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Unbelievable RC

Monster XX 1:16th scale truck

November 2010
monster xx

Street Price: $59.99 US
Manufacturer: Extreme Machines
Mfr's recommended min. age: 14
Our recommended age range: 11+ with adult supervision
Primary use: Outdoors
Top speed: Est. 20mph under ideal conditions
Radio: 27mhz & 49mhz available
Includes:

  • Assembled vehicle
  • Controller
  • 7.2V battery pack
  • Charger
  • Instructions
Requires:
  • 8x AA batteries for the controller
IMPORTANT: As of March 2011 it has come to my attention that this product has been pulled from the market and customer service has been dramatically scaled back. With customer support reduced and future parts availability in question, I cannot recommend the purchase of this product. The content of this review has been preserved for reference only.

Initial Impressions

This is the smaller of two products in the Monster XX line from Extreme Machines. Like the more expensive 1/10th scale truck, this one is sold at Target stores next to the rest of the toy RCs, but under the hood it's actually a hobby-grade vehicle!

Though this is called a "1/16th scale" truck, it's actually derived from on (and the same size as) a 1/18th scale truck called the RC18MT, from popular hobby-grade manufacturer Team Associated. Beneath the removable, lightweight racing body you'll find an awe-inspiring collection of electrical and mechanical components, any of which can be removed and replaced if a breakage occurs. On one side of the chassis is a single oversized motor, a steering actuator (called a "servo"), and a weather-resistant box that contains the main electronic control and radio receiver circuitry. The other side is where the included rechargable battery pack goes, to balance out the weight. Power from the motor is transferred to a large, visible gear that's connected to a long shaft that sends power to both ends of the vehicle. Yes, it does have permanent four wheel drive. The controller features fully proportional throttle and semi-proportional steering (there are three steps from straight to full lock steering).

Testing

After charging the battery, the very first thing I went to do was verify the advertised top speed of 20mph. It easily passed 15mph and was still accelerating, but around that point I'd lose control. No matter how hard I tried to drive straight, before it hit top speed it would veer to one side and then spin out. Unfortunately I was never able to figure out exactly how to stop this from occuring, though I believe that if I had a cleaner, smoother, higher-traction surface to drive on, the adhesion of the soft rubber tires could have kept it controllable up to top speed.

I figured clean & smooth shouldn't be the names of the game for this truck that's obviously designed to go off-road, so straight to the dirt lot I took it! With less traction and way more bumps on off-road terrain, the little Monster XX actually became even harder to keep under control. It's definitely fast, especially for its size and price, but it's a handful. With the high power-to-weight ratio it's important that you give it throttle slowly and gradually, and never, ever just fully squeeze the trigger on the controller out of the blue -- it'll just do donuts. Speaking of donuts, just like on a full-sized street car, they're very fun to do, if you can, but they can be very bad for the vehicle itself. Never do more than a few with the Monster XX, or you risk stressing and possibly overheating the twin differentials.

I took the truck over to a professional RC race track to test its jumping capabilities, but I wasn't able to get any really worthwhile video footage from that experiment. I had trouble getting it to line up straight to go over the jumps, and when it did make it up in the air, it would twist or turn oddly in the air and make a rough landing.

I did break a couple of parts during testing, but Extreme Machines does have a customer support hotline, and you can get replacement parts shipped out quickly. It's nice that such a service is available, but I would rather not have to use it.

Video

(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)

Conclusion

IMPORTANT: As of March 2011 it has come to my attention that this product has been pulled from the market and customer service has been dramatically scaled back. With customer support reduced and future parts availability in question, I cannot recommend the purchase of this product. The content of this review has been preserved for reference only.

I didn't have much fun in my offroad-centric tests of the 1/16th scale Extreme Machines Monster XX. Driving it on the street, it was definitely much better, and naturally when you're not going over big bumps and flying off jumps like I kept trying, there's a lot less to go wrong, and it's a lot harder to break parts. The way I drove it, it left a lot to be desired. When you look at the price, though, and compare it to other items you can buy for that same amount in the toy aisle at Target or at a place like Toys R Us, the Monster XX 1/16th scale truck cleans house in the performance department. Even if you never use full throttle and stick to a max of 10-15mph driving, it's still one of the fastest things out there, and it will drive circles around the vast majority of toy-class RCs. The fact that this is a hobby-grade design with the power to hit high speeds just significantly raises the bar for what I expect out of the product, and I definitely felt it should have done a better job of handling its own power.

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