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This page is created to hopefully point beginners in the right direction.
Some of the First questions that a Beginner may ask is: “What Brand should I buy?, What Scale should I run?, What is a scale?, Should I buy brand New or Second Hand?, Should I buy a Pro Kit or a RTR (Ready to Run)?, Should Go with Nitro Power or Electric?, what the hell does ^That all mean?
Well the answer to these questions is not really that simple. It depends on a lot of things. Obviously, one consideration will be your budget. The other is what kind of driving you like. The 4 main groups of Off Road RC Car Racing in Australia (there are other types of less common types of Off Road RC Car Racing) are 1/8th Buggy, 1/8th Truggy, 1/10th Buggy & 1/10th Short Course Truck. So while there are others i will just stick with these most common few. We’ll Start with 1/8th Scale buggy.
(below – Picture of 1/8th Nitro Buggy)
(below- Picture of 1/8th EP Buggy)
1/8th Buggy’s Are Powered by either 0.21 Cubic Inch (3.5cc) Nitro Engines or they can also be EP (Electric Powered) Generally Speaking. While nitro buggies can use smaller or larger size engines, generally speaking, most governing bodies of off-road RC car racing around the world stipulate that 3.5 cc / .21 cubic inch sized engines are the standard sized engine for 1/8th scale nitro racing.
Occasionally you will be able to purchase a ready to run car that has a smaller or larger size engine. However, come race day (For Official racing or when you get good) you will be expected to be running the standard size like everybody else. However, as a beginer and at ordinary club meets, chances are the club wont care what sized motor you run.
Electric 1/8 scale buggies simply use a 1/8 scale sized motor which is approximately equivalent to what is also known as a 550 size motor. These electric 1/8 scale motors come in many different forms. For example the number of magnetic poles, the number of windings and also the number of revolutions per minute per volt.
The number of rpm per volt is referred to as KV.
For example a 2000 KV motor. This means that for every volt applied, the motor will revolve at 2000 rpm so if you applied 10V you would achieve 20,000 rpm.
Together using different gear ratios you can fine tune the amount of torque that finds its way to your wheels and this will affect yout acceleration, top end speed, the heat your motor generates, and battery.
As an example let’s take a 2200 KV motor, this is a relatively high revving motor (by 1/8th buggy standards) and depending on your gear ratio you would most likely use this for a tight twisting short track with short straights. On the other hand an 1800 KV motor is a slightly lower revving motor and given the right gear ratio could be set up for slightly slower accelerations but a higher top end speed. If you were to do the opposite to the above mentioned you would ovberheat your motor and put your ESC (Electronic Speed Controller) under high load, possibly too higher load. This is a slightly complicated issue but one that many drivers are familiar with and will be only too happy to give advice on this subject to new drivers. There is also a wealth of information around the Internet and on common RC car racing forums.
The difference between Nitro Power and Electric Power is quite vast. For example, a Nitro engine delivers its power via a clutch system. This means that when throttle is applied there is a slight jolt of instant power given when the clutch engages. An experienced driver will learn to tune this out through the use of clutch springs radio settings and clutch pad materials, but to get the combination right can take a lot of trial and error. Or another example could be that Nitro Engines power is not Linear. Its on a curver. At low RPM the motor delivers very little power (the clutch also healp get the car moving by allowing the RPM to increase before the clutch engages) but at higher RPM delivers more power. Maximum power is found in a very narrow band of RPM called the “Power Band”
Electric powered drivers experienced no such dilemma. Electric powered buggies deliver their power directly to the drivetrain, meaning there are no clutches (although some smaller scale cars do use a type of clutch (but mostl NOT 1/8th scale). Also, an electric motors power is almost linear. This means that the power and torque is almost the same right across the RPM Range. How hard or fast this power is applied can be tuned via the radio system as well as the drivers throttle input. It can also be programmed into the electronic speed controller. to put it simply, an electric powered buggy can deliver power to the ground much more smoothly than a Nitro buggy and with much less research or trial and error than their nitro counterpart drivers.
A number difference between the two power sources is that electric motors need far less maintenance and if looked after correctly generally last much longer than their Nitro counterparts. They also cost less. Although this doesnt take into account the high cost of Competition level RC Car Lipo Battery’s. The truth is that in almost every way electric powered buggies are much better. But for us petrol heads it’s just not the same. There’s nothing quite like racing, and making a lot of noise and smoke, oh and I nearly forgot, a lot of smell. LOL.
At the pro level Nitro engines are also far more expensive to purchase than their electric counterparts.
(below – Picture of 1/8th Nitro Truggy)
1/8th Truggy’s are in many ways Similar to buggy in terms of their lay out under the body. Clearly the Body is different. However, Truggy’s have Longer Arms, Larger Wheels and are heavier. They use the same size Engines and Motors as Buggy’s but are tuned differently and often engineered specifically for Truggy. They also use Different Gear Ratios to Buggy. Because of their longer Suspension Stroke, their larger wheels, and heavier weight, Truggy’s are far easier to drive than buggy. Compared to Buggy’s, Truggy’s react to bumps, stones and road imperfections in a much more stable and forgiving manner. This does not make racing easier, as the other Truggy drivers are experiencing the same thing you would if you chose to race Truggy, however there are slightly less crashes than buggy. There are also slightly less drivers too, because Truggy’s are Quite a way more expensive than Buggy. Most Notably Tire Costs are as much as 1/4 to 1/3 more than buggy. The Vehicle Kits themselves initially cost more than their buggy counterpart.
1/10th Shortcourse Trucks are often thought to be a good entry level vehicle, however very few people are racing these at our local clubs at this present time. If you are not from Northern Victoria and are just using this Page as a guide, then you really need to go to your local club and see what everyone is driving and ask plenty of questions. Most of the drivers there (if they are not too busy) will be only too happy to answer your questions. They will want you to buy a car and get involved. It is in there best interests to help new drivers get into the hobby. Sometimes, they may even be able to sell you a complete Second hand Setup, consisting of everything you need to get racing. This is a Far Better Option than buying a Cheaper RTR (Ready To Run/Race) Vehicle. RTR Vehicles are usually made of much cheaper materials and power trains. The Vehicles you see at the track racing will rarely be ready to run. if you buy a ready to run vehicle and then later buy a pro level vehicle, you will end up spending far more money in the long run. For your first vehicle you should try to purchase a second hand Pro Level Vehicle from someone you can hopefully trust at a local club. Make sure it includes a complete running car (with spares), and a Transmitter and Receiver. Find out from that person what else you might need. Then ask around on the internet or other people what they think of what this person has offered you. Pro Level Race vehicles of the Big Brands will be far more durable than most ready to Run Cars, meaning it will give you many years of enjoyment with very few broken parts (unless of course you drive it like a crazy person) But in just regular racing, a pro level car will not break very often at all. Especially if you regularly inspect it and perform regular maintenance.