What to Expect When You Take Your RC to the Skatepark
If you’ve ever watched the likes of Kevin Talbot, TheRcKiwis, or other popular RC Youtube channels, chances are, you’ve probably thought “I should take my RC to the skatepark”! Of course, if you’ve never been before then it’s hard to know exactly what to expect. Fortunately, the barrier to entry isn’t high: anyone with a skatepark & an RC car can have fun! Still, if you want to get the most out of your first trip to the skatepark then it pays to know what you're getting yourself into. Keep reading to learn some tips, tricks, and things to consider when taking your RC to the skatepark!
There Might Be Other People There
The skatepark is first and foremost a place for skaters! This means that you might have some company when you take your RC to the skatepark. While—depending on the size of the skatepark—you may be able to share the park with the skaters, it’s always best to try & find an empty park if possible. This will allow you to drive around without worrying about someone hurting your RC (or your RC hurting them!).
Here are a few ways to avoid people at the skatepark.
- Check the rules of the park.Most parks have rules of some sort. If you want to avoid complications then you should make sure that there aren’t any rules specifically prohibiting RC cars. Otherwise, you may find yourself dealing with unnecessary confrontations!
- Look up the park on Google. Many skateparks have their own Google listing. This is extremely helpful, as Google can often provide you with the hours of the park, tell you when it’s the busiest, and give you a live feed of how busy the park is! You can use this information to help plan ahead of time.
- Go right after it rains. Skateboards and wet surfaces don’t mix well. As such, you’re unlikely to find anyone in the park right after it rains! This makes it the perfect time to go enjoy the skatepark since you’ll have the entire place to yourself.
You’re Going to Crash a Lot
This is true for beginners & advanced users alike, but can be especially problematic for beginners. The simple act of crashing isn’t the issue though: the problem is when parts break! Fortunately, you can reduce the number of bad crashes and breakages simply by practicing.
If you’ve never jumped an RC before then you should start on the ramps (rather than pipes or bowls). This will allow you to practice “air control” with minimal risk! The term “air control” refers to the act of tilting the RC forwards or backwards in the air. To lift the front of the RC, you need to accelerate. To lower the front of the RC, you’ll need to let off the throttle. You can aggressively bring the front of the vehicle down by applying the brakes!
As you get more advanced, you can start to do backflips and front flips, but as a beginner, you should focus on landing on all four wheels first. This will distribute the impact equally through all four wheels, reducing the chance of breakages!
4WD is Better for Stunts
Stunts require a lot of air control; air control itself relies on the centrifugal force of the RC’s tires. Without this force, controlling your RC mid-air would be impossible! With a 4WD vehicle, you can control the centrifugal force of four wheels, which makes manipulating the vehicle easier. 4WD RCs are the best choice for beginner skatepark bashing.
Since you can only control two wheels on a RWD vehicle, this means you have much less control. This can be somewhat compensated for by using a faster setup, which will generate more centrifugal force from the two wheels. Of course, the tradeoff is that RCs are harder to control at higher speeds, making 2WD vehicles less-than-ideal for beginner RC enthusiasts who want to try stunts.
Parts Will Break
It may not happen every time, but eventually, parts will break. This can be frustrating, especially if you weren’t prepared ahead of time. However, you should pay close attention when things break. Write them down if possible: these are the weak points of your RC! Every RC has different weak points, but here are a few common ones:
● Linkages (toe, camber, steering)
● Wheel Hubs
When you do break something, try not to get overly frustrated. You should expect to break parts when you go to the skatepark, but you can use the observations to prepare for next time! We recommend that you purchase two sets of replacement parts, rather than just one. With a backup on hand, you’ll never be stuck waiting on parts!
If you notice particular parts breaking each & every time you go out, you should check to see if there are upgraded parts available! In some cases, “downgrading” may actually be a suitable solution. Metal parts tend to break, whereas plastic parts tend to bend. If you keep breaking a metal part, consider giving the plastic version a go!
Some Vehicles Work Better Than Others
While you can technically take any RC to the skatepark, some vehicles will definitely perform better than others. Ideally, a good skatepark vehicle will have:
● A decent amount of ground clearance
● Oil-filled shocks
● Durable materials
● Easy-to-find replacement parts
● Thick tires & sturdy rims
In general, monster trucks are great for the skatepark. Truggys and some SCTs may also be good for skatepark use, although this will vary from model to model. However, you’ll want to avoid—unless you don’t mind breaking—vehicles with the following features:
- Limited ground clearance
- Heavy design
- Thin metal parts
- Thin tires
- Hard-to-find replacement parts
Every Trip Costs Money
Going to the skatepark is a lot of fun! You get to do some awesome jumps, learn cool tricks, and really test the outer limits of your RC. Of course, everything in life has a price, and that stays true with skatepark trips. While you might not break something every time you go (although this is definitely a possibility!), doing large jumps with concrete landings is sure to wear heavily on your RC car. The general experience you should expect is this: bash, break, repair, and repeat!
As long as you’re prepared to pay a little bit extra for the added excitement, skatepark trips can be a great way to have fun!
By Kevin Foley