So you want to start R/C Drifting? BEGINNERS GUIDE

January 4, 2020

You have seen the videos, you have kind of checked a few groups on Facebook, and you have visited you local hobby shop. Now you are ready to pick up your first Drift chassis.

WAIT! DO NOT BUY ANYTHING UNTIL YOU READ THIS!
Especially an AWD Chassis that “You Want to Convert”

Whatever you do, do not run out and buy what your local hobby shop tells you until you make sure they are up on the latest trends in R/C Drift. I’m not saying don’t support your local hobby shop, what I am saying is make sure you are picking up the right stuff. If they don’t have a decent supply of CURRENT R/C Drift Chassis and accessories, please do more research. It’s not like it was years ago where you buy a good touring car chassis and throw plastic tires on it. That’s not where R/C Drift is at any longer.

You can scroll down to the bottom for the Quick and Dirty Buyers Guide. For those who don’t care to read and learn, but just want to know what to buy. The very bottom has a link for preconfigured packages which make it even easier.

R/C Drift isn’t about Touring Cars with Plastic Tires
R/C Drift has evolved into it’s own segment of R/C, and just like On-Road, Off-Road, Touring Car, Drag, etc. they all have their own purpose built chassis. Picking up an older AWD (All Wheel Drive) Touring Car and wanting to convert it to drift, is like picking up an Off-Road Buggy and wanting to convert it. Yes, you’ll have fun, but will you be competitive in the end? The simple answer is no, and you will live to regret your purchase. You will be left with 2 choices, buy a dedicated Drift Chassis, or quit. You may hear differently, but of all the people we have seen go this route, we have yet to see them stick with that particular chassis only.

This is for the person just getting into R/C Drift
If you jump on Facebook and ask, you will get a lot of information. Like anything else, you will hear good and bad. Being a beginner, how do you know which to listen to and disregard. You really don’t. My objective here is to break it down into the simplest terms. I will try to keep it as beginner friendly as possible, saving the technical side of things for later so it doesn’t get overwhelming. We get beginners here at Super-G daily, so I understand the challenges you are facing.

Where Do I Start?
The first thing you need to do is set a realistic budget. Starting is at about $400. Any less and you may want to reconsider R/C Drift. It is probably the cheapest of all the R/C disciplines to be into, but don’t mistake that with being able to do it without any type of investment.

Buying Used
There is nothing wrong with buying used gear, but as with anything else in this world, you really need to know what you are buying. More times than not, the people selling used on Offer Up and Craigs List are off loading what hasn’t worked for them. For the more experienced R/C Drifter, there are some deals to be had, but for someone with little to no knowledge, there is a good chance you will be buying something you will regret sooner than you realize. From what I have seen come to our track, I really wish more people would just buy new and get something they can use. I’m not saying buy from us, I’m saying a solid foundation makes for a more enjoyable experiences. Nobody likes feeling like they threw their money away. Sadly we get people coming in telling us “This is a good one right, it’s Yokomo”. It was good about 6 years ago, but now it’s obsolete. I can’t stress this enough, You need to know what you are buying.


RTR (Ready To Run)
In recent months the RTR game has changed. Up until then, MST had the RTR game on lock with the RMX 2.0 RTR. Now Yokomo has entered the RTR game with the YD2RTR. These companies took different approaches to the RTR game. I still stand behind my original thoughts on RTRs, but I will elaborate on them in a bit.

For someone just getting into R/C Drift, I would only recommend going the RTR route for 2 reasons:
If your budget will only allow you spend $400ish to get in, AND you don’t see the available funds increasing in the next month or so to allow you to get a kit and separate electronics.
Or you are not serious and don’t want to spend more than around $400 to get a car to drift around.

Other than that, I would strongly recommend getting a kit and better electronics. The electronics that come in the RTR kit are the very basic components to get you going, but nothing you will use to continue your journey into R/C Drift. You will replace ALL of the electronics sooner than you would like to believe. You would have basically spent $200 on electronics you will never use again.

Ok, so you read that and you still feel the RTR route is the path for you.
Let’s look at the differences between the two:

MST RMX 2.0 RTR
MST has taken the approach of providing a TRUE Ready To Run solution. They test each and every chassis to confirm it works correctly before it gets packaged and shipped. (Tires all show wear as proof it was tested) It works well right out the box, but with some limitations.
MST uses solid links for all the tie-rods. This ensures it will stay in the correct alignment and will work correctly after taking hit after hit which is common with someone just starting out. Once you get to the point where you want to start adjusting your alignment, you will need to purchase a turnbuckle kit. It’s around $20ish.
The electronics leave a lot to be desired, so just know the electronics will only get you by for a short amount of time. Upgrading one component usually leads to upgrading everything. (Just be aware)
The great thing about the MST RMX 2.0 RTR is it comes complete with body, wheels and tires. The only thing needed is a battery and charger and you are good to go.
TRUE COST TO GET UP AND RUNNING
$379 Kit
$50.00 (Or more) Battery/Charger
$430 TOTAL

Yokokmo YD2 AC (Assembled Chassis)
Yokomo has taken a different approach to the RTR game. With the YD2 AC, you are basically purchasing a YD2E which has been pre-assembled. From our findings, it ships assembled, but definitely not tested and the quality control does leave a lot to be desired. We have found a multitude of assembly errors, from upside down arms, shocks not built evenly, gears not even touching, and generally not put together in a drivable condition. That is not to say it’s a bad car, it just NEEDS some cleanup and adjustment/tuning. If you are looking to bypass the building process, Yokomo has provided this, but you will still need some know-how to get it driving well. It comes with turnbuckles, so you will be able to adjust your suspension without any additional purchases.
With the Yokomo YD2 AC, the supplied battery and charger are literally just a throw in. I would use it to try the car, but if you want to do any more than just mess around in your living room, I would say a LiPo Battery and Charger are a necessity. The supplied battery and charger are literally obsolete technology, and I don’t even know if you can still purchase those types any longer. The rest of the electronics are about equal to the MST offerings.
One huge difference between the Yokomo and the MST RTRs, Yokomo does NOT come with a Body or Wheels and Tires. The benefit, you choose what you want to run. The downside, You still need to paint the body, choose wheels, and figure out tires. Not to mention the additional cost.
TRUE COST TO GET UP AND RUNNING
$389 Kit
$50.00 (Or more) Battery/Charger
$110.00 Body/paint/wheels/tires
$549.00 TOTAL

For more information, click the links below:
MST RMX 2.0 RTR
Yokomo YD2 AC

Recommended Chassis

You will find a lot of “Stuff” for sale out there. Some of the hobby shops that have been around for awhile aren’t in tune with what has changed in the R/C Drift scene in the past few years, so they might try to sell you a AWD “Drift” car. That’s not something you want to pick up. The trend for the past few years has been RWD (Rear Wheel Drive) and they are designed for R/C Drift from the ground up.



For the Beginner I would ONLY recommend (In no particular order) the following chassis:
3Racing Sakura D5
MST RMX 2.0s
MST RRX 2.0
Yokomo YD2E, YD2E Plus, YD2 EXII
Yokomo YD2S, YDS Plus, YD2 SXIII

Yokomo YD2R Plus
Usukani PDS

Usukani PDS MIX
All the above listed are proven performers right out of the box. They can all follow you well into your R/C Drift journey with minimal frustration.

What are Low Mount, High Mount, Rear Mount Motors
What is the difference and why do you care?
This is something that has a lot to do with personal preference and it seems overtime people form strong opinions. What works for some doesn’t work for others. This is something you will actually need to figure out for yourself after you become a proficient driver. As a beginner in R/C Drift, none are easier or harder to drive, despite what you may hear.



Low Mount Motor
Low Motor or Low Center of Gravity setups are the more traditional type. They have the motor and battery set low on the chassis. The tendency is for quicker transitions and the need to “force” the rear end to stay out.



High Mount Motor
High Motor or Weight Shift setups are where the weight of the motor is put up high. It causes the weight of the motor to transfer to the outside as you transition. In theory providing more traction on the outside wheels. It has a tendency to “keep moving” once the transition has begun. At least more so than the Low Mounted Motors generally.

Rear Mount Motor
Rear Motor setups can be both high and low setup. Since the weight is over the rear of the chassis, and behind the rear axles, it typically puts more weight on the rear wheels which translates into faster exit speeds. It has a tendency to have a “pendulum” effect where the rear wants to swing more and typically has slower transitions. They can handle similar to the Low and High motor setups with the correct tuning.

Again, as a beginner these probably wont make a huge difference in your driving. Most beginners adapt to what they have since they haven’t had the experience that provides them with any type of style. If you have a local track you plan to drive at, the best advice I can give is to go there and see what everyone there is driving. Having the same chassis as the majority of the people you will be driving with will make your entry into R/C Drift so much easier.

Base, Mid-Range, Fully Upgraded
As you step into the chassis game, you will find there are many different options. To make it simple, you have 3 levels. Each step up gives you better performance and a good savings on the upgrades they come with. Everyone in the hobby is constantly upgrading for the most part, so if you are looking to save a bit, you should take this into consideration. Just to give you an idea, if you start with a base model YD2S and upgrade individually to a YD2SXIII, you will spend approximately $300 more than if you would have purchased the YD2SXIII initially. The mid-range kits offer a little more value and will get you started in the right direction.



Base
Of the above listed chassis, the 3Racing Sakura D5 (Rear Motor), MST RMX 2.0s (Low and High Adjustable Motor), MST RRX (Rear Motor) and the Yokomo YD2E (Low Motor) and YD2S (High Motor) are your base models. These are all mostly plastic and the shocks will get you by. Most people start upgrading these chassis almost immediately.
3Racing Sakura D5
MST RMX 2.0
MST RMX 2.0 (With Body)
Yokomo YD2 E
Yokomo YD2 S
Price Range: $100-$220

Mid-Range
In the Mid-Range category we have the Yokomo YD2 E+ and YD2 S+. These come with Carbon Fiber Decks, Aluminum Shock Towers, and Upgraded Shocks. These provide better value for your money as you will save on the upgrades you will most likely do right away if you purchase the base models. The shocks they come with are the same ones that the fully upgraded models come with which is a definite plus.
Yokomo YD2 S Plus
Yokomo YD2 E Plus
Price Range: $370-$400

Fully Upgraded
The Fully Upgraded chassis are the most bang for the buck as you typically save at least 30% when compared to starting with a Base Model and doing all the upgrades. The Yokomo YD2 EXII and Yokomo YD2 SXIII are the latest Yokomo has to offer. These are basically 80% upgraded with Carbon Fiber, Aluminum Parts, Upgraded Shocks, and also include the upgraded steering system (Slide Rack) which most prefer. Also in this list is the Usukani PDS. This chassis kit is only available as a fully hopped up kit. I would recommend upgrading the shocks for the full package since the included shocks do leave something to be desired.
Usukani PDSR-SE
Usukani PDS-MIX
Yokomo YD2 EXII
Yokomo YD2 SXIII
Price Range: $550-$600 (Yokomo) $350 (Usukani)

Radio System

The radio system you choose will most likely follow you around through many different chassis. Most people change chassis often (once a year or more) and most people will keep their radio for 2-3 years, depending on which one they have. Once they get to the top of the line remote, they are usually content, but then again, there’s nowhere left to go. A good rule of thumb is, You get what you pay for. This isn’t more true than when it comes to your radio system.

Just remember, this is the only link between you and your car. A poor radio system can ruin the experience for you.

Entry-Level
For the entry-level remotes, I would not recommend anything less than the Futaba 3PV or the Sanwa MX-V. I would go as far as to say I would not recommend any other brands. Flysky and Spektrum have been proven to be problematic and lead to issues a beginner just doesn’t need to contend with. I have seen both the Futaba and Sanwa entry-level radios on the podium here at Super-G many times. At this level, anything less and you are not saving much. You will be far better off saving that extra $50 to get one of the recommended entry-level radios listed here.
Futaba 3PV
Sanwa MX-V
Price Range: $95-$130

Mid-Range
In the mid-range category you will find the Futaba 4PM and the Sanwa MT-S. Both of these radios will have all the functions you will need in R/C Drift. The feel is typically better than the entry-level systems and work well.
Futaba 4PM
Sanwa MT-S
Sanwa MT-44
Price Range: $290-$380

High-End
The high-end radio systems are the cream of the crop. Here you will find the Futaba 7PXR and the Sanwa M-17. Both of these are extremely nice setups and have very fast reaction speeds. They can do everything you need for R/C Drift and a whole lot more. Color Touch Screens, Telemetry, and the ability to make changes to your car on the fly are just some of the extras that make the high-end radio systems worth it.
Futaba 7PXR
Sanwa M-17
Price Range: $550-$600

Motor

Forget what your common sense tells you. R/C Drift has been evolving and if there is one thing that confuses people just getting into it is the motors. R/C Drift is a game of traction or lack of it. So everyone is trying to milk every last bit of traction out of their tires. Imaging you are driving on ice. Do you want the fastest engine, or the most controllable? If you are just spinning your wheels as fast as you can, you will have no traction at all. Same with R/C Drift. Unless you are on carpet, then that’s a different story.

10.5T, 13.5T
10.5T and 13.5T are the most popular motors at the moment. Basically the 10.5T is a higher revving motor and the 13.5T is lower revving, but more torque. This is a preference thing, but generally the 13.5T will be less touchy and easier to control wheel speed/spin. Keep in mind, a faster motor does NOT translate to a faster car. Let me repeat that, a faster motor does NOT translate to a faster car.

Adjustable Timing
The lower-end motors are usually non-adjustable timing, and the higher-end motors are usually adjustable. This means you can give the motor more or less “umph”. It allows more fine tuning and is very helpful as you progress.

My recommendation for a beginner would be a 10.5T or 13.5T Motor with Adjustable Timing
Yokomo Zero 2
Much More Racing Fleta
Yokomo Racing Performer
ReveD Absolute1
Acuvance Agile
Acuvance Fledge (Black) Fledge (Red) Fledge Purple
Price Range: $70-$200

Electronic Speed Control (ESC)

This is the one place where the beginners tend to underestimate what they will ultimately want from their first setup. There are many different flavors out there, and they all have their place. The big misconception a lot of beginners have is Boost and Turbo is for advanced drivers, so they don’t need it “right now”. I would say usually in the first month or so they start asking how they can get “that sound” and they start on a mission to get an ESC with Boost and Turbo.

Boost and Turbo
Boost and Turbo are the electronic method of advancing the timing on your motor.
Boost works off of RPM. When your motor reaches the RPM you choose, it starts to advance your timing and makes the motor spin faster. This allows you to have a mild motor in the lower RPMs where you are trying to maximize your traction, but giving you more RPM up top when you may want to spin your wheels.
Turbo is trigger activated. When you want to get that extra wheel spin, you pull full throttle and the timing will advance and you will get an instant increase in RPM. Helpful when you want to get the back out more, or hold angle but slow down. ESC’s with Boost and Turbo have their advantages and you will wish you had it if you don’t get it.

Amps
Amp rating let’s you know how much the ESC can deliver. For most applications it solely based on how much the motor itself draws. In R/C Drift people run Boost and Turbo, as well as various light kits and anything else they can think of. Also, the higher the amp rating, the better they are at dissipating heat. The best way to look at it is, you can have a car that is capable of 80 mph max compared to a car that is capable of 180 mph. If you run both of them at 80 mph, the car capable of the higher speed will run cooler and with less strain. Anything over 60 amps will be fine with whatever you throw at it in R/C Drift, but it doesn’t hurt to have more.

Capacitor
All ESCs come with a stock capacitor. The capacitor stores energy and can quickly discharge it when needed. So if your battery cannot discharge fast enough to supply the motor with the power needed, the motor will slow, lights will dim or flicker, and in some cases the ESC will reset or turn off. Since all the power comes from the ESC, a power-hungry servo, lights, and such can all exceed what the battery can provide. This is when you want to run an upgraded capacitor. I always run a good quality capacitor that keeps my car on for a few seconds after I unplug it. This ensures my power delivery wont be interrupted.

ESC’s can all be programmed to some degree. Some more than others. They also have different methods. Hobbywing, Yokomo and Graupner have a program card and/or a WiFi module and you can program from your phone. MuchMoreRacing uses a program card. Acuvance and Futaba have a program card, Bluetooth, and/or direct programming from your Futaba 7PX, 7PXR, or 4PM Remote. These are the main brands I recommend since we have had great luck with them. Some of the others, not so much.
Hobbywing QuickRun 10BL60
Hobbywing XR10 Pro
Yokomo BL-SP4
Yokomo BL-Pro 4
Yokomo BL-Pro 4D
Yokomo RPX II D Black RPX II D Red
Acuvance Xarvis Black Xarvis Red Xarvis Purple
Acuvance Xarvis XX
Price Range: $80-$200

Servo

There are many different servos to choose from, and they all have different characteristics for the most part. Presently there are 2 different approaches, Slower moving and Quicker moving.


Slower Servo
The recent trend has been for a few companies to release “Drift” servos which have a slower movement. This reduces shaking and twitchiness. Some feel Drift doesn’t need fast servos, where as others prefer being more in control of what the car is doing. Some slower servos are: Yokomo SP-02 D, SP-03 D, and the ReveD RS-ST. Presently, the ReveD RS-ST seems to be a favorite among the people who prefer the slower servo type. As a beginner, your preference will probably be determined by which servo you start out with.


Quicker Servo
If you are from the old school, you will most likely feel more at home with a quicker servo. I have found for myself, when I need the servo to turn slower, I naturally turn the wheel slower to “Drive” the front wheels, but there are instances where I rely on the reaction to be snappy. I know a good amount of people who feel this way as well. So it really all depends on preference. The Quicker servos are the KO Propo RSx3 One-10 Ver. D, Savox 1251MG, Futaba CT500 (Not Released) and CT700. Again, as a beginner you will probably become accustomed to which ever you start out with.


Programable Servos
The latest trend is for the servos to have the ability to be programmed (Tuned). This allows the user to change different parameters such as speed, torque, as well as many other settings. Keep in mind, each servo has it’s limits, so just because you can program them, it doesn’t mean they can all perform the same. I have found the CT700 can mimic just about all of the servos since it has such high speed and high torque, but that comes with a steep price tag. You will also need some considerable knowledge to be able to take advantage. I would suggest leaving any programming until you are really proficient at R/C Drift.

Servos are one of those things where they can be as cheap as $12 and as much as $250. Metal gear and higher torque usually means a more durable Servo. Torque above 110g and Speed faster than 11ms is about the minimum I would recommend. Servos less than $40 tend to be more problems than they are worth.

It seems the most popular recommendation at the moment is the ReveD RS-ST. Although not my choice, it seems to be a solid purchase with most people really supporting it.
Yokomo SP-02D (Slower)
Yokomo SP-02D V2 (Programable) (Slower)
Yokomo SP-03D (Programable) (Slower)
ReveD RS-ST (Programable) (Slower Can Be Set Faster)
ReveD RS-ST Anniversary Edition (Programable) (Slower Can Be Set Faster)
Savox SC-1251MG (Fast)
KO Propo RSx3 One10 Ver. D (Fast or Slow)
Futaba CT500 Plastic (Programable) (Fast or Slow)
Futaba CT700 Aluminum (Programable) (Fast or Slow)
Price Range: $70-$250

Gyros

Yes you need one. The gyro is one of the main components that will affect the way your car drives. There are a few different options, but again as a beginner, as long as it works well, you should be good to go. Not all Gyros are built the same, so it’s not as simple as just picking the best looking one and going for it.


Entry-Level
The earlier Gyros were very basic in the way they work. They are preset to keep you from spinning and you add more or less as needed. A lot has changed from the days of this type of Gyro, but there is really nothing wrong with them. There are better performing options out there now days, but as a beginner these will get you going. The D-Like Gyro (Both metal and plastic housing) and the Yokomo YG-302 seem to bet the standard. There are other branded versions of these same Gyros with little to no difference in performance from what I have found. None of these have End Point Adjustment with makes them entry-level.
Onisiki High Stability Gyro
D-Like DL159
D-Like Premium DL182
Yokomo YG-302
Price Range: $40-$75



Mid-Range
The Mid-Range Gyros are the generation where they introduced Endpoint Adjustment. This means the Gyro wont try to slam your servo to 100% left or right every time it feels the need to do so. Now you set where the Gyro will stop. This also allows the Gyro to operate in the correct range. Some of these mid-range gyros also have different modes such as Assist or ACVS mode. This is a different type of mode and a different style of driving. Some recommend that for beginners, others say to stay away from it, yet even other seasoned drivers use it. So you need to decide for yourself. The KO Propo KGX, Yokomo V.4, and the Futaba GYD450 are all popular Gyros.
Power HD G1
Yokomo V.4 (Black) V.4 (Red) V.4 (Purple)
KO Propo KG-X
Price Range: $50-$75



High-End
Recently Futaba released their GYD550 Gyro. This gyro has created its own class since it has put the ability to program just about every parameter into the users hands. To take it a step further, Futaba made it programable from your remote, as long as you are using Futaba’s 7PX or 7PXR. I would not recommend this as it is a advanced option and without knowledge of what you would want, this will no doubt create issues for any beginner. I am simply listing this so I can say this is something you may consider in the future, but as a beginner should be passed for now.
Futaba GYD550
Price Range: $130

For the beginner I recommend something in the Mid-Range area. Yokomo V.4 or Futaba GYD450 are great choices. The KO Propo KGX is a little more of an advanced Gyro, but still falls into the same category.

Conclusion
In the world of R/C Drift, there are as many variables as there are opinions. The needs of a beginner are a little more in-depth than just what is the best? As with any hobby there are entry-level to super advanced options. Sometimes it’s not the best route to get everything high-end since sometimes it takes experience to be able to utilize what the advanced equipment has to offer. There are a lot of times we see beginners leading beginners and taking them down the wrong path with them, and as a beginner it’s almost impossible to know who really knows and who doesn’t. The purpose behind this article is to try to give the beginner some sort of understanding of what they are getting into and not blindly trying to sort their way through all the accurate and not so accurate information floating around out there. The quickest way to become discouraged is to buy a bunch of equipment, only to find out you need to scrap it and start over.

SEE YOU ON THE TRACK!!!

The Quick and Dirty
For those who don’t want to research, but want to know what to get. This is for you!

What chassis should I get?
For the Beginner I would ONLY recommend (In no particular order) the following chassis:
3Racing Sakura D5
MST RMX 2.0s
MST RRX 2.0
Yokomo YD2E, YD2E Plus, YD2 EXII
Yokomo YD2S, YDS Plus, YD2 SXIII

Yokomo YD2R Plus
Usukani PDS

Usukani PDS MIX

What Controler should I get?
Entry-Level
Futaba 3PV
Sanwa MX-V
Price Range: $95-$130
Mid-Range
Futaba 4PM
Sanwa MT-S
Sanwa MT-44
Price Range: $290-$380
High-End
Futaba 7PXR
Sanwa M-17
Price Range: $550-$600

Which ESC should I get?
Hobbywing QuickRun 10BL60
Hobbywing XR10 Pro
Yokomo BL-SP4
Yokomo BL-Pro 4
Yokomo BL-Pro 4D
Yokomo RPX II D Black RPX II D Red
Acuvance Xarvis Black Xarvis Red Xarvis Purple
Acuvance Xarvis XX
Price Range: $80-$200

Which Servo should I get?
Yokomo SP-02D (Slower)
Yokomo SP-02D V2 (Programable) (Slower)
Yokomo SP-03D (Programable) (Slower)
ReveD RS-ST (Programable) (Slower Can Be Set Faster)
ReveD RS-ST Anniversary Edition (Programable) (Slower Can Be Set Faster)
Savox SC-1251MG (Fast)
KO Propo RSx3 One10 Ver. D (Fast or Slow)
Futaba CT500 Plastic (Programable) (Fast or Slow)
Futaba CT700 Aluminum (Programable) (Fast or Slow)
Price Range: $70-$250

Which Gyro should I get?
Entry-Level
Onisiki High Stability Gyro
D-Like DL159
D-Like Premium DL182
Yokomo YG-302
Price Range: $40-$75
Mid-Range
Power HD G1
Yokomo V.4 (Black) V.4 (Red) V.4 (Purple)
KO Propo KG-X
Price Range: $50-$75
High-End
Futaba GYD550
Price Range: $130

Make it simple for me:
Electronics Pack – Chose your Option (Basic Pack, Plus Pack, Pro Pack)
Pre-configured electronics packages to keep things simple. Favorite choices based on budget.