Rustler or Sledge for 13YO?

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J00hn

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Hi everyone!

My sons 13th Bday is coming up and he's been talking about wanting a Traxxas RC car as some of his mates have them (as well as other brands) and he really wants to drive with them in the skateparks. We have a few Tamiyas that we've build together, but they are just too slow and fragile for skatepark driving and jumps.

I've been looking into various options for him, but need a few recommendations as I only really know about Tamiya stuff. I'm looking at the Rustler 4x4 VXL for him, but the Sledge looks just looks incredible! Will the Sledge be too much for him to handle or is it okay for a 13 year old?

Also, do I need any additional equipment when getting a Traxxas or is everything included? As far as I can tell transmitter, etc are included in all kits, but i appears some have batteries and chargers as well, while others do not? Can you help me figure out the best way to go here?
 

WickedFog

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Welcome to RCT!

GO BIG! Get him the Sledge, or better yet, a 6S Kraton would be my choice. But either will be great.

The best thing I can suggest is cut the proprietary Traxxas battery connectors off and solder some EC5's in their place. Then buy a Hota D6Pro charger and some Liperior Pro or CNHL batteries to fit it (standard size 3S I believe). Don't fall for the Traxxas batteries and chargers. They are way overpriced, and the chargers are crap.
 

Greywolf74

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I agree with the kraton 6S and steering clear of Traxxas LiPos and chargers. The Kraton seems cheaper than the Sledge on the surface but a lot of Kraton owners have issues with the chassis bending so buy the time you figure in a good aftermarket chassis you're probably looking at about the same price as the sledge. Kraton has a ton of after market hop ups available for it though. Not sure about the Sledge. Its fairly new.
 
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9x19

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For a steady diet of bashing, the Team Associated Rival MT-10 would be my first choice.

Between those two Traxxas trucks, I'd go for the Rustler.
 

J00hn

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The Arrma looks great as well, but as it's a gift we'd rather just get him the one he wants, rather than try and freestyle ;)

I just made a basket with both models, batteries and a charger and that Sledge will be an expensive gift! Yikes.
I think we'll go for the Rustler 4x4 VXL for him, and then perhaps get a Sledge for me (that he can use as well) in some months.
The VXL is without batteries and charger right? It's his first time venturing into LiPos so I think we'll get the Traxxas original gear so we're sure he won't end up burning down the house.
 

DavidB1126

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Ehh. Traxxas lipos are actually worse than any other lipo. Traxxas gear is ok for starting out but it's not good. For the both of you I suggest getting a 6s capable charger because you are getting the sledge (6s) and cheaper and good batteries. Traxxas batteries are not that good and way too expensive. Traxxas chargers are ok but don't show alot of settings and only charges as 4amps (with my old ezpeak plus) If you charge lipos at the right setting and take care of them you won't burn down the house. I'm 14 and switched over to lipo from nimh last year. Been taking care of my batteries and when I charge them I sit by the charger and keep and eye on them.

Chargers I recommend
SkyRC t200 (my personal charger)
Hitec x2
Hota D6 Pro
And there is a lot of other chargers that are good but that's the main chargers that we all like

Batteries (for 2s and 3s, not sure about 6s for the sledge)
CHNL
SMC
Lipherior

@Greywolf74 is our battery guy.
Trust me on Traxxas lipos. Buying lipos for 60 70 dollars each or 30ish dollars each? Also I heard that Traxxas lipos puff and swell. Make sure you get a battery with a TRX or TRX ID connectors so you can use it in the Traxxas cars. Or you can solder on a new connector or buy an adapter.
Screenshot_20230117-074049.png
Screenshot_20230117-074203.png

Also about burning up the house. Get lipo fireproof storage bags and charging bags. That will help. Or an ammo can will do the same.
 
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WickedFog

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Chargers I recommend
SkyRC t200 (my personal charger)
Hitec x2
Hota D6 Pro
And there is a lot of other chargers that are good but that's the main chargers that we all like
For what it's worth, the SkyRC T200 and Hitec X2 are not the best chargers for that price range. With only 300mAh balance current, and only 18v capability on the DC input, they are a huge step down from the Hota's 1600mAh balance current and 30v input. While both the Hitec and SkyRC are 100w x 2, the Hota is 325w x 2. And with the Hota's support for power distribution (using both channels as a single channel), you have 200w x 1 on AC. The max on the Hitec and SkyRC is only 100w per channel, with no power distribution capability. The Hitec has a 10A charge current, the SkyRC has a 12A, and the Hota has a 15A. And what is pretty amazing is the Hota is the smallest of all 3, taking up very little real estate on your bench. Both the Hitec and SkyRC cost about $10 more than the Hota, and both have less features than the Hota to boot. Unless SkyRC and Hitec dropped their price about $50, I wouldn't recommend either of them.
 

Greywolf74

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The Arrma looks great as well, but as it's a gift we'd rather just get him the one he wants, rather than try and freestyle ;)

I just made a basket with both models, batteries and a charger and that Sledge will be an expensive gift! Yikes.
I think we'll go for the Rustler 4x4 VXL for him, and then perhaps get a Sledge for me (that he can use as well) in some months.
The VXL is without batteries and charger right? It's his first time venturing into LiPos so I think we'll get the Traxxas original gear so we're sure he won't end up burning down the house.
Traxxas LiPos and their charger arent any safer than any other LiPos or chargers but they are vastly inferior in terms of performance and features. I mean I guess you can say theyre safer because you only have to plug in one cable instead of two and you dont have to set a charge rate of between 5-10A before you hit start but honestly its not rocket science to learn how to do those couple of extra 30 second steps and the pay off is worth it in the end. Save yourself the cost of having to upgrade in the future and invest in a HOTA D6Pro and Liperior/Liperior Pro (not Liperior endurance packs) or CNHL G+ series packs (not the racing series packs). Those are some of the better bang for your buck options that are out there. We see a lot of people start out with Traxxas's proprietary chargers and batteries only to end up having to switch over at some point in the future. Just my :2cents:


For what it's worth, the SkyRC T200 and Hitec X2 are not the best chargers for that price range. With only 300mAh balance current, and only 18v capability on the DC input, they are a huge step down from the Hota's 1600mAh balance current and 30v input. While both the Hitec and SkyRC are 100w x 2, the Hota is 325w x 2. And with the Hota's support for power distribution (using both channels as a single channel), you have 200w x 1 on AC. The max on the Hitec and SkyRC is only 100w per channel, with no power distribution capability. The Hitec has a 10A charge current, the SkyRC has a 12A, and the Hota has a 15A. And what is pretty amazing is the Hota is the smallest of all 3, taking up very little real estate on your bench. Both the Hitec and SkyRC cost about $10 more than the Hota, and both have less features than the Hota to boot. Unless SkyRC and Hitec dropped their price about $50, I wouldn't recommend either of them.
I used to be a big proponent of the Hitec X2. (I'm assuming you're referring to the AC Plus but there have been two or three other Hitec X2's made. For example the Hitec X2-700 that I currently use.) I was a big fan of that charger because it has a stand alone IR reading function but WickedFog eventually convinced me that the HOTA D6Pro is a much better charger and slightly cheaper to boot. It still reads IRs it just does it while charging and in every other way is better than the Hitec.
 
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J00hn

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Okay, I think we're ready to order. I'll go against the advise and go with the Traxxas batteries and charger as I like the ID feature for him, and don't want to risk any issues with warranty if we solder new connectors on the car.
I'm thinking of getting him the items below. Have I missed anything? Car comes with ESC, transmitter and everything right? I'm used to Tamiya so just wan't to be sure I get him everything he needs.
Car: https://www.speedhobby.dk/products/traxxas-rustler-4x4-vxl-1-10-elektrisk-fjernstyret-bil
Charger: https://www.speedhobby.dk/products/traxxas-ez-peak-dual-26a-nimh-lipo-lader
Battery: https://www.speedhobby.dk/products/traxxas-power-cell-5000mah-11-1v-3s-lipo-batteri-kort

Sorry for the rookie questions!
 

DavidB1126

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3S lipo might be a little too much power for him. But the vxl esc can be but in training mode which limits throttle to 50 percent. The charger is the traxxas dual which is good. You also got the live so you can connect the charger to your phone. Yes the car is a full RTR minus the batt and charger which you have linked.
 

Greywolf74

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Okay, I think we're ready to order. I'll go against the advise and go with the Traxxas batteries and charger as I like the ID feature for him, and don't want to risk any issues with warranty if we solder new connectors on the car.
I'm thinking of getting him the items below. Have I missed anything? Car comes with ESC, transmitter and everything right? I'm used to Tamiya so just wan't to be sure I get him everything he needs.
Car: https://www.speedhobby.dk/products/traxxas-rustler-4x4-vxl-1-10-elektrisk-fjernstyret-bil
Charger: https://www.speedhobby.dk/products/traxxas-ez-peak-dual-26a-nimh-lipo-lader
Battery: https://www.speedhobby.dk/products/traxxas-power-cell-5000mah-11-1v-3s-lipo-batteri-kort

Sorry for the rookie questions!
The only other consideration would be tools like some basic 1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, and 3mm hex wrenches. A lot of the other tools you probably have laying around the house or can order as you go.
 

WickedFog

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I'll go against the advise and go with the Traxxas batteries and charger as I like the ID feature for him
Does that charger read battery cell internal resistance? It's useful to be able to read that to know when your battery needs to be replaced. Without that feature, if you try charging a battery where the internal resistance has gone out of whack you are at a much higher risk of a LiPo fire, which turns a LiPo battery into a 3600°F flame thrower.

Smart chargers are NO SAFER than regular LiPo chargers. They just make it easier for the end user to be complacent and not learn about LiPo safety, which is the single most important thing anyone charging LiPo's needs to learn, regardless of what charger they use.

In my opinion, buying a smart charger is a big, big mistake, and one we have seen people here regret more than once.
 

DavidB1126

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Yea. Thats why I listed some good chargers. The best is the Hota. Didn't know that the hota had more input power than the others. The battery he is getting is a traxxas 3s, i don't see a balance port so thats why i think he went with the smart charger? looks like that traxxas lipo has a balance cord in the ID connector. Traxxas goes with traxxas i guess. I recommend getting the hota or one of the chargers I listed and a CHNL or Liperior lipos. I check my IRs after every charge and all looks good.
 

Panther6834

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If it's his first RC, honestly, the Rustler is the SMARTER choice. Of course, then you have to decide whether to get the 2WD version, or the 4x4...and, again, basing this on this vehicle being his first RC, the 2WD is, again, the SMARTER choice. The Sledge is a great vehicle (although it does need certain upgrades, it needs fewer than the Arrma vehicles...especially the Kraton)...but, it's also WAY too much power for a first RC, ESPECIALLY for a 13yo. Quick side-note: When I returned to surface RCs 5-6 years ago, after a 35+ year absence, the Rustler was my first (albeit, the 4x4, but I also had previous RC experience).

The 2WD Rustler is a perfect "getting into RC" vehicle, as is the Bandit (buggy), and 2WD Slash (short course truck). Also, while both companies (referring to Traxxas, and Horizon Hobby (which owns Arrma)) have excellent customer service, Traxxas parts tend t be easier to find, as well as being more affordable. As for the battery "problem", here's my suggestion/recommendation -start with the Traxxas iD batteries, as the iD feature is great. I know Traxxas batteries aren't even close to the greatest...but, again, they're a great way for someone new to RC to get into the hobby. Once you and your son have truly "caught the bug" (which you WILL do...trust me), and purchased your second (or third) RC, then you can have the battery connectors on all RCs switched to a connector of your choosing (I'm sure most of us would recommend XT60 connectors, as anything larger is "overkill" for vehicles this size...and, between the XT60 & EC3/IC3, the XT60 is a more 'universal' connector), purchase a more traditional LiPo charger, and start acquiring better batteries made by other companies.
 

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Smaller and lighter is better for a skate park. The heavier and more complex vehicles tend to break when crashing into concrete. My son loves the Losi mini B for the skate park. Super light and plenty quick at 25 MPH ( its brushless). Its also cheap to buy and repair.
 

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Arrma Kraton 6s all the way, I have Notorious and man, that thing just won't break. I've had too many bad experiences with Traxxas with both their electric and nitro cars.
 

6spdls1z28

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You will spend more time fixing the traxxas than driving it if it’s going to be used in a skate park. It will be ok in the dirt or grass. But like someone mentioned a mini b or mini t would probably be better. The Hpi jump shot is pretty tough but you always have to order parts since they’re not as common. all the shops around me don’t have Hpi stuff. Anything Hpi I’ve ever had has been tough as nails.
 

Panther6834

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You will spend more time fixing the traxxas than driving it if it’s going to be used in a skate park.
NOT necessarily true...and, spoken like someone who is (or, at least, appears to be) anti-Traxxas. I've taken my Rustler 4x4 to a skate park, as well as a BMX park, and didn't break ANYTHING. I've also taken my Mini-B to the skate park, and DID break something (one the front A-arms, to be specific). Breaking something is always possible...but, that can be said of ANY vehicle, from ANY brand. It depends on what one is doing with it. Just because a vehicle is smaller/lighter (such as the Mini-T/B), that does not mean it's 'guaranteed' to be unbreakable. Heck, my most 'bulletproof' vehicle (which has also experienced a few breaks...albeit, very minor ones...is also my largest/heaviest (X-MAXX).
 
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