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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 🙂