When it comes to gift giving knowing what to pick for an RC racer can be very difficult. We are a different breed to an RC enthusiast. How so – well an RC enthusiast is someone who has fun with remote control cars outside of a race track. The better term is probably “basher” I wrote an article on the difference between a basher and a racer. I wouldn’t say a racer is a step up in any way shape or form. At the end of the day we are still playing with remote control cars.
As an RC racer it’s difficult to explain to my family what I want for a gift on a special occasion. If I say something to do with remote control cars, I can guarantee it won’t be something I want or need. In this article I am going to cover the things that might just be on point if you have an RC racer in your circle of friends or family.
Firstly it’s not anyones fault there is so much out there in the RC industry for bashers, racers and people in-between. I am sure at some point you have received a gift you were not that happy about (probably socks like me, although now i’m older socks are good too).
Why is it difficult?
Here is the low down on an RC racer I can only go by my own experience. This will differ depending on time spent as a racer and skill level. We race RC cars for fun, however take it very seriously. An RC racer is likely someone who spends time taking apart and rebuilding a car perhaps 3 times a month. Because it just has to be set-up perfectly for the next race.
- We know what we like – we have our favorite brands for tires, wheels, fuel etc. If you know the favorite brands you are only one step closer. Now you need to know the compound for tires, the compound for inserts, the percentage rating of fuel the list goes on.
- Some of us are sponsored drivers – chances are you know about this. Sponsorship deals mean we are loyal to the brands we are sponsored by. Any other brand just won’t do and likely breaks the terms in contract agreements.
- Non RC people just don’t get it – this applies to any person involved with remote control cars. The conversations go something like this. FRIEND: What did you do at the weekend? ME: I raced my remote control car, came 2nd in b final and 9th in the A final. Would of got a better result but, my shock gave way and dumped oil everywhere. FRIEND: oh right thats cool. It’s just one of those sports unless you are involved you won’t understand the terminology.
With that said, below are a list of gifts which any RC racer would be grateful for. They are broad enough to not upset sponsors and you know it will be a meaningful gift that is appreciated.
1: VRC pro or DLC.
VRC-PRO is a fully fledge RC racing simulator which is as life like as it can possibly be. It comes with 95+ racing tracks of which most are based on real world tracks. 13 classes of RC cars, if the racer you know owns this many or even close. Pop a comment down below I have to know them!
Set-ups, track conditions, car customizations, strong community – you name it will be on the simulator. It’s marketed as the best RC simulator in the world and it’s not hard to see why.
The simulator is now available on steam, with DLC (extra tracks, cars etc) packages being released on a regular basis. I recently wrote a review on the sims features.
2: A quality set-up station.
A well set-up car is vital part to finishing a race. To win you must first finish. When the settings of an RC car are dialed in it makes driving the car so much easier and enjoyable.
To test different set-up changes you need reliable tools, which provide accurate readings. My personal favorite set-up station is Hudy, I have the 1/8th & 1/10th version. Hudy is known in the RC industry for high quality products and has been developing RC products for the last 27 years.
I use the set-up station for camber, camber rise, steering throw and steering symmetry. You can use gauges to measure camber, these measure from the outside edge of the tire. Tires wear down and rims get deformed over time. These change the readings, and often give you different readings each time. You attach a set-up station to the hubs on an RC car which in-turn gives more accurate readings.
3: A quality tool set.
We like to change things on RC cars, if its not a set-up option it’s a strip down in preparation for the next race. Even if you cheat with an electric screwdriver a good quality set of tools that will last is a must. Be warned high quality RC tools are not cheap for what they are. Anything from Hudy, EDS, Arrowmax & MIP will be of high quality.
I prefer the Arrowmax tool sets, I purchased my 21 pcs tool set with bag in 2015 and have used it rigorously for all my RC cars. It’s sadly not available anymore. However they do have the same tool set in the honeycomb design. This is unique to Arrowmax and features an interesting honeycomb design in the handle. The honeycomb 21 pcs tool set is $271.92 from Arrowmax.
Tools included in the set:
- Allen wrenches 1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm & 3mm
- Ball driver hex wrenches 2mm, 2.5mm & 3mm
- Flat head screwdrivers 3mm & 5.8mm
- Phillips head screwdrivers 3mm & 5.8mm
- Nut drivers 5mm, 5.5mm & 7mm
- Body reamer
- Arm reamers 3mm & 4mm
- Turnbuckle wrenches 3mm, 5mm & 5mm
- Multi use shock tool
- Carry case.
4: 12 month subscription to an RC magazine.
RC racing is what we look forward to at the weekend. Sometimes the weekend can seem like a very long way away. There are a few big names in the Magazine scene, like RC Car Action & RC Racer. Both are very good magazines and deserve a mention, but my personal favorite is Velocity RC magazine. The reason for me is one of the staff members “Jeff Eveleigh” was the man who created XXX Main in 1998. If you don’t know what that is, to some it up I would say its extreme RC videos.
Adam Drake – a well respected and known professional RC racer, is also part of the team at Velocity.
Velocity RC magazine is very well priced at $9.99 for 12 months.
5: RC USB Game Adapter.
Image credit: VRC-World
VRC Pro is not the only RC simulator. There is another one which I am currently testing and will write a full review about soon called RC Simulator 2. This was released on steam in October 2015, and has been developed by Devotid. It goes much further than simulating RC cars you have boats, quad-copters, planes and much more.
To fully enjoy RC simulators you really need to control the sim with your real transmitter. VRC Pro and RC Simulation 2 both support USB adapters. You simply plug the servo cables into your receiver and plug the USB into your computer. Choose the USB joypad option in either simulator and away you go, it really is that simple. These USB adapters are available on amazon for $19.99.
6: Action photos at the track.
Hire a photographer for the day to attend the race track and capture some action shots. Action shots look amazing, and even better when a professional photographer takes the pictures.
I’m sure you won’t need to advise them on the areas of the track to take pictures. Here is a few things you could mention a mid air shot, close up on a corner, overtaking another car, finish line, start line with flag blurred and even shots close up in the pits. Once you get the best picture have it framed to add that extra touch.
7: Custom made RC Apparel.
A t-shirt, hoody or hat with their favorite brands and the racers name or nick name is a great way to make anyone look the part. If the racer you know is sponsored it’s a must that you include the manufactures that sponsor them. You may have to do some digging to find out what the brands/manufacturers are, but it will be worth it.
8: Rotary Tool.
You would be surprised at the amount of uses you can get from a rotary tool. Cutting body-shells, trimming tires, sanding rough edges or cutting metal, this tool is very handy to have. A battery powered one is better, it’s the kind of tool you may urgently need at the track. Not all tracks provide electricity.
9: Quality Reliable Lipo Charger.
Charging Lipo batteries fast at the track is very important. You often don’t have much time on a race day, the last thing you want is a dead battery. Charging batteries fast is ideal, but it’s far more important to have a reliable charger. One that will not over charge the battery and will last you for many years.
There is an abundance of Lipo chargers on the market all offering different features & functionality. I have used the Turnigy Reaktor 10A 250w for the past 4.5 years. I will be honest, it’s not a fancy looking charger with a touch screen. It doesn’t have that many features either, but what it can do (charge batteries correctly) it does very well. I have not had a reason to purchase another charger.
It balance chargers 1-6 sell Lipo batteries up to 10amps – this means all of the batteries currently available on the market for RC cars, (at time of writing) will be charged in under an hour, most will be around the 25-40 minute mark. You can test the IR (internal resistance) of your batteries. This is one of the factors which determines how healthy the battery is.
10: Sometimes It’s The Little Things That Count.
These are little things I wouldn’t call a whole present on their own. It’s items like this that can be very helpful when you need them.
- Lipo charging bag – Lipo batteries can be dangerous, these little protective bags are a must to reduce the risk of damage, should the unfortunate happen.
- Pit mat – keeps everything in one place, some have little indentations which keep tools and screws in place.
- Magnetic screw tray – fantastic for keeping all your screws together. If they fall off the table and your outside then it’s gone for good.
- Pit light – Can use a battery powered led desk lamp. One with a flexible arm is handy for moving the light into any desired position.
- Spare battery charging leads – doesn’t matter how many you have, when your in a rush it’s hard to find charging leads. This is like asking your partner where your keys are (they always know!).
- Ride height gauge – ride height is an important factor in car setup and is track dependent.
- Shock oil & Diff oil – most racers use quite abit of shock and diff oil over the course of a race season. Check the brands and weight they most commonly use, this is one of those items that comes in an abundance of choices.
Gift giving can sometimes be very difficult. Most importantly when your trying to find a gift that will be appreciated. It’s all too easy to just pick anything. You likely found this article because you were putting in some effort to find the ideal gift. Hopefully this article has helped give you some good ideas. Feedback is always welcome, feel free to leave a comment below.
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I’m the owner of racingrccar.com. I am currently 29 years of age, and enjoy racing remote control cars. My favorite classes are 1/8th & 1/10th off road electric. I do also like to dabble with 1/10th touring cars and 1/12th pan cars.