Review - Kyosho Mad Van VE Brushless Monster Truck

If you’re a fan of the van life and beach vibes, then we have an R/C for you, because the Mad Van Monster Truck is back and better than ever with the all new VE edition, which includes brushless electronics, enhanced scale body details and a whole lot more power, but how fast is it? Well you are about to find out as we review, speed run and bash, the new Mad Van VE from Kyosho.

Kyosho Mad Van VE Monster Truck

Kyosho Fazer Mk2 Mad Van VE Monster Truck

The Mad Van VE is 1/10 scale, 4WD truck based on the Kyosho Fazer Mk2 chassis, which Kyosho has been using for a while to create some pretty incredible scale muscle cars, and a few other off-road vehicles, including the original Mad Van.  All of those previous vehicles used brushed electronics, so to have the Mad Van offered with brushless electronics is pretty exciting.  Kyosho claims these brushless electronics make the Mad Van VE 50% faster than the original brushed van, and we’ll be testing it.  But first, the basics...

Mad Van VE Batteries

Now the Mad Van VE is a part of the Kyosho ReadySet series, so the van comes out of the box assembled with electronics, with the body painted and detailed.  The included transmitter is also pretty nice but requires four AA batteries and the van also requires a battery.  A 6-cell NiMh battery will work, but to take full advantage of the brushless power, a 2S LiPo battery is needed.

Mad Van VE Batteries

The New Kyosho Mad Van Body

Aside from the brushless electronics, the Mad Van VE has been updated in a few other ways, with the most obvious being the body, which starts as a one-piece lexan shell that Kyosho has painted red before detailing it.  At the front of our van is a new molded in grill and head section with chrome trim.  These headlights are LED ready but don’t include LED’s, instead the LED kit needs to be purchased separately.

Mad Van Body

Mad Van VE Classic Chrome Finishes

Below the front headlights and grill is a new chrome bumper, made from hard plastic.  Above the windshield is another new scale detail for the van and it’s the visor.  This piece is again a hard plastic detail that’s secured to the inside, and when you flip your lid and skid, it helps protect the lexan body.
Another new piece are the side mirrors in a chrome finish, and they look just like the mirrors included with the Kyosho Mad Crusher, which is a big-old, knarly 1/8 scale nitro monster truck.

Mad Van Chrome Finishes

Kyosho Mad Van VE Graphic Details

Next, Kyosho uses decals over the windows to provide a tint and more trim detailing.  These windows aren’t blacked out like the previous truck, so it looks a little more realistic.  The chrome trim matches up with the decals used on the chrome door handles.

Now below those handles are the full-length white decal panels, which help give the Mad Van VE it’s fresh and sporty vibe.

Mad Van VE Graphic Details

Mad Van VE Classic Scale Design

This graphic detail continues to the back of the body only breaking around the hard plastic realistic taillights.  These taillights are LED ready, but need the Kyosho led kit to function, just like the headlights.  Also, just below those taillights you can see there is another hard plastic chrome rear bumper, just like the one in front. 

The last piece of detailing for the Mad Van are the plastic roof racks, which look realistic while also helping protect the body when sliding on it.  These parts, along with the windshield visor, are a nice touch to help prolong the life of the body when bashing. 

Mad Van VE Batteries

Kyosho Mad Van VE Wheels & Tires

To enhance the looks even more, the Mad Van has some sport looking tires and wheels with deep offset white monster truck wheels with a 12mm hex.  These white wheels feel fresh and match the monster truck inspired tire treads, that are glued to the wheel.

2017 SCX10 II

With a 12mm hex fitment, a lot of aftermarket tires and wheels can be used. For example, here are taller rock crawler tires mounted on the mad van. These are really tall 1.9” tires with a diameter of 4.7” and they do rub on the body a little in the fender when turning out, and on the front bumper when turning in. You might be able to trim the body for clearance, or just use smaller tires. Like these 1/10 touring car tires and wheels. I know some of you are cringing right now, but I kind of like it and the Mad Van power slides around great with them. Since motor gearing is set for a taller tire, the van has a lot of torque with these smaller tires, but it’s not as fast as it could be.

Pro-Line Hyrax 1.9
Kyosho Fazer Pre-Mounted Sedan Tires w/15 Spoke Wheels (2) (Black) (12mm Hex)

So, how fast is the Mad Van VE?

After putting the original tires back on, grabbing our SkyRC GPS speed meter and using a fully charged 100C 5000mAh LiPo battery, we found our answer. After a few passes, the top speed achieved with our Kyosho Mad Van VE, was 36 mph (58kph), which is just about 50% more than the original Mad Van, that tops out at about 25 miles per hour.

Learn more about the SkyRC GPS speed meter.
Rear Arm Fix

Kyosho Mad Van Parts & Electronics

So, the Mad Van VE is definitely faster, but it’s also quite a bit more powerful and punchy over the brushed model. To help the Mad Van cope with the upgraded brushless electronics, the VE comes with this aluminum center driveshaft, which is an option part on the brushed vehicles. This driveshaft will stay straight and true during high rpms and is an excellent upgrade over the previous plastic driveshaft.

Kyosho Mad Van Parts

Also, the VE includes an updated gearbox with high strength sintered metal gears with an updated final drive ratio to better suit brushless electronics. The truck also now has a wheelie bar, and it’s extremely well braced and stiff, with almost no flex. Lastly, are the brushless electronics themselves. Kyosho includes the BRAINZ 60A ESC, which is actually compatible with 2S and 3S LiPos, and it features a T-style battery connector. The motor power is supplied by the TORX 10E 3652 brushless motor, with 4000kv. (This motor is only 2S LiPo compatible.)

Strengthened Mad Van Pinion Gear

Strengthened Pinion Gear

Mad Van VE Wheelie Bar

Mad Van VE Wheelie Bar

Mad Van VE ESC

Mad Van VE ESC

Mad Van Brushless Motor

Mad Van Brushless Motor

And then there is a lot of standard gear in the van; oil filled adjustable shocks, front and rear gear differentials, center slipper, easy adjust Velcro battery strap, ball bearings, and metric hex hardware. At the heart of this vehicle, is a Fazer Mk2, just better. Maybe we should call it an Mk2+, I kind of like that.

Mad Van VE Shocks

Mad Van VE Shocks

Mad Van VE Sintered Metal Gears

Sintered Metal Gears

Mad Van VE Battery Strap

Mad Van VE Battery Strap

Mad VanVE Hardware

Mad VanVE Hardware

Taking the Mad Van outside.

Let’s take the Kyosho Mad Van VE outside...

On the road, the Mad Van VE drove just like we expected, only faster. Like pretty much all the Mk2 vehicles, the VE is really easy to drive, and easy to push a little harder. Some of this is from the van having a little understeer, or push, which can be tuned, but that combined with a wide stance, makes for some really easy driving.

Pro Tip“If you want to pop wheelies, we found more rough and abrasive surfaces to work best at delivering the needed traction. Our parking lot here at Amain Hobbies was sealed up recently and the surface is slick and smooth with little traction, and we could not get the VE to pop a wheelie. We’ve had issues getting other RC’s to wheelie here too, so it’s not uncommon. ”

Rear Arm Fix

Driving the Kyosho Mad Van VE

When you find the right surface for popping wheelies, the VE is happy to deliver. We were able to pop from a dead stop and while in motion. Holding the wheelie is another story, and a test of your driving skills.
In loose dusty conditions, the van is tough to keep pointed straight like many kits, but a little easier thanks to our understeer. However, if you punch it full throttle, you’ll probably lose control. So, in these low traction conditions, it’s best to be mellow on the throttle to stay in control.

Mad Van VE Batteries

Wow look how dusty this thing is!

Since we just happen to be at our Silver Dollar RC Raceway, let’s try some jumps, but first, can we backflip the wallride? On the controls is Amain employee Jonah while I film. Without any water on the track, it’s loose and slippery, but we’re only here to try some jumps, and the Mad Van VE is able to catch some big air here without breaking.

Mad Van's Getting Dirty

Next, let’s try the oval track…

Surprisingly, the Mad Van VE is awesome on this oval and the tires hook up surprisingly well, also making a cool screeching sound when you throw it in the turn hard. Going back to our understeer, it’s really allowing us to drive the van easily. In the turns, you just have to lift for a moment to settle the front end, make your turn and get back on the gas. In the end, we finished up our driving with this sweet backflip. “No, I said sweet backflip!”

Catching some air!


Now in all the driving we did, nothing broke, not even the mirrors, and we were a little abusive. The Mad Van VE is one cool, brushless powered truck, and the best part, (How much does the Kyosho Mad Van Cost, you may ask?) it’s less than $300!