atv-utvtech.com review of Monster XP Series Axles
Ever heard the phrase, "Dare to be different"? Well Danny Walburn and the good folks at Monster Axle took that phrase to heart when developing their new XP (Extreme Performance) Monster Axles that feature a unique slip joint design in the main shaft that allows the axle to extend and compress slightly during suspension travel to help relieve added stress to the axle joints and to help prevent the axle from pulling from the differential.
To our knowledge this slip joint design is exclusive to Monster Axle and is a definite departure from traditional design. Monster Axle contacted us to put these axles to a real world test prior to their release. Danny wanted to make sure they would hold up since this was a brand new design. Their lab testing showed great results, but we all know that the trails, mud and rocks are very different from a lab. Kudos to Monster Axle for recognizing that this is the case and for their desire to put a great product out there for their customers!
Our test vehicle for the Monster Axles was to be our Yamaha Rhino. Now this Rhino is not stock by any means with a 686 big bore, 3" Super ATV lift kit, Barkers Dual Exhaust and an Airdam Racing wet clutch elimination kit so we felt the Rhino would make a very good test bed for the Monster axle review.
Within a few days we had the axles at our shop and quickly installed in the Rhino. Fit was a bit tight for clearance and we found the need to, shall we say, adjust a little bit of metal to allow for some added clearance for the slip joint contact areas on the frame – nothing huge or torch related just a couple simple love taps with a hammer. None of this would have been needed on a non-lifted machine. Once installed we hit the trails for some real world testing of this unique axle.
Test Ride #1
With the axles now installed in the Rhino we loaded it up and headed on the 8 hour drive from our shop to Baraga, Michigan for our annual trail ride in Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula – a remote area filled with rock covered ridges and mud filled valleys is a perfect site for our testing needs.
Now in a perfect world this would be where we would tell you how we had no issues with the Monster Axles but we all know this is not a perfect world we live in and about 20 miles out from our unloading point we encountered a nasty rutted section of mud combined with a short steep climb at the end. The test Rhino was one of the first to attempt it as usual and when the machine rocked violently through the deep mud filled ruts we heard the loud snap as the inner joint of the axle snapped off flush at the shaft leaving the Rhino with only three-wheel drive. The situation was made worse when Joe, the driver, determined to get the Rhino through the nasty mud hole managed to snap the other rear axle in the very same spot. Seeing the breakage location and the way the metal was twisted we determined this to be the weak spot for these axles. Once we had the Rhino winched out and on dry ground we quickly swapped his original axles back in and finished our ride. End of story right? WRONG!
Once back to cell service I gave Danny a call and told him what had happened. He asked for the broken axles to be sent back immediately for evaluation, and said "We will get this issue fixed and get another set out to you." About a month past, and I received a call from Danny saying they had evaluated the broken axles and determined what they needed to do to strengthen them. Once they had done this he would be sending us another set for testing. Monster Axle really wanted to have a quality product. They put a lot of rigor to their re-design and testing. I think they wanted to create something that the crazy drivers from ATV-UTVTECH could not break period! After about 6 months had passed, I arrived at the shop to find a UPS box from Danny with two new axles in it setting on the step. I called Danny and quizzed him on what they had done to strengthen the axles to their current improved state. The list was long, from the metal make up to slight changes in CV design, these axles had undergone some serious improvements. We could not wait to get them back on the Rhino to see how they performed!
Test Ride #2
For the initial test run we took our Yamaha Rhino to a local riding area not far from the shop to try out the Monster Axles on some snow covered hills – nothing like spinning on slippery snow and ice then grabbing in the soft sand below to snap an axle!
No matter how rough we were with the Rhino the Monster axles held up great. We even went so far as to purposely sink the rear of the Rhino in the soft sand beneath the snow until it bottomed out and the tires spun freely. The huge lugs of our 29.5" Outlaw tires dug deep and fast in the heavy sand but the axles continued to hold solid. Not only did the axles hold up to the punishment we put them through but with their unique sliding splined main shaft they did not pop out once the entire day. Considering the angles the axles have to run at it would not have been unusual to have at least one pop out, but with the Monsters that issue seems to be a thing of the past!
Since that initial ride we have covered nearly every type of terrain – rocks, mud, deep sand, rut-filled trails – nothing we have thrown at the Monster Axles have even fazed them. They continue to this day, nearly a year later to take everything we dish out and beg for more. These mighty axles have proven themselves to be a truly monstrous step forward in axle design. Not to mention the fact that Danny proved to us beyond the shadow of a doubt that Monster Axle wants to be a serious player in the Heavy Duty axle market. His commitment to getting the product right before releasing it to the public is excellent, and he has our deepest respect for that.
So if you’re having issues with your wimpy stock axles but don’t want the headaches associated with some aftermarket axles that tend to pop out of the differential under extreme conditions then you need a set of Monster Axles from Danny.
Grab a set of Monster Axles today and make your axle nightmares a thing of the past!
Article and images used with permission by Rex Ostrander of ATV-UTVTECH.COM, a division on Ostrander Tech Enterprises, LLC.
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