Are You An RC Snob?

May 20, 2011 42 Comments by

There are all sorts of snobs. Beer snobs, wine snobs, guitar snobs, cigar snobs, food snobs, car snobs, bike snobs and, of course, even RC snobs. There’s some snob in all of us. I confess my RC snobbery is with batteries, radios and pre-painted RTR bodies. I’m not proud of this, but I’ll explain. When I’m at the track and I see some guy trying to charge up some gnarly looking NiMH side-by-side pack or–dear Lord–Ni-Cd side-by-side pack, I do cringe a little. I have nothing against the NiMH packs included in many RTRs. Those serve the awesome purpose of making it easier to get started in this hobby. Those do what they’re supposed to do. But, racer guy, it’s 2011, get a freakin’ LiPo pack already. You only need one–you can charge it all day. That said, I’m also a little snobby about the super cheap LiPo packs. There is always some guy at the track just dying to show off his new bargain basement Internet find. “Dude, I got this 5000mAh, 5000C Pinky Power pack for $2.50. It’s just as good as those race packs!” I’m sure it is; good luck with that. When it turns into a pillow, please pit over there–way over there.

2.4GHz technology has also turned me into a bit of a radio snob–at least at the track. Long, wispy AM and FM antennas just seem so out of place now. I don’t really fault anyone for not having 2.4GHz, but I have to admit when Zorro takes the spot next to me on the drivers’ stand, I am always a little shocked by the antenna.

Now, when it comes pre-painted bodies, I certainly don’t fault anyone for running the body that came with their car or truck. I’m just spoiled. I almost hate to admit this one, but I can’t stand having the same body as everyone else. Short course, however, has done wonders to cure this. No need to change these bodies when they are coming with cool schemes such as Rockstar, Monster, Amsoil, etc. Same goes for Traxxas’ new Monster Jam replicas. Grave Digger, Monster Mutt and others can and should stay.

I’ve come clean (oh, the shame); now it’s your turn. What in RC are you a snob about? Too tall body posts,certain classes, bad wiring jobs, sloppy looking DIY paint jobs (did you use a roller?), bad driving, etc?

For the record, I don’t embrace or encourage any sort of snobbery. Pretentious, superficial people are simply lame. I do have to admit, however, when it comes to cigars (I’m only talking to the older crowd here), please realize you quite often–almost as a rule–get what you pay for. On the flip side, beer snobs (again, only talking to the older crowd here) need to keep themselves in check. Micro does not equal good. There are plenty of great micro brews, but just as many that are garbage. If you are too sophisticated for a domestic beer, you’re a tool.

Featured News, Matthew Higgins

About the author

About Matt:I think it’s safe to say I’ve done a little bit of everything in RC. That said, I predominately race off-road and my current passion is short course. One of my all-time favorite classes is oval carpet racing. Besides racing, I can often be found working on one of my many never-complete projects, and it seems I have an ever growing collection of rock crawlers—specifically scale crawlers. Matt’s 5 Hot Topics: Short course, Racing, Scale Builds, Crawling and the General RC Hobby

42 Responses to “Are You An RC Snob?”

  1. KTL says:

    Cheap lipo packs are probably a very good reason why RC’ing is as popular as it is these days, for planes, boats and cars. If anything that concept alone should be embraced and thanked for making this hobby affordable for almost everyone…….it really is a game saver! Cheap lipos and domestic beer go hand in hand! =)

    • Matthew Higgins says:

      I’m all for inexpensive quality packs, but the clear fly-by-night cheap stuff I’m not 100% convinced is good for the hobby.

  2. Ryan says:

    Agree and disagree… some people like me can’t afford to pay ($60+) per lipo, or buy themselves a 2.4 radio. I was using NiMh’s on my Slash for a year and a half, after I discovered Hobbyking lipos. Yes, they are cheap (mine were $20 per pack) but they are great! 5 months so far and they are holding up perfect). While I do agree we should support the local hobby shops, sometimes you cannot justify the prices that they have and I think we should respect those who have AM/NiMh’s.

    • Matthew Higgins says:

      Good points, Ryan. I’m sure you are, but everyone should please keep in mind my comments are meant to be lighthearted. Nothing in this hobby–including me–should be taken too seriously.

      • Ryan says:

        No worries!

      • Ryder says:

        Clearly you are to well supported. I am a disabled Vet and can’t afford all the high dollar stuff. I have found some real good cheap rc gear. So if I offend you with my cheap gear I am sorry. It’s easy to sit back and tell people how these things bother you. Do you let them know how offended you are, doubtful.

        • Matthew Higgins says:

          Ryder, first, thank you for your service and sacrifice. Please realize that this is, as I said, lighthearted. None of this actually offends me.

  3. Justin Robinson says:

    I agree with matt. I love to see the guys stop by my store to show me the 12 pack of lipos they got for $5 on ebay that took 45 days to get to them. After they have wasted my time telling me how great these packs are and there the same thing as the more expensive ones, I make a mental note of the date so I can see how long it takes for him to come back telling the horror story about the pack. My biggest thing is a company that can stand behind their products. Its no secret that all brands have issues. The difference is I know that If I have a problem with most name brand companies, I’m going to get it resolved in a speedy manner. It costs money to keep satisfaction up sometimes and thus the reason why some things are more expensive.

    I love the guys that lie about their top speed. They have no clue, but they’re pretty sure it’s 30mph faster than the box said it was because they tightened the slipper, or adjusted the camber.

    I also love the guys that show up to the track with no glow plugs (running only nitro trucks) and ask to “borrow” one. Trust me, we dont want the plug back…we want the $8 it cost to replace it ;)

    I also love the ones that see your rc car and say”Hey, I have an rc car” . After you ask what kind they have, they reply, “Gravedigger”. Now this one has lost some of its funniness when traxxas released the gravedigger body but its still not a grave digger, its a stampede ;)

    The ones that want to sell their rc stuff, For just a little more than they paid for it. We always increase the value the more we drive.

    I could go on all day but ill leave room for others. I really cracked up at reading this article though matt :)

    • Matthew Higgins says:

      Good stuff there, Justin. I’ve always wondered how some people price/value their RC stuff. Anything, RC or otherwise, is only worth what someone will pay for it, not what you want for it. I always say used gear starts at half price and goes down from there.

    • Jesse D. says:

      Oh yes the guys That want to sell there 300 hundred dollar car for 500 cause the bought a battery for it. YOUR NOT GONNA GET RETAIL. Definatlly not more. Im not sure why that annoys me so much but i see it EVERY day.

  4. rc10mike says:

    I cringe every time I see a noob bring their broke rtr into the hobby shop and pay to have it fixed….and then I cringe more when I look behind the counter and see 20 more broken RTRs waiting to be fixed….this hobby has gone to…

    • Matthew Higgins says:

      I don’t know. I don’t think this hobby has gone anywhere but up.

      • rc10mike says:

        The technology has gone up, but peoples passion for the hobby has gone down IMO.

        • Justin Robinson says:

          Some people don’t want to fix their stuff. I think that’s ok. I like flying as well, but I don’t like building planes. I buy them ARF and get them in the air as fast as I can. Its all the personal style. Myself, i love when someone brings me in a rtr that’s broke and needs fixing. Keeps my bills paid and I help them back on their wheels!

  5. Justin Young says:

    your absolutely right about radios with long antennas, after standing next to someone with an am radio I felt the same way. anothr thing is bodies that don’t look like sct’s or are simple one-color bodies with no decals

  6. Mark says:

    Good topic.

    The lipo comments work both ways. For everyone who swears by the el cheapo Chinese lipo packs, there’s the guy racing stock truck on a slick off-road track who swears his new 65C pack is “ballistic” when in reality, his motor/esc setup can’t draw a burst amperage rate that high, let alone sustain it to justify that kind of a pack.

    A little shopping around and you can find U.S.-based battery companies (i.e. Promatch and I’m sure there are others) that stand behind their products for just a little more money than the battery ala flambe companies so if people could suppress their cheap gene just a bit, I think they’d enjoy the hobby more than having to post on every forum all day about how some of their packs haven’t tried to burn their car down yet or posting a pic of a puffed pack and asking what’s wrong with it.

  7. Jesse D. says:

    I Definatlly fell that half the excitment of this hobby is “wrenching” on your stuff yourself. I dont like taking my rides into the hobby shop to even show them stuff. I am A snob when i see people coming in trying to show off what they have. Wanna show? meet me at the track lets see what you got!!! Anyways on that note I am a total snob about peoples wiring. I can no0t stand seeing some ones car looking like medusa with wild wires going everywhere. Or especially when theyre trying to sell a used car and it looks like an abandonded stripped down stolen vehicle on the side of the road. Clean It Up!! By the way… Hilarious stuff you wrote. I am zorro!!!!! Too cheap to up my game. Besides when you start swingin that bad boy aroun people tend to give you a little more space!!!

  8. Humberto says:

    Great points everyone…
    I enjoy the fixing and building part of our hobby, but over the years I have learn my limitations and many times is less expensive to pay a hooby shop to do some repairs and in the process learn how to do the repairs the right way speccially with new products and new technologies. I think is a win win situation. The hobby stores and track in my area do a great job sharing information for free and even do repairs for free,but at the end of the day we have to remember that they are a bussiness and it is to our benefit to keep our spending dollars locally when ever possible.

  9. OSRC says:

    I still run AM. It’s a secret plot to get everyone else off my frequencies. I have 25+ receivers and 5 radios with various features for various reasons, so it’s a VERY expensive proposition to swap them all out when what I have works fine. AND since everyone is going to 2.4, there’s usually no conflicts anymore. Fine by me! Zorro rules!

  10. Cheap lipos says:

    I don’t know if it is snobbish,but I have to laugh at those who take this hobby so seriously,in the end these are TOYS.They may be expensive, but toys they are.

  11. Trugsta says:

    LMAO @ ZORRO.
    At my local Track here In Australia we still Have a few ZORROS.
    Ill be using that one for ever now…lol.

  12. Adam says:

    I’m a front toe snob. I can’t stand it when I see someones RC car with crazy amounts of toe out on the front! Never have I seen anyone drive fast with 10 degrees of toe out on the front. Once one guy tried to explain to me how its so much faster.
    Another pet hate of mine, is the amatuer driver who buys a new different car each week thinking one of them will make them drive just soooo much faster.

  13. George says:

    I’m not sure if this counts but when I go to the track for practice I like go out and turn marshall for a bit thru out the day. Everyone likes having their car flipped over so I think it would be cool if everyone took a turn at flipping cars. I was at the track a few nights ago and no one wanted to help out…it kinda sucked and I started getting to the point where I was thinking: “screw you…flip you’re own car” but that’s not how I want to be. On a different note, I’m one of the guys that’s still on FM and I must say, I get a little embarrassed when the stand starts getting crowded. Eventually I’ll swap over to 2.4 but for now, I’m just glad to be back in the hobby. Times are tough.

  14. George says:

    Thank you. I’ve been having a blast. I dragged a few friends into the hobby so that’s has made it even better. 3 gallons of nitro in 2 weeks is a record for me.

  15. chris says:

    Yeah George, thanks for getting me caught up in this hobby again. I also agree about being the track attendee and sharing the load of flipping cars, it is more fun when you don’t always have to climb down from the drivers stand as often. The other thing that gets me are the track snobs. The ones who are constantly putting others down or giving dirty looks to the less experienced drivers and making some tracks a lot less enjoyable because of it.

  16. Kenny McCormick says:

    What grinds my gears is people that have towers sticking out of their bodies. Clip the posts, bro! I also hate electric snobs. I don’t like electric. Don’t look down on me for my preference! Lastly, I HATE starter box snobs. I don’t want to lug around a damn starter box. I want a pull start. If an engine doesn’t have a pull start you can bet good money I’ll either fit one or pass it up entirely.

  17. Big Juice says:

    Alright – Here it is…”SUPER SNOB” I CANT STAND COOKIE CUTTER WEBSITES.

    “UBER SNOB” – Factory Outlets, that offer the same products some of our local retailers both brick and mortar/e-commerce. I wrote an article about this a couple months ago.

    I think the guys finding these considered “Cheap LiPo’s” overseas are looking square at the business. Can you tell me why folks? This does not damage the industry in anyway. It allows the very small, segment to expand, not “inflate”. Even from a supposed elitist view, allowing a new company to come to market, will ultimately drive sales to someones doorstep. Time to make the Donuts, err, tires :D

    And on a lighter note…a bit snobbish when I Tweet up (just so you know) up another company. Yet there personal business politics get in the way of “RE-Tweeting”. We know theres correlation, the picture is sometimes changed right.

    Thanks for the article Matt!

    ~B

  18. volracer says:

    I can not help but buy the latest gear, but I am old school and love to old equipment and race it against the latest equipment.

    You mention the SC bodies. I find it interesting that SC bodies have real world logos all over them, yet you can not buy decals for stock cars, the biggest racing billboards.

    • Matthew Higgins says:

      I remember buying tons of stock car sticker sheets from Slixx. The cost of licensing is just too much.

  19. Metalingus says:

    If I’m reading this right, I guess I’m a bit snobby about the “pro” drivers. Notice the paranthetical? The “pro” driver who is “pro” because he says he is or because he uses the most top dollar equipment or because he raced in the big name races. I’ve run into some people like that locally. They walked the local track before running it and told the owner to change it so it would be more to THEIR driving style. So that’s what makes them so good? They have tracks made up special for them so they can race on a track that doesn’t have the parts they aren’t good at?
    If you put yourself on a pedistal, then you are no pro driver by any means.

  20. James Mikoliczyk says:

    I think the longer I am in the hobby, the more snobbish I get. Maybe more along the lines of pet peeves, as many points mentioned here could be either or both. Not that I go out of my way to be a “snoob”, but sometimes I’m like that old dog with a bone that won’t give it up. LOL

    My list of things are probably too many to list, but I’ll give a few.

    The cheap RTR guys that have 8 half working or nonworking rides and then complain about the cost of fixing them all. Pick one ot two that you really like and put the money towards them with better gear, and you’ll probably be a lot happier.

    The hobbist/racer that isn’t quite a noob, yet not a seasoned hobbist/racer that won’t use the proper tools they bought for the job they are working on. Instead they always ask to use your tools, because they either don’t want to use theirs or are too lazy to go and get them.

    The shop owner that always puts down products customers come in and ask for or about getting because they only carry the other stuff that no one really wants. Or doesn’t want to take the time to get setup with more than one supplier that actually might carry the products customers are actually wanting or looking for. Yet at the same time will tell customers how long they have been in the hobby and how they “know’ what is the best for that customer. True story.

    Last but not least is the Bling crowd. The people that dump tons of cash in to a ride with all the Bling alum. parts they can find to put on there and then want to show how cool it is. I get the fact that people in the hobby like the cool option parts and it is their money to do as they wish, but at some point it goes from being cool to way over the top. Then tose same people will try to race that “Blinged” out ride and wonder why the keep bending those high dollar parts.

  21. Respiro says:

    I guess i’m a track snob. When my track has a big event and all those editors and writers show up at my track and act like they own the place; just makes me think of one word…. Tool!

    Bodies: Matt you mention sc trucks and how nice it is to see logos and variation… At my last track day there were 3 rockstar bodies all painted the same way from different racers who were competing against eachother… Lol so much for having non-factory bodies.

    • Matthew Higgins says:

      I guess i’m a track snob. When my track has a big event and all those editors and writers show up at my track and act like they own the place; just makes me think of one word…. Tool!

      Really? What track is that?

  22. fastharryDOTcom says:

    Personally?..I LOVE beating people with old equipment….When I started SC racing this year after a 2 year layoff due to Open Heart surgery, I put my Blitz together with a PCM radio ..and I was even gonna drag a brushed motor out with a GTB…I decided to go with the brushless…but I went with the PCM for the hell of it…(yes, I own plenty of 2.4 stuff, I just like to be anti snob)..

    I raced 2 events with it and it was more than fine…and it even lightened up the drivers stand when I got up there..

    Why did I switch to 2.4??….I poked myself in the eye when I was cleaning it with the antennae tube on the car…

    BUT, after seeing how the one guy went with a brushed motor….I just might have to run that next year when winter indoor racing starts at again at Barnstormers in NY…

  23. Ken Ottinger says:

    “I guess i’m a track snob. When my track has a big event and all those editors and writers show up at my track and act like they own the place; just makes me think of one word…. Tool!”

    LOL ! OUCH !

    I have been racing for 3 years now and have seen a lot of track snobs at the track go to , there is ALWAYS a complainer somewhere there who feels they were slighted in some way . That guy really gets under my skin .

    That and people who wont marshal during practice ……

  24. Zod Rhombus says:

    I’m not a racer, I’m a basher and videographer. I use LiPos and 2.4Ghz only because it works. I am on a limited budget (being a divorcee with a big mortgage) and I never really go out to buy the “latest big thing” – only what I need for my next project.

    I run LiPos and NiMHs and since there is not much RC action in my area I’ve become sort of an ambassador of RC. I always get tons of questions wherever I go, but that comes with the territory and I politely answer all of them. If a kid comes up to me an has some toy grade RC, I don’t look down my nose at it. He is embarking on a journey we all have taken.

    In the end they are all just toys we use for enjoyment.

  25. Chucksolo69 says:

    I read this article with amusement because it hits very close to home. I remember back in the very late 1990′s when I was fresh in this hobby and I was basically laughed at when I went to a local race with my one color body on my Traxxas Street Sport car. That one incident basically put me off of racing forever. I did however stay in the hobby as a basher and enjoyed every minute of it. I took 7 years off from the hobby and just got back in after discovering the new 1/16th models from Traxxas. I had forgotten how much l missed this hobby. Well, I still don’t race, but parking lot bashing is still a lot of fun. Perusing the other forums has showed me one thing though, RC snobbery is alive and well in the hobby.

    • Matthew Higgins says:

      I’m glad you found some enjoyment in the article at least, Chuck. While some people missed the point, I think got it. This lighthearted article is not intended to celebrate snobbery. I’d encourage you to give racing another shot. The racing aspect of the hobby is truly awesome and, as they say, don’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch.

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