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Project Street Bandit

Project Street Bandit

Project Street Bandit

Project Street Bandit

How to Maximize the Street Performance of Your Traxxas Bandit

The Traxxas Bandit VXL is a thoroughbred off-road machine, ready for all kinds of adventure in the dirt—but not just the dirt! With its Velineon brushless power system delivering 70+mph capability right out of the box, the Bandit VXL is also a top pick for blistering blacktop performance. With that in mind, we’re going to pull out all the stops and optimize a Bandit VXL for serious street handling and parking-lot prowess. The plan includes lowering the suspension, installing road-ready rubber, and adding a few choice upgrades.
Project Street Bandit
Parts List
­
  • 2417 Clear Bandit body
  • 3678 Wheelie bar
  • 5185 Wheelie bar rubber tires
  • 3652A Blue aluminum axle carriers
  • 3636A Blue aluminum steering blocks
  • 3743A Blue aluminum bellcranks
  • 2250 330 high-torque servo
  • 2849X 4000mAh 11.1V LiPo
  • 5862 Aluminum Big-Bore shocks
  • 2478A Anaconda rear wheels/tires
  • 2479A Anaconda front wheels/tires
  • 6468 Tire Glue
  • 7122G Exo-carbon wing
  • 6553X Telemetry expander w/GPS module
  • 6511 Traxxas Link Wireless Module
  • 6554 Telemetry expander mount

Slam It!
Our Bandit will be running exclusively on pavement, so we can lower the ride height to touring-car levels. To leave enough clearance for cracks, manhole covers, etc., we’ll go for a ride height of 10 mm. To lower the car, we’ll shorten the shocks by placing spacers under the pistons. We’ll do that with the #5862 Aluminum Big-Bore shocks, and leave the stock Ultra Shocks alone. That way, we can easily go back to full ride height for off-road action just by reinstalling the stock shocks.

Aluminum Big-Bore shocks
Aluminum Big-Bore shocks

We’ll leave the stock shocks at full length for off-road use, and mod these Big Bore aluminum shocks for street action. You can lower the ride height by using sections of fuel tubing beneath the shock towers. The front shocks each get a 10 mm fuel tubing spacer beneath each piston, and 12 mm spacers go in the rears. If you need more ground clearance, just trim the spacers.

Fuel tubing to lower ride height
Use fuel tubing in the shocks
Lowered ride height
Lowered ride height
Before and after
Before and after

Flex Fighters
Adding anodized aluminum parts to the Street Bandit will certainly score style points, but their mission in this build is to add stiffness to resist cornering forces and to deliver maximum handling responsiveness. The additional ruggedness will also be welcome if we tap a curb or catch an edge and flip the buggy. Crashes on pavement impart much higher loads than off-road tumbles, so the strength of aluminum is a plus. We installed aluminum steering blocks, stub-axle carriers, and bellcranks. The anodized parts install in minutes, just like stock. You can also get them in green and red. As an added bonus, the aluminum bellcranks include ball bearings to replace the stock bushings.

Blue aluminum steering blocks
Blue aluminum steering blocks
Blue aluminum rear axle carriers
Blue aluminum rear axle carriers
Blue aluminum steering bellcranks
Blue aluminum steering bellcranks

Super-Powered Steering
To improve the Bandit’s steering authority, we’ll replace the stock 125 oz.-in. servo with the 330 High Torque servo. This servo delivers over 2.5 times the torque (330 oz.-in. to be exact, hence the name), and features a high-strength metal geartrain. With a one-inch arm, this servo can push and pull with over 20 pounds of force, but what you’ll really feel when you drive is how precise and responsive it is. The aluminum mid-case dissipates heat, and the rugged metal gears will far outlast plastic gears. We will keep the stock servo server for proper fitment. The servo and bellcranks install beneath the upper deck and fit onto the chassis as unit.

Full metal gears insideFull metal gears inside
Upgraded steering unitUpgraded steering unit

Road Rubber
We want to keep the Bandit’s Alias rear knobby tires and front ribbed tires available for off-road duty, so they’re going on the shelf in favor of Anaconda® tires. The Anacondas feature a street-ready tread in a long-wearing compound. They’re available unmounted, or you can get them factory-glued on Tracer wheels in chrome or black chrome. We went with black chrome. The Anacondas’ soft compound and directional pattern offer plenty of grip, while the thick tread delivers long life.

Anaconda street tires

Wheelie Control
Lowering the Bandit will have a side-benefit of reducing wheelies under acceleration. We still need to account for aerodynamic lift however, so we installed the wheelie bar. To save weight, we’re sticking with the stock plastic wheels, but added the optional rubber tires (#5185). The rubber tires will reduce sliding when we need the wheelie bar to do its thing.

Wheelie barWe need a wheelie bar with this much power
Rubber tires improve stabilityThe rubber tires will reduce sliding

Front Wing
No matter how carefully you roll into full throttle with a 3-cell LiPo on board, the Bandit VXL is going to want to lift its front wheels. The front arms’ kick-up angle makes them act like wings, and the front end gets very light (or lifted right off the ground). The wheelie bar will prevent blow-overs, but we want to keep the front end pressed to the ground. To do that, we mounted a 1/16 E-Revo wing. We drilled two holes in the bumper, then mounted the wing using servo mounts and spacers that were in the shop.

Mount the wing to the bumper
Mount the wing to the bumper
Secure the bumper to the chassis
Secure the bumper to the chassis”
This should reduce front lift
This should reduce front lift

GPS Speed
Naturally, we want to see how fast we can go with the Street Bandit. Since it’s factory-equipped with the TQi transmitter, collecting live speed data is just a matter of installing the Traxxas Link Wireless Module, Telemetry Expander, and GPS Speed Telemetry Module. You can get the expander and GPS unit separately, or buy them together as item 6553X. The Telemetry Expander holds the GPS module, and has space for up to six more additional sensors. The required wire harness is included, and the expander is waterproof.

Telemetry Expander
Telemetry Expander
Communication cable is includedCommunication cable is included
Telemetry expander mountTelemetry expander mount

The expander mounts securely to the chassis with screws via the #6554 adapter. The larger part on the left is for the Slash 2WD; all you need for the Bandit and Rustler is the rectangular piece. You’ll need to drill two holes for the expander using the bit included with the mount. Then the shelf bolts to the chassis, and the expander bolts to the shelf.

Drill holes in the chassis
Drill holes in the chassis
Secure the mount to the chassis
Secure the mount to the chassis
Install the expander on the mount
Install the expander on the mount

To install the Traxxas Link module, simply remove the cover plate and replace it with the module. Don’t forget to install the screw that secures it.

Remove the cover plate on the side of the transmitter
Remove the cover plate on the side of the transmitter
Install the Wireless Module
Install the Wireless Module

Now the transmitter can connect to the Traxxas Link app. Touch the Garage icon followed by the Traxxas Link Wireless Module Icon.

Go to the Garage page
Go to the Garage page
Click on the Traxxas Link Wireless Module icon
Click on the Traxxas Link Wireless Module icon

Turn on the transmitter and module, touch the blue bar, and the app connects instantly.

Turn on the transmitter and touch the blue bar
Turn on the transmitter and touch the blue bar
Everything connects automatically
Everything connects automatically

The green transmitter and vehicle icons in the upper corners of the screen show the TQi and Bandit are both communicating with the app, and the vehicle image has switched to a Bandit VXL.

Look for the green icons in the top corners
Look for the green icons in the top corners
The vehicle image will switch to a Bandit VXL
The vehicle image will switch to a Bandit VXL

The Traxxas Link app’s dashboard is fully customizable, with photo-realistic gauges and “grid” layouts, as well as a “just speed, displayed nice and big” option.

The gauge cluster is customizable
The gauge cluster is customizable
You can choose a
You can choose a “just speed” option

The #6532 phone mount makes it easy to attach your device to the TQi. The spring-loaded clamp holds standard- and plus-sized phones, and tilts and pivots so you can adjust it for glare-free viewing.

The #6532 phone mount is a big help
The #6532 phone mount is a big help
The mount pivots to provide the best view
The mount pivots to provide the best view

Custom Paint
When it comes to custom bodies, the only limit is your imagination. We started with the clear body set, but it’s not the only option; you can also get the Bandit body in a ProGraphix version #2417X, with factory-applied graphics and clear sections for your final color choice. There’s no masking required, just blast it with one color and it’s done.

The pre-cut body saves time
The pre-cut body saves time
The ProGraphix body just requires a base coat of paint
The ProGraphix body just requires a base coat of paint
Street Bandit
Street Bandit
Street Bandit

 

Drive Time
To see what the Street Bandit can really do, we strapped in a 3-cell PowerCell LiPo #2849X and took a trip to the local cineplex, where the empty parking lot would (hopefully) provide plenty of uncluttered concrete for full-throttle running. After a slow pass to trim out the steering and confirm the Traxxas Link app was recording GPS speed, we went for a full-throttle drag launch with the wheelie bar in the full down position and Traxxas Stability Management (TSM) set at 50%. The Bandit lit up the Anaconda tires and shot out of the hole dead straight, which instantly made us think of the car’s no-prep drag racing potential.

The parking lot seemed to shrink to half its size as the buggy disappeared in a trail of dust, and within seconds after launching we had to grab a big handful of brake to avoid shunting into the grass. A 3-cell brushless Bandit covers a lot of ground in a hurry! The Traxxas Link app showed 56mph before we had to get out of the gas, and that was with the standard gearing. As for handling, the lowered Street Bandit definitely has an edge on a full ride-height Bandit, but the front wheels still get light with all that VXL horsepower pouring into the rear tires. This made it a wide turner when on the gas, but it also very stable at speed. Even with TSM turned down, the Bandit had no trouble making arrow-straight passes as the big rear wing’s downforce helped keep the drive tires planted.

The front wing, while cool-looking, didn’t prove functional (more experimentation to come!) and the wheelie bar proved essential for exploiting 3-cell power. For fun-running, especially in a smaller space like a cul-de-sac, a 2-cell pack is ideal. With a 3-cell LiPo on board, and room to really let it run, the Bandit VXL is one of the most exciting rides in RC—no mods required. But we had fun modding ours!

 

Street Bandit
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