Inexpensive radio controlled buggies have always been a gateway to the wonderful world of RC. Readers of a certain age might tear up at the mention of Tamiya’s ‘Grasshopper’ or ‘Hornet’ and this trend continues today with the FTX Colt. The rear-engine’d, rear wheel drive layout makes them entertaining to drive, whilst their ground clearance and tyres allow them to tackle nearly any terrain at speed. The designs are simple to maintain and more importantly cheap to buy. Today we will look at the Prime Baja V3, the latest in a long line of brushed buggy releases from BSD Racing.
The buggy at a glance
- Ready to run, rear-wheel-drive RC buggy
- 1500mAh NiMH car battery and charger included
- Water-resistant ESC and servo, sealed gearbox, ball raced
- 540 brushed motor fitted to alloy motor mount
- Bead-lock wheels with mini block tyres inserts at the rear, dirt tyres up front
- 1/10th scale 43cm long, 26cm wide, 12.5cm tall
Two liveries available
Unboxing and installing the wing
Included in the box is the buggy itself (shipped with the battery already installed), an optional rear wing and fixing kit, USB battery charger, antenna tube, manual and transmitter. All that is needed to get driving are 4xAA batteries for the radio controller.
The rear wing arrives separately in the box, push it over the rear tower mounts, add the plastic washers and secure it with two body pins. It isn’t necessary for operation but it completes the aesthetic.
Like many other BSD Racing models, the stickers are removable from the bodywork exposing the stripey painted lexan below. We’ll be removing the ugly great ‘Prime Baja V3’ decal from the rear wing, right after this review!
Removing the body and charging the battery
The body is held on by three body clips, the front piece of which is very fiddly to remove. We think the all-black frame chassis underneath looks pretty damn awesome and a lot less ‘toy’ like. We would happily run the buggy ‘naked’ like this in the summer. If you aren’t fond of the fake spotlights these can also be unscrewed from the frame.
As with other models, the supplied NiMH battery arrives partially charged and should be topped up before your first drive. The included USB trickle charger will take around three hours to charge a completely flat battery. The battery plug can be accessed through the sides of the cab, but we prefer to remove the battery instead of dragging our often dirty RC cars onto our desks.
Removing the two body pins from the side of the model will allow you to remove the thin lexan shell from the frame. Underneath is another body pin securing the battery strap, remove this clip and release the ESC cable from the strap and you will be able to slide both the battery and plastic strap out of the car.
With the body panels and battery removed you can get a better feel for the heavy rear-bias of the model. It has a longer wheelbase than traditionally found on a buggy which should help its stability at speed.
Rear engined, rear wheel drive
Following the classic buggy layout, the ‘full-size’ brushed motor (fixed to an alloy mount) is hung out the back of the chassis, mated to a basic (but sealed) gearbox and open differential. This has sealed ball race bearings for smooth running, a welcome addition at this budget price.
Heavy duty metal dog-bones send power to the rear wheels. Whilst the motor is unlikely to tear the tyres from the wheels, its nice to see bead-lock rims being used, should you want to upgrade the electronics for something more potent in the future.
The basic 2.4Ghz pistol-grip-style transmitter included with the set is smaller than usual but still comfortable for adult hands. The plastic body is reasonably ergonomic, the throttle trigger is responsive and the steering wheel is covered in foam for comfort. Sadly adjustments are limited, with a reverse switch and trim just for the steering channel. If all of this sounds like jargon to you, check our our RC transmitters explained article.
As mentioned the transmitter takes 4x AA batteries, held in the base of the grip to balance out the weight. Whilst the unit does feature a handle on the top, it is a little small, although would allow for the attachment of a lanyard.
Considering the low, low price, the Prime Baja V3 is great fun to drive. The steering is responsive and it has enough power to tear across the park, but not so much that it couldn’t be controlled in a tight garden. We set up a small off-road course and lapped the buggy repeatedly, getting a feel for its turn in.
We tried running the buggy without the rear wing to see if it made any real difference to the drive and concluded that it was largely a stylistic choice. With most of the weight over and behind the rear axle it would be better situated over the front wheels! Indeed at top speed with the relatively firm suspension and the rear wing fitted the front wheels can lift, limiting the steering capabilities.
The ground clearance is a little lower than we would have hoped for. If you spend a lot of time driving on long grass you may want to switch out to some larger diameter wheels or consider a different model. That classic rear motor/rear wheel drive setup makes for some entertaining handling on loose surfaces. Big slides are possible on dusty paths and gravel carparks where this little buggy excels.
Overall the buggy would be suitable for teens (or used when supervised with older kids) as a first step into RC. It has enough power to entertain, albeit in a rather short burst due to the limited capacity of the included battery (easily and inexpensively remedied).
It took a beating, several rolls and a few impacts into some bushes without damage, although we fear any heavy hits to the front end would kill the standard servo pretty quickly. Thankfully spares are readily available and electronics used are common in fitment.
Buggy upgrade potential
The layout (and inclusion of the manual with handy exploded diagram) means the Prime Baja v3 is easy to work on and upgrade. However if your intentions are to go all out and throw several hundred pounds at a brushless motor, new pinion gear, revised ESC; First check out the ‘flux’ range of BSD Racing cars. These models leave the factory fully hopped up with all these upgrades, a warranty and more! We were particularly impressed with the Flux Truggy we tested earlier this year.
Where can I buy the Prime Baja?
The BSD Racing Prime Baja V3 is available on our webstore in either green/yellow or orange/black liveries you have seen in this article. We strongly advise you to pick up an extra battery such as this compatible 3300mAh unit at the same time to maximise run time.
Do you have any questions about the Prime Baja or buggies in general? Leave us a message in the comments section below or via our contact page.