Bachmann HO any good?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by wayerst, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. wayerst

    wayerst New Member

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    Bachmann is one of the big players in the UK alongside Hornby for your locomotive and rolling stock needs - after perusing the LHS I see some incredibly cheap (as in, half of what you'd normally pay for UK models) of HO outline. It's pretty much unthinkable that you'd get a DCC-equipped HO/OO loco for £30, but that's what it seems to be! Hell, most passenger coaches are £22 for UK stuff!

    So I'm asking, is it to good to be true? I've heard that Atlas, Athearn, etc. are much better, but are the Bachmann locos passable, mechanicism-wise?
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    The more recent Spectrums are pretty good runners.. On Monday this past week I was at a local shop making a purchasing decision on adding an F40PH locomotive to my roster, and the shop guys test-ran Kato and Spectrum F40PHs for me. The Spectrum ran quite well, was quiet and smooth, and pulled well. I bought the Kato only because the Kato had more accurate detailing (i.e. looked better).

    If the Spectrum had better detailing I would have purchased it over the Kato. But for people on a budget who need a reliable runner even though it is not top-notch lookswise, go for the Spectrum.
  3. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    Your question comes up quite frequently on The Gauge. The general consensus is that, Bachmann Spectrum loco's are good but the older stuff isn't so hot. I personally have seven Bachmann Spectrum steam locomotives in both HO and On30 gauges and find that they are well detailed and run with no problems. The older equipment is more toy train like . I would make sure of what is being offered for the price you quote.
  4. planeshavings42

    planeshavings42 Member

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    In My Humble Opinion

    I JUST RECENTLY SOLD A BACHMANN SPECTRUM 2-6-6-2, THAT DID NOT COME EQUIPT WITH DCC SOUND, AND THAT IS THE ONLY REASON I SOLD IT. AS FAR AS RUNNING, IT WAS VERY QUIET AND SMOOTH RUNNING!! AND IT HAD PLENTY OF POWER TO PULL 15 CARS UP A 3% GRADE. I THOUGHT THE DETAILING WAS VERY GOOD AS WELL. I JUST BOUGHT AN ATHEARN GENESIS CHALLENGER 4-6-6-4 WITH DCC AND SOUND TO REPLACE IT, AND IN MY OPINION THE BACHMANN WAS DETAIL FOR DETAIL NEARLY AS ACCURATE, ABOUT THE ONLY DIFFERENCE I CAN DETECT IS THE ATHEARN HAS A FEW MORE HAND APPLIED DETAIL ITEMS, BUT THE DOWNSIDE OF THAT IS THEY AREE V-E-R-Y DELICATE TO HANDLE, THAT BEING SAID, THE BACHMANN'S HAVING LESS HAND APPLIED DETAIL WORK HAS IT'S POSITIVE SIDE. I ALSO HAVE A COUPLE OF BACHMANN GP35'S THAT CAME DCC EQUIPT, AND AGAIN THEY ARE VERY QUIET, POWERFULL FINE RUNNERS, AND I THINK QUITE REALISTIC. WELL THERE'S MY 2 CENTS WORTH Y'ALL. :thumb: :thumb:
  5. wayerst

    wayerst New Member

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    That's all very reassuring - how will I know what's old and what's not? Modelzone (a chain of LHS) sells 30 year old Hornby moldings next to the latest releases due to the nature of the beast.

    Are there any that you could say are particularly good/pants? I'm looking for a switcher of some kind (RS1, GE-44, GP7/9, SW1000, etc.) and a 'mainline' loco like a FM H16-44 or EMD GP/SD loco. Any particular recommendations or things to stay away from?
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    Wayerst,

    Are you buying at a local shop (i.e. walk-in and take a look)? If you are and they allow you to examine the items before purchase, take a close look at the Spectrum GE-44. The older Spectrum GE-44 has two bogie-mounted motors and is the one you want to avoid. The newer one has one single center-frame-mounted motor and that's the one you want.

    As far as GPs and SDs go, the older Spectrums have a split-frame design and are the ones to be avoided. The newer Spectrums have a solid frame and are the good-running ones. You can usually tell by inspection if the shop allows you to.

    Good luck over there in the UK! :thumb:
  8. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

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    I agree with the other members, Spectrum is the best! One thing people has left out is their service. It is outstanding. I had a G scale locomotive fixed up like new. It only cost me $55. I baught the set off of Ebay for $50! I've had a few N scale locomotives for servicing. One of them they couldn't fix. They gave me a brand new one for FREE!! Quality and service, that's why I'll buy Bachmann products!

    Andy :wave:
  9. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

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    agree with the other members, Spectrum is the best!


    YOu are over charged on coaches there, try ebay or US dealers
  10. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

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    Spectrum is great! The newer DCC onboard offerings aren't too bad either. I have 2 of them and they run very well.
  11. hd8091

    hd8091 Member

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    Spectrum Steam = good
    Other than that they are so-so-,I would definately stay away from the early stuff.. It's crap IMHO. Be sure to cut the little resistors, Yellow, off the boards if you are going to run DCC.
    Tom
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    If it has factory installed dcc, it is fairly new. I saw some ft's by Bachmann in a local hobby shop for $30.00-$35.00. I don't remember for sure, but very inexpensive. They had all four wheels driving the locomotive and a drive system similar to Athearn with flywheels. It was basically the same thing they used to sell as Bachmann Plus. The old Bachmann's with the pancake motors and one truck driving are junk.
  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Yes! Those newer DCC equipped Bachman locomotives are very smooth runners.Still I would go the extra few dollars and buy a Athearn or Atlas.
  14. wayerst

    wayerst New Member

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    If I could buy them locally I'd definately spring for an Atlas/Athearn - but the fact that I can spend $30 down the LHS and have something to run around my layout while I build it means alot to me. I'll go with something that is DCC-ready or DCC-equipped - that way it's got to be fairly new.

    Thanks for all your advice!
  15. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

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    I haven't read all of the responses here, but I've seen Bachmann locos that retail for the bizarrely low price of $40 to $50 Canadian (about 20 to 25 Sterling). I asked about this once before, and most folks said they weren't bad while one guy said they should be avoided. Obviously, the detailing isn't quite up to snuff, but they should be reasonable.

    I've seen a nice CPR Bachmann diesel at a LHS for $49 -- every time I see it I'm a little tempted. I forget the type of Bachmann series, but it's not Spectrum. Spectrum seems to be a little expensive.

    At any rate, I'm still a little curious about what people think of these. Wayerst, you might want to look into this line of Bachmann as they do seem to be of reasonable quality.

    Thanks,
    Rob
  16. wjstix

    wjstix Member

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    Bachmann has two lines basically, the Spectrum line is their best stuff, and their...well I don't know that they have a name for it, but let's call it their "regular line" is the cheaper made stuff. It can be hard to decipher, for example their GP-30 was originally a Spectrum engine but now is available in their less expensive line (with decoder installed).

    When in doubt, you can always check their catalogue or website:

    http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/index.html
  17. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

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    Thanks! I have the impression that their "regular line" isn't that bad, especially for those on a budget. Rob