Traxxas TRX6 Ultimate RC Hauler

Traxxas TRX6 Ultimate RC Hauler

Traxxas TRX-6 Flatbed Hauler (#88086-4)

The Traxxas TRX6 Ultimate RC Hauler is nearly here! But this isn’t the start of the story. About two years ago, Traxxas released a limited run of the TRX6 called the ‘Snap-On Hauler’. It was only available through a special Snap-On promotion. The big red rig was covered online and saw a few YouTube videos, but it never had a retail release.

It seems Traxxas was sitting on their designs and molds from that Snap-On run. For whatever reason, they’ve waited until now to release it to retail. And so, finally, this 6×6 hauler has been announced and we’ll see it on shelves within the month. Woohoo!

How Big Is the TRX6 Ultimate RC Hauler?

The TRX6 Ultimate RC Hauler is a truck cab with a flatbed for hauling. To give you an idea of size, the front-to-rear axle on the TRX6 6×6 G63 Benz is 454mm/17.87”. The new model is based on the TRX-6 platform, but its front-to-middle axle is 471mm/18.6”! That is to say, the gap between front and rear axles on the older Benz is smaller than the gap between the front and middle axles on the TRX6 Ultimate RC Hauler! Blimey!

The tray, or flat bed, is rather long. 584mm/23” long, in fact! Between the low-set side rails is a gap of 222mm/8.75”. The total width of the bed is 246mm/9.7”.

The entire rig is 953mm/37.5” from nose to tail – that’s just about a meter! The track and total vehicle width is the same as the TRX6 G-Wagon, at 249mm/9.8” front and rear. We have yet to get firm details on the approach, break-over and departure angles, as Traxxas’ site for this monster still list the TRX6 G-Wagon angles – clearly that can’t be the same, with such a long bed and gap between front and middle axle. We’ll update this when the numbers are available. The whole thing weighs 4.83kg/10.7lb, as opposed to the TRX6 Benz’s weight of 4kg/8.8lb.

TRX6 Hauler Specs Front
TRX6 G63 Specs Front
TRX6 Hauler Specs Side
TRX6 G63 Specs Side

Just What Is This Thing?!

This new release is all about the truck cab and flatbed, complete with running lights and shiny, black-chrome trim. Truck style wheels, fuel tanks, toolboxes and bumpers, the TRX6 Ultimate RC Hauler is very attractive, even if this style of RC vehicle is not your usual thing.

The new, big rig has a few key differences underneath, if you’re wondering: the total wheelbase is considerably longer at 603mm/23.7” than the regular TRX6 wheelbase of 454mm/17.9”. There’s a ball-bearing carrier between rear transmission out-drive and middle axle. That extra drive shaft helps the TRX6 Ultimate RC Hauler achieve its longer wheelbase without needing other changes to the TRX6 configuration.

Also different are the tires, though they’re still on 2.2” wheels, same as on the TRX6 Benz. All else is body and trim related, which we’ll cover below.

What’s New?

Aside from the lengthened driveline, there are truck-style wheels and bumpers. A full light system, including running lights on the tray. The bold new truck cab body and flatbed towing tray.

There are small details, too, such as the front portal hubs having extended axles to fit the chromed hub caps. The tires are the same size, tread and compound as on the TRX6 Mercedes, but the side-walls are distinctly truck-like in their lack of detail, aside from the Traxxas logo.

The cab itself is a little taller than the G-Wagon variant. The side mirrors are hinged, but their faces are covered with a non-reflective sticker. Minor detail, but worth noting if you care about that stuff (and you can buy reflective sticker sheets cheaply online). Speaking of decals and disappointment, the front and side grille detail on the cab body are all stickers/decals rather than moulded plastics – a small thing, but a shame, nonetheless. The windows also are blacked-out stickers and the body has been painted over those windows on the inside, so even removing the stickers won’t grant you a view to any interior you might install later.


What’s the Same?

Both the original TRX6 and the new Ultimate RC Hauler share much of the same running gear. This is still very much a ‘full-fat’ TRX vehicle. The same two-speed transmission is present, as are the lockable/unlockable diffs on all three axles. The front axle can be locked separately to the rears. The same Titan 21T reverse-rotation 550 brushed motor is present, running from the same Traxxas XL-5 HV ESC (Electronic Speed Control). Even the same light control hub, Traxxas 8028, is present, piping 3V 0.5A power to the LEDs on and around the body.

The tires look a little different on the sidewalls, but they’re still the same 2.2” CANYON RT rubber as found on the regular TRX6. The steering servo is unchanged also, being the Traxxas 2075X 125oz unit. All electronics run at 6V, supported by the built-in BEC (Battery Elimination Circuit) in the XL-5 HV ESC.

Underneath, the links, shafts and axles are the same high-durability units as found under the TRX6, that extra shaft and carrier bearing aside. There’s still a full-size battery tray with battery latch and the same plush 90mm GTS aluminum shocks are present on all axles.

It’s Bed Time!

The bed is moulded ABS plastic. It’s attached at 8 locations along the 30” chassis rails and has a tidy sidewall underneath that sits on top of the rails. It looks solid and has a pleasing texture on the bed itself, with the Traxxas logo inlaid. The bed doesn’t roll or tip, unfortunately – but the space is definitely there for enterprising hobbyists to either implement a tip or roll system, or even simply to add ramps that could hook into the end for drive-on/drive-off. The bed also features hard plastic side rails and utility loops.

There are a few locations to fit included wheel chocks, which are supplied with stretchy O-rings to fit over tires of whatever vehicle you may choose to carry. This will ensure a secure load even when the going gets bumpy. It’s a small but thoughtful inclusion and a rather elegant way to accommodate a variety of possible vehicle types.

Lastly, there’s an included winch plate that will allow you to fit any regular style RC winch to the front of the bed. As it doesn’t tilt, it’s purpose is somewhat diminished, but the inclusion is still thoughtful for the scale addition and will also be appreciated by the aspiring hobbyist with plans to incorporate a tilt mechanism or ramps (hello!).

TRX6 Hauler Underneath

Black Chrome is Cool

All the shiny bits on this new rig are finished in what Traxxas calls “black chrome”. It’s like regular chrome, but tinted. The plastic pieces have the finish, as do the bumpers (which look metal but are going to be plastic as well). There are diamond-plated, chromed steps on both sides of the cab, set into faux fuel tanks. Even the storage boxes get the treatment – they don’t open, but they look good.

The wheels even have this finish. It’s very smart and very ‘truck’. Looks great, doesn’t it! One thing that would be nice to consider adding could be dual wheels on the rear two axles. Traxxas already makes that extended outdrive for the front axles to reach that screw-on hub cap, so we’ve got to wonder whether we might be able to grab one of the dually-ready 1.9” wheel types (AsiaTees has a few to choose from, including the Pro-Line Carbine plastic set) and get even more scale with this thing. We’ll investigate that and get back to you.

Light Me Up

The new Traxxas TRX6 Ultimate RC Hauler sports a total of 25 LEDs! They’re located:

  • In the headlights, with one bright, cold-white LED in each headlamp bucket.
  • In the front light cluster, with one orange parker on each side.
  • On the cab roof, with 5x orange running LEDs in chrome-lined light moulds.
  • On the tray side, with 2x orange and 1x red LED along each side of the bed.
  • On the rear of the headache rack, behind the cab, with 5x rear-facing red LEDs.
  • On the rear bumper, with 5x rear-facing red LEDs.

That’s a lot of lights! They all run from the Traxxas 8028 light control module which comes with the model. The 8028 unit outputs 3v 0.5A to power all the lights without flicker or fade, even when the other electronics are working hard. (Some models run their LEDs from the BEC, which leads to the lights flickering with voltage droop when the servo is working hard, for example. No such problem with the Traxxas setup. Awesome!).

Wiring under the tray and under the cab is super tidy. Cable ties are used and there are guide pieces to ensure the wiring is routed tidily throughout.

TRX6 Hauler Crawling

Do We Like?

We do like. Very much!

We’ll grab a unit and check it out as soon as its broadly available. We already have plans for a tilting tray and even exploring adding an extra axle to the rear. There’s an overflowing parts bin here that we’ll take a dive through – the TRX6 Ultimate RC Hauler is surely worthy of some time on the work bench, we think!

The USA-market asking price is only $20 over the older TRX6 model. For all its shortcomings – stickers, static bed, opaque windows – the truck is greater than the sum of its parts. This is a compelling vehicle and we are genuinely excited to get this one onto the bench and then out into the world. Nice one, Traxxas!


Find Traxxas’ page for this new rig here:

The TRX6 G63 page is here, for comparison:

Keep an eye on our YT channel ( for when our TRX6 video drops. We’ll add it to our TRX6 playlist when it is ready. Can’t wait!

Craig Veness

Craig Veness


Craig has been into radio control since the 90s and into RC crawling since about 2010, when a Losi MRC started the obsession! Now it's all rocks this and crawl that and upgrade all the things! ...You know how it is, right? Welcome home 🙂

Traxxas Bandit XL-5 Buggy

Traxxas Bandit XL-5 Buggy

We take a close look at the Traxxas Bandit XL-5 1/10 Scale, 2WD, Ready-To-Race RC Buggy (Traxxas models 24054-4 & 24054-1).

Where It All Began

The Traxxas Bandit has been a household name for RC bashers and entry level racers for decades. Punting an RC car off the curve and up the street is almost a rite of passage for the RC enthusiast of the Western world. For years, RC drivers have been enjoying their short course trucks, stadium trucks, monster trucks, road cars and of course, buggies! On the street is where it often starts, and on the track is where things get interesting.

In 1995, Traxxas released a model that would be on store shelves for decades under the same name and with a similar overall build. That model was the Traxxas Bandit 2WD Buggy.

Changing With the Times

The original Traxxas Bandit had a Stinger 540 motor with 26mph (or 42km/h) top speed on a 7-cell battery. It used the same Magnum 272 transmission found in other Traxxas machines, such as the Slash and the Rustler. There were common parts over these models too, though the Bandit was always the narrow option and very light in the nose.

Over the years, the Magnum 272 planetary transmission has remained. The transmission has been updated to a tougher variant that uses real ball bearings and stronger gears. The Titan 12-turn motor is now a bigger 550 unit than the 540 Stinger – and there’s even a brushless Bandit variant. Plastics and links have changed over the years as well, and there are still shared components across the Slash, Rustler and Stampede 2WD platforms. Even with the updates, the Traxxas Bandit is still a solid and reliable buggy that’s at home bashing in the backyard and still a cheap starter platform for grassroots dirt track racing.

Blue Bandit

The Modern Traxxas Bandit

Traxxas claims a top speed of 35mph (or 56km/h) for the current brushed model. This is with an optional 31-tooth pinion and 8.4v NiMH battery. You can mod nearly any rig to be a straight-line champ, but the Bandit is not a speed-running beast. Its big suspension hints at its dirt track roots,

With the included 21-tooth pinion, you can expect a maximum speed of 23mph (or 38km/h). This may sound slow, but in the context of a RWD buggy to be used on gravel and dirt short courses with many turns and a few jumps, acceleration may actually be the greater concern. Again, this is not a racing buggy so much as a fun machine, so the maximum speed feels about right. Courses with long straights will certainly make the Bandit seem slow, but on tighter courses it may actually be rare to have the throttle completely open.

Jumping Red Bandit

Bandit XL-5 Variants

Firstly, there are two variants available of the Traxxas Bandit XL-5:

  1. Model 24054-4: Fully assembled, waterproof, Ready-To-Race®, with TQ™ 2.4GHz radio system, XL-5 Electronic Speed Control, and ProGraphix® painted body; and,
  2. MODEL 24054-1: Fully assembled, waterproof, Ready-To-Race®, with TQ™ 2.4GHz radio system, XL-5® Electronic Speed Control, 4V NiMH 3000 mAh Power Cell™ battery, 4-amp DC Peak Detecting Fast Charger, and ProGraphix® painted body.

Our unit was the 24054-1, which includes the 4-amp DC charger and a 7-cell 8.4v 3000mAh NiMH battery. For both models, you need to supply your own AA batteries for the transmitter (x4), but everything else needed to run is included on the -1 variant.

Bandit 3-4 Chassis

Vehicle Specs

The Traxxas Bandit XL-5 is 16.25” (or 413mm) long and 9.84” (or 250mm) wide. The vehicle chassis itself is quite narrow, so the width here is also its track width, front and rear. It’s a low vehicle, at 7” (or 178mm) tall, excluding antenna pole. Vehicle wheelbase is 11.25” (or 286mm) and it weighs 48oz (or 1.36kg), excluding battery. Find the full Bandit specs page here.

Bandit Specs

Traxxas XL-5 ESC

The Traxxas XL-5 Electronic Speed Control (ESC) powers the motor and the electronics. It handles 4-7 cell NiMH and 2-cell LiPO batteries. It has a built-in Battery Eliminator Circuit (BEC) that outputs 6v 1A. Read more about the ESC here.

The ESC features Low Voltage Cutoff (LVC) for LiPO batteries. It is easily toggled between NiMH and LiPO profiles with a 3-second hold of the button after turning it on. Red is NiMH, green for LiPO. Simple! The ESC also features a 50% power limiter for young and new drivers who need a lower top-speed whilst learning to drive smoothly.

XL-5 & Titan 12T 550

Traxxas Titan 12T 550 Motor

A 550 motor has greater torque than an equivalent 540 unit, though it has marginally lower acceleration. It can handle greater current without the heat of a 540 of same spec and its well-suited to the Bandit. Full throttle with a full battery gives plenty of speed.

Both the motor and the ESC become hot with hard use, but not so much that they are damaged. The electronics should stand up to extended use in all conditions – though mud in the motor will lead to premature failure. A garden hose to wash out the motor after especially muddy runs is usually a good idea!

Red Bandit Dust

Traxxas TQ Radio System

The radio is the Traxxas TQ 2.4GHz 2-channel transmitter. The receiver is the Traxxas TQ 3-channel micro unit (#6519). Traxxas #2056 High Torque Waterproof servo handles the steering and the Traxxas Titan 12T 550 motor drives the buggy.

The radio receiver is safely enclosed within a waterproof receiver box and the entire model can be driven in the wet. The only thing to worry about is the radio transmitter getting wet if you’re in the rain. A plastic bag over the transmitter and wrapped around your hand is a quick and easy way to protect it. You can steer through the bag with your other hand and everything stays dry.

TQ 24GHz 2ch

Traxxas #2056 Servo

Rounding out the electronics is the Traxxas #2056 High-Torque Waterproof steering servo. We’ve had probably a dozen of these servos in various models here over the last decade. They’re plastic geared but quite tough and reliably waterproof. The #2056 servo runs at 6v.

Though not hugely fast nor strong compared to the nicer options after-market, for a stock servo it’s a fine choice for the Bandit. It doesn’t have to be as strong as it is, with 80-oz of torque, but it could use a little more speed. The #2056 is a good choice for the Bandit and the servo is easily upgraded if you so desire.

Traxxas 2056 Servo


The Traxxas #2056 servo manipulates a bell-crank system for steering. Bump steer is minimised and angles are optimised for accurate control on both wheels. The steering parts are a mix of stainless-steel links and nylon arms – the bell-crank itself is nylon, with two bearings within the central shaft. The whole system is protected with an integrated shield in the chassis on the top side, and the tub chassis’ base and sides keeping stones and debris out underneath.

It works well enough and there’s room to fit upgraded servos if greater speed is needed. The torque at least is sufficient with the stock unit, particularly given the small size of the undriven front wheels on the Bandit. The system works well and there’s a good amount of flex to handle those nasty, heavy landings. Our unit took several wheel-first hits and seems none the worse for it, so it’s a Pass from us!

Bandit Bell-crank

Bandit Wheels & Tires

The Bandit rides on mirror-chromed 2.2″ Tracer™ five-spoke wheels with pre-glued tires and foam inserts. The rear tires have step-pin tread and the fronts are ribbed. The wheels accept a wide array of accessory tires including the Traxxas Anaconda® 2.2″ street tires for Bandit and other buggies.

We found the rears hooked up nicely on gravel and dirt. The fronts provided ample steering as long as the buggy wasn’t under acceleration. Buggies tend to lift the nose, being so light up-front, so you need to come off the throttle to steer. The wheels’ chrome finish chipped quickly and looked ratty after just a few runs. The front tires came unglued from the wheels in an equally short time – were they glued in the first place? Maybe not – it isn’t hard to rectify this, in any case. A quick clean and then a few drops of super glue on the rim and the tires will stay put.

Bandit Wheels Tires

Body and Wing

Polycarbonate plastic comprises the Bandit body. The rear wing is also made of this light and flexible material. It looks great, but we’ve gotta wonder whether that wing will be destroyed prematurely with a few bad landings. Many other makes of vehicle use an ABS plastic or flexible Delrin for exposed pieces like a rear wing. The Bandit’s polycarbonate wing seems positively flimsy in comparison.

That said, over three batteries we landed on the wing maybe 7 or 8 times (I know, I know – practice needed!!). The wing has some dents and marks on it and the paint is chipping. However, it’s still largely intact. The wing is tougher than it looks and though it won’t last forever, it’s not the terrible design decision it may first seem to be!

Blue Bandit 3Qtr

Diff and Transmission

The transmission goes by the same name of the original: Magnum 272. It employs 48-pitch gears and is ready for brushless without needing further upgrades. This is a nice touch! The spur gear is nylon, quite normal for this type of implementation. If you ever have to move the motor to clean or service things, or replace the pinion, be sure to set your gear mesh as finely as possible. 48-pitch gears have less tolerance for excess gaps, so stripping the spur gear is a likely outcome if not done correctly!

That said, as long as things are done right, the gears will serve you well for a long time. The gears other than the spur are of hardened steel and the transmission uses sealed ball bearings throughout. The transmission also features a slipper clutch that is adjustable in the usual way, with a locknut over a spring to set pad tension.

The diff is a planetary unit comprising multiple parts. There is a set of 4 hardened steel gears internally, plus a hardened steel outdrive on both sides from the centre. The diff casing is nylon and then the ring gear is also hardened steel. The diff is tough and though the steel gears will mean more noise than plastic gears would ever come close to making, the trade-off with longevity should be easily worth it. We’d expect this diff to outlast most motor configurations, brushless included. It’s a properly solid unit.

Motor Mount

The motor mount completes the transmission seal, keeping out dirt and debris whilst also keeping the motor cool. The cooling channels work in conjunction with the internal fan in the Titan 550 motor to help keep the temps down.

Bandit Motor Mount

Drive Shafts

The Bandit employs plastic, telescoping driveshafts. They are the same type that are used on both the XL-5 (brushed) and VXL (brushless) vehicles across the Bandit, Rustler, Slash and Stampede range. Under bigger power systems, these tend to break after fatiguing from torque. However, with the lower power from the brushed systems, they should last the life of the vehicle in many cases.

You should be aware that if a rock gets caught between the arms and the shafts, the rock can grind away at the shaft plastic until it snaps clean through. Ours has already begun to do this after just three battery packs. There are metal shafts readily available from a variety of sources.

Bandit Driveshafts

Battery and Chassis Layout

The battery bay on this chassis can fit anything up to about 6500mAh 2S LiPO, or a 7-cell NiMH pack – including most ‘hump’ packs. There’s plenty of vertical room for fatter, shorter packs as well. Battery retention relies on the battery being long enough to fit under the ESC at one end and under the battery clip at the other, so if you have a shorter pack you may need to get creative with securing it. In any case, the space is generous and the supplied battery with our unit was snug and secure.

The ESC is lightweight, so it isn’t a big deal for center of gravity to have it sitting above the battery. The motor sits low in the rear at just above axle height and the steering servo is low and forward near the front axle line. The underside of the chassis is mostly flat and the buggy is overall quite streamlined. It’s an attractive machine in either the red or blue finish.

Bandit Chassis


In stock form, the suspension seems best suited to very smooth dirt tracks with long sweeping jumps and turns rather than heavy landings and uneven terrain. Thankfully, it isn’t hard to adjust the setup to suit your driving and course conditions.

Traxxas supplies the Bandit with oil-filled Ultra Shocks. These use a dual x-ring design and are customizable with various springs and pistons available for purchase. The shocks can also accept spacers for the coil-over springs for spring pre-load tensioning and ride height adjustments. Rebuild kits are available from Traxxas.

The springs are the white, powder-coated race coils from Traxxas. They’re a single-stage unit and are balanced nicely for the weight and intended use of this vehicle. We found adding larger spacers in front really helped with big landings, whilst replacing the stock oil in the rear shocks with 50 wt. fluid helped slow the heavy end down a bit over bumpy terrain.

How’s It Drive?

Perhaps this is answered best on our review video, which focuses heavily on handling and durability. In a word, the Bandit is fun to drive. It jumps well and once you’ve mentally adjusted to a buggy driving style, it’s quite satisfying to work on smoothing out your inputs and enjoying the improvements in lap times. For general bashing duties, impacts could be a problem with those exposed front wheels, but a nice wide bumper from RPM would help protect the vehicle.

Blue Bandit Accelerating

Will It Last?

If you can accept some repairs and maintenance come with operating an RC car on rough terrain at speed, then yes, the Traxxas Bandit will last a good long time. Just be prepared to replace the rear wing and for the wheels to chip and look pretty bad pretty quickly. The rear tires will wear down but there are many options for buggy tires on all sorts of surfaces, so there’s no issue there. The motor will eventually burn out too, but this is cheaply replaced.

Our unit had a control arm failure on the rear left just two batteries in. The screw popped out and the plastic thread was ruined. We had to replace with a slightly larger screw to get the arm back on. Wasn’t a complex fix, but it was a breakage. We cover this in our video review below, too.

Is It Fun?

The current generation of Traxxas Bandit XL-5 is fun and handles well. It’s not a pure race machine, but for the price you can expect a solid starting point if you want to build a budget buggy for local comp meets. For a basher, it’s a light to moderate duty fun machine that will benefit from mechanical sympathy and regular maintenance. The Bandit is a stalwart of the RC off-road hobby and its value proposition for a fun and simple dirt blaster is hard to beat. We’re gonna enjoy running and upgrading ours over the coming summer! Recommended.

More Info

See the manufacturer’s page for the Bandit here.

Find parts and hop-ups here (affiliate link helps support us at no extra cost to you! Thank you for your support!).

If you’re interested in RC crawlers or construction equipment and vehicles, you might want to check out our Reviews section and our YouTube channel.


Red Bandit Profile
Craig Veness

Craig Veness


Craig has been into radio control since the 90s and into RC crawling since about 2010, when a Losi MRC started the obsession! Now it’s all rocks this and crawl that and upgrade all the things! …You know how it is, right? Welcome home 🙂

What Is The Best RC Rock Crawler?

What Is The Best RC Rock Crawler?

What is the Best RC Rock Crawler – Really?

(Updated: Aug 2023)

If you’re contemplating a purchase and want to make the best choice, you’ve come to the right place. Here we’re going to help you more clearly define what you’re after, and then to hopefully point you in the right direction. There’s a lot of choice in the RC rock crawler market, but with a little knowledge and exploration, you’ll be on track for the best off-road rig in no time!

(If you’re after something other than a rock crawler, or don’t know what you want, check out our Best RC Car guide instead!)

RC Rock Crawlers

Research Now Pays Off Long-Term

There are many blog sites out there purporting to be knowledgeable about this topic, giving ‘Editor’s Choice’ and ‘Author’s Recommendation’, but half the time it seems they’re recommending 2WD monster trucks or other similarly ridiculous vehicles. As a long-time hobbyist, this is a bit galling to know that so many people are being mislead on what constitutes a “best crawler”. They’ll buy the “#1 Recommended for 2021!” model, making the blog site some ad revenue in the process (which is fine – as long as the advice is good!) only to find it utterly disappointing and deciding crawling just isn’t for them.

Step 1: Get Good Advice!

RC-TNT is run by me, Craig, a hobbyist who also has participated in national and world level events and has run local competitions in/around Melbourne, Australia. You’ll find good advice on relevant vehicles on this site, rather than just blog-factory churned-out articles designed to get your clicks and not having more than 20 minutes of web searching to back their regularly silly, outdated or plain wrong claims! Repeat after me: a monster truck is not a rock crawler!

Step 2: Know What You Want

The hobby of RC rock crawling covers a few elements of RC driving. While there’s no ideal definition, maybe aside from ‘slow driving over rocks’, there are a few common driving scenarios you might be expecting if considering rock crawling. If you’re not sure yet whether crawling is for you at all, take a look at this article and especially at the video within: Is RC Rock Crawling Fun? (Then come back and take a look through the options below, there are some great choices here!)

Trail Driving

The best RC rock crawler for trail obstacles may be a different beast entirely from a rock-focussed truck. Trail obstacles often include dirt, dust, mud, possibly water and possibly sand. Essentially, you’re taking a drive ‘off-road’ with your crawler. Top speed isn’t relevant beyond an average of walking pace, because you’re going to work the vehicle through and over various obstacles on a trail through a park, forest (or bushland in Australia), or other outdoorsy settings.

The best RC crawler for this terrain will ideally a 1:10 scale vehicle, or 1:18 at the smallest. Smaller than that and your average walking trail will just be too much for it. Bigger than that (like 1:8 or larger) and you’re unlikely to be crawling – it’ll just be too big and/or too fast for a satisfying drive.

The ideal vehicle will be electric, will typically have a battery life of a couple of hours, and will be a reasonably accurate scale model of a real-life 4WD vehicle. This is known as ‘trailing’, ‘scaling’ or ‘trail driving’ and it’s a commonly enjoyed niche of RC rock crawling.

RC Crawlers on the Trail

Rock Crawling

The best RC rock crawler is, in this case, literally designed to drive on and around rocks. Often, this is done on a course, with ‘gates’ marked by chalk, half tennis balls, or some other marker through which your vehicle will be driven. The challenge of such a course adds to enjoyment for many people. For the author, a home course is useful for tuning and testing vehicles as well as making a compelling setting for rock crawling videos, of course!

With the typical RTR (‘Ready To Run’) 1:10 crawler one might buy from a local hobby store, you’d be ready to face both trail driving and rock crawling, often merging them on a nice walk through the trees and coming across rocks and creeks on the way. Many pleasurable hours have been spent by countless thousands of us enjoying the hobby in this way.

I’ve said it before, the best RC rock crawler is the one you have – just getting out there is the biggest step! But if you’re looking to buy, read on, there are some gems to be unearthed here!


RC Rock Crawler

How This Influences Your Purchase

Where this leaves you is knowing you want a low-speed, scale model of a full sized 4WD vehicle that can tackle the natural elements with a degree of competency and of durability. If neither of the above scenarios sound appealing, it may be that RC rock crawling just isn’t for you. Though, actually trying someone else’s vehicle (or running a demo truck at a hobby store car park or rock course) may help you decide on this versus a faster RC option. This is where your monster trucks, short course truck (SCT), truggies, buggies and other racing off-road models may be worth a look!

At this point, you may have an idea of what you want. I’d encourage you to now check out some trail driving and rock crawling videos (RC-TNT has a bunch: as this may help solidify what you’re after. Next, we get into the pros and cons of what’s available to buy!

Step 3: RC Rock Crawler Options

At time of writing (late 2021), there are a few brand names that are commonly recommended as best 1:10 RC rock crawler for the prospective buyer: Traxxas with their TRX-4 and TRX-6 platforms, Axial’s SCX10 II and SCX10 III variants, Redcat Racing with the Gen 7 and Gen 8 models, Element RC’s Enduro range, GMade’s GS02 range, some hard-body scale options from RC4WD and Cross RC and then a few lesser-known options with more niche followings (HPI, RGT, RCRun and HG to name a few).

So where do you even start?

RC Crawler Budget

My first suggestion would be to look at your budget. How much do you want to spend on a model, and are you prepared to consider modifications, upgrades and repairs or do you want a buy-once-and-drive experience?

The adage, ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ applies to most things and while there are some cracking deals on crawlers from time to time, generally you will get what you pay for. However, there are some models that are commonly agreed on as being overpriced for what you get – the SCX10 III Gladiator being one example (opinion, not fact – you’ll make your own opinion on this once you’re more familiar with the RC crawler landscape, of course). At the other end of that, there are some cheap models that deliver amazing value, but beware of other cheapies that just are not worth it. For example, the more expensive (but still ‘cheap’) RGT models are very good, while the HG P401 Bruiser clone is cheap and fun, but is a lousy rock crawler, owing to its aged design and limited durability.


Also, don’t forget about batteries. Some models do come with one, but it’s usually a NiMH pack (that’s Nickel Metal Hydride). Mediocre performance but eminently safe to include with models as they’re a very stable battery type. Lithium Polymer (or LiPO) batteries take a little more care to handle safely, but their power density is very high and they’ll rock your RC world. We review a brilliant all-rounder here (which you can buy here). Just keep batteries in mind when budgeting for your new beastie!

SCX10 III Rock Crawler

Hobby Ability

As well as budget, you’ll know how handy you are with hex drivers, cutters, paint and a soldering iron. If you have some hands-on experience or the willingness or desire to learn, many of the big-brand RC crawler kit builds are a great introduction to the hobby. The learning curve is still going to be steeper than if you buy a RTR (“Ready To Run”) model, that just needs batteries out of the box and you’re driving.

Personally, I buy both RTR and kit builds regularly. Some builds are difficult and drawn-out affairs (some of the Cross RC and RC4WD models), whilst others are fast and fun (the TRX4 Sport and Gmade GS02F both fit the latter case). Both kinds of builds can be very satisfying and though challenging, can leave you with a sense of accomplishment as well as enhanced enjoyment when you’re running the model over your chosen terrain. You can think, “I built that! Look at it go!” – there’s some real value there for people.

RC Crawler Kit Build

Willingness to Learn

For the time-poor, or those without tools and/or the ability or willingness to use them (and I’m not judging, there’s nothing wrong with this, truly), a ready-to-run vehicle may be just the ticket. There is a vast amount of choice here and many solid videos online to help you make up your mind.

RC-TNT has a range of reviews of both kit builds and RTR models. Check out our playlist, ‘Rig Reviews’ for a detailed look at all the big names and some of the rare gems you may find out there as well!

TRX4 Sport Kit Build
Building an RC Crawler

Step 4: Intersect Your Intentions with Your Options!

Now we get to the fun part. You know what kind of driving you want to do (from Step 2) and you know your options (from Step 3), so now the question is: which is the best RC rock crawler?

So glad you asked! Hopefully some of the following will be helpful! We’ll organise the next section into kit builds and ready-to-run (RTR) models.


The Best RC Rock Crawler Kits

To buy a kit means you’re buying a box of pieces that need to be assembled into a model. You’ll typically need to have the required tools (usually a 2mm, 2.5mm and 3mm hex driver, ABS model glue (for styrene/hard body models only), Lexan/polycarbonate paint (for Lexan bodied models, which is what most on this page are), wire snips, scissors, possibly a small philips head screw driver, thread lock (blue Loc-tite or similar), some small cable ties and possibly some super glue. That about covers it – plus you’ll need to buy the electrics separately, typically a motor, ESC, servo and radio system at minimum. We’ll cover this more in other videos and articles soon.

Best Rock Performance

For overall rock crawling performance and ability out of the box, the Gmade GS02F BOM TC has taken the performance crown in our testing. However, it has a bit of a reliability issue with the front diff, though I’m working on finding the ideal setup for durability and performance. There’s an ultimate tuning video coming soon for this rig and honestly, out of the box it may be the best performing rock crawler I’ve yet encountered – and that’s saying something!

See the full review here.

Best Build Experience

This is a subjective one, but having built 20+ models in the last decade and having built RC models for nearly 30 years, the author is in a reasonable position to offer an informed opinion! For me, it’s the most enjoyable build experience is a tie between, in no particular order, the Gmade GS02F BOM TC and Traxxas TRX4 Sport.

Best Scale Vehicle

I thoroughly enjoyed putting together the RCRun RUN-80, a Toyota Landcruiser 80-series 1:10 model. It isn’t as capable as the above two models, and is more delicate with its ‘hard body’ (that is, a styrene body – typical of more ‘scale’ models, as opposed to the durable and flexible Lexan/polycarbonate bodies most crawlers come with). As a trade-off for the durability though, you get a very pretty and realistic model in the RCRun RUN-80.

You may find our more in-depth article all about this brilliant scaler right here on!

There’s another incredible option and honestly, I’m torn between the two. If you’re after the best scale RC crawler, the Boom Racing BRX01 definitely deserves a look as well. Here’s our write-up and our video review is ready to watch, too. Tough choice!


The Best RTR RC Rock Crawlers

Now this is a hotly-contested category and you want to be sure you have your thinking done from Steps 2 and 3, as the range in budget and crawling ability really varies here. For your consideration I offer the most popular models in a variety of general categories. The best RC rock crawler for one person may be different to what another thinks – and that’s okay, we’re completely spoilt for choice these days!

Best All-Rounder RTR Crawler

The TRX4 Sport kit is arguably a better option than the RTR variant, giving you the choice of electronics (BYO ESC + Motor, steering servo and radio system for the kit). However, the RTR variant is still very popular as the TRX4 platform is rock-solid, the electronics are simple and reliable and the vehicle’s performance is excellent. The after-market support for the TRX4 platform is rivalled only by that for the Axial SCX10 models – quite an achievement. I own three TRX-4s of various kinds and a TRX-6 and can speak from experience when I say these are possibly the most durable and all-round capable models available today.

Here’s the RC-TNT playlist for the TRX4 Sport.

Playlist for the TRX4 Bronco.

And the RC-TNT playlist for the TRX-6 Benz 6×6.

Best Value Trail Crawler (& Best Beginner RTR!)

The Redcat Gen 8 V2 is an obvious candidate for best value RC crawler on the trails. Its crawling is ‘good’, where others are better, but on the trail this is a superbly optioned vehicle that is ready for the elements and will be a durable ‘basher’ that you can drive and then forget about until next time you get the itch. For the money you pay for this fun machine, it’s an easy recommendation.

Here’s the playlist for the Gen 8 V2.

Get your Gen 8 V2 here. (Update, the Gen9 is now available and it’s an improvement on the Gen8 V2 in many ways. We have a comprehensive review of the Gen9 here, including a video review AND a rock test video).

Another brilliant option is the Element RC Bushido. This is an expected powerhouse on the rocks, with its short wheelbase working well to conquer tricky obstacles that see longer vehicles bottoming out. Check the Bushido out here.



Best Value RC Rock Crawler

You’ve decided you want something that’s capable on the rocks but still is something of a scale model. Your budget is limited and you’d like to not have to upgrade anything to get the most enjoyment from your purchase. If this is you, the very best choice and heartiest recommendation to make is for the Element RC Enduro Sendero HD. It is excellent and is an easy choice for the best overall value RC rock crawler, especially where rock performance is concerned.

We have a detailed article all about this very machine! Find it here.

Our YouTube channel also has a playlist for this vehicle. The playlist, including reviews, tests and comparisons, can be found here.

You can find this rig for purchase on AsiaTees.


I Want A Jeep & Money Is No Object

Well, that’s oddly specific, but I won’t judge you! The modern granddaddy of this hobby is arguably Axial and their SCX10 III Gladiator is a model that gives you a disengagable rear axle (aka ‘DIG’), 2-speed transmission (though the ratios are too close together to be overly useful – it’s not slow enough in first and not fast enough in second, but still, it’s a two-speed), it’s fully waterproof and it is quite pretty. Many after-market bits are available for it and it is a fun machine to drive.

Comprehensive RC-TNT playlist can be found here and the rig itself is available on AsiaTees.

Other Axial Crawler Options

If you like the Axial platform but don’t want the Jeep in particular, there’s a truly capable vehicle also available that has rock crawling performance as it’s primary purpose, but one I know from experience that is also great on the trails. It can tackle just about anything – consider this the most capable 4×4 all-rounder available with 1.9″ tires – the Capra, of course!

More Axles Are Better and I Can Afford It

Watch my review video for this vehicle and be convinced that for an all-rounder that will conquer all trails and rocks and look amazing in day or night, rain or shine, you can’t go past the Traxxas TRX-6 6×6.

For performance, durability, features and fun, this is the best RC crawler all-rounder. But it comes at a price! You could buy two Redcat Gen 8s for one of these monsters!

Other Worthy Crawlers to Consider

If none of the above are quite what you’re looking for, there are still numerous other options that are worth a look.

Element RC Gatekeeper: this is a ‘rock racer’ inspired design with some decent rock crawling performance. You might consider it if you’re after a reliable and capable basher with a rock crawling bias. Video here and it’s available here to buy.

Similar to the Gatekeeper is the Axial Capra, also worth considering if the GK interests you. Video here.

Traxxas TRX4: For an all-rounder with durability, upgrade availability and some clever electronics to enhance your fun (2-speed, remotely lockable diffs, nice scale body, quality suspension and great tires out of the box), check out any of the TRX-4 range (Defender, Bronco, new Bronco, Chevy, Tactical, etc.). They’re all very good and have the same running gear as you’ll find in the TRX-6, but just in a 4×4 rather than 6×6 package.

Cross RC EMO AT-4: another model that has remotely-lockable diffs and two-speed transmission, this one comes as a kit and should be a good vehicle. I have yet to complete this model but it’s next in my build pile. I’m looking forward to completing and reviewing it soon!

> Update: review is here and video is here. Spoiler: this crawler’s amazing.

We now also have an article now comparing the TRX4 and the EMO AT4. Find that here.

Element RC Knightrunner: a polycarbonate Toyota body with smaller 1.55” wheels (all else in this article has 1.9” wheels) and 3.85” tires (again, most in this article have 4.05” to 4.8” diameter tires), this truck has one thing none of the others have: independent front suspension (IFS)! This means it’ll be more stable at speed and whilst it’ll be more limited on the rocks, that limitation can be an enjoyable challenge. Plus, the body looks amazing and comes with a bunch of scale goodness thanks to Element’s partnership with James Knight of Knight Customs. Our review of this one is here and you can pick it up on AsiaTees.

RC4WD Gelande: this is one rig not in the RC-TNT stable. Its reputation goes before it and it’s worth checking out. It’s been around for years and is still popular today for its scale detail and off-road performance. If you want a hard body rig that is capable and reasonably durable, the Gelande is worth a look.

TRX4 RC Rock Crawler

RC4WD Trail Finder 2 (or TF2): another hard body rig (like the RCRun RUN-80), but with 1.55” wheels like the Knightrunner above. This model has been around for a while and is a redesign of the venerable Tamiya Bruiser, with rock crawling ability design enhancements. Leaf sprung front and rear, this is not a performance beast but is still popular today for it’s overall capability in the scale competition classes – not to be missed if you like the body style and want more scale suspension from the older off-road legends like the Toyota Hi-Lux from the 80s. Video discussion here.

RC4WD Trail Finder 3 (or TF3): RC4WD’s latest scale entry in the legacy of Tamiya’s 1985 legend, the Bruiser. The TF3 goes back to its roots in chassis and steering design and is a worthy contender if you like scale detail in a capable platform with room to grow. Read our review and see the accompanying video here.

RGT EX86110 and EX86120: these are popular, budget-oriented 1:10 scale trail machines that are capable and well-appointed for fun. Durability is good and you can expect the kind of performance one might have found with the SCX10, Vaterra Ascender and more recently, HPI Venture (and incidentally, those three are fine ‘used’ choices also, if you’re looking for a second-hand bargain). See our video series here for the Pioneer. AsiaTees sells both the EX86110 and EX86120.

RGT 136100 V2: an ultra-budget option (USD$150) that is surprisingly capable and durable, for the price. Video review here.

MST CFX-WS DC1: comes in a kit and RTR variant and is at the cheaper end of 1/10, brand-name crawlers. Not hugely capable and lacks an interior, but it is pretty! Review and video here.

TF2 RC Crawler behind TRX6

WPL C44KM: though it’s just a footnote in this article, this little 1/16 scale 4×4 is a fun little build – though be prepared for a more challenging build than the larger 1:10 scale options. WPL make a cheap machine that is excellent value for money, but the instructions are somewhat minimal. It’s a great little crawler – find out more about it in our video! Grabs yours here.

Step 5: Get Out There!

Hopefully you’ve found something you like in this list of crawlers. There are more to be explored than what’s listed here, but honestly, if you buy any of the models listed in this article, you are guaranteed to get a good feel for RC crawling and many rewarding hours enjoying your scale rig on the trails and rocks.

As I’ve said above, the best RC rock crawler is the one you own. Though the bug bites many of us and we end up with more than one, the best recommendation I can make is to just get out there and enjoy your truck!

TRX4 Defender RC Crawler

Make sure you keep an eye on our YouTube channel as there are more vehicles, tests, reviews, comparisons and experiments being added every week.

If you need a place to buy kits, models, parts and upgrades, I’ve used AsiaTees for years. We now have an affiliate link with them to help support our site ( so if you start there and buy anything after that, we’ll get a small commission. If you use this, thank you for your support! (And even if you don’t use it, ATees is known for its solid shipping options and excellent after-sales service. Other great international stores are Amain Hobbies, Tower Hobbies (now Horizon Hobbies) and RCMart).

Happy trails,

-Craig, RC-TNT

Craig, RC-TNT

All photos, videos and text in this article were created by and are the sole property of RC-TNT. Unauthorised reproduction or use of these media is strictly prohibited. RC crawling is awesome, so stop reading the fine print and get out there and enjoy it!