Choosing between bandit and rustler is super frustrating. Especially because both are good on-road cars.
So you might be wondering, why bring out two different models if they are the same?
Well, they do have some small differences that end up highly impacting their performance.
Can’t decide? It’s okay, we’re here to help.
So, which one to pick, Traxxas bandit vs. rustler?
The Traxxas Bandit has better acceleration thanks to its higher 33T pinion gear, whereas the Rustler has better handling thanks to its larger tires. You can also get better off-road traction from the Rustler with the heavier chassis, which makes it an amazing bashing RC. However, Bandit is definitely a better choice for track racing because of the smaller wheels and its agility.
I know, this isn’t enough for you to decide. So, I walked the extra mile to make sure you walk away with certainty.
Traxxas Bandit Vs. Rustler: Head-to-Head Comparison
First thing first.
The Traxxas Rustler and Bandit have a number of versions. So I’m going to pick a particular version of both as the base model.
For convenience, I’m comparing two particulars, the Bandit VXL and Rustler VXL—two rival models.
With that said, here’s a quick comparison between Traxxas Bandit VXL and Rustler VXL:
|Ground of Comparison||Traxxas Bandit||Traxxas Rustler|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||16.25 x 9.84 x 7 inches||18.78 x 12.94 x 6.35 inches|
|Top Speed||70+ mph||70+ mph|
|Pinion/Spur||33-T / 76-T||31-T / 76-T|
|Specialty||Track racing||Bashing, Off-road driving|
|Price||Around $280-340||Around $280-350|
|Check For Latest Price||Check in Amazon||Check in Amazon|
I’ve added a graph to help you visualize how these specs translate to performance. It represents how I’d rate Traxxas Bandit and Rustler in different tracks out of a score of 5.
To further aid you in making the choice, I compiled a pros-cons table. I hope it can make it easy for you.
|Traxxas Rustler||Highly suitable for Bashing||Slow to get to its top speed|
|Good for Extreme Off-Road Driving||Not ideal for racing due to lower acceleration|
|Great handling because of the larger tires||Has better competitors for the price|
|Traxxas Bandit||Great acceleration and top speed||Harder to control and can easily flip due to the lower weight|
|Great for racing||Can drive Off-road, but struggles at extremes|
|Better aerodynamics because of the flat, smaller chassis||Unsuitable for bashing|
The graph checks out according to the table of specs and summarizes how both of the RCs would perform in different cases. That’s just the summary of it, but the devil is in the details.
Traxxas Bandit Vs. Rustler: Detailed Comparison
The subtle differences between the Bandit and Rustler translate to different usage. Here’s a detailed explanation of why.
The Traxxas Rustler is a truggy with a flat bigger chassis with comparatively higher ground clearance. The Bandit on the other hand comes with a sleek smaller chassis and a lower ground clearance.
The chassis plays an especially important role in off-road crawlers like these two. Smaller chassis like the Bandit usually have lower ground clearance compared to a truggy, the Rustler.
Upgrading the Traxxas bandit chassis is unfortunately not an option from Traxxas. Third-party solutions aren’t worth it either.
I’ll start on the size chart of the two models right from the get-go. Here’s the table-
|Ground of Comparison||Traxxas Bandit||Traxxas Rustler|
|Length||16.25 inches||18.78 inches|
|Width||9.84 inches||12.94 inches|
|Height||7 inches||6.35 inches|
|Area||159.9 Sq. inches||243.01 Sq. inches|
|Weight (in ounces)||48||59.6|
The Traxxas Bandit VXL takes an area of 159.9 sq. inches at a weight of 48 ounces. That’s much lower than the 243.01 sq. inches area of Traxxas Rustler VXL at 59.6oz.
The size and weight of the Rustler make it a truggy, whereas the Bandit is a buggy. Rustler has better traction, and handling as a result, and Bandit has better acceleration and agility.
Furthermore, the larger and heavier stature of Rustler means it can take a beating unfazed, unlike the comparatively lighter Bandit. So, Rustler has better durability.
The Traxxas Rustler comes with Allstar 2.8” tires whereas the Bandit has 2.2” multi-spoke tires. Here’s how that differs in advantages-
Allstar 2.8” tires: Here are the advantages of Traxxas Rustler Tires-
- The larger 2.8” tires have better grip compared to the 2.2” multi-spoke.
- They allow for better off-road driving and are better at dealing with environmental obstacles.
- Provide more durability and longevity
Multi-spoke 2.2” tires: Here are the advantages of Traxxas Bandit Tires-
- The comparatively smaller 2.2” tires allow for faster, more agile movement. It’s thanks to these tires the Traxxas Bandit is faster than the Rustler on tracks.
- These tires thrive in tracks. They thrive when they don’t have to deal with many obstacles.
- It’s also easier to perform wheelies with these wheels.
My verdict is- Both the tires are competent in their own fields. Allstar 2.8” is better for off-road whereas multi-spoke 2.2” is better for tracks.
The first thing considered for any RC model is the top speed. The tables contain the top speeds of all the models of Bandit and Rustler for easy comparison.
Here’s the top speed table for Traxxas Rustler Models-
|Traxxas Rustler Models||Top Speed|
|Traxxas Rustler VXL||70+ mph|
|Traxxas Rustler 4×4 VXL||65+ mph|
|Traxxas Rustler 4×4||65+ mph|
|Traxxas Rustler XL-5||35+ mph|
Here’s the top speed table for Traxxas Bandit Models-
|Traxxas Bandit Models||Top Speed|
|Traxxas Bandit VXL||70+ mph|
|Traxxas Bandit 4×4 VXL||65+ mph|
|Traxxas Bandit 4×4||65+ mph|
|Traxxas Bandit XL-5||35+ mph|
At a glance, the VXL models boast the most speed of the bunch. These are the flagship models of both. That’s basically why a comparison of the VXLs alone would be fairer.
The Traxxas Bandit VXL has a 33-T pinion gear, which is higher than the Traxxas Rustler VXL. Traxxas Rustler VXL in comparison has a 31-T Pinion gear. That causes the Rustler to lose out in acceleration to Traxxas Bandit.
Despite how their top speeds are equal in theory, their real-world performance speaks otherwise.
You can still make the VXL models go faster through a few upgrades. Here’s how-
- New Motor: Both Traxxas Bandit and Rustler have Velineon 3500 brushless motor systems. Upgrading to a better motor-ESC combo like the Hobby-Park 540 Combo would take your speed up to the next notch. |
Furthermore upgrading to a new brushless motor is not that hard since both of them are brushless.
- Higher Capacity Battery: However, with a better motor, you’ll need a better battery too. A Traxxas 2832X battery is best for the motor I’ve mentioned.
In conclusion, the overall winner in top speed on the track is the Traxxas Bandit. However, if you’re looking for only racing, the best rally car is what you’re going to need.
The terrain specialty is where the Traxxas siblings differ due to the specs. Here’s a table comparing the driving format of the two.
|Traxxas Rustler VXL||✓||✓|
|Traxxas Bandit VXL||✓||✓|
Note: Ticks (✓) mean the usability in that format.
The Rustler, due to its heavyweight characteristics and larger stature, is more suitable for climbing and bashing. On the other hand, you can use the Bandit to race and climb because of how light it is.
Here’s a youtube video testing the limits of how far you can push these two off-road.
Furthermore, when it comes to terrain, The Bandit fares better on tracks whereas the Rustler thrives off-road.
To sum it up, The Traxxas Rustler and Bandit can run on both smooth and off roads. However, Traxxas Rustler specializes in off-road whereas Traxxas bandit handles smooth roads better in comparison.
You might be wondering how the Rustler is doing against others off-road. I pitted the Traxxas Rustler against the Traxxas Stampede too to decide who the off-road king is.
By now you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for. The Traxxas Rustler and the Traxxas Bandit are both good in their own regard.
The choice you should make depends on what your usage will be.
The high acceleration and the low traction simply make the Traxxas Bandit a go-to choice for racing. However, the better handling and durability give the Traxxas Rustler an edge over others in bashing.
So, if you’re into racing, you’re better off with the Bandit. But if you like bashing with reckless abandon, then look no further than the Traxxas Rustler.
Before concluding the article, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions.
Will a Rustler Tire Fit On a Bandit?
No, a Rustler Tire does not fit on a Bandit. That’s because Rustler uses a 2.8” tire whereas a Bandit is compatible with 2.2” tires.
Is Traxxas Bandit Waterproof?
Yes, the Traxxas Bandit is waterproof. That allows it to run just fine in wet environments as well as dry environments.
What is RC bashing?
In RC terms, bashing in general means casual racing. It doesn’t have any sort of rules. Tracks can be focused on jumps and not on landing.
Hope you got your winner between Traxxas bandit vs. rustler. Though it’s totally up to you. Now you know all about these two. Hope it’s easier for you now.
One last tip, use an RC hauler bag to carry your car. It’ll keep your car safe. Let me know which one you bought in the comments below.
Till then, keep winning races.