The Traxxas Stampede has reigned as the go-to 2WD Monster Truck for over 25 years. Known for its stout build quality and simple design, there’s no wonder why it has remained at the top of its class. So, after 25 years is the Stampede still worth the attention? Well, with Traxxas’ newest iteration, the Stampede XL-5, it’s definitely worth a look. The Stampede XL-5 RTR kit includes everything you need to hit the road and kick up some dirt. Hitting the mark at just over $200 for a complete RTR package, this kit brings a lot of fun at a great price point.
Traxxas is known for their solid build quality, and the Stampede continues to be a mainstay example of that. Overall, the truck is built from some seriously sturdy materials. All parts on this truck feel nice and strong. The included XL-5 ESC is waterproof with some great built-in features such as 3 different driving profiles, low-voltage detection, and low electrical resistance which increases long-term performance. To continue the waterproof theme, the Stampede XL-5 includes a water-tight receiver box, and a waterproof high-toque steering servo so there should be no worries if you decide to drive in wet conditions.
To give the Stampede a premium feel and that little bit of bling, we decided to bolt on some of the available option parts. First thing we added was the Wheelie Bar since we planned on doing wheelies whenever possible. Heavy Duty front and rear suspension arms were chosen to add even more strength to the truck in case of gnarly crashes, and of course in blue to match the wheelie bar. The aluminum front steering and caster components, along with the aluminum rear knuckles not only add the strength of machined aluminum but also increase drivetrain smoothness thanks to their larger shielded ball bearings. Aluminum shock caps and anodized wheel nuts were added for that little extra bit of Traxxas Blue bling to tie all the option parts together.
As you’d imagine, the Stampede is fun and extremely easy to drive, which is part of its charm. During testing I handed the controller over to my wife, an RC newbie, and she quickly and easily got the hang of driving the truck. No need for me to turn down settings or pull it back, just plain easy to operate and drive. The Stampede has enough punch with the included Titan 12T 550 motor and 7-cell NiMH battery pack to make popping wheelies a breeze, and just enough restraint that anyone can drive it with ease. It also clocks in an impressive 30+MPH top speed, which is a pretty respectable number from a brushed motor and NiMH battery.
On a personal note, I intentionally swapped the front and rear wheels to give a staggered offset. Although the truck drives great as it sits out of the package, I just wanted to mess around with a tighter turning radius and more rear grip. I would however recommend leaving the wheels as they come out of the box, to avoid any issues with the front wheels binding on the suspension arms.
As for the Stampede’s handling, the long, plush shocks soak up bumps from rough pavement, dirt, and jumps nicely and keep the truck feeling smooth, while the large 2.8” wheels and tires give the truck a healthy amount of ground clearance. The included Talon tires are a nice touch as well, giving enough grip in loose dirt while balancing grip on the pavement, making them great for all types of terrain.
As simple as it may be, the Stampede XL-5 is great fun to drive and packs plenty of power and control for any obstacles you might throw its way.
There’s definitely a reason the Stampede has been around this long, it’s one of the greats and will continue to be for years to come. The Stampede XL-5 RTR is an excellent kit for RC beginners and veterans alike, providing a lot of fun for a relatively small price tag. With plenty of option parts available and Traxxas’ great customer support, the Stampede makes deciding on a 2WD monster truck kit an easy task. I’d recommend the newest version of the Stampede to anyone.
Text and Images by Lauren Short