either side. After that, the similarities stop. Traxxas gave the X-Maxx a unique and very rigid composite chassis with an interlocking modular design. This design makes assembly easier where the bulkheads key onto the center portion of the chassis and can stay in place without any screws. One feature that stands out the most are the shock towers. Instead of being separate parts, the shock towers are molded to also incorporate part of the bulkheads which makes for a very solid structure. Located on the rear bulkhead is the motor and gear drive which keeps gear mesh constant. To provide added rigidity to the chassis, bars made of the same material as the chassis run from the front to the rear with several vertical supports and act like an upper deck. It is on this upper deck where the battery hold downs are attached. Traxxas created a battery retention system to securely hold the packs in the chassis and they don’t require separate clips or Velcro straps. The hold downs simply snap into vertical plates and only come undone when you release them. Traxxas made sure to include battery spacers that snap onto the hold downs for when you use smaller LiPo packs. Affixed to the front and rear of the chassis are big bumpers that help make the X-Maxx look the part as well as provide crash protection. Rubber inserts sit between the bumper and chassis to absorb impacts.
A steering servo was developed specifically for the X-Maxx by Traxxas. It is equipped with heat sinks on its case to keep temperatures in check, produces 365 ounces of torque to redirect the immense front wheels, is waterproof and is held in place by a compartment in the chassis with no screws used to fasten it. From the servo, a ball bearing supported servo horn swings linkage that is attached to a dual bellcrank setup. As a line of defense for the servo, a very large servo saver is built-in to the right hand bellcrank.
One of the features that received loads of attention when the original T-Maxx was released was its super plush suspension. The X-Maxx continues with this trait and achieves it with four giant GTX threaded body, machined-aluminum, oil-filled shocks. The long travel and large capacity of oil in each shock dissipates heat and easily absorbs harsh terrain. A wiper seal will help keep the shaft clean which therefore protects the seal from wearing quickly and the lower spring perch is bolted onto the shock to keep it from falling off. Working in concert with the GTX shocks are very stout, long arm upper and lower H-arms complete with steel hinge pins that are captured with hex head screws. Traxxas did not incorporate much adjustability for the suspension with fixed links for the camber and toe links and giving only one mounting option for the shocks. A truck like this is definitely a basher and adding multiple tuning options is not necessary.
Since the X-Maxx is entirely new, it only made sense that it deserves a newly designed speed control as well. The Velineon VXL-6s speed control can handle up to 22.2 volts or two 3S LiPo battery packs, that allows the X-Maxx to hit speeds over 35mph. Inside you will find a cooling fan and machined heat sinks with waterproof protection. The power is then relayed to a huge Velineon 1600XL 4-pole, 1600Kv brushless motor. A big slip on heat sink draws any heat that is built up away from the motor. If you want to make gearing changes, Traxxas has devised a clever way with preset gear mesh adjustments. The motor sits in a special cradle that securely holds the can to eliminate flex. The cradle keys into the chassis with pins to automatically position the mesh between the pinion and spur gears. A decal on the chassis assists with gearing changes. Big and resilient 1-module gear pitch is utilized to handle the torque created by the Velineon brushless motor system. Attached to the spur gear is an adjustable, heavy duty, fan-cooled slipper clutch. From here, power is sent to hardened steel differentials that are sealed and filled with heavy weight oil via an aluminum center driveshaft. Splined drives are used for the diffs and the center driveshaft. The splined connection method for the drivetrain works great to withstand all the forces that it is sure to face. Four high-strength steel CV driveshafts feed the power coming from the diffs out to the wheels. A 24mm hex is attached to each stub axle and gives plenty of surface area to key into the Goliath 6-spoke wheels while a 17mm hex nut is used to hold the wheel onto the axle.
Traxxas has come up with an ingenious latch system to hold the body onto the chassis. There are no body clips used and this new system has no parts to lose or misplace either. The way it works is with a partial roll cage that is mounted to the body. This cage adds rigidity to the body as well as offering solid mounting points where it attaches to the chassis. Under the hood is a wide clip that slides under the front shock tower while at the rear is a latch that grabs’ the rear shock tower and locks in place.
A proven and reliable Traxxas TQi 2.4GHz radio system comes with the X-Maxx. Besides sending steering and throttle commands to the truck, the transmitter gives you access to additional features that up the cool-factor. Like other recent vehicle releases from Traxxas, the X-Maxx is equipped with Traxxas Stability Management (TSM). TSM automatically feeds in different inputs to help keep the model from spinning out of control. The amount of assistance TSM provides is fully adjustable via the multi-function knob on the transmitter. Another very cool and exclusive feature to the X-Maxx is its self-righting ability. If a crash ends up with the truck upside down, a simple press of the ‘set’ button on the transmitter attempts to make the X-Maxx right itself utilizing the inertia of the tires when they spin at high speed. It is not a guarantee to work in all situations, nevertheless it is a very trick feature to potentially save you from doing the walk of shame to flip over your truck by hand.
ON THE TRACK
As my two Traxxas Power Cell 3S LiPo ID batteries charged, I took the opportunity to look over the chassis and double-check it to make sure it was ready for action. Big, high-voltage brushless trucks can loosen fasteners, so I went around and checked the screws and the wheel hexes; in standard Traxxas fashion, everything was ready to rock straight from the factory.
Once the batteries were fully juiced, I installed them into the chassis. I really like the battery compartments with integrated retainers. Each battery sits nice and deep in the chassis while the retainer easily and securely locks into place. These batteries are definitely staying put.
Now ready to go, I could not wait to see how the X-Maxx performed. I started off on grass which gave plenty of traction and nearly lifted the front end off the ground with just gentle throttle input. The rear of the truck squats down while the front shocks fully extend as it powers away. Acceleration is excellent with plenty of torque to claw through grass and loamy dirt. No wonder Traxxas suggests eye protection full throttle starts are met with whatever was under the tires being launched at high velocity several feet behind it. I was quickly able to get comfortable with the awesome acceleration and top speed, especially since the X-Maxx is equipped with TSM. On slick surfaces, it could hold its course and not spin out. There is also enough power that when running at a decent clip, a quick stab of the throttle could get the truck doing a wheelie. I did find that braking could make the X-Maxx perform a stoppie and that the out of the box setup took some getting used to when braking hard. It was a fine line of slowing the truck down and completely locking up the brakes.
Now on to the test most of you are probably waiting to read about; jumping! Without a doubt, the X-Maxx is just as amazing in the air as it is on the ground. The jump session took place at the local BMX track where I launched the truck off of jumps no less than six feet tall. The X would launch off the face of the jumps and just sail high though the air and the hang time was plain awesome. But what was probably cooler than the air time the X gets is the landings. When the truck hits the ground, it’s an ultra plush landing with no signs of bottoming out. That means no bounce and you’re in full control of the truck when it meets up with the ground. I encountered some sketchy landings, too, where the truck was facing nose down. With full throttle applied, the X always pulled out of the dive when the front wheels touched the ground and avoided catastrophe. Awkward launches were saved by the TSM kicking in to help straighten the truck out, I’m really digging the functionality of the TSM and how it makes hardcore bashing so much more fun.
Speaking of the TSM, it was spot on for keeping this truck under control when launching on loose surfaces and helped maintain control while I was blasting through corners. Turning was pretty good with the X-Maxx as it turned well within the lanes of the BMX track. My favorite maneuver was blipping the throttle just a bit, stabbing the break and then cranking the steering while blasting the throttle. This maneuver would break the rear end free just enough and as I grabbed the throttle, the X-Maxx would make this wide drifting corner with the TSM keeping control and dirt blasting off the tires. So cool!
The self righting feature is quite cool. I deliberately turned the truck upside down to see how it worked. The first attempt was not successful with the truck staying perfectly upside down. The next time, two of the tires were in contact with the ground. This allowed the tires to bite into the ground for some traction thus causing the X-Maxx to rock enough with the inertia created by the eight-inch wheels and flipping it upright. After a couple more successful attempts, I went back for some high speed runs. On the next pass, the X-Maxx hit a deep hole and rolled over. I hit the set button to initiate the self righting. The tires on the left side began to spin at full speed, turning into pizza cutters and when the rear tire came into contact with the ground, it caused the tire to pull off the wheel.
Together with its massive size and very powerful brushless motor system, you could cause some serious damage with the X-Maxx if you are not careful. If you want to give yourself some extra time to get used to this mammoth truck, I suggest taking advantage of the programmability of the Velineon VXL- 6s speed control. The training mode is perfect for this scenario as it will slow down the X-Maxx by 50-percent. Once you gain experience and confidence, you can switch to sport mode to unleash full power.
SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
Length: 29.84 in. (758mm)
Width: 21.26 in. (540mm)
Wheelbase: 18.92 in. (480mm)
Weight: 19.1lbs. (8.66kg
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
Body: Pre-painted and cut pickup style
Wheels: 6-spoke black composite plastic
Wheel adapter type: 24mm hex
Tires: 8x4x4 inch all-terrain
Type: 4-wheel independent
Shock positions: (F) 1-tower, 1-arm, (R) 1-tower, 1-arm
Camber: Fixed links Roll: Adjustable Wheelbase: Fixed Ride height: Threaded shocks
Type: Dual bellcrank
Toe: Fixed link
Type: Modular, semi tub
Material: Plastic composite
Transmission: Enclosed, single speed
Differential: Sealed, oil filled gear diffs Clutch
Type: Heavy-duty, dual fan cooled
Gear Ratio: Optional pinion gears
Bearings: Full contact sealed metal bearings and metal shielded
Feature Breakdown: 10
Overall Value: 9
It is fantastic to see Traxxas getting back to its monster truck roots with the all-new X-Maxx. Carrying the ‘Maxx’ name means the X-Maxx has a lot to live up to and I feel it will have no problem doing so. This off road truck is beyond fun to drive thanks to its massive size, incredible instant power and top speed, great durability, self righting ability and of course, the Traxxas Stability Management technology. It is also built to be easy to maintain to keep the action far outweighing wrenching time. It could very well be the ultimate giant sized bash truck that even comes with a reasonable price tag. There is no doubt in my mind that the Traxxas X-Maxx will leave an everlasting mark in RC history.
Words: Paul Onorato
Photos: Edwin Rodriguez
Traxxas, traxxas.com, 888-872-9927