ECX is a brand name that bashers are very familiar with thanks to their reputation for putting out tough vehicles at low price points. They are now looking to make a splash in the scale crawler market with their RTR 1/12 Barrage from Horizon Hobby.
In a time where small scale crawlers are red hot, the Barrage is something of an in-between for standard and micro sizes. It’s also the companies’ first for a traditional straight rail frame / solid axle scaler. So how does this little truck stack up? Read on to find out.
Review By: Doug Welker
Photography By: Doug Welker
RTR or Kit: RTR
2wd or 4wd: 4wd
Shaft or Belt: Shaft
Electric or Gas: Electric
Length: 16.4in (417mm)
Width: 7.7in (196mm)
Height: 8.5in (216mm)
Ground Clearance: 2.25in (57mm)
Wheelbase: 9.9in (252mm)
Weight: 2.8lb (1.3kg)
Chassis: Steel Ladder Frame
Suspension: Solid Axle 3-Link
Shocks: Oil Filled, Plastic w/ Aluminum Retainers
Tire Type: Soft, Falken AT3W All Terrain
Motor or Engine: Brushed 370
Radio: SPM STX2 2-Channel
Servos: Standard 1/10 Size
Batteries: Dynamite® 900mAh 6-cell NiMH
Charger: NiMH Wallwart
Gear Pitch: 48
Wheel Size: 1.9in (49mm) Dianmeter, 1.1in (27mm) Width
Part Number: #ECX01009
Warranty: “Horizon Hobby warranties the product to be free of defects at the date of purchase.”
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): Around 15 minutes of hard throttle. Up to 40 with standard trailing speeds.
Street Price: $179
What’s Needed To Complete: Nothing
Competition: This truck is 1/12 scale so its tough to line up its competition exactly, but we’d say the size makes it more in line with an Axial SCX102 and Vaterra Ascender versus really small vehicles like the Pro-Line Ambush.
Build Quality: Truck was ready to rock out the box. Gear mesh was good and the shocks all had oil in them.
Test Drivers: Claude Buster, Lily the Explorer, Violet the Conqueror, John John the Leprechaun, several random hobbyists at the comp course and myself.
Test Venues: Bangert Island State Park , Mark Twain Hobby Center’s Crawling Area, BIGFOOT 4×4 HQ and a local construction yard.
Set-up Notes: This truck was tested bone stock, included battery/charger and all.
Turning: The vehicle’s small size makes it very nimble for a crawler. The truck doesn’t turn well at speed but that’s true of almost every vehicle that has locked diffs. When you are crawling rocks though the truck feels agile and handles well. That’s the important thing.
Jumping: This may be a slow speed crawler but we still wanted to do our due diligence and see how it jumped. The answer? Well, it didn’t really jump. More like fell. Hey, a slow speed doesn’t lend itself to jumping.
Bumps/Whoops: The suspension is soft and total weight is light so the truck tackles rough terrain pretty easily. It’s fun to bounce it around.
On-Road: Uhhh, yeah, an on-road car it’s not. Despite the slow top speed this little guy likes to traction roll on the pavement, courtesy of the locked diffs.
Grass: We were pleasantly surprised at how well the Barrage cut through the grass (and leaves). The 1.9 tires give it a tall enough stance to go through all but the deepest greenery.
Crawling: Now to the good stuff. This is probably what most of you came here to read- can this truck crawl or not? The answer is a resounding yes.
Our testers had a blast crawling the Barrage. In stock form the vehicle has great weight distribution with a nice forward bias, allowing it to climb like a baby Billy Goat. It’s also a decent side-hiller straight from the factory.
The secret sauce is the 1/12 size chassis using standard size 1.9 tires. The truck has great ground clearance and is very light, allowing it to make lines that a budget friendly crawler has no business making.
One of our testing locations was the vaunted scaler comp course at Mark Twain Hobby Center in St. Charles, MO. The Barrage made it through the whole course without even breaking a sweat! Very impressive.
Tires: These are fantastic tires. The included Falkens look like the real deal and have a great compound that sticks to rocks and obstacles. ECX should be commended for putting these on the stock vehicle. While they don’t quite have the grip of a Pro-Line or Pitbull, they are probably 80% of it. And hey, they come on a sub-$200 truck!
Power: The brushed 370 motor and ESC aren’t going to be winning any land speed records, but they do provide nice torque. The included battery works just fine for crawling, but as with all NiMH you’ll experience a significant power loss throughout your run time. A good LiPo would make for a sound investment.
Radio: The included STX 2.4 ghz remote is just fine. It’s ergonomic enough and has your standard analog controls. We had no glitching or other errors.
Broken Parts: Low top speed combined with an overall light weight make this a very hard truck to break. Nothing was broken during the main portion of testing. When we started pushing the truck really hard on the crawling course, the stock servo decided to go to a better place. We also managed to strip out a couple screws.
The LEDS are a very trick inclusion. It has four, 2 in the rear bumper and 2 in the front, and they plenty bright for quality night time driving.
The aluminum links are a very nice feature and almost unheard of at this price point. You won’t experience any axle wrap with the Barrage.
Those looking to stick a 540 motor into this may want to rethink that. We tried putting one in and it wouldn’t fit without some modding. There isn’t a lot of real estate.
The truck is listed as waterproof and we can back-up that claim. We hit several nasty deep holes and despite the submerging it soldiered on without a glitch.
Our testers all loved the size of the Barrage. It’s small enough to be easily transportable (here’s a secret, since doing the review I’ve kept it in the of trunk of my car w/ charger for when I need a quick crawling fix) and allow moderate terrain to be fun, but it can still put up its dukes with the bigger boys. As we’ve mentioned several times now, the rig also feels very nimble out on the rocks.
We let several youngsters have the wheel and had great results. The soft top end and ease of control make it the perfect rig for a noobie. It’s extremely forgiving.
A = Outstanding/Best in Class, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Horrific
Time To Bash: B Everything you need to get going is in the box, so the battery just needs to be charged. The only knock here is that the vehicle uses EC3 connectors so if you are planning on using your own Traxxas or Deans style battery, you’ll need an adapter or soldering iron.
Workability: B The chassis is very easy to work on as the frame provides ample room to get at what you need without a lot of tedious sub-assembly work. We did manage to strip out a few screws though, so make sure to be mindful when you’re wrenching.
Car Show Rating: B The non-licensed-but-inspired-by Land Rover pick-up body isn’t the most scale thing out there but it still looks pretty sharp. The wheels and tires look awesome.
Bash-A-Bility: B While this truck isn’t a speed demon, it’s still a lot of fun to wheel. It’s also proven to be tough.
Fun Factor: B If you are strictly wanting to crawl with this truck you could bump this up to an A as its really good out of the box, however as for overall fun, the low top speed holds it back.
Handling: A The Barrage is a good handling crawler that has a tight turning radius and straight up just works right out of the box.
Value: A No doubt about this one. With a street price of $179.99 that legit includes everything needed in the box (including nice tires, aluminum links and working LEDS), you are getting a MASSIVE bang for the buck.
Parts Availability: C ECX parts support isn’t the strongest at many hobby shops but you can easily find what you need online.
BigSquid Rating: B Whether you are new to r/c or just new to crawling, the ECX Barrage is the perfect vehicle to see if this segment of the hobby is for you. Perfect for noobs and yet still fun enough for experienced crawlers, this is a nice rig for a fantastic price. This is a solid truck and very much worth your money!