Team Energy A7X 1/7 scale racing buggy
When I was asked to review the A7X 1/7th scale racing buggy, I was definitely entrigued. A 1/7th scale racing buggy? What would that look like and what class could it be raced in?
Hopefully we can answer these questions in this review.
There’s no doubt, the A7X is a big buggy. It’s large knobby tires look huge, the compound is medium-hard, and the soft inserts don’t give the rubber much support. When dealing with RTR vehicles, I understand the RC companies usually include medium to hard compound tires to allow for long wear on a large range of surfaces, including pavement. So these tires are right inline with that.
The large 1/7th scale body came with most of the decals applied and the red/black colors look pretty cool.
Underneath the body shell, the steering servo and ESC can be found on the left hand side, while the brushless motor is positioned on the right side. The two battery compartments are positioned toward the read of the chassis and Velcro is used to secure the batteries.
One of the first things I did while photographing the buggy was remove two of the wheels and tires to get a better look at the suspension components. Well, I should have said I tried to remove a wheel. I almost couldn’t remove the left front wheel nut. There was so much thread lock on the nut, as I tried to remove it, the aluminum hex began to strip out the inside of the wheel hex. You can see in the image the amount of thread lock used.
Looking at the wheel nut, I’m pretty confident the rest of the screws in this buggy will stay in place.
The lower suspension arms are very beefy and, just by the looks of them, appear to be durable. Adjustable upper camber links allow for camber adjustments front and rear. The vehicle came with positive camber in the rear, which is almost never used for racing off road buggies. Positive camber in the rear will jeopardize rear straight line and cornering traction. I set it to 1.5 degrees negative camber (leaning the top of the rear tires inward 1.5º) before testing.
The camber links have right hand and left hand threads making it easy to adjust them in or out with the turn of a wrench.
Camber length and Roll center:
The front camber links have two outer mounting holes and two inner. The outer mounting holes offer an inner and an outer mounting position, while the inner mounting holes offer an upper and a lower mounting position.
The rear camber links have four inner and four outer mounting holes in a square patterns offering both side/side and up/down mounting options.
Adjusting the steering links is easy, thanks to the right and left sided threads.
Unfortunately, there isn’t adjustable steering Ackerman, but cast aluminum steering blocks are used up front for durability.
Wheelbase is adjustable via plastic shim on the rear outer hinge pin.
Four 18inch diameter, aluminum body, oil filled coil over shocks are used for dampening this heavy buggy. The front aluminum shock tower has four upper shock mounting holes, while the front A-arms have two lower shock mounting holes. The rear aluminum shock tower has five upper shock mounting holes and the rear A-arm has two lower shock mounting holes.
The oil filled shocks can be filled with different weight oils and different pistons.
Ride height is adjusted by threaded collar, thought the rear collar is all the way up with rear arms level. This doesn’t allow a lower ride height, with out modification, for high bite tracks.
Front, middle, and rear gear diffs can all be tuned with different weight diff oils.
The adjustable rear wing mount can be used to change the angle of the rear wing for more or less downforce.
The A7X buggy uses front, rear, and center oil filled gear differentials. On such a large buggy, the center differential will help protect the entire drivetrain. The gears are metal, including pinion and spur gears.
Steel dog-bone drive shafts are used in the A7X with CVD joints at the outer front hubs.
A Hobbywing WP-8BL100RTR 100A brushless ESC has a waterproof switch and uses single button programmability. The ESC is cooled by a constant running cooling fan. The large 540L (long) 2400kv brushless sensor-less motor is encased in a large cooling fin with fan mounting surface.
The standard size ND1015 metal gear steering servo is protected by an adjustable servo saver. The ND1015 servo has 15kg of torque and uses metal gears.
The A7X comes with two Team Energy 4000mAh 45C 7.4V 2S LIPO battery packs. You’ll need to provide your own charger capable of balance charging 2S LIPO batteries with banana plugs, preferably a charger that can charge both packs at the same time.
The batteries are held in place with three Velcro straps per pack.
I think the thing I’m most impressed with on this RTR kit, is the included radio. I was very impressed with the overall feel and quality of the GT3X 2.4GHz computer radio. Not only does it work great, it looks great too! From what I understand, the special edition gold color only comes with Team Energy RTR vehicles.
The buttons feel substantial and the top selector dial rotates nicely with just the right amount of drag. The drop down steering wheel has a comfortable foam grip. All the control surfaces feel solid and up to par. Everything has worked flawlessly on the radio so far and I didn’t experience any glitches or bad behavior during the entire testing process.
I have read online that several people ran into issues trying to bind the radio to additional receivers, but I can’t validate or deny that claim with this particular radio that came with my buggy, since I don’t have any additional receivers for it to bind to. However, if I do buy additional receivers in the future, I’ll make sure they are AFHDS with GFSK modulation like the one that came with it.
I guess I’m so impressed by this radio because it’s only a $59.00 radio currently on sale, as of time of this review, for $37.99. That’s pretty cheap, especially for a good quality radio. While the GT3X radio on sale may not be the same color, it looks to be the exact same radio otherwise.
The Transmitter offers features like 10 model memory, sub trims, servo reversing, thumb/finger trims, anti-lock brakes, exponential, end point adjustments, and dual rates. While most of these features are now common in todays radios, the GT3X also has crawler mode with 3rd channel mixing.
After charging both included LIPO battery packs, I headed to a couple local tracks to get some run time with the Team Energy A7X 1/7th scale 4WD race buggy.
I should mention, before leaving the house, I had already adjusted camber on all four wheels, ride height, and front toe. Though the rear shocks are already set to the lowest rear ride height possible (44.8mm), I still evened out the front shock collars for a consistent front ride height. OK! Let’s get to the track!
The A7X is quite a bit bigger than a 1/8th scale buggy, so no matter what track I went to, the buggy was a bit too large for me to drive to its full potential.
The track conditions the first day were wet in some areas and moist in others. Good thing this thing is water proof because it got covered in mud.
While I never get too excited about RTR kit tires, these had a promising tread pattern. The buggy wasn’t without traction, but it seemed like it could use a lot more. The rear end just seemed too loose. I was able to adjust my driving style, but it was in no way fast around the track. It was fun though! After running on the damp track a bit, parts of it had dried out creating dusty patches. Of course, whenever I hit a dry patch, especially in the turns, the buggy would spin out. I did notice the tires had lots of side bite on the moist dirt. It actually traction rolled in some areas.
The steering was sluggish, couple that with the size and weight of the buggy, and everything just felt delayed. After a bad landing, well, as you can see in the video, I’m not quite sure what happened. The landing actually looked soft, but with a bounce, followed by a somersault. This resulted in the steering servo being stripped. Check out the video to see the crash.
I opened up the stripped servo and the gears look to be brass or aluminum, as seen in the pictures. I quickly emailed for a replacement, and had a new servo in my mailbox a few days later. Though I didn’t have any failures from the replacement servo, I’m not convinced this big 1/7th scale buggy doesn’t need a steel or titanium gear servo.
After replacing the steering servo, I went to a different track that was consistently dry and dusty. It took some time getting used to the buggy on this dry surface and drifting seemed to be the only way to drive. The buggy obviously acted different on the dry surface. While it still starved for on throttle rear traction, it pushed while off throttle. I was extremely light on the throttle easing out of corners, but the buggy was still unpredictable and would often spin out. This meant I had to balance the throttle and steering, which is a common thing to have to do. When rounding a corner, if the front pushed too much I gave it a tiny bit more throttle, but too much throttle would send me into a tailspin. This sounds tedious, but I have to admit, it was definitely fun to do. I just wasn’t able to carry much speed around the track.
I am convinced however, the drivability will go way up with some serious suspension adjustments. Unfortunately there aren’t many aftermarket tuning parts for this buggy. For these conditions, it really needs lighter, or no, sway bars, lighter shock springs, and different tires. As the buggy comes, there’s not much body roll at all, while this is ideal for ultra high grip situations, it doesn’t fare so well on low to medium grip surfaces. Different tires would help a ton as well. I would even suggest a lighter center diff oil. I looked on NitroRCX to see if there were lighter sway bars and different springs available for the A7X, but unfortunately there weren’t. Looks like we’re driving with what comes in the RTR kit.
I drove on several different surfaces to test the buggies bash-ability.
The buggy did great in the grass, though it would traction roll some. I enjoyed whipping the rear end around and had lots of fun with driving the A7X in a crazy manner. This buggy seems at home in the grass, providing lots of excitement!
Dirt/grass banked oval:
The buggy looked well composed bashing around the dirt oval track. It was awesome drifting around the banked turns! There is definitely a lot of fun to be had bashing the A7X; it’s fun to drive and makes an exciting basher. It’s almost a dirt oval car trapped in a buggy body.
I was able to carry a lot of speed around the large banked oval. I still couldn’t be precise with the controls, but I didn’t care. I was having fun!
Because of its size, the A7X was able to drive over the gravel with ease. The large tires handled it like a boss.
Ok, before I give you my conclusion, keep in mind that this buggy is promoted as a race buggy, so I have to address whether or not this would be a good race buggy to go out and buy. Here is a quote I copied and pasted from Team Energy on their product page:
“Team Energy has developed an all new 1/7 scale racing chassis. This machine is built solid and sturdy to handle tough terrain while its suspension and controls handle like a precision F1 race car. This is a ready to run buggy that you can take to jumps for big thrills or take it to a track for top level racing competition. The A7X electric powered buggy has everything that a basher or racer would want packed into an amazing radio controlled racing vehicle.” NitroRCX.com
Because of this statement, I have to think of the teenage boy who is researching a new “race” buggy that he can be competitive with at local and “top level” RC races. I think all top level competition race buggies should have a few things in common.
- There should be a well established class for them to compete in
- There should, at the very least, be a small selection of upgradeable performance parts for the racer to choose from. (things like sway-bar thickness selection and spring rate choices.)
- There should be a large selection of tires to choose from that will directly fit the vehicle
The good news is, it looks like 1/8th scale 17mm hex Truggy wheels/tires will fit this buggy just fine. Sweet! Unfortunately, from my research, It looks like there aren’t any established 1/7th scale buggy classes and I couldn’t find any upgraded parts for the A7X, such as sway bars and shock springs.
So judging by these standards, I’ve got to say the A7X would not be a good choice for someone looking to buy a racing buggy they can competitively race with at top level racing competitions.
So what is the A7X? I think the A7X is a durable platform that you can have a lot of fun with. Through all my testing, all I broke was a steering servo. This large buggy definitely gets people’s attention and everyone wants to know what it is. “Is THAT 1/8th scale?” That’s the question you’ll likely get asked as I did. Lol
I would classify the A7X as a basher you can throw on the track whenever you want to. The buggies adjustability will help new hobbyists learn about setup, while building their confidence, for when they do decide to race RC competitively.
I would never dream of taking my full fledged “race” buggies outside and bashing them. But with the A7X buggy, I’m confident driving wherever I want to without worrying about the upcoming weekend events. If I feel like throwing the buggy down on the track to trash around, I’ll do it. I’ll also run it through the grass, gravel, pavement, dirt, and rubble.
This would be a great buggy for someone who likes to impress onlookers by tossing dirt and grabbing air. The RC dirt track at the local park is the perfect place for me to run this buggy. There’s pavement, gravel, grass, and a dirt track.
To close out this review, I want to point out that I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the GT3X radio system included with this buggy. It performed flawlessly, felt great in my hand, and feels like quality. I don’t see any reason to replace it as of the time of this review.
Well, I thought I was done with the review, and decided to let my 13yr old son drive the A7X in the front yard. He was at about 3/4 speed when he ran over a 5″ berm in the lawn, which caused the buggy to flip. Unfortunately, that was the end of the replacement servo. There is now no doubt in my mind that this servo cannot handle this large 1/7th scale brute of a buggy.