It’s A Matter of Perspective

May 04, 2012 5 Comments by

Speed and handling fascinate me, especially as they relate to RC vehicles. Speed is, as everyone who’s ever driven an RC car knows, what every person asks about when seeing an RC car for the first time. “How fast does it go?” My usual response: it’s fast.

To the uninitiated, any hobby quality RC car will look fast. After a lifetime of watching AA-battery powered toy RC cars, with their ’157mph scale speed’ that regrettably equates to only 12mph, a 25mph RTR looks like it’s going five times that speed. Then again, it’s all about perspective.

The same is true for handling. I remember my first T-Maxx way back in the early 2000′s. Loved it. Plush suspension, eight shocks, huge tires…I thought this truck handled like an F1 car compared to previous generation monster trucks I knew from the 80′s and 90′s. And in some ways, the T-Maxx did handle well. With some perspective, having raced on-road touring car, 1/8-scale buggy and everything between, I look back and realize that my stock ‘Maxx handled more like a double-wide with a Jello suspension. Massive fun, that truck was, but not exactly a corner carver.

I’m writing this blog because I surf the RC message forums regularly. People love to debate speed and handling, all day every day. Who beat whom down the straight away, which car handles the bumps better, etc. And I’ll admit, a 25mph RTR could be considered slow if you’re accustomed to driving 1/8-scale on-road at 70mph. Then again, if all you’ve ever known was that 12mph Tyco, 25mph is blazin’ fast. Put into perspective, 25mph will make that Tyco car look like it’s driving through a trough of molasses in a Wisconsin winter. And that 1/8-scale on-road at 70mph will put that 25mph RTR to shame. Why do people love arguing speed that much?

So what’s the right answer when a non-RC’er asks you how fast your car goes? Say what you wish, but without knowing the person’s perspective, one answer usually works just fine. Smile and say, “It’s fast.”

img: brianlemay.com

Featured News, Stephen Bess

About the author

Executive Editor I jumped into R/C back in 1987, when mechanical speed controllers and hard rubber tires were all the rage. Since then, I’ve experienced R/C in almost every state in the USA. I've built and raced every type of RC vehicle created, and traveled throughout the country (and world) to attend and cover more R/C events than I can remember. But what a fun ride it's been! I'm fortunate to live in Southern California, and I take advantage of my location by enjoying R/C outdoors year ‘round. Club racing is the future for R/C growth, and I’m always looking to bring new people into the hobby, whether it’s through backyard bashing or organized racing.

5 Responses to “It’s A Matter of Perspective”

  1. FastWayne says:

    Hi Stephen,
    I also live in SoCal and enjoy the RC scene here. After a 7 year leave from RC I’m got to itch again. I have a Slash 4×4 with an SSC LCG alloy chassis, Pro 4 its fast! A Tamiya M05 mini that I will TCS race. its fast! and the latest an Sakura FGX F1. F1 has had a resurge with the UF1 series. Realistic Liveries is a must. over 40 f1 racers turn out! Different Venues to resemble Monte Carlo, Etc. 10 min mains w/ 2 req. pit stops! Notables Joel Johnson, Rick Howart have entered, These club races are Fast!

  2. Bob S. says:

    Or, rather, I’d say “It goes as fast as I can afford it to.”. The old saying still applies, “Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?”

  3. Ryan L. says:

    You still have to make it around the track, no matter how fast you are! Handling is everything. It’s the driver, not the car. The great drivers could beat me with a Frog even on my best day!

  4. Phil says:

    It’s not all about the money, you can spends hundreds even thousands on your can but if you dont have the skill to keep in on the track or keep the corners tight and tidy it’s all pointless money.(unless you like to go up and down in straight lines all day) I once raced a guy who had a 5th touring car and he spent thousands on it and I had the basic sport line with some minor changes to it and could he beat me? Could he hell. He went like a bat out of hell down the straight but stuffed it on every corner. The best thing tho was he got so stressed that he couldn’t beat me so spent more money on it lol

  5. Andy Pitcher says:

    You are not kidding speed does cost and has many consequences.

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