I received many emails from people asking questions about what they should buy as their first RC vehicle. There are so many choices on the market that picking the right truck for your needs may be difficult. If you want to enjoy RC, you better pick the right RC truck and this is why I made this guide!
Before you continue to read this guide, here are some of my thoughts about RC vehicles.
If this is your first vehicle, buy it NEW. You don’t need other people’s problems.
Almost all RC companies try to sell their vehicles by taking advantage of our need for speed. Don’t let their top speed ratings influence you. You really don’t need to go 50MPH !! Anyway 30-35MPH is fast enough for anyone, specially on a race track. Even top pro drivers don’t go that fast.
If you go with a Ready-To-Run (RTR) vehicle, be sure everything is included in the box. Some companies advertise their products as RTR but you need to buy extra stuff like glow starter, charger, … to be able to run the vehicle.
Don’t buy your first RC vehicle on the web like EBay or any online hobby shop. This is 100% sure that you’ll have many questions concerning your vehicle and they will only be able to help you with emails or by phone. Nothing beats real support. Go with your local hobby shop (LHS).
Talking about LHS, if you are lucky enough to have more than one LHS in your area, take the time to visit them and evaluate which one seem to be the best to help. Everybody can sell a RC vehicle but not everyone can help you later and be patient enough to answer all your newbie questions.
Go with a company that your LHS have parts in stock. If you choose a company that your LHS must order parts, this can take long before you receive your parts. There is nothing worst than waiting 2-3 weeks before getting a 2$ parts !
If you choose a nitro vehicle, be sure that you will not disturb your neighbourhood. Not because you like the sound of a nitro engine that means that all your neighbours like it too. RESPECT THEM. Also, remember that some cities have municipal laws concerning nitro RC vehicles.
Always run your vehicle safely. Almost all RC vehicles reach at least 25MPH, some can reach 50MPH. Imagine what can happen if you hit someone’s leg at 40MPH with a 12 pounds truck…
Don’t buy unnecessary hopup parts. For your first RC vehicle, forget about bling bling parts. Concentrate yourself on your driving skills and vehicle maintenance. Practice as often as you can to improve your driving skills. Other people will appreciate how serious you are and this will open you doors that you never expected.
Don’t go with the attitude that you are the best RC driver out there. Hey ! You are a novice, take time to learn and don’t be afraid to ask questions to experimented persons. We have all made mistakes and asked tons of questions when we started in the hobby.
RC can be frustrating for newcomers. Don’t let yourself be discouraged.
Buy good quality tools, especially hex drivers.
RCs are fun and they are a good way to share great moments and to make new friends. Personally, this is the best hobby. Have fun !
Identify your needs:
To identify what kind (2wd Buggy, Monster truck, Stadium, … ) of vehicle you need, The first thing you should ask yourself is what you will do with ypur RC vehicle ?
If you plan to mainly run your vehicle on grass or rough terrain, you should consider a vehicle with high ground clearance like a monster truck.
|2wd Buggy 1/10th||Those buggies are really fun to drive but their low ground clearance makes them best suited for track racing. They don’t perform well on grass or on rough terrain. There are not the best basher out there. Almost all 2wd buggies are electric.|
|2wd Stadium Truck 1/10th||There are very similar to 2wd buggies but with bigger wheels and this is why there are a little bit better bashers. There is as much nitro than electric vehicles in this category.|
|4wd Stadium truck 1/10th||There are better basher than 2wd stadium trucks because they are 4wd. However they have the same ground clearance and prefer smoother surface. They are popular bashing machines but there is no really race class for them…|
|Monster trucks 1/10th and 1/8th||There are the king for bashing, they can go everywhere, jump really high and are very impressive and spectacular. There are the best basher. A lot of aftermarket parts are available. There are few electric monster trucks but the most part of this category are nitro.|
|4wd buggy 1/8th||1/8 buggies are very popular, they are fast, handle great and are durable. There are best suited on a track or on a smooth surface. They can be bashed but they are at their best on a race track. All vehicles in this class are nitro powered. If you choose a RTR and plan to race, be sure that your engine is race-legal because many race tracks don’t allow buggy with engine bigger than .21 in the 1/8 buggy class. Most RTRs come with .28 engines.|
|The truggy category is new in the RC world. A lot of monster truck racers sold their big trucks to join the truggy class. They are fast, handle great, durable and 4wd. They are based on a 1:8 buggy chassis but with bigger wheels, strengthen chassis and wider stance. All vehicles in this class are nitro powered.|
Nitro or Electric ?
For newcomers or inexperienced persons, I suggest an electric vehicle. Their are less complex, more affordable and require less maintenance then nitro vehicles. Electric vehicles are basically plug and play. All you have to do is charge the battery pack and you are ready to go. Electric is the easy way to begin in RC, they don’t require special knowledge and their simplicity of utilization will let you time to learn how to tune and fix them.
Electric vehicles may be less spectacular than nitro vehicles because there is no smoke and no hi-revving engine sound but at least you are sure that your inexperience will not stop your engine from running.
In the case you have friends that own nitro RC vehicles and they are willing to help you to get started, a nitro vehicle can be a good choice for you because you’ll have resources willing to help you.
Here’s what you should know about nitro and electric:
Respect your budget
You saved enough money to buy your RC vehicle and you are ready to visit your LHS, always keep in mind that you may need some extra items. Some RTRs are not really Ready To Run and you’ll need few extra items. Manufacturers don’t have the same definition of a RTR vehicle, double check what’s the manufacturer included with his RTR.
Here’s some items you may need:
Ready To Run or Kit ??
Some vehicles are only available as Ready-To-Run, some are offered as kits and some can be purchased as RTR or as kit. Choosing between RTR or kit depends of your need.
Once again, if you are new to the RC world, I’ll suggest you to go with a RTR.
Here’s what you should know about RTRs and kits: