WL Toys 104009 review
The WL Toys 104009 is a recently released a 4WD RC monster truck. It is made by WL Toys, one of the lower cost RC Car manufacturers that tend to strike a good balance between performance and affordability. This particular car is stated as 1/10 scale but is about the size of a typical 1/12 scale, still big enough to perform off-road. In this review I'll cover what I like about this car and what I don't like so you can make a decision to see if it will suit you or not.
As I mentioned WL Toys have made some very popular cars based around a common 144001 platform which I have written EXTENSIVELY about here: All my WL Toys RC Car review and upgrade guides. This car however is not based on that platform, rather it is and upgraded version of a lesser-known WL toys car, the 12402. Upgrades include oil shocks instead of friction dampeners, metal suspension arms front and rear, a much better looking body heavily inspired <cough> by the traxxas Maxx and XMaxx plus a whole lot of LED lights. Let get straight into the review.
The HBX 16889a Pro is a highly specced 1/16 scale 4wd offroad RC monster truck from Haiboxing (HBX). It is based on the same car released under the names SG 1601, SG 1602 and HBX 16889 that I reviewed over a year ago here which also won my basher of the year in 2020. This version has many upgrades which I'll cover in full in this article and will let you know how they all come together to make this car better.
Recently we've seen a lot of releases in the 1/14 and 1/16 scale off road bashing RC car class; some of them good like the HBX 16886 Spectre and some of them not so good like the Bonsai 141600. Before these we've had the excellent WL Toys 144001 for which I have written over 30 upgrade articles and of course the HBX 16889 which won my budget basher of the year for 2020. This year we are seeing a higher spec version for both of these models - announced but still some months away is the 144010 (a brushless version of the 144001) and the subject of this review is the 16889 Pro - still brushless but with upgrades across the board.
I've written this review in such a way so that people new to the HBX 16889 will be able to see all of its features while people who are familiar with the 16889 will be able to see the upgrades. First we'll start with a close up look at the specs and components followed by a review of the car as it actually drives. At the end I'll sum up with which I think is better for different consumers.
The WL Toys 144001 is a great car for the money and pretty durable but certainly not the toughest thing out - for my money that goes to the SG 1601 / HBX 16889 (long term review here). I have however found an tested a few direct bolt on parts that you can install in about 20 minutes to make this way more resilient to crashes than stock
I've now completed a number of articles that have improved the handling, power and efficiency of the WL Toys 144001 and 124018 and 124019 which can be found here: All my WL Toys 144001 /124018 / 124019 upgrade articles. The next item I am addressing is the tyres. The stock wheels and tyres (like the rest of the car) are modelled closely on the LR Racing EMB-1h micro pins which are designed for carpet and hard packed dirt racing. Outside of these grip isn't great, and when you take into account the the rubber is firmer on the 144001 tyres then you are left with a tyre that is not really suited well for bashing off-road. In this article I'll explore some better bashing alternatives that shouldn't compromise the rest of the car
Stock wheels and tyres
Stock tyres have an outside diameter of 72mm which is the same front and rear (it needs to be on a 4wd). Widths are staggered meaning they are slightly wider at the rear - 30mm compared to the front - 26mm. Again typical for a buggy because on acceleration weight transfers to the rear and the extra width provides more grip. Drive on the wheels is provided by a 12mm hex drive which is something of an industry standard on cars around this size
The problem is that a combination of the design and compound of the tyre mean that they don't grip well on the majority of surfaces we run (off road bashing and tarmac). Since the 12mm hex drive is common there are a lot of wheels that physically fit but not a lot that work well because of the uncommon diameter. On to the theory:
We've now had the SG 1602 brushless RC Truck (same as SG 1601, HBX 16889) for 6 months and it has been abused several times per weekend by my 5 year old (and myself!) in that time. I'm delighted to say that it is still running, still fast and I haven't needed to buy any spare parts. So far the list of casualties are:
So, as you may be able to see, this fast and light truck has taken an incredible amount of abuse and has very little damage to show for it, even then the damage is purely cosmetic. So what are my thoughts on the good and the bad of this now and my more recommendation based on the additional experience? Read on:
WL TOys 144001 / 124018 / 124019 Setup: 3 things you must do before you even turn it on
Note, this is not a review. You've probably seen a ton of those already. This is about how to set your car up once you've already bought one.
Firstly, "must do" is a bit strong and a bit of a pisstake of the clickbait Youtube videos out there. With that said I do strongly recommend them if you can to get the best performance out of you car and extend it's life. I've arrived at these recommendations by comparing the 144001 directly to the car it was copied off - the excellent LC Racing EMB-1h plus basic fundamentals of rc car operation of which I've been around for years.
budget brushless upgrade - Surpass hobbies 3650 3900kv + 60a esc combo (Updated with 3S!)
*Note this is the same as the GOOLRC combo that is often recommended as a good budget option*
Sorry for overly long title. I've now had the Surpass Hobby 3650 sized 3900kv brushless motor and 60A ESC Combo for about 3 months now and have thoroughly tortured it in a very large 1/10 scale 4wd short course truck (brushed version of the DHK Hunter here) for this review. With these electronics you can easily upgrade any 1/10 scale hobby grade rc car to brushless which for the uninitiated offers significantly more power, efficiency and if done right, durability over their brushless counterparts. This stands true for on-road tourers, pan cars and offroad buggies, SCTs, trucks (2 and 4wd). The only cars this would be unsuitable for is where very fine control is required - drift and crawlers come to mind. Read on for install and review.
The "Surpass Hobby Waterproof 3650 3900KV Brushless RC Car Motor With 60A ESC Set For 1/10 RC Car" is available from Banggood and is the same as the GoolRC combo you hear about so much (which is on the right)
A look at the gear
The kit is very simple - a 4 pole brushless 3650 sized motor (540 in brushed terms) and a 60a ESC. The motor I reviewed is 3900kv which is a good all purpose size on common 2s batteries. The ESC is another simple waterproof affair with built in cooling fan. They are both waterproof according to the specs but personally I haven't and would not put the ESC to the test. The ESC can be programmed with common features but does require this programming card to change. Parameters that can be changed are:
Instructions (click to enlarge)
The SG 1602 Brushless RC truck is a 1/16 scale 4wd off road truck/buggy (truggy) that has a powerful and efficient brushless motor/esc system. Note, this appears identical to the HBX 16889 and shares the same parts. It is available from Banggood for less than $90 and as little as $70. I've had one of these for about 2 months now and for the times that my son lets me drive it I've had quite a few runs to get a good feel of performance and durability. My full review is below.
What's in the box?
Actually this is pretty well equipped: