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  1. #1

    Nitro or electric for 8-year-old?

    I have an 8 years old son who wants to have a RC car or truck. I am not sure I should buy him an electric or nitro car. I have never owned any RC toy before but I would love to spend time with my son to figure out how to use, or fix, it. My son is a very curious boy and I know he would love to spend time fixing his toy, but I don't know if a nitro car is too complicated for him, and for a first-time-user dad like me. I am an engineer and I know the basic of car engine. I want to teach my son how a gasoline engine operates so ultimately I would want a nitro car, just not sure about the timing.

    What do you suggest? Should I start with an electric car now and later change to a a nitro car, or jump right onto it?

  2. #2
    SyCo_VeNoM's Avatar
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    Well do note that Nitro engines run at 240-280 degrees so it his hand hits one it WILL get burnt pretty good, also the pipes get hot as hell too. The fuel is very poisonous, and volatile too. Personally I wouldn't recommend it unless you plan to be there to supervise it constantly when in use. Also note that tuning can be sometimes tricky so unless you have time to sit down, and watch videos that show how to do things I wouldn't recommend it. Now I have let my nephew run one of my nitro trucks when he was 7 and he had a blast, but that was under close supervision. Also fuel is depending where you live $40+ a gallon, and can be a pain to get if there isn't a hobby shop nearby that stocks it.
    Now if you do the Hyper 7 TQ black is a decent buggy, and probably one of the lowest cost nitros I'd recommend (the others I find of good quality the prices jump kinda drastically) http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXRUS1&P=ML Nitro there isn't as much vehicle style choice as electric as it seems they only bother with buggies, truggies, monster trucks and a few onroads for the most part(and before someone corrects me there are others but the majority are those 3 from companies).

    Electric you still have to learn things, but its a little more friendly in ways. You have to learn battery care, and most modern RC's pretty much require LiPo's which you have to learn proper maintenance, and safety procedures of. Also electrics have a higher axillary component cost for example batteries are at the low end $24ish a piece, chargers are $40ish a pop, etc. You have to figure out what battery fits in what vehicle as lipos come in so many different sizes its not funny. Motors can hit up to 180 degrees after that they kinds just go poof, plus there is no hot exhaust to hit so its a tad safer
    As for electric vehicle recommendations the vehicles costs are all over the place from $100 to over $1k same with the style of vehicles available its all over the place. Exaple they have on-road, buggies, truggies (of all different scales), trail/scale trucks, rock crawlers, Monster Trucks, semi trucks, etc...

    (please note with nitro you get what you pay for electric RC's you can cheap out on to an extent)
    Last edited by SyCo_VeNoM; 03-17-2014 at 03:21 PM.
    With great speed comes greater repair bills.
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  3. #3
    What syco said... lol My dad got me my first RC buggy when i was 2 and it was a nitro. Lol I didnt get to drive it until i was like 6 my mom didnt like the decision but my dad did not care lol I had fun so i thought it was a great decision. Nitros are AWSOME...
    Last edited by Cool_cris27; 03-17-2014 at 03:25 PM.

  4. #4

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    I love nitro. Buy for an 8 year old, electric.

  5. #5
    nitrosportsandrunner's Avatar
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    electric.
    a bit safer
    less stuff to go wrong
    easier to get running, and lets face is very few 8 year olds would have the patience for a nitro.

    plus, there are plenty of good electric models that are much less expensive than a decent nitro(decent nitro meaning $300 easy) many decent RTR electrics cost $150-$225 with battery and all.
    If he shows good interest, then later on spend more $$$ and buy him a nitro if he still wants one.

    oh, and don't buy a used nitro. buy a new one.
    SC10rs, 1/6 hummer crawler, Kyosho Twin Force, Lunchbox project, Techone P51,

  6. #6

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    You can get good nitro engines for cheap - a Losi 454 or Dynamite Big Red .28 for ex(or a Nova P5XLT for a buggy or truggy - under 200 bucks). The peripheral stuff can add up if you don't already have it - starter box or Rotostart, batteries, glow ignitors, etc etc.. And fuel.

    I've seen a lot of ESC's going up in flames recently.. IMO high-power brushless is more dangerous. Unless you're throwing lit matches at your nitro fuel or something.. (and even then I see guys in the pits at nitro races tanking up etc.. with cigs hanging out of their mouths.. I've yet to see a nitro go up in flames...)
    Nitro > stamp collecting, watching grass grow, cleaning room, etc.. > electric.

  7. #7

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    Either way I recommend to supervise a child when playing with these toys

  8. #8
    nitrosportsandrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrSavage View Post
    You can get good nitro engines for cheap - a Losi 454 or Dynamite Big Red .28 for ex(or a Nova P5XLT for a buggy or truggy - under 200 bucks). The peripheral stuff can add up if you don't already have it - starter box or Rotostart, batteries, glow ignitors, etc etc.. And fuel.

    I've seen a lot of ESC's going up in flames recently.. IMO high-power brushless is more dangerous. Unless you're throwing lit matches at your nitro fuel or something.. (and even then I see guys in the pits at nitro races tanking up etc.. with cigs hanging out of their mouths.. I've yet to see a nitro go up in flames...)
    brushless on most 1/10 scale stuff id pretty full proof. ESC's and lipos only go up in fire when you use the wrong equipment or use it in the wrong way...IE, wrong charger, wrong size lipo battery for the vehicle ect. Ive been running lipo for 5 years, not a single fire or even smoke. I had a NIMH battery get soo hot once that I couldn't hold it, but that was the old tech.

    But as CarTune said, any RC (while it may be a toy) requires adult supervision. they are complex toys and can be very fast. There are stories of people hitting others, animals or themselves with an RC. Even a 5 pound truck going 30mph isn't going to feel good when it hits you!
    SC10rs, 1/6 hummer crawler, Kyosho Twin Force, Lunchbox project, Techone P51,

  9. #9
    phmaximus's Avatar
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    I can't say I've ever hurt my self from picking up a electric car... But I've defiantly burnt myself and got blisters from the pull start on nitro cars
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  10. #10
    Large Larry's Avatar
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    Get electric no matter what age. Nitro is terrible for many reasons. You have to worry about tuning and the cost of fuel and glow plugs just to name a few of the negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by HerrSavage View Post
    I've seen a lot of ESC's going up in flames recently.. IMO high-power brushless is more dangerous. Unless you're throwing lit matches at your nitro fuel or something.. (and even then I see guys in the pits at nitro races tanking up etc.. with cigs hanging out of their mouths.. I've yet to see a nitro go up in flames...)
    This is scaremongering at it's finest. Electric is cleaner and much safer than nitro. Lipo and ESC fires are very rare. For the record the people re-fueling with a lit cigarette in their mouth are very stupid, even though cigarette embers aren't hot enough to start a fuel fire it's still a foolish thing to do.

  11. #11
    On2_n_On4's Avatar
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    ^ sorry but LIPOs and chargers aren't safe for an 8 year old kid.
    Also, maybe nitro is not for for you, or you are not a mechanically inclined person but what you call "terrible"... is a pleasure to others.
    Inferno GT​2 - RS4 2 - APEXmini touring - Baja 5T

  12. #12
    Large Larry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by On2_n_On4 View Post
    ^ sorry but LIPOs and chargers aren't safe for an 8 year old kid.
    Also, maybe nitro is not for for you, or you are not a mechanically inclined person but what you call "terrible"... is a pleasure to others.
    I didn't say charging lipos was safe for an 8 year old, of course there needs to be a lot of learning and supervision when it comes to kids and charging, even if it's nimh. I also wouldn't let an 8 year old re-fill a tank or let them anywhere near nitro fuel as a matter a fact.

    Nitro might be a pleasure to some but there are always people who drag their feet when it comes to new and better technology, if you're just starting out in the hobby why would you go with nitro when electric is simply better in just about every conceivable way. I know how a nitro works, I used to race them, but with brushless motors and lipo batteries there is no reason in my mind to ever go back to nitro, just thinking about the mess they make and the at times constant fiddling with needles you are subjected to when the weather changes is giving me a headache.
    Last edited by Large Larry; 03-27-2014 at 09:10 PM.

  13. #13

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    Please... "...electric is better in every conceivable way.." Like in having to constantly recharge batteries? On not having the sound that some people simply like? The excess drivetrain wear.. The high start-up cost.. The toasted ESC's...

    Different things give different people headaches.. Do you also have a favorite flavor of ice cream which is "better in every conceivable way" than what other people like?..
    Last edited by HerrSavage; 03-27-2014 at 10:17 PM.
    Nitro > stamp collecting, watching grass grow, cleaning room, etc.. > electric.

  14. #14
    Large Larry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrSavage View Post
    Please... "...electric is better in every conceivable way.." Like in having to constantly recharge batteries? On not having the sound that some people simply like? The excess drivetrain wear.. The high start-up cost.. The toasted ESC's...

    Different things give different people headaches.. Do you also have a favorite flavor of ice cream which is "better in every conceivable way" than what other people like?..
    Yes I do... It's Vanilla.

    But IMO flavor or preference doesn't really come into it. Sure there are people who "prefer" nitro over electric, but when you look at things in a purely objective manor electric wins in every department.

    Let's say for arguments sake that some people might prefer watching the old Jurassic Park movies compared to newer blockbusters, sure they are good movies but you can not deny that the CGI in today's movies is a lot better... in every conceivable way.

    I look at it this way, nitro is old tech, it's the way it used to be done. There's nothing wrong with liking the old stuff, it's just that newer is better in most cases.

  15. #15

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    Um, no.. It's ALL personal preference, period. Especially in the silly world of expensive toy cars.

    "There are no facts, only interpretations."

    Nitro is not "the old way" either. THE premier class in offroad racing is 8th scale nitro buggy, period. And there are reasons for that - having a longer than 10-minute main being just one.. And that's not gonna' change soon.

    Your grasp of the boundary between objective and subjective is poor.
    Last edited by HerrSavage; 03-27-2014 at 11:07 PM.
    Nitro > stamp collecting, watching grass grow, cleaning room, etc.. > electric.

  16. #16
    phmaximus's Avatar
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    Nitro rc cars require a lot more knowledge, skills and manintance, it's not really a personal preference it's it's just a carastics of those types of engines. There has been loads of cases of noobs having tuning issues and not knowing what to do. Some people even have very expensive learning curves. Tuning is a skill, it's like riding a bike, once u know how its easy but learning can be very painful.... And some people never learn. My learning curve was over $230 with a total of 3 piston/sleeve sets...

    because of those issues a basic RTR electric kit is going to be problem free for a lot longer, something like a traxxas rustler xl5 brushed with the supplied 7cell nimh and wall charger is going to be plug and play, and with the addition of Traning mode it would be very suited to a 8yo learning the ropes.

    allso another reson I recomend electric is reverse.... When playing in the back yard or even a park it really does suck not having reverse. Sure u can get nitro's with reverse but they are generally expensive and troublesome

    I have total respect for ur passion for nitro engines, its great. But I feel they are a more for people with intermediate skill level.
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  17. #17

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    People are frying ESC's all the time, experienced guys and newbs alike. It's disingenuous to claim electric (8th scale big power brushless anyway..)is significantly easier, less maintenance, or cheaper than nitro afaic.

    And yes, nitro entails a learning curve(as does electric), but jeeze if I can manage it anyone can.. It's not rocket science.
    Nitro > stamp collecting, watching grass grow, cleaning room, etc.. > electric.

  18. #18
    On2_n_On4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Large Larry View Post
    it's just that newer is better in most cases.
    lol
    Theres NO "BETTER" in RC.
    As simple as that.

    and if you know anything about rc... you should know that by now.
    If you prefer a plug and play and stacking up batteries., thats your personal choice and better for you, not the rest of the rc community
    Inferno GT​2 - RS4 2 - APEXmini touring - Baja 5T

  19. #19
    Large Larry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrSavage View Post
    Um, no.. It's ALL personal preference, period. Especially in the silly world of expensive toy cars.

    "There are no facts, only interpretations."

    Nitro is not "the old way" either. THE premier class in offroad racing is 8th scale nitro buggy, period. And there are reasons for that - having a longer than 10-minute main being just one.. And that's not gonna' change soon.

    Your grasp of the boundary between objective and subjective is poor.
    I know the difference between objective and subjective, you're being subjective, and I'm being objective... easy. Nitro is old hat, everybody knows it, it's just the few people who like to hold on to the past who still enjoy it. Long mains does not outweigh the benefits of electric, in fact I'm not even a fan of long mains, who wants to marshal for more than 10 minutes? no one that's who. "THE premier class" LOL.

    Quote Originally Posted by HerrSavage View Post
    People are frying ESC's all the time, experienced guys and newbs alike. It's disingenuous to claim electric (8th scale big power brushless anyway..)is significantly easier, less maintenance, or cheaper than nitro afaic.

    And yes, nitro entails a learning curve(as does electric), but jeeze if I can manage it anyone can.. It's not rocket science.
    This is so way off the mark it's not even funny. People generally fry their ESC when they decide to start playing around with gearing set ups before they know what they're doing. Stock gearing on just about everything won't have your ESC going up in flames any time soon. With lipos it's mainly about a good C rating, if you've got good packs and you don't go crazy with the gearing your ESC is not likely to end up in flames, period.

  20. #20

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    Ten minutes IS an awfully long time to concentrate..

    If you've got acute ADD maybe.

    And if you can't manage that, no wonder you can't manage nitro. All that hard work and all....

    My preference for nitro btw has nothing to do with nostalgia.
    Last edited by HerrSavage; 03-28-2014 at 03:55 AM.
    Nitro > stamp collecting, watching grass grow, cleaning room, etc.. > electric.

  21. #21
    phmaximus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrSavage View Post
    People are frying ESC's all the time, experienced guys and newbs alike. It's disingenuous to claim electric (8th scale big power brushless anyway..)is significantly easier, less maintenance, or cheaper than nitro afaic.

    And yes, nitro entails a learning curve(as does electric), but jeeze if I can manage it anyone can.. It's not rocket science.
    that there is the problem... u need to be more forgiving, some people do struggle with nitro...I did...Im not scared to admit it... but that was over 10 years ago and now im very proficient at tuning and most importantly diagnosing.

    Generally there is zero additional learning curves associated electric motors. especially on RTR vehicles, u could say battery charging but that's no different to charging a hump pack.
    sure there is a learning curve when u start playing around with programmable ESC, but that's something u can get away without learning, its not really important and generally the default setting are safe for a noob.

    I understand the point about ESC been fryed, but that's from noob's trying to customise things with out knowing exactly what they are doing.

    I think its safe to say a electric brand name car like AE, Losi, Kyosho, HPI, Traxxas, Tamiya, Axial, etc will last easily 12 months with out anything needed to be adjusted.
    (with the acceptation of dedicated racing chassis, some times they need things run-in like ball diffs and slipper clutches. but u would have to do that any on the nitro version)


    Where a nitro needs a lot of care, restraint and basic tuning knowledge for the first few tanks while running in. Its amazing how many people mess it up. I think its all to overwhelming and they start making mistakes..
    LOSI: 5IVE-T, 8IGHT-E, MICRO SCT
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  22. #22
    phmaximus's Avatar
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    Im a huge fan of nitro racing......anyone can slap a decent ESC and motor in there buggy and take 5min to set it all up.
    but getting a nitro dialled in is a lot harder, when u think about it, There is a lot that needs to work in harmony
    LOSI: 5IVE-T, 8IGHT-E, MICRO SCT
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  23. #23

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    The bigger point is though, this is a hobby, and not a toy. You're going to have to learn to shim diffs, mesh gears, solder plugs, etc.. It's ALL a hobby - electric or nitro. And nitro is not so much harder than electric - not like people say. And I've seen more experienced guys fry ESC's recently than newbs. Nitro did seem daunting to me when I got started, but it was mostly in my head. The engines are more resilient than people make out, and break-in and tuning are not that hard. A lot of people - even some who really do know what they are doing, yet lack a broader perspective - make it out to be a bigger deal than it is. Yes, you have to learn it - but once you do, it's that much more rewarding. There are many things in life which are that way - they're better because you mastered them yourself instead of just buying your way around it, or having it handed to you. Plus, nitro (a good, well-tuned one..) just sounds cool.. Subjective? Hell yes.

    But again, it's not rocket science. The vast majority of the supposed "difficulty" is just in peoples' heads - mine too at one point...

    But whatever. The main point, already mentioned, is that an 8-year old shouldn't be messing with 8th scale high-performance nitro OR electric - not unsupervised anyway. With the help of a parent, either can be good.. So it's personal preference.. (i.e. subjective..)
    Last edited by HerrSavage; 03-28-2014 at 09:13 AM.
    Nitro > stamp collecting, watching grass grow, cleaning room, etc.. > electric.

  24. #24

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    A lot of arguing on here geeeez. But electric is better. lol. But anyway my best advice to you from my expeience with kids and r/c is this. Nitro is too hard, hot, and can cause disinterest very fast with kids. They want instant gratification/action which only electric can supply. And btw guys I like nitro too so don't attack me. I'm still unsure what I'm going to run in my 1/8 truggy kit when the build is done. But my advice to you for an 8 year old boy is the traxxas 1/16 scale e-revo vxl they are pretty cheap at tower, or a-main hobbies right now. plus they have training mode which cuts power by half till he learns how to drive it properly. I got one for my daughter about a year ago, and she loves to drive it. it also is very durable, and parts are cheap if u do break stuff. imo if you do get it for him get the series connector, and the parallel connector,and an extra battery. same as the stock one like $20. I went with the onyx 245 dual charger so I could charge both packs at the same time. the stock charger takes hours. And if he is into it like my little girl is that's too long to wait lol. I hope you find this helpful.

  25. #25

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    Not taking sides,as I have both electric and nitro, though I fly, don't drive. But PLEASE see the new post today, "Another Lithium Polymer Fire". Not judging, but this could happen to ANYONE, so electric has it's own list of problems. For a young man who may have a low attention span (as we ALL did at that age before it was labelled ADD), supervision of both the child and the batteries and/or fuel/engine is a necessity, NOT an option. And not supervision 2 rooms or 100 feet away. After the fact, armchair quarterbacking is worthless. At the least, there could be a mishap. At worst, it could be tragic. Again this applies to both methods. R/C is a great pastime. Good luck to you and your son.
    P-51 Mustang Brotherhood #8
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