If you're like me, no matter how many bad-ass nitro vehicles are thrown in your face, there's just something strange and comforting about electric. Some people shy away from electric monster trucks because they are too heavy to have any real fun with: enter brushless motors. Take one look at Novak's HV-MAXX brushless system and you'll notice that the motor dwarfs a standard 540 or 550 size, so replacing two brushed motors with one now makes sense. Novak updated their HV-MAXX combo by making a few changes to the motor that supposedly add durability and speed to your setup.

Words: Michael Wortel

Ribbed for Her Pleasure • The new motor borrows its can design from Novak's Velociti series. The ribbed can adds surface area, which allows the motor to cool-off more quickly and efficiently. This should result not only in increased runtime but in less fade in torque as the motor is put to the test. The ribbing does not extend the entire length of the motor by about 2mm on both ends.

Nickel Bag • Although invisible from the outside, the greatest improvement to the 6.5 motor is its new nickel-plated rotor. The plating is harder, which should favor acceleration, top-end, and the brakes. Finally, the new coating is more durable and resistant to heat, which is important considering the stress of pulling an electric monster truck to 30+ mph.

Keepin' Tabs • If you've ever had trouble with eyelet-style power wire tabs, you're in luck. Also borrowed from the Velociti design, Novak did away with the traditional soldering tabs in favor of flat tabs with a 90° angle, which gives you more versatility as far as soldering location, also preventing the motor's heat sink from getting in the way of things.

The HX-MAXX is intended to be somewhat universal in its applications, although a look at its name indicates that that it is more specifically designed for a Traxxas E-MAXX. The manual suggests, however, that it will easily drop into a Twin-Force or TXT-1. What did I choose to run it in? I slapped the system into Hot Bodies' E-ZILLA, because it is smaller and lighter. Take note, however, that I had to mod the chassis and radio box to accommodate the extended length of the 6.5 motor. I also did away with the Tamiya-style connectors in favor of Deans clips. On with the show.

Verdict: Ribbed Can • I think that the ribbed can is a very good idea in theory. The ribbing, however, must work in conjunction with the heat sink, which already covers the majority of the motor to begin with, so no more air passes over the motor for the ribbing to be of much benefit. Also, a heat sink works best when it's flush, in direct contact with the surface it's trying to pull heat from. The ribbing on the top and bottom of the can does not allow for the sink to make direct contact with the entire motor, limiting the heat sink's ability as well. If the whole can were ribbed, this may could be problem, but only the top and bottom are and where it's ribbed the increased surface area improves cooling.

Verdict: Nickel plated rotor • The 6.5 motor not only had a ton of torque, it remained consistent even after the rigors of repeated punch and brake trigger throws. There was definitely no fade in torque, as the E-ZILLA wanted to pop wheelies even when I punched the throttle while moving at half-speed. The nickel plating greatly improved the brakes. In fact, they had so much bite, it was easy to endo at almost any speed. I have rarely seen this much braking power out of any ESC/motor combo. If your radio system doesn't have a brake EPA, good luck!
Verdict: 90° Soldering Tabs • The first time I used eyelet-style soldering tabs, I was a little frustrated, because I didn't want to heat-up the surface too much and ruin the circuit board. Once I became comfortable with them, however, I grew to love their 100% contact with the soldering surface. The new flat tabs are a little more user friendly and versatile, but I don't think they make good contact with the power wires. And if you aren't experienced with the iron, it's still possible to over-heat the circuit board. I do, however, appreciate the ability to mount the wires at 90 or 180°.

Rating this system is a bit tricky. If this was based solely on improvements from the original 6.5 system, I'd say that it's really not much of an upgrade-- definitely not enough to warrant replacing a perfectly good 1st generation system. But the new 6.5, as with the original, is a tremendous upgrade from the dual 550 motors that come with the RTR kits. You get more speed, torque, efficiency, and have almost zero maintenance. To put it this way, the E-ZILLA RTR is a fun toy, but with the 6.5 system and two matched packs, it becomes an absolute monster. An electric monster truck with the Novak combo will out-accelerate the nitro guys and even blaze past a few.
Celebrity Equivalent; Rating 9.0
• Crazy strong brakes
• Electric torque with nitro speed
• Very efficient
• Nickel-plated rotor seems to add durability
• ESC lacks features/improvements
• Will upset chassis balance
• Tamiya connectors
MANUFACTURER: Novak Electronics
PHONE: 949.833.8873
ADDRESS: 17032 Armstrong Ave., Irvine, CA 92614
STREET PRICE: $250-$285








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