Can you make a Traxxas X-Maxx bigger and badder than it already comes from the factory? If you asked the good people over at RPM R/C Products that question, the answer you’d get is a resounding, YES! There probably isn’t a single RC vehicle out there that they can’t enhance.
As we learned a few issues ago when we took Traxxas’ impressive X-Maxx monster truck out for a bash session, the beast moves earth like nobody’s business. In fact when we drove it at high speed past ourselves, much of the terrain it inherently dug up as it blasted by ended up in our faces and stuck in our hair. It’s that powerful and that’s the box stock X-Maxx we are talking about.
Now take the monstrosity that is the X-Maxx and upgrade it to do way crazier things and the result is what you see here. Oscar Trevizo, the owner of the featured X-Maxx went to town on his X-Maxx with a laundry list of upgrades, the majority of which are from RPM R/C Products. As a precision plastic mold making and injection molding company, RPM has been in the RC industry since the mid-80s. For close to forty years, RPM has lent their design, engineering and manufacturing expertise to improving some of the most beloved RC vehicles on the market.
With their eye on increasing both the performance and reliability of the X-Maxx, it made sense to partner up with Trevizo to see what they could do to beef up his X-Maxx. How do you get to work with a respected company like RPM to develop parts for popular RC platforms? By politely asking, of course. We’ll let Trevizo fill you in on how he got on the track to building this brute and how he ended up enlisting RPM’s help.
Trevizo tells us, “The X-Maxx started life as the original first batch of 6s X-Maxx’s introduced to the Market between December 2015 and January 2016. This was special to me for a few reasons. One it would be my first Traxxas to own and second it would be on an entirely new platform from Traxxas. So I was super excited to own it. I knew This truck had more to offer so I ditched the stock esc and motor as many others were experiencing fires and opted for a 1/5 scale setup. I then proceeded to run it on 8s and fell in love with its power and characteristics.
“As per usual when you increase the power of a vehicle, it’s usually a great time to upgrade other components that need modification or an upgrade too. Unfortunately there wasn’t many companies making upgrades for the X-Maxx just yet. So I reached out to the team over at RPM and introduced myself and made a few suggestions for the X-Maxx. They kindly accepted my suggestions. I then offered my X-Maxx if they needed one to design parts and well, that’s how my journey started with RPM. I have since developed a friendship with Richard and Atticus over at RPM. They treat me as part of the RPM R/C Products family.”
As robust as the truck is, Trevizo along with the team at RPM did see a few components that they wanted to push even further. As Trevizo points out, “A unique aspect of my X-Maxx is that all of the current parts RPM offers for the model have all been designed, test fitted off this particular X-Maxx. I have been running first batch RPM parts for years and have yet to break a single one.
“My X-Maxx is no shelf queen. Nothing wrong with that, I just like sending my X-Maxx. With all the RPM parts installed, I feel confident in bashing and running it. Over the years, Traxxas offered a power upgrade, which included an new ESC, Cush Drive, beefier out drives and axles. As well as redesigned differential gears. I opted for the upgraded power system and now it’s fully 8s capable.”
The X-Maxx is already an engineering marvel direct from the factory. We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that under the skin of the X-Maxx lays engineering meant for not only powerful performance, but longevity and protection too. A composite nylon tub shaped chassis shields critical components such as the transmission and electronics from damage.
The transmission itself is also designed to shrug off hard conditions and delivery everything you demand it to. It is fitted with what Traxxas calls a shock-absorbing Cush Drive. Cush Drive, which was originally created for their 100 mile-per-hour capable XO-1 Supercar. This transmission is capable of sending great loads of power directly to its Torque-Biasing Center Drive.
The Torque-Biasing Center Drive is made to absorb shocks that may shock the driveline. It also distributes power to all four wheels seamlessly via robust sealed differentials. We could go on and on about the incredible engineering work that Traxxas poured into the X-Maxx, like we said before, this thing is a beast.
Taking a look at a selection of used parts that Trevizo showed us, we could see that indeed his X-Maxx is not a shelf queen. It may have been cleaned up for this article’s photoshoot, but the bashed up parts he displayed shows that the truck has seen plenty of action. Trevizo mentions, “As you can see from the scruffed up black parts, my truck has been enjoyed thouroughly. We decided to step up our game and show this X-Maxx some love with a fresh set of RPM R/C Products parts as well as a few others to make it magazine worthy.”
The truck is motivated by a powerful Castle Creations 2028 800kv Sensored Motor that is teamed up with a Castle Creations Mamba X 8s ESC. The combination can thrust the X-Maxx from a standstill to a blur in a blink of the eye. Considering the truck’s mass, that’s saying a lot about this motor and ESC combo. He continues, “RPM is known for offering multiple color options on some off their parts and we took this opportunity to show case as many blue parts as possible. We also teamed up with Castle Creations to give it extra power and a solid quality sensored system. Paired with a CNC machined Afrolucha Motor mount.” Note that the motor mount is machined out of a single block of tough 7075-grade aluminum. Now that’s what we call an ultra strong motor mount.
Some of the RPM parts used to uparmor the X-Maxx include oversized axle carriers in the front and back, an entire set of suspension arms and shock shaft guards just to name a few. Each of the upgrades have been developed to keep the truck running for years, if not decades. Plenty of thought and precision design went into RPM’s X-Maxx parts, take for example the shock shaft guards. Not only do they look cool, but they shield the shock shaft from deteriorating elements such as rocks and dirt, prolonging the life of the shock shaft, which improves the long-term performance of the suspension and in turn, prolongs the time between seal replacement and shock rebuilds.
RPM’s suspension arms are probably some of the most popular upgrades for the platform. RPM says that they reviewed numerous photos of damage to stock A-arms to see where the weak points were, then reviewed a set of new A-arms to see what they could do to improve both strength and durability. The result are arms that are designed to be strong, light and more capable.
The lower A-arm not only boasts increased ground clearance, but features the same cross section based off of their 1:5 scale HPI Baja A-arms so you know they’re tough. They also created a double support beam on the lower arms to spread impact energy over a larger area, meaning hard hits won’t force you to retire from the field. We can go on and on about the effort RPM puts in their parts, but we’d run out of space.
Moving on to the other upgrades, Trevizo informs us, “I wanted to give the X-Maxx a unique monster truck look and felt Losi’s MTXL wheels and tires would help achieve the look. Man, I’m so happy with the results it definitely sets it apart from the pack.” The great looking rings on the wheels are made by Trevizo and his brother under the name RCWERKZ, be on the look out for them, they’re defintely head turners for sure. He also added a few choice aluminum parts throughout the truck from GPM Racing. They look nice and improve durability and stiffness where it counts.
Trevizo continued, “After rebuilding the X-Maxx and nailing the colors for the compents between black, blue and green. It was time to paint the body. Over the years on social media (under the name @RCWERKZ) I’ve been known for painting unique RC bodies. One of my styling cues are my splatter paint effect. Though not new to the industry, it’s still a bit different.”
The X-Maxx is certainly a dream RC to own, but Trevizo and the crew at RPM managed to make it even bigger and badder than we could’ve imagined. Imagine showing up at your local park or track with this bad boy in tow. We’re sure it will start up more than a few conversations. The giant monster truck wheels and tires really give the X-Maxx an even more exaggerated oversized look that we are really digging. We can’t wait to see what other builds and upgrades that Trevizo and the team at RPM comes up with.
Text and Images by Jerry Tsai