Yesterday we sparked debate about the rising cost of drifting, most of you agreed a few didn’t but raised valid points to defend their argument. One thing that was made clear is those with plenty of cash will always spend big bucks on the stuff at the top of the hobby. I can’t knock them for that if I had spare cash I would do the same. I don’t think having the best chassis on the market or the most bling is a bad thing so fair play to those who can afford it.
The starting point
The most concerning thing I think is the entry price point, this is where the price has really crept up over the last few years. I know you have your HPI and Tamiya stuff but I really don’t class this as entry level stuff, I am talking CS and RWD options. If I was a noob who had picked up a HPI sprint for arguments sake I would instantly feel out of place at a drift track with the out the box model. I know you could go and spend a fortune on the Yeah Racing upgrades for one but then let’s face it you may as well buy the right thing first. By the time you have upgraded it you will be at least 350-400 quid out of pocket.
There are what you would class as entry level price products available from most drift manufacturers including Yokomo, MST, Street Jam and Sakura to name a few. However there is a distinct lack of RTR options MST have a fair few and I think there maybe one available from Street Jam but I am not 100%. Now all of us in the hobby probably enjoy the building as much as the drifting but the casual hobbyist or those looking to get in to the hobby may be put off by the fact they have got to build something, wire it up, paint a shell these are all daunting things if you have never done them before.
The above problem leads to people being fobbed of by their local hobby shop and ending up with a touring car with plastic tyres, they then show up to their local track totally unprepared for how underwhelming their chassis will be. While I am yet to visit a track in the UK that would turn its back on these people. All UK tracks will go above and beyond to get these guys up and running and help as much as possible, the poor dude who has just spent a few hundred quid will always have one hand behind his back. I am sure the attitude of the UK tracks is mirrored around the world because on like other forms of RC drifting is a very friendly hobby.
Problems for noobs
The problem for these new guys is the expense let’s say for arguments sake they have been to a model shop and spent £200 on something RTR from a mainstream manufacturer, they will outgrow that chassis in a matter of weeks. We see it all the time at MDS people show up with their new RTR and quickly end up wanting a better chassis either RWD or CS so within a couple of months they end up buying something else more often than not the D4. They then switch to a brushless set-up and buy a new servo, Lipo batteries and charger and normally the only thing that ends up on the D4 off their original purchase is the bodyshell.
So within a few months of starting drifting you have probably ended up spending closer to £600. I won’t slag the LHS off for selling the initial RTR they are running a business and need to make money but why do model shops continue to overlook drifting. They will bitch and moan that buying from overseas is cheaper but the same can be said for any form of RC. I would much rather buy in the UK for a little bit more and I am sure I am not alone in that attitude. When I purchased my MST XXX I used Soul RC even though I could have got it cheaper from Hobby Best, I wanted the support that came from buying from a UK supplier. In fact the only time I buy from overseas is when I can’t find a UK supplier.
So my question is how you better educate newbies to save them money when in reality their first stop will almost always be their LHS. Will model shops ever get on board with the drift scene, I know a few have tried but they have never given it time to take hold or promoted it properly.
We are going to work out a few good solid entry level options and post them up over the next few days and hopefully that will help one or two people in the future.
Enjoy your weekend and stay sideways