The ZD Racing MX-07 is a very large 1/7 scale RC 4WD Monster Truck. It is the third release in ZD racing's X-07 (1/7 scale) series following on from the EX-07 Hoonicon and DBX-07 Desert Buggy. It is powered by a massive 4292 Brushless motor and has options for kit or RTR with 6s Surpass Hobby or 8s (!) Hobbywing ESCs. Here I have reviewed the RTR model with 6s Surpass ESC.
Typically here at QuadifyRC.com I review smaller scale cars at around that 1/16 to 1/12 scale size. They remain to be some of the best bang for buck cars out there. Here we are taking a big step up and not stopping at 1/10 or even 1/8 scale but going to 1/7 scale. I should be really clear that this is a really big RC car: It is 700mm long (27"), the tyres are 188mm (7.5") tall and 102mm (4") wide and it weighs over 8kg. At this size yes it is quick but compared to smaller cars it handles like something else entirely - the ability to drive over practically any surface with handling being extremely predictable compared to smaller cars. ZD racing have dabbled in 1/10 and 1/8 scale RC cars before but the new 1/7 scale MX-07 as reviewed here is there biggest yet.
In this review I will be looking at the 6s capable RTR version that ships with the Surpass Hobby Rocket 150a ESC and just needs batteries to run. First lets look at what is included.
What is in the box?
Well there is the car of course which I'll go in to more detail below but as a brief overview my RTR version came with steering servo, receiver, receiver daughterboard for full LED light control, the massive 4292 1450kV brushless motor and the 150a 6s-capable Surpass Hobby Rocket ESC. You can of course buy with the 8s capable Hobbywing Max6 ESC (which I recommend) or as a kit roller. All of these components are setup and bound to the transmitter. Also in here is:
A closer look at the car
In this section we'll look at the systems that make up the car in more detail and I'll give you my feedback as we go through. In the following section (Performance review) we will then look how these come together as a whole.
Motor. A big truck needs a big motor and the 4292 1450kV motor included in the RTR versions certainly fits the bill. To be clear, this is a motor with a 42 diameter can which is 92mm long. This is 10mm longer than the 4282 found in the other car the MX-07 shares a chassis with (the EX-07 and DBX-07). It is also lower by 550kV. This bigger, lower kV motor will help the MX-07 spin the great big 188mm diameter monster truck tyres. as you can see below the motor has a large aluminium and twin brushless high speed fans to help manage temperatures.
Nice big 4292 motor with low kv and excellent cooling
ESC. Feeding power to the motor in the case of my car is the Surpass Hobby Rocket 150A ESC which is capable of 6s. This comes wired for serial batteries; it is designed to use 2 identical 3s batteries on either side of the chassis to combine for 6s. Mine came equipped with XT60 connectors which I personally feel are too small for a power train of this size. This is why I switched out for genuine AMASS XT90 connectors. These are much more capable of the high currents we are expecting from this truck. This esc is programmable with the appropriate card but is well set up from factory.
Battery Options. Speaking of batteries I am using the low-cost CNHL black 3s 5000mah batteries x2 in series which I've been pretty happy with. If I had the Hobbywing Max6 though I would definitely want to feed some larger batteries to take advantage of the better current overhead.
Drive Train. The drive train is completely metal as you would expect on a car of this size. However, unlike the small scale RC cars you cannot get away with rubbish metal here with the components being made of hard carbon steel. Pinion and spur are M1.0 and drive a sealed centre differential. In trying to make a more durable and simply car, ZD racing have opted not to retain the front and rear braked centre diff from the EX-07 and DBX-07 which was fiddly and a potential weak point. This means that the MX-07 relies on brakes from the ESC exclusively since there is no mechanical brake. This is more in line with industry standard for this size.
Power is sent to front and rear diffs by floating prop shafts which are well protected. Front and rear diffs use angle cut gears for smooth engagement and are sealed and filled with fluid to help improve traction as you'd expect of a car this size. They have also been strengthened compared to the EX-07 on road car. Final drive ratio is 16.5:1 which is a little shorter than the 15.0:1 in the DBX-07 and the very tall 8.5:1 in the EX-07. This is largely to do with wheel size (188mm on the MX-07, 165mm on the DBX-07 and 109mm on the EX-07).
Floating prop shafts and CNC machined mounts
Carbon steel dogbones in the rear and CVDs in the front transfer power out to the hubs. Hubs are aluminium, quite possibly 7075 if the main chassis is anything to go by. It goes without saying that there are ball bearings for every rotating part as expected. Below is a closeup image of how they have strengthened the dogbones compared to the EX-07 model that was released prior
Longer beefier driveshafts are new for the MX-07
A much stronger and more durable setup with the new hubs for the MX-07
Chassis. If I am to believe ZD racing, it is made from 7075 aluminium which is the strongest type of aluminium that is suited to this application. Of course it also helps that it is 4mm thick. Additionally the twin aluminium spars that run along the top not only look great but provide excellent torsional strength to improve chassis stiffness and deftly protect components from the rotating parts of the drive train.
Body mounts are worth calling out here which definitely look like a planned and designed component rather than a last minute add on as we see in the smaller scale. These should give the body half a chance of surviving.
I've never been so excited about body mounts
Bumpers front and rear are small but a lot better reinforced and rigid than they perhaps look in pictures. I've had a few tumbles and the seem to be holding up ok at present.
Suspension. The MX-07 has large bore (25mm) aluminium shock absorbers that are oil filled with a threaded collar for adjustable spring preloading. They also feature a rubber boot to get dust and dirt from the shock shaft to ensure low maintenance. Speaking of maintenance if you which to change the oil they have a bleed screw up top but stock oil offers nice heavy dampening which is needed to control these big, heavy wheels. Ride height is around 80mm front and rear fully loaded. These shocks are MUCH larger than the other cars in these series, see the comparison below.
More improvements over earlier models - look at the size difference!
Shocks towers are 5mm thick and CNC machined machined rather than pressed or cast for both front and rear. They appear strong and used hardened m3 hardware to attached to the shocks. Mount holes are adjustable on both shock towers and suspension arms.
Anti-roll bars are also included with a 2mm thick bar. The are strong without being overbearing on the suspension overall. Just as the label says, these will product body roll during corenering which is important with these big cars. You can read more about how they work here. Suspensions arms are around 130mm long inner pin to outer pin and the entire setup means the suspension feels well dampened and very plush. Suspension arms are unique left and right but identical front and rear to minimise spare part requirements. They also have droop screws which are already correctly adjusted
Wheels and Tyres. I'm glad they have chosen a large offset wheel here rather than hub extenders on the DBX-07 which will keep the hub setup better protected. Rims have a mounting diameter of around 100mm with inner and outer beadlock which is obviously preferably over tyre gluing on a car this size.
Tyres have and outside diameter of 180mm and a width of 100mm. They are large but not excessively so on this scale and give this truck a cross between a modified pickup and monster truck look. The compound is very grippy but medium firm and have a nice aggressive tread pattern that is around 7mm deep. The inner foam is really firm and spoiler: stops the tyres from excessively ballooning while still providing quality grip.
Steering. Steering is run by a regular non-name 3 wire 36kg metal geared servo that is certainly fast and torquey enough to turn these big wheels. As always these are easily upgradable. I like that they include and aluminium servo horn unlike ZD Racing's earlier cars.
The servo horn then drives and adjustable tierod to the steering rack through a large adjustable servo saver that seems to be well setup from the factory.
Steering lock is remarkably good on this car especially when compared to the DBX-07 desert buggy which had issues with the tyres fouling on the body at relatively small lock levels but no such issues here. Fairly small Ackerman angle and castor angles. All linkages are adjustable tierods with screw-though pillow balls so nothing should pop off any time soon
Look at that massive steering angle!!
Body and mounting. I've chosen the sliver body for more realisim and have not opted to put the extra included decals on. The purple multicoloured body does look cool though and it's good to have the option. the body is thick polycarbonate reinforced with a plastic skeleton which mounts really positively to the car through deep holes in the plastic skeleton which gives a reall satisfying fit. Detail is nice with roll cage, drivers and plastic mouldings.
Body mounts. I should mention that the body mounts attached to the big thick shock towers are REALLY chunky. I would not expect this to become damaged in a hurry unlike the flimsy ones that the JLB Cheetah has.
Let's talk about the lights. These are definitely not an afterthought. There is a bank of wires coming up from the receiver to a receiver daughterboard/LED controller mounted to the underneath of the body plastic skeleton. This is then attached to light front and rear on the body. There is also another row of LEDs on the front bumper. Back to the body mounted LEDs though, they are very realistic with frosted clear plastic front and rear over silver reflective plastic where the light mount - just like on real car lights. Rather than describe it with words, check out the full functionality of the lights below:
Well done if you have gotten this far and you haven't been bored to tears. On to the performance review of the car.
Top Speed. It was a good time to get a replacement GPS speed measurer, the reliable but expensive SKYRC GSM020 for me which now comes with USB-C port for charging. Running 2 x 3s 5000mah 40C batteries in series for 6s speed I managed 70km/h on short grass. It's probably good for another 10-20km/h on concrete but I figured this wasn't really appropriate as a speed test as this is an offroader through and through.
Acceleration is very strong and you can get it to wheelie but not as easily as some of the taller trucks like the Xmaxx as this has a much lower centre of gravity for a monster truck. Probably moreso this is due to the centre diff as well - if wheelies are crucial to you then you can always go to a heavier centre diff fluid but I personally like the way this one handles. I'll talk to the advantages of this more in the handling section below.
A combination of the power this car develops with the massive 4292 brushless motor on 6s alongside the big ground clearance and grippy tyres means this is pretty much a go anywhere truck. Unlike other smaller cars that wont run over anything but the very shortest grass without overheating and wheelspin on coarse obstacles, this truck doesn't really care - it pretty well drives over the lot.
Braking. I can't believe how good the braking is on this car. I thought it might struggle without the mechanical brake but even with the centre diff the way it is the cars will roll if you hit the anchors too hard. Check out my video further below for me getting this wrong on one of the early runs.
What about the Elephant in the room - how does this Surpass Rocket ESC compare to the Hobbywing Max 6? Well, what I can say for now is that the Surpass Hobby ESC has been reliable on 6s for the times I have used it. Throttle is responsive and smooth (unlike some of the smaller surpass ESC models) and brakes are very strong. The only question then that remains is long term reliability but for now it seems to perform as I would want. The key difference with the max 6 is it's ability to take 8s as an option. I think that is probably and overkill for this car, certainly with stock motor kV and gearing but even if you don't run 8s on it then the extra overhead would suggest that 6s is a walk in the park for this ESC. So tentatively I'd say that the Surpass Hobby Rocket ESC is "good enough" right now.
Handling. I mentioned that on the surface this car looks like it had the right hardware to handle well. I can now confirm that this is the case when this gear all works together - that car handles great due to stock adjustments being well set. For example ZD racing has always made nice suspension, there is no doubting that but sometimes speccing the shocks to suit the car was not quite on point as a found to a small degree with the EX-07 and DBX-07 being a little too hard and too soft respectively. Of course you can adjust this but it would have been better to have this close to neutral out of the box. Good news for the MX-07 then, shock dampening, spring rates and even sway bars seem perfect out of the box for neutral handling. During my driving I found no excessive understeer and predictable oversteer with the power down making for a fun drive. The shocks do a great job of dampening those big wheels with ZD racing erring on the side of heavy rather than soft dampening. This is definitely my preference and makes a good starting point for jumps as well.
The fluid in the centre diff is on the light side so you are unlikely to get the front wheels really getting up and helps with overall stability. Conversely the diff fluid is thick enough to ensure good traction with power down in the corners, even when a front wheel gets up off the ground. See below for a better show of handling.
Grip and Tyre Ballooning. Separate from handling is grip and these tyres are excellent. Deep aggressive tread has handled all off-road environments I've thrown at this car with ease. The low centre of gravity on the car means I haven't had an issue with traction roll yet either although I haven't pushed it hard on asphalt/concrete where I suspect it would be a problem.
Given the grip I thought tyre ballooning would be a real issue here but it's not anything like I thought it would be. Yes, with the hammer down the tyres will balloon at full speed but nothing like I've seen on cars like the JLB Cheetah. I think the dense foam inners in the tyre certainly help but it feels like the have landed on a really well balanced tyres compound here to help as well.
What it's like driving a large scale car. Just because my readers probably don't see much in the way of large scale RCs from me, I thought I'd try to give insight into how it "feels". It's not simply a big version of a small car that scales but a different experience altogether. Firstly the extra weight makes the suspension work better and in doing so holds the main body of the car more stable and even at a constant speed. However, the extra weight also means a lot more weight transfer to the rear under acceleration and the front under braking making the handling more like a real car. This gives you different options like controlling under and oversteer with the throttle more accurately. Speaking of braking, make sure you leave yourself more room! Scrubbing off speed is a much bigger job with all this weight - assuming the ESC is up to the task (and this one is) be prepared to stop more slowly or suffer the consequences as you saw from my video on braking
Lastly you can of course launch these cars to the moon if that is your thing but no matter whether it is a fully upgraded Xmaxx, Kraton, Outcast, MT-10 or MX-07, parts will break or take damage with the speed and weight we are dealing with. They may not be catastrophic but these things do get beaten up.
My recommendation is to turn the throttle dual rate back to limit top speed if this is your first large and heavy RC. This what I did with 10 year old Hector below...
Durability. I'll make it really clear that I'm not a big fan of running on skate parks or massive jumps, I prefer the scale look of things and making jumps out of things like tree roots and natural rises and falls of the ground. I've had my fair share of rolls and tubmles though. So far I've had nothing break per se but as mentioned above, your car will not remain pristine through crashed like the smaller scale cars which tend to just bounce off things. No specific weak points identified yet but I will keep things updated if/when this changes.
Summary and my Recommendations
The ZD Racing MX-07 I've reviewed here is a large, 1/7 scale monster truck based on the same chassis as the on-road EX-07 and desert buggy DBX-07 although a number of key drive and suspension components have been substantially upgraded. It is well made with strong 7075 grade aluminium in key areas and features well-tuned diffs and suspension setup out of the factory. The large 4292 brushless motor is well suited to this car from a size and kV standpoint and even the cheaper Surpass Hobby ESC option seems to be well paired with it from the factory. You'll need to buy yourself a matched pair of good 3s batteries to run 6s in series for this truck. The overall driving experience is really good due to the balance between the grip from the excellent tyres and the well sorted suspension out of the factory and the size means even big obstacles are no problem. As with any large scale model these cars are heavy and fast and so there will be damage if you bash hard but from what I can see, the design has strength in the right areas.
Overall I do recommend this car but clearly it is not a small spend. There are other obvious options to compare from the big manufacturers like Traxxas and Arrma but don't forget, these cars in stock RTR form have weaknesses too - unreliable ESCs, servos, tyres with poor grip etc so before you write this "Chinese" option off (they are all made in China BTW) then do consider this as an option with an open mind. The key here will be parts support but if it is anything to go by, even my local Hobby Shop in the derelict outpost of New Zealand stock parts for this range: If you are looking for something smaller and less expensive then check out all the other cars I have reviewed here.
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