As many of you have learned via the podcast, we have some exciting things happening in the coming weeks and months regarding onroad cars. I have invested in several onroad RTR or ARR (almost ready-to-run) sedans with the intention of giving you, the readers, some of the most comprehensive knowledge to date on them. While searching for a touring sedan myself, I was outright amazed at the complete lack of information outside of forums on some of the less expensive cars. Forums are great, but many people have loyalties to brands that cloud their overall judgement of new products from lesser known manufacturers.
To truly begin the testing, I needed to set a few rules.
- Everything included MUST be UNDER or right at $200. This is a budget comparison test. Not everyone wants to spend $350 on a chassis, $100 on electronics, and $100 on batteries only to find out they don’t like running the car.
- All sedans must be 1:10 scale and already assembled be it RTR (ready-to-run) or ARR (almost ready-to-run).
- If the ARR item is missing something, it must be able to be obtained while keeping the overall cost of the ARR and missing items at or under 200 dollars.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you how difficult this is turning out to be. It sounds extremely easy coming from a background where I built kits and didn’t originally buy RTRs while racing. As someone who’s been new to different segments of the hobby, I don’t want to build a kit… I want to jump in and see if I like it or not. However, assembly takes time and costs money from a manufacturer standpoint. This is where things get tricky. I won’t unveil too much about what vehicles I’ve chosen as of yet other than the first two. But before I do, here’s 5 things I’ve learned thus far in my search for this comparison test.
- It’s totally possibly to get a sweet LOOKING touring sedan for under $200… if you aren’t picky about who makes it.
- Hobby shops have to make money, but I’ve been encountering a few in the local area that are very far off the pricing I can obtain the sedans for on the internet. Mostly, I’ve had the employees tell me how awesome the idea is but how terrible the product I want to buy is. I don’t mind someone cautioning me about buying a bad product. However, I’m doing a comparison test FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S BENEFIT. If it’s a piece of junk, let me be the judge. A hobby shop that is persistant about trying to up sell customers does more harm to the hobby by moving people far up in the price range quickly. The goal should be to have more r/c and more bashers or racers. The entire time I was talking to the local hobby stores, I felt as if they really didn’t want to sell me the sedans… hence why their prices never got close to online prices. (As a side note, many of their off road vehicles WERE listed for similar prices to online. This wasn’t just the case at one store but both stores I visited. This leads me to believe that some physical location hobby shops may be shooting themselves in the foot for your business when it comes to onroad cars. You have been warned… be nice.)
- You can buy any r/c vehicle you want… but if you can’t get parts when something breaks, that’s a HUGE problem.
- Tamiya, Team Associated, Losi… the big guys… they aren’t always what their old reputation puts them as. Things have certainly changed over the years and brands such as Team Associated and Losi have been bought out by larger companies and distributors.
- Without a doubt, eBay is probably one of the best resources for purchasing anything in the entire world. (Just don’t expect the same level of service your local hobby shop will give you.)
Well, without further waiting… I give you the first two challengers in Round 1 of the $200 head to head battle:
the Tamiya TT-02 Factory Finished (ARR) vs RedCat Racing Lightning STK (RTR).
Which one is better for the inexperienced driver? Which one makes the better basher? Which one is the better racer? It’s the established brand vs. the new guy. Stay tuned for more details and Round 1 of our Epic Sedan Test 2013.
(Got an idea for which two you want to see featured in a head to head battle? Let us know on Facebook or via Twitter @RCNEWB)