Worm gear driven
Use with LiPo or NiMH/NiCD
4 LED lights
45º turn radius
The winter months
are here and the days are much shorter now. By the time the average
person gets off work, the sun has just about disappeared. How on earth
will I get to do any rock crawling during the week?
Check out the Losi Night Crawler. It is a capable crawler with the
added bonus of well placed LED lights and it comes in a ready to run
package. Thanks to the Night Crawler, rock crawling isn't just a
daytime sport any more.
Night Crawler Scale:
1/10 scale Price:
$339.99 varies with dealer Length:
12.3" Wheel size:
2.2" Beadlock Motor:
Losi Night Crawler 55T/540-sized motor, Losi MSC-12L 4-mode Fwd/Rev
LiPo-compatible ESC Drive Train:
Direct drive transmission with gear reduction and worm gear drive axles Radio equipment:
(Included) Losi Spektrum? 2.4GHz DSM® Radio system, JR Racing
Z590M metal gear steering servo
4- L shaped hex
wrenches 3/32, 5/64, 1/16, and .050
Bind plug for
4- AA batteries
1- six cell NiMH
or 2S LiPo battery pack
box looks great and the Crawler was packaged securely. The radio was in
a box within the box and everything arrived safely.
The Night Crawler's
Grappler pro body was painted, trimmed, and decals applied. An extra
decal sheet was included in the box but the body already looks great so
I found no need for them. The front and rear of the body are tapered
for interference free suspension articulation. This body is competition
legal and looks great.
Included with the
ready to run Night Crawler are the manual, product booklet, decal
sheet, four L-shaped hex wrenches, binding plug, the transmitter, and
four AA transmitter batteries.
I am very pleased
to see the included 2.4GHz radio system. This will provide great
response without interference.
Right off the bat I
noticed the tires. Their aggressive scale appearance and beadlock rims
add some bling to the crawler. I can't wait to get this thing on some
Left rear angle
Right rear angle
Left angle bare
Right angle bare
Hinge pins with set-screw
Wheels, tires, and drive train
crawling demands performance from a set of tires. That is why Losi
equipped the Night Crawler with Losi Rock Claws. The compound is soft
but not super soft. I like this because they'll grip the rocks and are
durable enough not to tear while spinning over a sharp rock. The treads
are aggressive, to say the least, and are molded with side lugs for
that extra grip. Foam inserts are used in the four Rock Claws tires.
Rock Claws are clamped in place with three piece beadlock rims. The
rims use a chrome wheel center and two lock rings, which are blue in
color, to secure the tires. There is one locking ring on the inside and
one on the outside of each rim.
Each locking ring has counter sunk holes and is fastened with six hex
Rock Crawlers need
low gear ratios to "crawl" up and over tough obstacles. The Night
Crawler uses a direct drive transmission with gear reduction which is
mounted to the same aluminum plate as the motor. With the stock 20
tooth pinion gear, the gear reduction assembly gives the Night Crawler
a final gear ratio of 62.51.
Spanning the gap
between the gear reduction assembly and the axles are steel drive
shafts. On one end of the shafts a dog bone joint is used and the other
end is equipped with a CVD joint. The CVD joint slips over the axle
input shaft and is secured with two set screws.
Inside both axles
you will find worm gear drive systems. The worm gears consist of a
regular cut worm gear spool and a spiral cut pinion drive gear. This
method is super strong and does not torque the axles when accelerating
like a conventional drive system.
The worm gear drive
system supplies the type of braking required for rock crawling. What I
mean by braking is, you can't turn the tires by any means other than
the drive shaft. When the motor spins it spins the front and rear drive
shafts which spin both worm gear systems and as a result, all four
tires spin. It works great. When you grab hold of the tires and try to
spin them by hand, you cannot. This works perfectly for rock crawling.
When you let off of the throttle, the vehicle stops and stays there,
even on steep hills.
Both front and rear
axles are locked solid. There are no differentials in the Night Crawler
because they are not desired for rock crawling. Rock crawling demands
as much traction as possible and because of that, locked diffs are
necessary. This ensures power is always delivered to all four tires.
Drive shaft joint
Tires with Beadlock rims
Front axle exploded view
Worm drive gears
Worm drive gears
The radio included
with the Night Crawler is a Losi LSR-3000 with Spektrum?
2.4GHz DSM® technology. I
am pleased to see Losi using the 2.4 GHz platform for this rtr vehicle.
The radio is bound to the receiver right out of the box. If for some
reason the radio and receiver become unbound, there is a binding plug
included in the extras bag.
The Losi LSR-3000
radio operates on the 2.4GHz frequency and uses 79 unique channels.
These channels are automatically selected when both transmitter and
receiver are turned on. The radio will not interfere with other radios
operating on 27MHz, 75MHz, or other 2.4GHz frequencies. It's great
avoiding the hassle of matching crystal pairs. With this system you
don't have to worry about someone running on your frequency and taking
control of your vehicle.
The receiver is the
Losi MXR-3000 which also uses Spektrum?
2.4GHz DSM® technology.
One of the many benefits of this technology is a short receiver antenna
so there is no need to drill a hole in the body.
There are four
ports in the Losi MXR-3000 receiver. These ports are the binding port,
steering channel, throttle channel, and auxiliary channel. The
auxiliary channel is used for the lights.
lights are mounted to the crawler's chassis with one directed at each
tire. This will make it easier to see where you are placing the tires
in the dark.
The steering servo
is a JR Racing Z590M metal gear servo and is rated for 85 oz-in torque
@ 6 volts. The metal gears should hold up well to the demands of rock
2.4 GHz receiver
2.4 GHz Transmitter
the Night Crawler through obstacles is the Losi 55t/540 fan cooled
throttle inputs to the motor is a MSC-12L electronic speed controller.
The ESC uses a 4 cell (4.8 volts) to 6 cell (7.2 volts) NiMH/NiCD or a
2S LiPo (7.4 volts) as a power source.
The ESC has four
user selectable modes.
2. Forward only (race mode)
3. Practice mode (slow acceleration)
4. Crawler mode (applies brake when forward throttle is released)
The on/off switch
is located on top of the ESC and is easily accessible with the body on
A single button
controls all functions of the ESC like setting battery type, selecting
a mode, and setting the throttle end points. The ESC uses red and green
flashing lights to let you know what mode you are currently in. The
manual goes over this in step by step detail and is easy to follow.
The battery tray is
located at the top of the chassis and can be configured two different
ways. The stock configuration is for NiMH and NiCD battery packs. The
other way is to arrange the straps for a crawler LiPo pack. You can
mount the LiPo pack toward the front or rear of the battery tray.
Electronic speed controller
Motor and Gear Assembly
Motor with cooling fan
Motor and Gear Assembly
Battery tray for NiMH
Electronic Speed Controller
Battery tray for LIPO
Night Crawler is able to maneuver those rocks thanks to its ultra
smooth 4-link suspension. The beefy looking plastic lower links have
some side flex but no up/down flex. Since most of the rock pressure
will be from the bottom, I don't see a big problem with this.
plastic upper links, or track rods, have a metal core and very little
flex. There are three different mounting options for the upper track
rods. The stock position is in the middle of three holes for well
balanced performance. The lower hole is best for loose or slippery rock
and the upper hole is best for high traction rock.
suspension's movements are four aluminum oil filled shocks. An
adjustable sliding collar is used for setting spring tension and is
secured with a hex head screw. The shocks can be mounted in two
different positions. The lower position gives the vehicle more
clearance and is best for jagged rocks. The upper hole will lower the
center of gravity and is best for sidehilling and steep rocks. The
stock position is the lower hole.
The zero ackerman
steering allows both front tires to turn 45 degrees in either
direction. With a race car, ackerman is necessary. When you turn the
race car to the left, the left front tire will turn sharper to the left
than the right front tire. If you turn to the right, the right front
tire will turn sharper than the left front tire. This is because when
turning, the inside front tire has to follow a tighter arc than the
outside tire. On rock crawlers however, you need both tires to turn the
same amount to get the tightest steering possible. Losi has
incorporated zero ackerman steering into the Night Crawler and should
I'm sure you can imagine, I was eager to find some rocks for the Night
Crawler. I took a charged 4200MAH NiMH battery pack along with the
Night Crawler and headed for the rocks.
the first rock I climbed, I could tell I was going to have a blast.
suspension worked great. As you can see in the videos the suspension
articulated up and over the rocks while keeping the vehicle upright.
Occasionally a front tire would stay suspended in the air, but letting
off the throttle and wiggling the steering wheel usually brought it
know it's difficult to tell by the video but I was on some pretty steep
rocks. The Night Crawler held its own. It occasionally rolled over and
fell six feet to the bottom of the gully, but it held up well. What I'm
saying is this thing is tough. I can tell by the abuse it withstood
that the materials used to make this truck are high quality. As you can
probably tell by now I like to put these vehicles through much abuse
when I test them and the Losi Night Crawler took my abuse and kept
attacked some steep hills both up and down. The crawler just sits where
you leave it. I gave it a little throttle and
it creeped up the hill. When I let off the throttle it stayed where I
left it, unless the tires slid of course. I even had it sitting on the
rear wheels only and it stayed there. The worm gear drive system was a
great choice by Losi!
was amazingly sharp and helped in maneuvering through the obstacles.
The zero ackerman and 45º of steering throw was very
noticeable in tracking a course or just turning the vehicle around.
This is definitely one of the best steering vehicles I've operated. The
JR servo held up great from the pressures of crawling as well as being
jarred from the falls.
The tires hooked up great. As you seasoned crawlers know, throttle
control is crucial. Just when I thought I wasn't going to make it over
an obstacle I changed tire speed and crawled over. The beadlock rims
worked as expected. The tires stayed properly secured at all times. Not
to mention they look cool!
motor and ESC combo performed well and kept me crawling over some tough
obstacles. The motor stalled a couple times when I was wedged in some
tight places but that was to be expected. It's possible if it hadn't
stalled I might have stripped a gear. I think this motor is a good
match for this crawler.
wasn't on the throttle constantly but I got at least 45mins of play
time from the 4200MAH six cell battery pack. That was 45mins of trouble
Losi LSR-3000 Spektrum
2.4GHz DSM® radio
worked flawlessly. There was no interference and it signaled the
controls exactly as I wanted it to. The trims were easy to adjust and
foam steering wheel felt good in my hand.
crawling for a while, I checked all the screws and everything was still
An added bonus of
the night crawler is the lighting system. Each of the four tires has an
adjustable light aimed in it's direction. When I tested it I was near a
street light which worked out great. The street light allowed me to see
what was ahead of the vehicle and the LED lights allowed me to get an
even better look at what was beneath it. When crawling in pitch black I
needed a flash light to allow me to plot my coarse. The optimum night
time crawling conditions would be at dusk or with a secondary light
am impressed with the performance of the Losi Night Crawler. I don't
see one thing I would have to change. It's kind of humorous how I look
for rocks every where I go now. I guess I'm hooked.
Losi Night Crawler will make a great vehicle for anyone, especially
someone wanting to get into crawling for the first time. Maybe you're
someone who wants to try your hand at night crawling or just looking
for a crawler to play with or compete with. I am confident you will be
pleased with the looks, quality, and performance of the Losi Night
a division of Horizon Hobby
4710 E. Guasti Road
Ontario, CA 91761 USA
The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.