ECX AMP MT RTR Monster Truck Review
With a shockingly low street price, you just have to wonder how good the AMP line of RTR vehicles from ECX RC (Horizon Hobby) can be. I mean, they are street priced at just $129, while their list of features hasn’t been diminished as much as you would expect to make the price point. We’ve been driving the ECX AMP MT Monster Truck like we stole it for several weeks now, read below to find out if it is worth your hard earned cash…
Review By: Cubby
Photography By: Tim Mohr
RTR or Kit: RTR
2wd or 4wd: 2wd
Electric or Gas: Electric
Motor: Brushed 540 20 turn
Speed Controller: 2-N-1 with receiver
Stability Control: No
Sound Module: No
Differential: Gear type
Slipper Clutch: Yes indeed
Driveshafts: Plastic sliders
Shocks: Plastic bodies, oil filled
Servo Saver: Yes, in the steering rack
Spur/Pinion Pitch: 48 pitch
Bearings: Yes, except for steering rack
Battery: Dynamite 7.2V 1800mAh NiMH
Part Number: #ECX03028T1
Warranty: “free from defects in materials and workmanship at the date of purchase”
Front wheel travel: 2.0″
Rear wheel travel: 2.1″
Wheelie on demand: No
Backflip off ramps: No
Top Speed (measured by BSRC on stock pack): 21 mph
Runtime (measured by BSRC on stock pack): 17 minutes
Street Price: $129
Primary Competition: So… while dubbed a “monster truck” the AMP MT is really closer to a “stadium truck” in our opinion. Any which way, its competition would include trucks like the ARRMA Vorteks and the ECX Circuit.
What’s Needed To Complete: Not much at all, just 4 AA batteries for its transmitter. A NiMH battery and charger come standard to power the truck.
Build Quality: We found nothing wrong with the AMP MT out of the box. The shocks were properly filled, the gear mesh was good, and all the bolts seemed properly tightened.
Test Drivers: Hawaiian Chris, Robbie G., Iron Mikeee, T-Man, The RC Kid, and yours truly.
Test Venues: St Louis Dirtburners 8th scale outdoor track, Minnie Ha Ha Park, a CostCo parking lot, and a city park in Arnold Missouri.
Set-up Notes: We didn’t change any settings on the truck and ran the included battery about half the time (we ran a Kinexsis 2S LiPo the rest). The stock charger was ditched in favor of an iCharger 308.
Turning: On lower grip surfaces like dusty hardpacked dirt and on slick pavement, the AMP MT exhibited a bit of understeer. On loamier surfaces, where its tires could really bite in, it had fairly neutral steering. On every surface its steering servo was on the slow side, which made the truck easy to drive for noobs, but made it feel lethargic to experienced drivers.
Jumping: While the AMP MT tends to fly level, take offs and landings are a bit rough thanks to its foamless tires. Stomping on the brake will bring the nose down easily enough, but there isn’t enough zip on tap to bring the nose up via standing on the throttle.
Bumps/Whoops: Here is where not having any foam in the tires really comes back to haunt the truck, it bounces a LOT in the rough. While its shocks have decent springs rates and damping, you never know quite which way the AMP MT is gonna bounce when hitting a rain rut or braking bump.
On-Road: Nothing terribly bad to report here. It tends to understeer when driven on-road and its slow servo keeps it from making quick direction changes, but the AMP MT gets along “ok” on pavement.
Grass: While not big on power and only 2wd, the AMP MT gets around just fine in short grass. Its aggressive tires do a good job of keeping the truck going forward until the grass hits 2″ or so in length.
Tires: The tires have an aggressive tread that works well on a wide variety of surfaces. Their downside is that they don’t come with any foam inside. Still, they gave better grip than we expected from a non-foamed tire, especially in loamy conditions.
Power: No, the stock brushed system and NiMH battery are not going to blow you away with power. Power is soft off the bottom, mild through the mid-range, and it signs off early on the top end. While there is enough power to have fun with, especially for noobs, you more experienced hobbyists are going to want to gear up a bit and switch over to a LiPo for more raw power. On LiPo there is instantly more yank off the bottom with a few more MPH up top.
Radio: While the stock radio won’t win any beauty contests, we didn’t have any problems with it. Range was long enough (around 275 foot radius) for all the normal bashing we were doing and we never experienced any glitching. None of our test drivers were a fan of its ergonomics.
Broken Parts: Like its brother the AMP DB, the MT is a freak’n legit beast. We absolutely drove it like we stole it and gave it a HOF beating, with virtually zero broken parts. We let first day noobs bounce it off the pipes at the local track and we let our pro driver guy do a pair 2 story roof hucks. All that punishment resulted in zero broken parts. Eventually we were able to strip out a spur gear, but overall the AMP MT goes into our Bash-A-Bility Hall of Fame.
As noted above, we consider the AMP MT closer to a stadium truck than a true monster truck. Its tires are roughly the size that you would find on a 10th scale ST, quite a bit smaller than on a 1/10th MT.
Unusual for a RTR, we found that the motor ran quite cool. We were able to add 2 teeth to the pinion without a crazy spike in motor temp. The extra two teeth reduced the runtime somewhat, but gave the truck enough added top end speed to get over jumps that we simply could not make with stock gearing.
Our test truck got quite a few dunks in local mud holes with zero issues afterwards.
We are not fans of the owner’s manual that came with the truck. It is hard to find the English portion and lacks an exploded parts diagram.
While it is nice that the truck comes with bearings, they don’t seem to be of very high quality.
We were not feeling any love for the 2-N-1 Speedo/Receiver unit. The combined unit makes it harder and more expensive to upgrade later.
We liked how easy it was to turn the dual rate knob on the radio to back down the power before handing off the truck to noobies.
Now remember, that the ECX Amp Speed Controller (ESC) does NOT have a low voltage cut-off for LiPo batteries, so if you decide to run LiPo, you are doing it with the risk of frying your battery if you are not careful.
Best Mods: 1. LiPo battery, 2. tires with foam inside, and 3. a better steering servo.
A = Outstanding/Best in Class, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Horrific
Time To Bash: B If you skip the slow wall charger that the AMP MT comes with, the truck is quick and easy to get going.
Workability: B Not that we really ever had to work on the AMP MT, but when we did start doing some tuning we found it really easy to work on. If it just came with hex hardware it would have had an A in this category.
Car Show Rating: C While our test crew loved how the wheels & tires looked, they mostly were not big fans of the soft curves used on its body.
Bash-A-Bility: A EPIC, Hall Of Fame durability is what we found on the AMP MT.
Fun Factor: A Even though it was far from the best handling or most powerful truck we’ve ever tested, the AMP MT gets a rock solid A for fun factor because it simply refused to break. Driving a truck that you know you can crash, without having to worry about broken parts, is a LOT of fun.
Handling: C The AMP MT is a set of foams and a better steering servo away from being a much better handling truck.
Value: A The measly $129 price point leaves plenty of cash in your wallet for hop-ups or gas to hit your local bash spot.
Parts Availability: C We gave the truck a C in this category because not many local hobby shops stock AMP parts yet. However, after some research it looks like they are readily available on-line from multiple outlets, and don’t forget, many of the parts are the same being used in other ECX vehicles, so you do have a slightly better chance of finding some parts on the pegs.
BigSquid Rating: B Whether it be an extra vehicle for you to bash around the backyard, or the first vehicle for a youngster in your family, the ECX AMP MT is a great buy. We had a blast with our review truck and can very highly recommend it to you.