Rlaarlo AK-917: a Porsche 917K Love Letter

Rlaarlo AK-917: a Porsche 917K Love Letter


This is a recount of my personal journey so far with the Rlaarlo AK-917. This new release is a remarkable 1/10 scale road car that pays homage to the iconic 1969 Porsche 917K. In this retelling, I will share my experiences, joys, and challenges encountered while exploring the capabilities of this very interesting RC car.

Join me as I recount the unboxing excitement, delve into the radio system, power system, chassis and suspension, wheels and tires, track performance, encountered issues, and future plans. This is not a sales pitch; it’s a genuine tale of my time with the Rlaarlo AK-917.

AK-917 Underside

Unboxing and Included Items

Opening the box of the Rlaarlo AK-917 Metal Version Brushless RTR revealed a very special storage case. This isn’t the first of its kind from Rlaarlo – we’ve seen similar with their buggies in the past. This one was more refined and I don’t recall feeling excited about any other RC car in recent memory as I did with this one!

The box interior revealed a meticulously-arranged assortment of components and accessories; such attention to detail, Rlaarlo! Alongside the car itself, I found a 4000mAh 3S 25C hard-pack LiPO battery pack, a 2.4GHz radio transmitter, an instruction manual and related documentation, an array of spare parts and gears, and basic tools. These items provided a comprehensive package for embarking on an immersive RC experience – you can expect these in your pack too, it wasn’t just a sponsorship special.

AK-917 on Rocks

Radio System

The heart of the AK-917’s radio system is the DumboRC X6-inspired transmitter. This power-efficient radio offers outstanding value with its affordable price tag without compromising on performance. The reputation for excellent longer-range reception adds to its appeal, especially for those planning to push the limits of the AK-917 during speed runs.

The provided receiver, a DumboRC X6F copy, seamlessly integrates with the AK-917 Metal Version Brushless RTR, ensuring reliable and precise control over the car’s movements. Its compatibility with the X6FC receiver, included with the AK-917 Carbon Fiber Brushless RTR variant, extends functionality by incorporating light control features. Rlaarlo’s attention to detail is evident in their decision to include this upgraded receiver, with an added bonus of that flashing orange exhaust LED array on throttle overruns. We’ll hopefully enjoy this on the CF version I’ve purchased after my experience with the Alloy version! Coming soon.

AK-917 Radio

Power System

At the heart of the AK-917 lies a powerful non-sensored brushless motor, specifically the 3650 4200kv variant. This motor, combined with a 3S (12V) power source, delivered an exhilarating burst of speed that surpassed my expectations. The included ESC in the alloy variant is a 60A unit capable of 2S and 3S power. (The Carbon Fiber variant ships with a 120A version that’s 2S to 4S capable).

The AK-917 eagerly responded to throttle inputs, surging forward with raw acceleration. The non-sensored brushless motor proved its efficiency and durability, enabling extended run times without sacrificing performance. While the stock power system provided ample excitement, I did find a little hesitation on applying throttle after progressively braking from higher speeds. This was a minor issue and not one I experienced with an after-market ESC. Something worth keeping in mind if you’re shopping the alloy RTR variant.

Rlaarlo AK-917 Specs

Chassis and Suspension

The AK-917’s meticulously designed chassis captivated me with its attention to detail and resilience. Constructed with durability in mind, the metal frame provided a solid foundation capable of enduring the rigors of intense driving sessions. Flexible but solid plastic sides and ends made for a very stiff chassis that didn’t pack on extra unnecessary weight. It’s quite a balanced machine.

Inspired by the iconic Porsche 917K, the AK-917’s chassis design beautifully captured the essence of the original racing legend, igniting a sense of nostalgia and admiration. (Customers won’t enjoy the surprise I had of finding ‘RC-TNT’ etched on the underside of the chassis – WOW!! Thanks Rlaarlo!)

Complementing the robust chassis, the AK-917 boasted an adjustable suspension system. Fine-tuning the suspension components allowed me to tailor the car’s performance to suit various track conditions and my preferred driving style. This suspension setup facilitated responsive handling, enhanced stability, and reasonable cornering abilities, though the front sway bar setup does seem overly soft and I’m not sure how much function it really adds to the car. More testing needed on that front.

AK-917 CF Chassis
AK-917 Diff Cover

Wheels and Tires

Rlaarlo’s attention to detail extended to the selection of wheels and tires for the AK-917. These high-quality components not only enhanced the car’s performance but also added a touch of visual flair. The wheels are pretty and lightweight. They’re plastic on the Alloy Chassis version and that’s just fine. I do have a set of the Alloy wheels that come with the CF version too – they weigh a little more than the plastic units and I’m not convinced they’re a better choice. We’ll report back in future testing.

The thoughtfully chosen tire compounds provided optimal grip on diverse surfaces, ensuring maximum traction and control. The scale-inspired wheels perfectly complemented the overall aesthetic of the AK-917, further immersing me in the nostalgia of the legendary Porsche 917K. Note, there was significant wear on the insides of the rear tires especially after about 15 minutes of track use. There was evidence of heat and hardening along the inside edges and also the tire carcasses showed early signs of deterioration after this first drive. I may be imagining it, but grip levels seemed a little lower on our second track day.

AK-917 Tire Options

Track Performance

Taking the AK-917 to the racetrack was an exhilarating experience that truly showcased the car’s capabilities. Remember, we’re dealing with a reasonably cheap car that already delivers a large amount of power. It didn’t have to be perfect on the track to win everyone’s attention, but it really is quite good!

With its powerful brushless motor and well-tuned suspension, the car demonstrated impressive speed, agility, and handling. I pushed the AK-917 to its limits, navigating tight corners and exhilarating straightaways mostly with ease. We did have some upset leaving corners under power, with an inside front wheel consistently lifting in lieu of a stiff enough sway bar system. But overall, the car’s balance and stability instilled confidence, allowing me to push further and explore the full potential of this RC racer.

AK-917 Tires

Issues and Fixes

During my testing, I encountered a couple of issues that required attention. Firstly, the servo failure experienced within seconds of use was an unexpected setback. To ensure the continuity of our review and tests, I promptly replaced the servo myself – any standard digital servo is fine, though faster is obviously better. Rlaarlo would have replaced this for me, had I approached them about it.

Additionally, intermittent ESC cut-outs were encountered during the first video’s track performance. This is best viewed in the video, linked further down in this article. Upon further investigation, Rlaarlo identified that the radio system’s antenna installation was creating interference. They promptly advised on a better placement of the antenna, and noted they were rectifying the issue for all AK-917 models sold to customers. This responsive approach demonstrated Rlaarlo’s commitment to addressing potential concerns and improving the overall user experience.

AK-917 Alloy Chassis

(My) Future Plans

As I continue my journey with the Rlaarlo AK-917, my future plans involve exploring the capabilities of both the Brushless Metal Version they supplied and the Carbon Fiber Roller Version I have purchased. I am excited to experiment with larger motors, pushing the boundaries of speed and performance even further.

Additionally, I intend to participate in Rlaarlo’s 2023 Speed Run event in June this year. We’ll be chasing 200km/h and I look forward to sharing the thrill of the AK-917 with fellow RC enthusiasts and showcasing the enduring spirit of the legendary Porsche 917K.


The Rlaarlo AK-917 has captivated me with its homage to the iconic Porsche 917K and its exceptional performance on the racetrack. Through the unboxing experience, high attention to vehicle detail, track performance, and exceptional power system, I have discovered a car that embodies the passion and excitement of RC racing.

While not without its hiccups, the AK-917’s ability to adapt, coupled with Rlaarlo’s dedication to addressing concerns, ensures a fulfilling RC experience. The AK-917 promises many more thrilling moments on the horizon. See you next month for the speed run!

AK-917 Front Chassis View

Where to Buy

Visit Rlaarlo and buy directly from the manufacturer. Use code RC-TNT for a discount on your vehicle purchase. Thank you for your support – we get a small commission for every vehicle sold, though would be recommending this vehicle even if we didn’t. It’s a ripper!

Craig Veness

Craig Veness


Craig has been into radio control since the 90s and into RC crawling since about 2010, when a Losi MRC started the obsession! Now it's all rocks this and crawl that and upgrade all the things! ...You know how it is, right? Welcome home 🙂

Rlaarlo’s 2022 Speed Run a Flying Success

Rlaarlo’s 2022 Speed Run a Flying Success

Sweet Loot

Speed run is a fun event even when it’s just for bragging rights. But how does a cash prize of USD$2000 sound? Perhaps an Anniversary Edition version of Rlaarlo’s best buggy? Or maybe just one of every vehicle in the 2022 catalog? If this grabs your attention, wait until you hear what had to be achieved to secure one of these shiny rewards!

2022 Speed Run Challenge

Need for Speed

You may have seen Rlaarlo offering this impressive set of prizes for a little competition on their Facebook page in July 2022. For once, this wasn’t just a ‘Like and Share this post’ to have a chance at a random prize. That’s something we’ve all seen from various groups at this point. Much better than that, it was for a good, old-fashioned speed run contest, with some actual sweat-and-tears friendly competition!

The prizes were enticing. So, what was the catch? RC hobbyists had three weeks to modify their Rlaarlo buggies. The goal was to video-record and measure their vehicle’s fastest speed run pass they could manage.

The conditions for that winning high-speed pass were simple enough:

  • any of four Rlaarlo or Amoril 1/14 buggies could be used;
  • entrants could modify the buggy any way they wished, as long as they retained the original body shell and chassis;
  • they must provide a clear GPS speed measure after the run;
  • the vehicle must be functional after the run;
  • it should be wheel-powered only (no EDF for you enterprising rocket scientists!);
  • the pass must be on flat ground; and,
  • the pass must be recorded in a single, un-cut video.
Qualifying Models

Star of the Show

Folks needed a video camera and a GPS unit to measure speed. But the key to this contest was the RC model itself. You could use the Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 1/14 4WD brushless buggy (available here) or one of three other similar Rlaarlo and Amoril models. There are many 1/14 RC buggies available these days and on the whole, they’ve been slowly improving. However, the recently-released Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 grabbed our attention as it looked to have the balance of weight, power and durability. This was a balanced feature set that is so rare in ‘cheaper’ RC models. (See our initial review video and our more detailed article here on rc-tnt.com for more about the buggy).

Notably, the 006 features a carbon fibre tub chassis and a compact 2S/3S brushless power system that makes for a lightweight little rocket. This is impressive on its own and our initial review reflected that. However, what later impressed us even further was its sheer durability. We bashed ours far harder than it should ever have been able to handle. Our Durability Test video should be a testament to the rugged nature of the XDKJ-006. It was unbelievably tough and we gave it a rough day at the skate park!

Race Schedule

Competition Time!

And so it was upon this platform that Rlaarlo proposed a little contest of effort and cunning. Who could modify their XDKJ-006 to be the fastest in a straight line? To make it through Round 1 of the speed run, you needed a pass of at least 100kmph/62mph. The fastest would enter Round 2 and then a final round would test the best of the best.

The idea was simple enough – but just how fast could these little machines really go? Those tiny 1/14 wheels mean big gearing and motor speed would be needed for high-speed runs. And that’s to say nothing of limited chassis space and vehicle stability from a short wheelbase. Would 62mph+ passes even be possible?

Comp Rules

Round 1: Warming Up

Round 1 was to close on July 29, just one week into the competition. The entries trickled in as the days counted down. First to make a showing were USA, Canadian and Australian entrants, with buggies running from 12V to 24V systems. Three USA contenders hit hard with impressive speeds even at that early stage:

  • 75mph from Eric Woolsey on 4S with a 3200kv motor;
  • 76mph from Radlee Plott on just 2S with a 7800kv motor; and,
  • 94mph from Michael Koebbe with 3S on a 3200kv motor.

Already, things were getting interesting! The first round concluded on July 30 with 25 entrants clearing the 62mph cut-off speed. At this stage there were hobbyists from USA, Canada, Australia, Germany and the UK with seriously impressive speeds logged on camera.

Round 1 leaders were as follows:

  • tied third place holders Daniel Petrak (AUS, 3S) and Eric Woolsey (USA, 3S) had verified speeds of 87mph (140km/h);
  • Christopher Barnes (USA, 3S) ran a 95mph (152.9km/h) pass; and,
  • with a very safe lead was Michael Koebbe with a blistering pass of 121mph (194.7km/h)!

Round 2: Fight!

There were 25 people cleared through to the second round. Rlaarlo announced that only the fastest ten entrants would qualify for the final round. Clearly, competition was going to be close with such a fierce first round!

The second round gave contenders a week to make their attempts and submit their best video. Again, the entries trickled in over the next few days. It was a close thing, even at this stage of competition. The lower 5 entrants were tightly grouped, separated by just a few miles per hour, posting top speeds of between 96mph and 99mph! The top 5 entrants were split over a wider range, from 101mph and up. Anyone could take it at this stage!

Round 2 Qualifiers
Round 1 Qualifiers

Controversy in the Leaderboard

Video clarity and technical gremlins can hit at unexpected times. They’re challenging and often random in when and how they strike. This is especially the case when you’re pushing the limits with equipment vs physics! At this stage of the contest, Chris Barnes posted several impressive runs but encountered a string of issues from a series of crashes that led to him losing a GPS unit. His list-topping runs were disqualified and the leaderboard was adjusted.

It was generally agreed that Rlaarlo made the best call they could with the available information. Unfortunately, some fallout would be unavoidable as other competitors found themselves bumped off the leaderboard during this controversial exchange. Such problems and decisions are tough for all involved and can lead to high emotion in the midst of competition. Cool heads prevailed with the only reasonable ruling from Rlaarlo in order to maintain a level playing field. The show continued.

We wish Chris Barnes and the other affected competitors the very best for next time. All affected have our sympathy for a rough run this time. Good sportsmanship and supportive voices are what sets clubs and groups apart from others and to date we’ve found the Rlaarlo Facebook group to be generally very positive and supportive. This is something we could all use more of!

Round 2 Speed Run Finalists

With Barnes’ 118mph entry (USA, 4S) disqualified, the top three contenders posted their best runs for Round 2:

    • 3rd – Eric Woolsey with 114mph (183.5kmph), on 3S power with a Castle MM X 6S system;
    • 2nd – Michael Koebbe with 121mph (194.7kmph), on 3S power with a Castle MM X 8S system; and
    • 1st – Connor Matthes with 128mph (206km/h), running on 5S power also with a Castle MM.

Problems in rear-view mirror, the contest continued to its final round…

Hold My Beer!

The first three entries submitted to the final round were from USA contenders:

  • Radlee Plott (4S, Castle MM X) with 104mph (167.4kmph);
  • Eric Woolsey (4S, Castle MM X 6S) with 122mph (196.3kmph); and,
  • Connor Matthes (5S, Castle MM) with an eye-watering 130mph (209.2kmph)!

Later that day, USA entrant Michael Koebbe disrupted second place with a 126mph (202.8kmph) run on 3S power with an XLX2 system.

By August 15, as the final hour closed out the contest, Eric Woolsey retained his third position on the leaderboard. Michael Koebbe upped the ante with his XLX2 system, jumping from 3S to 4S power. He delivered a 130mph pass (209.2kmph), drawing equal with Matthes’ pass from just a few days prior.

Pulling out all stops, Connor Matthes made a final blazing pass on the same 5S-powered MM X 8S system with the winning entry of 131mph, or 210.8kmph! Here’s his video from that final run:

Speed Run Aftermath

Congratulations and support flowed in from many on the groups Facebook page on Matthes’ well-deserved win. Special mention must go to the next place-holders who managed such impressive speeds. This is a buggy that we have tested ourselves with a top speed of 50mph (81kmph) on 3S power in stock form.

The difference between stock 3S speeds and even the ‘slowest’ finalist was huge. David Grima (AUS) made a 94mph pass (151.3kmph) – that’s already nearly twice as fast as stock speed! One entrant made his personal best of 70.2mph immediately after being partially run over by a truck. That was with a damaged wheel! It was still 20mph faster than a stock 006 that hasn’t been run over. Crazy!

Suggestions were floated about maybe putting an expenditure limit on future speed runs to help level the field some more. Others had ideas around event timing with seasons in different hemispheres and competition time-frames. All said, the contest was an entertaining event that brought people’s skill and perseverance into the limelight and good humour was expressed across the page. What a fun way to spend some time tinkering with such an impressive little buggy!

Rlaarlo released a speed run highlights video you can watch on Facebook here.

Rlaarlo 1/12 Buggy

What’s Next?

Rlaarlo have been building on momentum from this and other fun events hosted over 2022. New models are reportedly in development. (We’re excited about a brushless 1/12 model that’s apparently coming soon. More details on rc-tnt.com as soon as we have them!) Parts availability for current models has been consistent and timely. Future events are in the works, they’ve reported on their Facebook page.

A note on the company as a whole: our XDKJ-006 had a rare electrical issue after some use that was swiftly rectified by Rlaarlo. We’ve been only impressed with dealing with the company, who even prior to our initial review video were accepting of our standard terms that we would not make a draft available to them before publication and that we would publish test outcomes, even if they were unfavorable. It’s this admirable attitude that prompted us to write this speed run contest debrief; the company has been reasonable, fair and simply a pleasure to deal with from our first contact. We’re looking forward to seeing what they do next!

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 Front

Where to Get One

Rlaarlo’s website is https://rlaarlo.com. The 006 buggy details and purchase page can be found here. Also, Rlaarlo maintains a Facebook group page (here) and an Instagram profile (here).

Lastly, our detailed review article of the XDKJ-006 can be found here on rc-tnt.com and our video series starts with the review. The XDKJ-006 is easy to recommend and we are pleased to so closely follow the company’s journey.

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 top-down

Affiliate Links and Integrity

We were provided with our XDKJ-006 by Rlaarlo at no cost for purposes of review. As always, we maintain the right to publish our test results without influence or edit from the manufacturer. This competition debrief is entirely the work of rc-tnt.com and has had no affiliation or marketing influence from Rlaarlo or its staff, beyond an initial request to consider writing it. We have not received compensation for writing this article. Having such fair treatment from the company, it’s been a pleasure to produce the videos and articles we’ve done so far and we look forward to seeing what Rlaarlo produces next. Oh yes, we are anticipating what future contests may entail, too! This one has been a hoot!

-Craig Veness, rc-tnt.com

RC-TNT Rlaarlo Review
Craig Veness

Craig Veness


Craig has been into radio control since the 90s and into RC crawling since about 2010, when a Losi MRC started the obsession! Now it's all rocks this and crawl that and upgrade all the things! ...You know how it is, right? Welcome home 🙂

Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 1/14 Brushed RTR Monster Truck

Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 1/14 Brushed RTR Monster Truck

Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 Box

Hard to Say, Great to Play

As with the XDKJ-006 buggy, the Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 monster truck’s full title is a bit of a mouthful! We’re also a little unsure about the claims of 50-70km/h on the box, but time will tell! What doesn’t look like a problem is the potential for some big-wheeled fun and RC mayhem. This machine is something between a truggy and a monster truck. Although heavy for its size, it should be a blast off-road. Let’s take a closer look!

Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 Box Content

The Same, But Different

After playing with the XDKJ-006 brushless buggy recently, it was not surprising to find a lot of repurposed componentry in the 005 here. From a design, manufacture and parts support standpoint, repurposing a platform makes a lot of sense.

And this isn’t a new idea – Traxxas does it with the Slash and Stampede or the Rustler and Bandit. Element RC has a bunch of different vehicles built on the same Enduro base. Kyosho makes the Fazer Mk II road series and even a monster truck (the Mad Van) with the same base. This approach clearly makes sense.

We found the XDKJ-006 buggy to be incredibly durable. Just look at how it stood up to extreme punishment in our test video! Aside from the obvious body and wheels change over the buggy, the biggest thing that stands out immediately with the Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 is the weight. It’s easily another 50% heavier than the buggy!

Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 Chassis

Part Truggy…

A truggy is a TRuck and a buGGY. Typical on truggies is the big, rear wing. You still may find a low center-of-gravity layout with similar running gear to a buggy, but also with big, truck-sized wheels and tires. The 005 definitely features both of these! Truggies also commonly feature a shorter wheelbase and wheelie bar, moving away from a buggy’s focus on speed and poise to something bouncier and more rowdy. The wheelbase is the same between the 005 and the 006 but the center of gravity is higher on account of the larger wheels and tires.

Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 Rear Bumper

Part Monster Truck…

The Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 has ‘Monster Truck’ in its official name, though we’ve been calling it a truggy. We have the car-like body and big wheels of a monster truck. Certainly, the huge, brushed motor hints at this being a bit more of a top-heavy, big-air basher.

The chassis still grants low enough weight balance that the 005 is capable of decent stability at speed, and the handling isn’t bad. More on that below. Perhaps the 005 sits somewhere between buggy and monster truck, whilst not quite being either. This is why we’ve been calling it a truggy!

Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 Front

The Spinny Bits

The Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 ships with a 60A brushed Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) and a 550-size brushed motor. The system can handle 8v and 12v power – that’s 2S and 3S respectively – and comes with a 1800mAh 2S LiPO battery.

There are ball-bearings all-round and the drive shafts are also of metal construction. If it turns, it’s metal, aside from the wheels and spur gear. That’s pretty awesome for a relatively cheap machine!

Tires have plenty of traction on sealed road and even on firm sand. We’ve done limited running on grass so far, but our initial experience with this model has been quite positive. We’ve had 5 or 6 other 1/14 scale buggies and truggies over the past 3 years and this one is the nicest off-road so far. Even on-road, it isn’t bad at all.

Steering and Handling

Steering is fast and torquey enough to work in all terrains we tested. The car has a wide turning circle at speed. However, if you let off the throttle while steering, that circle tightens right up. At low speed, it can change direction completely within about 3 car lengths. It’s quite impressive.

The ride height can be adjusted via the thumbscrew collars on the alu shocks. Out of the box it’s set to about medium. After driving this thing a bit and getting used to it, the next time we take it out it’ll be lowered all the way. As well as improving center of gravity, that’ll also soften up the damping effect of the springs. The oil-filled shocks will stop excessive cycling and the wheels will have good range of movement over the bumpy stuff. This is really where the 005 here should excel.

Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 Suspension

Weight and Durability

The 005 weighs considerably more than the cabon-fibre chassis-equipped 006 buggy. Whilst the alloy plate may be more durable from a materials standpoint, its additional weight brings with it the issue of greater kinetic energy with momentum. Big landings or sudden stops from speed will mean the 005 carries more of that kinetic energy than the lighter-weight buggy. That means more chance of breakages.

Keep that in mind as you consider the other part of the durability equation: specifically, the aluminum, coil-over shocks and alloy chassis are implemented in such a way that at full compression, the chassis doesn’t touch the ground. This is great for preventing damage to the underside. However, the one caveat here is that with a heavy enough landing, there is an increased risk of blowing the tops off the shocks and/or damaging the shock towers. Having a chassis ‘slap’ the ground instead on a big landing is often preferable. The warning here then is to avoid big air. Ironically, due to weight and this suspension implementation, the 006 buggy may actually be the better skate park basher!

We’ve tested the 006 on the big jumps. The 005 will be tested soon and we’ll report back. We’d sure love to be wrong about this issue of weight and suspension leading to more breakages – we’ll soon find out, either way!

Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 Bottom

Radio Letdown

If weight and suspension implementation are one weakness of this vehicle, the other one is the lousy radio range. On an open beach with no interference (even our GoPro was transmitting at 5GHz, not the 2.4GHz of the radio), we got all of about 25 meters / 82 feet range before the car lost signal. The AA batteries were fully charged and the antenna on the ESC-Receiver in the car was fully upright.

This was ideal conditions, in other words – you may find its even worse than this in a more crowded environment where more 2.4GHz devices are operating. Just be aware of this and you should be fine. For speed runs or bigger distances though, you may need to overhaul the radio system – and then the ESC as well, given the ESC and receiver are in the same unit in this car.

Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 Radio
Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 Radio Top

Our Verdict

This thing is fun. It’s fast for its size and its well-made. We’re still unsure about the weight and suspension setup and how that might play into durability on big landings, but so far, it has been fun, fast (for a brushed model) and poised on the ground. Also, there’s a minor issue with the battery tray having a plastic piece that can damage the battery – worth removing that screw and cutting the piece off entirely. See the photo below for that.

But otherwise, the 005 gives you predictable handling, linear steering response, less-than-expected heat after hard running and it looks great. The included spares are welcome and if you can live without a huge radio range, the Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 1/14 RTR Monster Truck may just be a little gem in your RC garage!

Where to Get It

Click here to grab one for yourself. We understand Rlaarlo has a promotion from Aug 23, 2022 for the first 200 buyers to get this thing at a deep discount for USD$99.99, and then the next 500 buyers to get it for USD$129.99. Its usual price is USD$169.99.

This is the manufacturer’s page for the Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 RTR Monster Truck.

Rlaarlo XDKJ-005
Craig Veness

Craig Veness


Craig has been into radio control since the 90s and into RC crawling since about 2010, when a Losi MRC started the obsession! Now it's all rocks this and crawl that and upgrade all the things! ...You know how it is, right? Welcome home 🙂

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 1/14 Brushless 4X4 Buggy

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 1/14 Brushless 4X4 Buggy

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 – Cheap & Cheerful?

Relative to other brushless fare in this scale, the Rlaarlo SDKJ-006 is cheap! The value seems to get even better when you consider the buggy’s carbon fiber chassis and quality shocks. Excluding battery, the Rlaarlo buggy weighs just 923g (or 32.5 oz). This makes for a compelling buy at first glance.

Yes, it certainly looks good on paper. Fast steering, light weight for its type, four wheel drive and full metal drivetrain. So, what’s the catch? Join us for a closer look as we try to find out!

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 top-down

What’s In the Box?

Let’s start with what you get for your USD$199.99 (use 15%-off code RCTNT here for further discount).

  • Rlaarlo #XDKJ-006 1/14 Brushless Buggy RTR
  • Radio Transmitter
  • 2800mAh 2S LiPO battery & USB charger
  • Accessories bag with foam bumper, spares & tools:
    • 1 x Front Bumper
    • 4 x Suspension Arm
    • 4 x Wheel Hub Kit
    • 2 x Dogbone
    • 4 x Body Clip
    • 1 x Wrench
    • 1 x Screwdriver
    • 1 x USB Cable
    • 1 x User Manual

Packaging is the same as what you’ll find in the 144001 and similar models. There’s no plastic aside from bags for the spare parts. All else is cardboard, which is great to see.

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 Box Contents

The Rlaarlo’s Power System

In an email, Rlaarlo told us the XDKJ-006 is the brushless version of their brushed XDKJ-001 model. The 001 is essentially a clone of the 144001 – not necessarily a bad thing. The motor is a 3200kv 2847 sized motor, with a max rpm of about 40,000 (that’s 3200 multiplied by the full-charge voltage of a 3S LiPO battery, 12.6v).

The ESC is a 45A unit that supports 2S and 3S batteries and is splash-proof (we tested that!). Whilst the ESC has a cooling fan along with overheat and overcurrent protection built-in, both it and the motor will run better and longer on a 2S battery. Lower voltage means less heat. It also means a longer run-time for the same rated capacity battery – and this buggy is plenty fast on 2S, honestly! We’d recommend keeping to 2S batteries unless you’re doing the odd speed run.

Let’s Talk Speed

Rlaarlo has made a few claims about this vehicle’s top speed. So, while we’re talking about speed, we should address some of their claims. On Rlaarlo’s website, the vehicle is advertised as being able to do “90KM/H+”. On the box itself is a sticker that says “100KM/H (on 3S battery)”. Bold claims indeed!

That said, we’d think the high 80s (50mph+) should be possible on 3S power and in ideal conditions – smooth road, no headwind, etc. The low-mid 60s (35-40mph) may be possible on 2S power. These are real-world estimations after having driven this thing on a track and on sealed road.

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006

Theoretical Max Speed

Rlaarlo has this claim on their website: “Max 80KMH on 2S battery, 90KMH speed potentials on 3S battery”. From a theoretical perspective, this cannot be correct. Here’s why: remember above where we discussed RPM and motor kv? The unloaded speed of a motor at any given voltage is a function of its kv rating. In this case, a 3200kv motor has a definite maximum RPM of 26,880 with a fully charged, 2S LiPO battery (that’s 8.4v multiplied by 3200kv). That same motor has a maximum RPM of 40,320 with a fully charged, 3S LiPO battery (3200kv x 12.6v).

A 3S battery has 1.5x higher voltage than a 2S battery. We know that motor speed is a function of motor kv and battery voltage. Therefore, the max RPM on 3S should be 1.5x higher than on 2S. Let’s see: 40,320 / 26,880 = 1.5. Great, our numbers are correct! Now let’s get to what that means for our purple buggy vs physics!

XDKJ-006 Power System

Real-World Top Speed

Let’s say the car really can hit 80KM/H on a 2S battery (spoiler – it will top out at 60 to 65km/h). If it really could do 80km/h on 2S, it should be able to do a theoretical maximum of 120km/h (75mph) on 3S (remember, that’s 80km/h times our 1.5 multiplier). This is setting aside air drag, vehicle stability, effective radio control distance and being able to keep the front tires down. But if 2S will deliver 80km/h, we really should at least see 100km/h though, right? The box sticker says so, after all!

What’s the top speed of the Rlaarlo XDKJ-006? You could reasonably expect 60km/h (37mph) on a 2S battery and maybe, maybe 90km/h (56mph) on a 3S battery. Real world variables will harm these potentials – surface, temperature, air speed, and so on. Would the motor and ESC handle the required current draw for such speed runs? We’d think it would be okay if you did it once or twice. Drive on 3S regularly and ESC and/or motor burn-out will be likely.

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 Rear Wing

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 Running Gear

That’s the electronics out of the way. What about the drive-train that has to get all that juicy brushless power down to the road? Rlaarlo claims ‘powder cast’ metal gears. We’re pleased to report at least that this powder casting system seems to be much better than the pot metal mold and cast process that was so common in the hobby over years past. We’ve had a similar experience with the RGT Rescuer gears, recently. It turns out their gears are actually quite strong – here’s our recent Q&A post about that. The gears in the Rlaarlo look to be of similar quality. Awesome!

All gears in the Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 are powder metal – the new, stronger kind, not that older pot metal casting. The drive shafts and axles are all steel and the front CVDs and dog bone axles and cups are all of stainless steel as well. Ball bearings are metal throughout, though unshielded. For a cheaper vehicle that packs brushless power, all of this is good. You might break something eventually, but it’ll be a LOT stronger than the ‘cheapie’ cars of just a few years ago. Double awesome!

The 006’s Radio System

Things are a bit less rosy when it comes to the radio transmitter. As we said in our video review (embedded further down this page), the radio looks like the FlySky Noble’s ugly younger sibling. It clearly has design cues from the Noble, which is a gorgeous transmitter, by the way, but it misses the mark. For our grown-up hands it was cramped to use. The dials are minimal but functional and the unit takes 3x AA batteries, which is good to see. Range is sufficient for the vehicle’s size and steering was predictable.

Probably our least favourite element of this radio is the throttle feel. The first half of the throttle trigger’s pull gives nearly no feedback from the car – it starts rolling, but only just. It’s as if there’s a high degree of exponential programmed into the radio. The second half of the trigger pull gives very rapid response – so rapid that on any surface other than carpet or bitumen, you’ll spin the wheels and then spin out! We’d love to see that expo effect dialled back – you’ll need to replace the radio system and ESC entirely for that. Worth it? Maybe, maybe not. (But if you do it, consider the FlySky GT-5, which comes with the gyro-equipped FS-BS6 receiver, and the HobbyWing QUICRUN 16BL30 ESC.

XDKJ-006 Radio System


As with other cheaper 14-scale buggies, the Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 comes with an all-in-one radio receiver, ESC and BEC. It features a cooling fan and a spare port for another cooling fan for the motor and a simple button-press for power. The BEC outputs 5V 2A, which is sufficient for this vehicle. The servo is a 3-wire, 1.7kg unit and has plenty of speed and sufficient strength to turn the buggy, even on rough terrain.

The motor got warm on 2S running, but far from hot. If you decide to run just on 2S with this buggy, the entire electronics package should reward you with long and reliable life. Ours hasn’t missed a beat – so far!

There’s an included 2800mAh 2S battery. Note, the battery capacity seems to be labelled with the same enthusiasm as the buggy’s top speed. We think it is more likely to be about 1500mAh, based on charged capacity and runtime, compared to various other 1000mAh, 1500mAh and 2200mAh 2S batteries we have here.

XDKJ-006 Open Chassis

Road Character

The buggy accelerates best on high-traction surfaces. It holds a straight line at speed and brakes well. The tires hold on sharp turns on bitumen and the plush suspension can be firmed for road use with stiffer shock oil if you so desire.

Acceleration on 3S power is where things go a bit wrong. The buggy’s short wheelbase and low-ish kv motor means there’s a lot of torque on tap. 3S power on flat surfaces is really where that exponential feel we discussed earlier may be a strength – the only time it’s welcome, really! You’ll want to bring the throttle on gradually, as the buggy can wheelie even when its already travelling at speed.

The best advice we can offer after driving this thing for a while is to keep it on 2S power. The buggy is happiest at 8v rather than 12v. You have less undesired wheelies, lower heat, longer runtime and better overall handling at 40mph and below. Stick with 2S and you’ll get a lot of value from this buggy.

XDKJ-006 Suspension & Steering

Offroad Handling

How does the Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 handle off-road? Not well, at least, not in stock form. The rear bottoms out too much. The tires spin, struggling for traction on clay and dirt surfaces. The shorter wheelbase only adds to the twitchiness.

There is hope, however. We swapped the rear shock oil for 45wt. and dialled in the pre-load on the rear to about 70%. We dialled the front to about 20%. Lastly, we packed the rear diff full of moly grease, inducing an LSD (Limited-Slip Diff) effect. All of this worked together to increase the available traction on bumpy and slippery surfaces. The buggy certainly still suffers with a short wheelbase, but it’s a lot better than in the stock configuration at least!

Check out our short ‘Three $3 Fixes’ video for more detail on that:

How’s It Jump?

The buggy is well balanced. It gets a little unsettled on bigger jumps, but with 4WD and brushless power, there is ample air authority if you get the throttle inputs right. If you accelerate whilst in the air, the nose comes up. If you brake, the nose drops. It’s all fairly predictable and this is one satisfying part of the Rlaarlo XDKJ-006’s design.

The balance is well distributed on all four wheels, too. We found it consistently landed flat and even if you get out of control in the air, there is time to recover and land with grace. It’s not amazing, but for a cheap, short wheelbase buggy, it’s pretty good!

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 Big Jump Sequence

Is the Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 Waterproof?

It’s splash proof. We tested that with a watering can and then a garden tap. No problems there, the 006 took all the water in stride and kept going. Puddles might be an issue, but for rain driving at least, the news is good. You can get it wet. Just don’t go swimming with it.

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 Water Test

It’s Cheap. How’s the Quality?

Overall, it feels cheap. But it performs like it’s more expensive than it is. Be aware that the carbon fiber chassis has its limits and you absolutely can break this model if you abuse it. There is an alloy chassis available and Rlaarlo sells replacement and upgrade parts (here: https://rlaarlo.com/collections/xdkj-011-parts-amp-replacements).

For the asking price, we’d rate it as Good Enough. The alloy model is a little cheaper than the carbon fiber model and it might last a bit better. For the extra weight, the added durability may make sense to you. We received our unit from the manufacturer to test and review, but if we were buying it ourselves (as we’ve done for most of our RC garage here), we’d probably go for the alloy one.

The dogbone cups will wear out. The servo will die. The front shock mounts will break after a few bad landings. But all of this is par for the course on even expensive RC buggies. For what you pay, this machine is definitely good enough. Not great, but absolutely satisfactory.

After-Sales Support

Rlaarlo have a catalogue of parts available from launch day for this buggy. They also claim parts compatibility with the 144001, brushed power system aside, obviously. This bodes well for the model’s longevity.

What we don’t see on their site yet is the all-in-one ESC-receiver-BEC unit. We emailed today to ask about that and they’ve said they’re available. We’ll also note that if you have an electronic failure outside of warranty, and/or if you want to upgrade for better radio features or other reasons, the FlySky and HobbyWing combo we covered above wouldn’t be a bad way to go.

Certainly, you’re covered for breakages, then. We’ll repeat ourselves here to recommend that you run this thing on 2S power. You’ll reap the benefit of a more controllable buggy, longer run time and lower wear and tear. For the Rlarlo XDKJ-006, 2S is the sweet spot.

XDKJ-006 Included Accessories

Is It Worth Buying?

If you like the WLToys 144001 and similar buggies and the idea of a brushless version appeals, then the Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 should be on your short-list. You should be aware that the LC Racing EMB models are far and away better in quality and performance, but they’re also 33% more expensive than the XDKJ-006 here.

We’ve tried to frame the Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 as a half-way point between the brushed 144001 and the brushless EMB-T (or the EMB-1 for similar money). The performance and quality is about right for the price, relative to these vehicles. And to be fair, to get anything like this kind of performance even just a few years ago would have been easily twice the money it is today.

With that in mind, this one is easy to recommend. What do you think? Check out our video review below where we make this comparison and even compare the EMB with the Rlaarlo on our rocky track. See what you think!

Where To Get It

Grab yours here, direct from manufacturer: https://rlaarlo.com/?ref=uDkKyZb6JFa7v

Our thanks to Rlaarlo for providing an XDKJ-006 for our review and testing, and especially for welcoming our proviso that the review would be honest, even if that meant it might be negative. That was an integrity move.

The Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good – and for the asking price, that’s not a bad deal!

Craig Veness

Craig Veness


Craig has been into radio control since the 90s and into RC crawling since about 2010, when a Losi MRC started the obsession! Now it's all rocks this and crawl that and upgrade all the things! ...You know how it is, right? Welcome home 🙂