When it comes to deciding which RC car you’re going to spend your hard earned money on it’s a tough call, this is a short guide to first time buys, who I’m sure are overwhelmed by not only the choice but also the types of RC cars available.
In a nut shell there are two basic categories:
This is generally considered to be the most popular, off road have several different sub classes like Monster Trucks, Rally Cars, Bashers and Truggies, with the latter being a kind of on/off-road
This is my personal area of expertise, these are pure bred race machines built to eat tarmac, but it has to be good tarmac, even slightly ages parking lots will hurt these baby, the have the setup options that you’d expect to see on Nascar or F1 car, everything from camber to dampening can be adjusted.
There are also two main sub categories.
This is the starting point for most people, I would suggest that you give this a try before you dive into anything that has a internal combustion engine. They are easy to maintain, relatively cheap, don’t break half as much and are much, much cleaner. What these lack in power they make up for in precision, clip ever apex like a pro.
Nitro (a.k.a. Gas or Petrol RC)
The grand daddy of RC racing, these babies have incredible power, the Nitro engines also take a little getting used, unlike electric racers there is a slight delay in the throttle and breaking that you need to get used to, but if noise, smoke and power is your thing look no further. Nitro cars tend to not survive crashed as well as electrics due to the weight and speed at which the crash.
The basic rule of thumb is to stick to Electric until you are ready to race the Nitro’s they are insanely fast and a lot can go wrong, run out of batteries for example and the throttle might stick open. While on an electric the car won’t have the change to run away, with internal combustion it’s a different story…
So you’ve decided which main class you want, now you need to decide what the car will be used for, there is a huge difference between the weekend warrior who tears up his local parking lot and anyone who wants to take racing seriously.
A few tips on picking a good starter car:
2nd hand RC equipment has no resale value, which is good for you, look in forums and auction sites and you will save about 75% of the original cost, not to mention that most owners have several hops=ups and extra which they normally throw into the deal.
you need three things to get into RC, A Kit, The electronics for the kit (Speed controller, Receiver, Sero’s, battery packs) and a Remote
Building the car yourself is easy and can be done in about 8 hours, but for the birthday boy it’s best to get a RTR (Ready to race) as these most often come with all of the above, check the box before you buy it they will tell you what extra’s you need. A TT01 generally comes with everything you need apart from the remote, it’s worth spending a bit more on the remote as this is something you will use over and over again.
Make sure that you will be able to find spares and hop-ups for the kit. (Important)
The best place to buy is the internet, this is true without a doubt, you get the best variety and prices from online stores.
Stay away from Nitro (Gas) powered RC cars until you can drive an electric one, electric RC cars are easy and cheap to maintain and give a lot less problems overall.
Which car to buy?
Personally I’d recommend a TT01 from Tamiya, they have amazing support world wide, while the car doesn’t have the finesse of a carbon fibre racing beast it can still compete, winning RC events is about consistency, not tire warmers (yes you get RC tire warmers, blew me away the first time, but I still ended up beating most of the “Tire-Warming-Pro’s”
The next step up from there is a Tamiya TA05, this is a belt driven RC car, while the TT01 is a shaft driven, there are some differences, but I’ll leave that for a different article. The TA05 can also take any motor, so you can race in all three classes (Stock, Super Stock and Mod)
Using one of the above cars is cost effective and a good way to see if RC Racing is something you might like to take to the next level. Once you have selected your car it’s time to get involved, the best way is to join a local racing club…
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