This page contains setup tips from Pro's and other veteran driver's that I've found useful for setting up my cars. I'm compiling a list of information I've learned and found that is useful. There are a lot of great tips and tricks on sites such as RcTech but it takes a lot of time reading posts to find stuff you can use. I will be adding content and links to RC tips as I put everything together. I have a useful guide below for somebody who wants to get started running and racing on-road RC cars.

RC Car Setup Tips:

Here are some great tips from Factory Tamiya Pro Driver Jilles Groskamp. The links were taken from YouTube.

Shock Building Tips. He uses a vacuum, Tamiya #54152 that  removes air bubbles out of oil in shocks.

Differential Building Tips.

Chassis setup. Jilles starts with chassis and builds it up showing steps for setup .

What should I run if I want to race on-road RC?

These are guidelines for getting setup for racing. Like me and many others you learn sometimes the hard way what equipment to buy and what you should have bought. This is mainly written for someone starting out and running in the stock class.This is only meant as a guide, it is up to the individual to decide what they need to purchase.

Speed Controls:

The biggest buzz these days are all the new speed controls that are coming out with dynamic timing and other really cool features.  That being said there are a lot of good deals on used LRP Comp speed controls and Novak Gtb's that can be found for less then 100 dollars used. They don't have the dynamic timing but are good for starting out. The new speed controls such as the SPX speed control can be turned down and basically be used as a LRP Comp while you learning. This will save you having to buy a second speed control down the road but you will have to decide if you want to spend the extra money.  Make sure if you are running Lipo's that you have it set to Lipo mode. If you don't you could ruin or seriously degrade your battery. This basically sets the control to shut down when your Lipo battery goes below 3.7v/per cell 7.4 cell total. I personally have over discharged a pack on accident and there was a noticeable difference in performance and that's if your lucky enough to get the cells or cell to come back.

I used to use a LRP Spx and after using a LRP Comp the difference is very noticeable with 13.5 and 17.5 brushless motors. I am now like most people switching over to the Tekin RS/pro with 203 software. I noticed a big difference in my onroad car and a difference in my offroad truck. It is very easy to setup and is priced under 200 dollars. A lot of people run these at the track in the stock and pro stock classes. LRP is coming out with a improved version of the SPX in the next week or so. Since the writing of this the SPX has become outdated. Most of the people that are running in the 17.5, 13.5 etc. classes have switched over to running a Tekin RS or Tekin RS pro with 203 firmware. That being said you can now get a killer deal on used SPX for around 100.00 if you are just starting out.

The LRP SXX Stock is the replacement for the LRP SPX. This speed control has just recently become available. They had a good showing at the Snowbirds. They are similar to the Tekin RS performance from what I've told. They are not upgradeable through a firmware update like the Tekin. The price is around 230dollars.

Tekin's RS and RS pro are well liked and their service is top notch. I personally have not used them but own a Tekin RX8 used in a 1/8 scale buggy which works great. The ability to use the computer interface with a Hotwire and update the firmware makes it a great choice since you don't have to buy a new speed control since they can upgrade the firmware giving you a speed control that you won't have to replace for a long time.
For stock racing I recommend buying buying the RS since its around 50 dollars cheaper and will handle motors down to 5 turns, which for most tracks is more then enough if you are running modified. The Tekin RS is priced under 200 dollars and the RS Pro is priced around 230 dollars. You will have to purchase the computer interface they sell called a Hotwire 35-40dollars if you want to use all the features for fine tuning and upgrading the firmware. I would definitely recommend buying one since you can find a lot of setups from Tekin website which will help to find a good baseline to start at. The Tekin RS/PRO speed control with the new V203 software installed is the one to beat at the moment. A lot of people are selling their LRP SPX speed controls and switching over.

Novak Gtb is an older speed control but some people are still running them at the track. Novak has been around for along time and they have a great reputation. This speed control does not have dynamic timing. The nice thing is you can pick one of these speed controls used for less then 100 dollars and for starting out it will work great. If you want to stick with Novak but want the latest and greatest then purchase the Kinetic speed control which is described below.

Novak Kinetic is Novak's newest speed control. It uses dynamic timing and has a host of new features including a Novalink #5440. The Novalink looks to be a lot like the Tekin Hotwire with the same type of features. They did add a feature where you can change your different custom profiles at the track without using the Novalink. Basically it looks like you save the custom profiles to the Kinetic and you can bring them up at the track without having to use the Novalink. What I really like about the Kinetic is using your PC you can go in and adjust the braking and throttle by going into the graph and moving the points. It looks like it runs motors down to 3.5turn.  The price is around 200 dollars and the Novalink is around 30dollars.

Orca Ltd. is a newer local company that sells a speed control called the Vritra Vtc. Some of the local sponsored guys are running these and are very competitive. The guys from Orca support the local tracks and are on hand to help if needed with their products. This works for stock and modified motors down to 2.5 turns. From what I can tell they are using some type of dynamic timing like LRP for stock motors. The nice thing about the speed control is it comes with a programmer which has a LCD screen. This is nice at the track since you won't have to lug a laptop to make changes. I know RC hobbies in Woodinville is carrying them. Price? I'm guessing around 200 dollars but call to find out.

There are some new speed controls coming out that are specifically made for use with 1S Lipo's in 1/12th and 1/10 WGT.  A lot of racers will still use speed controls such as the Tekin RS or RS Pro, LRP SPX but as technology is rapidly advancing you will probably see offerings from those companies specifically marketed to 1S Lipo users.

Orca LTD.
I know they are working on a 1S Lipo speed control but at this time that is all the information I have.

Advanced Electronics (CRC)1S Speed Control is made in Europe and is being imported by CRC. The Black Diamond recently entered the scene and has created a lot of buzz. I personally have not run one but from all the information that is out there it is the best one for 1S available at the moment.  You should start seeing them at the local tracks probably in the next couple weeks. It looks like you can now purchase one from CRC'S website. This is most likely not a speed control you will be starting out with. I added the information since a lot of other manufactures are sure to follow suit and is something to beware of. From what I've read Horizon Hobby may start to carry these speed controls so hopefully the price will drop to a more reasonable level. Price 350dollars.


Battery technology has
really changed in the last couple of years. Nicd's and Nimh's have been replaced by Lipo's for the most part everyone is using Lipo's they don't have a memory they stay the same charge to charge, higher capacity, very linear output and other features making them much better than older technology. The up front costs are definitely higher. The great thing about Lipo's are you can run them all day without any change in performance.  You for the most part can purchase one and  charge it between rounds without needing a second one. I personally usually just run one all day but I have another one if I need it. Warning Lipo's are dangerous if you are not careful and don't follow manufacturer's guidelines. Please click on this link for more information if you haven't ever used a Lipo. It goes over more information and safety precautions that have to be followed. This site is MaxAmps a well known battery manufacturer and this is a great page for information MaxampsI assume no liability in information I'm providing.

Here are a few things that I do to make sure that I don't
damage or degrade a battery. A good Lipo can easily provide 200-300 charges and still provide good performance.
Make sure when charging that you set it to charger 1 amp per 1000mah (5000mah=5amps). Make sure the charger is setup up for charging Lipo's! When storing make sure battery is around 70 to 80 percent capacity. I usually just run my car for awhile after a race day if I have a pack that is fully charged. Do not let a pack sit for long periods of time at full charge or this will degrade it. Charging the night before is no big deal. I just wouldn't sit for more then a couple of days fully charged.

When looking to buy a Lipo charger make sure it has a built in balancer. What this basically does is equalizes each cell while its being charged 2S=2cells in series. This
important because if one cell is at a lower voltage rate you could accidently discharge it below 3.2volts which will result in ruining the pack or degrading the performance. You don't have to balance every time but I just do it as a matter of practice making it a non issue.

This is a big reason why I would never recommend buying a used Lipo unless you really trust the person since you don't know if the pack was taken care of or discharged to far degrading the pack performance.
Do not charge on Nicd/ Nimh or anything besides the Lipo setting or you could have a fire or worse an explosion. Use a Lipo sack these are specially designed to contain a fire or explosion if there is a problem with pack etc. I would recommend buying a fire proof container store Lipo's when they are not being used.

There is a lot of debate on C ratings. This is basically the rated amperage output the battery can deliver. There are no regulations on what you can label your battery. You can put 60C on it and it can really be a 20C.  Here are some manufacturers I recommend that have a good track record.  If your just starting you maybe better off by saving some money and buying one of these packs but rated at 20C There is a difference but when you starting out you will be more worried about trying to run consistent laps.

The following are just recommendations from me. There are a lot of good Lipo manufacturers such as Orion, Protek, Epic(Trinity), MaxAmps and others. The following are batteries I've owned and used.
If you are starting out and need or want to save some money buy the same versions 4000-5000mah 20c and you can expect to spend around 80 dollars about a 45 dollar savings depending on where you buy them from. Only buy packs that have a hard case. You can save money buying soft packs but they offer little protection in a crash and could short sending your prized car up into a nice track side bonfire.

Thunderpower makes a great 5000mah 40c pack that a lot of people run. Some people run 4200mah 40c packs that are lighter but I prefer more run time so I personally own 5000mah 40c packs. From what I've seen at tracks there are more people running these packs then anything else on the market. You can find them locally for around 125dollars.

SMC recently released a 5200mah 50c pack that is comparable to a Thunderpower 40c. I personally can't tell the difference between a SMC 50c and a Thunderpower 40c but that's just me.
They run around 125 dollars.

Reedy 5000mah 35c this is another great battery that I've run in the past. The battery uses internal bullet plugs so beware since if you are not careful you could connect the speed control up wrong. I add some red paint to the + on the battery to be on the safe side since it stands out better. They run around 120 dollars. I've also run a 5000mah 20c battery and was pretty happy with it. It has wires with connectors so you don't have to worry about hooking it up wrong. They run around 80 to 90dollars.

Lipo Chargers

The charges listed below work great and are all reasonably priced. There are cheaper chargers out there but you lose a lot of versatility. Beware that you may have to buy a different adapter board for balancing depending on what the Lipo manufacture is using for the balancing connection.

Triton eq w/built in balancer 129dollars

Venom AC/DC w/built in balancer129dollars

Hyperion EOSO606I AC/DC w/built in balancer 129dollars

Duratrax Ice 120 Dollars
Does not come with a built in balancer. I would recommend buying the AstroFlight Blinky Lipo Battery Balancer 30dollars.

Brushless Motors:

There has been a lot of debate about what the best motor is to run. The 17.5 stock class is very popular and most people who start in novice go into this class. The competition in 17.5 is top notch and you will sometimes even run against sponsored drivers depending on the event making for some great competition. 13.5 Pro Stock is the next step up. This is another very popular class and its popular with the pros. This another highly competitive class and cars are extremely fast. Unlike brushed motors of the past brushless motors do not need near the amount of maintenance. They still need to be cleaned occasionally and here is a link on how to do this from Novak.

I've had good luck with Trinity Duo / Duo 2, Novak and Hacker.
Trinity for awhile produced a motor called a Pulse. Stay away from this motor. They had a high failure rate due to some manufacturing issues. I will highly recommend Trinity Duo and Duo 2 motors they are great motors and a lot  of people run them successfully at tracks nationwide. Brushless motors can have their timing advanced and racer's will tune using timing and take motor temperatures 170F< to find a good setup depending on track. I'm not going to go into great detail but your basically using gearing / timing and temperature to dial your motor in for the track your running at. There is a lot of good information on the web how to do this. Also beware that you never want to run these hotter then 170F if you do it will degrade the magnets which will in turn make the motor slower.

The Trinity Duo is a great motor and I ran one for a long time with no problems and it seemed to have plenty of power. The one thing I didn't like is it had three timing positions and that was it. I like to be able to have more adjustment. Most people set the timing to the middle hole when racing. There are a lot of companies that are buying this motor from Trinity and private labeling it with their brand name. Price is around 80dollars.

The Trinity Duo 2 is basically the improved version of the Duo. It uses infinitely adjustable timing making it easier to tune for maximum effect on the track your running at. Price is around 80 dollars.

The Trinity Nemesis has just been released. From what I've been reading people our dropping about 3 teeth from what they have run using a DUO 2 when gearing.  Price is around 80 dollars.

Novak SS Motor

Novak SS Motor this is another really good motor that I run in offroad and on-road.  I 've run the 13.5 version and it has plenty of power. From my experience this motor has more torque then the Trinity Duo's. I see more of these motors at the off-road track then I do Duo's in off-road. The one thing I don't like about these motors is the fact that the sensor wire isn't removable like other motors. This could be a big issue if you broke the connection at the motor case. I'm not sure if it can be fixed and luckily I've never had to find out. Price is around 80dollars.

Novak Ballistic Motor

Novak Ballistic this is Novak's newest
motor. It looks to be an upgraded Novak SS motor. It has a removable sensor wire which wasn't on the SS motor. I ran this motor for part of the season and was very happy with the performance. Price is probably closer to 90 dollars.


Hacker Brushless I have run one for awhile and had no problems with it. It seemed fast. I don't see many of these at the tracks I've been to. Hacker is really well known for the brushless motors they make for RC airplanes. Prices is around 80 dollars.

There are a lot of other companies such as LRP, Orion, and others that make great motors. I'm sure if you use any of the above mentioned brushless motors you will be happy and competitive with.


There are a few main on-road tire companies. The main tires you will see most often will be Sweep Racing,Jaco's, and Sorex tires. There are a set of companies that pre-glue and sell sets such as Sweep Racing, Speedmind, SJ-R Speedworld (Sorex tires w/Jaco rims), Take-Off RP, Muchmore Absolute and others. Most people buy their tires pre-mounted including me. Update:From what I've heard Sorex is no longer making tires.

There is a real art to prepping tires for racing and some people are more thorough then others.  Here is a great link on how to prep tires for racing by Nexus Racing . I don't personally take the mold seam off the middle of the tire but a lot of racers do. The Nexus racing link goes into detail about taking it off and other things to do to get the most performance out of your tires. Below is Pro Tip from Korey Harbke on cleaning tires and using traction compounds.


Tire cleaning:
It is very important to clean your tires between every run to get the most consistent traction. A variety of cleaners can be used, but some of my favorites are WD-40 or Simple Green. These cleaners are cheap, and they don’t dry your tire out. The WD-40 actually acts as a tire conditioner as well, and maintains the natural oils in the tire. Electric Motor cleaner is also popular, but it tends to dry tires out, and reduces the lifespan of the tire. Try those and see what works for you. As long as the tire is clean it makes it easy for traction compounds soak in easier. Just spray the cleaner on a towel and start scrubbing!
Traction Compounds:
This can be one of the most confusing aspects of tire preparation. There are so many traction compounds available that it can be hard to pick the correct one. Traction compounds soften the tire to create more grip, and also change the chemical properties of the tires. When the tires are treated with traction compound, and heat up as they are used on the track, they will have different characteristics depending on what traction compound was used. I usually keep a few in my box and it covers most conditions.
Trinity Tire tweak is very popular among the asphalt racing community. It's very easy to work with, consistent, and keeps the tires cool on those hot summer days. When using this traction compound, just let it sit as long as you can. The longer it sits, the better it gets.
Paragon Ground Effects is also a good one to keep around. I apply this when it's cold outside because it is a very aggressive traction compound. I usually let it sit on the tires for about 5-10 minutes. Anything more doesn't seem to have any better effect. It's pretty much the standard traction compound everyone thinks of, but it does have a very strong wintergreen smell that can be offensive.
Corally's Jack the gripper is a favorite of indoor carpet tracks at large events because it's odorless. Most indoor tracks will have a spec traction compound that they want you to use. It's always important to check the rules of your local track to see what compounds are legal.
You can also use tire warmers to "bake" in the traction compound. The tire warmers open up the pores of the tires, allowing the traction compound to soak in better. Tire tweak reacts really well to this, but some others do not. You just have to experiment!
The final step when applying your traction compound is to wipe it off with a clean towel thoroughly. I try to make sure there isn't any streaks of traction compound on the tire so you aren't surprised when your car spins out when you first put it on the track. I hope that helps and have run racing!
-Korey Harbke
Sponsored by: Team ORCA USA

You will notice on most tires that you see for sale that they have a number at the end such as 36, 36r etc. What this is telling you is the temperature that the tire performs best at in Celsius. A 32r tire is going to perform well in the 80's Fahrenheit. A 36 marked tire is going to perform best in the 90s to low 100s Fahrenheit.  During the summer months in the Northwest most racer's use 36R and 32R on colder days/ mornings. If you are just starting out purchase a 36R and if you can a 32R this will cover you for most situations.

Sweep Racing Tires are starting to be seen at the local  tracks.  I've heard nothing but good things from driver's that have tried them. People are running Sweep EXP30's (similar to a Sorex 32) for colder days and Sweep EXP36 on warmer days. Price is around 35dollars.

Speedmind Tires these are a combination of Sorex Tire with a dish type rim pre-mounted.  They are really good all around tires and work great on asphalt surfaces. I personally like these a little better then some of the other tire combinations that use spoked style rims since these are stronger and can sustain more of an impact. Price is around 40dollars. Sorex from the information I have is no longer making tires.

SJ-R Speedworld pre-mount Sorex tires with Jaco rims. This is another popular pre-mount tire sets that hook up well and are well received by racer's. For starting out I would recommend staying away from these only because the can't withstand the impact that other tire/rim combinations can.  Price is around 40 dollars.

Jaco Pre-Mounts (Yellow 24R, Green 28R, Blue 32R and Orange 36R). The Jaco pre-mounts I've only used on carpet and I was happy with the way they hooked up. I haven't had the opportunity to test them on the asphalt and look forward to doing some more testing in the summer months. I do really like the fact that they are priced at 30dollars saving you ten dollars a set compared to others on the market.

There are other tire pre-mounts that that I mentioned above but haven't run. Almost all the tracks around especially the outdoor ones use the above I mentioned. Some people have their own combination of tire/rim/ insert combinations that they like to run. This takes a lot of time and money to optimize the best combination and that being said most people stick with buying pre-mounted tires. Also beware some tracks are requiring a spec tire to be used.  That being said there are a couple of classes that almost always require a spec. tire. Trans Am and World GT class will require a spec. tire combination.