Opinions on Bachmann Spectrum?

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


KB02

Well-Known Member
Browsing e-bay and I cam across a Bachmann Spectrum loco, new in the box, WITH DCC installed for a pretty cheap price. Should I jump or let it pass?

One of the best locos I have is a Bachmann, but you just hear so much about their quality issues these days.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I haven't any Bachmanns, so can't comment on this particular model, but as all manufacturers produce good and bad at times, what is the model and in particular the manufacturers model number. Someone on here might be able to give you a personal objective review.
 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
Bachmann has a bad quality reputation from their older trainset models. Cheap junk basically. I have heard though that the recent Spectrum line models, while lesser detailed, actually run pretty good.

Willie
 

bnsf971

Gomez Addams
Staff member
I have a handful of Bachmann stuff. Depending on what it is, it can be either really good, or spectacularly bad. I have one of their 44 ton switchers, the new one with DCC. It is a good runner, though the type of decoder makes the motor hum at lower speeds. If it's cheap enough, you can get one, and swap decoder with a less buzzy one.
I also have a couple of their diesel "Heritage" engines, and they run very well. Another one I have is a 3 truck Climax geared steam engine. It runs really well, and almost makes up for the 2 truck Climax I had to return to Bachmann because the mechanism grenaded on it.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Browsing e-bay and I cam across a Bachmann Spectrum loco, new in the box, WITH DCC installed for a pretty cheap price. Should I jump or let it pass?

One of the best locos I have is a Bachmann, but you just hear so much about their quality issues these days.
You did not specify scale.... But the Bachmann Spectrum I have in N-scale, HO scale. and G gauge are absolutely the best value for the dollar. Off the top of my head in HO scale I have at least three of the 2-10-0 Russians, four or five of the 2-8-0s, a 4-4-0, and a couple 4-6-0s, and a 2-10-2. Some with DCC, some with DCC/sound some that are just DC. I could recommend any of them. I have a couple of the diesels but have not run them, so don't know what to say there.

In G-gauge I've got the D&RGW K-27, and two of the 2-6-0 locos. They are fantastic runners. The K-27 has been converted to have Phoenix sound system so I don't know remember what the factory sound was like.

In N-scale I had two of the 2-8-0s, and have an S-2 and an RS3. They 2-8-0s are DC only and they were the locomotive of choice for reliable running. The two diesels are DCC and stutter a bit. I've not diagnosed why. Could be dirty track, dirty wheels, or something else.

I do not have nearly as high an opinion of their rolling stock. I think Accurail is better value for the $.

What do you consider a "pretty cheap" price?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Genetk44

Active Member
I've had more good than bad Bachmann locos. The 44 and 70 tonners are old tooling and a bit noisy but run pretty well. I have 6 Spectrum locos and all are very good runners and quiet.
 

logandsawman

Well-Known Member
I just purchased a Bachmann switch loco a couple weeks ago. I googled it first and read several reviews, all good. The body is very nicely detailed and it is a tad louder in operation than the Bowser.

Here it shows in a photo:

contest 007.jpg

It was a good value for around $90.
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
Years ago I wouldn't have given two cents for anything from Bachmann, but in recent years that have come a long way, they had to. I picked up a GE 44 ton switcher years back after seeing suprisingly good reviews on the Spectrum line. It ran so much better than anything I have seen from them. Being that it ran so well, I picked up a few more. A gas electric doodlebug, a three truck shay, a 2-8-0 consolidation and a 2-10-0 decapod. The 2-8-0 really impressed me at how well it ran and how well it pulled.

The 2-10-0 was a bit disappointing. It's fine on level track, but put a grade in front of it and it turns into a real wimp. I never bothered to letter it for my freelance railraod. The three truck shay is an impressive running locomotive, but there have been problems with the gears on the trucks. I haven't had any, but there have been reports of many gear failures. All of my Bachamnn locomotives are DC with the exception of a 2-6-0 Mogul and an Alco S-4 switcher which are DCC models. They run exceptionally well but I am not really into the sound and they do draw a lot more amperage than my DC locomotives. I believe that these are Spectrum models also.

So long as it's a newer Spectrum you should be in good shape. Click on the Switching at Churchill video below to see the Alco S-4 in action.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Selector

Well-Known Member
There are many buyers of the Spectrum class of Bachmann locomotives. Generally, they are, or can be made to be, good runners. The detail is good. They do have one stand-out plug, though, and that is their Class J 4-8-4, the streamlined Norfolk & Western Northern Class. I purchased on on eBay, ran it around the layout for several days trying to break it in, and in the end sold it because it still had that lurch I couldn't get rid of. I have a friend who has many brass trains and plastic ones, who does his own repairs and decoder installations, and he said he had to give up figuring out what was wrong with the J when I gave it to him for his assessment. Later I learned that too many other purchasers of the Spectrum J had the same experience.

The Spectrum 2-8-0, 4-8-2, 2-6-6-2, and their new EM-1 2-8-8-4 have excellent qualities and reputations. Don't buy their J.
 

Lame9910

Member
I have a Bachmann gp40 and the thing isn't that great on dcc noisy at low speeds. Great on a DC track though.

Sent from my 0PJA2 using Tapatalk
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Back in 2012 I bought four Bachmann GP9's painted in the B&O dark blue scheme, $50 apiece, from MBKlein. Since Kleins is a 35-minute drive from my house, I was able to run each loco on their test track before committing to purchase it. Three of the four ran very well, the 4th one had a Bluebox-style 'growl' so I rejected that and tested a 5th one which was good so I bought it.

All-in-all they look good, except they don't have grab irons [I added my own] and, if you are a rivet-counter like myself, the louvers on the sides of the long hood are totally wrong - I wound up correcting that as well. But they are definitely great pullers; I generally consist two of them with one of my sound-equipped Genesis geeps and can pull some pretty decent-length trains.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
They do have one stand-out plug, though, and that is their Class J 4-8-4, the streamlined Norfolk & Western Northern Class.
I did not know that the J (or the Overland or the GS4 for that matter) has ever been released in a Spectrum version. I thought it was only a base class Bachmann.
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
I have a Bachmann gp40 and the thing isn't that great on dcc noisy at low speeds. Great on a DC track though.

Sent from my 0PJA2 using Tapatalk

You know, that's funny as I have a GP40 that has been a great runner on both DC and DCC.

The model I am looking at is their Dash 8. DCC installed for $70. Still the question if it can handle my tight corners, though.
 

Lame9910

Member
Well I picked up a SD40-2 today and I will tell ya she doesn't like my turns on my layout. More specifically the switches. She rubs on the through and gets stuck because of the snow plow. So not really the turns. Just when it passes through the switch I should say.

Sent from my 0PJA2 using Tapatalk
 

bnsf971

Gomez Addams
Staff member
Well I picked up a SD40-2 today and I will tell ya she doesn't like my turns on my layout. More specifically the switches. She rubs on the through and gets stuck because of the snow plow. So not really the turns. Just when it passes through the switch I should say.

Sent from my 0PJA2 using Tapatalk
The plow will foul the switch machine. Sometimes it will even throw the switch, if it is thrown in the opposing direction. Atlas used to make extensions for the machines so they would sit further away, and not get tangled up in pilots or plows. I have several high-end engines that do the same thing, so it's not a Bachmann thing.
 

NH Mike

CEO & Wheel Cleaner
I have 2 Spectrum HO 44 tonners - DC, and a 70 tonner DCC and they run very smooth at all speeds and are quiet. The 44 Ts are the later run with the single motor running shafts to each truck. The 70 tonner has been run at a friend's layout which is DCC and it runs well there also. Also have an older H10-44 that runs well but is fairly noisy even after careful cleaning and lubing.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
I did not know that the J (or the Overland or the GS4 for that matter) has ever been released in a Spectrum version. I thought it was only a base class Bachmann.

I purchased mine from someone on eBay maybe six years ago now. Nice loco to look at, and it actually moved pretty nicely at speed, but under 20 scale mph it lurched noticeably. It was a DC model, but with a decoder installed it didn't improve...sadly. Here is one listed on eBay recently.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bachmann-Sp...602687?hash=item1eacc4e0ff:g:PlkAAOSwh-1W4F0u
 

Mattchu60

Member
I think the newer Bachmann Stuff is pretty decent, the decoders included are horrible if its DCC equipped, take it out and put something good in and you'll be much happier. Had a few engines that would be cranked up to 50-60 on the digitrax controller and would slow to a crawl on hills with a small load. I had one of their C&O mountains that was a basket case, lots of problems. Then I got a 2-8-0 spectrum and is a smooth runner, very nice. The 2-8-4 they make is also very good.
 




Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top