Kit VS. Roller [What To Purchase]

Kit VS. Roller [What To Purchase]

When the topic of discussion pops up about buying a kit or a roller, typically, you’re dealing with an upper-end vehicle and the clientele has some pretty good knowledge about what they’re getting themselves into.  Granted, this really only applies to the 1/8-scale off-road market, but it’s still a valid topic.  Ultimately, it boils down to a couple key points-how much time do you have, mechanical amplitude and trust in someone else’s work.

RC Car Action - RC Cars & Trucks | Kit VS. Roller [What To Purchase]


If you’re the type of person who wants know everything about what’s going in with your vehicle and have ample time to sit down and focus on a build (and are a little bit OCD), then the only option for you is a kit.  The reason being, kits force you to scrutinize every detail from start to finish-such as how parts fit together, shimming, breaking in various components, trimming the excess off plastic or metal parts, and adding fail-safes in the form of thread-lock and Shoe GOO.  Kits create a step-by-step instructional process about how your vehicle goes together and quite possibility eliminates the need to carry around your owner’s manual when something goes wrong.  They do require a considerable amount of time to complete, but the payoff is oh-so-sweet.  You’ll be incredibly proud knowing that you built that vehicle with your own blood, sweat and tears.  The flipside to a kit is, if you’re not a detail-oriented person and don’t follow directions correctly, one mistake could create a snowball effect and ultimately affect the entire build of the vehicle.

The Roller:

With most rollers, the time between purchase to track is a matter of hours rather than days.  Simply bolt in your running gear, double check setup, break in a motor and you’re driving.  What the roller doesn’t teach you is how to fix mistakes when something goes wrong.  Also, there’s a level of trust that’s been disconnected from your relationship with the vehicle because you’ve theoretically put the build of the car into someone else’s hands.  It’s safe to assume that even if you know what you’re doing, the manufacturer probably knows it better because they’ve build hundreds of those diffs and you just built yours for the first time.  With that said, if you’re strapped for time and want that instant gratification, buy a roller.

RC Car Action - RC Cars & Trucks | Kit VS. Roller [What To Purchase]


It really boils down to what type of challenge you want, your time contraints and how detail oriented you are.  From a challenge standpoint, even if you’re not a details person and you’ve never built a kit, you need to build at least one kit in order to knock it off your bucket list to really grasp what kit building is all about.  And who knows-it might be that challenge you’ve been searching for.



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Updated: June 13, 2012 — 10:25 AM


Add a Comment
  1. I built my first 3 cars…. a Sand Rover, a Hotshot and a Hornet!! (Makes me feel very old now seeing these listed as retros! )

    Not sure I have the patience these days!

    I am tempted to get an RC10, but need to find a local club to get involved in first!

  2. Maybe what would be next is a complete kit including radio esc etc… then you build it. I got a rtr and the first thing i did was tear it apart to make sure it was good

  3. sorry. roller usually not built by professionals. Overseas workers hardly that. Every roller or RTR I have seen has had to be torn down and rebuilt to be used competatively. I find stripped screws or binding parts on EVERY prebuilt I have owned and manufacture does not matter.

  4. I’m from the days before most RTR’s, I still would rather build a kit. All though RTR’s have gotten better they are still Ready To Replace IMO. While RTR’s have made the RC hobby grow it has also breed ignorance. When you build an RC you know how to fix it. I am dumb founded when I see people paying hobby shops to fix their RC car.

  5. its all good, too bad Losi only makes a roller for the SCTE and a RTR. No kit is offered. so I guess it’s roller; (

  6. I just wish there were more kits available. I love building from kits. I guess because I suck at the racing part I would just as soon build and test drive than race and break. To each their own.

  7. Great information. all kids under 60 should build there own.

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