There was a time, awhile back, when I worked in a hobby shop. One reason for this was for the extra cash, but the other was because I wanted to help point RC beginners in the right direction. I figured if I helped them make a solid decision on their first purchase, they would stick with it, helping the industry grow. Little did I realize that 95% of the customers had only 2 things on their mind; price and speed. “How fast does it go?” and “How much does it cost?” were the majority of the questions. Fast forward to 2012 and I would definitely have something to show them!
Traxxas has taken BIG power to the next level, stuffing a monster of a brushless motor into a 1/7th scale onroad car and feeding it with 2 3S LiPo packs! This super-sized supercar is capable of speeds exceeding 100mph all day long. On top of that, it looks bad-ass doing so! I’m lucky enough to give the XO a go, I just have to find a section of freeway that isn’t being used!
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Traxxas
WHO IT’S FOR: Advanced
HOW MUCH: $1099
BUILD TYPE: RTR
– The look of the XO-1 is something straight from the sidelines at LeMans. The sleek styling, low profile tires and air-diverting chassis all show that the XO-1 is meant for one thing…pure speed.
– Creating enough power to hit the century mark on the asphalt means a whole lot of power. Traxxas teamed up with Castle Creations to provide them with a monster of a brushless system, thusly named the Mamba Monster Extreme. This state-of-the-art system is capable of safely handling the pair of Traxxas 3S LiPos included. Yes, that’s a whopping total of 6S of power. That translates to something like 3000hp or something. I think.
– If you’re any kind of motorsports enthusiast, you’ll know something about tires. Performance car tires are given a rating based on construction and the maximum speeds at which they are safe to drive at. For instance, R Speed Rated tires are safe for up to 106mph. Z Rated tires, or the highest rated tires available, are good for vehicles travelling over 185mph. Traxxas did a little homework and spec’ed out a sick set of rubber capable of handling speeds in excess of 118mph. That would safely put them in the T Speed rating, the same rating most Family Sedans are categorized in. Imagine this baby passing you at over 100mph on the freeway. Safely.
– The chassis of the XO-1 has been computer optimized to aerodynamically flow air around and under to provide the most downforce possible. It looks absolutely awesome and really gives you the feeling you have a super, high-performance vehicle in your hands.
– Ramping up to 100mph in 5 seconds can put a little bit of strain on any drivetrain, especially an RC one. Traxxas’ AWD system has been beefed up to uber-status with the addition of the E-Revo-spec steel gear differentials, direct driveshafts (no dogbones or drivecups here) and a full set of new steel-spline driveshafts at all 4 corners.
– I’ve saved the best for last. While it is quite a bummer that you need an iPhone to be able to unlock the super-speeds the XO-1 can attain, it’s almost worth buying one. Luckily I have one and, even before I had the XO-1 in my hand, I had loaded up the Traxxas Link App and started playing around with it. This app is incredible, and allows you to tweak all kinds of options. You can adjust Drive Effects (sensitivities and percentages), Profiles (for low, high or custom traction settings), a Garage area for checking out your models or Telemetry or Channel Setup and, of course, the Dashboard. This area displays a real-time view of your XO-1’s RPM, MPH, Temperature and Battery Voltage. So, moral of this paragraph is to get an iPhone. Really. If you can afford a $1000 RTR you can afford one.
– Battery Packs
– Apple iPhone or iTouch (to unlock the XO-1’s true potential)
+ Traxxas Power Cell 3S LiPo Batteries
+ Apple iPhone or iTouch (not included)
• Let’s start with the obvious; 100+ mph out of the box. Uh, hello!
• The styling. I love it. I think someone should make a full-size car that looks this bad-ass!
• Bigger is better in this situation. The added size and weight helps keep it firmly planted on the ground while it wizzes by you at 100mph.
• Traxxas has done their homework on the aero package. The top AND bottom of the XO-1 see some F1 style ground effects.
• The powerplant in this beast is fantastic. Twin 3S LiPos feed the Castle Creations Mamba Monster Extreme brushless system.
• While some may think it’s a bit of a gimmick, the Traxxas Link and iPhone dock are pretty sweet. I had my Traxxas Link up and running before I even had the XO-1 in my hands.
• Unfortunately, to reach those 100+ mph speeds, you need the free Traxxas Link App and a not-so-free iPhone or iTouch.
After unlocking the 100mph mode (which wasn’t quite as easy as it appeared), I loaded up my gear and headed to a local college. Thankfully not many students take classes on the weekends so there was plenty of parking lot to let the XO-1 do its thing. I set it down and lightly pulled the trigger to make sure all the trims were correct and that the XO was going in a straight line. I slowly rolled it to the opposite end of the parking lot and turned it around. The moment of truth had arrived as I stood there in the afternoon sun, sunglasses on, driving pose with knees slightly bent and the sound of a hungry buzzard in the distance. Then, YEHAW FULL THROTTLE! The XO-1 launched with quite a bit of squiggle on the hot, dusty asphalt but with some quick adjustment I had it running straight and true. It came flying past us a whole heck of a lot faster than I expected and was a small dot in the distance in no time. It’s extremely stable and doesn’t even seem like it’s going that fast, but the telemetry on my iPhone verified consistent runs of 95+ mph. I kept this up until the voltage in the packs started to drop off (viewable from the iPhone app’s Dashboard display) at which time I brought the car over. I let it rest a few minutes before loading up another pair of 3S packs before throwing down some more super-speed runs!
A couple of quick driving tips:
1. It’s really fast and you will need to let off the throttle at some point. I chose to wait a few seconds longer than I should have and ended up panic braking to slow it down. That leads me to driving tip number 2.
2. It takes quite a bit of room to controllably slow down the XO-1. Make sure you think about that before your high-speed passes. Again, not the first thing on my mind when I had the trigger buried to full throttle. So, ya, I had a XO-1-meets-parking-curb moment. I was pretty bummed thinking I just crushed a $1,000 RC car on the first pass but miraculously found that it had survived with only a heavily creased body.
THE LAST WORD
Overkill could be the name you first use for an RTR like this, but that would soon leave your vocabulary the first time you pull the trigger. You’ll also soon realize that a short stretch of street in front of your house will certainly squash your ability to have fun. To get the full experience of a 100+mph RTR RC car, I suggest finding a large, open area with nothing else around (to be safe). I seriously thought after a few high-speed blasts up and down the parking lot I’d be over it, but now I want to tweak the XO-1 to go even faster. In fact, I have a little video planned to show just how much fun the XO-1 can be. Stay tuned.
Traxxas, www.traxxas.com, (888) TRAXXAS (872-9927)