PHOTOS FREDY PEROJO
1/8-SCALE NITRO BUGGY | ARTR
Nitro-powered, 1/8 scale, 4WD—and just $150? Behind the wheel with the most affordable nitro buggy we've ever tested
Over the last decade, our hobby has seen its fair share of entry-level 1/8 buggies for the RC'er on a tight budget. Although many have taken a crack at it, offering up cars that give a lot of value, none have managed to offer a fully outfitted buggy for less than $200; that is until now. With the Nitro Rumble, Turnigy not only hit this price benchmark, they passed it and left other penny racers in the dust. At just over 150 bucks, you can put yourself behind the wheel of this 1/8 buggy. Even when you add the cost of a transmitter and receiver (as an “ARR,” or “Almost Ready to Run,” they are not included with the car), the Nitro Rumble can be had for $200 or less—the servo-equipped buggy sells for just $150!
Length: 19.57 in. (497mm)
Width: 12.05 in. (306mm)
Wheelbase: 12.4 in. (315mm)
Height: 7.72 in. (196mm)
Weight, as tested: 7 lb. 4 oz. (3300g)
Item no.: 9249000118
Type: 3mm aluminum
Type: Lower A-arm with adjustable upper camber link
Inboard camber link positions (F/R): 3/2
Outboard camber-link positions (F/R): 2/3
Shock positions, towers (F/R): 3/3
Shock positions, arms (F/R): 3/3
Shocks: Threaded 16mm plastic body shocks with bladders
Type/ratio: Shaft drive with dogbone drive shafts
Spur gear/pinion: 44T/14T
Differential: Bevel gear, fluid filled
Driveshafts: Aluminum constant velocity style
WHEELS & TIRES
Wheels: White-dish style, 17mm hex
ENGINE AND ACCESSORIES
Carburetor: Slide valve
Pipe/header: Turnigy tuned pipe
Fuel capacity: 125cc
SIMPLE POWERPLANT WITH TRACK-READY ACCESSORIES
The Nitro Rumble is powered by a pull-start .21 engine that keeps things simple but provides plenty of power for the beginner.
The Nitro Rumble's pull-start .21 (3.5cc)engine is a typical sport design with ample power for fun-running. It features a two-needle slide carburetor and is paired with a polished tuned pipe, so when you're ready to upgrade your buggy's mill, you won't need a lot of other stuff; it's all there. The engine is started with a traditional pull-start, and the chassis features a cutout so you can use a starter box to bump-start the engine.
THE NITRO RUMBLE TAKES A LOT OF ITS DESIGN CUES FROM BUGGIES YOU WOULD SEE RACING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP.
The 16mm shocks are plastic and feature an aluminum shock cap for strength and threaded bodies and collars to set ride height.
Aluminum parts add the durability needed for long races but they also add a substantial amount to the cost of a vehicle. To cut costs, Turnigy includes a set of plastic shocks that are still rigid and have a threaded body for plenty of adjustability. They have aluminum caps and collars to keep things sturdy were necessary. They also did away with machined chassis braces, which again add a large chunk of change to the price of a buggy and opted for plastic parts.
Metal-geared, high-torque servos are included and provide plenty of power to turn the buggy and operate the throttle and brakes.
The Nitro Rumble is presented as an almost-ready-to-run car, which means that it doesn't included everything. The radios that come with RTRs have come a long way but if you're looking to just try out a new class like 1/8, you most likely already have your own radio that you'd prefer to use. Turnigy leaves this option up to you by leaving out the transmitter and receiver but does include a pair of metal geared, high-torque servos with the buggy. Just plunk in your running gear and you're ready to rock.
TOP SHELF DESIGN
Despite its low price, the Nitro Rumble could easily be mistaken for a $400 machine with its polished tuned pipe and gunmetal-anodized parts.
While you may think that a $150 buggy would resemble those from the stone ages of RC, the Nitro Rumble takes a lot of its design cues from buggies you would see racing for a championship in the hands of factory drivers. A one-piece radio tray moves the running gear close to the centerline of the chassis for improved performance while the entire layout of the buggy puts everything low and down the middle as well. The fuel tank maintains its 125cc volume but holds the fuel as close to the chassis as possible to lower the center of gravity. The drivetrain of the Nitro Rumble has also been optimized for both center of gravity and acceleration by using smaller diameter gears to keep rotating mass down.
LONG TRAVEL SUSPENSION
Thee Nitro Rumble gives you two outer mounts for camber gain as well as three roll center options. There are also three upper and lower mounts for the shocks, so you have a good amount of tuning options.
The beauty of the Nitro Rumble is that if you just want to try out a 1/8 buggy, you can do it without spending an arm and a leg. If you're just getting your feet wet, you'll most likely be driving the car in backyards, parks, and places other than a track. As such, the Nitro Rumble's suspension has been designed to incorporate long suspension travel capable of handling many different surfaces. The shock towers stand tall to support the large bore shocks and give the arms all the squish they'll need for anything that comes their way. On the end of each arm, a standard C-hub design offers the rigidity and durability you expect from any 1/8 buggy and there are plenty of optional holes for camber and roll center adjustments if you choose to go that deep.
O'DONNELL SPEED BLEND RACING FUEL 20%
HOBBYKING HK-GT2B 3CH. 2.4GHZ RADIO AND RECEIVER
BEHIND THE WHEEL
After installing my own radio and receiver and breaking in the engine, I set the buggy down in the parking lot and took a quick lap back and forth. The included .21 has enough power to get it moving but there just doesn't seem to be enough firepower on tap to thrust the buggy very quickly. Adjusting the carb with the body on required a couple extra holes but I was able to squeeze out a little more top speed, the Nitro Rumble is plenty fast for a first time 1/8-scale driver and offers respectable acceleration. On gravel and rocky terrain, it is strong enough to take some substantial hits with little more than a nick in the plastic or some scratches on the chassis plate. After a full gallon of fuel, I'm happy to report that I wasn't able to break any of the plastic parts, a testament to careful production cutbacks without sacrificing quality. The Nitro Rumble includes a receiver pack that uses four AA batteries to power the radio gear, which keeps things simple but does cut your runs a little short. Tank after tank, the buggy soaked up bumps and ruts but my fun was cut short about every 15 minutes or so when I'd have to swap out the batteries in the radio box. At the track, this buggy isn't out of place, but the 1/10-scale track I tested at was was too small and tight for this large of a buggy and its entry-level-friendly amount of understeer. Racing is hardly the Nitro Rumble's mission, however, and as the low-cost fun-runner it is meant to be, the buggy succeeds better than I thought possible for its extremely low price.
Ridiculously low price
Tuned Pipe and aluminum towers included
Designed after top performing buggies
Hard to fault for $150, but the engine could stand more power
The Turnigy Nitro Rumble is an entry-level 1/8-scale buggy with a good amount of features—its biggest being its tiny pricetag. For around $200 (or $150 if you already have a transmitter and receiver), you can try out 1/8-scale nitro cars and do so with plenty of room to grow. Turnigy clearly put a lot of thought into what really matters in an 1/8-scale buggy and what isn't important to the average parking lot driver. They cut back on the excessive parts that add cost and completely did away with the ones that the majority of the Nitro Rumble's owners will never need. In exchange for these cuts, the buggy offers features like a tuned pipe for when you want to upgrade your engine and metal gear servos that offer a long lifespan and high performance. This is a great all-around buggy for the RCer that's out to have some fun rather than take home the biggest trophy.