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1:10 Scale Traxxas Rustler XL-5 Electric Stadium Truck

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 3 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


The Rustler first became available in 1994. It quickly became the top-selling hobby-grade electric stadium truck. The electric Stampede is the taller brother of the Traxxas Electric Rustler. These two radio controlled vehicles are the best choice among many for beginners wanting to get into RC racing and bashing. There are many new upgrades that have made these vehicles even better over the years.

Old, New, Improved Rustler

This is a radio controlled vehicle that is not new to the market of RCs; however, since it has been around for the last 12 years or so Traxxas has implemented many new and improved features. The exterior chassis has a new design and looks very sleek. The new 2.8 inch chrome, 5 spoke wheels dazzle as the Rustler gets in the sun and draws the attention of eager on-lookers. The altered low-profile tires now have better tread patterns that allow the Rustler to have more traction.

Some of the plastic parts have been made out of a different material (it is light gray in color). It is said to be a more durable material. Some of the parts that are made out of the new material are the main chassis pieces and the shock towers. Along with all the many upgrades that this vehicle offers it has powder-coated springs, comes with the newly designed Electronic Speed Control (ESC) and has a modified 12-turn Titan brushed motor -- unlike the older model that had the Stinger motor.

Rims and Tires

The front tire tread on the new Traxxas Rustler XL-5 has 7-strake directional ribbed tires; although, the rear tire tread now uses a multiple layer of pins. Something that is totally new to the XL-5 is that it has a new, very soft rubber tire compound combined with the foam inserts provides for more traction that gives better stability under racing conditions. The older versions of the Rustler were equipped with an almost solid plastic compound and used no inserts.

The tread pattern on the older models were almost non-existant because you only had a handful of pins and they would wear down after a couple of races. The profile of the tires are now a lot lower due to the new 2.8" wheels (these size tires are now used on the Jato as well). The wheels still fit on the 12 millimeter hubs in the front, as well as in the rear. Thicker hex screws are now used like in the rear hubs of the 4-Tec; however, in the front a new set gives the Rustler a wider stance. There is one downside to the new rims and tires though: the four stub axles still sit on 5X8 millimeter bushings.


The newly upgraded shocks have gray upper housings encasing the new performance upgrade of the silicone X-springs as opposed to the old models that have O-rings. The contact rings between seals and the shafts have been doubled from 2 to 4 because of this upgrade. This upgrade reduces the chance of dirt particles getting into the upper housing, which is said to cause a decrease in performance. The dampening rate is the same as usual, it has ~30wt and 2 hole-pistons. However, the spring rate has been lightened and in turn the springs in the front are now much shorter giving the Traxxas Rustler XL-5 a forward leaning stance. The rear springs are still set like the older models.


The XL-5's electronic setup looks better then a lot of the older models. The new motor, XL-5 ESC, has a turn limit of 15 and is capable of handling an 8 cell battery. The three modes of performance are Race, Sport, and Training. Race mode stops the use of reverse. Sport mode gives you full control with full power. Training mode only allows you to use half of the battery power. Training mode is useful to the beginners who don't quite grasp the concept of throttle control by only allowing you to go half the normal speed. The new Rustler XL-5 has built-in overload protection, which means that instead of overheating and having to replace parts, it will automatically shut itself off if the interior thermal sensors are activated.

See page 2 of this Rustler review for more on the motor and transmission and the bottomline on the new and improved Rustler.

User Reviews

 5 out of 5
TRAXXAS RUSTLER, Member larryjgarner

Travel in time with me to 1994,or whenever they came out with the rustler,i remember it well,my first brand ""NEW"" ""hobby grade"" rc car,i remember taking my rc10 buggy into my local hobby shop for repair and i was looking around bob's shop,G&S hobbies,in bullhead city,arizona,to see what was new,and i saw it,brand new truck,i asked bob about that truck and he was eager to tell me everything about it,i was a beginner at that time,and that rc10 buggy was a little to advanced for my skill at the time,driving wise anyway,he said that the rustler would be much more durable than my old rc10.I looked into it and i remember taking home some pamphlets on the rustler,reading it over and stuff...and then,i decided it was time to start begging my mom,and grandmother for one for christmass,i can remember going to the hobbyshop everyday after school just to see the truck,on the shelf,i wanted that truck,,,i gave him my well worn out rc10 buggy for a kind of down payment on the rustler,not even knowing if my mother would finish paying it off for me or not,,,finally christmass came around and i awoke,went in the living room ,and there it was,happiest 10 year old ever man,it was great,my dad had a new trinity 1200Mah pack sitting on a new dynamite mega 1 charger,ready to go,,now,back then, the rustler came with a unpainted body,i knew that,i also knew i was getting it too,but was still in awe when i saw it under the tree,.after hugging everybody,i lunged toward that box,ripping into it with great haste,,my pack was peaking on trickle charge by then,and i knew this baby had to be trimmed and painted,so,me and my dad got busy trimming the body,and we painted it BRIGHT ORANGE,and i also got some blue flame decals that i put right behind the front fender's.it looked pretty killer.With the paint dry,pack charged,and everything tightened up,it was time to drive,.i remember opening my front door,setting the truck down,and i just hammered it,drove the daylights out of it,crashed it hard,and thought,oh no!,ran it right into my neighbors tire of her full-sized truck,i thought it was over,but closer inspection reveled that the truck was just fine,thank god.Well,a few months passed no problems at all with the truck,but then the MECHANICAL speed control started acting up,it was time to earn some money,raking leaves and picking up dog STUFF for a month for my neighbors earned me enough money to buy a new electronic speed control and new motor,i ended up getting a futaba esc,bad choice,and a new trinity speed gem motor of some sort,decent but,you know,.I mounted my new esc in, after taking the fossil of a esc and 540 stock motor i had out,and i decided it was time to race,my LHS had oval parking lot races on weekends,i was there,my first ever race,i was nervous as could be,very intimidated by all the older kids with there decked out and tuned race vehicles,and me with no experience and a unprepared vehicle,every one was nice ,except one older man,who got mad i was on the same frequency as him,.I hit the track with some other beginners and i could say,i really blew there doors off with that rustler,,what fun it was,went back every weekend after that,slowly i started to get the handling down pat on that truck and i was giving the losi buggy's of the day a good run for there money. But sadly,all good things come to an end in this life,and financial troubles for my parents forced us to sell almost everything we had,including my pride and joy rustler,it went off to a new home ,i guess,but had provided me with about 5 great years of joy and unforgettable memories, After all of that,and a while later,i was working ,and knew it was time to get in the hobby again,since my RUSTLER,iv had ,rc10b3,rc12,rc10t3,losi xx,losi xxxbk1,losi mini-t,and now i run a kyosho inferno st,with o.s. vzb,but after all those vehicles,and i may have forgotten some,i can honestly say,the rustler was the most fun and enjoyment i have had with an electric rc car,didnt say nitro though,,,different story there,but out of all the electric cars and trucks i've had,that rustler i miss and want the most, back.. Lately,i have been wanting another electric truck,and i was looking at all vehicle brands and modle's,and i can honestly say,traxxas is the way i will be going in the near future,everything else is just to flimsy,period,out of all my vehicles ever,the traxxas was allways far more durable,and user friendly,and now there support is top notch,from what understand So,if your looking for your first truck,get a rustler.they have a bunch of trx hop-ups and aftermarket parts available to make it more race worthy,you will not be dissapointed,trust me,I think i will be getting a new revision of the rustler,for bashing and racing,there a good mix for both.with hop-ups,and good driving skills,this thing can be a winner on the track,, THANK YOU FOR READING THIS

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