Sunday, December 10, 2023

RC Crawler Review: Exceed MaxStone

Lean, Mean, Green and Huge!

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

Photos: Walter Sidas

In the RC Driver offices we’re often asked by enthusiasts and even manufacturers what we think the next big thing is or if we could request one new vehicle from any company, what would it be? Well for over two years now, we’ve been wishing there was a large scale crawler offering. The standard 1/10 crawlers and trail trucks are a lot of fun, but let’s face it, there are plenty of large obstacles that could use conquering, too! Exceed RC has answered our call and probably that of many
others who want a big, go-anywhere rock crawler and they’ve unleashed the MaxStone 5. The MS5 is a combi- nation of their 1/8 MOA axles that have extensions to fit massive wheels. The chassis and links have been sized up, too and the results are a 4WD machine with insane articulation. This test session is going to be off the charts!


WHO IT’S FOR: Anyone
HOW MUCH: $279.95 (RTR version)

• MOA (Motor On Axle) design
• Huge tires for go-anywhere capabilities
• Alloy threaded long-travel shocks
• Insane amounts of articulation

• Axle sheer pins are not retained very well
• Included manual is slightly lacking in info


Until recently, I had always been a “go fast or go home” type of guy. That is, until I laid my eyes upon the all-new MaxStone 5 from Exceed. This 1/5-scale monster is all business and packs a ton of performance features to compliment its imposing stature. The MOA drivetrain means there’s less maintenance required and also offers an extremely light running weight for less wear and tear and long crawling sessions. Before I had even burned through half of the first battery pack, I quickly realized that the challenge of owning a MaxStone 5 would be finding some terrain that it could not traverse.

• Exceed packages the MaxStone 5 from the factory with the battery installed, includes a trickle charger and a 24mm composite wheel wrench.

• (4) “AA” batteries for the transmitter

Thunder RC T680 Professional Intelligent Digital Multifunction Charger (73P-T680) $39.99
This efficient charger from Thunder RC will peak off almost any chemistry bat- tery, from NiCD to NiMH to LiPo and even Lead Acid cells. Sure, it needs a power supply, but with the change you’ll save on the cost of the charger, you’ll have plenty left over for a power supply and a few new batteries.

GENS ACE 5000mAh 7.2V NIMH Double Stick (98P-5000-7-2V) $29.47 The stock 3000mAh NiMH pack gave us some serious runtime, but since the chassis was so light, the motors so powerful and there was less charge time on the horizon, it was a no-brainer to go with this pack from GENS ACE.
 W.S. Deans Female Ultra Plug (4) (1301) $4.99
The MaxStone 5 is the first in the crawler line from Exceed to include a “Deans Style” plug, so any aftermarket batteries are going to need the same plugs.

Silicone Shock Oil (assorted weights) $3.30 each
Nitro RCX offers a full line- up of silicone shock oils in varying weights. Simply choose the proper viscosity for your purposes and you’ll be good to go.
 OK-BL8S Battery Checker and Low Voltage Buzzer Alarm (79P-8003) $4.99
For all intents and purpos- es, there doesn’t seem to be any sort of LVC or LiPo cutoff on the stick ESC. However, the power to weight, to runtime, to con- venience to availability of LiPo cells cannot be denied so it was a no-brainer to grab up this little gem.
1/5-Scale Car Body (Black) (72P-501-049 Black) $40.00
The stock body of the MaxStone 5 is most assur- edly a functional design. It won’t rub on the wheels and shouldn’t really get caught up or interfere with anything … BUT, it is a bit “non-scale” This truck body from the gas-powered line of vehicles offered by Exceed is a perfect fit for the MaxStone and just looks plain awesome.


The solid axles on the MaxStone offer a stout platform when compared to those with a ring and pinion. Not only that, but Exceed has replaced the plastic gears found on the 1/8-scale version with all new steel gears for this 1/5-scale rendering. With such huge tires and locked axles, it’s necessary and welcome to see steel for the stock gears.

The front and rear axle assemblies are identical, meaning that 4WD steering is an easily added hop-up for this huge rig. Simply add a second servo, mount and linkage and you’re good to go. This option is highly recommended as the huge tires and locked axles make for a wide turning radius with only front steering.

The upper shock mounts and the inner link mounts are all fully adjustable. Add that to the fact that the long-travel shocks feature threaded pre-load spacers and what you’ve got is a veritable smorgasbord of tuning options. We’re talking 90 degrees of articulation and more.

The surprisingly light weight and the sheer size of the chassis layout have this crawler practically screaming out for modifications. Perhaps the best part about a MOA crawler (or crusher, as the case may be) is that custom mods are very easy to make.


You want some articulation? No worries … the MaxStone 5 doles it out in spades. Initial inspection of the multi-links and shocks had us a bit worried as there seemed to be a bit of linear “wiggle” when the chassis was pushed left to right, but this movement seemed to help in the crawling department. Our first tests on some huge boulders saw the big rig wrapping itself around and over obstacles in an almost fluid like form. The long wheelbase and narrow body allow for 90 degrees of articulation and then some. The anemic strength of the stock steering servo showed the most when trying to traverse the more difficult courses, but to its credit, it never faltered. A quick install of the four-wheel steering and the capabilities of the MaxStone 5 will be doubled!

Steering is probably the only area where the MaxStone 5 is lacking. However, with such a long wheelbase, giant tires and locked differentials, a tight turning radius is not something you’d expect anyway. The tires are not all that soft either, which leads to a bit of push whether on flat ground or scaling obstacles. There also are not any vent holes in the rims as this truck is waterproof, but we opted to drill a few vents into the inside of each wheel, which helped considerably in both the traction and steering departments. Before we had even run this beast for the first time, it was decided that 4-wheel steering was going to happen as it only required a small number of parts. The included steering servo seemed to falter at times with the weight of the huge tires, but hey, it’s a 1/5-scale vehicle for less than 300 bucks RTR!

Now, this is a crawler … which means it does not go fast, but we were offered a pleasant little surprise on the first grip of the throttle. Sure, it was on some sand on pavement, but the MaxStone actually broke the tires loose. There’s something to be said for the brute power of two direct-drive 550 brushed motors. Top speed was also a little faster than we expected from a true crawler, but it assuredly will not break any land speed records. Braking is strong, but not all that smooth. There does seem to be some drag break as well, but it will only hold the huge rig on shallow inclines.

The best part about crawlers and scale rigs is that they are exponentially more durable than their race vehicle

counterparts. The MaxStone 5 is no differ- ent. The only issue we encountered through- out all of our test runs was one of the axle pins sliding out of its slot, sending the right front wheel on an adventure of its own. Luckily for us, the pin was easily found under the truck and popped right back into place. A quick inspection of the other three axles revealed that all the pins were working their way loose as there is nothing on the tubes to retain them. Not to worry though as the fix is quick. A bit of 24mm shrink wrap can be added to each tube, which is what we did and we have not seen any more rogue pins. We also managed to get a wheel wedged into a crevice on more than one occasion, but the drivetrain never balked.

The super extended wheelbase can be adjusted based on the driver’s preferences.
Though this is a 1/5-scale crawler there really isn’t much to it with the MOA design. Just look at all that space for extreme articulation!


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LENGTH: 33.07 in. (840mm)
WIDTH: 17.16 in. (436mm)
WHEELBASE: 24.41 in. (620mm)
WEIGHT: Varies with batteries used


BODY: Pre-painted crawler body
WHEELS: Black 8-spoke with green allow bead-lock rings
TIRES: Pre-mounted all terrain


TYPE: Multi-Link
SHOCK POSITIONS: (F) 3-chassis, 1-arm,
(R) 3-chassis, 1-arm
WHEELBASE: Adjustable via multiple link mounts
RIDE HEIGHT: Threaded pre-load spacers


TYPE: Dual drag-link
TOE: Adjustable in the rear


TYPE: Sandwiched plates
MATERIAL: Anodized Alloy


TYPE: 4WD Motor On Axle
GEAR RATIO: 1:48.155
BEARINGS: Full set of shielded

Opinion: 9
Performance – Acceleration: 8
Performance – Steering: 6
Performance – Handling: 9
Performance – Durability: 8
Feature Breakdown: 9
Overall Value: 9

The MaxStone 5 is a beast among crawling machines or RC vehicles in general. Its go- anywhere capabilities and rock bottom pricing are sure to see it flying off the shelves. Whether your stomping grounds are a hollow of mud and water, rocks and stumps or anything in between, this monster will go through it, over it or around it with no qualms whatsoever. There aren’t any designated classes for 1/5- scale crawling machines in competition … yet, but I do believe that the MaxStone 5 will soon change that. If “Go Big or Go Home” is your motto, this is your next ride.

Nitro RCX nitrorcx.com

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