Article by Robert Saturday
If you are new to remote control rock crawling, you will quickly come to know that there is a lot to learn and many choices to make before committing to the hobby. Although rock crawling is a newer hobby within the remote control car/truck world, it is has taken off and is now the most popular off-road rc hobby out there. It has even gotten quite competitive in the US, the UK and Australia. So, let’s dive in and talk about what is needed to get started in this fun and exciting way to spend your day.
Let’s define some terms so that you have an idea of what people are talking about. RC rock crawling simply describes the hobby of taking the real sport of driving vehicles strait up rocky mountainsides in full size 4 wheel drive vehicles and simulating that sport using remote control vehicles who’s structure and components greatly resemble the full size vehicle.
The term 1/10 refers to vehicles that are a 1/10th scale model of a full size rock crawler. These are the larger types of rock crawlers you can buy. There is also a 1/16th scale size you can run if you prefer. Even though the vehicles are small, they pack quite a bit of technology from servos, electric motors and circuits to special springs, flexible suspension, authentic tires and shocks. More definitions will come in future articles.
Like any sport or hobby, there are many levels of skill and hardware. And as such, you’ll want to start out with beginner equipment and work your way up to a more competition scale rock crawler. Some entry level to intermediate level crawlers include the Axial AX10 RTC and the Tamiya CR-01.
The big thing to understand when you start is that the body of the vehicle is the most expensive part to upgrade so buy the body that you like the most and the wheels and drive train can be upgraded over time. Let’s take a closer look at the Tamiya CR-01.
Every owner has their favorites but here are a few things to consider with this crawler. The most popular version of the CR-01 is the Land Cruiser but the Bronco is also very popular and the Wrangler comes with a light kit. The Bronco comes with cliff crawler tires that tend to be better tires so many owners put Bronco tires on the Land Cruiser and Wrangler crawlers. The Wrangler could be a bit top heavy because it has a hard shell body.
The AX10 RTC is a very popular crawler. Many owners will agree that the AX10 has by far the best after market support. That means parts and upgrade options are readily available. This is important because you’ll find that half the fun of this hobby is upgrading and improving your crawler on a regular basis. Having a great selection of tires, servos, motors and other upgrades is important. The AX10 RTC comes complete with everything you need to get crawling right away. The RTC stands for Read To Crawl. The tires, servos and motor are a good start.
Soon after you start rock crawling, you may want to start making some improvements to your crawler. Here are some ideas: For the CR-01, you’ll want a 44-55T motor, better tires such as Proline Hammer G8 and 4 wheel steering is a must for good handling. Also, consider some high torque servos. For the AX10, many owners go for the aluminum upgrade/conversion kit for the links that connect the chassis to the axles and steering. The stock ones are plastic and will bend a lot. It’s always a plus to upgrade the tires to softer tires with good tread on them.
RC rock crawling is a very fun hobby and continues to grow as more people get involved and more equipment is released. There are many options already and more coming all the time. We have covered just entry-level gear in this article and will be discussing more customized crawlers in future conversations.
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