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Traxxas’ Maxx is a scaled down version of their halo model, the X-Maxx. This remote control monster truck promises top speeds in excess of 60mph, 4S battery compatibility and the usual Traxxas mix of power, performance and resilience. Announced late 2019, this monster truck arrived with us just before Christmas, allowing us to spend the holidays bashing it to the Maxx! Join us as we unbox, setup and test the most anticipated release of the year!
Alongside the factory-built truck is the transmitter, allen keys, a wheel wrench, battery tray spacer and the usual (excellent) manual/warranty paperwork.
You will need to purchase a Traxxas iD plugged compatible battery, charger for said battery and four AA batteries for the transmitter. So far many of our customers have been picking up the Traxxas 100W charger and 5000mAh 4S battery combo to get started.
Before we beat the hell out of the truck, we picked through some of the details in our studio.
‘Scale’ demarcation aside, Traxxas have faithfully reproduced the massive 78cm long X-Maxx down to a more manageable 55cm. For many the X-Maxx is just TOO big, whether it be fitting in your car on the way to a trail or just storing it at home!
Big chunky bumpers sit front and rear and the body retains the same silhouette, right down to the external rear cage.
The truck still has its four wheels pushed out to the corners, huge suspension travel and that wheelie bar hung out the back to limit the back-flips on the move.
Body pins are the bane of the RC world. You end up carrying a bag of them whenever you are out as you will inevitably end up losing one when swapping batteries in the field. We love bodies that have tethered body pins but Traxxas went one better with the X-Maxx, doing away with them completely and opting for a custom locking mechanism. This same setup has been retained for the Maxx.
To release the body, unlock the tab by rotating it 90° anti-clockwise, grab the leading edge of the catch and lever it up to a vertical position. The shell can then be slid backwards a touch, before lifting the tail and removing the entire body off of the car.
Re-inserting can be tricky, you need to get the nose pushed down hard over the chassis to drive that front c-catch home on the shock tower brace. Once in place, affixing the rear catch is simple.
The system on the X-Maxx wasn’t without flaws, the reinforcement cage underneath would pull-through the lexan body at the screw mount points leaving the shell insecurely attached and floating on top. Traxxas have addressed this with custom designed washer spacers between the bolt heads and the body, a refined version of the ones we 3D printed for our X-Maxx.
Scuff plates have been added to the roof that link up with the reinforcing cage underneath. At the back the rear deck latch is paired with a plastic tailgate protector that links with an internal structure to hold its shape in big rollovers.
As with the body, Traxxas took the tried and tested X-Maxx chassis and reworked it down to this smaller size. Its still a shaft driven 4WD truck with tough differentials but some materials changes h ave been made, such as the the telescopic plastic driveshafts instead of steel dogbones.
The motor no longer sits centrally, mounted at the back left of the chassis tub on a secure mounting plate behind the ESC. The 20kg/cm servo is the odd ‘large scale’ size found in the old X-Maxx and is laid down above the central driveshaft, hooked up to a double-shear bellcrank system. There is a standard servo adapter available (#7749) should you need to swap it out.
The chassis is still a modular design, meaning it can be split into three parts to aide servicing.
That huge blue plastic block with the fan on top is the VXL-4S waterproof electronic speed controller. It accepts 3 to 4S (11.1V – 16.8V) LiPo batteries, has status leds for overheating etc and can also provide real-time telemetry via Traxxas Link. It also doubles as the power button, press and hold the EZ-set button for a second to start the truck up.
The 9cm long blue can peaking out from its own black fan is the 2400kv sensorless brushless motor. It sits on a secure mounting platform with pre-set pin holes underneath for perfect mesh alignment.
The X-Maxx’s huge dampers would have been overkill for a truck this size, so Traxxas have introduced the new GT-Maxx shocks for the Maxx. The aluminium body, oil filled shocks have an extra-large bore and large diameter damper shafts. The bodies are threaded for ride height adjustment and come anodised to match the livery on the body
To handle the power and abuse, the drivetrain is a mix of metal and composite gears. Traxxas’ cush drive absorbs shock throughout the drivetrain alongside the the torque-biasing center drive. As you’d expect for the price, it is ballraced at all points.
We like how the drive-line is sealed away inside the chassis, yet easily accessible via several easily-removable access panels for maintainence.
Traxxas opted to fit ‘extreme-duty telescoping driveshafts’ made of plastic, a move that has some fans longing for the return of steel dogbones. We are intrigued to see how these hold up.
The wheels are held to the 5mm axle via 8mm wheel nuts which can be removed with the included wrench tool.
That little blue disc sat in there is an adaptor that compensates for the smaller axle size, keeping the wheel centred. The hex size is 17mm so a wide variety of 1/8th scale wheels will fit onto this truck using the adaptor to fit the wheel nuts.
If you only intend to run bigger wheels you can already buy 17mm aluminium replacement adaptors to replace the stock plastic hex.
We think the Traxxas radios are fantastic and wish other manufacturers would provide high quality transmitters like this.
Batteries are a contentious issue with the Maxx. Whilst the smaller chassis limits the outright physical size of battery you can fit onto it, Traxxas’ decision to use their battery clamp arm makes it more complex to fit cells in. Many hypothesise this decision was made to limit customers choice when it comes to batteries, funnelling them to the new expensive Traxxas iD units.
Naturally this new Traxxas 4S 25C 2888X fit perfectly in the tray, sat up against the standard foam pad installed by the factory. However this battery is expensive at at launch, was quite difficult to get hold of.
With the foam spacer removed the battery tray measures 162mm wide by 45mm deep. The standard latch leaves 43mm of vertical space to the deck, the excess can be shrunk down with the included plastic battery snap spacer.
We found that even with this in place we needed to add around 8mm of hard-cell foam to secure the comparatively shallow 5000mAh 3S packs that we use in Traxxas’ TRX-4 and UDR chassis. Sadly we were unable to fine two 2S batteries that might sandwich into this space either.
We tried sticking one of our 4S Turnigy Graphene 5000mAh batteries in (since they are great value and have a massive burst rate) but there is no way they would fit in the gap between the chassis tub wall and the inner frame. The only way they could be attached would be replacing the battery latching system with some straps and placing the battery on its side.
We had a lot of fun testing the Maxx on all our favourite trails over the course of a week to get an idea of how it performed on various terrains. Here are our findings after multiple rides out and recharges.
As an initial shakedown, we ripped the Maxx around our office carpark on the 5000mAh 3S pack, followed by the Overlander 4S battery, attempting some top speed runs and just generally use to the handling dynamics. The Maxx’s acceleration on 4S was pretty rabid, the glue holding those 5.5in tyres firmly around their inserts even under the sort of hard turning forces that might tear them clean off.
The Traxxas stability management fitted to this model is absolutely fantastic and particular useful when trying to ‘push the envelope’ and hit a top speed. On damp tarmac we saw the truck squirm its way past 50mph, the TSM stopping it spinning out. On hard surfaces like this you can limit the function of the stability control by dialing back the multifunction dial on the transmitter (anticlockwise).
The X-Maxx was famous for its classic ‘party trick’ wheelies and we are glad to report that the Maxx can pop them just as reliably.
Even on a 3S battery the Maxx will wheelie with ease, a short burst of throttle to get it up on the wheelie bar, then keep your ‘foot in’ and it will ride around like this with no issues.
On 4S you have to be a little more careful as getting on the throttle too quickly on a grippy surface can end in the truck smacking the wheelie bar down at an angle, taking to one wheel and throwing itself over backwards.
Thankfully those big bumpers and the matt black plastic skid plates on top of the cab/tailgate protect the shell from becoming a scuffed mess when rolling around on its back like an inverted turtle.
Speaking of which, we aren’t fans of the self-righting system, having similar problems with it as we did on the X-Maxx. Pressing and holding the red set button on top of the transmitter (whilst touching no other controls) will put being the procedure, the truck using its powerful motor and its stabilisation gyro to pulse the drive-train and wheels with bursts of torque. This results in the truck rocking on its back, the wheels slowing as it comes up on its end before it rocks all the way back the other way and hopefully over onto its wheels.
We tried on a variety of surfaces, starting on soft grass and progressing to harder packed dirt and gravel but were unable to get a reliable, repeatable performance from the truck. Our only observation, that it was more successful at it on 4S power.
Thanks to those chunky tyres and big wheels the Maxx has reasonabe ground clearance, perfect for tearing around off-road. On dry gravel, grass and dirt the tyres hook up fantastically, throwing the sizeable truck down the trails.
With big clearance from the body, foliage doesn’t slow the Maxx down, tearing through long grass without issue.
Driving on looser surfaces such as gravel or small pebbles is most entertaining, sliding the truck at high speeds in wide power slides.
A high powered motor makes light work of pretty much any incline. The Maxx will even accelerate hard up the vert on a skate park half pipe!
The new shocks do a great job of landings but also keeping the wheels in contact with the ground, avoiding any high speed skipping.
The supplied ESC isn’t designed for crawling (nor is the gearing) so low speed control over the sea-defence rocks isn’t its forte. Whilst the tyres would grip, the truck was more likely to backflip back down to the pebbles than clambers its way up steeper slopes.
This was unintentionally a great test for body resilience, with the truck cartwheeling over the big boulders, crashing and scrapping its way into the gaps between them. At £70 for a replacement pre-painted body (just the lexan and stickers, not the skid plates or skeleton), we are grateful that it is.
As you have probably seen in Traxxas’ launch videos, the Maxx is most at home on loose stand, firing along with its front wheels in the air, tyres ballooning from the frantic RPM at high speeds.
Its here where the most entertainment is had, firing sand around and cutting your own temporary track on the beach.
Maxx is more suited to smaller obstacles, treating them as launchpads for big jumps rather than climbing frames.
Landing back on soft dry sand and small stones is always a recipe for drama. Keeping the throttle pinned will more often than not result in an awesome powerslide, especially if you wind the TSM dial back.
The only downside to bashing on the beach is the cleanup, all that salt and sand is death to the differentials and bearings. Regardless of its waterproof rating, we advise keeping it out of the sea.
With spares for the new truck still shipping in from the US, we left the toughest test till last, the unforgiving concrete ramps of our local (thankfully empty) skatepark.
The Maxx wouldn’t be a Traxxas product if it couldn’t jump with the best of them. We are happy to report that the truck is a riot, hitting big jumps back to back, clocking serious hang-time and coming back for more.
With practice, the Maxx would make light work of the half-pipe, throttling up the dry concrete, steering across as we hit the lip and letting the weight transfer off of the throttle allowed for great 180’s in the air.
Hammering around, we were surprised at how far the truck would fly hitting even the small table tops, but its easy to forget that this more manageable 1/10th scale model can hit nearly 50mph out of the box! Trailing the throttle in the air will help keep the attitude flat if you are looking for a smooth landing.
Its environments like that where you really appreciate the quality of the radio systems Traxxas supply. The transmitter is comfortable in your hand, the latency low, allowing you to drive through battery after battery perfecting your transition lines.
As with any new model, it takes time to feel out the inertia of the truck in flight so we aren’t going to pretend that we aced every jump first time. We clipped railings, rolled it on the metal jump lips and even dropped it off of the side of the half-pipe numerous times.
Its here where trucks come to die. This level of destruction testing is suitable only for reviewers like us or those with a savage disregard for mechanical sympathy. We like to push it to let you know what to expect so we were actually stunned that we didn’t kill the servo, or at least a lower suspension arm, the Maxx genuinely shrugged it off.
However it wasn’t without drama, we did noticed that particularly front-heavy impacts (such as the nose dive below) will dislodge the shell from the body. The first time it happened we were certain that we had totalled the shell skeleton, but un-clipping, removing, inspecting it proved the body only needed refitting in place.
We wonder if an extension to the front hook would prevent this, but it would likely also make inserting the body even more fiddly.
As you might imagine for a truck at this pricepoint, it is aimed at enthusiasts. On a 4S battery it is capable of over 50mph, this isn’t one for unsupervised children! The Maxx is perfect for enthusiasts (with a fair few quid to spend) that are looking to step up to the ultimate monster-truck
The market is full of monster trucks, but the only one we’d currently considering superior to the Maxx is conveniently its big brother the X-Maxx. Recently refreshed with new paint finishes, the X-Maxx does it all at a bigger scale and at a bigger price, don’t expect much change from £1000.
If the Maxx is beyond your budget, consider BSD Racing’s Marauder. It offers a good 75% of the entertainment for a third less money, plus it arrives ready to run (the model batteries included in that price) it is available on our webstore here.
If you already (lets face it, heavily) invested in the X-Maxx, then besides the ease of portability thanks to the smaller size, the Maxx doesn’t offer a great deal more. For the rest of us, the Maxx is a more sensible (and dare we say it, affordable) choice for anyone looking for an ultimate-monster-truck-experience.
Whilst competition was sparse, its no surprise that the Maxx was awarded our final Model-of-the-month award of 2019.
The Maxx is available from our webstore in three colours, orange as reviewed, grey with blue accents or black with red accents. Traxxas are also offering the orange model bundled with an awesome looking LED light bar kit.
As mentioned you will also need a battery and charger. If you are new to the hobby, buying the Traxxas EZ Peak Live Charger 100w + 4S 5000mAh LiPo pack is the simplest solution. Should you already have a decent LiPo balance charger we’d recommend picking up the appropriate charge cable and a few of the Overlander 5000mAh 4S batteries.
Having now stocked Traxxas products for over a decade, we are big fans of their products. We reviewed the full-fat X-Maxx and even modified it to drive on water. We have a host of articles on their recent products such as the caterpillar Traxx set, the TRX-4 G Wagon, the incredible unlimited desert racer, the TRX-4 Land Rover Defender and various modifications for it too!
We hear your concerns about plastic driveshafts and we will continue to beat on the Maxx to see what component gives up first, keep your eyes on our social media accounts to stay informed. If you have any questions about the Maxx, or want to see it tested in a specific way, leave us a comment in the section below!