• Apr 13, 2011
RCX 2011 at the Pomona Fairplex – Click above to watch videos after the jump

We're looking for a new hobby, and we think we've narrowed it down. The world of remote control vehicles has grabbed our attention and we're eager to learn more. So we grabbed the camera, ventured out to the 2011 Remote Control Convention at the Pomona Fairplex and figured we'd totally understand the hobby by lunchtime.

We were mistaken.

In fact, we were wholly unprepared to take in the maelstrom of activity and information presented at RCX 2011. It's like SEMA for R/C world and over 17,000 folks descended on the convention grounds over the course of two days. Bikes, cars, trucks, planes, helicopters, trains and motorcycles were all on display.

Traxxas radio controlled stadium truckThe RCX 2011 experience isn't just about looking at vehicles in their packaging, however, because numerous tracks were set up to let us take the miniature wheel. Professionals raced their nitro buggies and truggies on a course set up with large jumps while remote control rock crawlers tackled scaled-down rugged terrain. Nearby, super sideways driving was taking place on both indoor and outdoor courses.

Even though the action was scaled down, there were plenty of examples of serious speed. Scaled-down top-fuel dragsters lined up side-by-side as those wielding the controllers eyed the light tree. Gas-powered race cars and motorcycles attacked a twisting course while the buzz of airplanes, helicopters and scale powerboats droned on in the background. When we wanted a break from the speed, we stared at the hypnotic scale train that ambled around a wonderfully detailed town.

The event is an orgy of remote control action, and it only served to bolster our interest in the hobby. We entered the RCX 2011 doors thinking we'd narrow down our choices, but the convention has only served to confuse. Do we want electric or gas, car or truck? You could walk away from RCX with a great toy for a few Jacksons, or you could've spent a bucketful of Benjamins on a high-powered nitro screamer.

We now know that we've got a lot more to learn about remote control vehicles. The Remote Control Convention isn't a one-time event either. It's traveling around the country and you can check out the schedule at the RCX website.

Click past the jump to watch some quick clips of various vehicles in action.

[Lead Image: Hope McCall, Air Age Media]

Images copyright ©2011 Jeff Glucker/AOL
RCX 2011: Remote Control Motorcycles

RCX 2011: Remote Control Rock Crawlers

RCX 2011: Remote Control Nitro Buggies

RCX 2011: Remote Control Drift Cars

RCX 2011: Remote Control Drag Racing

Images copyright ©2011 Jeff Glucker/AOL

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Are those RC drift cars really only RWD? It seems like the car would be so twitchy, it would be practically impossible to balance the throttle agle with the steering angle. Perhaps the car's front tyres are made of rubber, while the rears are made of hard plastic [absolutely zero grip].
        • 3 Years Ago
        No, they are 4WD, but have harder drift tires in the rear to promote sliding. Although I've never owned a drift specific RC car, I think 2WD would be EXTREMELY hard to controlfor drifting. I've got a 1/18th Losi Late model that is 2WD and it's sometimes hard to keep from spinning out without trying to drift. :)
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yeah, Shift. You want 1/10 or 1/8 for that kind of thing. I can't see 1/18 be good for anything other than glorified slot-racing. :- (Slot-racing has its place in the spectrum of "fun" though!)
        • 3 Years Ago
        There are lots of 4WD cars out there, but 2WD is still the way to go imho. Really, you should try it. It's a beautiful feeling when you get that car *over there* doing what you see in your mind's eye.

        Best way to go is to get an off-road vehicle -- "buggy" -- and then adjust the suspension for what you *really* want to do with it, because you can't take a road vehicle and set it up for off-road... On those lines (at age 11) I once converted my 4WD buggy for FWD by taking out the rear half-shafts and locking the center diff. It was horrible, spinning everywhere, until I loaded down the front and rear ends with ballast to increase the moment of inertia. With RWD, I learnt you can concentrate the load toward the center such that it's far more agile than FWD can ever be.

        I can't wait til my son is old enough to want one. I'm not a pushy parent, but I might slip in this case...
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was into this hobby 25 years ago, owned a Team Associated RC-10, Tamiya Fox, and Losi JRx2. Very expensive hobby as kid, but I'd probably could do more now as adult with a disposable income. I did a few races at some indoor offroad tracks. picture a very small oval with hockey-like retainer walls. Cars would go so fast they'd ride the walls on the banked corners. Racing was intense. one screw up and cars went a flying wreck.

      If you get into racing, you're gonna need a spare of everything.
      • 3 Years Ago
      so so expensive. i was into this in high school but it was such a money pit
      • 3 Years Ago
      The rock climbers are new to me, but I used to race the 2wd offroad nitros.
      Man, that was not a cheap hobby!
        • 3 Years Ago
        The drifting is relatively new and so is the rock crawling. Used to be into this hobby too a few years ago and yes it gets expensive real fast.

        The one thing I could never get used to is how those 1/8 scale buggies scream and fly around the track.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Keat, that's just so much BS. Nothing's "new" in RC. Like I said elsewhere, I was drifting with the big boys when I was 12. That's (jeeez) 30 years ago now. Thanks a bunch for making me feel old...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Never expected to see my purple Skyline gets snapped and posted on Autoblog.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow i just found TRACTOR PULL RC cars too...lmao

      • 3 Years Ago
      I love RC cars. It sucks though because where I live there really aren't any good off road tracks. Tallahassee has a great one, though.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Do we want electric or gas, car or truck? You could walk away from RCX with a great toy for a few Jacksons, or you could've spent a bucketful of Benjamins on a high-powered nitro screamer."

      If you are a n00b just getting in to RC, you want:

      1. Electric. not gas.

      Electric is easier to set up, less mess, and you can run it anywhere (indoor or out). It's potentially a little slower (actually faster on a tight track, due to the torque), so you can learn to drive RC. If you want speed and noise, you can get a gas car later.

      2. AWD (actually 4WD)

      AWD is a lot more forgiving than RWD simply because the torque goes to all 4 tires. You spin less, so you drive more. FWD is a non-starter. Don't bother.

      3. 1/10 scale

      1/10 scale is big, so it has mass and inertia. It handles like a car. You can also see it better. Bigger is exponentially more expensive.

      4. Touring car or monster truck

      Touring cars look great and handle very well. Any parking lot or floor is their home. They are fast and fun. Monster Trucks go anywhere.

      Don't bother splitting the difference with a buggy, rallycar. Don't go to the extremes of a crawler or RWD "pan" or F1 until you know that's what you want.

      5. Hobby grade, not a toy.

      Spend a few $100s on a "sport" kit, not a "pro" kit. It'll handle better than you can drive. Toys will limit your ability to drive, and sport kits can be upgraded for better handling later.

      Have fun!
      • 3 Years Ago
      So much want a T-Maxx toy. That on a MotoX track should be awesome fun.
        • 3 Years Ago
        electrics are simpler and easier to maintain...plus the brushless motors and lipo setups are just as fast or even faster than nitro now. But its all expensive!
        • 3 Years Ago
        About an hour. There's a charger now that can charge 4 packs at once. Just stock up on at least 4 packs and you can pretty much go continuously. Electrics are faster, cleaner, quieter, and have less maintainence. It seems like guys with nitros are working on them more than they drive them. I'm not bashing nitros, it just seems this way.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Had/Have a T-Maxx... it was awesome... until I broke it... then I fixed it... made it faster, stronger... then I broke it... Then I fixed it, roll cage, bigger frame, bigger motor, titanium components, better transmission over $1500 later, I smashed it into a dumpster at 60mph +... it's now in a box, has been for years. The constant tuning, repair, non starts and glow plugs get old after awhile.

        It was awesome though. But I'd say get an electric.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm still trying to find Waldo in the top photo.

      No luck yet, but I did find the pair of twins in a stroller!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Personally I love the 10th 4wd touring car scene, but as stated it can be very expensive. My setup that I bring to race days is just under $4k.... I still leave stuff at home, and thats only 4 2 cars in the same class, just different motor requirements...

      If you want to race, go to the track. Find what is popular where you can get support and start with that. Don't go with what you necessarily want, because the class may be dead at your local track. Local as always is relative as well. 1.5hr drive for me to do TC, only half an hour to run nitro 8th buggy, but that cost MUCH more than my TC days.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've played with an raced many rc vehicles. Those days are over and i'm not going back.
      While it's fun to toy with them, once you want to get competitive it gets extremely expensive, too expensive to compete with team drivers that get the best stuff for free.

      Drag racing RC, visited a track that did it, no fun and the cars never go straight.
      AWD touring, probably the most fun, but don't think you are completing with less than 1500 in crap.
      Offroad 1/8, there's 2 grand in the toilet

      The rc hobby for most people is more like a fad, they get in, spend a ton, then get out.
        • 3 Years Ago
        RC rewards skill & practice. The more you practice, the better you do. If you're not even getting into the B-mains, you need more practice.

        If your car is set up right (which might require a Pro kit for the extra adjustments), you should be able to get into the A-mains.

        Only when you're consistently in the A-mains will a top-end "Pro" kit with all the bells & whistles make any difference.

        And even then, the foundation is hours of focused practice and tuning.

        Just like in regular full-scale racing.
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