Typical layout of a glow-powered model car
What does 'on-road' mean?
Asphalt-surfaced racing tracks have been established in many locations by model car driving clubs, and they are used for exciting racing events involving the many different track racing classes. An on-road vehicle has little suspension travel and is therefor suitable for smooth surfaces only.
What does 'off-road' mean?
Many model car drivers consider the great excitement is being able to drive across any terrain, tearing around cross-country and jumping over bumps. This activity requires specially designed vehicles, and they can cope with more or less any type and quality of surface.
The characteristics of any model vehicle depend on the layout and design quality of its chassis. For example, most modern model cars feature independent suspension on the front and rear wheels, with the suspension movements damped by oil-filled shock absorbers to ensure good ground contact.
Model power systems
In models powered by electric motors, energy is drawn from rapid-charge special battery (NiMH or LiPo). In models powered by internal combustion engines, the power plant is usually a two-stroke motor running on methanol-based fuel or gasoline.
Power transmission, transmission types
Independent suspension is very complex, and requires sophisticated drive train components. Modern cars usually feature multi-stage gear-boxes and differentials for well-balanced power transmission to the wheels. We also have to differentiate between rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive (2-WD / 4-WD) vehicles.
Controlling model cars
A two-channel radio control system is quite adequate to control a ground-based vehicle. In electric-powered vehicles proportional control of steering and motor speed is available in both directions. Glow-powered models also feature proportional steering, but the throttle function is separate from the disk brake, although they are often controlled by the same transmitter function.