Quick, reliable and easy to drive. These are some of the attributes we look for when shopping for an RC basher. One of the vehicles that has all that in abundance, along with a heavy dose of good looks, is Traxxas’ Rustler. Easily one of the most popular bashers that Traxxas offers, the off-road stadium truck is so popular that it is available in no fewer than nine variations and counting. Rustler is offered in two- or four-wheel-drive and is motivated by your choice of a brushed motor, brushless motor, and even a nitro engine option. It’s a versatile and fun vehicle to drive for sure.
Traxxas has been on a vehicle-updating roll this year, refreshing its most popular platforms by including even more options on its already feature-rich offerings. The latest iteration of the brushed motor version of Rustler now comes with factory-installed front and rear LED lighting as well as a selection of all-new ProGraphix paint jobs.
This new-for-2022, all-inclusive Rustler package also comes with a 4-amp DC Peak Detecting Fast Charger and a Traxxas 3000 mAh 8.4V 7-cell NiMH battery with iD. This truck is as Ready-To-Run (RTR) as can be. That’s great news, especially for those who are new to the hobby or are currently looking to add to their RC collections. We’ll dive deeper into these updates later on, but first let’s learn about what makes the Rustler so popular with RC enthusiasts.
Many seasoned RC drivers can call the Rustler their first RC ride, and it’s not uncommon for people to own multiple models. Its popularity is easy to understand since it’s fun to drive, simple to maintain and easy to modify. Rustler is a fantastic platform for first-timers to start their RC journey with, and experienced RC enthusiasts love its wide upgrade parts support, which makes it prime to supercharge with plenty of performance accessories.
A DRIVER’S TRUCK
Rustler puts you in control of a full-fledged stadium truck and makes it easy for even a beginning driver to go full-throttle to dish out powerslides and land big-air jumps. Rustler is built to shrug off big impacts that may disable other vehicles. Keeping the fun going is just one of the things that the talented truck is good at.
Run Rustler just about anywhere. Race it around your backyard or take it to the local track or park. The rear-wheel-drive Rustler is built to jump and rip full-throttle through curves and turns. Its four-wheel independent suspension has been carefully tuned by the engineers at Traxxas to replicate the real-world stadium truck driving and handling experience.
We’re big into adding LED lighting to our RC vehicles, especially in our scale builds and bashers, because lighting adds much in terms visual aesthetics when the vehicle is running about. The newly upgraded Rustler’s LED lighting now comes standard to extend your fun long after dark. Four brilliant white lights illuminate the path ahead while dual red LED taillights let you track Rustler from behind, even after the sun goes down. The truck’s lights are protected behind rugged bumpers and the entire system is waterproof for worry-free performance.
Also new for Rustler is the inclusion of a sharp-looking ProGraphix body as standard equipment. ProGraphix bodies don’t require paint or stickers; those are already applied for you from the experts at the factory. The ProGraphix body comes in your choice of five colorways including red, blue, orange, green and a combination red/black color variation, which is what you see here.
Rustler is 12.25 inches wide and has a 11.4-inch wheelbase, which makes it extremely stable. Driving Rustler forward is a reliable drivetrain that has set the standard for all RTRs. Traxxas’ Magnum 272 transmission features metal gears riding on ultra-smooth sealed ball bearings. Combined with the smooth 48-pitch gears, power transfers quietly to the durable telescoping U-joint driveshafts. The Magnum 272 is built to handle massive brushless power for when it comes time for a brushless upgrade.
Rustler’s Torque-Control slipper clutch uses special semi-metallic friction material and finned aluminum alloy pressure plates to dissipate heat and provide consistent traction control. The semi-metallic friction material remains stable across a wide temperature range to provide smooth, linear engagement you can count on, run after run. What’s more, the truck’s planetary gear differential uses hardened steel internal gears for maximum strength during rigorous off-road bashing. This type of differential requires virtually no maintenance and its efficient design puts maximum tire-shredding power to the wheels. Speaking of wheels, the truck runs on 2.8-inch wheels with low-profile tires that give it loads of grip and nimble handing on a wide array of terrain.
Rustler’s oil-filled Ultra Shocks provide a terrain-hugging ride. These shocks are fully tunable with a wide range of oils, springs and pistons. The shocks host race-tuned progressive-rate springs that soak up the small bumps as a softer spring would, but when the conditions get rough and the jumps get big, the progressive rate springs step up to the challenge by getting firmer as the suspension is compressed.
Rustler is powered via a combination of Traxxas XL-5 waterproof Electronic Speed Control (ESC) and Titan 12-Turn 550 motor. Perfect for romps around the backyard and beyond, Rustler’s Titan 12T motor is made to combine torque and acceleration for wheelies, powerslides, jumps and more. An integrated cooling fan pulls cool air through the motor to keep temperatures down for more fun behind the wheel.
Paired with the Titan motor is the waterproof XL-5 ESC. The XL-5 handles the elements while smoothly supplying power to the motor. It features three throttle profiles, low voltage detection, thermal shutdown protection, a built-in BEC, and it can handle 4- to 7-cell NiMH and 2-cell LiPo batteries. It’s good to know that XL-5 has a training mode that reduces the overall power output by 50%, making it easier for young or new drivers to develop their control skills before unleashing Rustler’s full power performance.
GOOD TO GO
Rustler helps define the term Ready To Run (RTR) by including almost everything you need to get your RC moving. The no-assembly-required, pre-built stadium truck comes with an RC transmitter, vehicle battery, battery charger and even a set of tools and other accessories. Just about everything you need to run and maintain Rustler is included. All you need are four AA batteries for the transmitter and you’re truly ready to run.
Out of the box, the installed 16-tooth pinion gear is just right for all-around on- or off-road action. But for those looking for a whole lot more speed, the Rustler is capable of a rated top speed of over 35 real-world miles per hour on-road using an included optional 28-tooth pinion gear.
We charged up the included 3000mAh, 8.4V, Power Cell NiMH battery and headed to our local park. We turned it on and proceeded to get acquainted with the latest Rustler in a field of red clay. The eye-catching ProGraphix body looked great as we did some warm-up laps on the damp clay. Its bright front and rear LEDs also got us excited and ready for a fun bash session.
When we got onto the throttle and tested the truck’s handling feel, we were reminded about just how easy the brushed-motor-equipped Rustler 2WD truck is to drive. Swinging the stadium truck left and right was predictable and very stable. The more confidence you have over the control of a vehicle, the better you can drive it, and handling predictability is key. That’s not to say that Rustler wasn’t able to excite us. Going full throttle produces plenty of speedy unpredictability when we wanted it to, especially while running on a bumpy clay surface. Getting plenty of air wasn’t an issue either; we must say it was a great day at the park.
The updated Rustler comes with everything you need and then some. It is perfect for those who are just getting into the RC hobby and its latest upgrades are a great excuse for a current Rustler owner to pick up another. Now available in a choice of five ProGraphix colors complete with LED lighting, the Rustler has never looked this good. To top it off, Traxxas offers a whole collection of upgrade parts to further push Rustler’s limits. We’re already looking checking out traxxas.com to see at what our first upgrades will be.
Traxxas Rustler RC Stadium Truck VEHICLE SPECS
Height: 7 in. (178mm)
Length: 18.1 in. (445mm)
Width: 12.25 in. (311mm)
Wheelbase: 11.4 in. (289mm)
Weight as tested: 3 lbs., 11.6 oz. (1.69kg)
Chassis: Composite nylon tub
Shocks: Oil-filled coilover
Suspension: 4-wheel independent
Differential: Steel composite planetary
Body: Pre-painted, decorated, pre-cut polycarbonate
Wheels: 2.8” black and chrome 6-Spoke
Tires: Traxxas Alias 2.8”
Speed Control: Waterproof XL-5 ESC
Motor: Titan 12T 550 (12-turn)
Steering Servo: Traxxas #2075
Radio: Traxxas TQ 2.4GHz (2-channel)
Receiver: Traxxas TQ
Charger: Traxxas 4-amp DC Peak Detecting Fast Charger
Battery: Traxxas 7-cell NiMH battery with iD
Text by Jerry Tsai
Images by Leigh Guarnieri