For Bashers, By Bashers!
Traxxas 8S X-Maxx Review

THE Traxxas 8S X-Maxx Review

First there was the Traxxas X-Maxx monster truck, then came the 8S Upgrade Kit, now there is the full RTR version of the Traxxas 8S X-Maxx. The newest version of the X-Maxx comes with a load of upgrades over the original, upgrades that are intended to make it faster, stronger, and an overall better bash machine. We’ve been running pack after pack after pack through our review truck to see if it lives up to the Traxxas name for being an epic bash machine. Does the 8S X-Maxx live up to all the hype? How much faster is it? How often does it break? It is a game changer? Settle in, grab a drink, and keep on reading to find out our thoughts on the bashing beast that is the 8S X-Maxx.

From: Traxxas
Direct Link: 8S X-Maxx Monster Truck
Unboxing Pictures: BSRC Unboxes The 8S X-Maxx

Review By: Cubby
Photography By: Tim Mohr

Specs:

RTR or Kit: RTR
Age: 14+
2wd or 4wd: 4wd brah
Shaft or Belt: Huge aluminum shaft
Electric or Gas: Electric
Waterproof: Yes, very
Scale: Traxxas doesn’t really put a “scale” on the X-Maxx, we are just going to call it “really big”
Length: 29.84″
Width: 22.26″
Wheelbase: 18.92″
Weight: 19.1lbs
Motor: Brushless, #3491 Velineon 1200XL
Speed Controller: Velineon VXL-8S
Low Voltage Cut-off: Yup
Radio: Traxxas TQi 2.4GHz w/ TSM
Differential: Gear type, hardened steel bevel gears
Slipper Clutch: Cush drive
Driveshafts: Metal CVD style
Shocks: GTX aluminum bodied, plastic caps, oil filled
Servo Saver: In steering rack
Screws: Metric, hex
Spur/Pinion Pitch: Mod1
Bearings: Yes, rubber sealed
Tires: Traxxas all terrain w/ inserts
Battery: Not included
Part Number: #77086-4
Warranty: 30 days on electronics

Bashing Specs:

Front wheel travel: 4.3″
Rear wheel travel: 4.25″
Wheelie on demand: Oh heck ya
Backflip off ramps: Sure does
Stability Control: Yes, Traxxas TSM
Sound Module: No
Self-Righting: YES (Update: we needed to update our app)
FPV: No
Top Speed (measured by BSRC on 8S w/ stock gearing): 42 mph
Runtime (measured by BSRC on 8S Traxxas 6700 packs): 23 minutes (!!!)
Street Price: $899

Primary Competition: Ummmm… ya. There aren’t a whole lot of direct competitors to the X-Maxx because of its size.

What’s Needed To Complete: You’ll need a pair of 4S LiPo batteries, a charger, and four AA cells for the TQi.

Build Quality: After passing the X-Maxx around the room, we found one wheel nut that was slightly on the loose side, otherwise, we could find no faults with the build quality on the X-Maxx.

Test Drivers: Don The Legend, Robbie Da G-Man, Iron Mikee, THE RC Kid, Sam The Noobie, T-Mohr, and yours truly.

Test Venues: For track use we tested the X-Maxx at the St Louis Dirtburners 8th scale off-road track. Parking lot testing was done at our ever friendly Costco parking lot. For general bashing we used Minnie Ha Ha park in Fenton Missouri and Glidden Park in Collinsville Illinois.

Set-up Notes: We ran our truck bone stock for the entirety of the test period. For juice we used a pair of Traxxas 4S 6700mAh LiPo batteries with iD connectors and used a Traxxas EZ-Peak Live to handle all the charging duties.

Turning: Like a true monster truck, the X-Maxx has some sway to it in the corners. No, it doesn’t have as much as a truck like the Revo, but it tended to have a good amount of lean at corner entry. That amount of lean did cause it to traction roll from time to time, but it also gave the truck more traction when turning on loose/slick surfaces.

Generally the front end of the X-Maxx would stick in corners, with the rear having a lot of rotation. If you are used to driving a monster truck you will be accustomed to how it corners, if you are used to race machines it will take a couple packs to adjust. No, the X-Maxx was never designed to out carve an 8th scale buggy in the corners, but for what it is, a huge monster truck, it can corner well if you keep entry speeds conservative and roll into the throttle just after the apex.

Jumping: Let’s be up front here, the X-Maxx is a crazy air catching machine. It simply loves to go freak’n EPIC. We were constantly amazed on how we could land from just plain stupid heights and its suspension would just soak it up! Takes offs were also stellar, the huge tires on the X-Maxx tended to ignore ruts and bumps when hitting jump faces. While in the air, we found our test unit would fly relatively flat. When corrections were needed, there was no mistaking the X-Maxx had a lot of rotating mass in the tires and a ton of yank in the motor. When making mid-air corrections it is wise to be soft on the trigger in order to get the desired change, instead of too much. At the end of testing, our Bash Crew had some pretty high opinions of how the X-Maxx jumped. While not the best overall jumping vehicle we’ve ever tested, it soaked up landings the best, and is easily in our top 3 of all time.

Bumps/Whoops: We won’t beat around the bush on this one, we think the X-Maxx is the best truck we’ve ever tested when blasting over gnarly ground. The combination of its large tires, weight, suspension geometry, and suspension settings, allow the X-Maxx to literally hurl over rough ground faster, and in more control, than any other vehicle we have tested. The front suspension is really, really dialed. It isn’t too soft, or too hard, and its damping is superb. On the rear, once again the geometry and spring rates are right where they need to be for serious bashing, but the rebound damping is a bit on the stiff/slow side. Adjusting just the rebound damping is hard to do with normal rc shock pistons, but we were amazed at just how close the stock settings are to perfection right out of the box.

One of our favorite test spots, Minnie Ha Ha park, is currently doing a bunch of renovations. Part of that involves the tearing up a large section of the park to clear it of trees and to use bulldozers to make access to a local river easier. The renovation has left several acres of ground extremely rough with HUGE dirt clods and deep bulldozer tracks. That particular area is so rough that it simply stops 1/10th scaled monster trucks dead in their tracks and reduces a typical 1/8th truggy to getting stuck every 20 feet or so. That is the exact area that we used to test how well the new X-Maxx was over rough ground and it never failed to amaze us how fast it could make it through a section. Or, when the going got uber rough, how the X-Maxx could simply scrap its way over all sorts of ugly.

The rough terrain handling of the X-Maxx is so good that it opens up a lot of new bashing areas to us. Areas of various parks that are simply too rough to even think about running a tenth scale are loads of fun to blast through at 30 mph with the X-Maxx. If you enjoy taking an rc truck over truly gnarly terrain, just cut the check for an X-Maxx right now.

On-Road: Oh ya, all that stellar handling that the X-Maxx gives you in gnarly off-road conditions comes at a price, its on-road stability. No, the X-Maxx isn’t terrible, but it does traction roll in the corners and it can be hard to control at full tilt boogie because of its off-road biased suspension settings. It does have one high point when driving on-road- mad wheelies. If wheelies are your thing the 8S X-Maxx will put a massive smile on your face.

Grass: Yet another question being asking by our Bash Crew members was… “Is the 8S X-Maxx the best grass vehicle we’ve ever tested?”. Per the norm, we can’t say for sure outside of a shootout situation, but it was either the best or a close second to the Losi DBXL. The X-Maxx is a mad beast in grass with its tires acting like miniature brush hogs continually spewing out grass guts behind the truck. The X-Maxx basically ignores normal length grass, and once up to cruising speed, can get on top and float on top of the taller stuff. If the primary place that you bash is a large grassy area, you are gonna love the X-Maxx.

Tires: It may have just been us, but we thought the tires on the 8S X-Maxx felt like they were molded from harder rubber than on the original truck. They didn’t seem to expand as much and they seemed to wear more slowly. Maybe that was just our minds playing tricks on us, we don’t know. Either way, the stock tires did a solid job in soft dirt and in loamy conditions, they just didn’t yield a lot of grip on pavement.

Power: So here is the big news with the new X-Maxx, it can now put 8S LiPo worth of voltage to use. Is it absolutely crazy fast like an E-Revo on 6S? No, it isn’t that fast. It doesn’t have the low end, or top end, of a 6S E-Revo. However… it is a lot faster than the original truck, and more importantly, it puts out all the new found power in a very controllable manner. The new 1200XL motor has a nice linear power curve with enough yank off the bottom to pull wheelies, enough mid-range yank to make you pay constant attention, and enough top end speed to get the tires expanding. The biggest complaint we had on the original X-Maxx was its power system, the new 8S truck is right on point for general bashing.

We only tested the 8S X-Maxx in cold conditions with the highest ambient temp being 52 degrees. In those conditions (with stock gearing) the motor and speedo both ran quite cool. Top speed was 42 mph, which isn’t crazy, but nearing where the stock tires like to become undriveable due to expansion. Oh and, we were consistently getting over 20 minutes run times. The stock 8S power system is a great blend of power, run time, and not running too hot.

Radio: Controlling the beast is a Traxxas TQi radio. The TQi always provided plenty of range and we never experienced a glitch while driving. It simply did its job, albeit in a rather plain way. We did use its TSM electronic stability on a number of occasions and it seemed to work very well for helping to control the beast on slick surfaces.

Broken Parts: When we first bust out a new review vehicle, we tell our test drivers to “Take it easy and don’t crash for the first 3 runs!!!”. Ya, that didn’t happen with the X-Maxx. And it wasn’t our test driver’s fault, they just couldn’t resist driving the heck out of it. The X-Maxx was too fun to jump, too fun to wheelie, it was just too fun to drive to even remotely think about driving it half mast.

With that said… we found the 8S X-Maxx to be more durable than the original. Our guys drove it hard, very hard, and we rarely broke any parts, something that couldn’t be said for the original. In the end we did break one shock shaft, one rear arm, and we tweaked two wheels, but our test truck went through all sorts of punishment. Iron Mikeee even slammed a cement block at over 30 mph (on the very first pack, thanks Mike!!!) and the truck simply drove away unharmed, quite impressive.

Btw, we didn’t break any drive line parts. The 8S X-Maxx comes with the tougher parts from the 8S upgrade kit and it shows while driving.

Misc Notes:

So, about that wheelie bar. The wheelie bar comes in really handy on pavment, and even helps while driving on flat dirt. We thought it might really get in the way while jumping, but we rarely noticed it. Yes, for hardcore off-roading you’ll want to remove it, but for general bashing it worked well for us.

One more note on that wheelie bar. During our first pack with the 8S X-Maxx we tipped over in front of a bunch of guys at the track. Our driver said “Where’s that auto marshal button at???” as he wanted to show off it off in front of all the people. No, the new truck doesn’t come with the self righting feature of the original, perhaps because the wheelie bar would get in the way. UPDATE: We needed to update our APP. It’s all good now, and self-righting does work.

The stock servo sports 365 oz/in of torque, which we felt like was enough for general bashing. Its downside is speed, it really is quite slow.

Let’s talk about 8S worth of LiPo power for a moment shall we? Higher voltage should yield more efficiency, less heat, and more power. Was that the case with the new X-Maxx? While we didn’t get a chance to test our truck in hot ambient temps, yes, we would say that the higher voltage of 8S does a world of good in the X-Maxx. Will we start seeing more trucks with 8S max cell counts, or will even higher cell counts become the new normal? That is a wait and see type of question, we just know the X-Maxx worked well on all that voltage. Yes, 8S worth of Lithium cells isn’t cheap, but from what we’ve seen so far it is worth the extra cash.

If you are the loyal BigSquidRC reader that we know you are, then you already know how much we hate body clips. The 8S X-Maxx uses exactly ZERO body clips! The body mounting system and battery bars work well, if not perfectly, without the need for annoying body clips.

The stock servo saver is quite soft. The upside is longevity of the servo gears, the downside is precision, especially when driving at WOT.

Just FYI, because of it being winter in the upper Midwest, we did a lot of water testing with the X-Maxx. Yes, it is a fish, we never experienced any issues after getting it wet.

We just couldn’t resist, we had to take the X-Maxx on a long trail drive. The truck continually amazed us by the size of rocks and tree limbs that it could get over. No, it wasn’t designed as a trail machine, but it sure worked well for us.

While not provided, the Traxxas 4S 6700mAh packs we used for testing did a great job of powering our X-Maxx. 23 minutes of runtime? Oh heck yes.

Best Mod: After asking our crew what their first mod would be, the answer was nearly unanimous- to install an upgrade servo with slightly more power but more faster transit speed.


Summary:

A = Outstanding/Best in Class, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Horrific

Time To Bash: B We found the X-Maxx to be very easy to get up and running. Just like most RTRs, pop a pair of charged packs into the truck, put four AA batteries into the transmitter, then go tear stuff up.

Workability: B The X-Maxx uses a modular design that is fairly easy to wrench on. It wasn’t exceptionally easy to wrench on, but it did not have any especially hard to work on areas either.

Car Show Rating: B Our review crew thought the 8S version of the X-Maxx was a sharp truck. They really liked the wheels & tires, plus the new black/red/grey livery was well received. The latest X-Maxx didn’t get a dose of injection molded plastic detail parts, but it still turned heads when we pulled it out of the trunk.

Bash-A-Bility: B The new X-Maxx is tougher than the first version. We were able to bash the 8S X-Maxx harder, with less broken parts, than the original.

Fun Factor: A Oh yes, Traxxas hit the nail on the head with the 8S X-Maxx. While the original was lacking for power, the 8S rips like a bash truck should. And it isn’t just fun because of the increase in power, it’s a combination of its handling, size, and just how it drives. The Traxxas is the most fun we’ve ever had with a bone stock truck, of any size or style.

Handling: A The X-Maxx is the best overall handling off-road machine we have ever tested. It jumps with the best, it basically ignores bombed out whoop sections on the track, and can make an effective lawn mower if you drive it enough in your backyard. If you are a true basher, the X-Maxx comes out of the box set-up exceptionally well for your type of driving (jumping, grass, loose dirt).

Value: B $899 before batteries is a price point that is a stretch for many bashers, but the 8S X-Maxx kicks a lot of ass for the money. If your bank account can handle it, cutting the check on an 8S X-Maxx will give you a whole lot of bashing insanity for each and every penny.

Parts Availability: B What, a “B” for a Traxxas truck in the parts availability category? Yes, we gave the X-Maxx a “B” because neither of our two local surface hobby shops stock many parts for it. One stocks a handful of parts, while the other did not stock any at all. That isn’t really the fault of Traxxas, but at the end of the day to get an “A” in this category you have to have outstanding parts support in local hobby shops.

BigSquid Rating: A Years ago when asked “What is the ultimate RTR bash truck?” you may have answer the Traxxas E-Max. A few years later that answer may have been the Traxxas E-Revo. Today, when we ask that question to our Bash Crew, the answer is the 8S version of the Traxxas X-Maxx. We feel that to this date, the 8S X-Maxx represents the ultimate in a backyard bash truck. Nope, it won’t break the lap record at your local track, nor will it break mph records when doing speed runs. What it does do is yield a truck with the size, power, and handling that is a perfect blend for good old fashioned bashing. There is a new King of the bashing hill, it is the Traxxas 8S X-Maxx, all hail the new King!

Post Info

Posted by in Car & Truck Reviews, Featured Posts, monster truck on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Tagged: