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Arrma Mojave Short Course Truck Review

The majority of 2WD short course trucks are based on existing platforms. When you don’t have a 1/10-scale 2WD buggy or stadium truck in your lineup, you get to–essentially by default–start with a clean sheet of paper when designing a short course truck. Clean sheet means you get to think outside the box. Welcome to Arrma! Since Arrma is a brand new company, when it set out to design its current platform of 1/10-scale electric vehicles, it came out with something truly different. The vehicles in the Arrma line, such as the Mojave reviewed here, don’t look anything like the competition. If the idea of having something different that also happens to perform well appeals to you, keep reading.

HIGHLIGHTS
> Fully assembled ready-to-run
> $209.97
> 2WD drivetrain with sealed 3-gear transmission
> Twin vertical plate chassis design
> Bottom loading battery
> Brushed sealed can 15-turn motor
> Unique right or Left handed 2.4GHz radio
> Brushless-ready metal gear transmission
> Waterproof electronics
> LiPo ready speed control

FEATURES
Chassis

Since Arrma didn’t have a flat tub chassis to naturally extend into their short course platform, they designed there own chassis. The Mojave’s chassis–and the other Arrma vehicles–uses a twin vertical plate (TVP) design. The plates are stamped aluminum. The TVP chassis is narrow and allows for a very rigid chassis with no noticeable flex. A unique feature about the chassis is the battery tray. No longer do you need to remove the body to swap out your battery. Remove a body clip and pin, and the battery conveniently is removed from the bottom of the chassis. This design positions the battery in the lowest possible point on the truck and still allow everything else (speed control, motor and sealed receiver box, etc) to stay on the chassis’ center line. Experienced hobbyists should be happy to know hex hardware is used throughout the truck.

DID YOU KNOW?
Arrma was founded in 2009 and is located in the United Kingdom. The first Arrma vehicles were released in 2011. Also in 2011, Arrma became a subsidiary of the U.S-based Hobbico.

Suspension
The Mojave uses 4-wheel independent suspension that is on par–design-wise–with its short course truck peers. That is to say, it has molded lower suspension arms, front and rear, with upper camber links in the rear and Y-arms up front that the shocks pass through. Even though the Mojave is aimed at beginners, it offers some tuning options at all four corners. The Mojave comes standard with adjustable links at each corner of the truck allowing you to fine tune steering and camber angles. Arrma went beyond the standard RTR expectations. Instead of including plastic links, the Mojave uses adjustable steel turnbuckles normally found on higher priced trucks. The shocks are pretty standard 1/10-scale hobby-grade fluid-filled shocks. Fluid-filled shocks give the truck a smooth ride and handle the bumps and jumps with ease.  Fluid-filled shocks also allow you to fine tune your truck to different conditions.

DID YOU KNOW?
While in the RC short course category, the Mojave is actually modeled to be a desert truck. The Mojave desert, predominately in southern California, is the location for a lot of sportsman and pro-level desert racing. 

Drivetrain
The drivetrain is clearly built for speed and power. Arrma thought ahead when designing the transmission for the Mojave.  Inside the transmission you will be very happy to find a three metal gear design. What does that mean?Means its meant to handle the power and speed of a brushless motor upgrade. The differential is a sealed gear diff that you would typically find on 1/8-scale platforms. Using a gear diff offers durability, reduced maintenance and allows different fluids to be used to adjust the feel of the diff. In contrast, a ball differential is easy to adjust and offers finer tuning, but at the expense of requiring the setting to be checked and is simply less durable compared to metal gears. The Mojave’s slipper uses a dual slipper pad design that primarily protects the drivetrain but also allows you to finely tune your take off and launch of the truck. Dual pads double the surface area which should tremendously improve durability. The rear axles are steel dog bones and the entire drivetrain spins on bearings.

DID YOU KNOW?
The name Arrma is a spin on the word armor and was chosen to inspire toughness, strength, robustness, etc. The positioning of the R’s against each other in the logo was done to create the look of a helmet.

Electronics
In the electronics, you’re going to see your typical electronic setup–sort of. Arrma has gone a few steps past the norm. Included in the truck is a simple-but-fast 15-turn sealed brushed motor, electronic speed control and a standard steering servo.

Not only can the speed control handle NiMH packs, but the speed control also has a built in LiPo cut-off.  This allows you to run a faster, lighter LiPo without the worry of getting the speed control running your LiPo’s voltage down too low and causing damage to the battery. Another added feature to the speed control is that it’s waterproof. In fact, the whole electronic system is stated to be waterproof. Puddles, rain and snow are no match for this system; it’s meant to be driven in all weather conditions which is exactly what beginners will do and what most of us want to do.

Waterproof electronics are certainly a nice touch, as is the LiPo cut-off on the speed control, but the most eye catching feature Arrma is including with the Mojave (and its other RC Cars) is the 2.4GHz radio system–specifically the transmitter. The radio gives you your basic adjustments features right on the radio and only needs 4 AA batteries. That’s not what people will take note of, however. The biggest feature about this radio is the steering wheel. This is the first RTR radio that is adapted for both right and left handed drivers–all without tools. With a push of a button, you can flip the wheel around of those that are left handed. Even if you have no use for a left handed radio, you’ll play around with this feature–trust me.

DID YOU KNOW?
Arrma has six vehicles in its current lineup and all use the same TVP chassis design with aluminum plates. The plates are different lengths depending on the platform. 

Tires, Wheels & Body
The pre-mounted Sand Scorpion tires are from dBoots, and are a fairly firm compound. This allows for long life for the tires, but the tires do provide solid traction on asphalt and dirt. At first glance, the chrome wheels look like your standard short course wheels, but are a little different with a 2.6/3.0 design–2.6- outer bead and larger 3.0-inch inner bead diameter. “Standard” short course rims have a marginally smaller 2.2-inch diameter outside bead, so the Mojave setup has a slightly lower profile sidewall. The Lexan desert-style body comes fully painted and decaled out of the box. With the “smash” design, the graphics are eye catching and easy to follow while running around. The Mojave is available in three color schemes–orange, purple and green. Arrma also includes a decal sheet to allow to dress up the truck as you see fit.

PERFORMANCE
While this truck is a true off-road truck, not everyone has vast amounts of land to go play in the dirt. Nor does everyone want to travel to a track to just go play for a bit. So, I first ran around in the street and at a parking lot. First observation: for being a brushed, sealed-can motor, this truck is fast! Running a 2-cell LiPo, it tops out about 32 mph.  That’s a solid 7 mph or so faster than the RTR trucks in its price range. On the asphalt, the truck felt and handled like you were driving a car. The response is quick and very easy to correct any over steer. It’s a blast to power into a corner and drift the back end around. The suspension showed it can handle the power. It sank down and powered through the corner–most trucks would have rolled over a few times.

Later, I took it over to a construction site that had a mix of grass, dirt and gravel. From one terrain to another, it kept going. When running in the dirt, at full power, going into corners, you will notice a little bit of a push, but that is typical of any off-road truck. Driving through the ruts and puddles was a blast. The truck stayed level and tracks straight–it just soaks up the bumps. Speaking of bumps, jumping this truck is easy as it can be. No need to judge your throttle/brake in the air. When taking on almost all jumps, it just glides over smooth and level.

Through the many flips and tumbles I put the truck though to make sure it handled everything I wanted it to, everything stayed together except one ball cup. After an unseen rock found its mark on the front end, the only thing was a popped ball cup. I simply snapped it back on and got going again. That was great to see. None of us want to go out and break our trucks, and this truck did what it was suppose to do. Instead of bending or breaking something, the parts that are made to relive the stress did just that. Which means you can keep running and one less trip to the hobby shop.

I also took the Mojave to the 2012 No Limit R/C World Finals. In addition to bashing it around, I even ran it on the torturous 1/5-scale track which it handled just fine. This truck loves big air. My fellow attendees at the big event were very impressed–many asked where they could get one. That’s a sound testament to how good of a job Arrma did with the Mojave. These guys are pretty hardcore and they gave it their stamp of approval.

FINAL ASSESSMENT
Out of the box, this is the fastest brushed short course truck I’ve ever run. Because it is really inexpensive and performs very well, the Arrma Mojave is a solid choice if you’re looking for a short course or looking to get in the hobby without breaking the bank. For the features it comes with stock, it would cost you more to upgrade another RTR to the Mojave’s specs. Driving around on the street this truck hugs the ground. And, when you pop off the curb and into the dirt, that’s where all the fun begins. The suspension handles rough terrain really well–surprisingly well given its price point. Whether you’re a basher looking to have fun or aspiring to get into short course racing, the Mojave will deliver. This truck can compete against all the RTR short course trucks out on the market and should even be able to do well in a stock racing class. Those that are looking to just get in the hobby will have a blast with this truck. I have just as much fun running this as I do any of my other trucks, and I’ve found myself grabbing this more than anything else. It’s one of those trucks that’s just fun to use. It takes whatever you throw at it and keeps going for more.

Hot
> $209.97 price tag is great
> Jumps like a champ! Lands like butter
> Good handling manners on any terrain
> Radio easily converts to left hand use…

Not
> …but is a little “plasticy” or toyish
> Dog bones instead of universal axles
> Few option parts (thus far)

Links
Arrma
dBoots

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5 Comments

  1. I was one of the hand full he handed the radio too, and I really enjoyed it. With a bit more powerful of a power-plant, I would have taken it into the 2wd tuff truck class at the worlds finals no questions asked (maybe some racing style tires too :P). It handled surprisingly well for a RTR and looking at it, it seemed tough as nails.

      1. and also after running it around, I would trade my lcg slash roller for roller. It was that good in my opinion

  2. Matt, Good review of the truck. I’m very interested to try it out and see what it’d do on a Carpet track. The review covers all the major points someone looking to buy the truck would want to know, with accuracy and picks out things both positive and negative. Thanks a ton!

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