Being a two time champion of our coveted Bash Vehicle of the Year, the ARRMA Granite packs some serious street cred with the bashing crowd. For 2014 ARRMA announced a new more affordable line-up, the Mega Series, that was designed to give good performance at a reasonable price. To make the price drop happen on the Mega Series, certain goodies had to be taken away (like the aluminum chassis and hex hardware). Is the Mega Series Granite still a capable bash machine? Is it slower than the previous brushed Granite? Has it lost any mojo?
Review By: Cubby
Pics By: Tim Mohr
RTR or Kit: RTR
2wd or 4wd: 2wd
Electric or Gas: Electric
Motor: 540 sized Mega 15 turn brushed
Speed Controller: ARRMA Mega brushed
Low Voltage Cut-off: Yes
Radio: ARRMA ATX100 2.4GHz
Differential: Gear type
Slipper Clutch: Yes, non-adjustable
Shocks: Plastic bodies, oil filled
Servo Saver: In steering rack
Spur/Pinion Pitch: 48 pitch
Tires: dBoots Copperhead multi-terrain
Battery: 6 cell 2000 NiMH
Part Number: #AR102604
Top Speed (measured by BSRC): 28 mph on included battery
Runtime: 9 minutes with included battery
Warranty: Two year limited
Street Price: $179
Primary Competition: Traxxas Stampede, ECX Ruckus
What’s Needed To Complete: Not much, just four AA cells for the transmitter.
Build Quality: We found a couple of issues with the assembly of our Mega Granite. Out of the box the spur/pinion mesh was a bit on the loose side and we also found the the transmission did not rotate as freely as it should have.
Test Drivers: Sam “The Noob”, “Iron” Mike, Jake the Uber-Noob, The Timster, and yours truly.
Test Venues: The 8th scale off-road track at St Louis Dirtburners, huge sandy area at St Joe state park in Park Hills Missouri, various conditions at Minnie Ha Ha park in Fenton Missouri, a CostCo parking lot, and a big backyard.
Set-up Notes: We didn’t change anything on the truck for testing, we ran it bone stock. We did not use the included wall charger. We used the included battery pack for runtime and top speed testing, plus it was used when our noob testers were behind the wheel. We used a MaxAmps 2S 6500mAh LiPo for the majority of our driving.
Turning: At speed the front end is light and likes to push. However, you can still make sharp corners by stabbing the brake. This plants the front end allowing it to stick and make the corner. Once the front end is dug in, the rear tends to slide around a bit from corner apex to exit if you are pounding on the gas. There isn’t a lot of side-bite on the Granite, which can hurt its corner speed, but helps to keep it from traction rolling.
Jumping: The heavy monster truck sized tires help make mid-air corrections easy. The stock brushed power system may not have a lot of power, but the extra rotating mass of the big tires make it easy to drop or raise the front while mid-air. Take off and landings are still soaked up quite well on the Mega Granite, helping to make it one of the best jumping trucks in its class.
Bumps/Whoops: While it seemed to us that the front shocks on the Mega Series felt slightly softer than on previous Granites, it still blew through rough sections quite well. With big tires, good suspension geometry, and capable shocks, you can pin it through sections that would leave other 2wd MTs bouncing around like pogo sticks.
On-Road: We didn’t experience traction rolling with the Granite, its brushed power system kept the speed down and its tires tended to slide instead of digging in. If you do a lot of pavement driving the Granite will work fine for you. The power is manageable, it doesn’t even notice road joints, and you won’t have to walk over and flip it back over from traction rolling.
Grass: While the power and tire combo on the Mega Granite allowed it to get around well in grass, its motor was not a happy camper and tended to run hot. The motor in the Mega Granite is mounted to a plastic plate, not aluminum, so all the heat has nowhere to go. The chassis is more than up for grass bashing, but we would highly recommend gearing it down or adding an aluminum motor plate before doing so to keep motor temps down.
Tires: The included dBoots Copperhead tires were designed for multiple surfaces, thus they didn’t really excel anywhere, nor were they horrible anywhere. The stock tires were at their best when on high bite surfaces like the street and blue grooved portions of a prepped rc track. Overall, they are quite usable just about anywhere and showed very little wear.
Power: While the included 15 turn brushed motor isn’t going to pull any holeshots against brushless trucks, it has more than enough yank to have fun. It’s a pretty typical brushed RTR mill with enough power to spin over the tires from a dead stop and to pop small wheelies. It also has enough power to make good sized jumps. Our noobs found it had enough power on the included pack to be exciting to drive, while our experienced testers had fun with it on LiPo.
Radio: While quite plain, we have no complaints with the included transmitter. The foam covered wheel was comfy, while the trigger/grip/wheel relationship was quite usable. We experienced no glitching or range issues during our testing.
Broken Parts: Arrma went with some cheaper materials here and there, does it really affect its durability? To sum it up, maybe.
What was the breakdown of broken parts?
Early in durability testing we rammed a pipe and broke an ear off the servo. This didn’t keep the truck from driving, but it did make steering really sloppy to one side. We also popped off numerous rod ends. Once again, this didn’t keep the truck from being driven, but did require popping them back on. Because we really wanted to put the Granite through the ringer, we smashed several hard objects at speed with no ill effects. We finally did the tried and true 2 story roof jump and managed to bend/rip the front bottom plate. This still didn’t keep the truck from driving, but tended to really screw up the steering.
Just how tough is the Mega Granite? It might not be quite as tough as its predecessors, but it can still take some serious bashing.
While the new chassis on the Mega is made from plastic and not aluminum, it is plenty stiff.
The ATX100 radio works fine but we still miss the original ARRMA radio with its quirky looks and the ability to flip around for left handers.
The included battery is stated to be a 2000mAh model but ours only tested out to 1500. Missing 500mAh of capacity on a 2000 pack means missing out on a whole lot of runtime.
Out of the box our Mega Granite sounded like the pinion/spur gear mesh was off and it was. After adjusting the mesh our tranny still had a strange sound to it, although we experienced no issues with it.
The Mega comes with Deans connectors, very nice.
We are generally not big fans of bottom mount battery trays, but we found most packs fit easily in the Granite Mega. Not having to remove the body to put in a new battery pack is quite handy.
The Mega Granite comes with a slipper clutch, however, it is not adjustable. Actually, it can be adjusted by adding or removing washers, but it isn’t intended to be easily tuned like most.
The shocks looked cheap but we found they worked fine.
Best Mod Under $5: Ok, so it’s actually $24, but we would recommend the #AR310394 heatsink motor mount to help keep motor temps down. Another relatively cheap mod would be to convert the truck over to captured rod ends.
Best Mod Over $5: A LiPo battery. The stock unit is ok for the less experienced, but a LiPo gives the truck noticeably more yank out of the hole and more top speed.
A = Outstanding/Best in Class, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Horrific
Time To Bash: C The wall charger isn’t intended for quick charging, otherwise, once you have a pack charged it is quick to get driving.
Workability: C The twin spar style chassis and Phillips hardware make the truck harder to wrench on than need be.
Car Show Rating: B The body has sharp graphics and nice lines, and we were big fans of the murdered out wheels. Some scale detailing would have given the truck a better score in this category.
Bash-A-Bility: C We broke a servo ear early in testing, otherwise the Mega Granite held up well.
Fun Factor: B We had loads of fun with the Mega Granite. It’s waterproof so you never have to worry about avoiding mud holes, it has decent power for a brushed system, and it handles very well over rough terrain. It basically does everything it takes to put a smile on our face.
Handling: B While the Mega Series might be the affordable series, our testers did not see much drop in handling compared to previous models. Compared to other trucks in its class, it still jumps and handles extremely well.
Value: A Combine a price point of only $179 with good durability and handling, and well, you end up with the best value in its class.
Parts Availability: C No, you won’t find many ARRMA parts at most local hobby shops, but the Granite series has been out for some time, many of its parts are easily available on-line.
BigSquid Rating: B- Is the affordable Mega Series Granite still a capable bash machine? Absolutely. Yes, the areas where they cut costs on the Mega don’t make it as good of an overall truck as its more expense BLS and BLX brothers, but it still handles well, still has decent power, and it still can take a good beating. If you are looking to save some bucks and pick up a basic bash machine, the Granite Mega fits the bill quite nicely.