CEN Racing Colossus XT Review
The CEN Racing Colossus XT is a giant brushless powered monster truck. Pretty much every single one of those words means “Time to Bash!!!” to us. At BigSquidRC, one of our main jobs is to review product, needless to say we were pretty stoked to give the Colossus a go. We’ve been jumping, crashing, mudding, rock crawling, trail driving, and busting out laps with our test truck to see exactly how it stacks up against the competition. What we did we find out? Keep on reading for the scoop…
Review By: Cubby
Photography By: Tim Mohr
RTR or Kit: RTR
2wd or 4wd: 4wd
Shaft or Belt: Shaft
Electric or Gas: Electric
Motor: Sensorless 1450kV
Speed Controller: HobbyWing 150 amp
Low Voltage Cut-off: Yes
Radio: Skyion Mod-3S 2.4GHz
Differential: 3 gear style diffs
Slipper Clutch: No
Driveshafts: Metal bones and CVDs
Shocks: Metal bodies, plastic caps, oil filled
Servo Saver: In steering rack
Screws: Metric, hex
Tires: CEN Genesis
Battery: Not included
Part Number: #CEG9519
Warranty: “CEN Racing warrants that the Colossus XT will be free from original factory defects in material and workmanship upon purchase”
Front wheel travel: 2.25″
Rear wheel travel: 2.7″
Wheelie on demand: No, center diff
Backflip off ramps: Yes
Stability Control: No
Sound Module: No
Top Speed (measured by BSRC on 6S): 46 mph
Runtime (measured by BSRC on 6S 5400): 19 minutes
Street Price: $649
Primary Competition: The Colossus goes up against big monster trucks, with its primary competition being the Traxxas X-Maxx.
What’s Needed To Complete: Not much. To get the CEN up and running you’ll need 4 to 6S worth of LiPo power and a battery charger.
Build Quality: Out of the box we didn’t find many issues with the assembly of the CEN. In fact, the only thing we found was that two of the shocks were slightly low on oil.
Test Drivers: Iron Mikeee, Hawaiian Chris, The RC Kid, T-Mohr, and yours truly.
Test Venues: We got to run the CEN at a number of different locations. For track use we ran at an 1/8th scale outdoor track call RC Outlaws in Collinsville Illinois. For hardcore bashing we drove at the RC Freaks Bash Park in Fenton Missouri. For on-road testing we used the parking lot of our local Costco and for general bashing we used Minnie Ha Ha Park in Fenton Missouri.
Set-up Notes: Like we do with all our test vehicles, we ran the CEN bone stock. For power we opted for a pair of 3S Duratrax 5400 LiPo batteries wired in series and charging duties were taken care of by a Hitec Power Peak D7.
Turning: So just how does the CEN turn? It turns fine for bashing use. It isn’t an excellent turner, but for backyard bashing, it turns well enough to have fun. Overall, the CEN has a lot of chassis lean and its tires have little in the way of side-bite. The CEN turns best on loamy surfaces, but tends to have its rear end slide around on hard ground.
Jumping: In a single word, the CEN jumps very “predictably”. The large size of the truck, combined with a center diff, allow it to generally fly quite flat in the air. When you do need to make minor in-air corrections, they are easily accomplished with the throttle or brake and they are not over emphasized like on a non-center diff style truck. The CEN did an outstanding job of ignoring rain ruts and chunked out spots on the faces of jumps. The truck did exhibit one downside when jumping, that was landing. Both the springs and damping on the shocks are too soft, making every landing seem harsh.
Bumps/Whoops: Once again the massive form factor of the Colossus helps it do things that “normal” sized monster trucks simply can’t do. We drove the CEN in several areas with dirt that was freshly turned over, meaning lots of large dirt clods, and it did a great job of going right over (or through!) them. Areas that would be extremely hard to navigate with a 1/8th scale MT were easily blasted over with the CEN. However, the truck could have been even better with slightly heavier springs and shock oil. The heavier shocks would reduce some of the truck’s excessive bounce when pounding through the gnarly stuff.
On-Road: The Colossus was definitely not made for on-road use, but we had a great time pounding the pavement with it. It didn’t traction roll as much as we expected and its power system had plenty of yank on long straightaways.
Grass: A beast, that was what the Colossus was like when driving in grass. Huge tires, coupled with big time power, got our test truck through grass like a champ. While some people never drive on grass, for others it is the only thing they drive on. If you are one of those people who only drive in the backyard or in grass at a local park, the Colossus will do you well. And yes, the Colossus can easy handle grass that stops smaller MTs dead in their tracks.
Tires: We were not big fans of the stock tires. Their chevron style tread design did great for forward bite in loamy dirt, but not so well on hard packed dirt or pavement. Their low profile design also tended to give the truck a rougher ride and they offered very little in the way of side bite.
Power: Yes, the Colossus has a lot of power, but it is delivered in an odd way. For example, when you absolutely crush the trigger from a dead stop in an attempt to do a standing backflip, you don’t get a crazy surge of power right off the bottom. The truck’s low end power is extremely soft, making it hard to pull wheelies, but it sure does help make the truck easy to drive. During testing we got to drive side-by-side with a number of other 6S powered monster trucks. While the other guys were busy flipping over backwards or trying to control their trucks, the CEN was busy putting power to the ground and catching bigger air because of it. The mid-range is where the CEN’s power system really starts to kick in, then it has more power on top than its tires can handle. Our speed runs were not limited by power, but instead by the truck’s tires turning into pizza cutters.
Also of note in the power department, while we never tested in temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, the temps on the speedo and motor were both extremely reasonable. The motor never broke 140 degrees, while the speedo was even cooler, never getting above 115. Taking off from a dead stop we never noticed any cogging, but we did find the brakes to be really soft with the stock settings.
Radio: Ya know, not one of our testers even mentioned the transmitter, which is a good thing. While the radio is a very basic RTR unit, we found setting the steering trim to be quite simple and none of our guys complained about its ergonomics. It has a very base look to it, but it certainly works well enough for average bashing. Personally I was not a fan of its rubber covered wheel, but liked its trigger that had serrations on the flesh side.
Broken Parts: Nope, we aren’t going to beat around the bush here, we found the Colossus to be extremely tough. Like… tough enough that people would come over to ask us what kind of truck we were beating on that would not break. Yes, we drove the truck like we had just escaped the local mental hospital and it held up much better than we expected for a truck of its size. We did have a minor issue early in testing, one of the wheel nuts back off, but luckily we caught it before the wheel could get stripped out. Later in testing, when we were intentionally trying to destroy it, it just kept on truck’n. Finally, after all sorts of lunacy, we managed to blow the center diff (of all things), but overall we were super impressed with how tough the Colossus actually was.
Here we are folks, the best part of any review, the “misc notes” sections. We will start it off with a word about the CEN’s manual. The truck comes with a nice paper manual that is very easy to read or to get part numbers.
We found the CEN to be hard to drive at high speeds. Part of the problem was its tires going into full-on pizza cutter mode, while the other issue was its servo. The CEN tended to drift all over the place after you hit 40’ish MPH, making it hard to truly see what its top speed is.
Out of the box we didn’t notice our test truck diff’ing out much from its center diff. In fact, we felt like the center diff was set up just about right straight out of the box.
If you read the “broken parts” section of this review, you would know that one of the wheel nuts on our truck came loose. Normally, that isn’t a big dealio, but we were only packing a 1/8th scale wheel wrench, not one for a 1/5th scale.
While not small in the grand scheme of things, we felt the truck looked a bit on the narrow side. A bit of additional width would have also helped its handling.
The stock servo is a Savox unit that is on the weak side. At a dead stop the servo will barely move the wheels at all, thankfully once you get moving it generally has enough power to get the wheels turned where you need them.
Initially we thought the servo saver was too weak, but upon further inspection we found ours to be adjusted as firm as it would go, and it wasn’t really working at all.
Long body posts were cool years ago, not so much now days. Our test truck came with body posts that were wayyyy too long and had not been trimmed at the factory. The long post will make it easy to mount different bodies in the future, but look weird on a modern truck.
Speaking of that body, the front tires rub on it when turning. You’ve all heard that sound before, thankfully a set of Lexan scissors and 2 minutes of your time can cure the problem.
While doing our unboxing, we found the body to be extremely thin. We thought that there was no way it would hold up more than a pack or two. We were wrong, even though the body is quite thin, ours held up better than expected.
The stock battery tray isn’t much of a tray at all. A pair of velcro loops are used to hold in your battery, and not much more. Actually, if you are using a single 4 or 6S pack, it works OK, but when you use a pair of packs like we did, one pack is always sliding loose on hard landings.
The truck comes stock with XT90 connectors. If you have packs with that style of connector you are dialed, otherwise, plan on buying an adapter or doing some soldering.
While “stunt trucks” are all the rage right now, the Colossus is literally the other end of the spectrum. Where stunt trucks love to wheelie and backflip, the Colossus is all about stability and being easy to drive.
Just how big is the Colossus? Well, it is substantially larger than a normal 1/8th scale monster truck, but slightly smaller than a Traxxas X-Maxx. The X-Maxx has slightly larger tires, has a slightly longer wheelbase, and is about 2″ wider. Still, it is a monsterous sized beast.
Don’t plan on just popping a set of your 8th scale MT tires on the Colossus, it uses a larger sized wheel hex.
Best Mod: In our opinion, the best bang for the buck you can do is to install a high end servo. A more powerful servo will make a huge improvement in the way the truck turns and drives.
A = Outstanding/Best in Class, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Horrific
Time To Bash: B We had no issues getting our test truck up and running. We charged up a battery, popped some double As into the transmitter, and we were jamming.
Workability: B Twin spar frames are great for strength, but can make things harder to wrench on. The twin spar on the CEN just happens to be very open, making it one of the easiest twin spar trucks to work on that we’ve ever tried.
Car Show Rating: C Most of our testers liked how the truck looked, but it comes with a rather old school body and its low-pro tires/huge wheels don’t have a proper monster truck look.
Bash-A-Bility: B We were very impressed with how well the Colossus held up. Typically really big trucks like to break, but not the CEN, ours soaked up all sorts of stupidity before finally breaking.
Fun Factor: A The combination of the CEN’s size and durability just kept on putting a huge smile on our test driver’s faces.
Handling: B Out of the box the big ole’ Colossus is a decent handling machine, but is a better servo and heavier shock rates away from being a great handling truck.
Value: B At $649 our entire test crew thought that the CEN brought a whole lot of bash truck to the plate.
Parts Availability: C Nope, you aren’t going to find a lot of CEN parts hanging off the pegs at your LHS, but we did an extensive on-line search and found that parts are easily available. They are also very reasonably priced. For example, lower arms are just $5.
BigSquid Rating: B We are big fans of the CEN Racing Colossus XT. Why? Because its size allows it to do things that a smaller 1/8th scale MT simple can not. The Colossus also won us over with its incredibly durability. While not perfect, the CEN Colossus XT is a true bashing beast that provided us with hours of fun.