First drive: XTM racing X-Factor
JUST PLUNGED INTO the ready– to-run 1/8-scale-buggy world with its new X-Terminator (reviewed in this Issue), so if I told you that XTM also had a new big-block monster truck, you’d probably expect it to feautre the X-Terminator’s buggy chassis and suspension combined with a set of chevron– tread tires and a truck body. That would be an easy way to put together a nitro monster, but XTM has much bigger plans for Its first monster truck, the X-Factor. Its most obvious feature is its four– link, solid-axle suspension, which Is just like the setups used by full-scale monsters (and completely unlike any other RC nitro monster truck’s). The suspension alone would be enough to make the X-Factor an exciting entry to the big-block monster scene, but there’s more, XTM’s home-grown 24-7 engine provides bigger than .21 power, and the new XTM R-Box electronic mixer gives the X-Factor fully proportional forward/reverse/brake control without a 3-channel radio or complex linkage system. Interested? There are many more trick details to get to, so let’s keep moving. I want to get to the part where I drive it!
DRIVING THE X-FACTOR
I used the XTM 24.7 engine for my XTM T-Maxx big-block conversion review (see the August 2002 Issue), and because of that experience, I expected the X-Factor to have a lot of low-end rip. Got that right; the X-Factor lit up all four chevron sneakers as I buried the trigger In the grip. First gear winds out quickly, but there’s more speed on tap when second gear kicks In and the X-Factor touches 35mph. There’s definitely room to gear up for more velocity, but low gearing suits the truck well. It allows the X-Factor to wheelie effortlessly, and It keeps acceleration brisk; blasting to 30mph quickly Is more exciting than driving a tall-gear truck that tops out at 40 but takes forever to get there.
It takes a big bunch of grab to stop 12 pounds of truck, but the X-Factor’s dual-disc brake handles the job well. There’s enough power for safe stopping and a smooth feel at the trigger.
The X-Factor handles well for a high-riding truck; there’s much less chassis roll than I expected, thanks to the thick front and rear swaybars and an overall stiff setup. This roll– reducing stiffness comes at the expense of bump-handling though; the X-Factor’s suspension was much less active than It would be If It had softer springs and less damping. After years of monkeying with 4-link trucks, I can confidently say that you shouldn’t have any trouble tuning the X-Factor for plush articulation and long travel. But It might not require such tuning; the XTM guys plan to soften the suspension.
DISTRIBUTED BY Global Hobby
Wheelbase :12.75 In. (324mm)
Width 16.375 In. (416mm)
Total, as tested 192 oz. (5,443g)
Material 3mm aluminum and plastic plate
Type 2-speed with solid axles
Primary Clutch bell/spur gears
Bearing type Shielded ball
Type 4-link with solid axle
Shocks Aluminum-body, oil-filled
Type One-piece plastic w/chrome finish
Dimensions 2.25×3.375 in.
Type Chevron tread
ENGINE & ACCESSORIES
Type XTM 24.7 pull-start
Carburetor 2-needle slide
Pipe Aluminum muffler
Fuel tank 125cc with internal stone filter
Inside the R-Box
NITRO POWER WITH REVERSE isn’t big news, but fully proportional forward, braking and reverse control with a 2-channel radio and without complex linkages is definitely new-and cool. The X-Factor achieves the feat with XTM’s new R-Box. The R-Box electronically mixes the X-Factor’s throttle and reverse servos. Here’s how it works: the R-Box is plugged into the receiver’s number-2 channel, and the throttle servo is plugged into the R-Box’s number-2 channel. The reverse servo is then plugged into the number-3 channel slot on the R-Box. When you give the radio up– trigger, the throttle servo actuates the brakes in the usual way. If you hold the trigger up, the R-Box will activate the reverse servo. The unit can be set with 3 to 5 seconds of delay before the reverse servo kicks in. Pull the trigger to apply throttle, and you have fully proportional throttle control while in reverse. Hit the brakes again, and the R-Box shifts the tranny back into “forward.” XTM also offers the R-Box separately for use in any truck that requires a third servo to operate a forward/reverse transmission (this includes the Traxxas T-Maxx, Kyosho Mega Force and DuraTrax Thunder Quake).
XTM Distributed by Global Hobby Distributors, (714) 964-0827; globalhobby.com.
Copyright Air Age Publishing Jan 2003
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