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Remote Control Petrol Cars - Why The Baja Is Still Best
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The HPI Racing Baja is so called after the Baja 1000 race held in Baja, Mexico, and it really lives up to its name.The HPI series has the reputation in the remote control petrol cars world as being the best of the best, with a price tag to match, and we are going to have a look into whether this is justified. This article will dissect the cars and find out why they are good or bad with a thorough review of there Pro’s and cons.

Firstly lets look at the difference between all the cars HPI are currently producing. There is the buggy styled Baja 5B 2.0 RTR (Ready to Race), the Baja 5B SS Kit (you need to assemble it), the Baja 5SC RTR short course truck and the Baja 5SC SS Kit short course truck. For those who are unaware short course trucks are designed for enclosed race courses with jumps whilst racing other SC cars so its gets quite bashed around, so they tend to be more robust. The SC range has bolder tyres with extended roll cage and modified bumper set-up for these knocks and bumps. It’s worth noting that they used to produce the Baja 5T but is harder to get hold of now, and this was the truggy version of the Baja. Lastly there is a significant plus with the Baja remote control petrol cars range in that they share a lot of the parts, so maintenance costs are driven down if you are a collector and general RC enthusiast. The customer support at HPI is excellent as well.

There is definitely a different approach in mentality when considering an SS (Super Sport) Kit Car. They come completely in parts and require you to assemble the whole thing, so unless you are a huge RC enthusiast and an engineering minded person I would stick to the RTR’s. RTR’s come basically as is, ready to rock!

So the first thing you notice is just how big these remote control petrol cars are, they are 1:5 scale, so 1/5th the size of a normal car. That’s a pretty significant chunk of metal. They measure 32” long x 19” wide x 10” high, which is pretty intimidating, and they tower over their 1:8 and 1:10 brothers.

Next thing to mention is the extreme raw power from these engines. There are two in the range, 23cc and 26cc fuelie 2cylinder engines (5B 2.0 has the 23cc whilst the other 3 have the 26cc). This is roughly a quarter (1/4th) the size of an average car engine, in something that weights next to nothing, so you can see how these things literally fly. The 26cc is air-cooled, includes pull starter, carburetor (adjustable) and kill/Primer switch.

The other features that are outstanding are the VVC/HD Baja Shocks that sit on the double wishbone adjustable suspension attached to the sleekly anodised aluminium aircraft chassis. There are metal steering gears, sway bar kits (front and rear), rear shock towers and heavy-duty bead locks. All sport the 8000RPM clutch and enhanced drive train made from hardened steel. The brakes are immense, and stopping from top speed takes little to no time, with twin ventilated disc system with built-in failsafe. These remote control petrol cars also sport the aluminium exhaust pipe to add a few horses to your engines power.

Are there any bad points? Yes, as you can imagine with all RC cars that take a bit of a battering on the tracks and course, parts break, and HPI are no different. These cars are not bulletproof. If you search the forums for common themes here you ill find that A-Arms are often the first to go and then the shocks shafts. But this is a minor Yes as this is inevitable with all RC cars, considering what we put them through (if you are anything like me). If you maintain these cars well and look after them and drive them properly they will last a very long time.

So enough of the technical jargon, and back to the review. Are there any better alternatives to the HPI series? I haven’t found one. The Exceed RC range is excellent but just not as superior as the HPI Range, they tend to be a bit less robust and not quite as established, but they are cheaper however. The same goes for the CEN Racing Range. The HPI is good not just for all the techy stuff, they are incredibly user friendly. The HPI cars are all easy to maintain, as the parts all click on ands off making cleaning and upgrading parts easy. The petrol engines are easy to start as they include priming bubble like the ones you find on your gas fuelled weed killer or lawnmower, which also prevent flooding of the engine. So no fiddly Nitro engines to worry about. The RTR’s really are ready to run, just take a look at the unboxing video at the bottom remote control petrol cars page. All you need is some gas (premium proffered) mixed with a little bit of oil and a couple of batteries for the remote. Voila! There you have it, there is no alternative to the HPI Racing Series, if you are series about this hobby this is the only choice!


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