On-Road VS Off-Road RC Cars | Which Is Better? Fully Explained!

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Hello, guys how are your RC cars driving? Still, enjoy it very much? or you are jsut thinking about going into the RC hobby?  Today we are going to talk about an interesting topic which is the comparisons between on road and off road RC cars!

Most of the RC cars lovers get confused about these two different types of RC cars which are available in the market, so we have prepared a quick overview to provide you enough information about on-road and off-road RC cars. From which you can easily choose one of the 2 types of RC cars which you can get deeper into.

I have seen some people who just walk into an RC cars hobby shop and ask the shopkeeper to give them the fastest car they have! However, it doesn’t really work that way. because there are so many different kinds of RC cars. Each has different capabilities and limitations. The type of RC car anybody wants totally depends on the terrain where the driver intends to drive the RC car on.

For example, if someone wants to run an RC car into their backyard then they should probably choose an Off-Road RC car.  On the other hand, if someone wants to run it in a parking lot or any other smooth surfaces like that, and go as fast as they can then an on-road RC car would be a better choice for them.

Now, let’s first get deeper into the differences between the on road and off road RC cars!

On-Road RC Cars

So first let’s talk about on-road cars. As the name suggests, the on-road cars are made to be only used on flat surfaces for better speed and controllability. For example, they should be only used in places like parking lots, tennis courts and basketball courts, race course, etc. The on-road RC car racing industry is growing rapidly in many areas worldwide as people are looking for the excitement brought from high-speed racing.

There are mainly three types of RC car racing activities. The first one is racing on very smooth surfaces like a paved floor or indoor carpet floor. People usually run pan cars on these surfaces.  They usually have a very simple suspension system.   The second one is RC drifters running on concrete surfaces that can be very slippery and the regular on road cars can easily crash because of poor surface grip.  The RC drifters usually are powered by the back wheels.  The third one is a bit new which is parking lot racing is also known as touring or sedan car racing. The touring cars usually are heavier and slower than the pan cars as they have a fully built suspension system.  Many touring and pan cars are 4 wheel drive.

In general, on-road cars can reach very high speeds because of their high-performance motors/engines.  Nowadays, hobbyists usually use high power brushless system on their on road cars.    However, to utilize their full power, properly setting them up is essential. Here is a post on how to make them run straight on a racing track.

Rally Cars

It is fun as you are driving an on-road car on a race track, but there are some on-road RC cars that can run on harsh roads. These are rally cars; they can be used on off-road terrains such as places with low grass and gravel, and sand as long as you make adjustments on the suspension.

Off-Road RC Cars

Now let’s talk about the off-road RC cars. They have their own advantages and disadvantages compared to on-road RC cars.   You can technically go anywhere you want with an Off-road RC car. You could go to dirt and do some crazy stunts like jumps, Roll-over and etc. You can easily drive it on grass, gravel and other uneven floors like that with ease!

With some modifications, you can even drive them as on-road touring cars as well! Usually, off-road cars are on spike tires which are mainly made to provide better durability and grip in off-road terrains. If you drive an off-road car as an on-road car, these type of tires will wear down very quickly. To make an off-road car for multi purposes, you need to replace the original tires with a set of tires that are suitable for the condition you intend to drive it on. Also, you need to adjust the suspension so that the body is lowered for better aerodynamics and high speed. Thus, off-road cars are usually very versatile compared to on-road cars.  Nowadays, many people run their offroad cars on the streets.

If you have an on-road car, and you want to turn it into an off-road car, you might want to read a post on Tamiya TT02 rally modifications here. This post might give you a hint if you want to do the opposite.

My Advice:

Now you should be thinking about walking into an RC car hobby shop, and picking out your first RC Car, right? Check out some of the great off-road bashers on eBay; they are extremely durable and powerful.

In fact, it’s not that easy to choose the right one.  Here is my advice on about which type of RC car you should choose between off-road and on-road.

Both of them are pretty capable in their own track; they have their own pros and cons which you should consider while choosing the right one. The off-road type works pretty much everywhere but not in an on-road condition, they usually are not as speedy as the real on-road cars as they are much heavier than the regular on-road cars. On the other hand, on-road cars can give you some awesome speed and great full-scale cornering along with fantastic looks and drifts.

If you want more speed and a better racing experience then you should go for on-roads, but if you want great thrilling experience, durability, rock hard performance then off-roads are built for you! For all these reasons, perhaps you should start with an off-road car and think about an on-road car for your second purchase! Anyway, most serious hobbyists have more than one cars.  To reduce weight, on-road RC cars usually are lightweight, but less durable than their off-road counterparts.

Moreover, if you are an absolute RC beginner, do not buy your first car online. Go to a local hobby shop is the smartest move. Let the employee or the shopkeeper know what purpose you want to use your RC car for, and which is the best one for your budget. They will figure out some good recommendations for you and also tune-up the whole car for better performance in the future! They usually give excellent support for beginners.

Here is an RC car I would recommend to any beginner.  It is the HSP 94118.  If you buy its brushless version with all the aluminum upgrade, you can get a very speedy and durable rally car that is a superb beast in every street corner.

Click the image below to check out the price for this HSP rally car.

Here is a post about how good HSP RC cars really are
Another Chinese RC car you should be interested in. It is the HQ 727.  It is a fast and durable short course truck.


I hope that you got the information you were looking for about which is better, on-road or off-road RC cars!

I think you have built up enough confidence to walk in and choose your desired RC car right away! If you found this information useful then don’t forget to share it with your friends and other RC cars lovers out there!

Finally, don’t forget to comment down your choice which RC car you will choose in the comments section down below!



Written by Sidharth Kushvah
Edited by Carlos Santos, your webmaster.

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