High tech RTR track racer! 1/8-SCALE ELECTRIC 4WD BUGGY
Words: Greg Vogel
Photos: Walter Sidas
For those of you who follow the magazine, you may have seen the Team Losi Racing 8IGHT-E 3.0 review I wrote in the June 2014 issue. The TLR 8-E 3 is a competition grade vehicle capable of incredible race performance on the track. Beyond its performance it’s a great quality kit and just an enjoyable experience for drivers like me with a racing background. So now you may be thinking why is the guy that reviewed the competition grade 8-E buggy so interested in reviewing Losi’s new offering, the 8IGHT-E RTR? Well, its simple, Losi piqued my interest in this new buggy. It shares many of the same competition grade features as the TLR kit, but in RTR form. The Losi version comes assembled and with a painted body; that’s cool. It’s equipped with water-resistant electronics, great for the go-anywhere driver and they equipped this buggy with Spektrum’s AVC. There it is, the big reason. This is the first vehicle capable of being entered into organized racing from the Horizon Hobby with Active Vehicle Control. Will this cool driving assist function help get drivers of any caliber dialed in? I was certainly game to find out.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Losi
WHO IT’S FOR: Intermediate to advanced drivers
PART NUMBER: LOS04003
HOW MUCH: $659.99
BUILD TYPE: RTR
• Built off of a National Championship winning platform
• Comes with Spektrum AVC to help with stability
• Excellent electronics package that is water-resistant
• Highly adjustable race suspension great for play or race
• Cool racer-like styling from the body to the anodizing
• Red threadlock on the wheel nuts made wheel removal difficult
• Would have preferred aluminum shock caps over cost saving plastic caps
Losi took the high-end 8IGHT-E 3.0 platform and tweaked its components to make it affordable, all while offering it in a ready- to-run platform with a great electronics package that includes Spektrum’s AVC technology. This well priced combo will get drivers into E-buggy fun or racing easily and successfully.
• The chassis on the Losi 8IGHT-E resembles the TLR version in its aluminum material and shape, but it does not have the extensive mill work to lighten it or the hard grey anodizing, this chassis is anodized a cool black. Mud guards are bolted to the chassis on the sides from the top. Composite plastic center braces offer support for the front and rear ends and a composite upper brace spans from the gearbox to the steering posts. On the left of the chassis, the battery holder features three Velcro straps to secure the battery or batteries. Extra foam blocks and plastic plates are included to secure whatever battery pack option you choose. Then on the right side of the chassis, a large radio box protects the receiver and the servo bolts to its own mount.
• Well braced composite plastic suspension arms, hefty hubs and caster blocks, and strong camber links all make up the 8IGHT-E’s championship winning suspension package. Losi equipped the buggy with oil-filled coil over, large 16mm shocks. The shocks do have a composite plastic shock cap and standard shock shafts to help keep costs down, but the shock feel good and the bodies are hard anodized which we were happy to see. The shock towers are the same shape and have the same tuning locations as the TLR version, however these are anodized black for a killer race look. Losi even stepped up and included swaybars in the kit and a nice little detail we picked up on was the reverse threaded screw in the right front and left rear arm to secure the shock and not back out.
• In the steering department, the buggy has a plastic servo horn that is keyed to the servo with a cast aluminum insert to prevent it from stripping out. The horn pushes a short tie-rod to the bellcranks with built in servo saver in the main crank. An aluminum drag link connects the cranks and adjustable tie-rods extend to the steering knuckles. We did notice on our kit that the left ball end was in the up position which alters bump steer while the right was down. Make certain both large ends are towards the bottom.
• The drive system in this buggy is efficient and impressive for an RTR. The buggy is equipped with three gear differentials, all with steel gears and composite differential cups. The diffs are filled with oil of varying viscosities depending on the diff to help lay down the power. The diffs feature steel ring and pinions for better durability while a composite spur gear keeps thing running quiet and smooth. Dogbones are used in the center locations and in the rear to direct power through the line while universals are used up front for less drivetrain chatter while cornering under power. The motor mount is aluminum with a single screw to lock in the motor and the gear-mesh. The mount, like the wheel hexes and wheel nuts are all anodized black. Nice color choice, Losi.
• With most of the chassis and suspension details behind us, let’s talk about the go goodies. Starting off with the radio, Losi installs a Spektrum DX2E radio which is a 2.4GHz radio with the basic options plus a control knob that controls the AVC in this instance. Inside the buggy, there is a 4200 AVC receiver in the radio box and a Spektrum high- torque metal gear servo bolted securely in the servo location. Then for power, a Dynamite 130A sensoreless speed control with large fan and water-resistant protection dishes out power to the 1800Kv motor. The motor’s power rating is right on par with what many racers compete with. The ESC is fitted with EC5 connectors to handle the power, so take note of this when selecting a battery. This is one impressive overall electronics package.
• A brightly colored cab forward race body with center damn to help utilize air over the body comes cut and installed on the buggy with decals already applied. The only decal application left to you is on the Gen3 black spoiler, but unlike the TLR version a wicker-bill is not included on this kit. The body looks good; wing is good, now we can talk traction. The kit comes with a micro pin tire glued to yellow rims. This smaller pin tire means you can go right to a prepped track and probably get your buggy hooked up to race.The chassis plate is the same shape as its competition bred racing brother, the TLR 8IGHT-E 3.0, but is anodized black instead of grey.
Starting from the top left
There is plenty of room in the large radio box where the SRS4200 AVC receiver is taped in; you can place your transponder in here for racing. The Spektrum S605 waterproof metal gear servo featuers an aluminum center section and has plenty of torque to muscle the front wheels on this buggy. The long can Dynamite 1800Kv motor bolts to the aluminum motor plate and is secured to the motor mount/ bulkhead with a single screw that makes gear mesh adjustments a breeze. A 16T pinion mates up with a plastic spur so operation is quiet. Taped to the chassis in front of the battery is a Dynamite Fuze 130A sensorless electronic speed control. The system is waterproof; even the switch as its covered in a rubber boot. The switch was a little difficult to access so we relocated it to the chassis during testing. Here in the rear suspension assembly you can see Losi used dogbones instead of universals to lower some of the kit cost. The buggy also uses solid standard outdrives instead of lightened outdrives. The solid out- drives were used on many of TLR’s previous kits and work great. The same arms, links, steering knuckles, caster block and geometry found on the TLR 8-E 3.0 are used here on the RTR which means you get that race inspired handling. The wheel hexes are black and the wheel nuts are secured with red thread lock.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• Allen keys, large cross wrench, battery spacers, shock tools, turnbuckle wrench, bind plug, manual and 4 “AA” batteries.
• 3S or 4S LiPo Pack
• LiPo charger
• Dynamite Reaction 14.8V 5000mAh 4S 50C LiPo, DYNB3804EC- The Dynamite Reaction pack is a great pairing for the electronics package the 8-E RTR comes with, it offers great run time and power. Its red hard case offers good protection and the EC5 connector means plug-in-and-play operation.
• Dynamite Prophet Sport Duo 50Wx2 AC Battery Charger, DYNC2020- The Duo is a great charger for those who want to keep costs low in order to have two packs and have the ability to charge both. This charger can charge up to 6A and balances LiPo’s as well.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED
• 17mm Wheel Wrench Anodized Alum- LOSB4604
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• 16mm Aluminum Shock Cap (2), TLR243001- The stock composite caps didn’t give us any issues during testing, but if you crash a lot you chance pulling a plastic cap off the shock. Switching to the aluminum caps will improve durability.
• Servo Arm, Aluminum: JR, LOSA99030- A servo arm takes a lot of abuse since there is a lot of leverage on this part. Swapping over to a full aluminum arm will severely lessen the chances of a broken arm.
• Aluminum Rear Gearbox Bearing Inserts, LOSA4454- While most drive components are under a lot of stress from power and driveline shock, the way the off-set gear is stressed in the rear of the buggy puts pressure on the bearing supports. Switching from the plastic inserts to the aluminum will keep the diff well supported if you ever bump up the power in the buggy.
Out to Play
Since the Losi 8IGHT-E RTR is designed off a racing platform, I took the buggy to Wolcott Hobby and Raceway, our usual test track for 1/8 off-road vehicles. For this run, I swapped out the battery from the 3S Dynamite Reaction LiPo you see in the photos and ran a 4S Reaction pack. The AVC gain was dialed all the way up from the factory, but being Mr. Racer Guy, I dialed it all the way down to get a feel for the buggy in its natural state.
Instantly I noticed the buggy had plenty of rip when I punched the throttle, there was some wheel spin on the loose dirt that sent up a cool roost of debris which on the basher side of things delivers on excitment. The buggy accelerates hard and on the racing side of things, I see the power of the system is comparable to some of the competition buggies I see running on race days. On the back straight, the buggy topped out about two-thirds of the way down the track, but on the infield sections, it had plenty of speed to jet between corners.
In the handling department, the buggy felt a little unstable in the corners and through the jumps. The 8-E was loose in the rear and I found myself using a lot of steering and throttle corrections to keep the buggy settled. That’s when I decided to switch myself from Racer Guy mode and try out the AVC that initially caught my interest in wanting to review the buggy. I pulled into the pit lane, dialed the AVC control knob all the way back up on the Spektrum DX2E radio and headed back out. The buggy was instantly dialed in! It was a night and day difference. Instead of rolling back off way before turns to settle the buggy in to make a corner without spinning out, I was now entering corners much harder. The AVC takes over and does give the buggy a bit of a pushy feel, but I got the feel after a few laps, reworked my entry points to corners and was really putting in some fast moves. But what impressed me more was how much more stable the buggy was over jumps and through ruts. Any jumps that I did not hit correctly and sent the buggy awkwardly in the air kicked in the AVC and the wheels would turn to help pull the buggy out of bad dives. There were so many instances where I could plainly see the AVC working to maintain stability it was very cool. The AVC system really helped dial the buggy into the track and make my driving experience much more fun and fast.
After several more laps, I started to tweak the AVC controls to find the sweet spot between benefiting from the AVC and having a little more steering ability and the option to kick the rear around a little in the corners to lower my lap times. Somewhere around the 65% area of gain dialed in was where I found the buggy to work well. There was traction, great turn-in, correction when I needed it off of some big off-set jumps, the 8IGHT-E RTR was looking very impressive. This is a buggy with so many abilities that will suit so many drivers; good work, Losi. The only issue I did uncover on this buggy was minor. One was a front wheel nut was not fully tightened. When I went to tighten it, I discovered that the red thread-lock holding the nuts had a death grip on and caused the wheel to spin on the hex. I had to heat the hex nuts up with a heat gun in order to remove them.
SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
LENGTH: 19.6 in (497mm)
WIDTH: 12.1 in (308mm)
WHEELBASE: 12.7-12.9 in (323-327mm
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
BODY: Painted cab forward style
WHEELS: Yellow Dome
WHEEL ADAPTER TYPE: 17mm
TIRES: King Pin Style
TYPE: Lower arm with adjustable upper link
SHOCK POSITIONS: Front and Rear: 3-tower/2-arm
ROLL: Multiple tower and hub link locations
WHEELBASE: Adjustable at rear hub
RIDE HEIGHT: Adjustable via pre-load collars
MISC: Droop adjustment
TOE: Adjustable via tie-rods
TRANSMISSION: Shaft Driven
DIFFERENTIAL: Oil-filled gear diff
GEAR RATIO: 16T pinion/ 45T Spur
BEARINGS: Metal Shielded Ball Bearings
CLUTCH TYPE: None
Performance – Acceleration: 9
Performance – Steering: 9
Performance – Handling: 8
Performance – Durability: 8
Feature Breakdown: 9
Overall Value: 9
This isn’t your ordinary ready-to-run buggy, there is a whole lot more to it that makes it super attractive for bashers, racers or those who have to have the best of all worlds in a 1/8 buggy machine. The Losi 8IGHT-E RTR will certainly be a lot of fun in the basher world, launching off of high jumps and blasting dirt in unpaved lots. But who I really see this buggy working well for is the guy that wants to have fun at the track and grow into racing. The AVC in the buggy really helps with stability and grows confidence on the track. As the driver learns to drive, he or she can back off on the AVC gain to learn more manual control and eventually hit up an organized race, compete successfully and want to come back and race more. Losi put together one impressive ready to run package with the 8IGHT-E RTR.
Dynamite, distributed by Horizon Hobby, dynamiterc.com, horizonhobby.com (800) 338-4639 Horizon Hobby, horizonhobby.com (800) 338-4639
Losi, distributed by Horizon Hobby Inc., losi.com, (800) 338-4639
Spektrum, distributed by Horizon Hobby, spektrumrc.com, (800) 338-4639
Team Losi Racing, distributed by Horizon Hobby Inc., losi.com, horizonhobby.com, (800) 338-4639