50/50, CS, RWD, What is this mumbo-jumbo? These are terms used to describe the different types of setups people are running for RC Drift. These are different enough where most competitions would like to separate each one into their own class. Each has very different characteristics and requires different techniques to drive effectively.
50/50: This for the most part is considered the very basic form used in RC Drift. 50/50 is used to discribe the ratio between the speeds of the front and rear wheels. In a 50/50 setup, the front and rear wheels spin EXACTLY the same speed. This gives the car a tendency to want to go straight and has the most traction of all the setups. Because of this, it is the most forgiving setup and in most cases the easiest to drive. If you are looking to just get drifting without much practice, this is probably the way to go. For a long time this was the standard, but in the past few years this class has all but disappeared.
CS: CS is short for Counter-Steer. Many people hear this and think they know what this means, but in reality they do not. Contrary to what the name indicates, it is NOT used to describe your steering angle in this instance. CS is used to describe the difference in speed in relation to the front and rear wheels. You can over-drive the rear, or under-drive the front, but whatever you do, you need to have the rear spinning faster than the front. The numbers – 1.3, 1.5, 1.8, 2.0 CS are used to describe the amount the rear spins over the front. Let’s use 2.0 for the example. For every 1 time the front wheel makes one complete rotation, the rear will turn 2 times. 1.5 CS, the rear will make 1.5 rotations for every 1 rotation on the front. The effect this has on the way the car drives is, it makes the car handle closer to rear wheel drive. It makes the car not want to drive straight as easily, or another way of looking at it, it makes the back end want to slide out more.
RWD: Rear-Wheel Drive is exactly what the name states. Instead of having the front wheels assist you, you only rely on the rear wheels to power your car. This is as close to the real deal as you can get. We have observed that as long as you have basic RC skills, most people can jump to CS or RWD without much issue. It is standard practice to run a gyro when running RWD. This doesn’t make the car drive itself, but rather it gives you the feeling of a real car which tries to straighten out as you drive. It does make it a lot smoother, but is not an auto-pilot as some would suggest.
It used to be automatic to recommend beginners to learn 50/50, then graduate to CS, then eventually graduate to RWD (Maybe). In recent months it’s been all about RWD. At Super-G, it seems to be about 90% RWD and the other 10% are a mix of 50/50 and CS. As the knowledge base grows for RWD, it becomes progressively easier to get the chassis tuned correctly, making driving easier as well. At this point, we can comfortably recommend people to start out with RWD if they wish to go that route.