Running and maintaining radio-controllled (RC) vehicles is a thrilling and deep hobby. It's a hobby where you get out what you put into it. At Fearless RC we primarily deal in 1/5 scale gas vehicles, although we do carry some electric vehicles as well as a few smaller scale vehicles. If you're here you may have seen some of the vehicles we carry in action (if you haven't, check out some videos on YouTube, then come back). There's a few things you should know before you buy your first vehicle.
Most of the vehicles we carry are fifth (1/5) scale. That just means that they're 5 times smaller than the real thing. RC vehicles come in all different scales. RC vehicles use a radio system with two radios. The controller, called the transmitter (Tx), sends control signals to the receiver (Rx) which is installed on the vehicle. The signals will typically manipulate the servos, small motors that move various parts of the vehicle's control systems.
This isn't a "get it and forget it" kind of hobby. Owning an RC vehicle takes a good deal of understanding and a Do-It-Yourself spirit. Everyone breaks something eventually. Whether for repairs or upgrades, it's important that you're prepared to work on your vehicle when necessary. If you don't feel comfortable working on these sorts of vehicles, find a friend or a local hobby store that will. Barring that, there are a lot of videos and other resources online that can guide you on learning to work on your vehicles.
Gas vehicles, most of what we carry, typically have small engines that run on a mixture of regular gasoline and 2-stroke oil. These are the same sorts of engines you might see on landscaping equipment such as weed wackers. Gas vehicles can run for a long time on a single tank of gas. When compared to electric vehicles, gas vehicles are louder and put out exhaust fumes unlike eletric vehicles.
The engine and the pipe are two parts that can drastically change the way a gas vehicle performs. Some gas engines need to be broken-in before you run them for the first time. The break-in process typically requires you to idle the engine for a short time, ensuring that the factory-machined components settle correctly. Engines are generally rated on their displacement in cubic centimeters (cc). An engine with a greater displacement will usually put out more power than one with lower displacement.
Rather than a mechanical, fuel-powered engine, electric vehicles run on a battery and use an electric motor. An electronic speed control (ESC) sits between the battery and the motor to regulate the amount of power the motor receives. Compared to gas vehicles, electronic vehicles tend to be quieter and don't put out any fumes, but have shorter run times. Many people running electric vehicles will have several batteries on hand so they can swap between them when one runs out.
The chemistry, amperage, and voltage are the properties of the battery that most affect the way an electric vehicles performs. Nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH) and Lithium-Polymer (LiPo) are the two most common types of battery for RC vehicles. LiPo batteries tend to have higher voltage than NiMH, but require more care in handling. The battery voltage will determine the maximum speed of the vehicle. Higher voltage means more speed. The battery amperage will determine how long the battery lasts on a charge. It's very important to make sure the ESC can handle the chemistry and voltage of a battery before plugging it into your RC vehicle. Note: Due to shipping regulations, we can't ship LiPo batteries. It's best to find a local hobby store or distributor to source them.
When purchasing a vehicle, it's important to be aware of the vehicle setup. Vehicles will come either Ready-to-Run (RTR), Almost-Ready-to-Run (ARR), or as a rolling chassis (roller). RTR vehicles come with everything in the package other than fuel. Some light assembly may be required, such as putting on the wheels, but nothing major. ARR vehicles will come mostly assembled, but may need additional parts, such as a battery, to be completed. Rollers are barebones platforms that require multiple parts to complete. Rollers are ideal if you plan to customize your vehicle, because you save money by not buying the parts you don't intend to use.
When looking to purchase your first vehicle, it's important to be somewhat familiar with the different vehicle platforms. The platform is like the skeleton of the vehicle. Different vehicles on the same platform will share many of the same parts and upgrade parts designed for a platform will often work for most vehicles on that platform. There are dozens of different RC vehicle platforms at all different scales, but most of our inventory is for 5 main platforms: Baja, LT/SLT, F5, and Primal Dragster.
The Baja is by far the most popular fifth scale platform. This is the platform we carry the most parts for and there are tons of aftermarket hop-ups and upgrades available. Baja vehicles include buggies, trucks, and on-road cars. Many Rovan, King Motor, and HPI parts are designed for the baja platform. This makes it an excellent place to start for your first fifth scale RC vehicle.
LT & SLTbrowse
The LT & SLT platforms both most of the same parts, so we tend to group them together. The LT is a truck platform and the SLT is the buggy version of the platform, which are the two vehicle types you cna find on this platform. This platform is the second most popular of the fifth scale platforms behind the Baja. The Rovan LT & SLT, King Motor X2, and LOSI 5ive vehicles all are based on this platform and most parts between those vehicles should be interchangeable.
The F5 platform is an on-road car platform. These vehicles are designed to be sleek and fast, but the low clearance means that they can't handle rough terrain. The Rovan F5 and MCD XS 5 vehicles use this platform.
Primal RC Dragsterbrowse
Primal RC focuses on specialty fifth scale RC vehicles. They have designed their own platform for a drag racer. Although the dragsters do share some parts with the Baja platform, many parts are unique. Therefore, the vast majority of the parts will be from Primal RC directly or a few select third party manufacturers.
Those are the basics of what we offer here on Fearless RC. Hopefully you found this helpful and you now know enough to make an informed decision on which vehicle to pick up. Of course if you have questions or need more info feel free to contact us.