Here we take a deeper dive in the gear we use to go racing
The Gear Guide
This gear guide is designed to help all newcomers and club members alike. In this gear guide we’ll go through a range of different categories from choice of chassis to choice of tools and everything in between. With any hobby you really do get what you pay for when it comes to quality and performance of the products we use in this hobby. In this guide we will go over a multitude of different brands and products they produce. So sit back and get your notepad out because we’re about to fill your brain with some knowledge!
Chassis (Car Manufacturers & Models)
When it comes to race spec kits, there are a few standout brands that are well supported in SEQ either through local shops or at the track itself. Brands to consider are:
Team Associated (B74.1, B6.3, T6.2, SC6.2)
Team Losi (22-X4, 22 5.0, 22T 4.0, 22SCT 3.0)
PR Racing (SB401,S1 V3, V3T, SC201, SB401)
XRAY (XB4, XB2)
Schumacher (CAT L1 EVO, Cougar LD2, Storm ST)
Tekno (EB410.2, ET410.2)
Serpent ( SRX4 Gen3, SRX2 Gen3)
Yokomo (YZ-4SF2, YZ-2 CAL3/DTM3, YZ-2T)
Kyosho ( Ultima RB7, Lazer ZX7, Ultima RT6)
All these brands produce electric 1/10 scale kits at varying levels of quality and performance.
Some brands provide higher quality (but are more expensive) and are geared more towards more experienced drivers. Often these kits benefit the experienced racer with more aftermarket tuning options.
Some cars may be on the cheaper end of the spectrum (due to less exotic materials) but in no way does that mean that they are not equally as competitive in the right hands.
Out of all these cars they are broken down into classes. The classes are set up to have similar or the same type of car competing together. Each class of car has different characteristics. The main classes are Buggy and Truck. They are further broken down into the following classes.
Buggy: 2 Wheel Drive (2WD) & 4 Wheel Drive (4WD).
Truck: Stadium Truck (2WD) Short Course Truck/SCT (2WD or 4WD) and Truggy (4WD)
What classes are for you? You must decide what drivetrain style of car you would like to race. Each class has a different driving style and different characteristics. We’ll start with the 2WD class.
2WD is an excellent place to begin as it teaches you to carry corner speed and to find your flow around the track. In order to drive a 2WD car fast you must drive it smoothly and precisely.
4WD is a little more aggressive with its driving style but can also be a little more forgiving compared to the 2WD as all four wheels are being driven and provide significantly more traction. All other sub categories such as Buggy or Truck generally share similar characteristics between their 2WD and 4WD counterparts.
The Classes are further broken down into motor types.
Different motors provide different speeds generally. The two motor classes are Stock and Modified.
Stock class motors are determined by:
1. The drivetrain type and
2. The car type.
Stock 2WD Buggy uses a 17.5T motor while Stock 4WD Buggy uses a 13.5T motor.
(Tip: T or Turn, as in 17.5T refers to how many times or turn the wire is wound around the stator of the motor, lower turns less resistance/high rpm – higher turns more resistance/lower rpm)
The purpose of this is to create a level playing field when it comes to motor power output in order to make the classes more competitive. The modified (mod) class is an open motor class which means you are free to use whatever turn (T) motor you wish to. The only limiting factor is generally your Electronic Speed Control (ESC). If you run too low of a turn motor, you risk damaging your ESC due to too high of a performance motor being paired with it. For example, using a 4.5T motor on an 80 amp ESC that is rated down to 10.5T.
1/10 scale cars generally use a 540 size motor which relates to the size of the motor can and is the standardised size for 1/10 scale motors. They usually consist of a 3.17mm shaft that is also the standardised size for these motors but in some cases 5mm shaft can also be found on some motors. These 5mm shaft motors are sometimes found in older 4WD Short Course Trucks and will generally use a different pitch spur and pinion gear compared to the standard 48 pitch gears usually found on 1/10 cars.
There are a multitude of different motor brands available with some being better than others but interestingly motors are an area where you don’t always get what you pay for.
Some well known brands are, Trinity, Surpass, Team Zombie, Muchmore, Motiv, Maclan, ORCA, R1 Wurks, Reds Racing, Hobbywing, Fantom, LRP, Nosram, SKYRC, Team Powers, Tekin, Reedy, Dash.
When choosing a motor there is no right or wrong. A lot of the time motor selection is trial and error and involves buying and testing new motors to see what motor characteristics you like best.
One tool that isn’t a necessity but does help is a motor analyser to help set your motors timing to an optimal setting in order to get the most out of your motor (without overheating it) this is generally done by setting your motor to draw roughly 6 amps on a motor analyser. This will generally ensure maximum performance with less risk of overheating.
In order to also help with limiting the risk of overheating your motor is to gear it correctly, usually there is a gearing guide included with most RC car kits in order to help with this. If there isn't a gearing guide don't be afraid to ask someone running the same car what gearing they are running to help get you closer to the optimal setting.
Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
An Electronic Speed Controller or more commonly known as an ESC is the brains of your RC car and is responsible for your throttle and braking on an electric RC car. It is also the middle man for supplying power to the rest of the electronics as the ESC is directly connected to the battery and through the ESC it distributes power from itself to the receiver and to the servo and other axillary electronics.
Certain race classes require different ESC’s depending on the requirements for performance.
A stock class which for 2WD buggy is 17.5T and for 4WD buggy is 13.5T will require a less powerful and thus generally less expensive ESC compared to a modified class motor (anywhere from 3.5T to 10.5T). Generally you will be able to down to a 60 amp ESC for up to a 13.5T motor for stock but no lower as you risk the motor being too powerful for the ESC.
If you choose to run in an open class or modified class it is recommended to go for an ESC that is at least 120 amp. Every ESC is different and if you are unsure we recommend checking the specifications on the manufacturer's website to ensure the ESC is suitable for your chosen turn of motor.
Popular brands of ESC are as follows: Hobbywing, Tekin, Reedy, Dash, Maclan, R1 Wurks, Muchmore, LRP, Reds.
It is recommended that you choose a well-known brand with good local support in order to have the best experience.
Radios are a major investment when it comes to racing and can make or break your racing experience. Radios are the one area where you don’t want to buy the cheapest possible item.
The transmitter and receiver are your link between yourself and your car and it is paramount to ensure you have a good quality radio that is capable of doing everything that is required of it for racing. There are certain features that make life considerably easier when setting up and tuning your cars.
Firstly look for a radio with a screen. This helps greatly with simple things like, fine tuning your trim settings, End Point Adjustment settings (very important and often overlooked setting) and binding new receivers to your transmitter.
Secondly try to get a radio that has not only dual rates for steering but also for your throttle channel as this helps to obtain certain driving characteristics such as increasing or decreasing the throw of your steering or increasing or decreasing your brake range (this is important on 2WD cars to prevent the brakes from locking up the rear wheels and causing your car to spin out).
Lastly ensure your radio has End Point Adjustments or commonly referred to as EPA’s. EPA’s are the settings that limit how far your steering throttle turns and is an extremely important setting to ensure your servo lasts a long time as it prevents the servo from turning more than what the car physically can.
The brands of radio that are most popular and that are highly recommended are: Sanwa, Futaba, KO Propo, Spektrum. It is recommended that you get the best radio you can comfortably afford as a radio is a long investment and will pay for itself if it has easy to navigate menus and is comfortable and performs reliably.
To be continued….