Saturday, April 13, 2024

Build-A-Beast: Axial Yeti XL RC Rock Racer Review

Your Very Own  Build-A-Beast!

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

Photos: Walter Sidas

When we got the 1/10-scale Axial Yeti in the office, everyone associated with the magazine wanted to review it. While I really wanted to give it a go, I had heard that something ‘big’ was on the horizon, so I decided to withdraw my request and see what Axial was up to. Then the Axial Yeti XL RTR hit our desks and, once again, the number of people that wanted to review it was like something you’d see at Disneyland. Crossing my fingers, I stepped out of line again, hoping that, in Axial fashion, there just might be a kit version right around the corner. Sure enough, shortly after the RTR hit the store shelves, we received another Yeti XL from Axial. Everyone thought this was just another RTR that was sent, so the box came back to my office without any big hooplah … until I opened it! The first thing to catch my eye was the word ‘KIT’, so I calmly closed the box back up, walked into Mr. Vogel’s office and let him know that this wasn’t an RTR and that it was mine … ALL mine. Word soon got out that a kit version of the XL was sitting in my office (which was quickly getting quite crowded), so to ensure this Yeti was mine, I did the unthinkable .. I licked the manual! Not my proudest moment, but definitely effective. The Yeti XL Kit was mine.


WHO MAKES IT: Axial Racing
WHO IT’S FOR: Everyone
HOW MUCH: $499.99

• It’s a gorgeous piece of machinery Kit form allows you to choose your own electronics
• Brutally fast 6S capability
• All-metal drivetrain
• Officially licensed parts are an added touch
• Slipper clutch to help protect the drivetrain
• Waterproof receiver box
• Rear anti-roll bar! Rejoice!
• Some optional aluminum parts

• Manual had a few mistakes that could cause confusion
• Had to modify the battery trays to get my packs to fit

The Axial Yeti XL is a brutish beast that will draw some attention the moment you set it on the ground. Its muscular stance is gorgeous, immediately putting you in the ‘macho’ category the minute you crush the throttle. Rolling on 4S is a lot of fun and allows full throttle passes on almost any terrain; this is the setup I had the most fun with. Stuffing 6S into it is still a bit scary to drive (see our Yeti RTR review) but a lot more comfortable thanks to the included rear anti-roll bar. Just make sure you glue those tires on really good!

• Turnbuckle wrench
• L wrenches

• Servo
• Electronic Speed Control
• Brushless Motor
• Transmitter
• Battery
• Paint

• Futaba BLS371SV Servo
• Castle Creations Mamba Monster 2 ESC
• Castle Creations 2650Kv Brushless Motor
• Futaba 4PLS Transmitter
• MaxAmps 6000mAh 11.1V 3S LiPo Battery (x2)
• Paint by Kustom RC Graphics



For the most part, the Yeti XL is a monster- sized version of its 1/10-scale cousin. The chassis is a little different in that it’s been designed to accept two 3S LiPo packs, one on each side of the vehicle. It is also almost completely sealed up front except for the openings for the steering rods. This should help keep a lot of the debris out of the chassis. A single, standard-sized steering servo mounts to the chassis opposite the waterproof receiver box and ESC mount. Just behind and in the center of the chassis is the transmission. Finally there’s the fuel cell. This is actually an empty box, but you use it to house a non-waterproof ESC, lighting controller or ballast. This chassis contains a whole lot of plastic so you’re going to have to try really hard to break it.

The suspension on the Yeti XL is quite unique. The independent front features really long arms that mount inboard right next to each other. This is typical of this type of vehicle (RC or 1:1) as it increases stability and provides as much suspension travel as possible over almost any terrain. The rear suspension utilizes a four-linked, solid-axle setup. Axial’s AR60 rear axle (a really large version of it) is included as is a new, much-needed anti-roll bar. If you’ve seen videos of the RTR (or have had one), you’ll know that it’s quite a handful running 6S. The addition of this anti-roll bar helps reduce the ferocious twisting the
XL exhibited on hard acceleration, making it much easier to drive. Moving to the shocks, Axial has included some very plush, threaded aluminum dampers that feature dual-rate springs and an Icon Vehicle Dynamics graphics treatment. Aluminum, 3mm lower link plates as well as aluminum, 17mm hex hubs are also included.

The steering system consists of a dual bellcrank setup that uses an integrated, non- adjustable servo saver. The servo saver spring is captured in a cool little ‘cage’ that helps set and keep the tension. The servo mounts straight to molded chassis posts with the draglink running through a little tunnel under the top deck. The servo looks a little puny in the massive chassis and will probably be doing a lot of work, so I’m going with Futaba’s powerful BLS371SV S. Bus2 Programmable servo. This guy pumps out a happy 264oz./in. of torque which should be plenty to keep this behemoth pointed in the right direction.

If you’re going to make it bigger and give it more power, you’d better have the drivetrain to support that decision. Axial has loaded up their center transmission with all-metal gears, full ball bearings and a 32P spur gear that is captured by a dual-pad slipper clutch. The pads have also been upgraded to metal and offer some pretty impressive gripping power. The motor mounts are high and to the right of the transmission which, to me, looks rather elevated in the chassis. I’m not sure this is such a big deal though; normally you’d worry about that in smaller vehicles but the Yeti XL is so big it makes this 1512-Series Castle motor look like a thimble. Axial has also hit the upsize button on the drive bones, increasing the front and rear bones to 4mm, the center/front bone to 5mm and the center/ rear slider to a whopping 17mm! Tim the Toolman would be proud of those numbers!

I’d like to touch on a few additional items with the Yeti XL Kit. First, I absolutely love the look, especially with the amazing paint work that Larry over at Kustom RC Graphics sprayed on. I was a little hesitant about how my racing scheme might look, but the color and design compliment the already beautiful body lines. The body panels (four of them) are connected to a very rugged cage. To access the chassis, you only have to remove two body clips (up front). There are hinges on the back of the cage that allow you to tilt the cage up. It’s a pretty slick design. I also like how Axial has made partners outside the industry with real rock racing companies that allow them to reproduce their parts instead of just manufacturing up some generic knock-offs. The officially licensed Raceline wheels, Falken tires and Icon Vehicle Dynamic shocks all add to the beauty of this vehicle as well as the functionality.



Since the Yeti XL is, well, Xtra Large, a standard driving location just wouldn’t do. I wanted to give the Yeti a place to stretch its legs; someplace with dirt, rocks, humps and jumps. An empty field behind Wolcott Hobby’s outdoor track was the perfect fit – we’ve seen motorcycles and quads tearing it up out there so this truck would feel right at home.

I started off the test by loading the Yeti with a pair of MaxAmps 9000mAh 2S LiPos. I figured I’d go easy on the shakedown run before I went all in with the 3S packs! After performing a few circles and slow drive-bye to check the trims, driveline, tires, etc., I slowly worked my way up to full throttle passes. The Yeti seems to float effortlessly over harsh terrain, the suspension working vigorously to soak up the bumps. It’s actually kind of cool (and mesmerizing) to watch it work; the chassis stays in place while the tires bounce up and down. At higher speeds, there is a little wobble to the front tires as they deflect over the rocks. This caused a slight darting effect, but was easily overcome with some very light steering input. My guess is that the servo saver spring is a bit soft for the huge tires, but I’m OK with this if it helps protect my $160 servo!

After the 9000mAh packs started softening up (which seemed like forever!), I figured it was time to not only test the durability of the Yeti but also the driveability of this kit; time to drop the pair of MaxAmps 3S LiPos in! While installing the 2S packs was quite easy, I found it difficult to close the battery compartment doors with the 3S packs. I called Axial and they told me that they had posted a temporary workaround online until the bat- tery door molds were tweaked. It was an easy fix that took all of about three minutes at the test location; now my 3S packs fit like a glove!

Since we’re talking about a lot more power now, I used the first few passes as feeler runs. The front tire wobble had increased a bit more, as did the darty handling, but I really didn’t find it to be very distracting and I also found the perfect solution to overcome it; I applied a lot more throttle! Giving it the gas caused the Yeti to just power up, over and through anything that got in its way. The monstrous 3.8-inch Falken Wildpeaks are like claws in the dirt, helping to provide as much forward bite as the Castle Creations system can provide. I have to say that the biggest improvement to the

Yeti XL’s handling was the addition of the rear anti-roll bar. I did get to drive the RTR and, on 6S, it was almost

undriveable as any aggressive throttle input turned it into a super-monster-twist-machine. Now, however, I could romp on the throttle and the Yeti would speed away in a very controllable fashion. There were still times where it would backflip over or get a little squirrely, but the twist was almost entirely gone. I have to give some pretty healthy props to Axial for taming this big four-wheeler with only a few additional parts.

On a side note, if you have the RTR version, seriously look into getting the rear anti-roll bar.


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LENGTH: 25.75 in. (654mm)
WIDTH: 16.3 in. (414mm)
HEIGHT: 11.1 in. (282mm)
WHEELBASE: 18.5 in. (470mm)


BODY: Clear Lexan body and interior, 3 molded helmets
WHEELS: Officially licensed 3.8-inch Raceline Monster wheels
TIRES: Officially licensed 3.8” Falken WildPeak M/T tires


TYPE: Independent front, solid-axle rear
SHOCK POSITIONS: (F) 3-tower, 2-arm, (R) 1-tower, 1-arm
CAMBER: (F) Adjustable turnbuckles(R) Fixed
ROLL: (F) Adjustable ball positions (R) Flippable link mounts
RIDE HEIGHT: Threaded shocks


TYPE: Dual bellcrank TOE: Turnbuckles


MATERIAL: Molded composite plastic


TRANSMISSION: Three metal gears, locked center differential
DIFFERENTIAL: F/R fluid-filled planetary
CLUTCH TYPE: Center slipper
GEAR RATIO: Optional pinion gears
BEARINGS: Full shielded

Opinion: 8
Performance – Acceleration: 10
Performance – Steering: 8
Performance – Handling: 7
Performance – Durability: 8
Feature Breakdown: 7
Overall Value: 8

Build-A-Beast--Axial-Yeti-XL-RC-Rock-Racer-Review-10WRAP UP
While something like the Yeti is not that shocking coming from someone like Axial, this 1/8-scale version did surprise us a bit; but in a good way. Speaking from experience, I like to sometimes drive my basher vehicles in areas they have no business being in, like my SCX10 daily drive in a rock garden where the rocks are as big as the truck! It’s a bit of challenge and makes for a good time, but it’s always in the back of my head, “What if I had something similar in a larger scale?” I know I’m not alone and, thanks to the Yeti XL, there is no longer a need to wonder. Enjoy conquering the unconquerable.


Axial, axialracing.com, (877) 642-9425
Castle Creations, castlecreations.com, (913) 390-6939
Futaba, futaba-rc.com, (217) 398-8970
Kustom RC Graphics, kustomrcgraphics.com, kustomrcgraphics@aol.com
MaxAmps, maxamps.com, (888) 654-4450


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