How many of you know someone that bought an RC car like the Traxxas Slash and just ran it stock? Never upgraded or changed anything, just replaced stock parts with stock parts or not all. From my experience there are quite a few who do. They feel that if they are going to break it anyway why not do so with cheaper parts, saving them a percentage over the “overpriced” upgrade. Then they can go back out and have some fun and feel good about it too because they saved themselves some cash. This is the way I felt when I first really jumped into RC. I am not saying there is anything wrong with this point of view but it is limited. If you have never experienced the other side you do not know what you are missing out on… other than those few dollars you managed to save.
My first 1/8th scale buggy was quite the investment for me having not been into RC other than the occasional 1/18th scale or non-hobby grade toy. I didn’t want to spend the dough for all of the upgrades I heard about. I felt all the upgrades were a gimmick designed to keep me coming back. My buggy looked cool, went down the track fast, and I could run it into things and it didn’t break (at least not very often). Then I began racing with some guys that were into the hobby more than I was and I noticed a difference. I couldn’t keep up. Not that I ever compared myself to Dale Earnhardt but I knew the front from the back and could make it around a track. It didn’t matter though and I found this out after a fellow driver let me have a try with his setup. I definitely noticed a difference. His throttle wasn’t even turned all the way up and it still blew mine away on the straightaways. It turned sharper, jumped cleaner, and could run for 3 times as long. I knew at this point I had to upgrade.
One of the biggest eye openers for me was my first non-stock transmitter. Originally I thought that other than all of the cool extra buttons the upgrades had that mine was as good. I was wrong. Going from stock to the upgraded transmitter and without playing with the cool new features that came with it, the first thing I noticed was the response in turning. I was used to this slight lag in response which I had adjusted for initially without even knowing it. Therefore, when I upgraded, I spent my first time around the track with the new transmitter running into walls. It turned too well!?
A couple of times around the track and I noticed how much more control I had. With the throttle maxed on both my original and new Transmitter there was also a difference in performance. With the new transmitter at full throttle I could see more acceleration and top end speed. I spent more on that new transmitter than I wanted to but the difference in performance far surpassed that cost difference.
Moving onto the vehicle itself, you can upgrade just about every part. Some upgrades do not produce such a drastic difference in performance like the transmitter did for me but they all serve that same greater purpose in performance. An upgraded shock tower has adjustable locations to attach your shocks to which allow for better performance depending on terrain. Different tires for rain, dirt, or clay to get the edge on the competition. Even something as simple as replacing the diff fluid in your vehicle can produce an effective and noticeable difference.
I did not go all out but I have upgraded quite a few parts over time and I am happy with my current setup. It is definitely not the fastest thing out there but then again neither am I. It fits my needs and gives me the control I want.
You don’t experience any of this running stock. You may be happy with the performance and not need this doohickey or that doodad but there is more out there. That is the point. Upgrades don’t make you a shoe in for the next RC world championship by any means but if you can drive upgrades become tools that can be priceless. The goals you can achieve with the right setup can equate to that big win at the track or breaking 100mph for the first time. That memory is worth the investment.
Are these things necessary to have fun in RC? That all depends on your point of view. In the end you have to find that perfect mix for you. You can save your money and buy quite a few stock trucks, upgrade one to the moon so it can do anything, go anywhere, and can withstand a beating, or find that mix of upgrade to satisfy all your needs. One of the greatest things about working at MaxAmps.com is that fact that we can play the pivotal role for the mixer and the full upgrader. Which one are you?
– Joshua Barker PR Manager