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R/C stands for remote controlled as in R/C Car Racing. There are two main types of cars: electric or gas powered. Then two main applications: on-road or off-road. Then there are scales to consider and types of drive trains/ categories to consider. The most popular scales for on-road are 1/10 and 1/8th scale; for off-road, it's 1/8th. Scale refers to how big the R/C car is relative to it's real life counterpart.

MC3 loves Mini-Z and dNaNo cars, which are 1/28th and 1/43rd scale respectively since they can fit in your pocket, are very fast, tuneable and super fun to drive.

As these cars are electric, that's what we'll talk about.

R/C cars are driven using a controller. Most are pistol type controllers, whereby a wheel is used to control the steering and a trigger is used to control forward, stop and reverse based on it's position.

There are several types of controller technologies being used in the marketplace, however one should strive to use a 2.4Ghz system. If you use a cordless phone at home, it's very similar technologies. Basically, the transmitter and receiver work together to find a frequency (called a channel) within the 2.4 band that is not used, then they lock unto it to allow you to control your car without interference. Some 2.4 systems also modulate (like Spectrum) among channels, meaning they switch so as to make sure nothing interferes.

There are many components to a R/C car like a real car. There are tires and rims (which make wheels), suspension systems, drive train systems, etc...


One of the cool things about the way the cars are designed is that you can change the body easily. For Mini-Z, just change the front body clip (used to fix the front of the body to the chassis), mount the appropriate tires on the rims, install those on the steering knuckles and put the body on the car. Voila! You now have a brand new body. Most racers choose bodies based not only on looks but how they handle. There are noticeable differences in terms of handling characteristics between bodies.

Talking about bodies, there are a few configurations, which correspond to chassis types and widths. Some bodies are "narrow" which mean that will use a 8.5mm rim (also known as a narrow rim) all the way around. Whereas a wide body will mean it will use narrow rims for the front and wide rims (11mm) for the rear.


As noted, there are various wheel widths (8.5mm and 11mm). Additionally, there are different size diameter rims too. Stock rims are 20mm, front and rear, and for LM cars, fronts are 17mm. This is due to the fact that the tires Kyosho created for this class of car have larger sidewalls than normal to give it a look consistent with real LM cars. Additional sizes are available from aftermarket manufacturers such as 18, 19 and 21mm for front and 21mm for rear. Non-standard rims are used as a tuning tool.

There are also many choices of tire compounds and degrees to chose from. For the most part, the tires that come stock with the kits are useless; you'll want to upgrade immediately as they are too hard, resulting in poor and unpredictable handling. Tire compound refers to the material the tire is made of. Some tires have more rubber than others and some have more silicon than others. There are even foam tires available. Compound choice is based on what surface you intend to race on. Tire degree refers to how sticky or soft a tire is. A softer tire is always used in the rear and a harder degree in the front.

Chassis Configurations

There are 4 main chassis configurations for 2WD touring cars: MM (Mid-mount), RM (Rear-mount), LM (Low-mount) and HM (High-mount). For Kyosho to make the bodies look like their scale counterparts, they match them to the applicable chassis configuration. For example, MM is typically for 98mm chassis length; RM is for 94mm; LM is for 102mm and HM for 90mm.

Suspension Systems

Most cars in stock form come with just plastic parts. There are some kits that are offered from the factory (Kyosho) with upgrades or what some people refer to as "hop-ups". Upgrade refers to the fact that either the material or design is an improvement on the original part/ design.

There are several companies that make aftermarket parts for Mini-Z and only a couple for dNaNo. Aftermarket means companies other than Kyosho, who are the originators or manufacturer of these types of cars. The most innovative aftermarket companies include PN Racing, Atomic R/C and Reflex Racing, which MC3 are authorized dealers for. We also carry Route 246 (aka R246) who are wholly owned by Kyosho.


Most of the Mini-Z cars use a fixed suspension arm (i.e. kingpin) system for the front. The only exception is the MR03 which uses articulating upper arms which Kyosho calls “Variable Camber Suspension”. Basically, since the upper arm is linked as opposed to fixed, as the car leans into a turn, the contact with the track remains constant.


There are components of the suspension which can be changed in order to change the handling characteristics of the car to better suit your driving style, track layout &/or race surface. Options for tuning include different springs, toe-bars, arms and knuckles. There are also offerings from aftermarket manufacturers for completely re-engineered suspension systems.


Every 2wd drive rear suspension setup is the same for the Mini-Z touring cars. The latest offering of the AWD model, comes with what Kyosho call DWS (double wishbone suspension). This allows much easier tuning adjustments compared to the standard (older) offering which was similar to the fixed suspension arm.

For the standard rear-end suspension system, Kyosho includes a plastic motor pod and spring shock. The spring shock is supposed to keep the rear end planted when hitting bumps etc… Most guys upgrade to alloy rear pods and oil filled/adjustable spring shocks. PN also offer a dual spring rear shock allowing for adjustable of both dampening and rebounding.

A disc damper, sometimes called friction shock kit is an available upgrade that lets you fine tune the side to side movement of the rear pod in combination with different T-plates. T-plates look like a ‘T” and connect the main chassis to the rear motor pod. T-plates allow tuning for side-to-side movement. A harder T-plate means it is stiffer, which results in more steering and less rear grip. The opposite is true for a soft T-plate. It is thinner than the hard T-plate which results in less steering and more rear grip. To tune a disc damper setup, you use differential grease on the discs, which slows down the movement of the rear pod. This is used in combination with different top/bottom springs which result in less or more pressure on the discs sandwiching the central carbon fibre plate attached to the main chassis.

An alloy rear pod usually allows for infinite gear mesh adjustment as well as the ability to run different upgrade motors (usually with larger end-bell sizes) which attach using screws (i.e. there are holes in the end of the motor) whereas a stock configuration uses plastic motor spacers. An additional and probably the most important feature of most alloy motor pods is that it positions the motor lower and more inboard (towards the center of the car) than the stock plastic mounts resulting in much improved handling. Stock plastic mounts come in a few varieties: MM, LM, RM and HM. RM and HM versions put the motor to the rear of the rear axle and on top of the rear axles resulting in less-than then best handling compared to MM or LM configurations.

Drivetrain Systems


All stock mini-z cars come with a gear differential. A worthy upgrade is an adjustable ball differential. This allows one wheel to slip until there is sufficient traction, then it locks with the other spinning wheel. This results in maximum acceleration out of a turn. The amount of slip is adjustable. More slip means more traction to a point. Too much slip and the car doesn’t accelerate as quickly and wears out parts more quickly. Too tight (not even slip) and the car can oversteer (a condition where the rear end of the car slides out) and the car wipes out.


Stock gear pitch for motor and differential gears is 48 pitch from Kyosho. PN , Atomic and Reflex Racing offer 64 pitch gears and for PN and Atomic, matching pinion offerings. 64 pitch offers better mesh between gears, meaning less loss of power and quieter operation. PN Racing also offer an even finer mesh with 128 pitch gears and pinions. The risk with any such fine gears is that if debris gets stuck in the gear, it could get ruined.

Ball Bearings

Ball Bearings are an important upgrade to the stock plastic bushings as they allow for less rolling resistance resulting in greater speed. Bearings are used within the rims of the wheels (2 per wheel; one outside and one on inside), motor pod differential axle holes and outside portion of the right rear wheel (when an adjustable ball differential is used). There are different versions available based on materials and manufacturing specifications. Offerings range from standard steel balls to ceramic and to higher grade ABEC-5 specification.

Closing Comments

This is just a taste of what Mini-Z and dNaNo can offer in terms of fun, value, learning and excitement.

Nothing beats getting out there and experiencing a Mini-Z &/or dNaNo for yourself.

Search our site for Technical Tips and Guides along with the latest product offerings from all the Manufacturers (we carry them all!).

Better yet, check our Race Results/ Schedule page for hours of operations and drop too see the action first hand.


Shawn Yerxa

Owner, Mini-Car Club of Canada

 No part of this paper may be copied without written consent of MC3, Mini-Car Club of Canada or Shawn Yerxa. Material remains the intellectual property of MC3. Kyosho, Route 246, R246, Atomic R/C, Reflex Racing, PN Racing remain trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright 2012 MC3 Mini-Car Club of Canada


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