We discussed the LST with design chief Gil Losi Jr. and "Pops" Losi, the head of Team Losi.
RCCA: If you had to pick just one, which would you choose as the truck's most noteworthy feature?
Pops: I know mine, so I'll let Junior answer first.
Junior: It has to be the transmission.
Pops: I agree!
Junior: It accomplishes a lot in a very compact package. When you look at how everyone else has built the forward/reverse tranny, those designs all seem to be a little on the clunky side. Ours is extremely efficient for its size. Pop: Plus, we've never done anything like this before. We were paranoid because we were designing something that could give us a lot of problems, but so far, there haven't been any significant issues. The tranny has actually been overengineered for strength.
RCCA: Who made the decision to go with 4 oversize shocks versus the industry standard 8- shock setup?
Junior: We all wanted to do 4, but their size was my Dad's push.
Pops: I had just come back from a hot-rod show in Tulsa. A bunch of monster trucks there had a lot of little shocks all over the place. But one truck had 4 massive shocks, and it just looked so cool! The shocks looked as if they were made for the truck versus being made for something else, so we decided to make our shocks as big as we could make them. In reality, the larger you make a shock, the easier it is to make it work really well.
RCCA: There's a lot of shock fluid in there!
Junior: One of our standard-size bottles of shock fluid will fill almost three shocks.
RCCA: You truck is spec'd out with some serious gear. Why not use basic gear like everyone else?
Pops: We try to remember our heritage in everything we do. Our company has always made top-of-the-line products. We thought coming out with just another T-Maxx or Savage wouldn't fit our company philosophy, so we made a list of criteria that needed to be met by this truck. We knew it would have a higher price point than anything else, but we also knew that adding all the high-end running gear would provide more value in the long run.
Junior: We didn't want to make a big, 10-pound-plus monster truck with this much power that can do the things it can do without spending the money to make things right.
RCCA: The monster-truck market has changed quite a bit in the past year or so. The new trend is to make race-specific trucks like the truggies and backyard-basher vehicles. Which specific goals did you have for the LST?
Junior: We wanted the truck to be bigger and more powerful and we wanted it to climb really well, too.
Pops: Definitely. We wanted it to be able to climb, pull, or go race-a "do-all" type of truck.
Junior: If you look at the other trucks on the market, they don't really climb very well; most of them are overgeared. That's why we wanted to do a high-/lowstyle tranny so you could gear the truck really low so it could climb over tight, technical sections. We wanted a tranny that, when engaged, would always be engaged so that the truck could climb properly.
RCCA: We've driven other vehicles with the Mach .26 engine before, but this one feels a little different. Is it just matched up with the gearing really well, or have you made subtle tweaks that you haven't told us about?
Junior: Yes and no; we started with the same engine but worked on its robustness. We fine-tuned the needles and the way they are adjusted. There were a few tweaks, too. I guess it's fair to say that we've improved the engine a lot. Plus, it has been matched well to the gearing, and the clutch works very well; everything is happy together.
RCCA: The brakes are amazing, too. How did you guys pull that one off?
Pops: A lot of hours were put into that brake design, and a lot of crying was involved in getting them to work just right. The brakes were probably the last thing that we were happy with. They are superstrong, but the best part about having a ton of brake is that you can dial it out, but if you have too little, you can't add it.
Junior: It's a conservative estimate to say that we tried 50 combinations of brake pads and disc materials as well as different multi-disc setups before we found the combos we were happy with.
RCCA: What sort of factory hop-ups for the LST can we expect to see?
Pops: Expect to see the usual stuff: threaded shocks, new wheels and tires, hard-anodized chassis plates and even some skidplates. A lot of things are on the drawing board; some of the stuff is close and some a little way off. One running change that will be made in future kits is the addition of a rear spur-gear guard/cover. This will help prevent small rocks and debris from getting into the spur-gear teeth.
RCCA: So far, was the LST your most difficult project, or was it your most fun project?
Junior: Probably both!
Pops: It was definitely the hardest project we've ever taken on. Our goal was totally different from what we normally do, which is to try to get a race car or truck to handle as well as possible so it will turn in fast lap times. With the LST, we wanted to make something that you could just beat to death and it would do all types of crazy stunts. Jukka Steenari, the head engineer on the project, spent a lot of time out in the sand wash behind our building with this thing to make it work right.