ECX Barrage Gen2 1.55″ Scale Crawler Review
With the scale crawling segment getting hotter with each passing day, ECX has released a Gen2 of the Barrage scale rock crawler. The first Barrage was well known for its capability out on the trail, the Gen2 features multiple upgrades to improve performance and durability. The BigSquidRC Bash Crew is always stoked to test a new crawler, what did we think of the Gen2 Barrage? Read on to find out…
Review By: Cubby
Pics By: Tim Mohr
RTR or Kit: RTR
2wd or 4wd: 4wd
Shaft or Belt: Shaft
Electric or Gas: Electric
Motor: Dynamite brushed, 390 sized
Speed Controller: Dynamite, brushed, 3S capable
Low Voltage Cut-off: Yes
Radio: 2.4GHz 2-channel V4
Slipper Clutch: No
Driveshafts: Plastic center shafts
Shocks: Plastic bodies, aluminum tops
Servo Saver: None
Spur/Pinion Pitch: 48 pitch
Bearings: Complete set
Tires: Licensed Falken Wildpeak M/T
Battery: Included with charger, NiMH 6 cells, 900mAh
Part Number: #ECX01013T2
Warranty: “free from defects in materials and workmanship at the date of purchase”
Front wheel travel: .5″
Rear wheel travel: .8″
Wheelie on demand: No
Backflip off ramps: No
Stability Control: No
Sound Module: No
Top Speed (measured by BSRC): 5 mph
Runtime (measured by BSRC): Ya, we’ll just say crawlers run forever, LOL. But really, it comes with a 900mAh pack, which we never had a problem getting at least 20 minutes out of.
Street Price: $179
Primary Competition: With the sizing of the Barrage, it is a bit smaller than a “normal” 1.9″ crawler. The Gen2 is a couple inches shorter than a standard crawler (and slightly more narrow), but it is much larger than the Pro-Line Ambush or RC4WD 18th scalers.
What’s Needed To Complete: Absolutely nothing, everything required to get running comes right in the box.
Build Quality: The BigSquidRC Bash Crew had a good close look at our review truck and could find no fault with its assembly. The shocks were well filled and not leaking, the wheels were on good and tight, we didn’t find any stripped screws, etc.
Test Drivers: We had a whole bunch of guys give the Gen2 a workout. Our initial testing started at Horizon Hobby’s RC Fest where all our crew members, plus about 20 people walking by the booth, got a hand in driving it. From high-end rock crawling guys to first day noobies, we got a lot of input from a great bunch of people for this review.
Test Venues: The 2018 Horizon Hobby RC Fest, Minnie Ha Ha park in Fenton Missouri, Cliff Cave park in St. Louis Missouri, various other bash spots.
Set-up Notes: Like we do for all our reviews, we ran the Gen2 box stock. Everything is supplied in the box so we didn’t need to buy anything, but we did end up using a Dynamite Passport Ultra Force Duo to handle the battery charging duties.
Turning: After having so many people wheel the Gen2, we learned a few things about how the truck turned. For an out-of-the-box RTR, the Gen2 does a competent job for the backyard basher. We were able to typically make the line we were aiming for, but not always because the stock servo was a bit light on torque. Now, pretty much every RTR is like that, meaning they turn OK for the average crowd, but need a better servo to get the most out of the chassis, and that is the case for the ECX. New drivers didn’t complain about the steering, but some of the first words from experienced rock crawlers was “weak servo”. If you are a first time driver, the truck turns fine for your new skills, but an aftermarket servo will greatly improve the turning of the truck.
Jumping: Like we do with Everything, of course we jumped the Gen2. When going over super small, scale sized jumps, it didn’t jump poorly, but the truck did have some bounce upon landing. On serious basher style jumps it worked about like every other crawler, not enough speed to get into serious trouble.
Bumps/Whoops: No, the Barrage Gen2 was never designed to pound sand whoops at 40 mph on 6S. What it was designed for was rock crawling and trail driving. When driven in its native environment, we noticed it had some bounce. Reducing the spring pre-load would help with bumps, as well as the truck’s rock crawling capability.
On-Road: If the only place you have to drive is pavement, you might wanna skip the crawler geared ECX and look for a legit on-road rig.
Grass: The Gen2 does a great job in grass. While not a “big” crawler, its 4wd system and soft tires did a great job of plowing the ECX through various grass sections, some of which we never expected to the truck to make it through.
Rock Crawling: What’s it like to crawl with the Barrage Gen2? Impressive. The Gen2 is on the smaller side of things, as well as the cheaper. Going into the review, we were expecting a fairly boring performance, but we were left impressed. Our initial driving was at Horizon’s RC Fest where the Recon G6’s Brian Parker had a custom crawling course. This was without doubt the hardest test that we put the Gen2 through and it got over the obstacles much better than we expected. It had enough steering to pick the lines we wanted, it had the weight bias to get over the tougher angles, and its tires did a good job on harder surfaces, but hampered the truck in the loose/muddy sections (or even corn in the case of RC Fest). What we found most impressive was the fact that it simply could not keep up with fully modified crawling rigs, but it was much closer than we expected. On sections where full scaled (think a normal 1.9) crawling rigs would barely get over and would work hard to do so, we didn’t expect the Gen2 to even have a shot at the section. However, on a section like that, the Gen2 would typically work hard and get over, or at least it would get close. In tougher rock sections the short wheelbase would work in the ECX’s favor by preventing it from getting high-centered on larger rocks. It felt “nimble” compared to other trucks we had along for testing purposes, and did a fair side while side-hilling as well.
Tires: The stock tires have a great scale look and are molded from a soft, but not uber soft, rubber. Their tread pattern is the bomb on hard packed dirt with fluff on top, but they also work in looser conditions. Overall, the stockers don’t offer up comp levels of traction, but they are a solid pick as an overall bash/trail/crawling tire.
Power: The Gen2 has a nice blend of soft, easy to use, power. The speedo can be slightly notchy right off a dead stop, which is rare, but the rest of the powerband is buttery smooth. As far as raw power goes, we did not run into a situation where we thought we needed more. When crawling or going through tight sections on the trail, the Gen2’s power system made it easy to put the perfect amount of power down to terra firma.
Radio: The included 2.4GHz ECX radio is definitely not fancy, but it got the job done. We found it to be glitch free, with more than enough range for our bashing purposes.
Broken Parts: What did we bust up first on the Gen2? That award goes to the stock plastic servo arm. We got the Gen2 bound up in some rocks and tried to steer our way out, instead it stripped the servo arm out. Not a big dealio as most hobbyists carry spares and they are fairly universal (the ECX is a 24 tooth).
Is the Gen2 too small to keep up with normal rigs? Yes and no. There are times with its smaller size works against it, but there are many other times, particularly in gnarly rock sections, where its shorter wheelbase was actually quite beneficial. How it works for you will depend a lot of your venue and your driving style.
We liked the lighting on the Gen2. It gave the truck a cool look, plus the wires never got in the way.
The Gen2 comes with good fold fashioned body clips. They worked just fine, but in an age where body clips are going the way of the dinosaur, we were a bit surprised to see them retained on the Gen2.
The aluminum links used on the truck are a nice touch.
Best Mod: The first thing we plan to do is bolt in a high torque Hitec servo, plain and simple. The stock unit did an OK job for us, but a new servo with more torque will instantly enhance your trail driving or rock crawling experience.
A = Outstanding/Best in Class, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Horrific
Time To Bash: A With everything included right in the box, the ECX gets a solid “A” in the time to bash category.
Workability: B There are a lot of Phillips screws on the Gen2, we would much rather have seen hex hardware. Otherwise, the Barrage was very easy to work on.
Car Show Rating: C While our Bash Crew were big fans of the ECX’s wheel and tire combo, the body and paint scheme came across as plain.
Bash-A-Bility: B Our test unit held up very well. Over the course of dozens of battery packs very little has broken.
Fun Factor: B What is the best part of the Gen2? The fact that the Barrage is not a “high-end” truck, yet it can make much more expensive crawlers seem not worth the money.
Handling: A The ECX may have a low price point, but its performance is absolutely no joke. The Gen2 excels in tight, gnarly, rock sections, but can also hold its own on muddy trails, even against larger trucks.
Value: A Under $200 for all this fun? Sign us up!
Parts Availability: C After cruising the web and our local hobby shops, we feel the Barrage is average for parts support.
BigSquid Rating: B+ The ECX Barrage Gen2 is a great little crawler. It is highly capable, it is affordable, and it keeps coming back for punishment day after day. Cut the check, you’ll be glad you did!