RCU Review: Duratrax VW Baja Bug

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    Contributed by: Matthew LeMay | Published: June 2012 | Views: 41923 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Baja Bug


    Top photo
    Review by: Matt LeMay

    Matt LeMay



    Phone: 1-217-398-8970
    Fax: 1-217-398-7721
    Email: carsupport@duratrax.com

    Distributed exclusively by:

    Great Planes Model Distributors®
    PO BOX 9021;
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.gpmd.com


    Vehicle: Duratrax VW Baja Bug
    Baja Volkswagen Bug
    Scale: 1/10
    Drive: 2wd
    Fuel Source: Electric
    Length: 18.2 in (465 mm)
    Width: 9.5 in (240 mm)
    Height: 8.7 in (220 mm)
    Weight: 3 lb (1.36 kg)
    Motor: Photon Speed? 2 19T modified motor
    Speed Control: Sprint? 2 Plus ESC with LiPo cut-off
    Radio: Duratrax 2.4GHz FTR radio system by Futaba®
    Shock Type: Coil-over, oil-filled, plastic bodied shocks w/ metal caps
    Bearings: Yes

    Needed: 6 cell NiMH battery pack or 2cell LiPO pack & compatible charger. 4 AA batteries for the controller.


    • 2.4GHz radio system compatible with Futaba FHSS systems
    • Ball bearings
    • Amazing looking licensed VW bug replica body
    • Great for beginners
    • Use NiMH or LiPO
    • Doesn't come with battery


    Duratrax has recently taken on a new look. Not only with their logo, but also with their vehicles. First the Evader DT, with it's roll bar, mirrors, spare tire, and ice cooler, and now the VW Baja Bug with it's licensed VW body, side view mirrors, roof rack, and realistic engine. I am really liking the direction Duratrax has chosen with the added realism to their vehicles. It makes driving them that much more fun.




    The appearance of the VW Baja Bug is incredible. The design of the body is a licensed replica of the VW Bug, Baja Edition. The proportions appear to be spot on and the paint schemes you have to choose from are great. Did I say paint? Yes I did! The body is actually painted with real paint! This is more labor intensive than the computer printed method but the end result is worth it. The colors are deeper and seem to pop more. The stripe, VW logo, and lights are still decals, but that is to be expected.

    The added details are what makes this bug buzz. The roof rack includes a light bar and with a little work, can be drilled to accept LEDs. The side view mirrors along with the rear mounted VW engine finish off the look. The chrome intake, carburetor, air filter, exhaust manifolds, and belt cover help this VW power plant stand out.

    The body fits great on the Evader platform and the all-terrain tires truly make this VW Bug look like it's ready for the Baja.


    The proven Evader chassis was used in the Baja Bug. I have two other Evaders which I have put a beating on and still have not broken a single part. Duratrax is so confident in their MagnaFlex?plastic components, they are backed by a 1-year Stress-Tech? Guarantee!

    Like the other Evader vehicles, the Baja Bug is equipped with the same front bumper. This bumper not only looks great with its three light buckets, but it does a great job of absorbing impact.

    Battery Tray:
    The battery tray is situated in the center of the chassis and can hold 6-7 cell NiMH stick packs or a 2s LiPo. The plastic battery strap slides into place at the rear and is held in the front by a single clip.

    The chassis is simple to work on and it's great for a beginner because it uses Phillips style cap and button head screws.

    Lower H-Arms and upper adjustable links are used for both the front and rear suspension.

    Plastic oil dampened coil over shocks are used. Metal caps help keep the oil inside where it belongs. Plastic collars are used to set ride height.

    Plastic Quality:
    Duratrax plastics are some of the best in the business and Duratrax knows it. That is why they back their StressTech? parts for one year, so if you break one, they will replace it. You can't ask for a better guarantee!

    Drive train:

    The Baja Bug's transmission can be easily accessed without having to remove the motor or adjustable slipper clutch.

    Inside the transmission are two metal gears and a plastic differential housing. The six metal gears inside the differential are smothered in grease for smooth operation.

    The adjustable slipper clutch is of standard design using spring loaded pressure plates and friction pads. A black plug in the picture above can be removed for easy slipper clutch adjustments.

    The Baja Bug uses dog bone drive shafts which are centered with a small spring placed inside the diff and axle cups. This is a great way of ensuring smooth axle performance. Just be sure not to lose them during disassembly.



    Radio equipment:
    The included Duratrax 2.4GHz radio system is compatible with Futaba FHSS systems. That means if you have your own Futaba radio you would like to use, but your only receiver is in another vehicle, no problem. The Futaba FHSS 2.4GHz transmitter will bind with the Duratrax 2.4GHz receiver in the Baja Bug. That's great news for those of you with expensive Futaba radios.

    The Duratrax 2.4Ghz transmitter offers steering and throttle trims, channel reversing, and steering dual rates. A cool feature on the Duratrax radio is the lack of any antenna at all. Now there is no need to worry about some of the younger enthusiasts, or maybe some of us hyper older ones, breaking off the antenna.

    The 2.4GHz receiver is housed inside a watertight receiver compartment. While I don't recommend submerging the vehicle, it can be driven through puddles without destroying your receiver.

    The waterproof Sprint? 2 Plus brushed ESC can be used with 6-7 cell NiCD and NiMH packs and 2S LiPo batteries. Automatic set up makes using the ESC a breeze. Be sure to read all the instructions for tips and safe use practices.

    product highlight

    Onyx 6-cell NiMh 2000 Mah battery pack

    Onyx batteries are a good choice for the Duratrax VW Baja Bug. A 2000 Mah pack provides plenty of power and good run times. Full out throttle will give around 13-15 minutes. While trail riding (going slow and stopping alot) I was able to squeeze 45-50 minutes out of a single pack.

    Check out website


    Performance & Handling:

    The Duratrax Baja Bug is incredibly durable. I'm not saying it's impossible to break it, but I have three of these Evader chassis based vehicles and after continued abuse from my 9yr old, I have yet to see a single broken part. They are tough!

    Now with the Baja Bug, you can introduce mudding or puddle jumping into your daily drives. This buggy is incredibly fun and very durable.


    Stability and Cornering:

    The Baja Bug has no issues when it comes to stability. This was designed to be a fun vehicle so I won't compare it to champion bred race vehicles. That is not what the Baja Bug was designed for, it was designed to bash and have a blast doing it. The Baja Bug accomplishes that with ease. Not only does it handle well, it looks great doing it.

    The coil over shocks performed well and without leakage. The Bug is a little on the bouncy side and some thicker shock oil and perhaps some lighter springs will soften the suspension a bit.

    The steering servo performed great and steering was responsive.

    The realistic all-terrain tires are just that, all-terrain. An all-terrain tire does well on all surfaces but doesn't excel at any. These all-terrain tires are no different. They perform well on all surfaces including, pavement, concrete, dirt, short grass, gravel, and mud. They also look great!


    Acceleration and Braking

    The Baja Bug has plenty of acceleration and top speed for a brushed vehicle. I would say they are inline with other brands. It's easy to spin the tires on most surfaces and top speed is admirable. I managed to get some wheelies going on several occasions.

    Braking is a good mix of semi aggressive and manageable control. While it's easy to lock up the rear wheels on dirt, braking is much smoother on a hard surface such as asphalt. There is no doubt locking up the tires and spinning that baby around is still possible on any surface.



    Driving the Baja Bug on the trails!


    The Duratrax VW Baja Bug is a great looking and performing vehicle. I like driving any RC vehicles, but when your wife, for the first time ever, says "I want that one!" you know they did something right. The Baja Bug is a great vehicle for any one. Beginners, Intermediates, Experts, and those wanting to get their wives interested in the hobby.



    manu and credits

    Phone: 1-217-398-8970
    Fax: 1-217-398-7721
    Email: carsupport@duratrax.com

    Distributed exclusively by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors®
    PO BOX 9021;
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.gpmd.com


    Comments on RCU Review: Duratrax VW Baja Bug

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    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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