Before its release in 2011, the HPI Savage XS Flux had been a topic of conversation for many. Over the years, the truck seems to have held up to the expectations, getting better as the years have passed.
Taking a look at the current edition, the Savage XS Flux continues to put bashing at the forefront, with the durability to handle standing backflips and 60+ mph speeds.
At 2/3rd the size of the standard Savage and about half the price, the Savage XS Flux is much more portable and great in many different environments for the money. In fact, the backyard can be all the playground you might need, but it’s certainly a truck you can take to the track for some fun too. It also comes built with an all-metal drivetrain and 4wd for multi-surface driving.
HPI SAVAGE XS FLUX FEATURES
The Savage XS Flux is ready to go right out of the box, including a 2.4GHz radio system and Flux brushless system. You only need to add your favorite 2S or 3S Li-Po battery pack.
The Savage Flux XS is designed to use 2S or 3S LiPo packs. For testing, I used both 2S and 3S options from MaxAmps: 6500mah 7.4v LiPo and 4000mah 11.1v LiPo. The reason is simple– I find the longevity, durability, and run-times to be very good and appreciate the lifetime warranty and waterproof design
FLUX VEKTOR 4000 MOTOR: Included is the Flux VEKTOR 4000 motor, which uses a brushless design to turn the XS into a mini missile with 2S and 3S power. It only requires different pinion gears to get the performance you want.
FLUX VAPOR PRO ESC: With the capacity to handle 2S and 3S LiPo power, the Flux VAPOR Pro electronic speed control is optimized for a 2S pack. While 3S is certainly an option, the factory setup gets pretty hot and activated the failsafe pretty quickly when running on the factory setup. Even with a cooling fan and after changing the gearing, the esc failsafe shut me down in my back yard (thick grass), just not as quickly or as often.
DRIVETRAIN: Having all that power doesn’t mean anything if the drivetrain can’t handle it, so the Savage XS Flux features all-metal transmission gears. The entire drivetrain also rides on ball bearings, keeping this smooth, efficient and fast.
CHASSIS: The chassis for the Savage XS Flux will look familiar to those with the nitro-powered Savage. The TVP (Twin Vertical Plate) design is formed from two 5mm plastic chassis plates working together with each differential case, transmission casing and motor plate to provide the Savage XS Flux with significant durability.
SUSPENSION: The over-sized, silicone oil-filled suspension design continues the durability theme, making the Savage XS a tough basher. The shock piston and body have smooth action and good damping. And should you be included, the aluminum 12mm hex hubs allow most standard 1/10th scale wheels to be mounted.
WHEELS & TIRES: Standard with the Savage XS Flus are 2.2″ GT2 tires, blending off-road to on-road handling. The center tread lines give you stability on paved surfaces while the blocky tread pattern and heavy-duty sidewall teeth provide grip for off-road terrain like dirt, mud, muck, leaves. They’re mounted on black chrome 2.2″ Warlock wheels for tough monster truck styling. For maximum hop-up potential, the Savage XS Flux accepts a wide variety of 1/10th scale 2.2″ wheels and tires, making customizing your truck easy.
TRANSMITTER: The TF-11 2.4GHz FHSS transmitter works as intended, has dual rate and trim for steering as well as throttle trim. Servo reversing is also available.
I find the grip comfortable enough, but also slippery. The trigger does have nice spring tension and fits my index finger well. However, it’s spaced a little far for my son’s trigger finger. The balance a little top-heavy, but not uncomfortably so. The all-plastic wheel is not a personal favorite and its spring is too active. The TF-11 is an entry-level RTR packaged transmitter, but I had no glitching and the truck is nicely responsive to its inputs.
Is it ok to complain about a transmitter when the truck is otherwise so good, and it comes as a complete rtr package? I say yes… so many vehicles are coming with good quality and comfortable transmitters in rtr packages and I would expect HPI to do the same. It doesn’t turn me off from the Savage XS Flux, but I’ll probably replace it all the same.
At 360mm (14”), the Savage XS Flux lives up to its name and is extra small, but I soon discovered it’s mighty as well. Weighing in at about the same as a 1/10 scale truck, it’s surprisingly stout and feels extremely solid in my hands.
Grass is the immediate challenge for a small r/c truck like this, so to the backyard we go. The Savage XS Flux is bothered by the thick lawn only in its ability to keep traction at full throttle; the wheels easily spin when applying too much throttle. However, wheelies are easily accomplished with a little throttle massaging… even with a running start. The conclusion is the Savage XS Flux is right at home in the back yard.
Naturally, you can’t bash without a little dirt and pavement. Without exception, this little truck spits dirt and debris with authority! HPI has packed a lot into this small package and it’s clear when driving they had bashers in mind all the way.
When running 3S, I’m reminded of Tesla’s Ludicrous mode. 65+ is definitely a reality if you can drive with the skill required to make it happen and have it geared correctly. Without a wheelie bar, standing backflips are normal. Not only is it normal, it can be difficult to NOT do them. Therefore, it’s also with great discipline that you are able to prevent wheelies of any kind and have a safe standing launch up to full speed. I personally like the challenge in seeing how long I can run a wheelie with no wheelie bar and without flipping.
While 3S is fun, I find it’s almost too much for anything other than high speed passes on the pavement. It sort of becomes unusable for everyday fun in the dirt, and with the wheels always fighting for traction, it ends up activating the esc’s failsafe too much for my liking so it can cool down.
I can’t believe I find myself thinking it, but if you want 65+mph, get something a little bigger, longer, wider and with better stability. Does this fall into the “if it’s too loud, you’re too old” category? Maybe, but I don’t believe this is the right tool for the ludicrous speed that 3S provides, as most of that power is wasted on terrain other than pavement.
There’s still plenty of power (where there’s grip) to do wheelies with 2S, and the XS still rockets through any terrain with authority. This is where I believe the XS is happiest given its size and stability. I would suggest finding what you enjoy and going with it as most work needing to be done on the XS requires a little patience.
You’re not going to be quickly changing gears. Drive for a while on the factory 2S setup and get used to the truck, then switch to the 3S when you find a good handle of the truck. The infusion of power will surely bring a huge smile to your face, just as it did mine. However, it will quickly fade as you realize the truck you love is an entirely different beast and no longer as easily driven.
With 2S, I find jumping the XS a pleasure. I initially wondered whether the weight of the truck would make it jump like a brick, but it’s so very easily controlled in the air and replies to throttle, brake and steering input wonderfully. With the right speed and launch, it predictably backflips. And launching jumps with speed sends this flying as far or further than just about any 1/10 scale truck, landing consistently on all four wheels time and again without breaking.
I continue to drive like a lunatic; It keeps asking for more!
Proven over the last 5 years, the Savage line continues to be a strong seller for HPI and the XS has built a huge following. It’s easy for me to see why. While working on it is a pain most of the time, the chassis and drivetrain are nearly basher-proof. Try hard enough and you will, of course, break it, but you’ll be impressed by where that line is for the Savage XS Flux. I’m impressed.
Drivetrain: Shaft 4WD