Bashing an onroad car can be just as fun as an offroad truck. However, a basher needs to be a lot more picky about chassis selection than, let’s say, a stock class carpet racer. This may seem weird, but allow me to explain with a few points to look out for before you sink money into it.
Remember, most bashing for onroad will be done in parking lots and streets. As such, the surface isn’t perfect. Anyway… here’s my thoughts:
- Regardless of how nice you think carbon fiber looks, it means absolutely nothing when bashing a car. Fiber chassis cars get scratched up extremely easily unless they are protected on the bottom. Even then, they still get pretty torn up and eventually can crack or fail due to damage. Stick to plastics and composite plastics for longer life.
- Aluminum looks wonderful, but it doesn’t give like plastic. This can cause problems when you hit something. Once bent or cracked, aluminum parts need to be thrown away. The Aluminum can get stressed over time and, depending on the quality, it could develop stress cracks and break. It’s just something to think about if you plan on running hard for long periods of time.
- Flex is not your enemy. In fact, flex is good when running on rough surfaces such as asphalt and concrete. The stiffer chassis you have over bumps, the more it’s going to jump around the the less control you have. Hey, if you like bouncing around out of control, breaking pieces, and destroying an expensive chassis, get the carbon fiber car. If you like keeping a car for a while and maintaining control on rough surfaces, get a chassis with at least a little flex.
- Depending on what it is that you’re doing, the hottest motor may not be the best one. An uncontrollable car due to too much power, is just as terrible to drive as one with too stiff a chassis. Combine too stiff with too much power and you’re just asking for trouble (broken pieces, worn out parts, etc).
- Belts are nice and efficient. The problem is most touring chassis these days have exposed belts. If you want to keep a bulletproof drivetrain for bashing, stick to shaft drive. You can get away with belts in spurts, but eventually road debris WILL find a tooth and the belt will become damaged. Be prepared to change belts quite often if you aren’t able to find a chassis that protects them.
- A chassis with gear differentials is going to hold up to bashing a lot better than other differentials. They’re easily rebuild-able and have long service life. Metal is preferred for brushless power but not always required.
As always, maintenance is key. Keep bearings on whatever you have clean, check motor temps often, and keep rocks out from around the electronics. If a person is just interested in a used onroad basher, there are so many Tamiya TT-01s out there that fit these basic requirements. However, there are other great options too. Some of which we’ll be covering in our sub $200 touring car shootout starting with our round 1. No matter what you choose, keep it shiny side up and have fun!