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Radio Control Essay, Research Paper

Radio Controlled Trucks vs. Touring Cars

If there were ever two incredibly influential advances in the Radio Control arena it would be without a doubt the Tamiya ClodBuster monster truck and the HPI RS4 Rally touring car. After looking over the outline you probably don’t see very many similarities, there are however many more than one would expect. TC’s came into production when people wanted to go from being back yard bashers to the driveway with an asphalt burner. There was a huge demand for MT’s in the eighties yet it seemed to move towards tarmac terrors in the nineties.

Monster Trucks are some of the most realistic vehicles out there, their enormous 6.5×4.2” tires are completely scale as are the bodies.

Monster Trucks are kept shiny side up by the help of very sophisticated suspensions, many being patterned by full size trucks. Some suspension types include, independent, trailing arm, and the venerable four link setup. I have one of each and while each has it’s pro’s and con’s I believe, in my own opinion the straight axle four link setup has the best mix of versatility and reliability.

Several configurations of truck chassis are offered, some include dual motor four wheel drive, mid motor shaft four wheel drive and the most popular, rear mounted two wheel drive. Some of the pricier trucks have four wheel steering as well; this assists in the chore of cranking those giant meats around. MT’s have loads of ground clearance and when combined with a supple suspension, up to 13 inches of individual wheel travel, these beasts are capable of scaling just about any and everything, what it can’t go over it will normally go through. “When in doubt, gas it out.” I love that quote from multiple desert racer champion, “Iron Man” Ivan Stewart.

Touring Cars are a much different story, while they have their roots in off road racing; they are a much more refined, highly tuned machine than a Monster Truck. It would be like wheeling a CAT dump truck versus hot lapping a Dodge Viper.

A Touring Car is suspended at all four corners by an extremely sensitive oil filled spring/damper tube, collectively referred to as a shock or a damper. TC’s chassis are usually composed of 3mm-duraluminum, fiberglass or carbon fiber graphite. These cars are not cheap to manufacture but performance comes along with the cost. These materials are used due to their lightness, but more importantly they are highly resistant to flexing under the constant loads that a three-pound racer encounters while doing 60 mph around a banked oval. These bad boys are built for speed as well as precise, razor sharp handling. These speedsters are not forgiving, a tweaked chassis or the wrong tire diameter will have you doing donuts down the straights which will eventually send you spiraling into a track marker, shattered graphite is not pretty, nor is it inexpensive to replace.

Monster Trucks are intense, don’t get me wrong, but they are much more friendly than the Touring Car events where you race blitzed out of your mind for four to five minutes.

I think the main differences between these vehicles, besides their obvious purpose built traits, is the crowd that follows them, Monster Truckers are very competitive but know sportsman ship and are never too busy to help out a newbie. You can always see these men and women helping the novices out, that’s what every aspect of R/C used to be, things change, some good some bad.

Touring Cars are very new in the R/C circuit compared to MT’s. It used to be just a side hobby that people raced around a neighborhood cul-de-sac, it is now a full blown war, whose car can go faster, who has more go-fast goodies, those with the dough have the go. MT’s will never see this mentality due to the basis in which they were created; persons over performance. TC’s are fiercely competitive and have in turn driven away many newcomers . . . this is not the direction our hobby/sport should be headed. Radio Controlled racing has been around since the sixties when peace and love were the foundation of this fantastic hobby/sport. Competition is good for everything(when in moderation); just look at Wal-Mart and Kent’s for example. Intimidation is not a good thing however, and if we are not careful we’ll drive away hoards of enthusiasts looking for something to do, something to belong to. We need all the participants we can get, the more the merrier. So the next time that kid from across the street is looking at your TC or MT, offer him the wheel, you will have made a difference. I love all aspects of R/C and all the different vehicles in it, but just for the record My ClodBuster will rip anything apart. I’m very partial towards Monster Trucks, how can you not after you see it chip cement off the curb. Sweet.


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