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Rockstar Cubby

ASK Cubby- Your Questions, My Nonsense

“Dirt cheap durable electronics for 1/10 buggy

I’m somewhat new and I’m hoping this is an appropriate question for you. I’m looking for the cheapest radio and ESC for a Redcat Cyclone (nimh, 540 brushed). The Cyclone seems like a great deal when it gets below $100 so I picked one up for my inexperienced friends to run when I take out my more expensive trucks. It is however too fast for beginners (or even me at a track) so I want to replace the electronics with something inexpensive and durable that will allow me to easily adjust the top speed. It has a combo receiver and ESC, so I have to replace both. I have the stock radio set from a SMT10, so I’m considering combining that with something like a WP1080. Or perhaps a WP1060 with a transmitter with adjustable throttle endpoints. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Dan G.”

Cubby- Waaaazzzzzzzzuppppppppp Dan? Thanks for writing in, and here’s your answer…

First up, you simply want to soften up that power to make it more drivable. I would start out first with gearing. Drop some teeth on that pinion and it will feel like it has less wattage, plus it will have less top speed (and you gain longer runtimes).

You also have the option of running just a 4 cell NiMH pack instead of a 6 cell. And while I have not tried it personally (shoot the guys at Redcat an email), I would expect your Cyclone to run off 4 cell NiMH with no issues, but that might not be enough voltage for its electronics to work properly. A 4 cell NiMH would be cheap to buy and cut the speed/power of your Cyclone by a third.

After that, I would just switch out the transmitter and receiver. Many transmitters, include affordable RTR units (that one of your friends might just have one laying around), have a handy adjustment that makes it easy to turn down the throw on the throttle (designed for first time drivers) to make your car/truck/buggy much slower. Some of these will give you an knob to turn, thus allowing you to very easily set the top speed with, while others have more of a slow/medium/fast setting.


Yo cub,

It’s nice to know someone out there enjoys and realistically understands the whole picture surrounding the RC hobby community. The state of our hobby has been a disheartening undercurrent that I found initially alarming yet not terribly surprising.

I began, as many have, with a Grasshopper. I raced an RC10. Novak was the tits. I went of to school and pursued my ambitions. I still had a toe in the RC waters with various nitros and a boat or two. I got busy, traveled, blah blah blah…

Then, I came back to seek refuge in my favorite hobby.

Novak passed away. The normal go-to resources have been rolling with the punches as best possible. As I re-familiarized myself with the latest trends and tech, I found a huge sea of products. Unfortunately, that sea is quite shallow; enough so that it’s simply a quick stroll across without getting your pants wet. So, as a long time participant in RC, I felt abandoned.

I did find some comfort in finding a thriving retro-rc community and wrapping myself up in a Tamiya blanket. I built and painted and burned through tires on every suitable surface I could find. Alone. I could show off a bit on social media but finding some like minded folks was a challenge.

So one day, I was scouring the web for some deals on various Tamiya parts I didn’t need and there it was. The buggy I never knew I wanted. I only bought it because it was cheap enough. It was discounted well over 50% and I thought “ah, whynot?”. So now I have this buggy. It’s no fun to bash. Its so incredibly well made, it reminds me of my days in 1:1 motorsports. What the deuce am I gonna do with it? I never thought I’d drive an hour or even two on a weekly basis just to run it but, here I am.

Now that one little 2WD has drawn me into buggy racing: the “crux” of my long winded letter to you my man.

I waltzed into this thing rather blind, only remembering the last time I raced in 1990. I decided to get into this as simply and minimally as possible. I picked up a decent blinky esc, snagged a cheapo 17.5, two lipos and found a track rather close to me. Just finding out about this track almost knocked me over. Social media word of mouth joint. No web site yet. But the beauty of knowing I had found like minded individuals only interested in sharing, helping, and making sure the folks showing up felt welcome, is the little bright spot growing again. True grassroots RC racing. The big shot racers may consider it a “throwback” venue but I see it as the future of what we do. We have fun. We race. We have a great thing going.

I live in New England and while we are not typically seen as an RC hotspot, tracks and clubs are opening and growing. Most folks around here scale, crawl, rock race, buggy race, carpet, dirt, astro, concrete, asphalt, salt, fresh, oh yeah we fly (crash) stuff too. Sure the Jconcepts race at RCE is a big deal around here and it’s gonna be packed, but those crowds wont likely be going away after the big show leaves town.

I race on Wednesday nights at my home track and it’s fantastic. Yeah theres the folks that bring a bank of crazy chargers and dischargers and there’s motorlyzers flying around. This is where I finally found the RC skunkworks I thought I was looking for. Well yeah a “certified” anything can help you win a race but after dropping that kinda cash on a “stock” motor, ya end up a “certified somethinghole” indeed. See, these cats don’t normally win. It’s the local chick or dude with one buggy, one motor, a pair of batteries and an idea of running clean lines. We don’t carry massive amounts of equipment to race stock classes. We carry each other. Our cars are an amalgam of parts purchased, traded, once used, or simply donated by others. Your roll center was set by that guy over there. Anti-squat? Wtf is that? No one really cares. 10 bucks for lap night. 15 bucks to race. Trophy races are a bit more but bring an appetite.

So thankfully AE and Losi are still making stuff. Yeah, its not ultra cheap but Its not totally out of line with the bigger bash daddies all in. Used buggies are screaming deals and normally, a race buggy isn’t totally thrashed if it’s kept in races. Plus, it may be old but it don’t mean it won’t win (I run a trf511).

We love RC. We enjoy racing; in addition to all of the other RC stuff we obsess over.

Tracks may not be close by but they’re close enough around here.

New tracks are opening soon. Most of em have or will have facilities for the lions share of our needs.

So I guess I wrote this in response to a general distaste for sanctioning bodies. You’re right: they’re an ashtray on a motorcycle. But the template for fun exists and our enthusiasm follows our hearts in the roots and spirit of this hobby that began in parking lots and baseball diamonds (in shizuoka?)

RC ain’t dead around here my brother. It seems to be finding a little flicker of hope and rebirth.

And no, thankfully folks don’t normally screaming from our little sanctuary. Wanna race?

Jonas K.”

Cubby- Yo here there Jonas, thanks for using some of your time to write in to ASK Cubby. I shot you a reply email, but just in case, don’t forget to send me your snail mail for a sticker pack.

Ya know, also around me are a LOT of “bash tracks”. These are prepped tracks (only on the monthly or season, not on the weekly, LOL) that guys meet up and hold informal races on, and those guys have a blast. There are no transponders, there is no loop, there is no announcer or formal pit tables, just a track and a bunch of guys that love to run rc cars. There is no starting tone, a guy will start running, then others join. There are no different classes, so any car (or power system) is fine and dandy, and that includes nitro or gas.

Up there in New England there are a number of solid tracks like Madness that you mention, but they are bound to keeping their regular racers happy, not inviting in the masses to race “fun classes”. Yes, there are still tracks around, and it is great to hear that in your area things are coming back a bit, but that isn’t the norm where I am. Maybe someday…

Oh and, about collecting Tamiya’s. There are a LOT of long time hobbyists headed that way, going for the Tamiya 100 5800 series kits, and having a great time doing so. We’ve been posting a lot more Tamiya news lately simply for that reason.

Hey Jonas, thanks for the heartfelt letter. I hope many of the “powers that be” read it and get some insight from a returning hobbyist.

Have a burning question? Absolutely need an answer? Have a rant inside you that simply must see the light of day? Email me- thecubreportrc at gmail dot com.

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Posted by in Ask Cubby, cubby on Thursday, August 30th, 2018 at 6:53 pm