Does the Arrma Kraton has what it takes to beat the pack?
The world of radio controlled vehicles include an integral member and that is called the RC trucks. Ranging from the Clodbuster to the E-Revo, the market has seen hundreds of monster trucks ever since RC vehicles became a household passion around the globe. Keeping the decades old tradition alive, Arrma have come up with a top of the line product by the name of Kraton. Although the vehicle has been released in the market but Arrma have been on backorder and unfortunately, we could not manage to procure one of the said devices. Will the Arrma Kraton be able to face the fierce competition on offer in the market? Let’s dig deep and find out the answer to this question.
Is it the love at first sight?
The Arrma Kraton, just like its 1/10 scale counterparts, appears to be a pretty supple device. As far as I am concerned, I fancy the blue body released by the company internationally in contrast to the one with green colored frame released in the US. Other than that, the machine boasts quite a belligerent outlook and plenty of attention to detail has been rendered by the engineers. The tires included with the vehicle are quite soft and should provide plenty of traction. It is more or less the same tread that has been utilized in the ARRMA Granite. I have noticed that tires have been glued appropriately and the manufacturers have done a quality job with them.
Once the frame has been dismantled, you will come across one of the best features boasted by this splendid machine. It is the detachable plastic rollbar. The primary function of this feature is to ensure that the entire body remains in shape and the impact of the motion on the chassis is reduced as much as possible in case the vehicle has to suffer an upside-down landing. I am not really sure how formidable is this arrangement since without testing it, we cannot really tell. But let’s hope the claims made by the manufacturers hold true.
Other distinguishing features include red-anodized, aluminum, threaded-body shocks, sway bars on the front and rear of the device, a central differential, steel dogbones in the rear and steel CVDs in the front. This truck is loaded with tons of features; ones that won’t be available even on machines with a higher price range.
The speed control for this truck is rated for 180A which is ever higher than that for the legendary Mamba Monster ESC from Castle. It is also rated to function at 6S operation. However, we do not intend to push the limits to such extremes for the purpose of this tutorial. We’ll be sticking to the 4S range only. The motor, however, is rated a little lower than the Mamba Monster at 2050Kv; this in my view is a pretty cool piece of engineering to be honest. A lower value of Kv implies that more torque will be produced which is an essential feature for this kind of machine. Moreover, you can always switch on to the higher gears to enhance the speed. A red anodized, aluminum mount ensures that the motor remains in its position and also helps in dissipating some excessive heat.
I have been really impressed by the fact that Arrma have come up with a jumper for those wanting to run their machine on a single 4S or 6S LiPo battery rather than opting to put the two batteries in series. Majority of the vehicles available on the market require you to create your own jumper if you are intending to carry out this act. In addition, what really is commendable about this machine is that the engineers have also provided room for a battery tray for those who are interested in running the two battery packs together. The little feet in the trays are designed to offset the two batteries. They tend to prevent the wires from getting pinched if the packs get loosened up and move a little bit. I have found some of these subtle enhancements in most of the reviews that I have conducted so far and I am glad that I found out these features in the Arrma Kraton as well.
The steering servo is another feature is worth some discussion. This is a sturdy one that weighs around 208oz-in of torque. Moreover, it is metal geared! I’ve always yearned for Traxxas servos to be of this kind. The fact that this truck runs on a single steering servo, the whole assembly is quite remarkable. Two steering servos are probably not required in this configuration. Having said that, first looks can always be deceiving. The servo certainly appears to portray some cool features on paper, but the tests that we carried out boasted a few iffy results.
Nevertheless, this is not so much of a feature rather than a fundamental requirement: all the electronics and components involved are waterproof. So, the Arrma Kraton won’t be affected by snow, rain or mud. You just have to ensure that you clean up the dirt well as soon as possible since there aren’t a lot of corrosion-free trucks available on the market. Bearings, screws, nuts, bolts and other components will definitely oxidise, no matter what!
Red-anodized aluminum is in great quantity in this machine. I have been a bit perplexed at the combination of colors used in this device since red and green do not appear to complement each other well. However, the fact that there is plenty of aluminum deposited on the truck is quite encouraging since there are not many trucks out there that are littered with aluminum. Moreover, low budget trucks such as this one certainly are void of this feature.
The radio system integrated in this truck is just mediocre. Neither it is phenomenal, nor is it extremely poor. The radio system does not boast any attractive features. All the features are typically found in almost all the machines falling in this price range. It is pertinent to mention here, though, that the Traxxas E-Revo comes equipped with all the essential telemetry features and also sports a bluetooth link to a bluetooth enabled device. Both Android and iOS powered devices support this feature and are capable of transmitting the telemetry information to the target device. The Arrma Kraton does not boast any capability such as this one.
The Arrma Kraton is a compact device and most of the aficionados like the fact that it has a winged design. The matte black finish tends to add more vigor and beauty to the Kraton while ensuring simultaneously that it gets a formidable outlook. I guess we have had enough of discussion on the specifications and features front. Let’s have a look at how this machine actually runs!
In stock configuration, the Arrma Kraton does not come loaded with batteries and a charger. So, it’s up to you what you are interested in using. For this review, we went for 5000mAh 4S 50C LiPo battery from Dynamite’s Reaction line. This battery pack can be bought for around $110 and is far better than two 50C 2S battery packs. We have used the Hitec X4 AC+ charger. If you have not already purchased one, we would recommend you to go for the all new Dynamite Passport Ultra 100W charger that can be bought for $115 and has a 100W inbuilt power supply. It also boasts a touchscreen display that ensures tremendous ease of use. With a 100W power supply, you can quite comfortably charge your 4S battery at 5A; which is something that our Hitec X4 AC+ charger is not able to do. We are always encouraging our fans to stay connected with their local hobby shop owners to get the updates on recommendation fronts. If you don’t have any in your vicinity, then you should go by our recommendations.
How does Arrma Kraton run?
I tried delaying the test run of my truck for as long as possible. The varying weather conditions, especially the ambivalent temperatures were causing me a lot of distress. Throughout the review process, the temperatures hovered in the mid-twenties but finally it was time to test the Arrma Kraton on the track.
As soon as we got our batteries charged up, we adjusted the already discussed battery spaces to ensure that our 4S LiPo batteries were in place. The hook and loop battery straps along with the moung ensured that the batteries remained firmly in their designated slots. Once we switched on the radio, the truck was ready for its first adventure out in the open.
I was satisfied that there weren’t a lot of things to really sweat over in the entire process. Throughout our reviews, I was worried that frigid temperatures might do a lot of harm to our machine. But I was quite surprised that our Arrma Kraton fared pretty well; although we did not remain injury free. We went through a front-right axle carrier which put a lot of pressure on the internal bearing and eventually blew it away. We also removed the gears out of the servo but we’ll discuss more on this fact later. When I landed the truck upside down, the wing mount succumbed. In addition, the right-rear rim also suffered quite a bit of damage. Despite our aggressive driving, I was quite impressed by the fact that not a lot of components on the truck received threatening damage. More often than not, we landed a jump right on the single wheel as we cart-wheeled the truck but it turned out to be a pretty safe ride on all of the occasions.
Although this truck boasts quite a sturdy and huge size, we were quite amazed at the low magnitude of damage it sustained during our test runs. I believe the consumers can get even more nastier than ourselves and so there is always a probability of an impending breakage. Nevertheless, as far as the durability factor goes, I would rate Arrma Kraton on the same level as the Traxxas trucks.
Some of my fellow colleagues were of the view that the Arrma Kraton was a bit underpowered with the 4S LiPo battery. They observed that while running on a 4S battery, one could not exercise a lot of control while the truck hung in the air. So, they were of the opinion that probably the 6S battery was the way to go. I don’t really agree with them, though. I think that this machine runs pretty well on the 4S battery. I am not really an expert driver to control my vehicle mid-air but I have never really liked extra power on my machines. I always fancy enough power to provide the requisite thrust but not enough power that results in a swift wear and tear of the truck parts. So, the mileage may not be constant for the two batteries. But other than this fact, I think the 4S battery is a pretty good choice instead of the 6S battery.
One distinctly gets to observe the central differential while driving the Arrma Kraton. Therefore, I would recommend all fellow drivers and especially the bashers to replace the stock fluid with some denser differential oil. We went for the Team Associated 100K diff fluid in our vehicle and we felt that the machine had certainly experienced some transformation. We believe that even more thicker fluid would have done miracles with this feature. We are planning to try out the Traxxas 500K somewhere down the line. The front tires do not go through the required acceleration with the 4S battery. As soon as one does achieve the required pick up, all the power gets transferred to the particular wheel and the vehicle settles back down. The center differential offers great support as far as handling is concerned but if you are looking to carry out some wheelies, then probably this is not your cup of tea! Keep the wheelies aside, I feel that there was no stage during our test runs when the Arrma Kraton got completely out of my control. It did make me play more with my throttle; but I guess, in the long run, this would help me get better at driving the radio controlled vehicles.
Remember that the Arrma Kraton does not come with a stock battery. We did not note the timings of our test runs but still I believe that the vehicle was able to provide us a drive duration of about 20 minutes with the above mentioned battery pack.
We also got the stock tires off and got them replaced with the Pro Line’s Trencher X Tires (PRO1184-11); and it did make us feel as if it was a totally different beast altogether. It really makes me wonder how much a difference tires can make to a vehicle. It is logical as well since they are the only components that provide a connection between your vehicle and the ground or the track. We highly recommend the Pro Line’s Trencher X Tires for your Arrma Kraton.
As far as I am concerned, I had scintillating fun while driving the Arrma Kraton. I even sent this beast over piles of snow again and again. In fact, I performed doughnuts in the snow and eight foot air jumps and loved every bit of it.
During our third test run, we felt that the vehicle would not steer. On checking, we found out that the servo had been stripped. I am of the view that this did not occur during the test run. As a matter of fact, some customer at the hobby shop must have torqued on the servo while trying it out. We had to go through a lot of trouble to get the servo detached. The three steps mentioned in the user’s manual did not help at all. The servo wires are wrapped underneath the ESC tray which means that you have to get the ESC tray out if you are looking to remove the servo tray as well. I decided not to place the new servo’s wires as in stock condition to make my future repairs a lot more easier. What really was frustrating to know that the stripped gear was brass and not aluminum or steel. On paper, the stock Arrma Kraton servo does appear to pack a punch. But in reality, I would suggest you to go for Savox or something similar.
How does it compete in the market?
I presume that the major competitors for the the Arrma Kraton are the Traxxas E-Maxx and the Traxxas E-Revo considering the models with brushless motors. Both of the trucks manufactured by Traxxas are legendary in the world of electric monster trucks. There are other players on the market as well, but against these two giants, there is no one to push the limits. So, this is the basic yardstick that we will be using to gauge where our Arrma Kraton stands against its competitors.
It seems quite difficult to figure out which truck is the Arrma Kraton most similar to. It has a distinct truggy appearance just like an E-Revo. However, the suspension configuration is similar to the E-Maxx. The reality is that the Arrma Kraton does not resemble either of the two machines in the strict sense of word. It has features of its own which distinguish it from the rest of the products on the market.
I am impressed by the fact that the Arrma Kraton lets you use a single 4S LiPo as opposed to the Traxxas trucks. Those trucks require a couple of battery packs. You can easily complete this machine using a single port high-powered charger. On the contrary, the E-Revo and E-Maxx require at least one dual output. This lets you save some money up your sleeves.
As far as the repairs are concerned, we believe that the Arrma Kraton is a lot easier to toy with than the Traxxas beasts. The E-Maxx hasn’t been able to forge a good reputation with regard to the ease of repair and same is the case with E-Revo. The open chassis configuration of the Kraton lets you insert wrenches in easily and provides far more space than the other beasts on the market. However, you need to spend plenty of time while repairing the servo due to its complex wire routing as discussed above.
When comparing the Arrma Kraton with Traxxas E-Maxx, I guess, the Kraton definitely has an edge over the later. In spite of the fact that Traxxas is renowned for engineering some formidable trucks but the E-Maxx will go down in the annals of history as a delicate truck. When I owned the E-Maxx in the yesteryears, my device had its chassis broken into halves while playing in snow. In fact, the center half shafts and the front bulkheads also got annihilated during the adventures. And hey, this was only one occasion. Another of my friends had his four rear shocks, the rear shock tower, upper and lower rear arms and the rear bulkheads damaged beyond repair due to an ominous landing in the snow. The E-Maxx comes without the central differential which does make things easier for wheelies but at the same time renders your handling a lot harder. The Arrma Kraton does have its deficiencies but I still would prefer it to the Traxxas E-Maxx.
Now, let’s compare the Arrma Kraton with the Traxxas E-Revo and this is where things start to get a lot interesting. Even if you despise Traxxas, you will have to agree that the Revo and its subsequent version E-Revo were of the supreme most quality in the field of radio controlled racing vehicles. It is a thing of real beauty but it is costly in terms of price and this is where the Kraton gets an edge over this magnificent machine. I had as much fun driving the E-Revo as I had with Kraton. My friends were a lot more enchanted with the E-Revo’s handling capabilities in contrast to the Kraton. With those reviews in mind, I guess it’s a bit of a tie between the two beasts. But considering the fact that the E-Revo has a number of accessories and add ons available in the market in addition to the splendid telemetry feature discussed above, I would have to give extra marks to the E-Revo. If you are not hampered by budgetary constraints, then you should go for the E-Revo. If you want to save some money up your sleeves, then Arrma Kraton is a brilliant second choice.
Final Verdict on ARRMA Kraton
I have spend plenty of time with Kraton and I am in love with it. It is huge in size and boasts tremendous power in addition to providing great fun bashing around. Since I started writing this review, I guess we have succeeded in selling a couple of its models. We got great feedback from the customers who were happy with their purchase. Although both had their machines damaged during their rides. I completely agree with their sentiments.
We can only know in the coming years whether the Arrma Kraton has enough to stay relevant. Considering the fact that the manufacturers are always striving to get better, I guess it will have to surrender sometime. That does not mean that it is not worth your bucks. It is up to the manufacturers to provide ample support to this great machine in the shape of hop-ups and accessories, aluminum upgrades and third-party support. I would definitely be fascinated if RPM makes some A-Arms and axle carriers for this machine. If that happens, then Arrma Kraton will surely thrive in the long run.