Bigger is always better, right? In the bashing world that is generally true, the bigger the beast, the better the basher. We’ve been testing (read- abusing) the new ARRMA Raider XL BLX for weeks now. The XL version of the Raider is significantly larger than the original buggy but is it a better basher? How durable is it? Does its BLX powerplant have insane power? Read on to find out the scoop on the Raider XL…
Review By: Cubby
Photography By: Tim Mohr
RTR or Kit: RTR
2wd or 4wd: 2wd
Electric or Gas: Electric
Weight: 4.3lbs (w/o battery)
Motor: BLX 540 sized 4-pole 3600kV brushless
Speed Controller: BLX80 80 amp
Low Voltage Cut-off: Yes
Radio: ARRMA ATX100
Slipper Clutch: Yes
Shocks: Plastic bodies & caps, oil filled
Servo Saver: In rack
Screws: Metric, hex
Spur/Pinion Pitch: 32 pitch
Tires: dBoots off-road
Battery: 7 cell 4600mAh NiMH
Part Number: #AR102646
Warranty: 2 year limited
Front wheel travel: 1.7″
Rear wheel travel: 1.9″
Wheelie on demand: Yes, but only if enough traction is available.
Backflip off ramps: Not with stock battery.
Top Speed (measured by BSRC): 36 mph
Runtime (measured by BSRC): 15 minutes
Street Price: $359
Primary Competition: You won’t find many 8th scale 2wd buggies on the market, but the Raider XL is similar in size to vehicles in the 1/10th short course buggy class.
What’s Needed To Complete: Just four AA batteries for the transmitter.
Build Quality: After the initial unboxing we went over the buggy and found it to be well assembled.
Test Drivers: Iron Mikeee, T-Money, Sam “The Noob”, Robbie G., and yours truly.
Test Venues: An extremely muddy St Louis Dirtburners 8th scale track, Green Tree Park in St Louis MO, Arnold MO city park, and our favorite CostCo parking lot.
Set-up Notes: We ran the Raider XL as it came out of the box without changing or altering anything. We ran the included battery but skipped the included battery charger, using a TrakPower VR-1 in its place.
Turning: The Raider XL typically has a lot of steering at corner entry. From loose gravel to high bite asphalt, the front tires are very planted when entering a corner. Steering from corner apex to exit is typically quite good, but the stock servo does hold back its cornering prowess. The stock servo can and does get the job done, but it is on the slow side with not enough torque to hold the wheels at higher speeds. As planted as the front end is, the rear tends to be loose. If your corner style is point and shoot, the way the Raider corners should be right down your alley, if you like lots of rear side bite, switching rear tires will get it.
Jumping: The front weight bias that gives the Raider XL so much steering makes it fly nose low over jumps. No, it doesn’t radically endo off jumps, but the front tends to stay a bit on the low side. There is plenty of power on tap, but with just 2wd and lightweight tires, pinning the throttle only marginally brings the nose up. On the high side, the suspension works well, both on jump faces and on moderately sided landings.
Bumps/Whoops: The XL is a LOT better in the rough than the 1/10th Raider. It’s longer/wider chassis and much bigger tires help it blast over some pretty ugly ground. The XL’s general suspension geometry and set-up is dialed through the rough.
On-Road: With plenty of rip on tap and plush suspension, the Raider XL eats up pavement. The Raider XL also has quite a low center of gravity for a vehicle of its size, so traction rolling is rare. If you are looking for a vehicle that is just as good on-road as off, the Raider XL will fit the bill just fine.
Grass: The big tires on the Raider XL help it chew right through grass. No, the Raider XL won’t blast over taller grass like its cousin the Granite, but it does a decent job on short to medium tall grass.
Tires: The stock dBoots tires seem to be a harder compound than those found on the 10th scale ARRMAs, leading to relatively long life. The front tires do an decent job on just about any surface, while the rears are best in shallow loam. The rears don’t offer a lot of side bite, but do a good job on forward traction.
Power: The BLX powerplant has proven itself to the basher crowd and it works well in the Raider XL. There is no cogging and it has tons of yank right off the bottom. It rips right through its mid-range to a decent top-end of 36 mph. While just a 540 system, it had more than enough power for the XLs larger stature. If you’ve never driven brushless before, the Raider XL will give you a good taste of what real power is about.
Radio: The radio that comes with the XL is the pretty standard Hobbico unit. It is nothing fancy, but it works fine with middle-of-the-road ergonomics that most drivers get along with.
Broken Parts: We found the XL to be on par with the smaller Raider as far as durability goes. You can tap some curbs and land awkwardly without breaking many parts. We did manage to bust a rear turnbuckle after hitting a curb and we busted a front hub on a high speed run-in with a pole. Otherwise, it proved quite durable.
While the ambient temps were not that high during our test period (ranging from 15-60 F), we found the motor temps to be quite low. That is a great thing as most RTRs are geared to run on the edge of being too hot.
The speedo on the XL went predictably from forward to reverse, and vice-versa. That isn’t the case on all RTRs now days, so it was nice to give the transmitter an input and instantly have the buggy respond.
While the included NiMH is stated to be 4600mAh in capacity, our 1C discharge only resulted in 4000mAh.
The bottom load battery tray is awesome for quick battery exchanges. However, it isn’t tall enough to just pop in a typical 3S LiPo. While the battery box is extra long on the XL, we wish it had more height for taller packs.
A Deans style connector comes stock on the XL, very nice!
How big is the XL? It is significantly larger than a 1/10th race buggy (like the Durango DEX210 in the gallery below), and about the same size as a typical 1/10th SCT/SCB.
Best Mod Under: Cut the check for an upgrade servo. The stock unit is both slow and on the weak side, a high quality servo will instantly enhance the XLs handling.
A = Outstanding/Best in Class, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Horrific
Time To Bash: C The included wall charger is convenient but not the fastest way to hit the track.
Workability: C We are big fans of the durability of the twin spar frame, but it does make some types of wrenching harder.
Car Show Rating: B We liked the looks of the chrome wheels and knobby dBoots tires. On the body, the graphics were sharp, while the roll cage and light buckets were nice touches of scale realism.
Bash-A-Bility: B The Raider XL does not break easily, you have to slam things hard before popping any parts.
Fun Factor: B With lots of power under the hood and the ability to plow through grass and rough dirt areas, we had a lot of fun bashing the XL.
Handling: B The extra size of the XL helped it handle normal (read- rough) bashing areas with ease. While we would have liked a bit more side-bite in the rear, overall it was a very nice handling machine.
Value: B The XL is significantly larger than the “regular” 1/10th Raider and costs only $10 more.
Parts Availability: C While the ARRMA line-up is gaining space on LHS shelves, you still won’t find parts at every every hobby shop.
BigSquid Rating: B- The additional size of the 1/8th ARRMA Raider XL is a great thing. Its size allows it to handle ruts and bumps better on the track as well as allowing it to blast over the big dirt clods at your local bash spot. The BLX power plant on the Raider XL has loads of rip and it has the suspension to soak up big jumps. We were very impressed with the Raider XL and can highly recommend it to you.