For Bashers, By Bashers!

ASK Cub Reporter- 04.27.2011- Mo’ Better Letters, My Vague Unsubstantiated Responses

Cubby– To start things off this week, here’s a letter from one of our industry friends concerning this weeks Cub Report. While we get a lot of mail from industry types, we typically don’t post’em, but here’s one for ya. Make sure to hit the MORE button, to read the whole post.

Hey Brian,
Hope all is well!
I do not know ‘Cubby’ from your news staff, but I read his ‘THE Cub Report, 04.24.2011- Version- Aeropostale vs RC’ that is on the homepage today: Direct Link Here.

While I totally understand his thought about sales at Aeropostale, I wish to help put a little perspective on this, because at the end of the day, it just felt a little like ‘Consumers VS R/C retailers.’

Again, I totally understand his tone and thought about his post, so I am not looking to poke at him, just want to lend a little insight and help see things a little differently as I too am passionate about our R/C industry! I am sure you have a great relationship with your retailers as well.

It’s kinda’ not a fair comparison as Aeropostale has 900+ retail locations. The largest chain within our R/C segment is 165+ with HobbyTown.
source: Aeropostaleéropostale_(clothing). Also look closer at who started Aeropastale yes, Macy¹s back in 1987! Aeropostale info:éropostale_(clothing) .

Something else to think about of which is not spoken, is how much of the product from Aeropostale is actually manufacture by them or parent / partner companies.

So lets look at different perspective:
Think about these Retailing-manufactures: No Fear & Oakley with their Boutique stores…
They are the Manufacture, the distributor and the retailer.

Now if Traxxas, HPI or even HobbyKing was to start retail locations, then yes, their could possible be room for that margin you are looking for.

But, end of the day, if it’s on sale like that… Was it worth it in the first place? T-shirts are way cheaper in materials and workmanship than an R/C vehicle.

So, their big sale is the result of the fast changing fashion. They have 4-5 seasons per year, meaning new lines [not just one truck, but whole lines of clothes]. These lines come with quantity minimums while attempting at predicting what you kid will be wearing the next four months. Good luck with that, hu?!

Now for another perspective!
The Hobby industry has been on sale for the last 20+ years!!! Go back and look at how much you paid for that AE RC10 back in 1988! [That is when I bought my first R/C]

6000 Basic kit, less all electrical, less bearings $188.00
6010 Full kit, less battery, less bearings $225.00
6012 Full kit, less battery, body, wing, bearings $215.00
6016 Full kit, ball bearings, less battery $290.00
6020 Full kit, with battery pack, less bearings $265.00

How much is that relatively same vehicle today?
2011 April, 25th:
LXWVF8 Associated SC10 2WD Race Truck Kit 181.98 27-years later and $6.02 cheaper!!!
LXZTJ4 Associated SC10 Factory Team Kit 259.98
LXAXLK Associated SC10 4X4 Short Course Team Kit 269.97
LXGZW7 Associated 1/10 RC10B4 Factory Team Buggy Kit 199.98
LXSLD1 Associated 1/10 B44 Factory Team Buggy Kit 253.98
LXAMWX Associated B44.1 Factory Team Kit 369.99

Another way to think about this… Look at when this Crawling segment of R/C began… To get in was a minimum of $400 plus 100-hours of labor to get one built! That was just a short 4-5 years ago!

Now Axial has RTR solutions starting at $279.99 and are VERY capable crawlers!

Hope this gives a different perspective!”

Cubby– After talking with Brian The Editor Type he helped me see I wasn’t very clear in THE Cub Report (nor am I ever I guess… LOL). The point I was really trying to get across had nothing to do with raw prices of rc cars, or the ability of a clothing retailer to blow out inventory, what it did have to do with was this- the word “sale” brings in more consumers. Doesn’t matter if the place has 600+ stores and grosses over 2 billion a year, or if it’s a single mom and pop rc shop that grosses 200k, the word “sale” generates excitement from the buying public.

There is no bigger proponent of local hobby shops than myself. Each and every Cub Report ends with a plea for my readers to visit theirs. So why would I write a column about why LHS’s should put on a sale? Because at this point I feel they have to if they want to keep their doors open.

Lets take a look at Joe Blow Consumer from Rock Springs Wyoming. Lets say Joe Blow wants to buy a new truck. In the 80’s he had about two options, buy it from an LHS or call Tower and order it. Today he has sooo many more options… thousands of internet and mail order sites, his LHS, the HobbyKing/HobbyPartz types places, or hell, many times he can contact the manufacture directly (like TT/Associated, Kyosho, etc) and buy straight from them.

Joe Blows LHS is going to charge him the going “street price” for the new truck (sometimes more, which they have to do to keep the lights on), plus sales tax, which on most any new truck is going to run between $10-$40. Depending on Joes LHS, they may have what he wants in stock, or he may have to wait a week while they order it in. Good thing for Joe any time he has a problem or a question the folks behind the counter will be right there at his disposal.

What if Joe Blow orders his new truck from a mail order joint? Most of the “mail order” type places are going to be cheaper than “street pricing”, typically they’ll have the unit he’s looking for in stock, most likely he’ll have it in less than a week, and they aren’t going to charge him sales tax or shipping on it.

So to try and sum up what I was originally attempting to say in THE Cub Report- an LHS has stiffer competition than ever, so they’ve pretty much gotta pull out all the stops to keep their doors open. As I stated in THE Cub Report, they simply do not have the margin for a true “sale” per se, but I hope they get innovative and look at their options. Having a sale every weekend like a Macys or Aeropostale isn’t a good thing or even really feasible, but I know first hand that I’d be super stoke (and perhaps keel over dead) to see the words “sale” posted in the front window of my LHS once in a while.

Next a question about our Traxxas Monster Mutt review

Just a few questions for you about things that weren’t mentioned in the review, and they seemed like they could be pretty big issues to me, so the first one is the bushings. from what i’ve seen it looks like it comes with bearings, and those seem like they could be a little bit of an issue since they do wear out and cause slop in the drivetrain, and it kind of surprised me that you wouldn’t mention this, that is, if i’m correct and it really does have bushings. the second issue i same were the insanely thin toe links or whatever they happen to be called, and i know for sure that those are on it, on the back at least. (i noticed the front is made of plastic and were unadjustable and that also seems a bit weird but that really wont matter to a noob) so to get on to the actual question did you have or would you predict any issues with those skinny toe links?

thank you for your time,
Kurt N

Cubby– What’s up Kurt? Always cool reading your letters.

I never laid a hand on the Monster Mutt as that type of truck is like Kryptonite to me. My thing is more about jumping triples, not bouncing off curbs and popp’a wheelies. But… the more I’m around Brian and the bash crew the more I can relate to how the Monster Mutt is right down the alley of the majority of bashers in this country.

Just FYI to all your guys… Brian and Wrench drove the Monster Mutt like they stole it. The bash crew put a bunch of trigger time into that thing and they broke nothing on it. You gotta give it up to Traxxas for putting out a product that takes a good thrashing and keeps coming back for more. And… it seemed everywhere they went people were fawning all over the truck, so it’s an attention getter.

About the bushings/bearings for those that might want to know- Brian says it comes with bushings at the wheels and bearings in the tranny. A good compromise for a value priced bash truck.

About the skinny toe/camber links- none were broken, but obviously they should be near the top of your hop-up list to gain a bit of adjustability and some bling factor.

That’s it for this week, submit your questions, comments, raves and rants to Cubby at BigSquidRC dot com!

YOUR Cub Reporter

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Posted by in Ask Cubby, Axial, Team Associated, Traxxas on Thursday, April 28th, 2011 at 10:47 am