Electric RC Hobbyists and Racers-to-be need to know how to select a good, suitable motor for the RC car or truck you own. It isn’t always about picking the fastest motor with the highest revolutions per minute (rpm). For instance, what good would a “fast” motor be, if yours was a monster truck deployed to beat your neighbor on bicycle to a hill climb? Likewise, you what good would a “powerful” motor be, if you owned a road car and gunning for a drag race? In this article, I seek to impart to you a basic understanding of rc car motors and terminology so that you would be a more successful hobby-racer and rc part shopper.


Some of the key aspects for your consideration include:

Vehicle Scale Size
Is yours a 1/18, 1/16, 1/12, 1/10, or 1/8? If you are running a 1/18 or 1/16 vehicle, you would usually be using a 380-size spec motor. 1/12 vehicles would use a 540-size spec motor, while 1/10s would use either a 540 or the slightly larger, 550-size spec motor. Most 1/10 and 1/8 RC vehicle owners these days are turning to “brushless motors”, which due to a lower friction, and a capability to run at a high voltage, generate a lot more speed and torque.

Number of Turns
Most motors on the market would range from 6 to 27 turns. The lower the number of turns, the faster it can make your vehicle go, but the catch is lower torque – but this would not matter if yours is an on-road racing car as there is little roll-resistance in the surfaces you run on. The higher the number of turns, the more torque, but also less top-end speed. Crawlers, a popular kind of RC truck, specially adapted for obstacle climbing, even use motors with as high as 61 turns! They are no doubt extremely slow, but can climb practically anything! A 27 turn motor would probably only manage 20km/h at best, while a 12 turn motor can go over twice as fast, at 40-50km/h with a good LiPo battery. While choosing a motor for your on-road RC vehicle can be straightforward, you may wonder, what is the fastest motor you can get for your buggy, without sacrificing vital climbing torque – a key note is that all motors upwards of 9 turns have a decent amount of torque.

Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
The ESC has an important role in commanding your motor on how to operate – fast, slow, forward or in reverse. It is able to control battery voltage input power curves for varying throttle effect, and also power cut-offs, to preserve the advanced LiPo batteries from going into total discharge. However, ESCs are also matched to the number of turns to the motor. Check the motor turns range supported by your ESC. In many cases you may need to purchase a new ESC to support your new motor. Mismatched ESCs can cause overheating and even explosions for your RC vehicle.

Popular Motors / ESCs
A current hot seller on all RC car and truck fronts is the Castle Creations “Mamba Monster” ESC, coupled with a Neu-Castle Brushless Motor. The Mamba Monster is able to manage up to 25.2 volts of battery power, three times of the popular 7.2 volt stick packs at over 85% efficiency, and channel them through to your steering and throttle servos, and generate 5-6 horsepower at the wheels – that’s close to thrice the power of a typical 3.5cc buggy engine! Having said that, such technology comes with a cost in the hundreds – as much as a race-spec car or truck kit.

About the author: Julian Wong, aged 26, married and self-employed actively trades stocks and forex, and runs several internet marketing programs. His favorite outdoor past-time is off-road RC cars, and he is a proud owner of a Kyosho Inferno and a HPI Savage X 4.6 – both running on Nitro. If you are interested in RC modification, RC videos, and RC racing, or want to be informed of coupon promotions and RC special deals online, do check out his link RC blog at https://hpisavagex46.wordpress.com

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