RCU Review: Redcat Racing Backdraft 8E RTR

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    Contributed by: Matthew LeMay | Published: November 2009 | Views: 72752 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Summit top
    Review by: Matt LeMay
    Action photos by: Starla LeMay

    Phone: 602-454-6445
    Fax: 602-626-3543
    Email: support@redcatracing.com

    Distributed by:


    See the Backdraft 8E in action!



    Ready to run
    Brushless motor system
    Includes two Lipo batteries
    Includes Lipo charger
    Very quick
    Center diff


    Unforgiving Plastic


    Redcat Racing has introduced it's new 1/8 scale brushless buggy, the Backdraft RTR. This isn't just a ready to run brushless buggy, it also includes dual LIPO packs and a charger. This is literally ready to run.

    In this review we will take a look at the quality and assembly of the parts that make up this buggy. We will also look at how well this thing handles on the track. Are you ready to get sucked into the Backdraft?



    Name: Backdraft 8E RTR
    Price: $359.99
    Length: 19.29"
    Width: 12.01"
    Wheelbase: 12.80"
    Motor: 8T 2400 RPM 540 Brushless
    Drive Train: Front, rear, and center sealed differentials
    Batteries Used: Two LIPO 7.4V (20c 3200Mah 2s) included
    Radio equipment: Included two channel 27MHz AM radio (now shipping with 2.4GHz), BSD rc sport AM 2ch receiver, and a metal gear steering servo.


    • Eight AA batteries for radio

    Left side
    Front view
    Right side

    First glance

    Included with the Backdraft 8E is the transmitter, LIPO batteries, LIPO charger, instruction manual, and ESC instructions. The manual includes detailed drawings of the exploded view which has all part numbers listed. A detail of the part, part description, and part number is also included. The ESC manual goes into great detail about the operation of the electronics.

    The metallic blue body is not only awesome looking but it is also trimmed very accurately. Post holes and antenna hole are also drilled. The graphics are cool and the decals are straight. Two lexan side guards are mounted to the bottom of the chassis and mesh very well with the actual body to enclose all electronics. This will help keep them clean from dirt and debris.

    The rear wing is held on by two body clips. This seems to be a sturdy set up. The wing brace mounts to the rear of the shock tower, rear diff case, and the lower rear suspension.

    The chassis consists of upper and lower aluminum plates. The two upper plates are connected by the center differential mount. The two level chassis adds much strength.

    The vehicle seems to be assembled well. All hardware is tightly secured and neatly fitting. The screws holding everything together are Phillips head and are both flat and pan head design. Everything on the bottom of the vehicle is counter sunk and fastened with flat head screws. I'm happy to see the screw heads don't pulrtrude from the bottom of the chassis. This will keep the screw heads from getting ground off by hard dirt and rocks.

    Left angle
    Rear view
    Right angle
    Rear angle
    Rear angle
    Left angle
    Front view
    Right angle
    Left angle toppless
    Upper, lower chassis plates

    Wheels, tires and drive train

    The wheels are plastic dish wheels with firm compound square knobby tires glued to them. The tires are aggressive and because of the compound should ware well. They are held on by 17mm extended wheel spindles.

    Power is transferred to the front and rear sealed differentials by way of a center sealed differential. The center diff helps to keep the front end on the ground during acceleration, improves cornering, and protects the gears on a hard nose dive landing. The center diff just transfers the force of the motor to which ever tires are off the ground, in this case the rear ones. All differential gears are metal and the spur gear is plastic.

    The two center drive shafts are of dog bone style while the shaft joints at the wheels are constant velocity drive shafts, or CVD for short.

    Knobby tires
    CVD joints
    17mm hex spindles
    Front and rear diff.
    Center differential
    Front and rear diffs


    The Backdraft 8E comes with a 27MHz two channel AM radio. The radio is basic however, it does include servo reversing, throttle and steering trim, charging jack, and volt meter. The steering wheel is made of plastic, which I don't find as comfortable as the soft grips. Overall, the radio does not have any glitches, has good range, and works well.

    The receiver is a BSD rc sport AM 27MHz two channel receiver. The included steering servo has metal gears and turns the wheels with plenty of authority. The item number on the servo is 6009. The electronics are all powered by the two LIPO battery packs so there is no need for a separate receiver battery.

    EDITORS NOTE: At time of review the vehicle included an AM 2 Channel Radio. We understand that Redcat is now shipping the Backdraft 8E with a 2.4GHz radio system.



    Electronic speed controller
    Receiver box

    Steering servo

    Battery tray vent

    Motor, ESC, and Batteries

    The power is supplied by a brushless RC 540 KV: 2230 motor. A fan cooled Hobbywing XERUN-80A electronic speed controller is mounted firmly to the chassis with double sided tape. The ESC has many adjustments so you can tweak it to your driving style. They include three different running modes, forward with brake, forward/reverse with brake, and forward with reverse. Other adjustments include drag brake force, low voltage cutoff, punch or acceleration settings, max brake force, max reverse force, initial brake force, neutral range, timing, overheat protection, motor rotation, and Lipo cells.

    The ESC comes preset from the factory and the only thing you must do is set the neutral throttle position. This is very easy to do and the instructions are very detailed about this matter. The set button is located on the on/off switch.

    It's hard to believe Redcat racing also included two LIPO batteries with the Backdraft 8E RTR. These batteries tend to be expensive so this is a real value you don't see too often. The batteries are AP® 2s, 3200mAh, 7.4 volt, 20C, lithium-polymer Shida Batteries. A Lipo balanced charger is also included. The charger can handle 2 cell (7.4V) or 3 cell (11.1v) Li-ion and Li-po batteries. The output rate of the charger is .75A and is powered by a 100-120 volt wall receptacle. In other words, you plug it into the wall. Charging times are around three hours per battery. I'm no genius but that's six hours for both batteries. I think I'll get another charger.

    The batteries are held in by a plastic hold down which is secured with two body clips. This seems to be plenty secure but the battery can move around a bit. A couple of foam inserts will help keep the batteries from getting damaged while being jarred around on the track.

    Motor position
    Brushless motor
    LIPO charger
    Motor, switch, esc
    Electronics layout
    Adjustable wing mount
    Battery retainers


    An oil filled shock absorber is assigned to each wheel, which makes a total of four. Each plastic threaded bodied shock is equipped with a blue aluminum cap and adjustment ring. Gripping the shocks are two sturdy plastic shock towers.

    The lower suspension A-arms are molded plastic and are hinged to the hub carriers with steel hinge pins. Two strong aluminum steering knuckles are held in with two screws and look to be sturdy. The upper suspension arm is an adjustable ball link. An adjustment to this will change the handling characteristics of the vehicle. This will help you tune the suspension to different tracks or terrains.

    Adjustable links are also used on the steering. A servo saver is incorporated into the steering linkage as well. There is a long plastic arm that connects the servo horn to the steering linkage. Although this may look flimsy, it is very sturdy with very little flex at all.

    Front suspension
    Threaded body
    Servo saver linkage

    Steering knuckle

    Front shock tower
    Rear shock tower
    Rear suspension and wing

    Action shots


    Performance & Handling

    The Redcat Racing Backdraft 8E is incredibly quick. Driving up and down the street is a blast. I got it up to average speed and then punched it. The rear end squatted, the front tires swelled, and the thing just warped into hyper drive.

    I took the Backdraft 8E to the local race track. It had rained for about a week so the track was rutted and washed out pretty bad. Time was not something I had much of so I ran the buggy anyway without repairing the track.

    If you're the type of guy who likes to just peg the throttle, let off in the turns, and peg it again you're in for a whole lot of 360's. The buggy needs to be driven with some finesse, otherwise you'll over shoot the jumps and run into things. I know because that's what I did at first.

    I'm not sure if this is even a word, but to describe the Redcat Racing Backdraft 8E RTR, I would have to say it has amazing launch-ability. At first, I was way over launching the jumps. I even approached the jump slowly until the last minute when I gave it full throttle, the tires hooked up, the dirt scattered, and outer space welcomed our little friend. You guessed it, I over jumped. This thing must be part rocket or something.

    Jumps were tricky for me to master. I decided not to give it full throttle over the jumps. In fact, I only used half of it's potential power around most of the track. The in flight characteristics were obviously different with the different jumps, however on the medium sized double it flew level. On the large jump it kept picking it's nose up at me. I guess it thinks it's better than me. Seriously, it really took some in flight corrections to land the big jump. It's a lot of fun in that way.

    The suspension is a little on the stiff side, which is probably one of the reasons it jumped so far. The chassis slaps on big landings and the suspension pre-load also helps the buggy slide through the turns.

    Cornering was easy. The buggy will slide around a corner if you give it throttle. However, too much throttle will send you into a spin. The steering servo has plenty of power to swing the front wheels around and steering feels smooth and accurate.

    The durability of the plastic parts was a little disappointing. The rear wing mounts broke almost immediately, within the second flip. The rear body mount broke shortly after.

    I did not have any spare parts, so I glued the wing and body mount back together. When I got back to the track, as expected, the repaired wing did not hold up. I was surprised to see however, that the rear body mount held on strong. I went around the track several times and then it happened. A bad landing. Right on the nose. The plastic connecting plate in the steering rack broke. Fortunately, Redcat Racing has what I need to get me up and running again in just a couple days and will give me the opportunity to buy upgrades.

    See the Backdraft 8E in action!

    Download and Watch in Windows Media Player here!


    I really like the Redcat Racing Backdraft 8E RTR. I know I had some problems with breaking the wing mount and a couple other parts but I still like it. It just has so much power and is extremely fun to drive. I'm willing to buy a few metal parts to replace the broken ones of the problem areas. I mean, come on! Look at the price of this thing.

    Then on top of that it's brushless with Lipos. I have not had any problems other than the ones I have mentioned. When I look at the price, what you get, and the amount you might spend to beef it up a little, the Redcat Racing Backdraft 8E RTR is worth the money.

    manu and credits

    Redcat Racing
    23 West Watkins Street
    Phoenix, AZ 85003

    Phone: 602-454-6445
    Fax: 602-626-3543
    Support Email: support@redcatracing.com
    Sales Email: sales@redcatracing.com
    Website: www.RedcatRacing.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Redcat Racing Backdraft 8E RTR

    Posted by: HJJFFFAA on 11/01/2009
    Cracked servo case is cracked. Also, positive camber on buggy? wat is this i dont even?
    Posted by: flourine coated on 11/04/2009
    my 8 year old $200 GV rex-x 1/8th rally cross buggy with cheap brushless conversion could drive rings around that thing! oh and absolutely nothing has ever broken on it!!!, perhaps with the suspension set up sorted and a couple of hundred dollars worth of improvements it might be good but it wouldnt be good value any more, considering that rtr's are supposed to encourage new drivers broken rtr's will only discourage new drivers!just my opinion.thanks for the review though, keep em coming
    Posted by: bigblock454XXL on 11/22/2009
    Another great review. Did I notice the rear wing flapping around? Was it broke? How many times did you go around the track before the camera was turned on? HeHeHe!
    Posted by: bigdogjeff on 11/30/2009
    yea great car it smokes my friends losi 8ighte E all day long
    Posted by: zeo 1 on 12/01/2009
    that is actually prety impressive :D
    Posted by: bigdogjeff on 12/01/2009
    charge times suck what charger should i get
    Posted by: bigdogjeff on 12/01/2009
    i am new with lipos
    Posted by: tymtofly2 on 12/02/2009
    bigdogjeff, I hope the Email helped.....Matt
    Posted by: Redvanmafia on 12/03/2009
    i understand you get money from these company's for advertising there products, but when something is bad, just say its bad, You never say anything bad about any r/c company even if its a piece of sh!t on wheels, rcu always has something good to say, its a very bias opinion, but whatever pays i bills i always say
    Posted by: skippy7399 on 12/08/2009
    As far as being able to "smoke it" sure maybe on your home track. But let be honest this is a great buggy and Redcat hit the nail on the head with this, an inexpensive entry level rc racer. Exactly what they had intended to do. OK, so no one likes to break parts, least of all when your racing and don't have spares. Give the dealer net work some time and this should be fixed. Finally, as far as RCU being bias and not being objective on their reviews, when was the last time you read Consumer Reports where they told you to buy any car that wasn't Japanese? I want one of these!!!
    Page: 1 2 >
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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