Radio-Controlled Off-Roaders Have Come a Long Way
No matter what our wheeling passion is, be it rockcrawling, trail riding, or mud bogging, there's no doubt we do it to have fun and let off a little steam. But you don't always need a fullsize 4x4 to have fun off-road. Sometimes you can have just as much fun on a smaller-scale, around 1/10 or 1/8 scale, to be exact.
We're talking about hobby-grade radio-controlled (RC) trucks, not the cheap 10-mph hard plastic toys you see at the local Wally World. These are the hard-hitting RCs that have oil-filled shocks, lockers, aluminum bits, rubber tires with beadlocks, and power to spare! They're the kinds of RC trucks that your friends will be begging to try out the next time you're out on the trail.
Hobby-grade RC trucks are very realistic, offering brand recognition so that you can continue to wave the flag for your favorite ride (Ford, GM, Jeep, and so on). The same can be said for their tires, with licensed rockcrawling and off-road tires from Pit Bull, BFGoodrich, Maxxis, Yokohama, and others.
Getting into the RC hobby is a lot of fun, and there are many upgrades, such as shocks and springs, more powerful engines and motors (both nitro- and electric-powered RC trucks), wheels and tires, bodies, and much more. These upgrade parts can easily make your RC truck ready for competition or just a dead-on clone of your full-scale trail ride.
What we've gathered here is just a little taste of the off-road RC hobby with some photos and details of the most popular offerings in the most popular classes-monster truck, short course truck, crawler, and stadium truck. There's plenty of off-road action to be found with these ready-to-run (RTR) models, and you can find them at your nearest hobby shop or online. So check out these scale beauties, and don't be afraid to get them dirty, because they'll take even less time to clean than your fullsize rig-we guarantee it!
These jewels are the hottest thing in off-road RC right now, with scale looks, branded tires, real sponsor logos, and more. Out of the box they are a very fun and capable 2WD electric dirt truck, and with just a little work and a few upgrades these things can be made to scream. If you're looking for some fun in the dirt with a little less investment and a smaller size than the monster truck (short-course trucks are 1/10 scale), then short-course action is for you.
We've all seen the huge monster trucks crashing through campers and jumping over cars. These 1/8-scale monster RCs are huge, weighing 10 pounds or more. These mammoth trucks have the power (either nitro or electric) to move north of 45 mph! From jumping and tricks to just kicking up the dirt, monster trucks are a lot of super-sized fun.
The stadium truck segment is by far the oldest and largest in the RC hobby. Stadium trucks are generally 2WD. They have the look and feel of the stadium racers we've all grown up with. They feature powerful electric or nitro powerplants, pin-type rear tires for great traction on all types of surfaces, and four-wheel independent suspension, and they can easily be upgraded with all manner of suspension goodies, realistic truck bodies, and more.
We know a lot of you guys and gals are into rockcrawling. There's just something about conquering those rocks and going where no other four-wheeled vehicle can go. But building a trail-worthy ride that's not going to spit a driveshaft or bust a locker doesn't come cheap. So if you're itching to get into the sport but on a limited budget, or perhaps you want something you can break out between runs, then you should take a look at these 1/10-scale electric crawlers. From competition level to the more basic models, there's a crawler for every taste and budget. These beauties have features like beadlock wheels, realistic crawler tires, multilink suspension for unreal articulation, and of course popular crawler bodies like Jeeps and more.