TRX-4 Winch

Mighty Mini Monster – Traxxas 1/16 E-Revo VXL’s Brushless Power And Racing DNA Make For An Unstoppable Force

Mighty Mini Monster – Traxxas 1/16 E-Revo VXL’s Brushless Power And Racing DNA Make For An Unstoppable Force

As its name implies, the E-Revo revolutionized the electric monster truck segment when it first came out—its lightweight design and advanced suspension offered a level of dynamic capability that made everything else seem outdated almost overnight. The industry spent the next few years catching up, but during that time the racing classes that the E-Revo had been designed to dominate kind of tailed off in popularity, and so monster trucks were mostly being bought for sport bashing rather than competition.

In that setting, the E-Revo’s lightweight design, which had traded off some durability for track speed, seemed somewhat less at home. When it came time for a Revo reboot, Traxxas released a beefier, tougher truck better able to withstand the extremes of backyard basher bumps, jumps and crashes. Impressively, it did so without sacrificing speed—VXL versions were rated for 70+mph on 6S power!

At nearly 2 feet long and tipping the scales at more than 11 pounds the E-Revo was no lightweight, and at $600 was not exactly light on the wallet either. That’s where the 1/16 E-Revo comes in. It’s about half the size (12.9 inches), less than half the price ($270), and a fraction of the weight (about 2.5 pounds) of the bigger E-Revo.

In VXL form it’s still insanely fast—good for 50+mph with the optional dual battery setup, and that feels even faster at the smaller size. It shares its big brother’s advanced chassis design, yielding similar dynamic capabilities and feel while being considerably more practical and affordable, positioning it well to dominate the mini monster market the way its big brother did the 1/10 class years before.

Velineon Power

The 1/16 E-Revo VXL may be small in size, but it’s certainly not undersize in the powertrain department. The Velineon Brushless Power System pairs a sensorless 380 brushless motor with the VXL-3M electronic speed control. The 8-turn 4000kv 380 is efficient and powerful, delivering smooth, consistent response. The VXL-3M is a three-mode design featuring a standard Sport setting with forward, brake, and reverse, a Race mode that locks out reverse, and a training mode that limits forward and reverse to 50-percent throttle maximum. It’s also versatile, accepting the included 6-cell NiMH battery or the option for twin 6-cell packs for 14.4V and 50+mph. It has 2-stage voltage detection so it’s compatible with 2S or 3S LiPo power too. Its water-resistant case is O-ring sealed to give a measure of safety in any terrain or conditions.

DRIVETRAIN

The heavy-duty single-speed transmission rides on rubber-sealed ball bearings for maximum efficiency and the sealed diffs come filled with silicone to increase traction control and resist wheelspin on any unloaded tire, something you don’t find on many minis. Under an easily removable gear cover there’s a slipper clutch that is adjustable for driving style or surface conditions. Putting power to the wheels is a set of telescoping universal-joint driveshafts made of high-impact plastic with curvilinear splines to resist binding and increase durability.

CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION

The 1/16 E-Revo uses scaled down version of its big brother’s suspension setup, starting with the same style pivot ball suspension for smooth articulation and ease of adjustment. It also uses similar shocks: adjustable threaded body oil-filled dampers mounted horizontally and actuated via rocker arms to keep the CG low and still give maximum travel and progressive damping to effectively soak up bumps and jumps. All of that hardware is mounted into a fiber-reinforced composite monocoque chassis for extra rigidity, and it too features familiar hallmarks of the bigger Revo.

The most obvious is the battery mounting setup. There are integrated battery compartments molded right into the base of the chassis which have a couple key advantages. First, it keeps the weight mounted low and centered, improving both handling and stability. And the compartments have quick-release battery doors and cooling vents, providing extra protection while still allowing fast, convenient battery changes without needing to remove the body.

ELECTONICS

The VXL version of the 1/16 E-Revo comes with the patented Traxxas Stability Management (TSM) system built into the receiver, which helps to tame the extra power on tap and keep it pointed in the right direction. The system intensity can be dialed up or down using the adjustment knob on the TQi 2.4GHz transmitter depending on surface conditions or driver experience, or it can be turned off altogether if you want to drive on the wild side.

The TQi pistol radio is plug-and-play; it remembers model settings for up to 30 different models automatically, and it is compatible with the Traxxas Link module which allows you to use your favorite mobile device (Android or iOS) to adjust a wide variety of vehicle parameters as well as serve as a telemetry display when you equip your truck with optional sensors. The 5-channel receiver comes mounted in a waterproof, O-ring sealed receiver box, and the digital high-torque micro servo for steering is waterproof too.

BODY, WHEELS & TIRES

Traxxas new generation of ProGraphix bodies are well executed, and the one included with this truck shares a strong family resemblance to the larger Revo and most of the rest of the Traxxas line. If you like the look of those you’ll like this one. Traxxas a rear wing which it describes as “high downforce” but for the basher duties the 1/16 E-Revo is likely to see it’s doubtful it offers a performance advantage—consider it more of a cosmetic upgrade.

Of more performance importance are the wheels and tires. The black-chrome 2-inch Gemini 5-spoke wheels are pretty enough, and the tread and compound on the Talon tires strike a reasonable compromise between on- and off-road traction and longevity. Even so, if you are someone who likes to dial back the TSM, especially on asphalt, expect to be replacing them before too long—the VXL system simply has too much power to let any tire live too long!

ACCESSORIES

It’s a Traxxas tradition to deliver complete ready-to-run packages that include everything the first-time owner needs. In the little E-Revo’s case that includes the aforementioned 6-cell (7.2 volt) 1200mAh NiMH battery pack equipped with Traxxas iD—the automatic battery identification feature built into many of Traxxas’ chargers. You get a charger too: a basic fixed current 2-amp NiMH peak charger that works with the included pack, but oddly it does not include the iD feature. If you’re going to step up to Lipo power (and why wouldn’t you with the VXL?) you’re going to need a more advanced charger anyway, so spring for one that has iD.

The 1/16 E-Revo uses scaled down version of its big brother’s suspension setup, starting with the same style pivot ball suspension for smooth articulation and ease of adjustment.

The 1/16 E-Revo VXL’s Velineon Brushless Power System pairs a sensorless 380 brushless motor with the VXL-3M electronic speed control.

Text by RCCA Staff
Images by Leigh Guarnieri

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Updated: May 19, 2021 — 10:59 AM

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