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Choosing Your First RC

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Hobby-Level - Page 2 of 3

RC buggy1/10th Scale 2WD Buggy
The first big offroad RC races in the 1980's were of 1/10th scale buggies, and though their sales have slowed in the United States, they're still popular among first-timers and experienced racers alike. Buggies are sleek and lightweight and thus very fast, agile, and efficient, making them an exciting challenge to drive at their limits.

Examples: Associated B4, Team Losi XXX

1/10th Scale 4WD Buggy
Take a sleek, lightweight 2WD buggy and double the number of driven wheels and you end up with a vehicle that can be driven much faster and with a completely different style. Not so popular in the United States, 4WD buggies are a somewhat elite class of vehicles owned mostly by professional racers. Their extremely spartan construction is meant to save weight for maximum speeds, but this tends to make them somewhat fragile.

Examples: Team Losi XXX-4, MRC SB Sport, Kyosho Lazer ZX5

Touring carTouring car
These are the RC equivalents of regular street cars and their racing counterparts. Riding just millimeters off the ground, they crave to be run on smooth pavement. They have excellent acceleration (sometimes better than their full-scale equivalents) and similarly good brakes and turning ability to make them masters of twisty, technical tracks and wide-open spaces alike.

Examples: Tamiya TT-01, Associated TC4, Team Losi XXX-S

Motorcycle
The RC motorcycle community is relatively small and close-knit and the number of choices on the market is limited. However, if you like real bikes, you'll love the scale RC versions. They stay upright on their own with the help of natural gyroscopic forces and lean in turns realistically. Some even have articulated riders.

Examples: Thunder Tiger Ducati 999R, Kyosho Hang-On Racers

Pan cars
These low-slung electrics have spartan chassis made from high-tech materials. Their power-to-weight ratio is astronomical and their handling on prepared surfaces is awe-inspiring. They are fragile and require very skilled driving, so they're really not for beginners

1/8th scale onroad
All-out racing machines, 1/8th scale onroads have tremendous power and traction. Their bodies are vaguely inspired by Le Mans style prototype racecars, but essentially they're just aerodynamic devices draped upon overpowered chassis. They can hit speeds in the 70-80mph range and turn at an incredible rate. Definitely not for beginners.

RC sprint carDirt oval
Boosted by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart's buyout of Custom Works RC, dirt oval racing is still going strong in some regions. There are actual full-on sprint cars and dirt late models available in both electric and nitro forms. If you want to get into this aspect of the hobby, find your nearest scale dirt oval track and spend your time there to learn what the preferred vehicles are and where to get them.

Drag racing
Any RC can be drag raced. It's great fun to outfit a car or buggy with tires & a body that makes it look like a hot rod or "pro street" drag car, but there is actually a whole segment of the RC community dedicated to sanctioned, scale drag racing, complete with "christmas tree" starting lights & top speeds pushing 100mph. The vehicles they run are generally either custom-made or built from highly specialized frames & components made in small quanties by experienced specialty vendors. There are, however, a few pure drag cars on the market for gung-ho beginners.

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