It’s A Matter of Perspective

It’s A Matter of Perspective

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.”


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Updated: July 20, 2015 — 3:35 PM
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