We were browsing the local hobby shop tonight and something popped out to us that normally we took for granted. A young boy was looking at the different RC’s and had finally settled on a short course truck. (good choice we say) He then made his choice almost instantly and almost exclusively by the speed posted on the outside of the box. This is of course where we jumped in and decided to give his mom a little help. We explained that there are several factors that go into how fast an RC can drive and they almost never come out of the box as fast as they claim.
On a side note we just ordered our very own track timing kit so were going to be able to put these things to an actual test!
Most Ready to Run model trucks do in fact come with a battery, normally a Nimh. When you look at the outside of a box, say a Traxxas 4X4 it is going to say something like 65mpg top speed. What they don’t tell you in as obvious a way is that you have to fork out another 40 bucks to get the Lipo battery that is going to be able to run that speed.
Pay attention to what the required equipment is to reach the speeds you want. Lithium Polymer batteries are the new hotness in the RC world and come in a wide variety of cells. The more cells you go with the more speed you get, you will want to make sure what your speed controller can handle though before running out and buying a 4S lipo and torching your RC motor.
Another thing most people who are first getting into the hobby typically don’t know about is in order to get a higher top speed you much change the gearing. There is a give and take when it comes to the type of gearing you choose to run. In exchange for higher top speed, you are going to sacrifice acceleration. In order to hit the top speeds most vehicles claim you are going to need to gear them to a point where you wont use it for much racing other than straight driving.
Making The Right Call:
As a general rule you can avoid disappointment if you don’t choose your RC solely on top speed. Think about other important things like how you are going to use it. In a lot of ways it is kind of like when you buy new cars, they often claim certain Miles Per Gallon but that is typically on some sort of closed course with a 60lb driver, no seats, and the wind at their back…well you get the point.
RC’s have the same downfalls, we are not saying it is a lie, we have put most of them to the test and it is true, most of them can reach their top advertised speeds. It’s just that you will want to pay more attention to overall features and how closely it meets your driving style or what you want to do with it.