Of course I have seen pictures online and read stories from Mad Force owners, but that still didn’t prepare me for what I was about to get in the mail. I’m not really sure what my expectations of the Mad Force were, even still I found myself quite surprised when I opened the shipping box and the truck was revealed. It some how was bigger than I was expecting and the construction was much different than I am used to seeing. It is 1/8th scale so of course it’ll be big, but it’s the construction that really peaked my curiosity and I was a bit antsy to see and test the differences.
Getting the Mad Force ready for action is a breeze. First you pull out the transmitter and set it aside, after all we want to get to the truck right? Second you pull the truck with the already mounted body out of the box and drool all over your new toy. When you’ve depleted the moisture from your mouth grab the instructions bag and fling them aside for now. Fourth grab the box of goodies which include a fuel bottle, glow driver, air filter, 4-way wrench and some extra screws and clips.
Grab that instruction bag you just threw aside and tear it open as it has the antenna tube inside and throw it aside again. Thread the receiver wire through the tube and place it in the proper mounting hole. Open the receiver box and put in four fresh AA batteries (not included), then fill it with some fuel and you’re ready to roll.
Taking a look at the construction, one of the major differences that immediately stood out was the step ladder chassis. I’ve seen this on other models but have not owned one before, so I began looking at how everything was laid out and secured to the chassis. There really is not much to it at all yet I can see how the design should make for a sturdy platform, maybe even more so than the traditional chassis setup. The second major difference is the suspension-mounted steering. This is quite a different setup from traditional design and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the advantages or disadvantages are to this setup. Through testing I’ve yet to find a flaw in this steering setup. It does exactly what it’s suppose to do, and whether turning at slow or high speed it’s very precise and responsive. The chassis-mounted steering servo is not affected by suspension action, and is connected by a linkage rod to a servo-saver. This really comes in handy when a tree unexpectedly uproots itself and moves right into the way of the truck.
Shaft-driven solid axles and steel U-joints connect the front and rear bevel-gear differentials, making it more like you’ll find on full-size monster trucks. Very cool! It’s not going to be a climber like some of the independent suspension setups, but it is proving more durable for back yard bashing. The suspension does have a respectable travel making the Mad Force a pretty versatile truck on several surfaces. Kyosho designed the truck different from the typical four link suspension setups by installing a two link suspension system that utilizes broad, flat plates mounted to the chassis. The coil-over shocks are angled to give the suspension more travel and progressive dampening but leave a little to be desired in terms of adjustability. Despite that they perform nicely with this package and are surprisingly effective!
The 3-speed, chain-drive transmission certainly helps explain the name “Mad Force”! You get incredible low end torque for smile inducing wheelies, but don’t sacrifice top end speed as a result. Besides being very simple in design, this close-ratio tranny delivers shifting that’s both incredibly quick, smooth and I’m finding reliable.
Before actually starting the truck I always go over it to make sure all the screws have been fastened securely and to check whether any critical screws should have thread lock. Following normal break-in procedures (according to the manual) I allowed the engine some time to adjust to its new life as a monster truck power supply before really testing its abilities. I take it slow at first and cycle the engine through the heating and cooling process to ensure a quick starting, strong and long lasting engine. Here is where some experience in r/c car engines will help, because you won’t find the instructions very user friendly. You can study them to get a good understanding, but they don’t make it very easy. It was about 45 degrees when I started my Mad Force for the first time, and I didn’t have to touch the needle valve to get a constant idle and smooth transition. It started fairly quickly and after the third tank of easy running I started to lean the engine a bit so it wouldn’t stall on full extended acceleration. This is normal and I expect to lean it some more as the engine is broken in further to gain optimal performance.
For a 1/8th scale truck the Mad Force is light. Light is good if it’s also built strong and through testing the Mad Force is proving to be strong. I get the feeling I’m driving a smaller 1/10th scale truck as the Mad Force is very nimble and responsive to all transmitter inputs.
Massage the throttle trigger just right and you don’t even need the included wheelie bars. Punch it and watch the front wheels instantly reach skyward as the wheelie bars catch it from flipping, then ride the wheelie through second gear into third. I’ve even turned it wheels up a few times because the tires happened to grip too well on launch!
I suppose the wheelie bar does it’s job by not letting the truck flip over most of the time, but the angle of the wheelies is unrealistic. It would be great if the bars had some resistance based travel to accommodate those smoother drivers. But then again, I found once I got use to the truck I could ride a wheelie pretty far without needing the bar. I guess what I’m saying is the wheelie bar design and setup will probably be a driver preference and I can definitely see it being modified by the owner to suit their desires.
The Mad Force turns effortlessly giving complete control to the driver and when mixed with throttle inputs makes it one of the easiest 1/8th scale trucks I’ve driven! I was nervous at first about the suspension but it really does it’s job over the rough terrain. It can get a little dicey when you pick up the speed, hit third gear and the terrain is unpredictable. Because the truck is so light it does bounce around quite a bit at full throttle. When the terrain is a bit smoother I found it to be rather stable at higher speeds. They also work better than expected when jumping and I was immediately impressed by the jumping characteristics of this truck. It launches off the ramp and through the air in a nose high attitude, which I really love. The vented dual brakes are so precise and strong you can easily correct its pitch in the air. I found the brakes didn’t have as much tendency to fade off like some other truck setups. All that translates into a truck I love to jump through the entire tank of fuel and into the next! Not only that but the steering is so fast and responsive I found steering the truck in the air easier than any other I’ve jumped. It also lands pretty soft with little to no rebound on the smaller jumps. It’s very controllable from takeoff through landing. The bottom line here is the Mad Force makes you look like a good driver when launching it to the air. I love that!
In the grass the Mad Force will get on it’s side in high speed turns, but because the truck’s steering is so responsive I’ve yet to side roll it. While cruising around the yard, I found the Mad Force to handle the bumps, sticks, logs and field around my house very well. In the sand I noticed it was easily controlled through slides. I have little doubt this is because of the light weight, responsive steering and my drifting capabilities. It throws great roosters in the sand, yet doesn’t give too much traction away that you’re left spinning the tires without forward progress.
If you could find a set of street tires for the Mad Force I would recommend it for an added bonus to your fun. The faster I drove it on the road the more unstable it got, and considering the speeds my truck was hitting that can be a little unnerving. It’s manageable, but not recommended. To be honest, I didn’t spend much testing on the pavement as it was clear this truck is at home in the junk… grass, hills, jumps, sand, field and whatever else you want to try and drive it through. I just don’t see the need to waste all that good fun on the street or in a paved parking lot. I will say though, it is manageable on the pavement at full throttle if you have a little driving background.
Drive the Mad Force and you will be hooked!
- Length – 21.3″
- Width – 16.3″
- Height – 10.2″
- Wheelbase – 12.4″
- Track – 12.2″
- Ground Clearance – 2″
- Gear Ratio – 25.71 / 19.81 / 15.61
- Tires – 6.3″ x 3.9″
- Weight – 9.0 lbs
- Engine – Kyosho GX21 Recoil
- Price – approximately $379.99
It comes right down to a few things with this truck. I do like the construction for a couple of reasons. It smacks more of a full scale monster truck than do other 1/8th scale trucks. It also has proven light and strong. The engine and tranny allow everything from wheelies to a pretty impressive top speed… plenty of power and both have been strong during testing. The suspension design, while sparse in some applications, does a nice all around job of keeping you from owning a frequently broken truck. I also found them to be nicely matched to this truck and how I drive.
The Mad Force is a truck I’m pleased to own and one I don’t mind people taking a closer look to examine it up close. I can’t say that about all the r/c vehicles I’ve owned. It’s not going to awe you with it’s size as some other’s in this category, but it will bring every bit of fun to where ever you are driving.
P.O. Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826