Review - Enduro Knightrunner from Element RC
The Knightrunner from Element RC is a 1/10 scale ready to run trail truck that's preassembled out of the box, with brushless electronics, offered in two different versions; one that includes a battery and battery charger, and one that does not, so you'll have to supply your own. Both versions do require 4 AA batteries to power the included XP130 3-Channel transmitter.
Realistic Knightrunner Body
Aside from the battery and charger, both versions feature the realistic Knightrunner body, which resembles a modern 4-door Toyota Tacoma, but it's not officially licensed. Despite that, the Knightrunner still looks fantastic and is configured to support realism and trail performance everywhere it can.
The first step to producing this is creating an awesome body. Element RC has had a good variety of Enduro bodies in their past, some more scale than others, but perhaps none have been as realistic as the Knightrunner. Thanks in part to James Knight, the founder of Knight Customs and designer of this body—hence the name.
The body is made up from two thermoformed lexan pieces – the cap and bed – and those are connected at the center with good bracing in place, with little flex between them. To highlight details, the body is fixed with decals and hard plastic accessories, like the big grill in the front, attached from the center.
The headlights are only decals, but the lexan has been unpainted behind them, if you want to remove the decals and add proper LEDs; those aren’t included but could be added separately. Moving up the hood we get to the hard plastic windshield wipers underneath the windshield, which features a decal to provide trim, but leaves the windows clear.
Next, the body features plastic side mirrors with silver decals, but they aren't reflective. Even more side window decals are used, some sponsor decals down below, and lastly, hard plastic door handles on all four doors.
On the left side of the body is the gas cap decal, and on the right is the exhaust, all accurate to the real truck. The hard plastic exhaust accessory is an officially licensed Magnaflow exhaust, and it says that right on it.
In the very back of the truck are more decals used over the rear window, tail lights, bed handle, and Element RC logo. Like the headlights, these tail lights are clear behind the decal, making it easy to add more lighting.
Some LED's are included and they come installed in the officially licensed Demello front bumper. This bumper has a spot for a winch fairlead, two tow D-rings, and a little skidplate coverage.
The front has been trimmed to rest right on top of the bumper when you install the body. The same thing for the rear end, with the body corners trimmed for a snug fit to add the realistic Tacoma look. This rear bumper features a tow hitch and two tow D-ring mounts.
More accessories are included, like a hard plastic snorkel that attaches to the cab, and also an officially licensed front runner bed rack and tent mounts. The tent is pretty cool with a fluid design to give it life, and it's also hollow in the center to reduce weight. On the scale, this piece is a little over 100g, or about 160g when you add the parts to mount.
Note: Adding extra weight up high in a crawler raises the center of gravity and diminishes crawling performance, but that's why installing these parts is optional.
One last Element (pun intended) to add more realism to this body, is to utilize this decal sheet that comes included with the Knightrunner. Of course, you'll have to cut the decals out yourself, but they are a fun lightweight option.
Like the other Enduro trucks, Element RC turned the inside of the box into a scale diorama for all those cool photos.
Now since scale accessory master Knight Customs designed this body, it's only right he offers scale parts designed specifically for this body, and you can find those over at his Shapeways store. With over 20 different parts available, including led buckets you want can add lights, a skid plate, bed tools, different grills, and more. All these parts are high-quality 3D prints and ready to be painted.
Speaking of realism, look at this custom Knightrunner truck built by @topherbuilds over on Instagram. He repainted and detailed the body with his own decals, and it looks pretty dang impressive. The Knightrunner body looks great to start with, but with a bit of work and an eye for detail, you can take your Knightrunner body to level eleven like Topher.
We wanted to add a little something for our truck but not go crazy, so we picked up these inexpensive plastic TRX4 D-rings, and they're a great fit on the front and rear Demellow bumpers. The D-rings were only $3.00 for a set of four.
The Knightrunner has a really impressive body, with lots of details, great lines, realism, and many possibilities for customization. The one slight issue we have with the body is how the mirrors are only fixed at one point, and they flex a lot. This may have been done intentionally to help the mirrors survive sliding against the rocks, but we are going to go ahead and secure that second point.
Knightrunner Tires & Wheels
Other scale areas on this truck include the officially licensed general grabber A/TX tires in the 1.55" size, and these tires are mounted on Element RC wheels, the black Urbine beadlocks, with nut caps.
Like all Enduro's, the Knightrunner uses a 12mm wheel hex, so most aftermarket crawler wheels will fit, although only smaller diameter tire sizes will fit without rubbing the body. And if you're curious, here is what larger tires look like on the truck. These are 1.9" Pro-Line Hyrax tires; they do rub the body and would need further attention to fit correctly.
Independent Front Suspension (IFS)
The Knightrunner has a few other realistic tricks up its sleeve, with the biggest being the use of the IFS or Independent Front Suspension that comes standard on the Knightrunner. The IFS tosses out the solid front axle and instead adds a double-wishbone setup, allowing the front and right side to work independently on their own while still maintaining 4x4 control.
The IFS system from Element RC is available as a conversion kit that can be added to other Enduro trucks, like the Axial SCX10, SCX10 II, and the SSD Trail King, once you add a few required items. Those parts are available as free 3D print downloads or purchased from the Shapeways store.
Another cool aspect about the IFS system is that it does a great job hiding the steering system, with no long links traveling along the axle like most R/C trail trucks. Instead, the system sits high and out of sight, using plastic bell cranks and a metal steering rack supported by bearings. You'll notice the left and right side steering links rest at nearly the same height as the upper arms, so when you look at them from the front, they appear to be one piece, and you can hardly notice them. This front skidplate looks great behind the bumper and polishes up the final look.
For steering angle, the IFS uses universal driveshafts offering 45° of steering angle for tight turns on the trail or anywhere else, thanks in part to the overdriven Stealth X transmission that comes equipped with all Enduro trucks. This transmission provides a stock overdrive of 5.7% but can be bumped up to 11.83% with a gear swap. Or the transmission can be returned to a 1 to 1 setup.
At the rear of the truck is a solid axle with a locked differential supported on a 4-link suspension, and then on all corners are aluminum body oil-filled shocks.
The Knightrunner uses the 1523mg metal gear servo for the electronics, with a metal servo horn. The ESC is the 3S LiPo capable SC480X with a T-style battery connector, and the motor is a 16-T brushed Reedy motor. To power the truck, a 2S or 3s LiPo is needed, and ideally, a shorty sized LiPo like this ProTek pack, BUT, if you want to use full-size packs, you can, by swapping out to a longer battery box that is included. However, the shorty pack is recommended.
All of this is pretty standard equipment you've seen before if you are familiar with Enduro trucks. With one exception, how the Knightrunner body fits on the 12.8" wheelbase.
The Knightrunner and the Ecto both have a longer 12.8" wheelbase, but you cannot swap the bodies—we tried. Also, if you're curious, the Ecto body weighs 158g compared to the 233 grams of the Knightrunner. For how good this body looks, that's an impressive weight.
Overall, the Knightrunner is a really impressive R/C trail truck that's made to look super realistic while not offsetting any trail performance. We’d say the Knightrunner body is easily the most realistic looking body released from Element RC and the Knightrunner is overall one of the coolest R/C’s to wheel down the trail. It is so good looking you may choose to just admire it, as it sits on your desk.
Element RC Knightrunner 4X4 Truck Review
Watch the Element RC Knightrunner 4X4 Truck Review on our YouTube channel, and while you're there, be sure to check out more new product review videos.
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Element RC Enduro Knightrunner 4x4 RTR 1/10 Rock Crawler Combo w/2.4GHz Radio, Battery & Charger ASC40113C
ProTek RC 3S 120C Low IR Si-Graphene + HV Shorty LiPo Battery (11.4V/4500mAh) Crawler Pack w/T-Style Plug PTK-5116-20
Traxxas TRX-4 Bumper D-Rings (Red) (4) TRA8234R
EcoPower Rotating 1/10 & 1/8 Aluminum Car Stand w/Shock Holder ECP-3001
Fuji EnviroMAX AA Super Alkaline Battery (4) FUG4300BP4