Nitro RC Trucks


RC Trucks
Sitewide Home Page.

RC Trucks vs RC Cars
A look at differences between model cars and trucks.

RC Nitro Engines
Info on the incredible nitro engines.

RC Nitro Fuel
A look at the special fuel used in nitro powered vehicles.

RC Monster Trucks
More info on one of the most popular type of models.

Traxxas T-Maxx
The monster that started it all! 

Traxxas Revo
A very popular monster truck.

HPI Savage Trucks
Some of the most popular rc nitro monsters.

Associated Monster GT
Another example of a popular model.

Team Losi LST
Losi Super Truck is a another popular choice.

HPI Baja 5B
BIG 1/5th scale RC buggy.

Cen Genesis
A BIG .46 powered truck.

Tamiya TNX
Another popular choice.

RC Related Site Map
Directory of RC related pages.

Sitewide Site Map
Directory showing all the pages on the entire website.


An Overview of RC Nitro Trucks

In the past, nitro trucks have been some of the most popular model trucks because of the excitement and realism added by their engines.  The popularity of nitro rc trucks has dropped off some now that brushless electric motor technology has really taken hold in the RC world.  More about that later.  Let's take our focus back to nitro power.  A nitro engine can propel a vehicle to higher speeds than typical electric powered trucks.  These small powerplants can scream at 40,000+ RPM, produce exhaust smoke, propel the car to scorching speeds, and sound like a 2 stroke dirt bike on steroids!  The first time you hear one of these engines scream, it is quite an experience.  At first, you may think it's a weed eater, a chainsaw, or a 2 stroke dirt bike, but quickly the mind is boggled as the screaming pitch continues to rise higher and higher as the RPM's skyrocket to speeds that are almost unbelievable.  Because of their design and size, these engines have very low reciprocating weight (light piston and rod).  Also, the crank shaft is extremely lightweight.  As a result, these motors can scream up to RPM's that are unheard of in full size engines because they would self-destruct and blow to pieces.  For comparison, your typical car engine is really revving up at 6,000 or 7,000 RPM.  Some motorcycle engines can spin up higher in the 10,000+ RPM range.  But these model engines can rev up to not only 10,000 RPM but 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 RPM, and some EVEN MORE!  It is insane how fast these little motors can rev up!  It's also insane how fast these little vehicles can go.  Some can go 50, 60, and even pushing 70+ mph.  On a 1/10th scale vehicle, that would be like scale speeds of 500 mph, 600 mph, or even 700 mph if scaled up 10 times to a full scale car size.  These nitro engines live on a special nitro fuel blend.  These engines can scream up to speeds of 30,000 - 40,000+ RPM!  Many of these models have a fuel tank that can support around 15 minutes of run time.  If you drive them back to re-fuel before the tank runs out completely, then you can keep a truck running continuously for a very long time with only short pauses for topping up the fuel tank.  On the contrary, the battery packs in an electric model can require frequent charging which can limit run times.  If someone has extra back up battery packs charged and ready to go, then that might take care of the run time issue but good quality, high mAh battery packs can be expensive.  So, nitro RC trucks can also have the benefit of longer run time potential.

HPI Savage Nitro RC Trucks

Example of an RC Nitro Truck

Nitro vehicles have a fuel system similar to full sized vehicles with a fuel tank, fuel lines, and a carburetor.  In addition, they also have an exhaust system which consists of a header and a tuned pipe.  This tuned pipe helps the engines to perform better.  The tuned pipes take advantage of exhaust pulses and wave dynamics that are "tuned" in the pipe to help scavenge out exhaust gases and increase power within certain RPM ranges.  The performance can be tuned and adjusted with different tuned pipes that have different geometry.  Much like the 2 stroke engines with tuned pipes found on motocross motorcycles, changing pipes on these trucks can give different power bands and allow the user to fine tune the performance of their machine.   

R/C Nitro Trucks vs Electric Trucks

While electric power has the advantages of being quieter and cleaner, the most popular segment of the RC truck market has been nitro powered trucks.  A real fire breathing internal combustion engine with the sound and smell that it adds can really enhances the realism and excitement.  It is true that it can take a little extra work to operate and maintain a nitro rc truck.  That is because you are dealing with a tiny scale model engine that has a carburetor which requires tuning.  Once you figure out how to tune your nitro engine, and get the carburetor needles set for your driving location, then you will often be set for many hours of fun driving.  The exceptions to this might be if you change the fuel that you are using to one with a different blend.  Also, big changes in the weather conditions (especially temperature) maybe require you to fine tune your carburetor again.  However, once you get the hang of it, you should be able to make tuning adjustments on your rc nitro trucks very quickly and be up and running at peak performance in a very short time.  

Traxxas Emaxx RC Truck

Example of an RC Electric Truck

As mentioned earlier, the popularity of nitro power has waned some in light of the new high performance electric trucks powered by brushless motors.  A brushless motor is capable of putting out a tremendous amount of power in a small package.  As their name implies, these brushless motors do not have brushes (or a commutator) like a conventional motor.  There is less friction because there are no brushes dragging across a commutator as the motor spins, and the brushless motor is more efficient at converting electrical power into rotational power (torque).  An ESC (Electronic Speed Control) takes the DC power from the battery pack and converts it to alternating power going to the motor.  A brushless motor is almost like a 3 phase AC motor, although it is not exactly like this because the power sent to a brushless motor power is not a true AC sine wave.  In any case, suffice it to say that brushless motors have more power potential than a comparably sized brushed motor.  The performance advantage and the simplicity of operating a brushless electric rc truck has resulted in their increase in popularity.  In addition, prices have come down as the technology has gone from a small niche market to mass production.  Even so, some people still prefer the sights, sounds, and smells of a nitro powered vehicle.  If you are the type that wants the thrill and excitement of a nitro engine screaming at speeds approaching 40,000 RPM, then you might be more interested in a nitro powered truck.