RCU Review: XTM Racing X-Cellerator

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    Contributed by: Bill Pryor | Published: February 2004 | Views: 56974 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Bill Pryor

    Distributed by
    Global Hobby

    Hitec R/C
    Web Site:

    See the X-Cellerator
    in action!




    • Great Instructions - including tuning tips

    • Very Adjustable

    • Easy starting engine

    • Super strong

    • Very fast

    • Great balance and handling

    • Price

    • Dislike body mounting system (See Text)

    • Should have dual rates on steering

    Not so long ago there was a huge gap between a RTR and a purpose built racing machine......not anymore. I was amazed at the features, handling, speed, durability and quality of this machine from the second I took it out of the box.

    This is about as true to a RTR as you can come. The only things you need to do (if you want to look good, and that is important isn't it?) is apply the decals to the body and install transmitter and receiver batteries and fill 'er up.

    The quality of the kit is evident immediately after taking it out of the box. With ball bearings, ball differential, adjustable turnbuckle camber links and a full 3mm think aluminum chassis it looked like this would be great handling and fast little truck....and it didn't disappoint.

    This truck has all the features to make it a winner with the novice or experienced racer....and at a fantastic price ($260 street).

    As you can see above the X-Cellerator comes complete with a Hitec Lynx Sport 2 channel radio. Everything is completely installed and ready to run. The kit comes with manuals for the truck, engine and radio, and also a parts guide. The truck manual is excellent. It's logical, detailed and well-written. Since everything is pretty much ready-to-go when you get the truck, the manual comes in most handy later for chassis and engine tuning for optimum performance.

    The body is shown with the plastic film protection still on it, just waiting for the decals to be applied. Needless to say I was anxious to get the decals on and take it for a spin.

    Model name: Nitro X-Cellerator
    Type: 1/10 Scale 2WD Racing Stadium Truck
    XTM Racing
    Distributor: Global Hobby Distributors
    Length: 17" (431mm)
    Width: 13.25" (336mm)
    11.5" (292mm)
    Front Track:
    13" (330mm)
    Rear Track:
    12.75" (324mm)
    4.5 lbs. (2,018g) RTR
    Chassis: 3mm Black Anodized Stamped Plate Aluminum
    XTM Racing (.18 ci.) (installed)
    Drive Train:
    3-gear sealed transmission
    Damping: 4 Threaded-aluminum body with dust boots
    Tires: Eight ribs/ladder bar and step pin
    Wheels: One-piece dish
    Requires: 12 AA Batteries & Glow Fuel
    Transmitter: Hitec Sport Lynx 2 channel system
    Receiver: Hitec HP-2RNP
    Servos: (2) Hitec HS-311 Servos
    Street price:

    In recent times XTM Racing has been developing a great name for itself. They've been coming out with one winner after another; first the X-Terminator 1/8 scale buggy then the X-Factor monster truck and now the X-Cellerator. All of them have been getting excellent reviews for quality and performance, and for good reason. This truck uses top quality components, and not only do they work well, but they are strong too.

    All four corners use blue anodized, threaded, coil-over shocks. They even have rubber boots on the shock shafts to keep the dirt out of the seals. The shocks are factory filled with silicone fluid and shouldn't need maintenance for quite some time. They are easily adjusted with the knurled collars, quickly allowing you to adjust the handling characteristics, whether you want it ready for some big jumps or a smooth, fast track.

    The camber links, front and back, use 3mm steel turnbuckles, allowing you to set the camber without having to remove anything. This is a great detail that will save you a ton of time in the pits. The suspension uses conventional lower H-arm and upper camber Iink to tie the wheels to the chassis, while the steering kingpins are also used as attachment points for the outboard ends of the camber links to help keep the steering tight and pointing in the direction you asked the truck to go.

    All of this comes together into a suspension system that works very well. The truck is stable, takes bumps well, and is very well balanced in the air....making you look good when it lands right side up pretty much every time.

    All the suspension components are tied together with a strong 3mm black anodized aluminum plate chassis with the sides radiused for additional strength. The nose is braced with a small upper deck, serving a dual purpose by holding the steering servo too. This chassis is very strong, allowing the suspension to do its job. BTW, the pictures of the chassis bottom are after a few hours of running and there are only a couple of scratches showing.

    All the radio components are laid out logically and in positions to ensure maximum protection, while still allowing easy access for maintenance. The receiver is contained in a sealed box behind the steering servo and in front of the fuel tank. It is a simple matter of removing four screws if you need to change the frequency. The sealed on/off switch is located at the rear of the truck (on the back of the rear suspension brace) allowing for easy access when the body is on. It is completely sealed to keep it dry. A charging jack is accessible here too if you switch to a rechargeable battery for the receiver. The stock setup is 4 AA batteries in a nice little box on the rear of the truck as you can see above in the picture on the right .

    The Hitec radio is an excellent entry-level radio, and the servos seem to be plenty fast and strong to handle any type of application you may want to use the truck for, whether tooling around your backyard or doing some serious racing at the local track. The transmitter is a bit lacking in features if you plan to do some racing, as it only comes with trim levers and reversing switches. I would personally want a transmitter that at least had steering dual rate if I was planning to race, and end-point adjustment would be really nice for fine tuning the braking...but if you aren't planning on racing it works fine, with smooth, precise controls.

    As you can see in the middle picture above, the fuel tank is well protected and mounted at the mid point of the chassis. This not only helps the balance of the truck, but it allows it to stay balanced as the nitro burns down. An excellent feature. A lot of work has been done to ensure a well-balanced machine, and it shows. Jumps prove to be a piece of cake, with little correction needed during a jump to keep it landing level. In the middle picture you can also see the pull starter handle, which I'll talk about a bit later.

    Of course the throttle servo also functions as the brake actuation mechanism through a wire cam linkage. The brake rotor is 3mm thick fiberglass with a steel caliper. It provides very controllable proportional braking with excellent power. This truck will stop on a dime without any real wheel lockup. One thing I should point out here is that out of the box, the brakes, clutch, engine, throttle, steering and suspension were all setup perfectly. For the break-in period and some familiarization time after that, there were no adjustments necessary, except for some engine tuning as it was breaking in.

    The X-Cellerator's drive train is just as well designed and executed as the rest of the truck's components. The X-Cellerator has a 3.31:1 transmission ratio using a compact 46-tooth spur gear. The gearbox also contains the ball differential with 12 balls, steel outdrives and a caged thrust bearings. This connects to two CVA type universal joint drive axles through an easily adjustable slipper clutch. All the bearing surfaces use metal-shielded ball bearings for a very smooth drive. As a side benefit the compact gearbox allows for lower mounting of the drive train components to provide an exceptionally low center of gravity, which as a result, helps deliver exceptional handling.

    You can get a pretty good look at the .18 XTM racing power plant in the above pictures. It is a very nice design with dual ball bearing crank, 3-port true ABC piston and sleeve, dual needle rotary carburetor, and a large heat-dissipating cylinder/head. It puts out a very healthy 1.3HP. To complement the engine, it comes with a very nice foam air cleaner, and a seamless, two-piece, polished aluminum tuned pipe with spring mounted header attached to the pipe with silicone tubing.

    The engine comes with a pull-start system. This eliminates the need for a starter box, which for me is a mixed blessing, but it does make it simple. The engine proved to be very easy to start from the first try and only became easier as it was breaking in. This brings me to my only real nit on this truck, and it is really a complaint in general about just about all R/C trucks, I can't stand the mounting system used. The body easily slips over the four mounting towers, with the traditional clips slipping into the top of the towers to securely hold the body in place....but I hate having to get the engine running, then having to install the body. I believe there should either be a way to pull-start the engine with the body on, or there should be a single clip mounting system with a pivot on the front of the body. This is a small complaint, and not one aimed at just the X-Cellerator, as pretty much everyone does it this way.
    As you can see in the pictures above the X-Cellerator has great suspension travel, which when combined with the excellent adjustable shocks, really absorbs the bumps. The tires that come with the truck are ribbed fronts with 8 fairly shallow ribs, and the rears have a ladder-bar tread with thick center lugs and step-pin outer knobs. The wheels are white dish style. One nice thing is if you want to change the wheels, any Team Losi truck wheel will fit this truck without mods. You can also use any 2.2 inch tire you want for your application.

    The picture on the right above provides you with a nice top view with feature callout. Just click on the picture for a larger view.

    Put in your receiver batteries, fill it with nitro, put on the body and your ready to rip. Except for applying the decals these pictures are exactly how the truck comes to you.

    The manual is quite explicit about engine break-in procedures and I followed them exactly. After the first start (which by-the-way only took about 3 pulls on the starter) you only run the engine about 2-3 minutes, making sure it is running very rich. You then kill the engine and let it cool down for 10 minutes. You then turn the needle in about 1/8 turn and repeat the process. You repeat this process until you have about 45 minutes run-time on the engine. After you're done with this procedure you can follow the step-by-step instructions for getting optimum performance from the motor. Mine ran perfectly through the whole process. The engine is extremely reliable. I have never had a flame out, even during the break-in procedure.

    After "suffering" through the break-in period, I was very pent-up and anxious to wring this truck out. I was really amazed at how fast this truck was once I got it dialed it. Although a little sluggish right off the line, it quickly came "on-the-pipe" and just blasted up to top speed. Although I had no way to measure its speed, one magazine review clocked it at 46 MPH and another at over 50! Very impressive indeed. Personally if I didn't have a track that would take advantage of all that speed, I'd prefer to have a little lower gearing to get it out of the hole faster.

    Note: 15,16, and 17 tooth clutch bells, and a 47 tooth spur gear are available cheaply if you want to change the gearing.

    My testing was limited to a grass track that I made in my backyard. I had originally planned to run through a long testing session and race at the local track, but the weather closed in just before I received the truck and hasn't let up yet (Thanks Oregon), closing the track probably for the whole winter.....so, I planned to grade a track in my backyard, but the rain ruined that plan too making the ground too soft for the Bobcat I had access to to grade. The grass track actually worked out really well. I mowed the track extremely close so there was only a short pile of grass, and even though it was wet, the truck had excellent traction and handling on this surface. There were a couple of areas of exposed dirt so I was also able to test the handling on that surface too.

    Below are a few shots of the truck in action (make sure and watch the video).

    I ran the truck first with the exact settings as it came out of the box (except engine tuning of course), and was pleased to find there were no surprises. The truck tracked straight and the clutch seemed to be working great. The suspension turned out to be a bit low for this bumpy grass/dirt surface, but that was easy to change. The brakes also worked perfectly, quickly pulling the truck down from top speed to a stop in nothing flat, and without any wandering or locking.

    The first change I made was to add some preload to the shocks all around to raise the ride height. This is a very easy adjustment, thanks to the threaded shocks, all you have to do is turn the knurled adjusting ring with your fingers and you're done. This helped a lot to make it run straighter when it hit the bumps. I also had fewer tumbles ( you can see a couple in the video ) once this change was made.

    The car was wandering a bit on the straights when under full power so I tried adding a bit of toe-in. This is when you adjust the front wheels so they turn in more, which will provide more stability in a straight line. You don't want to add too much as this will cause drag and slow the truck down. This is a very simple job on the X-Cellerator thanks to the factory turnbuckles. These allow you to adjust the toe-in (and camber) without unfastening any parts (Thanks XTM!). Simply turn the turnbuckle and each end will move out, or in, depending on the direction you turn it. This proved to be just the ticket for settling the truck down on the straights.

    Note: I should add here that the truck comes with wrenches that work for the turnbuckles, wheels, clutch adjuster, and many other parts.

    See the X-Cellerator
    in action!

    The only other fine tuning issue I had was on this surface the truck was understeering too much. This is when you turn and the truck has a tendency to continue to go straight instead of turning. You adjust this by changing the camber angles of the wheels, either pulling the tops of the wheels in (negative camber), or pushing them out (positive camber). Negative camber will tend to make the tires bite more, so I added a bit of negative camber to the front wheels....perfect. The understeer was cut way down, but it was still very stable and controllable in the corners. I was now very happy with the handling of the truck, and thanks to XTM's easy adjustments these changes only took me a couple of minutes to complete.

    Although the clutch seemed to be just fine on the surface I was running on, it is so easy to adjust I tried out a few different settings to see how they affected the performance. I first tried letting the clutch slip a bit more than the factory setting, and I didn't like it as much on this surface. It didn't seem to launch out of the corners as fast so I went the other direction and lessened the slip from the stock setting. This actually showed a noticeable improvement exiting the slower corners. It hooked up earlier and on this surface the power was transferred quicker to the ground and resulted in faster exits from the slow corners.

    Since all these adjustments are so easy to make I highly recommend that even a beginner experiment with all the adjustments offered on this truck just to learn what they do. BTW, all of the adjustments are clearly described in detail in the manual. They tell you how to do it, why you should make a change one way or another, and if necessary, warn of any thing you should watch out for, i.e, they warn if the slipper clutch is set too loosely that it can cause the pads to wear out very quickly.

    I mentioned it before; this truck is very well balanced, which makes even a novice look like a pro on the jumps, and allows the truck to handle very neutrally in the corners. Overall, I was super impressed with the handling of this truck. The steering was quick and very precise allowing for easy control of the truck in all attitudes. As I mentioned, I would have like to have had dual rates on the transmitter to cut down a bit of sensitivity on the steering when I was doing high speed runs. I also think it would help a new driver not to over control when learning, but on most tracks you'll soon want the steering as fast as you can get it, so in the end I don't see this as a big problem.

    After putting a few hours on this truck I am still very impressed. The engine ran flawlessly. It has fantastic power and a very wide powerband. It really screams at top end and the slipper clutch allows it to pull very well out of slow corners. Starting was always a piece of cake with only a few pulls necessary to get the engine lit. I flipped the car a few times and the engine didn't die as long as I got it upright quickly. I was getting 8 minute runs out of a full tank and that was running pretty much all the time at full throttle. I used TRAXXAS 20% Top Fuel and it ran perfectly throughout my testing. XTM says you can switch to 30% nitro fuel after break-in, but personally, unless you're racing, I can't see a need to switch. Higher nitro only makes the tuning more sensitive and shortens the engine life, so for me, it's 20% only.

    I have to say that through all the pounding I put this little truck through, including several flips, violent tumbles, and even running into a concrete block at close to full speed, I never caused one bit of damage to the truck. I was amazed! Except for a little dirt, this truck still looks and works like new.

    The XTM Racing X-Cellerator is a WINNER! I can't imagine asking for anything more in a RTR; complete, setup perfectly out of the box, easy starting, durable, great handling and a super strong, reliable engine....and on top of all that it's very reasonably priced.

    Although I am not a racing expert, from experience with other cars in the past, I really believe that this car could be competitive right out of the box. If you want a bit more speed, or more adjustable handling, there's also a factory racing pipe available and sway bars for front and rear.

    I have no problem recommending this car to anyone looking for a RTR that they can get hours of inexpensive, trouble-free enjoyment from. Whether you're a novice or a serious racer, buy it, you'll like it!

    XTM Racing
    Web Site: http://xtm.globalhobby.com/
    Distributed Exclusively in the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico by:

    Global Hobby Distributors
    18480 Bandilier Circle, Fountain Valley, CA 92708
    Web Site:

    RCD USA, Inc.
    12115 Paine St., Poway CA, 92064
    Phone: 858.748.6948

    Web Site:

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    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.

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