Kyosho Mad Crusher VE Review
There are “monster trucks”, then there are Real Monster Trucks. The Kyosho Mad Crusher VE is a true monster truck. You see, the Mad Crusher comes with two solid axles, plus it does not have a center diff. If you are looking for a true monster trucking experience, is the Mad Crusher the bomb or a bust? Does it have a lot of power? How well does it jump and corner? Lets jump right into it, keep reading for our full review of the Kyosho Mad Crusher…
Review By: Cubby
Photography By: Tim Mohr
RTR or Kit: RTR
2wd or 4wd: 4wd
Shaft or Belt: Shaft
Electric or Gas: Electric
Weight: 4,700 grams
Motor: Team Orion Neon 8, 2100kV
Speed Controller: Team Orion Vortex R8
Low Voltage Cut-off: Yes
Radio: Kyosho Syncro KT-231P+ 2.4GHz
Differential: Gear style
Shocks: Plastic bodies, oil filled
Servo Saver: Yes
Screws: Hex and Phillips
Tires: Kyosho Mad Grip
Battery: Not included
Part Number: #34253B
Front wheel travel: 1.7″
Rear wheel travel: 1.7″
Wheelie on demand: Yes
Backflip off ramps: Yes
Stability Control: No
Sound Module: No
Top Speed (measured by BSRC): 27 mph
Runtime (measured by BSRC): 28 minutes
Street Price: $499
Primary Competition: How many 1/8th scale, straight axle monster trucks can you name? No, the Kyosho doesn’t have a lot of direct competition, but it can be compared to other large monster trucks.
What’s Needed To Complete: You’ll need to come up with four AA cells for the transmitter, 2 to 4S worth of LiPo power, and a battery charger.
Build Quality: First off, we have to say that we were provided with a pre-production truck for testing. After passing the truck around the room to several members of our Bash Crew, we could find no big faults with the assembly quality other than it lacking any type of tread locking compound on the bolts. We are assuming that the full production unit will come with plenty of Loctite.
Test Drivers: The man they call Robbie G., Iron Mikeee, Sam The Noobie, T-Money, and yours truly.
Test Venues: Most of our driving with the Kyosho was done at local city parks. We did however take it to an off-road track and a large open parking lot to do pavement testing.
Set-up Notes: Stock, stock, and more stock. We didn’t alter a thing before we started driving. We did however pop four MaxAmps AAs in the transmitter and used a pair of 2S MaxAmps LiPo batteries to power the truck. Charging duties were handled by a Hitec RDX1.
Turning: For a big old monster truck, the Mad Crusher turned OK. Compared to a standard rc it didn’t turn real well, but for scale realism it was totally on point. The truck tended to traction roll a lot, just like a full scale truck would, and it simply felt (and looked) more realistic in corners than a typical rc truck. If you are looking for high-end corner speed you won’t find it on the Mad Crusher, what you do get is total scale realism.
Jumping: Guess what? Yup, the Mad Crusher is also all about scale realism when it comes to jumping too. The truck has a really weird suspension set-up compared to “normal” trucks. It has very little up-travel, but a ton of down. The shocks are at weird angles that seem to give them little in the way of a progressive rate. What this results in is a truck that feels/looks just like a full sized monster truck when jumping. For example, you really have to hit everything square or the truck gets all sort of out of shape in the air. The truck also likes to “pop” off of jump faces, and even more importantly, it likes to rebound off the ground when landing, just like the big guys do. In the grand scheme of things, the Kyosho doesn’t jump very well compared to a 1/8th scale truggy, however it does a fantastic job of jumping just like its full sized counterparts.
Bumps/Whoops: Continuing on the same theme, the Mad Crusher was quite lifelike in the rough too. With very little up-travel, and with what little there is being very soft, plus you add in solid axles, and you get a truck that did a lot of bouncing around. No, you can’t hit a whoop section WFO with the Mad Crusher like you could with an Inferno NEO ST, but you can sure enjoy the thrill of attempting to keep it on all 4 wheels.
On-Road: Let’s be honest here, the Mad Crusher is a hardcore off-roader. With that said, we did have fun pulling block long wheelies with it. We also had fun doing brake induced front rolls and blitzing over curbs. If pavement is your thing, the Mad Crusher doesn’t have a lot of top speed and it tends to traction roll at speeds over 5 mph.
Grass: Where as the off-road worthiness of the Mad Crusher hurts it on pavement, it really helps on grass. The Mad Crusher was an absolute BEAST in grass. It loved chewing up the green stuff then spewing it out the back at warp 7.2. Even in moderately tall grass the Mad Crusher just kept on trucking.
Tires: We were big fans of the stock tires. They were molded from fairly soft rubber and they also had a good tread pattern for the genre. The inserts were fairly firm, but slightly too small for the tire carcass. Any which way, the tires gave loads of grip on just about every surface. They were best in loam and sand, but even gave serious grip on pavement.
Power: OK, here is where we know we love Kyosho. The Mad Crusher comes stock with a motor mount for adding a SECOND motor. Stock, the Mad Crusher was very well powered by an Orion brushless motor, but the Mad Crusher has won our hearts over by coming stock with a place for bolting up a second motor. What’s better than crazy power? Doubling it! OK, we just had to get that out there. So out of the box the stock BL system has very nice power on 4S. However, you have to remember that the Mad Crusher is geared more towards legit monster trucking so it tops out at less than 30. Needless to say the truck gets up to top speed in a hurry and that the stock wheelie bar gets a lot of use. We felt the Mad Crusher had a very nice power system for the type of driving it is intended to do. It had loads of low end, a stout mid-range, then ripped up to an early, gear induced sign off, before totally overpowering the chassis.
Radio: We had no issues with the included Syncro radio. Ergonomics were fine and the radio worked well for an RTR unit. Range was never an issue, nor was glitching.
Broken Parts: Ya know, being in the rc biz has its ups, and downs. Getting a pre-production truck is so cool! We get to walk around like we are “something” because we have a truck that nobody in the world can buy! However, pre-production trucks nearly always have issues. Many times they are made from a different kind of plastic, or they were assembled wrong, or there is a part (or a bunch of them) that are inferior and won’t be on the final production units, etc. So, we had a weird time with the Kyosho. We bashed it, and bashed it, and bashed it, with zero broken parts. Then, several packs later, we came up short (nosed in) on a standard double jump and broke the entire front of the truck off. All four links broke, plus both shocks, on one “relatively speaking” not too bad of a landing. Listen, we know Kyosho, we have driven loads of their products forever and have never seen this happen before. We highly suspect it was due to our truck being a super early pre-production unit, we can’t imagine the final product unit to break like ours did.
What is it like to hold the Mad Crusher? Well, it is a large truck, one that isn’t light either. It simply feels beefy.
The Kyosho is a Much different truck than “normal”. How so? Well, a lot of different ways, but we can start off with the fact that it uses chain for part of its drive-line.
Another way it is different is that it doesn’t have a front bumper. The only front bumper it has is the chrome plastic one on its body. This was done for realism, but a big fat bumper is always a good idea on a bash truck.
Reverse is quite soft in the speedo programming, like Super soft.
The Mad Crusher comes stock with a wheelie bar and it is no joke. The wheelie bar is set of a decent angle, plus it is really beefy. We found that it was out of the way for most of our off-road bashing, which of course was a good thing.
There is an adjustment on the radio that makes it easy to turn down maximum throttle. This makes it super easy for anyone, of any skill level, to drive the truck.
The stock steering servo was slow, but had more than enough torque to keep the wheels turned.
Oh my, that stock body! Pictures do not do it justice, you really have to see one in person. The chrome grill, plus some really hot looking blue paint made for one gorgeous looking body.
Thank goodness! The Kyosho comes stock with Deans connectors! Hooray, finally a truck we have batteries laying around for.
Yup, we took the Mad Crusher rock crawling! Nope, it wasn’t that fun with the diffs unlocked. However, we can’t wait to lock up the diffs (and gear down some) and make a triumphant return!
The stock battery trays work OK. While they don’t look it, they can hold quite a few different sizes of packs.
We found that the Kyosho was geared very conservatively, but not overly so. That is a great thing as it results in lower temps and longer runtimes.
Best Mod: We would go with gearing. For crazier bashing we would add 2 or 3 teeth to the pinion for more speed and overall power. For doing some serious rock crawling, we would lock the diffs and drop as many teeth as we could.
A = Outstanding/Best in Class, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Horrific
Time To Bash: B Our Bash Crew had no problems getting the Kyosho up and running. After charging up a pair of LiPo batteries we put four AA cells in the transmitter and were good to go.
Workability: B We did our fair share of wrenching on the Mad Crusher and can happily report that we found it really simple to wrench on.
Car Show Rating: A That body! Yes, the Mad Crusher sports one of the best looking bodies that we’ve seen. Its wheels and tires go nicely with the body and the style of look they were going after.
Bash-A-Bility: C During normal bashing our test truck held up just fine.
Fun Factor: A It took us a while to really put our finger on it, but here it is. We don’t think we’ve ever tested a truck that drives like the Kyosho. Simply put, it drove so much different than what we were used to that we instantly had a blast driving it. On top of that, it just might be the most realistic driving vehicle that we’ve tested. It really was fun popping over jumps (and bouncing on the landing) like a real monster truck.
Handling: C If our handling category was intended for scale realism the Kyosho would have an A+. However, it is based off raw performance. In that case the realistic driving Kyosho was quite a bit bouncier, and tippier, then most normal rc “monster trucks”.
Value: B Asking around the room, our Bash Crew came up with a “B” for value. While not cheap, we felt that the Kyosho gives you a solid bang for your buck.
Parts Availability: C We had no problem finding parts for the Mad Crusher on-line, but did not find any at hobby shops.
BigSquid Rating: B The Kyosho Mad Crusher VE is a different kind of truck. Not only is it a big bad bash machine, but it is also incredibly scale realistic to drive. If you want to see what it’s like to drive a truly scale handling machine, check out the Mad Crusher, we had a blast with our test unit.