The RC Hobby – Top 10 Things I Hate

I love the RC hobby, but there are certain things that just make me shake my head! I jotted these down in no particular order, but I think many hobbyists have the same gripes. Here it goes, the top 10 things I hate about the RC hobby.

1 Non-standardized parts

Why do we have 3 differently splined servo horns (23t, 24t and 25t)? Why are there 20 types of battery connectors (Deans, TRX, XT60, XT90, EC3, EC5, Castle, etc)? Why are there many types of gear pitch and variations of some of the popular ones (64p, 48p, 32p, .5MOD, 1MOD, .8MOD, etc)? CST rating vs weight of oil (550CST vs 45wt) Standard hardware vs Metric Hardware. The list goes on. Gathering more people into our hobby will only be easier if the manufacturers could decide on a couple of standardizations. To read more about standardizations click here.

2 Building Turnbuckles

No matter how many specialized tools come out to make it easy, it’s always a chore to build from scratch turnbuckles for KIT RC’s. Greasing or using Chapstick can help to lay the initial threads, but it always takes a toll on the builder’s fingers building these turnbuckles. Smaller, larger, they’re all difficult.

3 Rebuilding Differentials

Definitely not my favorite task. It’s messy, and depending on your RC, can contain a high number of parts and some of the smallest parts including shims, guides, o-rings, etc. – all of which need to be checked for wear and cleaned from black sludge.

4 Cutting out Lexan Bodies

The initial trim of a Lexan body can be nerve-wrecking trying to follow the suggested line and not puncture your forearm with the blade. No matter how “pre-trimmed” bodies come, there’s always trimming that needs to be done to get that perfect fit. Then there’s adding the body mount holes, which can make or break a perfectly painted body.

5 The first drive

You just spent countless hours building that masterpiece RC. Whether it’s just a kit that you laid fresh paint on and brand new electronics in, or that one off custom build that has more money in it than your first 1:1 car (kids won’t understand…). The first time you pull the trigger and really run that RC can be torture, especially considering you’ve never driven it and don’t know whether it will donkey kick on the first jump and crush that perfect body. RTR owners won’t understand either.

6 That missing part

It’s 1am and you’re in the RC groove of building or repairing your RC. This scenario can go one of two ways: 1. Brand new kit and you’re cursing the QC guy as a crucial piece is missing from bag “E”. 2. You know you had that part and can no longer locate it. You spend the better part of an hour trying to locate that “E” clip or flanged nut to complete the build.

7 RC and Social Media

Yes, many RC enthusiasts have been known to “not play nice with others”. This runs wild on social media including FaceBook, YouTube and Instagram and others. Whether it be brand loyalists, popular opinions or just blatant egos, Social Media is a cesspool sometimes filled with keyboard warriors hiding behind some platform’s anonymity using screen names like “RCgodUallSuck” Trolls will be trolls and try to bring down others that are positive or finding joy in a hobby.

8 That one part you can’t buy even for $1,000,000

On many of my builds, it comes down to waiting for that one part to complete a project. Take my SCX10ii build that waited the better part of 4 months for Bomber Interior. Or my Losi Rock Rey that is still in need of differential bevel and pinion gears as mine are ground down and re-shimmed! Sometimes manufacturers poorly plan or have major catastrophes that happen a half-world away. Either way it ruins some hobbyists experience or outcome of their project.

9 Over-Powered RC’s

I think Jang from Ultimate RC once had a rule to NOT ask him to put a Mamba Monster in it under his video description FAQ’s. Some RC’s are only able to do so much speed or control so much power. Probably the most violated RC is the Traxxas Slash 4×4 – It’s a plastic tubed chassis with a large parachute body – it’s does not need 6s Lipo power and an 1/8th scale Truggy motor to operate.

10 Price

Why are a set of aluminum wheels (2 in this case) $100 and don’t include all the parts necessary? The first aftermarket wheels I bought for my ’67 Mustang were $38 each! I had to go steel, because the aluminum Enkei wheels were just as bad as the RC wheels of today! Why are “RC” items twice as much as the mainstream items? Think thread lock, tire glue, double sided tape, solder, etc. Just like 1:1, why are kits and RTR’s one price, but the parts all tallied up equal 4 times the cost of the RTR or KIT? Does a plastic bulkhead really cost $10? Are six 2.5mmx10mm screws really $5?

That’s just my top 10 hated items in RC. I think we have a lot to be positive about, and some of these things fixed will make it even better. Is there something I left out? Do you have something that just irritates you about RC? Comment below!

13 Comments:

  1. You nailed it head-on. Although I used to be guilty of overpowering my HPI E10 and pushed it 83mph, it never drove again because the included plastic bushings in the diff melted and welded everything together (Sidewinder SCT ESC with a 7700kv motor/biggest pinion I could fit). But the elitism is truly what is killing this hobby (aside from pricing).

  2. Rich, to answer #10 I think the answer is simple. An over abundance of sponsorships is driving up the cost of RC racing. At this point I think it’s a matter of diminishing returns for many RC manufacturers. If you give something away, you have to make up that cost elsewhere. The sad truth is, the retail customer inevitably pays for the contract customers. Not all sponsorships are undeserving, but I think many are, I see it all the time. If you’re sponsored, you owe the unsponsored racers around you, and your sponsors, your time and insight. All too often sponsored drivers don’t want to give a minute to their customers, what does that say about the company(s) they represent.

    When Tamiya cut their team, at first I thought it was a stupid move, but when I thought about it I realized that might be the first step in the right direction. I don’t think their execution of that step was the best but I’m glad they did it. They won’t have to lose margin to a team and make up that margin with more sales. One would assume that by reducing overhead i.e. a race team, they’ll be able to reduce the street price on their race kits and sell more.

    End rant

    • Totally true, Adam! The 50% sponsorships are probably not a good thing in RC. Like you said, many of the full sponsor and partial sponsored drivers are un-approachable at best. That’s not to say all of them, but you would think they would almost approach newbie or amateur drivers at the track and at least welcome them or start the conversation.

  3. All 10 points are bang on, but #6 screamed at me. I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I’ve spent looking for little parts that grew legs!

  4. #9 hahaha! yeah, but it sure is fun!

  5. Yeap – can agree to most of them. But hey, it’s just a hobby 😉

  6. Christopher Roskosh

    #10 niche market, where and how it is manufactured.

  7. As a relatively new rc addict 1.5 years, I’m competent not great, I agree with MOST OF your article. I found it very true except the bad rap on rc enthusiasts and pro drivers. My son is six and has two sponsors for on road racing. He runs qualifying with the pros. He doesn’t keep up yet but they make room for him and encourage him. It’s only 1 out of 100 that I’ve found to be anything but helpful and kind. We have 6-8 cars depending on the day of week from crawlers to 80mph (overpowered Slash) BackSlash. Thanks for your article. Biggest agreement is not standardized to Metric. I love Team Associated but really the only SAE car…

  8. William E Satterfield

    I have a castle 2200kv in my 4×4 stampede. Why? Because I got tired of overheating issues in grass and such. Now I don’t have to floor it to get the power I want… nothing has broken on the truck including the plastic spur gear since I did the swap. Of course I only run a mamba max pro on 3 s….its great!

  9. Love this review Rich! Thanks for keeping it real, and producing awesome content online!

  10. Rich.. you hit on a few points that really get under my skin!! The internet Trolls being one of the worst! Then Standardization…. While most servos are finally going 25t. The rest of the issues I fear will never homoginize completely. Wheel hexes and hardware sizes should be the next 2 that fall in line. In the race scene we now have almost all mainstream manufacturers going with 12mm hex front and back for 10th scale. And metric hardware for most. Then you hit on “price” not to pick on Traxxas but, why on earth is an Erevo almost $700? It’s a 10yr old design all plastic bash vehicle!? Before I go I will leave you with one of my pet hates about RC. SPECS… Why on some electronics are there ZERO usefull specs listed!!?? I see speed controls listed with no amp rating or bec output . And Motors listed with no amp draw ratings or input voltage limits!!

  11. Now I’m really irritated after reading this since I went through several of the those scenarios yesterday while building a crawler kit. I had trouble finding aftermarket parts to add to make it my own and gave up since most aluminum parts cost more than I can afford. Ended up arguing with a fellow hobbies on what motor to out in “crawler and he wanted traxxas Spartan senseless 1800kv 540xl can to be used”. To top it off the kit was missing the entire shock assembly package and since I bought it from my local hobby shop on a special order I’m sure I will have to wait another 2 weeks or buy a set of $60-$100 set of shocks. Other than that live the article!

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