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Old 11-14-2016, 01:03 PM   #1
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Default 1/10 On-Road Racing - How cheap can it be done? Lets get new drivers hooked.

TL;DR: What's the cheapest way to get people racing? How can we make it cheaper? Used is not an option.

Lets set the scene. I walked into the new RC car track and I wanted to find out what classes they were intending to run. I asked, and I got told VTA is the way to go. It's the cheapest to get in, it has the lowest consumables costs, and it's incredibly popular.

http://www.windycityrc.com/ in case you were wondering. They're run by good people, and have good prices, and a good facility.

Getting into VTA, from scratch, is really a $600 proposition. Between the $150 car, $40 in tires, $30 body, $200 in electronics, $100 radio, and a $30 battery... Then there's taxes. And this assumes you're a person that has glues, paints and tools already.

And as I found out later, this doesn't include the cost of a transponder.

$600 to get into a hobby is pretty steep. Especially when you're going to be ~bad at it~ for a long time.

The usual answer is "buy used!" Well there are a long string of issues with buying used. Most importantly, you have no real idea of what you're buying. It could be abused, could be worn out, could just be a bad choice of chassis. As a new driver, you don't know what parts you need to stock, and you're likely to have one good crash, and be out for the weekend.

I bought a TC4 to run VTA at windy city, because the parts are ~all~ stocked there. There's nothing I can do that's going to leave me in a lurch.

There are a couple options I can see. First is to find an already produced car and build the class around that. Second, is to break out the CNC and start turning out staggeringly cheap pan cars.

The M05 Option:

Entry cost: $250
Pros: In production, pre-existing parts support, can move onto Tamiya Cup.
Cons: Upgrade-itis, cheater parts, body options.

I've done a bunch of digging, and it appears that the cheapest 1/10 cars on the market that have any support of support system are the Tamiya M05 cars. They're $99-150, and come with a 550 motor and ESC. They also have essentially fixed gearing.

The M05 chassis has some challenges. First, they only accept roundcase LiPo packs. This means taking your battery to the next car becomes less easy. Second, they don't have adjustable suspension geometry. And finally, they have shocks at all four corners.

Shocks on all four corners sounds like a good thing. But I'm not sure that this is the case. Having more things to adjust isn't necessarily good for a first timer.

The aftermarket is also very rich, which introduces the possibility of pay to win, or cheating. I don't like those.

The Bolink (RJ Speed) Pan Car Option:

Entry cost: $390
Pros: In production, pre-existing parts support, can move onto other pan car classes.
Cons: Not a good investment.

I'm considering the Digger type chassis as a "pan car" chassis. RJ speed has several cars that have either no suspension, or kingpin and flex plate alone.

Pan cars are great, in that there's not a whole lot to do to them. You can smear some grease on the kingpins, you can change the grease on the damper pad. Perhaps you've got one big shock to handle most of the chassis load.

Costs for racing a pan car: $160 car, $20 servo, $30 ESC, $12 motor, $30 battery, $100 radio. And if the stock tires aren't the class tires, we're down out to about $400.

Now this isn't a good investment, because pan cars have moved on, and now have shocks, upper control arms, and various other suspension setups. The old flex plates are dead tech. While technically legal for the classes, they aren't competitive.

Are there cheaper chassis out there? Parma used to sell a super simple chassis...

Whatever your option is:

You tell me, I can't say I know the whole industry. What is out there that's 1/10, hobby grade and cheap?
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Old 11-14-2016, 01:27 PM   #2
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Our local track recently started up a Tamiya Team Hahn (big rig truck) race class. Everyone must run it box stock with the exception of ball bearings and a spec battery. It is really affordable and lots of interest in it so far.
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Old 11-14-2016, 01:38 PM   #3
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All in, you'll need about $1600 , when you add race fees, travel, food, tolls, hotel, etc.....

Last edited by bertrandsv87; 11-14-2016 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by bertrandsv87 View Post
All in, you'll need about $1600 .....
That's the problem I'm trying to address.

Tamiya M05 racing looks good, but following Tamiya rules means you're still looking at people who want to win, really badly, are going to be spending upwards of $1000 on a plastic chassis FWD car. (between shocks, braces, knuckles, a really good steering servo, a bunch of 550 motors to test and pick the best of..)

And that's not kosher. Heck, for $1000, I can get someone equipped and racing ~actual bicycles~, much less a toy that can only come out and be used at tracks.

Limiting the cost of M05 means enforcing "tighter than tamiya cup" rules on the cars. A lot of things aren't hard to check.. like "are those friction dampers?". But others are not so easy.

This is a big enough problem in my head, that i'm seriously considering bringing a cheap pan car to market. To "fix" the issue.

I've got a CNC router and a metal brake, so an aluminum chassis wouldn't be hard. And a lot of the finishing components are available from bolink and parma at frighteningly cheap prices. (Eg: kingpins, axles, knuckles) A competent car kit that could be sold at the hobby level for $30-60 might just be the ticket.

We'll see what I manage to do. I often have these fever dreams of producing a product, and unless people say they want one... they tend to die off. I don't like making "one" thing.
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:04 PM   #5
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95% of the used stuff are in great shape.

Initial cost for any hobby is high if you have absolutely anything.

But if you check the different forums daily u will finds deals. If you are patient. Expecially when people are getting out of the hobby.

Also ask at your local club/track if anyone has a chassis collecting dust. Like extra bodies etc. Most people are clubs will let you use there old chassis. You might not be competitive but it's a way to see if you really want to invest the time and money into it.

There are some rtr kits like a tt02e that will have everything u need to start out. So what if it's a silver can motor. Run it until u can upgrade.

U can get into the hobby for 300 or so if you really want to.

And black Friday sales are starting already.
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:07 PM   #6
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The easiest thing to do is not limiting on-road racing to on-road chassis cars.

The Traxxas Slash is perfectly capable of running on most on-road courses and is a great place for a novice/non-serious racer to start in the hobby. The only thing extra that you need to buy is a decent charger or an AC adapter for the included charger. For less than $250 USD you have a car that can be run just about anywhere. Not a bad entry point for people new to the hobby.

----------

Don't overlook some of the smaller scale RTR cars from companies like Associated, Traxxas, and others. Again these might not be dedicated on-road racers, but they offer a cheaper entry point into organized racing. The goal is to get people hooked on racing and not shoe-horned into classes we might like.

-----------

The Tamiya M-chassis cars are actually fun to drive. The limited gearing keeps them close and cheap when using Tamiya 540 motors.

They are offered in many different versions including RTR kits or build your own. The M-05 version II and M-06 can use stick pack or square pack Lipo batteries. Even if you have an older M-03 or M-05, you can use the smaller mah round lipo packs in other classes such as VTA and be competitive (which I have in the past).

The limited tuning really isn't an issue with the cars other than needing to glue the outside edge of the front tires on higher bite tracks. Also some kits don't come with oil filled shocks, but that also isn't an issue as the friction shocks actually work well on these cars (with shorter springs).

----------

The Tamiya TT-series cars are a good entry point and can be upgraded if someone wants to. Limiting the motor options to Tamiya 540 motors also keeps the racing close and inexpensive. Some of the TT-02 models with more adjustments can be raced in classes such as VTA and USGT and be competitive. They can even handle being raced in 17.5, but there are better Tamiya models for faster classes.

----------

Finally the best way to get people into the hobby is to put a controller into their hand. If you see interested spectators or people asking you questions while you are at the track, offer to let them drive your car. Of course if they are totally new, turn the speed down a bit. Let them see these aren't fragile little toys or impossible to handle land rockets.

I say we just need to get 'em hooked, make sure the newbies are having fun, and create a family atmosphere for everyone and your local racing will continue to be strong.
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Last edited by IndyRC_Racer; 11-14-2016 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bertrandsv87 View Post
All in, you'll need about $1600 , when you add race fees, travel, food, tolls, hotel, etc.....
Why would you even say that? It don't cost no way near that much to get started. I swear one day I'm going to visit your home track with a bone stock TC4 and race you.... All just to stop you from posting this type of bull shit......
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:18 PM   #8
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Last time I was in a bike shop, a decent mountain bike costed as much as a Suzuki DRZ400s motorcycle.

Why not stick to cars competitive in current classes, not start a new one.

CRC F1 car.
Turnigy Trackstar motor.
Turnigy or SMC esc.
Turnigy 2s lipo.
Turnigy servo.
CRC tires.
Turnigy 400w charger.
Fantom power supply.
Hakko soldering station.
MIP tools.
Duratrax ht guage.

Doesn't get cheaper than that, and can still race in a regular f1 class. All of the tools add up. At least in F1 you don't have to play around with tires and bodies much.

Otherwise, you're just starting another box stock RTR class that'll last a year, tops.
https://www.amainhobbies.com/hpi-rac...112710/p297431
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:19 PM   #9
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Speaking of Tamiya M-chassis racing, I'm running an M-03 with stock gear diff, friction dampers, and a Civic body that I can't get low enough because of the way the servo mounts on the car. This car is a blast to drive and handles amazing well. You don't have to upgrade these cars to have fun with them.

If you are worried about the spend at all costs to win racers ruining M-chassis classes, just run the Tamiya brushed motors and have a motor claim rule. I realize TCS rules are now brushless for M-chassis, but any local track can use rules that make sense for THEIR races.
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:20 PM   #10
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It's probably not what you want to hear, but the TC4 that you were pushed into is the best choice for the classes listed at your track.

VTA/USGT are cheap on tires and respond well to suspension changes, i.e. softer Front springs = more steering etc.

WGT-R is a better car in general for an advanced noob. Some of the tuning doesn't make sense at first. Things like softening a rear shock adding steering by the way it throws weight forward, pod droop etc. The WGT pan car is better by being lighter than a sedan. Lighter doesn't hit the wall as hard and with a long wheelbase and big tires, it's easy to drive and forgiving to setup. With a big front bumper and thick body you can drive more than wrench. It's very rare to see a tweaked chassis in WGT. The CRC GenX10 is the least expensive at $225, but equal to the most expensive in quality. The new model is rubber specific. mine is a regular SE. Stay away from the RJSeeed legends or their pan car unless you have a full separate class. In a WGT/WGT-R class it's just a rolling road block. (I raced that pan car in 1989 and it was out classed back then.)
The only down side is tires at $80 a set. They should last twice as long as a sedan set, so it's really only $20 more in a season.
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:22 PM   #11
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I miss my Tamiya M06 mini. That thing was to fun racing with others.
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:24 PM   #12
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On our track we have a rookie class.. it's like race what you have..
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jochim_18 View Post
On our track we have a rookie class.. it's like race what you have..
Yes! The cheapest race car is the one you already own, whatever it is.

Here is one way to go about it:
Breakout Racing: The Ultimate Spec Class!!!
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie_E View Post
It's probably not what you want to hear, but the TC4 that you were pushed into is the best choice for the classes listed at your track.

VTA/USGT are cheap on tires and respond well to suspension changes, i.e. softer Front springs = more steering etc.

WGT-R is a better car in general for an advanced noob. Some of the tuning doesn't make sense at first. Things like softening a rear shock adding steering by the way it throws weight forward, pod droop etc. The WGT pan car is better by being lighter than a sedan. Lighter doesn't hit the wall as hard and with a long wheelbase and big tires, it's easy to drive and forgiving to setup. With a big front bumper and thick body you can drive more than wrench. It's very rare to see a tweaked chassis in WGT. The CRC GenX10 is the least expensive at $225, but equal to the most expensive in quality. The new model is rubber specific. mine is a regular SE. Stay away from the RJSeeed legends or their pan car unless you have a full separate class. In a WGT/WGT-R class it's just a rolling road block. (I raced that pan car in 1989 and it was out classed back then.)
The only down side is tires at $80 a set. They should last twice as long as a sedan set, so it's really only $20 more in a season.

I just recently pulled my old RC10R5.1 out and decided to make it a WORLD GT-R. $50 dollars for a set of tires that you can run a whole season plus. Batteries can be bought also for around $50 or even less. Radio gear like the new Futaba radios are around $100 1/12 scale servo can be found at $50 or less and ESC like Hobbywings $60 or less new or used 17.5 motor options from as low as $35.
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:59 PM   #15
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Why would you even say that? It don't cost no way near that much to get started. I swear one day I'm going to visit your home track with a bone stock TC4 and race you.... All just to stop you from posting this type of bull shit......
That would require him actually showing up to a track.
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