Losi Super Baja Rey 2.0

Losi Super Baja Rey 2.0

It’s Huge

The Losi SBR 2.0 is one of the larger RC cars available today (currently on sale here). But it’s also quite different to most of the other 1/7, 1/6 and 1/5 scale fare you can choose. It might be the most unique offering in this scale, now I think about it. Consider: if you want to bash hard, you buy an X-Maxx, Outcast 8S or Kraton 8S. If you want to crawl or trail drive, the SCX6 has you covered. Large scale race track nearby? Get yourself a Losi 5IVE-T 2.0 or a DBXL and have at it. HPI’s Baja 5B has you sorted for big buggy action.

But what if you want scale desert truck driving? Humungous suspension travel, the kind of cornering that only a live rear axle can deliver? Something to match the Traxxas UDR favored by so many? But… bigger and more aggressive? Losi has you covered with the Super Baja Rey 2.0. Let me show you what makes this enormous monster so special.

Losi SBR 2.0

This is a 1/6 scale desert truck. I didn’t have the original one, so I can’t give you a side-by-side comparison, but Losi says this one is built on the Super Rock Rey chassis, but with an extra inch of wheelbase length. They’ve combined it with the front of the Super Baja Rey and there you go, SBR 2.0.

It’s a four-wheel drive vehicle that is engineered to be tough – but of course, with the live rear axle, it will take the right driving approach to keep the wheels on the ground. This style of vehicle is made to soak up big bumps at high speeds. While they can slide and corner reasonably well, this will never be a basher to replace the likes of the Arrma Senton 6S or similar, with its independent front and rear suspension. I guess you could say that RC desert trucks – the SBR here, the BR2.0, Traxxas UDR and so on – are all about the scale drive.

Losi SBR 2.0 Front LHS Corner

Body Issues

I’ll start with something that was a bit of a let-down. It’s only minor, but this isn’t a cheap model and so you expect the thing to be pristine out of the box. For this design, Losi elected to use something like vinyl wrap for the livery. Mine was a little worse for wear, with cracks in the decals around folds and edges. Some sheets were even misaligned. Screws were oxidized and there’s dust under the light bar lenses.

To be fair to Losi, this is surely a challenging model to assemble. Even in a production-line style setup, I expect it would take considerable effort to get something like this together without mistakes. But to find so many minor issues with my unit does make me wonder about quality control. Is it only the body I should be concerned about here, or will there be missing grease in diffs or a critical screw not secured completely?

Still Gorgeous Tho

The issues I had with this thing are only skin deep, as far as I can tell. At time of writing, I haven’t run the car yet, so if there are underlying mechanical oversights, I’ll edit this section later to let you know. But if you’re not looking closely, those misaligned panels and livery sheet cracks are not obvious. It’s all forgivable when you step back and take the thing in. This is a machine of beauty.

Radio System

Cars rarely came with radio systems in decades past. However, relative to RTR (Ready To Run) sales, kit builds are a lot less popular than they used to be. Many hobbyists may still prefer a kit (including me), but it isn’t what sells. Instead, manufacturers are typically now releasing models with everything assembled and included. The included radios with RTR systems have been hit and miss, maybe more on the ‘miss’ side for some time.

Horizon Hobbies has several big brands under its umbrella at this point. This includes the Losi vehicle here, but notably, also Spektrum. This is why you’ll get a Spektrum radio and power system with most Horizon-brand RTR models these days (Arrma, Losi, Axial, and so on). While the common and more basic Spektrum SLT3 system is fine, the better one is the Spektrum DX3 with 6100AT AVC receiver – and that’s what comes with the Losi Super Baja Rey 2.0.

I like this system in particular because of two dials that make it so much easier to use than so many others. The first is an adjustable braking dial – turn it up for more aggressive braking. The second is a stability control dial, or steering gyro – turn that up to have the car counter-steer more responsively to keep the nose pointed forward. In a car like this, I’d suggest the former is quite important and the latter is probably best left turned mostly down. Experiment and see; it’s so easy to adjust on this radio. I’m a fan! (The marks and dust are because Metro Hobbies sent me a floor model without telling me. Disappointing, but not a big deal).

Losi SBR 2.0 Spektrum DX3 Radio

The Main Thing

This is what we’re here for: that epic, desert truck suspension and live rear axle. Check these pictures out! Look at how much range there is, especially over the rear axle. It’s plush, heavy-duty and epic. Of course, the rear suspension is mounted on trailing arms, and everything about the arms at both ends is heavy duty and well designed. There are hefty sway bars at each end and it looks great. Even just typing this, I’m wondering how I’ve managed to not drive this car yet. I’m busy, but too busy to drive this car? I’m selling myself on this thing just writing this.

The front end has plenty of travel as well and the body has a pleasing amount of roll. There’s bolstering around the chassis mounts and both ends are adjustable with alu thumb screws. Looks great, too.

Drive Line

Steel universals are found throughout the vehicle’s drive line. The rear shaft is a fibre-infused telescoping unit that attaches to the steel unis at each end. Given the crazy power this car can make (and we should talk about that in a moment, see below), you’d reasonably question if plastic will be up to the job on the rear end, in particular.

Well, there are steel drive shafts available on the after-market for this car, but having discussed this car with other owners, the consensus seems to be that it’s tough enough for the job. Certainly, there’s not a lot of flex in the parts, but rigidity is probably the more important element here. The glass element should be sufficient. We’ll see!

Losi SBR 2.0 Rear Shaft and Links

Wheels and Tires

BF Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM3 tires are clamped securely in Method Racing beadlock wheels on 17mm hex adapters. Side walls are firm but have some flexibility and the foams are also medium-hard. Of course, there are the two full size, functional spares on the rear of the vehicle, which is part of the magic of this interesting car.

Power System

Bigger numbers don’t necessarily mean bigger speed. With RC power systems, getting the voltage, motor kv (revolutions per volt), and gearing correct can be a balancing act. Typically, larger scale vehicles will run lower kv motors, favouring higher volts to achieve the torque and power required to move a heavy vehicle rapidly.

The SBR 2.0 runs a Spektrum Firma 160A 8S-capable ESC, powering a hefty (no, really) 5687 750kv motor. This is both a huge diameter and lengthy can – this motor is 56mm across and 87mm long.Batteries are loaded from the bottom of the vehicle, also helping to keep the weight low. It has a claimed top speed of around 50mph. Doesn’t that sound kind of uncomfortable! Fun, though!

Losi Super Baja Rey 2.0

How does it drive? Well, I can’t give you that quite yet. I’m looking forward to it, but I’ve been waiting to drive with a Traxxas UDR so we can compare them a bit. I might try to throw in an Arrma Mojave 6S as well, and then we can see which might be the best to get for your purposes. I’ll put that video here, when I make it. I can’t wait!

Read more here and buy your own Losi Super Baja Rey 2.0 here.

Losi SBR 2.0 Front LHS

Don’t Miss

Meanwhile, you might be interested in reading about the 10-car roundup we’re doing at the end of 2023 and into early 2024. There are ten short course and desert trucks in 1/10 and 1/8 scale from all the big names and some of the smaller ones. The list includes the new Tekno SCT410 2.0, the Losi Baja Rey 2.0, Arrma Mojave 4S as well as the Senton 3S BLX, and more. Check out the channel for more.

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 🙂

A note on affiliate links: the Amazon links in the above article are affiliate links, which means we may be paid a small commission if you choose to click on them to make a purchase. As always, we make effort to ensure that no review is impacted by this – we still report on bugs and issues encountered during product testing, and our fixes or solutions if found. Thank you for reading and happy RC-ing!

Bezgar HP161S – A Confession

Bezgar HP161S – A Confession

Trouble In Paradise

The Bezgar HP161S is a 1/16 RTR Monster Truck. It’s a tiny little package of durable and speedy fun! Sounds like a slam-dunk video and article combo, right?

You’d think so! And yet, things have not gone to plan. And on that note, here’s a letter I’m overdue on sending to Bezgar…

Bezgar HP161S Water Jump

We Need To Talk

Dear Bezgar,

I have a confession. You sent me the Bezgar HP161S 1/16 Brushless RTR Monster Truck earlier in 2023. I was excited about it, as I’d really enjoyed the similar Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 and figured this might be something like that experience – which was very good, all told.

It arrived! I unboxed it, filmed it, then put it back in its box. All the data was on my laptop waiting for me to make the video. All I had to do was edit it and get it onto YouTube.

But I just… didn’t.

Instead, the mighty little monster truck just sat there in its box, waiting.

And waiting.

Weeks passed.

Bezgar HP161S Weight

A Problem

You see, after I first played with it, I just didn’t ‘get’ it. I didn’t enjoy running it on my rocky driveway, not at first. The little truck was bouncy on the oversized gravel and it inevitably flipped over a bunch. I couldn’t speed-run it on my street, as it felt uncontrollable at higher speeds.

I really wanted to like it, but I simply didn’t enjoy those first few sessions with it.

And so, in my typical ADHD fashion, I moved on to something else. Then onto the next shiny thing. And the next.

More weeks passed.

Bezgar HP161S with Body

Broken Promises

In the back of my mind, I knew I had to come back to the Bezgar HP161S. I had agreed with you that I would do it, and so much time had passed that I was really starting to feel quite bad about it.

I wanted to make a video that covered how I felt about the truck; a truck that you sent me at no charge for review purposes in particular – but I just didn’t know how to both honor your investment and maintain integrity with my viewers at the same time.

And so, it just sat in storage.

I kept making other videos, and the HP161S just waited, sitting in its box.


And waiting.


The Catalyst

Just last week, we’d had a bunch of rain. There was mud everywhere. My son was home and bored. And this kid has two settings when he’s playing with RC cars: it’s either off, or the throttle is pinned and he’s got the car in FULL SEND, no matter if it’s a crawler, a trail rig, a basher, a road car – pretty much anything in my extensive RC collection that he’s driven, he’s broken it somehow. He’s the ultimate torture test technician. (There’s probably another RC channel idea in there somewhere).

I didn’t have time to fix up another car for him and I knew I’d finished filming the Bezgar HP161S weeks ago (it’d been months by then but as usual, I’d lost track of time). So, I charged up a 2S battery and put the controller in his hands.

Bezgar HP161S for Kids

Bezgar HP161S Tested

LAUNCH! He punted that thing around our muddy yard. Over the jumps, even off the big ones we save for the 1/8 and 1/5 trucks like the Arrma Kraton and Traxxas X-Maxx. There was lots of face-plant and flat-back landings, all the tumble-wumbles, big hits, full throttle collisions, you name it. He was giggling away and after a few minutes I stopped what I was doing to watch him.

The little Bezgar HP161S was not missing a beat. It was taking the punishment – and I don’t know about you, but the engineer in me can’t bear to abuse my cars. That special check in the mind – mechanical sympathy, you may have heard it called – it just stops me from bashing something to oblivion.

But not so with my boy. Oh, no. He was PUNTING that thing off everything. And the plucky little truck just kept coming back for more! Hard landings on corner wheels and the links and A-arms just hung in there like champs.

The little truck Just. Kept. Going.

Bezgar HP161S Dirty


And in those few magical minutes of watching him dish out Kevin Talbot levels of punishment, I knew I finally had my ‘hook’ for the video. This thing was a tiny terror; it was nothing less than a micro X-Maxx. And I could now put together the kind of video that did this little rig proud.

And then I played with it some more and it grew on me. I discovered some little ways to make it go better, and before I knew it, I was having FUN! What do you know!

So, Bezgar, I’m truly sorry it took me so long to get this little truck into the spotlight. It didn’t deserve the wait, and you have been incredibly patient. You’ve built something truly special here and it might just be one of the toughest little trucks in my very, very crowded RC garage. Well done.

Here’s the video:

BTW, Happy Birthday

Well, happy 5th birthday, Bezgar! Hope your next year in business outshines the last! I’ll be cheering you on!

PS. You’ve just emailed me to thank me for taking so long with the car, getting to know it and for taking the review so seriously. In that case, maybe ignore the above. Let’s go with how serious I am about the car. That makes me look like the hero of this story. I like that much more!

Grab Yours!

For 10% Discount, Use Code: RC-TNT

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 🙂

A note on affiliate links: we were provided with this car by the manufacturer for review purposes. The Amazon links in the above article are affiliate links, which means we may be paid a small commission if you choose to click on them to make a purchase. As always, we make effort to ensure that no review is impacted by this – we still report on bugs and issues encountered during product testing, and our fixes or solutions if found. Thank you for reading and happy RC-ing!

Losi Promoto-MX: the Ultimate RC Motocross Experience

Losi Promoto-MX: the Ultimate RC Motocross Experience

New on Two Wheels

The world of RC vehicles is vast and varied, with models designed to replicate every type of real-world vehicle, from cars and trucks to planes and boats. But there’s one type of vehicle that’s been largely overlooked in the RC world until now: the motocross bike. Enter the Losi Promoto-MX, a groundbreaking RC motocross model that’s set to create a new niche in off-road RC.

Horizon Hobby launched this bike under the Losi brand at the start of July 2023. It caused quite a stir, as while bikes have been around for some years now, durability or performance or realism or size have all been challenges to the existing models from other manufacturers. To see one that is apparently stable off-road, with a realistic and bendy rider, whilst looking great and pulling stunts – well, that’s something new! Then consider the size of the thing and you have a compelling new toy to seriously consider!

Losi Promoto-MX Green Stand

Unprecedented Realism

The Losi Promoto-MX isn’t just another RC motorcycle. There are some good models around already, though they’re mainly on-road. The Losi is something different. It’s a meticulously designed, ultra-realistic 1/4 scale motocross bike that captures the thrill of riding a full-size bike with unprecedented accuracy – even if the rider’s rear doesn’t ever leave the saddle!

It’s clear the Losi team has gone above and beyond to reproduce true dirt bike performance. The realism of the Promoto-MX runs deeper than its faithfully detailed looks, too. Consider the narrow frame, the rider with authentic riding gear, and the officially licensed graphics. More important is the accurate performance, accomplished through a unique hybrid of mechanical and electronic technology that appears to let you run an RC bike like never before. More on that below; it is really quite impressive and it’s exciting to share if you’re new to this model!

Losi Promoto-MX Options

Cutting-Edge Technology

Losi teamed up with the engineers at Spektrum RC to reinvent stabilization technologies for a surface vehicle that requires balance to work. The Spektrum MS6X continuously calculates the bike’s positioning relative to gravity, taking into account the inputs from the transmitter. There’s a 2700kv motor driving a 22,000rpm gyroscopic wheel as part of this system. The MS6X feeds outputs to gyro, throttle and steering that give realistic and predictable handling to the ‘driver’ at the radio. The more I think about what they’ve done here, the more impressed I am – this thing is a marvel of modern technology.

But then, it gets better: stopping distance was cut in half by complimenting the traditional rear-wheel braking (ESC+motor) with a cable-driven front disc & caliper system. Just as on a real bike, stopping with both wheels is far superior to just the rear wheel, and marginally better than just using the front. (Of course, you can get lost in the techincal side of motorcycle handling and which brake to use when, but in an RC model, we don’t have to get so sidetracked!) This new technology works behind the scenes to give the Promoto-MX performance superior to any previous RC motorcycle.

Durability and Protection

Knowing the Promoto-MX would exceed eight pounds, the Losi team over-engineered critical areas to give the bike the extra support needed to withstand hard-hitting dirt bike action. The innovative front crash structure is rigid during normal running, but absorbs front impacts by compressing until the front tire bottoms into the chassis frame. That protects the front fork tubes from bending, keeping them safe and true. Included skid plates guard critical components from rocks and debris, and a twin aluminum plate chassis shields all of the bike’s electronics.

Losi Promoto-MX Disc Brake

Suspension Like No Other

No other RC product on the market has a suspension package like the Promoto-MX. Losi studied the suspension geometry and technology of full-size motorcycles to give it the same handling characteristics. The front suspension takes a unique approach to RC shocks with a front fork and internal dampener and spring. It’s adjustable, rebuildable, and looks like the real deal. The Promoto-MX also has a rising rate rear suspension, just like a real motorcycle. It starts soft around ride height but stiffens as the shock goes deeper into its travel, keeping the bike from bottoming out on flat landings.

Losi Promoto-MX Red Air

Losi Promoto-MX Powertrain

The heart of the Promoto-MX powertrain is a robust Spektrum Smart Brushless System, featuring a 3800Kv 4-pole brushless motor and 85A Smart ESC. This is a sensored system that will get you moving out of the gate hot, with enough torque to clear large triples and hit 40+ mph top speeds on a 2S LiPo battery. The durable drivetrain is true to scale, with chain drive that lets your rear tire rip whenever you’re ready to send it!

Losi Promoto-MX Green Tank

Realism in a Motorcycle

The Losi Promoto-MX RC motorcycle sets itself apart from every other remote control motorcycle and dirt bike with its scale details, authentic control, and realistic powertrain with disc brakes and chain drive. The gyroscopic force of the flywheel partnered with the new MS6X stabilizing technology from Spektrum deliver the stability of anything on two wheels, all in a 1:4 scale RC dirt bike package.

Something that maybe wasn’t practical to produce at scale until recent years, the Promoto-MX features a firm but flexible model human rider. The head jiggles over the bumps, there’s a bum on the saddle and the protective gear matches the smart livery of the bike, in all three colorful designs. The only thing you’ll miss seeing is the rider standing on the pegs when the going gets rough or the air gets big. Perhaps that’s one area modders can work on as this niche becomes more established. Today more than ever before, the potential for such a mod is there. We have the technology! …Probably!

Losi Promoto-MX Red Bike Stand

Mastering RC Motocross

Maneuvering a motorcross bike around obstacles, carving precise turns on the dirt or popping wheelies over berms are challenging enough on a real bike. When you consider that many RC cars are basically just suspension, steering and motor in a chassis, and then what is involved when you cut the number of wheels in half, making a stable and drivable model seems like a tall order. We know that keeping balance is easy enough for a bike, as long as that rear wheel is spinning. But what about stability in turns and in the air? The Losi Promoto-MX RC motorcycle has the stability you need to perform those stunts and tackle the tight turns thanks to an onboard gyro – but it doesn’t do everything, and has been designed in a way to be complimentary to the drive whilst still leaving enough challenge on the table for it to stay interesting! Working to improve your control and adding new skills to your repertoire should keep you coming back to the bike for more!

Losi Promoto-MX Top-down

Losi Promoto MX Specs


  • Model Scale: 1/4
  • Ground Clearance: 2.9 in (73mm)
  • Product Length: 20.2″ (513 mm)
  • Product Width: 10.8″ (274 mm)
  • Product Height: 17.3″ (439 mm)
  • Product Weight: 123.5oz (3500g)



  • Battery: Sold Separately (or in bundle)
  • Connector Type: IC5


Motor & Gears

  • Drivetrain: 1WD
  • Motor Size: 540
  • Motor Type: 3800kv ‘Smart Brushless’ System
  • Final Drive Ratio: 12.0:1
  • Internal Gear Ratio: 4.8:1
  • Spur Gear: 50T
  • Pinion: 20T
  • Ball Bearings: Full Ball Bearings
  • Gear Pitch: 32P


Wheels & Suspension

  • Suspension: Front Fork, Rising Rate Rear Suspension
  • Shock Type: 16mm Big Bore Aluminum Shock
  • Wheel Width: Front – 1.1 in (28mm), Rear – 1.4 in (36.3mm)
  • Tire Compound: 65S
  • Front Brakes: Cable-Driven Piston/Caliper/Rotor
  • Rear Brakes: Motor Braking
  • Tire Tread: Dunlop Geomax MX53


Chassis & Tech

  • Chassis: 3mm Aluminum Plate
  • Body: Color Molded Panels with Wrap Graphics
  • Speed Control: Included
  • Charger: Sold Separately
  • Receiver: Included
  • Radio: Included
  • Technology: AVC and SMART, MS6X
  • Power Type: Electric
  • Servos: Included
Losi Promoto-MX Red Rider

Coming Soon!

The Losi Promoto-MX will be a game-changer in the world of off-road RC. It seems like one of those products that creates its own niche of vehicle upon release, in the same way the Axial SCX6 did, or the Traxxas TRX6, for example. Its unique design, innovative features, and high-performance capabilities make it a must-have for any RC enthusiast. I understand this model will be broadly available for sale at the end of August 2023. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, the Promoto-MX is sure to provide hours of thrilling off-road racing action. Snap one up when they’re out – I know I will!


Buy here: https://www.horizonhobby.com/losi-promoto-mx-rc-motorcycle/

Photo credit: HorizonHobby.com

Losi Promoto-MX Red & Helmet
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 🙂

SCT – Should You Own One?

SCT – Should You Own One?

RC in History

If you’ve been living under a rock for a few decades, you may not know that the Traxxas Slash SCT is one of the best-selling hobby-grade RC cars of all time. (That is excluding Nikko, Tyco and other toy grade cars). The Traxxas T-Maxx, Associated Electrics RC10 and perhaps a Tamiya Hornet or Grasshopper may give the Slash a run for its money. Whichever the biggest seller may be, most would agree the Slash is a household name in RC at this point.

Following the Traxxas T-Maxx in 2000 which brought big nitro trucking fun to the masses, the 2008 release of the Traxxas Slash was a refinement in many ways. It shaped the modern RC landscape by being tough, fast, fun and extremely durable – and cheaper and simpler than the T-Maxx. It also happened to be an SCT. And, they’re still selling today, 15 years later!

Arrma Senton 3S BLX jump

What’s SCT?

SCT stands for “short course truck,” which is a type of radio-controlled vehicle that is modelled after the full-scale short course racing trucks. Short course racing trucks are purpose-built off-road vehicles that are designed to race on a specific type of track that is typically a combination of dirt, gravel and pavement.

Radio controlled SCTs are typically 2 and 4-wheel drive vehicles that are built with durable materials most commonly of plastic, but also with aluminum and carbon fiber. They typically feature high-quality suspension systems and powerful motors. They are known for their speed and agility, and are capable of reaching high speeds on a variety of surfaces. Some popular RC SCTs include the Team Associated SC10, the Traxxas Slash, the HPI Blitz, and the Losi 22S.

Traxxas Slash 2WD XL5 Chassis

Why a Short Course Truck?

This can be a tough question. We made a video that compares SCT to MT (Monster Truck) and Buggy options. Check that out here:

SCT Durability

Durability is definitely worth considering. Not all RC cars are created equally. Some of the drawbacks of the SCT design are tires wearing the inside of the body, dirt and mud filling the tub chassis common to SCT (but not always – more on that in a moment) and the tendency of an SCT body to catch air in big jumps, destabilizing the vehicle before landing. So, there are some drawbacks.

But, there’s plenty of good to consider with this vehicle type as well. For one thing, the modern SCT is a durable beast. Check this out to get an idea of just how much abuse and punishment a modern RC SCT can take!

Which One?

RC SCTs come in both kit and RTR (Ready-To-Run) packages. They’re popular among RC enthusiasts and hobbyists for their versatility and ability to handle a variety of terrains. They can be used for racing and also for bashing, with the right setup and tuning.

SCT deliver a good balance of speed and durability, making them an exciting option for people who enjoy both off-road and on-road driving. They require some maintenance and care, but with the right setup and tuning, they can provide hours of fun and excitement.

We’ve covered a few on our YouTube channel so far and there are more coming. Here’s a list to consider:

HPI Jumpshot SC V2: https://youtu.be/FNosmI2rwQw

Arrma Senton 3S BLX: https://youtu.be/ybv6i_wLx3Q

Traxxas Slash 4X4 VXL: coming soon!

Awful smaller ones: https://youtu.be/j38Af1kb6J8

Also, check out our Off-Road category on the RC-TNT.com here. Plenty more to think about there too!

Traxxas Slash 2WD XL5
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 🙂

LiPo Batteries: A Quick Primer

LiPo Batteries: A Quick Primer

What Are LiPo Batteries?

LiPo is short for Lithium Polymer. It’s a type of rechargeable battery that is commonly used in radio-controlled (RC) vehicles and other electronic devices, likely including the phone or laptop you may be using to read this article. LiPo batteries are popular due to this battery chemistry’s high energy density, which means they can store a large amount of energy in a small package. LiPo is basically lightweight, packs a punch and is cheap to produce.

There are some downsides to the battery type, which we’ll get to below. The short version is that LiPo is usually the best battery type to use for RC models.


Why Are LiPo Batteries Good?

LiPo batteries have several advantages over other types of batteries that are commonly used in RC vehicles, such as nickel-cadmium (NiCad – not so common anymore) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. They are lightweight, have a higher energy density, and can be shaped to fit into tight spaces. They also have a low self-discharge rate, which means they will retain a charge for a longer period of time when not in use.

LiPo batteries are largely fabulous. I have over 100 of them in my battery storage safe and they’ve transformed the hobby for me, personally. So much portable power in just the right size and capacity? Yes, please! They’re light, power-dense, and flexible in design possibilities. What’s the catch?

Zetros 6x6 with T247

Why Are LiPo Batteries Bad?

Well, I’ve dumbed it down a little, here. LiPo isn’t ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but consequences of mistreatment certainly can be bad. There’s inconvenience and then there’s danger.

Inconvenience first: any kind of lithium cell is best stored at its nominal voltage. For LiPo batteries, that means storing the battery at 3.8v per cell. For a 2-cell battery, that means storing at 7.4v (2x 3.8v). We’ll cover more below, but don’t overlook the question of storage. Many articles and videos do overlook it, and even the quick USB chargers that come with so many models don’t even have a storage charge feature, but it does matter. LiPo batteries don’t like being stored at full or empty charge. They want to be stored at about half charge.

Danger should maybe get its own section, but in short, if a LiPo is damaged or severely overcharged, fire is a possibility. More in the next section…

RGT RC4 with NiMH Battery

Safety and LiPo Batteries

LiPo batteries require special care and handling to ensure their safe and proper use. They can be damaged if overcharged, over-discharged, or exposed to high temperatures. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and use a proper charger to ensure the safe and long-lasting use of these batteries.

Generally speaking, this means you want to store your LiPo batteries using the Storage function of your charger (and get a Storage capable charger as a top priority if you don’t have one already!)

If you need a charger, these are two of my favorites:

Always charge under supervision and use LiPO Safe Bags for charging and storage (pictured below). These fiberglass reinforced bags help contain fire, in the very unlikely event one may occur.

Crawl Course Testing

Charging Safely

The safest way to charge LiPo batteries is to:

  • Use a special charger made for LiPo batteries;
  • Connect the balance lead of the battery to the charger;
  • Use the balance program on the charger;
  • Charge at 1C (at 5A if its a 5000mAh, for example);
  • Use a fire-proof container or surface to charge the battery;
  • Never leave the battery charging unattended. No, really. Be nearby!

By using the balance lead and the balance program on the charger, you can ensure that all the cells in the battery have the same level of charge throughout the charge cycle, preventing dangerous situations due to individual cell overcharging or imbalance. Additionally, only use a charger specifically designed for LiPo batteries like the ones linked above.

Here’s one of the first videos I ever made about LiPos and charging. It’s an older one now, but might be useful for context. The process hasn’t changed!

What Makes a LiPo Battery?

LiPo batteries are typically available in several different configurations, including single cell (1S), two-cell (2S), three-cell (3S), and so on. The voltage of a LiPo battery is determined by the number of cells it has. For example, a single cell LiPo battery has a voltage of 3.7V, while a two-cell (2S) LiPo battery has a voltage of 7.4V, and so on.

As well as cell count (the ‘S’ number), there’s also the discharge potential (or, the ‘C’ number). Discharge is relevant insofar as you need to know the battery can give enough power to your model in any given moment. Consider how little power a phone with a LiPo battery might draw, remembering that this one battery will power the handset all day. The phone will never pull more than maybe a tenth of the total battery capacity in any instant, even under heavy load.

Some RC models have beefy motors and significant overall mass. This can result in the vehicle needing to pull a significant amount of power in an instant, such as under heavy acceleration. Maybe you’re trying to see how fast a car can go? That’s a drag-strip worth of heavy discharge, potentially. The ‘C’ rating helps you determine whether your battery is up to such a task – higher C number means more discharge potential, which is good.

Batteries with XT90 Plugs

C Rating in More Detail

A battery with a C rating of 1C means that it can discharge its entire capacity in one hour, while a battery with a C rating of 2C can discharge its entire capacity in half an hour. Take this further – a C rating of 60 is a theoretical claim that a battery can deliver its entire capacity in a single minute!

LiPo battery cells max out at about 75C. There are ways to get a higher C rating than 75 or so. Some batteries, like the Ovonic we reviewed here, use two parallel cells in the battery for each cell, which is how they can claim 100C, for example. A higher C rating means that the battery can discharge its energy more quickly, which is important for high-performance applications such as RC racing.

Arrma Infraction 6S

What Next?

Here’s a recent article I wrote about one general-purpose LiPo battery which also has more detail about battery history and usage. Check it out!

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 🙂

Traxxas X-Maxx 8S – a Durable Monster!

Traxxas X-Maxx 8S – a Durable Monster!

Meet the Traxxas X-Maxx

Have you ever wondered what the Traxxas X-Maxx can really do? As one of the most popular large-scale remote control (RC) vehicles on the market, the X-Maxx is known for its impressive size and advanced features. But how does this 1/5 scale monster truck perform in a real-world setting?

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Traxxas X-Maxx by putting it through its paces in a bash test, which includes off-road driving and stunt driving. We’ll examine its performance capabilities, features, and any issues that may arise. Are you ready to find out what the Traxxas X-Maxx is really made of? Let’s dive in!

Traxxas X-Maxx 8S Chassis

Prepping to Bash

In preparation for the bash test, we made a few small investments in parts and body preparation to extend the longevity of the Traxxas X-Maxx. Although the X-Maxx is already known for its durability, these upgrades will help it withstand even the toughest driving conditions. To protect the body, we applied heavy-duty tape and Shoe-Goo.

On the chassis, we installed RPM upper and lower A-arms, as well as oversized hub carriers and bearings on the rear. Additionally, we replaced the stock pins with RPM threaded pins to ensure that the A-arms wouldn’t bend apart in the event of a rough landing. By making these upgrades, we’re confident that the Traxxas X-Maxx will perform at its best in the bash test.

Where We’ll Drive

Our bash session will put the Traxxas X-Maxx to the test as we drive it on a variety of terrains. First, we’ll take on a rocky dirt closed circuit that was designed for smaller 1/10 scale vehicles. This will be a real test of the X-Maxx’s handling capabilities, as it will have to maneuver through tight turns and over rough terrain.

Next, we’ll take the X-Maxx out on grass and tackle small jumps to see how well it handles different types of surfaces. After that, we’ll take on large mound jumps with no smooth landing area to see how well the X-Maxx can handle big air. With these diverse terrains, we’ll get a good picture of what this big monster truck can do.

Traxxas X-Maxx 8S Rear

Let’s Go!

In this video, we put the X-Maxx through its paces on all the different terrains mentioned in this article. You’ll see for yourself just how tough and capable this vehicle really is as it navigates through rocky dirt circuits, grass, big air jumps, and urban settings. So, if you’re a fan of remote control vehicles or just want to see what the Traxxas X-Maxx is all about, be sure to check out our video. Durable fun is what this thing is all about!

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 🙂

The Best Battery for RC ?

The Best Battery for RC ?

Ovonic 2S 5800mAh 100C

Today we’re taking a look at Ovonic (or Ampow in USA, CAN and UK markets) lithium polymer batteries. Recently they sent us their latest high performance 2S battery, a soft-cell 5800mAh 100C pack with a 2S2P configuration. They sent two of them, in fact.

Today we’re going to take a close look at these shiny new Ovonic packs. We’ll put them through their paces and evaluate how well they deliver on their spec sheets’ claims. But first, some history and context…


Power Struggle

The highest performance RC models are but shelf queens without a power source. I recall back in the 80s and 90s I used to dream of runtime longer than 7 or 8 minutes. I was stuck with NiCADs with my first RC models – Nickel Cadmium – a battery chemistry that is capable of high discharge but low capacity. That’s not to mention the memory effect, something I’m so pleased we don’t need to worry about anymore!

NiCADs could pack a punch but their power density was low, so they didn’t last long. When they were charged up, though, you really got some fun out of them! They were the best batteries for RC at that time. Still, they left you wanting.

Back to the 80s: the Tamiya Bigwig!

The Next Generation

In the late 90s and through the next decade, we hobbyists were increasingly using NiMH – Nickel Metal Hydride – cells. Racers still used NiCADs for their high discharge capability. But for the rest of us, NiMH packs had a higher power density than NiCAD batteries, but a lower discharge ceiling. In other words, our model runtime improved with the NiMH cells. Also, there was no more memory effect (woohoo!). These were the new best batteries for RC!

The downside was somewhat slower models, as the discharge potential from NiMH is lower than NiCAD and they just couldn’t dump the same instant power into the speed controllers. Still, that extra runtime was a real win.

BRX01 Water Drive

Present Day

The revolution came with the advent of Lithium Polymer batteries – LiPOs! Lithium Ion and LiPO battery packs are similar in that they cannot be discharged completely without suffering internal damage. They also don’t like being full for too long. Importantly, lithium-based batteries need to be balanced across the individual cells inside a given battery pack during charge and discharge process. Many early battery packs did not have a balance lead to help keep this in check, leading to many of the horror stories of people’s garages or houses burning down.

Thankfully, things changed quickly as the market demanded safer options. Batteries came with balance leads and chargers came with balance ports. Now, lithium batteries could be charged and balanced safely. This was huge. These are now the best batteries for RC!

SCX6 Water Splash

Why LiPO is King

Lithium polymer batteries are revolutionary to RC due to their power density that exceeds that of NiMH and their discharge potential that rivals and sometimes exceeds that of NiCAD. With no memory effect and the flexibility to ‘build’ a LiPO cell in 3.7v increments, LiPO batteries deliver the best of both NiCAD and NiMH worlds.

Fast forward to today and there is nearly endless choice of LiPO batteries for our RC models. Although we’ve been at the limit of chemical engineering with regards to power density and associated capacity and discharge potential, not all LiPOs are created equal.

Beast II Comp

What’s In a Battery?

There are three main factors that determine how a LiPO battery will perform. First, you should know that lithium-polymer chemistry has a nominal voltage of 3.7V and a working range of 3.0V to 4.2V (you can go lower or higher than that range but it brings risk of damaging the cell). Here are the three main factors we use to measure LiPO batteries:

  1. Cell count: how many cells a LiPO battery has. The cell count of a battery is denoted with ‘S’. So, a 1S battery will be a LiPO with a single cell. A 2S battery will be a 7.4v battery with a working range of 6v to 8.4v. A 3S battery will be an 11.1v battery with a range of 9v to 12.6v, and so on.
  2. Capacity: how much power does the battery contain? This is measured in milliamp hours, or mAh. More mAh means longer runtime, but also means a bigger physical pack. The smallest LiPO batteries in the RC hobby are 50 to 100mAh 1S batteries that are usually in tiny scale cars and quadcopters. The batteries I use in competition rock crawling are 450mAh to 700mAh, while the pack size commonly used in trail driving and in ‘bashers’ (faster, muck-around buggies and trucks) is typically 4000mAh to 7000mAh.
  3. Discharge potential: also known as a battery’s ‘C rating’, discharge potential is denoted by a number next to ‘C’. The C-rating is a number times the pack’s capacity. For example, a 2000mAh 50C battery should be able to deliver 100 amps, or 50x its 2000mAh capacity.

Performance & Runtime

If you want to run for longer, it’s usually as simple as getting the biggest pack that fits your vehicle. This is with the proviso that the battery’s C-rating is sufficient to meet the power draw of whatever vehicle it’s powering. If this is not the case, you’ll have poor performance at best or a failed battery (sometimes violently so) at worst. Crawlers usually only need a 30C pack, but some high-performance machines might need 50C or better. Bashers and high-performance quadcopters should be given the highest C-rated battery you can afford. This is how you find the best battery for RC for your application.

The runtime a battery can deliver is a function of its capacity and its quality. I’m not a chemist but I have years of experience working with batteries, alongside my hobby pursuits. In my experience I’ve consistently found that a higher C-rated battery will generally last longer in a high-drain application than a low C-rated battery of same rated capacity. As long as your C-rating is sufficient for the vehicle, the only other factor to consider is weight. Bigger batteries weigh more, so there’s a trade-off in performance whether its in the air, on the rocks or on the race track.

Deadbolt Comp

What’s the Best Battery for RC?

This brings us to the focus of today’s article: the new Ovonic 2S 5800mAh 100C LiPO battery. Since you now know what the numbers mean in its label, you may be able to tell that these Ovonic batteries are best suited for bashing or larger trail rigs.

It’s a 2-cell battery, meaning 7.4v nominal. The 5800mAh capacity means it’ll be a long-lasting pack and 100C means it can theoretically deliver 100x its capacity in a moment – 580 amps, in this case. It may not be able to actually meet that level, as I suspect 70C may be about as high as lithium polymer cells can realistically deliver, but nonetheless, 100C means it should be about as high quality as this battery chemistry allows.

Does this battery actually deliver on those specs? Is it the best battery for RC bashing and trail driving? We put it to the test to find out. Check out our video below and if you’re interested in trying one of these for yourself, you can buy it here.

A spoiler: I really like these batteries and will personally be using more Ovonic LiPOs in future. These have been perfect. Our thanks to Ovonic for supplying them for review – knowing how good they are, I’m going to buy more!

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 🙂

Team Associated MT10 Rival 1/10 RTR Monster Truck

Team Associated MT10 Rival 1/10 RTR Monster Truck

MT10 Rival

The Team Associated MT10 Rival is a budget option in big-name bashing. It’s a 1/10 scale 4×4 brushless monster truck that’s ready to go out of the box. We’ve heard good things about it and decided we should really test it out!

MT10 Berm Jump

Out With the Old

Story time! Back in 2012 we ordered a Traxxas Stampede VXL 4X4 RTR. It had similar specifications and overall dimensions to the MT10 Rival and accounting for inflation, was about 20% more expensive. It had a number of issues that needed sorting before it could be bashed with any level of severity beyond yard running. The truck flipped over a lot and the tires were not great. We put over $1000 into strength and handling upgrades (build log archived here) and eventually it was reasonably reliable and a lot of fun.

Stampede VXL Jump

Credit: sandman77, AusRC forums

In With the New

What a difference a decade makes! Many of the things we changed on the Stampede are included out of the box with the MT10 Rival. The tires are excellent, there are front and rear anti-roll (or sway) bars and there are even lights, both front and rear. There is a mesh cover to keep stones and dust out of the bucket chassis and there is a hard cover over the drive-shaft so wires don’t get twisted and ripped off – and it keeps the stones out from grinding through the shaft, too!

A Paradigm Shift

Probably the biggest improvement in the MT10 Rival over the Stampede VXL is something that we were not ever able to mod into ours: a center differential. This extra level of tuning and performance is what takes the MT10 Rival to the level of bigger, more expensive jump and bash trucks. Combine this with the low weight and flexible plastics used throughout the vehicle and you have an exceptionally durable, low-maintenance and high-performance monster truck.

We can’t really over-emphasise how big this is in RC: there are not many vehicles in any category of the hobby that give you all three of Cheap, Durable and Fast. The MT10 Rival may just be that elusive unicorn!

MT10 Rival Features

  • 2.4GHz 2-channel radio system
  • High-Torque digital servo with spring-style servo saver
  • Powerful Reedy 3300kV 4-pole brushless motor
  • Water-resistant high-power Reedy brushless speed control with T-plug connector and LiPo low-voltage cutoff
  • Three sealed gear differentials
  • 12mm hex wheels inspired by Method Race Wheels
  • Threaded, oil-filled, coil-over shock absorbers
  • 4mm heavy-duty adjustable steel turnbuckles
  • Durable slider-type drive shafts
  • Factory-finished RIVAL monster-truck-inspired style body
  • High-traction, all-terrain tires
  • Steel center drive shaft
  • Rugged, adjustable wheelie bar with LEDs
  • Four-wheel independent suspension
  • Durable, impact-absorbing front bumper with LEDs

MT10 Rival Specs

  • Length: 507mm (19.96in)
  • Width: 325mm (12.8in)
  • Wheelbase: 285mm (11.22in)
  • Weight: 2850g (6.28lbs)
  • Internal Gear Ratio: 2.85:1
MT10 Wheelie Bar
MT10 Rival Chassis Rear
MT10 Method Wheels
MT10 Rival Chassis Front

Our Test Drive

We cracked ours out of the box and got it immediately onto the skate park. The MT10 Rival never had a chance to do any tame driving; we had ours headed for the clouds straight away! The radio is comfy to use and getting the truck set up is easy. There is a T-connector on the ESC and it takes 2S and 3S power. We used 2S in our testing but will return to the skate park with 3S soon.

The vehicle was plenty fast and the suspension perfectly tuned to handle big air. It’s a lightweight truck and jumps well. The turning circle is rather massive – one of just two things we’d like to change on this machine. It’s forgivable given the price and otherwise stellar performance, but it would have been nice to have a tighter turning circle.

MT10 RTR Package

Air Authority

The other shortcoming concerns flight! That is, when the vehicle is not on the ground at all. When your truck is in the air, you can brake to drop the nose or accelerate to raise it. You can not only ensure you land on the wheels most of the time, but with practice, you can pull off various forward- and back-flips, all with the use of your throttle input. This is what we call ‘air authority’ in relation to controlling the vehicle in the air after a big jump.

The MT10 Rival is 4WD and has big monster truck wheels and tires. This should be a recipe for decent air authority – but this seems to be the one area the MT10 doesn’t quite deliver. Braking to drop the nose was reliably good, but we often found we couldn’t bring the nose up. It just didn’t have the power to generate the sudden wheel speed needed to raise the nose on many jumps.

There are two ways to address this: one is to put heavier wheels and tires on, such as the Pro-Line Trenchers we used on our old Stampede. Those tires weigh a lot more and it gives you ALL the air authority! But with such heavy wheels you then start breaking drive shafts. The better and simpler way will be to go to 3S (12V) instead of 2S (8V). This should have the desired effect. We’ll post the follow-up video here when it’s done.

Final Thoughts

The 3300kv motor is a perfect size for this size and weight of vehicle. There’s plenty of punch on tap and battery life is quite reasonable too. The MT10 Rival is easy to drive, takes bad landings and other abuse very well and looks great doing it. We heartily recommend this as a budget, big-name, durable basher. Go grab one, you won’t be disappointed!


Manufacturer’s page: https://www.associatedelectrics.com/teamassociated/cars_and_trucks/RIVAL_MT10/RTR/

MT10 Front-Under
MT10 Chassis Uncovered
MT10 Rear-Under
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 🙂

Traxxas Bandit XL-5 Buggy

Traxxas Bandit XL-5 Buggy

We take a close look at the Traxxas Bandit XL-5 1/10 Scale, 2WD, Ready-To-Race RC Buggy (Traxxas models 24054-4 & 24054-1).

Where It All Began

The Traxxas Bandit has been a household name for RC bashers and entry level racers for decades. Punting an RC car off the curve and up the street is almost a rite of passage for the RC enthusiast of the Western world. For years, RC drivers have been enjoying their short course trucks, stadium trucks, monster trucks, road cars and of course, buggies! On the street is where it often starts, and on the track is where things get interesting.

In 1995, Traxxas released a model that would be on store shelves for decades under the same name and with a similar overall build. That model was the Traxxas Bandit 2WD Buggy.

Changing With the Times

The original Traxxas Bandit had a Stinger 540 motor with 26mph (or 42km/h) top speed on a 7-cell battery. It used the same Magnum 272 transmission found in other Traxxas machines, such as the Slash and the Rustler. There were common parts over these models too, though the Bandit was always the narrow option and very light in the nose.

Over the years, the Magnum 272 planetary transmission has remained. The transmission has been updated to a tougher variant that uses real ball bearings and stronger gears. The Titan 12-turn motor is now a bigger 550 unit than the 540 Stinger – and there’s even a brushless Bandit variant. Plastics and links have changed over the years as well, and there are still shared components across the Slash, Rustler and Stampede 2WD platforms. Even with the updates, the Traxxas Bandit is still a solid and reliable buggy that’s at home bashing in the backyard and still a cheap starter platform for grassroots dirt track racing.

Blue Bandit

The Modern Traxxas Bandit

Traxxas claims a top speed of 35mph (or 56km/h) for the current brushed model. This is with an optional 31-tooth pinion and 8.4v NiMH battery. You can mod nearly any rig to be a straight-line champ, but the Bandit is not a speed-running beast. Its big suspension hints at its dirt track roots,

With the included 21-tooth pinion, you can expect a maximum speed of 23mph (or 38km/h). This may sound slow, but in the context of a RWD buggy to be used on gravel and dirt short courses with many turns and a few jumps, acceleration may actually be the greater concern. Again, this is not a racing buggy so much as a fun machine, so the maximum speed feels about right. Courses with long straights will certainly make the Bandit seem slow, but on tighter courses it may actually be rare to have the throttle completely open.

Jumping Red Bandit

Bandit XL-5 Variants

Firstly, there are two variants available of the Traxxas Bandit XL-5:

  1. Model 24054-4: Fully assembled, waterproof, Ready-To-Race®, with TQ™ 2.4GHz radio system, XL-5 Electronic Speed Control, and ProGraphix® painted body; and,
  2. MODEL 24054-1: Fully assembled, waterproof, Ready-To-Race®, with TQ™ 2.4GHz radio system, XL-5® Electronic Speed Control, 4V NiMH 3000 mAh Power Cell™ battery, 4-amp DC Peak Detecting Fast Charger, and ProGraphix® painted body.

Our unit was the 24054-1, which includes the 4-amp DC charger and a 7-cell 8.4v 3000mAh NiMH battery. For both models, you need to supply your own AA batteries for the transmitter (x4), but everything else needed to run is included on the -1 variant.

Bandit 3-4 Chassis

Vehicle Specs

The Traxxas Bandit XL-5 is 16.25” (or 413mm) long and 9.84” (or 250mm) wide. The vehicle chassis itself is quite narrow, so the width here is also its track width, front and rear. It’s a low vehicle, at 7” (or 178mm) tall, excluding antenna pole. Vehicle wheelbase is 11.25” (or 286mm) and it weighs 48oz (or 1.36kg), excluding battery. Find the full Bandit specs page here.

Bandit Specs

Traxxas XL-5 ESC

The Traxxas XL-5 Electronic Speed Control (ESC) powers the motor and the electronics. It handles 4-7 cell NiMH and 2-cell LiPO batteries. It has a built-in Battery Eliminator Circuit (BEC) that outputs 6v 1A. Read more about the ESC here.

The ESC features Low Voltage Cutoff (LVC) for LiPO batteries. It is easily toggled between NiMH and LiPO profiles with a 3-second hold of the button after turning it on. Red is NiMH, green for LiPO. Simple! The ESC also features a 50% power limiter for young and new drivers who need a lower top-speed whilst learning to drive smoothly.

XL-5 & Titan 12T 550

Traxxas Titan 12T 550 Motor

A 550 motor has greater torque than an equivalent 540 unit, though it has marginally lower acceleration. It can handle greater current without the heat of a 540 of same spec and its well-suited to the Bandit. Full throttle with a full battery gives plenty of speed.

Both the motor and the ESC become hot with hard use, but not so much that they are damaged. The electronics should stand up to extended use in all conditions – though mud in the motor will lead to premature failure. A garden hose to wash out the motor after especially muddy runs is usually a good idea!

Red Bandit Dust

Traxxas TQ Radio System

The radio is the Traxxas TQ 2.4GHz 2-channel transmitter. The receiver is the Traxxas TQ 3-channel micro unit (#6519). Traxxas #2056 High Torque Waterproof servo handles the steering and the Traxxas Titan 12T 550 motor drives the buggy.

The radio receiver is safely enclosed within a waterproof receiver box and the entire model can be driven in the wet. The only thing to worry about is the radio transmitter getting wet if you’re in the rain. A plastic bag over the transmitter and wrapped around your hand is a quick and easy way to protect it. You can steer through the bag with your other hand and everything stays dry.

TQ 24GHz 2ch

Traxxas #2056 Servo

Rounding out the electronics is the Traxxas #2056 High-Torque Waterproof steering servo. We’ve had probably a dozen of these servos in various models here over the last decade. They’re plastic geared but quite tough and reliably waterproof. The #2056 servo runs at 6v.

Though not hugely fast nor strong compared to the nicer options after-market, for a stock servo it’s a fine choice for the Bandit. It doesn’t have to be as strong as it is, with 80-oz of torque, but it could use a little more speed. The #2056 is a good choice for the Bandit and the servo is easily upgraded if you so desire.

Traxxas 2056 Servo


The Traxxas #2056 servo manipulates a bell-crank system for steering. Bump steer is minimised and angles are optimised for accurate control on both wheels. The steering parts are a mix of stainless-steel links and nylon arms – the bell-crank itself is nylon, with two bearings within the central shaft. The whole system is protected with an integrated shield in the chassis on the top side, and the tub chassis’ base and sides keeping stones and debris out underneath.

It works well enough and there’s room to fit upgraded servos if greater speed is needed. The torque at least is sufficient with the stock unit, particularly given the small size of the undriven front wheels on the Bandit. The system works well and there’s a good amount of flex to handle those nasty, heavy landings. Our unit took several wheel-first hits and seems none the worse for it, so it’s a Pass from us!

Bandit Bell-crank

Bandit Wheels & Tires

The Bandit rides on mirror-chromed 2.2″ Tracer™ five-spoke wheels with pre-glued tires and foam inserts. The rear tires have step-pin tread and the fronts are ribbed. The wheels accept a wide array of accessory tires including the Traxxas Anaconda® 2.2″ street tires for Bandit and other buggies.

We found the rears hooked up nicely on gravel and dirt. The fronts provided ample steering as long as the buggy wasn’t under acceleration. Buggies tend to lift the nose, being so light up-front, so you need to come off the throttle to steer. The wheels’ chrome finish chipped quickly and looked ratty after just a few runs. The front tires came unglued from the wheels in an equally short time – were they glued in the first place? Maybe not – it isn’t hard to rectify this, in any case. A quick clean and then a few drops of super glue on the rim and the tires will stay put.

Bandit Wheels Tires

Body and Wing

Polycarbonate plastic comprises the Bandit body. The rear wing is also made of this light and flexible material. It looks great, but we’ve gotta wonder whether that wing will be destroyed prematurely with a few bad landings. Many other makes of vehicle use an ABS plastic or flexible Delrin for exposed pieces like a rear wing. The Bandit’s polycarbonate wing seems positively flimsy in comparison.

That said, over three batteries we landed on the wing maybe 7 or 8 times (I know, I know – practice needed!!). The wing has some dents and marks on it and the paint is chipping. However, it’s still largely intact. The wing is tougher than it looks and though it won’t last forever, it’s not the terrible design decision it may first seem to be!

Blue Bandit 3Qtr

Diff and Transmission

The transmission goes by the same name of the original: Magnum 272. It employs 48-pitch gears and is ready for brushless without needing further upgrades. This is a nice touch! The spur gear is nylon, quite normal for this type of implementation. If you ever have to move the motor to clean or service things, or replace the pinion, be sure to set your gear mesh as finely as possible. 48-pitch gears have less tolerance for excess gaps, so stripping the spur gear is a likely outcome if not done correctly!

That said, as long as things are done right, the gears will serve you well for a long time. The gears other than the spur are of hardened steel and the transmission uses sealed ball bearings throughout. The transmission also features a slipper clutch that is adjustable in the usual way, with a locknut over a spring to set pad tension.

The diff is a planetary unit comprising multiple parts. There is a set of 4 hardened steel gears internally, plus a hardened steel outdrive on both sides from the centre. The diff casing is nylon and then the ring gear is also hardened steel. The diff is tough and though the steel gears will mean more noise than plastic gears would ever come close to making, the trade-off with longevity should be easily worth it. We’d expect this diff to outlast most motor configurations, brushless included. It’s a properly solid unit.

Motor Mount

The motor mount completes the transmission seal, keeping out dirt and debris whilst also keeping the motor cool. The cooling channels work in conjunction with the internal fan in the Titan 550 motor to help keep the temps down.

Bandit Motor Mount

Drive Shafts

The Bandit employs plastic, telescoping driveshafts. They are the same type that are used on both the XL-5 (brushed) and VXL (brushless) vehicles across the Bandit, Rustler, Slash and Stampede range. Under bigger power systems, these tend to break after fatiguing from torque. However, with the lower power from the brushed systems, they should last the life of the vehicle in many cases.

You should be aware that if a rock gets caught between the arms and the shafts, the rock can grind away at the shaft plastic until it snaps clean through. Ours has already begun to do this after just three battery packs. There are metal shafts readily available from a variety of sources.

Bandit Driveshafts

Battery and Chassis Layout

The battery bay on this chassis can fit anything up to about 6500mAh 2S LiPO, or a 7-cell NiMH pack – including most ‘hump’ packs. There’s plenty of vertical room for fatter, shorter packs as well. Battery retention relies on the battery being long enough to fit under the ESC at one end and under the battery clip at the other, so if you have a shorter pack you may need to get creative with securing it. In any case, the space is generous and the supplied battery with our unit was snug and secure.

The ESC is lightweight, so it isn’t a big deal for center of gravity to have it sitting above the battery. The motor sits low in the rear at just above axle height and the steering servo is low and forward near the front axle line. The underside of the chassis is mostly flat and the buggy is overall quite streamlined. It’s an attractive machine in either the red or blue finish.

Bandit Chassis


In stock form, the suspension seems best suited to very smooth dirt tracks with long sweeping jumps and turns rather than heavy landings and uneven terrain. Thankfully, it isn’t hard to adjust the setup to suit your driving and course conditions.

Traxxas supplies the Bandit with oil-filled Ultra Shocks. These use a dual x-ring design and are customizable with various springs and pistons available for purchase. The shocks can also accept spacers for the coil-over springs for spring pre-load tensioning and ride height adjustments. Rebuild kits are available from Traxxas.

The springs are the white, powder-coated race coils from Traxxas. They’re a single-stage unit and are balanced nicely for the weight and intended use of this vehicle. We found adding larger spacers in front really helped with big landings, whilst replacing the stock oil in the rear shocks with 50 wt. fluid helped slow the heavy end down a bit over bumpy terrain.

How’s It Drive?

Perhaps this is answered best on our review video, which focuses heavily on handling and durability. In a word, the Bandit is fun to drive. It jumps well and once you’ve mentally adjusted to a buggy driving style, it’s quite satisfying to work on smoothing out your inputs and enjoying the improvements in lap times. For general bashing duties, impacts could be a problem with those exposed front wheels, but a nice wide bumper from RPM would help protect the vehicle.

Blue Bandit Accelerating

Will It Last?

If you can accept some repairs and maintenance come with operating an RC car on rough terrain at speed, then yes, the Traxxas Bandit will last a good long time. Just be prepared to replace the rear wing and for the wheels to chip and look pretty bad pretty quickly. The rear tires will wear down but there are many options for buggy tires on all sorts of surfaces, so there’s no issue there. The motor will eventually burn out too, but this is cheaply replaced.

Our unit had a control arm failure on the rear left just two batteries in. The screw popped out and the plastic thread was ruined. We had to replace with a slightly larger screw to get the arm back on. Wasn’t a complex fix, but it was a breakage. We cover this in our video review below, too.

Is It Fun?

The current generation of Traxxas Bandit XL-5 is fun and handles well. It’s not a pure race machine, but for the price you can expect a solid starting point if you want to build a budget buggy for local comp meets. For a basher, it’s a light to moderate duty fun machine that will benefit from mechanical sympathy and regular maintenance. The Bandit is a stalwart of the RC off-road hobby and its value proposition for a fun and simple dirt blaster is hard to beat. We’re gonna enjoy running and upgrading ours over the coming summer! Recommended.

More Info

See the manufacturer’s page for the Bandit here.

Find parts and hop-ups here (affiliate link helps support us at no extra cost to you! Thank you for your support!).

If you’re interested in RC crawlers or construction equipment and vehicles, you might want to check out our Reviews section and our YouTube channel.


Red Bandit Profile
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 🙂