Redcat Racing's latest entry into 1/8th scale scene, the Monsoon
XP, is one of the larger truggies that I've had the joy
of operating. It's very wide track width and long wheelbase create
a stable platform that dances over the rough sections of the track
while it soaks up the big hits with long-stroke aluminum dampers.
Wait, there's more...
Because Redcat built the Monsoon with competition in mind, it
has been given a big-block mill, a center differential, and long,
super beefy a-arms...a must for any racer. But don't worry all
you bashers and weekend warriors, because the Monsoon is no track
queen; feel free to shred the parking lots, fields, and construction
sites with this capable, multi-purpose truggy while it takes a
beating and rarely calls for a time-out.
The Monsoon XP was tested at the local track and a few bash spots.
It exhibited outstanding performance with only a few small problems
encountered. In this review, I will outline the good aspects of
the Monsoon along with the issues that manifested themselves during
testing. Now, grab your field box and lest go test Redcat's Monsoon-XP!
RCUNIVERSE INTERACTIVE REVIEW. CLICK
ABOVE TO VIEW THE MONSOON.
The Monsoon XP, like all other Redcat's, comes
in a "universal" box. Mine had a picture of an Avalanche
on the front, prompting me to believe I got the wrong vehicle.
Redcat uses one box to ship multiple vehicles, and a closer inspection
revealed the Monsoon on the side of the box, a check next to it's
picture confirmed I has the truggy.
Packaged extremely well, the Monsoon sits creatively cradled
in a cardboard cocoon. Its wheels, transmitter, and tools are
all packaged in separate containers. Everything arrived without
a scratch and I suggest you now taking a picture of it in it's
pristine state, for it will soon be covered with dust and dirt...the
way it should be!
Take a good look at the body; there's alot of detail in the paint
and it makes the Monsoon stand out in a sea of boring RTR polycarbonate.
The only thing you need to do is cut a hole in the windshield
for increased engine cooling. The wing is that yellow plastic
one we've come to know and love from Redcat. All three of my previous
Redcats have had this wing in various sizes and I will say it's
a blessing to have it; it's made of some seriously strong plastic
and will protect the cooling fins during most roll-overs.
Remove the body and you'll see an anodized aluminum chassis with
components placed in a manner to allow easy access for maintenance
and cleaning. Braces are used to support the front and read differentials
making the entire chassis extremely rigid. My only concern is
the proximity of the tuned pipe to the fuel tank. There's been
some buzz about fuel tanks melting from the heat of the pipe and
with a little work and a pair of pliers, the pipe holder can be
bent to space the pipe away from the tank.
The shocks included with the Monsoon are of high quality; their
aluminum bodies are grooved to prevent the preload adjusters from
moving. To adjust them, just loosen the set screw and slide them
to a desired level and retighten. Although sprung just a bit on
the light side, they seemed to work well and I was glad to see
multiple shock adjustment points for fine tuning the ride. The
suspension arms consist of super beefed up lowers and adjustable
length upper arms for setting camber. Don't expect to camber the
front wheels in much; their "neutral" setting is almost
fully closed. Out at the end of the arms are some pretty large
knuckles. They are kingpin style and bomb-proof if you ask me.
Of course, all this added strength does come at a price; weight!
Directially responsible for noise
pollution and destruction of property, the .28 big-block mill
puts out some serious power. We're talking all four wheels breaking
loose on the pavement! This engine is loud, strong, and really
holds it's tune. The pull start worked as expected and brought
the engine to life in a matter of seconds. Overheating problems
are a thing of the past with the .28 and I noted temperatures
around 250 degrees post-run. The exhaust manifold is held on with
a spring and attaches to the tuned pipe with a rubber adapter.
I was a little disappointed with the "Monsoon specific"
clutch bell. This non-universal little number limits your gear
selection to whatever Redcat decides to put out, and at this time,
isn't much. All you track junkies wont be effected though, as
the current bell is geared well for the track. From the clutch,
power is transferred to the center differential and on to the
foreward and aft diffs. All three worked well, and as an option
I added 10,00ct differential fluid to the rear for more locked
action. Very strong dog-bones tie the differentials and wheels
together and proved to be virtually indestructible.
Braking on the Monsoon consists of a double brake
setup that requires an allen key to adjust the bias. From the
factory, it was set a little rear wheel heavy to facilitate sliding
into turns for faster exiting...no problems there. The brakes
did not fade after long runs and exhibited a positive feel under
The fuel tank on the Monsoon is stout and never leaked a drop
of fuel. It has a strong hinge spring and keeps the lid secured
and the tank debris free. The fuel lines are routed a little awkwardly
and rub against the cooling fins on the engine but I didn't have
any issues with them during testing.
The transmitter included with the Monsoon is the standard AM
radio included with all Redcat products. Although not a super
high-quality transmitter, it functioned well, had good range and
decent battery life. I especially like the three led battery-level
indicator which takes the guess work out of changing low batteries.
The trim knobs are located for easy access with the right hand.
The receiver is another Redcat favorite and, again, functioned
as expected. It's small and light-weight which helps shed weight
from this behemoth. The throttle and steering servos have decent
torque and functioned as expected. It was nice to see a dust-sealed
on-off switch fixed to the end of the radio box; this is where
most failures originate and sealing it from the elements nixes
that problem. To sum up the electrics on the Monsoon; they're
descent. You aren't going to wow anybody at the track with this
equipment but you can expect it to work well and not give you
Knuckle and hub
bar/captured hinge pins
To ready the Monsoon for break-in,
I oiled the prefilter, installed a Protek RC lipo receiver pack
and voltage regulator in the truck and 8 AAs in the transmitter,
and threaded the antenna wire through the tube. A little nitro
fuel on your finger helps the antenna slide through the tube much
easier. The break-in consisted of 2 tanks worth of idling and
2 tanks of figure-eights followed by a final tank of 3/4 throttle
passes. The engine broke-in quite easily and only stalled once.
It did eat a glow plug in the beginning of the break-in but other
than that, performed as expected. The driving portion of the review
was done at Loganville RC Speedway near Atlanta Ga.
Sponsored racer Tyrone Echols met
me at Loganville RC Speedway to aid in testing the Monsoon. The
conditions had changed dramatically from when it was broken in;
humid and somewhat cool gave way to dry and hot. Yet the .28 required
only a small adjustment of the HSN to find that sweet spot and
we commenced with testing.
Did I mention the Monsoon is heavy? The engine uses every bit
of power to push the chassis around the track...and rather quickly
I might add. Any smaller sized engine just wouldn't cut it with
this truggy. Crack the pipe on the back straight,
and the Monsoon rockets to the other end of the track in a flash.
I was truly amazed at the power on tap; quick, technical 180 degree
to double jumps were easily navigated with a pull of the throttle.
I did find the suspension a little soft in the front end but
a few adjustments to the ride height solved that condition. With
the suspension dialed in, the Monsoon holds it's own on a track.
The steering is quick even though the Monsoon sports some massive
tires. Throttle response is fast thanks to the slide carb.
A huge double at the front of the track was made easy as the
Monsoon sailed level over the massive jump. If the Monsoon overshoots
the landing ramp and lands on the flat, expect an earth-shaking
"thud" as the chassis slaps terra-firma. The shocks
do a decent job of soaking up bumps but need a little tuning to
sail over the washboard sections effortlessly.
In the bashing scene, the Monsoon is king. It's sheer size is
intimidating and you can expect alot of attention when you fire
it up; the sound of a dirt bike comes to mind. When the taller
pinion becomes available, expect a real improvement in top speed
and overall experience.
The Monsoon had a best top speed of 32.4 mph.
A Garmin 60csx gps was used to determine the speed within +/-
.2 mph accuracy. Multiple body-on passes were made on asphalt with the high-speed needle leaned progressively until peak mph
was reached, then richened 1/8th of a turn.
To sum up the Monsoon XP; it's a jack of all
trades. Although marketed as a full blown racer, it's just as
comfortable in a bashing enviroment and can take almost any beating.
But be careful, it can dish out a beating to other monster trucks
as well. My point? Watch where you drive the Monsoon because it's
sheer mass is dangerous!
I really enjoyed driving the truggy, with alot of credit going
to the .28 big-block. The extreme sound, the ease of starting,
and the ability to hold a tune all make the .28 an exceptional
engine for this truggy. I would suggest the Monsoon XP to anyone
that wants to go fast without parting ways with the wallet. It's
a great first race truck and a good basher and I expect it to
hold up to many sessions at the track or field. In the 1/8th scale
department, Redcat has shown they are a company to contend with
and I expect many more quality off-road machines from them in
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Thanks to racer Tyrone Echols for helping me test the Monsoon
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.