Cub Report Version 10.26.08
Where is the 8th scale brushless revolution? Has that “trend of the day” already been surpassed?
The technology has been available to make this work for at least a year now, but there are only two non-conversion 8th scale electric buggies out on the market right now, the Caster EX-1R, and the Losi Eight-E. It’s been more than 2 years that all the internet forum fanatics have been screaming at the top of their lungs that each new 8th scale released should have been electric. Some industry insiders are still amazed that as each major trade show passes, there aren’t larger amounts of new 8th scales BL’s being shown. So what’s the freak’n hold up?
Some “in the know” say it’s strictly price point. Let’s look at the Horizon/Losi Eight E. Most hobby shops are selling it for $829. To actually get it on the road, it’ll take another $200 for a battery, at least $50 for a charger, and add another $150 dollars for a transmitter, receiver, and steering servo. That brings the total up to over $1200. This price is not Horizon’s attempt to rob every rc enthusiast in America, it’s simply a fair price for the technology needed to do a proper 8th scale electric buggy.
Others in the industry say the technology is not quite there yet. The Castle Monster speedo is now on a third revision to fix gremlins, while Novak’s HV Pro has also shown more issues than it’s 10th scale baby brothers. Both companies have relatively rock solid 18th and 10th scale systems, but it seems that all that extra weight, rotating mass, and current draw of 8th scale requires a large leap in technology. Lithium based batteries are also seeing problems when used in the big rigs. Vented/puffed cells, burnt tabs, and low cycle life is more the norm than the exception when used in 8th scalers. This is no small problem, as the typical 8th scale set-up requires at least $200 worth of cells to achieve decent performance.
My opinion? Probably a bit of both of the above, plus the fact that 8th scale buggies and truggies are nearly track specific. They are awesome at getting around a bombed out dirt track, but aren’t the preferred bashing weapon. This really leads to a limited crowd to sell to. Take that limited crowd and see if they are willing to cut the check for over a grand to get in, and that limits the field even more so.
It seems the people that really want to see 8th scale electric succeed are the guys that love electric, and drive weekly on bombed out 8th scale dirt tracks. If the industry can come out with a more 10th scale size/weighted vehicle that can get around easily on these tracks, yet can use 10th scale type BL/Li-po systems (and price point!), then that’s where the real cash will start rolling in.
On a different note, the head Squid here is looking for a Cub Report sponsor. It seems the 3 readers I have must re-read my babbling thousands of times a week. So if you are a manufacture and are looking for a good value for your advertising bucks, email Brian at Bigsquidrc dot com and jump on board. No, it won’t save your company from being blasted if you decided to start selling junky equipment, but it will go a long ways towards your brands name recognition (at least for 3 readers).
Also, if you are a manufacture, shoot Brian products for revue. You’ll be given a good honest review, and with the view numbers BigSquidRC is getting these days, you’ll get your product in front of a more core audience than any typical print rag. The reviews here really seem to matter! Most google searches bring up BSRC reviews first!
Till next week, support your LHS, your local track, and read your BigSquid every single day.
Your Cub Reporter