What Kind of RC Idiot Are You?

We are all guilty of being idiots once in a while. The key is to keep your idiot self in check and to keep things in perspective. The keeping things in perspective is essential in RC. This is because no matter what, they’re just toys. Yup, I used the toy word. Sure, they’re pretty sophisticated, complicated and sometimes even expensive, but they’re still just toys. Anyway, the point is RC–no matter how serious you are about the hobby–is not worth being an idiot over. You’re probably thinking that you’re never an idiot and this article isn’t for you. Hopefully you’re right and it isn’t, but there are so many kinds of RC idiots that you may not even realize that you are indeed an RC idiot on occasion. Check out some of the RC idiots we’ve identified and make sure you’re not guilty as charged.


We’ve all seen them and we’ve probably also lost our cool a few times on the drivers’ stand when things aren’t exactly going our way, but the true idiots are the ones who don’t just blurt something on rare occasion. No, they rage. They’re the guys that you watch and have to wonder how they can possibly be having fun when they’re that mad that often. These guys yell when they get hit by another truck and when corner marshals don’t risk life and limb to rescue them. They get to the point that they yell even when they do the hacking because, as a true idiot, it’s never their fault. While everyone can have a bad day, the only way to cure being a Drivers’ Stand Nazi is to take a break.

Not all RC vehicles are the same, but whether you have a simple basher or a hardcore racing machine–it’s still just a toy. Some RC vehicles are better than others, but just because your RC vehicle is better than someone else’s it doesn’t mean you’re better than them. And, winning the 1/8-scale A-main doesn’t make you the next James “Bubba” Stewart–or even remotely close. RC is only as serious as you make it and not everyone is as serious as the next guy. Racers aren’t better than bashers and experienced and dedicated racers aren’t better than new or casual racers. We’re all in this silly hobby together. I still get a kick out of a racer who once proudly (and snidely) proclaimed he never bashed–not even once. He said he didn’t get it. Really? You’ve never done RC just for fun and can’t even wrap your head around the idea? How impressive!

You’ve probably noticed there’s a reoccurring theme of narcissism in this article, but there’s a special kind of self-absorbed RC idiot that thinks whatever segment they’re passionate about is bigger and/or more important or influential than it really is. These types usually manifest in two ways. One is the angry gnome that feels his beloved segment is ignored and not given the respect it deserves. Whether online or at the track, they’re the ones stomping their feet as they spout off about how–insert RC love of their life–is ignored by the RC media and community in general. The other type thinks everything should be judged by what they like. A vehicle will be released and they’ll claim it sucks because it wouldn’t do well at the track or spy a new rock crawler and say something like, “I’d like to see how that’d do at a comp.” What they fail to realize–because they think it’s all about them–is that not every vehicle is made for the racetrack or comps or even for any sort of competition at all.

If you’ve ever said the phrase “It’s just the Internet,” you’re an idiot. Most of us know that if you like to “stir the pot” only from the safety of an Internet connection, you’re an idiot–and a coward. Most forums quickly get rid of habitual trolls while others embrace them and give them badges so they can band together. Trolls love forums because forums give them a voice in a world that otherwise has no reason to listen to them. They know they are insignificant (in the grand scheme of things, aren’t we all?) and overcompensate by turning into wannabe Internet bullies. But, because they aren’t brave enough to act out face-to-face, you could argue they are worse than traditional bullies. Just as in real life, joking around (AKA busting your you-know whats) online can be fun and it can keep a forum from getting stale and boring, but if you’re a big enough boy to use a computer, you should be a big enough boy to know the difference between a joke and an intentional insult.

Ah, the close cousin to the Forum Troll, the Ba Ba Sheep wants to be accepted by that vocal minority of forum idiots because he thinks they’re bigger in number and influence than they really are, and because, well, he’s an idiot too. The sheep jump on the bandwagon whenever the opportunity arises. Many trolls are also sheep as they love to support their own. Sheep are, by definition, followers and don’t form their own opinions. Sometimes sheep are relatively harmless (but still annoying) such as when they’re the tenth guy to suggest the search button should have been used, but sometimes the sheep take a thread from bad to downright disaster. Not only does this drive people away from a forum, but it can lead to the eventual death of a forum.

No one really likes to corner marshal. Well, some energetic kids floating around the track do, but most of us rather race either on the track or on the bench. Corner marshaling isn’t fun, but it must be done. Some idiots make a habit out of blowing off corner marshaling duties. The irony is they are the same idiots who usually blow a hissy fit if they have to wait to be flipped over. There are also the RC idiots who might as well blow off corner marshaling. I’m not talking about slow marshals. You can’t fault the big guys (just don’t crash near them). I’m talking about the guy who kicks a crashed truck over instead of going to such extreme lengths as leaning over a little and flipping the truck over with his hand.

Here’s the scenario: a company releases a single photo of a new vehicle and the online engineers instantly (and adamantly) start questioning rather specific aspects of its potential performance–all based on a single photo. “It’s going to be fragile.” “It won’t corner well.” “It won’t handle bumps.” What makes these comments absurd is that 99% of the time they involve qualities that aren’t revealed in said photo. It’s one thing to say a plastic motor mount may flex and won’t help cooling, but it’s another to say the 4-link geometry on a soon-to-be-released crawler doesn’t look right when the photo doesn’t even completely show the links.


The world is full of idiots…and great people too. I’m not sure what the ratio of idiots to great is, but they’re out there–both types. And, odds are all of us are guilty of being an idiot every once in awhile. The bottom line is that we each have to accountable for ourselves and strive to be RC ambassadors, not RC idiots. Don’t take yourself or this hobby too seriously and think beyond yourself. Now, go have some fun!


Also check out: How to be the Coolest Guy at the Track
Also check out: RC and the Internet

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  1. Its not a toy to me. Its a machine I race. Together we are a sport. I race not play with my kit. Maybe you could do a story on that topic, Toy? Machine?
    Thanx and keep up the good work.

  2. You forgot the “More money than brains” guy – the one who has more money invested in RC equipment and whatnot than the GDP of some small countries, but can’t drive it to save his life… Thinks that more expensive = more wins… 🙂

    1. A lot of newcomers naturally fall into that trap, but it is amazing when someone who has been around a while tries to buy wins. Oh well, it keeps the hobby interesting and fun.

  3. see when ever i think about racing my stampede i always break something like a few weeks ago i was going to try my hand at racing and i decided to test my stampede the night before and i broke a driveshaft and a bearing failed in my motor and in the carrier

  4. Oh Sure, ive been there, it can be tough to keep your cool when it’s a 100 degrees, you’ve been on the track for 10 hours and some clown wiped you out in the last heat, which means you’ve got to rebuild your car for the 3rd time that day. It can wear you down, turning you into a yelling, radio chucking moron.
    But what turned it around for me was the kids. I’m not a parent, but I cant help but think when I was young and really getting into these cars. I looked up to guys that not only knew how to fix stuff, but had all the cool rides (alot of them hand made) and competed without blowing a gasket. It’s called Sportsmanship, and it seems to be getting rare nowadays.
    I realized that regardless of the fact that I was not a parent, my behavior was still influential to others, and it’s sometimes how you handle “losing” that can make big difference.

    1. Good points, Chris.

      Everybody has a bad day. There have been a few times where I just wish I kept my mouth shut. It’s the habitual bad apples that can ruin it for everyone.

  5. The only thing I do with three traxxas, losi and junk special is bash. This idiot has no time to really do any racing,with only one day off,so it’s just bashing and maybe going out and getting another car or truck.

  6. <— online engineer. But that is the fun part about it. I like to take an RC, hold it in my hands, and then critique it. I then like to DRIVE it and see how my critiques stand up. Sometimes they hold up and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised.

    For the record though, I did design my own RC and raffled it off as a Toys For Tots raffle. It raised over 6k. I had to sacrifice a few things and had other engineers critique my design and also build. I have had this on other projects as well. So, yes, i am an online engineer that gets the other side as well.

    To me, there is a line with this but there are many more companies out there reading and watching our comments. Off of our assistance and say, there has been better products designed for us be it direct from the manufacturer or a 3rd part support company. But, there are people who go too far and too much negativity is something completely different.

    Matt, as always, AWESOME article. Its like you have done this stuff before.

  7. cool, i dont fit in to any of these. although i have had moments in all my years of RC that i have been that person. Great article Matt!!

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