Go at any race tracks and you’ll see a lot of 1/8th scale buggies and truggies, they are extremely popular. All companies involved in the RC industry invest a lot of money and energy into this 1/8 scale off-road racing. The car, tires and engines manufacturers are all hungry for victory. They all want to be on the highest step of the podium. A quick look at most of the manufacturers’ web sites is enough to realize that the majority of the RC industry focuses on 1/8th scale off-road racing. This leads me to this question. Have they killed the RC industry?
This is a tough question. I’ve had hard times to make my choice between a positive and a negative answer. In both cases, my arguments were good and defendable. To push my quest for the truth regarding the impacts of 1/8 scale on the rest of the RC industry. I have asked the same question to few of my friends and on different forums.
Few years back, the most popular vehicles on race tracks were 1/10th scale gas trucks, electric 1/10 2wd buggies, electric stadium trucks and monster trucks. With time, racers switched their 1/10th scale vehicles for 1/8 buggies and traded their big monster trucks for truggies. Newcomers were also attracted by the ease of driving, the durability and the look of the 1/8 scale buggies and truggies. Buggy and truggy are easier to drive (and to look good) than 2wd vehicles. It greatly helps when you get into racing. This phenomenon have forced 1/10th scale race tracks’ owners to adapt their track for 1/8 scale racing. Some of those who didn’t make the move had no other choice to close due to the lack of popularity of 1/10 scale racing.
Meanwhile, all car manufacturers added at least one buggy or truggy to their products list. Some added high performance vehicles, others preferred to go with RTRs. The entire market was invaded by buggies and truggies. Seeing this situation, aftermarkets parts, engines, tires and all others companies have focused their products development and marketing strategy to satisfy the increasing demand for 1/8 scale products. After all, RC is not just a hobby, it is also a business. It is all about supply and demand.
What is going on with 1/10th?
Well, the 1/10th scale racing still alive. Depending of your location on the globe, many tracks still opened. The tendency is that indoor race tracks are more popular during the cold winter season. Racers let their 1/8 scale vehicles on the shelf and start racing 1/10 on smaller indoor tracks. The new and extremely popular short course trucks are exactly what it takes to revive the 1/10 electric category. Manufacturers and others RC companies put money and time to get into SC trucks scene. RC fans and companies will make the SC trucks the next big hit.
What about bashers?
All I have talked about previously were oriented to racers but what is going on with bashers? I call bashers all people who don’t race on regular basics. People who loves RC but prefer to run their vehicles everywhere else than on a race track. The 1/8 scale mania has not really hurt the bashers. Yes, they have bought buggies and truggies but they are also still riding their 1/10th scale vehicles and monster trucks. The popularity and all the marketing associated to 1/8 scale have increased exposure and have made RC more popular and, like with the racing scene, more people gets involved into RC. Bashers are the majority of the RC vehicles owners. Roughly, 70% of all vehicles sold will never see a race track. Bashers are influenced by what is going on on race tracks but not as much as racers are.
Uuumm, I can’t tell with exactitude what the future will be. When I take a snapshot of the present RC industry, I believe 1/8 scale (especially with the LiPo batteries and brushless motors) will still extremely popular on race tracks and will continue to lead the “race” part of the industry for next years. The arrival of the SC trucks will revive the 1/10 scale category from an emminent death in certain areas where 1/10 scale has known better days. Don’t be surprised if the 1/10 electric vehicles become more popular. They still extremely fun to drive and the addition of LiPo batteries and brushless motors lowers the maintenance and increases the runtime. This is exactly what most newcomers are looking when getting into the hobby.
I can do a selfish person of myself and tell you that I don’t care about the 1/10th scale as long as we have racers on the tracks but this is absolutely not me. The hobby have never had as much exposure that it gets at this moment. The hobby exploded in the last years for two main reasons. The vehicles are more affordable and durable than few years back. The second reason has more to do with marketing and exposure. To a certain point, this is “normal” that RC is getting more popular because more peoples ride them and eventually are seen by more potential RC enthusiasts. This provides an exponential effect on the entire hobby. Now, let’s go back to our vehicles no matter the scale and let’s ride them on race tracks or in our backyards.