RC Brand Loyalty
In all things in life, there’s things that I’m drawn to – brand of vehicle, brand of t-shirt and even brand of water. In RC, are you a brand loyalist? Do you favor a specific brand even if you haven’t tried others? Will you defend your brand to the death? Do you get in Facebook fights over your brand? In this article, I try to make sense of what RC brand loyalty is doing to/for the hobby – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Brand A vs. Brand B
I first experienced brand loyalty when I bought my first Ford F-150 – which brought every Chevy and Dodge owner out of the wood work to challenge my new purchase. I never saw this while owning a Toyota, just when my new Ford came into sight.
The RC world is no different. My first RC was a Traxxas Slash 4×4, mostly because as a new hobbyist, it was the one brand I could recognize from the main stream walking into my local hobby shop. A few days later, my good friend, a die hard Team Associated fan, says, “why the hell did you buy that thing??” My first response was “you have never owned a Traxxas Slash, why would you say that?”
Several years now in the hobby and I have owned almost every brand of hobby grade RC and have formed some opinions of each. I have decided on some favorites and even ones that I despise, but only after I have owned them. Experiences always vary from person to person based on use or misuse, breakages and ease of ownership (parts availability, etc.).
With RC almost entirely fueled by social media these days (that goes for most things now), opinions and experiences get aired quite often. What’s so difficult about social media are the conversations and anonymity. Conversations can easily go sideways based on “I was just joking” or “I was being sarcastic”. So much so, that some individuals get in knock-down, drag-out fights about brands over a simple joking statement that was taken wrong by a brand loyalist. It’s difficult to “watch” these fights go down because most of the time, “friends” are involved and acting ridiculous. Social Media platforms seem to bring the worse out in people especially when the “keyboard commando” complex sets in.
Recently, I posted a video and blog in a fan page group on Facebook. It was showcasing a specific niche of RC that specifically showcased that fan pages products. I later found out that my posts were deleted because one/many of the page moderators disliked the brand of chassis the parts were shown on. This was mostly because the moderators were affiliated with a rival chassis maker. I even PM’d the moderator and was told I was showing bias toward one specific chassis, which is why he deleted the posts. In all fairness, this was his/their group and although I was a member, I did not have moderator privileges and my posts stayed deleted.
Really, It was just an easy 1ft jump
Almost everyday, I see a post on social media of brand X’s RC part/car with an obviously broken part. In many cases the caption reads “this just happened after a very easy 1ft jump.” Immediately, comments start flowing in regarding how this must be an engineering issue, parts quality issue or simply a plagued manufacturer. 99/100 times it’s typically user error, whether it be assembly issues, driving issues or just plain bad luck. The viewers never hear about just how “large” that jump was (reverse fish size issue), how over-powered the RC was (yeah, 8s in a Slash isn’t too much, come on!), or in some cases how inexperienced or intoxicated the driver was (wait, hold my beer…).
In every sport, hobby, etc. when there is some type of competition, rule changes will happen. In the RC hobby, rule changes happen quite frequently when technology improves or as things get dangerous (think restrictor plate racing in NASCAR). The recent “wing-gate” that happened at the 2016 IFMAR Worlds for 1/8th buggy where a rule was enforced regarding wing sides. Some teams modified wings to comply with the rules and others opted to purchase the Kyosho wing, which at the time was the only legal wing.
In another niche of RC racing, U4RC, which is in its infancy, is going through rule changes as new chassis designs come available or invented in garages. Changes to create equal classes for contestants to compete in based on chassis specs. Most of it has to do with size of wheel (1.9” vs 2.2”) and then type of axles (solid axle vs independent suspension). Most controversial is the 2.2″ Trophy Class which consists of many different axle configurations. Heated arguments have erupted between chassis designers and governing rule makers which has sent a cloud over the series.
For the good of the Hobby
As I finish this article, I am left with asking for your help. Can we all just get along? Sure the brand of vehicle you are driving is great…..and so is mine. If everything on social media is true….don’t take everything so seriously. Rule changes will happen, and it’s part of the hobby to keep an equal playing field for all racers. And lastly, RC is a hobby. Unless you’re Ryan Maifield, quit taking the hobby so seriously. Grab your RC, go out and run it, race it and have fun!
Are you a brand loyalist? Do you participate in social media debates? Have you been effected by a rule change and how did you adapt? Comment below!
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