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What's new: Monday, February 14th, 2011

Speed Passion has finally released their popular R/C Car A1 app for Android mobile phones.  The iPhone version of the app, which was released some time ago has also received an update to fix some bugs and spelling issues.

Just to refresh your memory, this app provides you with all kinds of tools, such as a lap timer/stop watch, gear ratio and rollout calculator, complete setup sheets for different cars and tracks that allow you to record all kinds of vehicle variables, and also Social Media sharing that allows you to post your information to a special area of Speed Passion’s web site or to your Facebook account.

This will also be the App that you use to setup their upcoming Reventon ESC via bluetooth.  The current versions of this app are available through both the Android Market and iTunes App Store for $2.99.  Check out the Speed Passion web site for all the details.

DirtChamp Design, known for their high tech and affordable IR transponder system, the TimeR, is bringing some more cool tech to their lap counting system.  Their LapR software that is used in conjunction with the TimeR is getting an update to include newly developed voice functionality so that your computer will speechify your lap times.  DCD has also announced a new bundle version of the TimeR for small clubs.  The TimeR Club Kit will include ten IR transponders.  This low cost option will allow clubs to invest in these transponders and use them as a handout system, rather than requiring every member to purchase their own expensive personal transponder.  Finally is DCD’s new Live Racing iPhone app which will be able to view lap times from the TimeR system.

This whole system is turning into an ideal and low cost alternative for parking lot and dirt lot racers out there.  Be sure to hit up DirtChamp Design’s web site for more info.

Cubby Ever notice that when James Stewart doesn’t crash that he nearly always wins? Well… Saturday night in Houston, Bubba crashed twice, netting him a 15th place finish. “Sigh”. But perhaps the bigger news was that Bubba’s lil’ bro Malcolm Stewart competed in his very first pro supercross in Houston (he raced the Lites class). Malcolm looked fast in his heat race finishing second, but seemingly took a cue from his big bro in the main (crashing his brains out) and finished 14th. With both the Stewarts putting on a crash-a-palooza, that left a great opportunity for some new faces on the podium. Trey Canard answered the call on his Factory Honda for the win in the 450 class (his first ever for the ever affable Oklahoma native), and Justin “Marcia, Marcia” Barcia bashed his Geico/Honda to the top of the podium in the Lites class. The east coast supercross schedule looks like they are gonna be some wild times, can’t wait!

So…….. I’ve gone on and on and on about how rc “could” be headed for the mainstream. Several rc companies have been marketing to the masses, and we’ve seen lil’ signs here and there that all that advertising might be working. Heck, in years past you’d Never see any hobby grade rc product on national tv, but now days it’s nearly common place .

I work in marketing, that’s really what I do to keep my flute full of Dom. Working in marketing, I know the difference between how ad campaigns are supposed to turn out, and how they actually end up working in the real world. The numbers may say “spend 20 million on a certain ad campaign and expect to boost sales by 10% for the duration campaign”, but in the real world you may see no gain during the campaign and 20% for 6 months after it has stopped. A different type of campaign may be aimed at no increase in sales, but be focused specifically on changing your brands imagine within the market, with the results being measured by focus groups. In the real world, the focus groups may say your company actually got the opposite change in brand image that you were expecting to get.

The last 2 years, I’ve closely studied the ad campaigns from Traxxas, TT/AE, Kyosho, Tamiya, and Horizon/Losi. More than one of those companies has done an amazingly good job with their marketing (and it shows in sales), while a couple of those companies have done an amazingly poor job (and sales drop accordingly). But… even with the incredible marketing being done by some of the rc companies, I really expected it to take a couple more years for those ad dollars to really pay off by bringing in mainstreams to our hobby. IMO, I really really didn’t expect to see hobby grade rc really hitting mainstream sales for another 2 years (if it was ever going to work at all).

Well……… it may just be a fluke, but I am seeing something I’ve never seen before. On casual drives around the burbs of my city, I’m actually seeing hobby grade rc’s here and there. Today I saw two kids, probably around 10-15 years old, packing their trucks from their house headed for a dirt pile on the other side of the street. One boy was holding a Slash, the other boy had a Stampede. Both trucks looked pretty new, as if the boys got them for x-mas and today was the first good weather day for them to bust’em out. Having been in this hobby for over 2 decades, I have seen “random” people out bashing a half dozen times in my first twenty years in the hobby. But in the last 6 months alone, I can say I’ve seen over a half dozen “random” people out bashing. Just a coincident? Or is all that mass marketing by Traxxas, Thunder Tiger/AE and others already paying off?

So let’s say it is paying off. Let’s say that right now rc is headed for its glory days, for its apogee of popularity. For the normal Joe-Blow types, it means more guys to bash with, more guys to shoot the rc bull on the forums with, and new friends to simply enjoy the funnest hobby in the world.

For the core track types, it means noobs showing up. Noobs that now get in their way, noobs that given a few months in the hobby “could” end up faster than they are. Noobs that show up to a track represent a potential threat to the local fast guys. Unfortunately the local fast guys have the loudest voice at tracks, and they typically use it to run off all those potential threats. Local fast guys love to b!tch and moan to the track owners telling them not to hold “novice” classes, or classes where Stampedes would be legal. They yell and scream at noobs for their driving and their marshalling. Also unfortunately, track owners typically give in to anything/everything the local fast guy wants, afraid that if he loses the 20 hardcore racers he has now, that he’ll go bankrupt. Those track owners never seem to see that losing the 20 hardcore guys could very well bring in 50 noobs.

In theory rc going mainstream should result in banner times for local tracks, but because of how rc racing is set up now days, that simply won’t happen. Tracks will maintain the same 20 guys they’ve had since 92′, and local bash spots will explode in participation.

For local hobby shops, if rc hits its glory years, then it should be glory years for them as well, right? Unfortunately the world is a much different place than it was in 1990. Life is tougher now for your LHS than it has ever been for two reasons- 1. internet competition and 2. the vast array of changing models/parts. Back in 90′ your LHS had a reasonable chance of stocking pretty much every part for every popular vehicle on the market, but there is no chance of that today. Yes, surely rc going mainstream is going to be good for your LHS, but it’ll still be a darn tough living for them.

In closing… so maybe it’s just been a fluke that I’ve been seeing so many random noob rc’ers lately, but maybe we are actually gonna make it to the mainstream. If it is the case that rc makes it to the mainstream, it should be the glory years of our hobby, so I’m appealing to each and every one of you hobbyists out there- be cool with the noobs, you were a noob once too. Don’t look at it like the noobs are a bunch of morons asking questions and getting in the way, look at it like what it really is- a chance to meet some cool new people that enjoy the same hobby as you do. Let’s make the most of this you guys, we may not ever get another shot…..

Till next week, support your local hobby shops, tracks, and bash spots!

YOUR Cub Reporter

Hex Wrench24 mm hex socket

New from GH Racing is the Aluminum Hex Wrench III. It’s a one way nut hex wrench with two sides, open and close. It built for interchangeable sockets and comes with a 17mm and 23mm. You can also buy a 24mm if you happen to need that size as well. The handle can also be used as a flywheel wrench. This is sounding like one of those ‘must have’ tools in the box!

Head over to the official GH Racing site for details.

What's new: Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Photo of the Week:

Traxxas Slash
by maxcom

I have a busy work weekend, so no bashing for me.   I could use the work as an opportunity to introduce a bunch of people to R/C, but I still haven’t fixed the trucks I’d want to take.  Oh well, maybe next time.

Build Log? More like Built from logs! Ha. *rimshot*

Cool Concept Car: Street Fighter – Large scale custom street racer with tube chassis, looks awesome, too bad he wrecked it.

How-To: Get some weight in those wheels! all for under $10!!!

Video of the Week:

What's new: Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Castle Sidewinder v2 Just a heads up on the fact that the Castle Creations new Sidewinder V2 is now shipping! For all those looking for a cheap brushless system, you can now find it on the Tower Hobbies Website for $99!

This ESC/Motor combination is very similar to their Sidewinder SCT combo that we recently did a review of, so make sure to check that out also.

Duff RC Car Price is Right

Yes folks, another great RC sighting On TV, but this was a two for one special! First on Ace of Cakes, our man Duff and his crew take what looks like a Traxxas 1/16th scale vehicle (the radio makes it obvious) and they build a cake around it to look like a tiny Porsche Boxster.

Duff RC Car Price is Right Duff RC Car Price is Right

Then they take it over to the Price is Right show and do a presentation for the Showcase Showdown and use the small RC car to drive and show off the big version! So we get not one, but two sightings for our RC On TV zone! AWESOME!

Cubby

I’m glad you guys decide to do shoot out with products. It’s been commented in many forums with great appreciation.
For the next Transmitters Shootout I would like to suggest the FS-GT3B. Seems to be a big bargain as it performs very well and cost very low. I have one and love it.
Congrats and good luck
Daniel
from Brazil

Cubby- Yo hey, what’s up Daniel?

For those readers that may not know, the FS-GT3B that Daniel is referring to is a low buck transmitter from FlySky sold on HobbyPartz. It’s 2.4 gig and totally crazy look’n. Spock could only wish to have had a phaser that looked so way super dope.

And yes, we’ve got another transmitter shootout coming your way this spring. I’d personally like to see just the high end product grouped together going at it, but we are getting a lot of emails saying they’d rather see a low buck shootout. I have to admit, it would be cool to see how the FlySky stacks up against other transmitters under a hundred smackers.

Thanks for reading Daniel, and hope your F1 boyz Rubens and Felipe both have great 2011 seasons


hello
its me simon again.
i am looking into bajas or similar do u know were i could get one for under 600? and i was wondering is there a difference in the redcat rampage and the hpi
baja b?
thanks simon

Cubby- Hello Simon, we always dig getting your emails here at the office. You are core basher for sure.

Where do you buy a HPI Baja 5B for under 600 bucks? Well… even with your Tower Super Saver card you aren’t gonna find a new one that cheap. So…. where are you gonna find a used Baja 5B for under 600? Even used Baja 5B’s hold their value pretty well, so 600 isn’t gonna be easy, but I’d first search on your local Craigslist, then start hitting the bigger “for sale” forums on the net (like the ones on RcTech, RCU, etc).

What’s the difference between the RedCat Rampage XB and the HPI Baja 5B? One breaks into a pile of rubble and the other does not? LOL… But seriously, RedCat seems to have cool people working for them, but from what I’ve seen first hand in the field, their product sucks. Save up the xtra bucks for the HPI version, I can personally attest to it being ridiculously tough. (Video evidence of that HERE!)
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What's new: Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Kyosho had a pretty substantial booth at Nuremberg, and they were showing off a ton of product.  Some of it has been seen before, some are new updates to existing products.  Mostly they dedicated their show to announcing price points for products that will be new to the European market.  One item of note is their Inferno VE Race Spec, which is an updated version of the brushless Inferno VE 1/8 scale RTR buggy.  Check out some more of our pictures below, in the gallery.  For a list of all Euro market pricing click the read more link.

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If there’s one thing in this world that says romance, it’s tires.  And if there’s one company that knows tires, it’s Pro-Line.  Pro-Line is keenly aware of the romantic implications of a gift of tires so they are offering you a chance to get the love of your life the tires that she desires with a special deal going from now until February 15th.  Anything you order direct from Pro-Line’s web site will be 15% cheaper when you use the code LOVE15 at checkout.

Hurry on over to the Pro-Line website to ensure a successful Valentine’s night.

What's new: Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Electrix Ruckus

So we just got our Electrix RC Ruckus in the office for review. Seemed only appropriate to do our traditional unboxing photos. Quick first impression, the truck is geared towards the budget minded bashing crowd. It comes completely RTR with battery and it even has a extra set of radio crystals in case you end up on someone else’s channel. The only thing that worries me out of the box, that front bumper is looking small and hidden behind those big front wheels. Looking forward to putting it to the test, watch for a review in the near future!

Hit the Electrix RC website for more info.

Savox SB-750TG Digital Servo Review

From: Savox USA
Review by Cubby.

Savox Brushless Servo Last week I had the pleasure of reviewing one of the most uber servos on the market, the Hitec 7950, this week I’m testing a servo from a little known company called Savox. Savox may be little known to the masses, but they make a lot of servos (and brushless motors) for some of the most popular selling rc car manufactures in the USA. So while Savox makes most of their bones with OEM work, they also sell product under their own badging.
First off, the specs…

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What's new: Monday, February 7th, 2011

Robitronic unveiled their all new electric 1/8 scale buggy, the Vision, at Nuremberg.  The Vision has been designed from the ground up for brushless power, it’s not just a simple conversion of a nitro buggy.  The chassis is carbon fiber, with alloy inlays to aid in heat dissipation, one unique feature among many on this car.  Robitronic is also touting their redesigned differential as a “radically new” design that offers up “supreme smoothness and zero frictional heat.”  The buggy also features extremely long a-arms to help it’s large bore shocks soak up all the bumps in the road.

For more info hit up Robitronic’s web site.