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View Full Version : Mini-Z racing dying in North America?


Clix
2009.09.17, 08:13 PM
I've been looking a lot around the track section of this forum, looking for tracks that would be somewhat close to me, and I seem to keep finding more and more links to tracks or stores that seem to be closing.

Is anyone else noticing that is it a possibility that Mini-Z is dying in North America? I mean that would be extremely sad to see, considering I just dropped quite a penny to get into this hobby, but it's something I would really hate to see. I've loved Radio controlled vehicles for a long time, and find these ones to just be enjoyable to drive.

I really hope that I'm wrong in what I'm seeing here. Maybe those of you who have been around this hobby longer might be able to help ease the worries? Mostly I'm trying to find tracks within the vicinity of the Niagara Falls area. Either Ontario or New York. I know we have one opening up in November by one of our very own here on the forums which I'm very excited about, but it will only be open on weekends. I'm just wondering if anyone knows of one either within Buffalo or Hamilton, maybe Mississauga? I really need to find somewhere to practice and race right now. :(

arch2b
2009.09.17, 08:28 PM
it's called a recession :) hobby shops operate on the slimest of margins to begin with. toss in a global economic recession and your simply finding shops that have not been able to weather the storm. it's unfortunate to be sure.

considering for most, rc's are based on hobby money, these are typically the first to get cut from budgets.

Clix
2009.09.17, 08:32 PM
This is quite true! And it's very sad indeed. We need this darn recession to be done with! that goes without saying though hehe. Well, I just really hope that once the recession starts to waddle away and things start picking up again maybe we might see more shops and tracks opening up again soon. Lord knows I'd open a track if I had the funds, but alas, I spent it all buying my first mini-z XD

bermbuster
2009.09.17, 09:08 PM
you can get a mini 96 and race in your house....
Fastcats in Oakville may still have there rcp track....
Im in Markham,Ontario for work and im missing my weekly racing back home in metro nyc.....

Clix
2009.09.17, 09:14 PM
bermbuster: What's a mini96? Is it a kind of track? Because that would actually be rather nice to be able to set up in my house :D

RCPMini-z
2009.09.17, 09:21 PM
I've been looking a lot around the track section of this forum, looking for tracks that would be somewhat close to me, and I seem to keep finding more and more links to tracks or stores that seem to be closing.

Is anyone else noticing that is it a possibility that Mini-Z is dying in North America? I mean that would be extremely sad to see, considering I just dropped quite a penny to get into this hobby, but it's something I would really hate to see. I've loved Radio controlled vehicles for a long time, and find these ones to just be enjoyable to drive.

I really hope that I'm wrong in what I'm seeing here. Maybe those of you who have been around this hobby longer might be able to help ease the worries? Mostly I'm trying to find tracks within the vicinity of the Niagara Falls area. Either Ontario or New York. I know we have one opening up in November by one of our very own here on the forums which I'm very excited about, but it will only be open on weekends. I'm just wondering if anyone knows of one either within Buffalo or Hamilton, maybe Mississauga? I really need to find somewhere to practice and race right now. :(

You wouldn't know it by RCP track sales. We are selling more tracks on average now than we've averaged in the last 5 years. I think more people are setting up tracks in their home as opposed to hobby stores. We still sell many tracks to hobby stores that set up tracks in their store across the US, but I just don't think they post up on the forums. Same goes for the tracks we sell to customers who set up in their home or office. Many are not members of forums, so you don't actually see how many mini-z followers there actually are. I know Kyosho is still selling many mini-z's.

We manufacture many more tracks for overseas distributors such as Kyosho, Japan and TRC Spain, but the US sales are not too far behind. Our overseas distributors offer the tracks to over 35 different countries, so they will always be more popular outside the US.

But to answer your question, I do not see the mini-z dying out. I actually think it continues to grow and will only get stronger as the country moves out of this recession. I also know there will be another new US Mini-z tournament starting up in 2010 and that should help to increase awareness of the hobby.

We are introducing a new track into the toy industry for the 2009 Holiday season. The tracks are a little different than the current tracks and the cars are 1/43rd toy grade RC. Some of the stores that are going to carry the kits are big name toy companies. I think getting the kits into the masses of the toy industry will only help increase awareness for the hobby side of things. Many of the customers who have the toy version kit may want to upgrade to a mini-z and RCP hobby grade track. Customers will visit our site and see that we sell other upgraded tracks and that people run the Kyosho Mini-z on them. This will bring new people into the hobby side of things and help sales all the way around.

RCPMini-z
2009.09.17, 09:30 PM
bermbuster: What's a mini96? Is it a kind of track? Because that would actually be rather nice to be able to set up in my house :D

You can purchase the Mini-96 track and all the expansion kits from the store here at Mini-zracer.com. They have them currently in stock and ready to ship from our warehouse here in La Mirada, California.

Clix
2009.09.17, 09:36 PM
I just took a gander over at the shop there and saw the track. Wow, that is an awsome track (just like I see in most pictures of shops that are still open) and WOW is that expensive x.x There's my KT-18 controller with 2.4 upgrade right there. That's a hard choice.

Track, or 2.4 upgrade. Track, or 2.4 upgrade. Well, doesn't matter at the moment as I can't afford either of them XD But when I can that's a hard choice :(

Sinister_Y
2009.09.17, 09:43 PM
FYI, Fastcats do not run mini-z. They have a RCP track but it's setup to run RTR 1/18 scale cars for b-day parties and corporate events.

xrmarcis
2009.11.29, 01:40 PM
Wow i'm in the same boat just got a mr015 and have nowhere to race it. Thinking about making a track in my basement as well but then again i would like to have people to race with so a mobile track would be a better way to spend the money.

Think your right though that tracks sell but its closet hobbyist that are buying them for their small group or racers.

I'd like to get something going in my area but need to find the interest group first.

Davey G
2009.11.30, 08:24 AM
In the NY/NJ area we have too many tracks. We have 4 tracks all within 60 miles of each other. This makes things difficult for track owners. WE have a good amount of racers but if they are spread out between 4 tracks every single week that doesnt make for good profits...

imxlr8ed
2009.11.30, 04:19 PM
In the NY/NJ area we have too many tracks.

Yeah... I think one of them should move about 130 miles SSW. ;)

NYRC-WebAdmin
2009.12.04, 12:16 PM
Yeah... I think one of them should move about 130 miles SSW. ;)

It won't be NYRC for sure. This Tuesday we had 21+ racers and the Friday before we had 24. The large number of racers/scanned profiles brought down our CORE system we had to remove inactive racers from it. There has also been increasing number of walk-in customers and their friends.

I can count more than 4 tracks/shops within 60 mile radius: 2 in Queens/1 in Bklyn/1 in S.I./2 in NNJ

arch2b
2009.12.04, 12:40 PM
be sure to removed inactive results as well. the more stored data you have for events, the more it slows it down. this was explained by michael long ago.

Draconious
2009.12.04, 12:52 PM
If you are anywhere near the detroit side of Ontario.

I have a Mini-96 and various expansion sets I could sell off...
It has hardly been used, and the expansions are still in the boxes.

imxlr8ed
2009.12.07, 10:27 AM
I've always thought that if we could make it mandatory for members to this site to give a location (zip code), it would connect more racers and create a greater possibility of club formations. If all of the locations could be collected on one single map (like some existing threads), racers would have an easier time finding each other.

Just a thought.

mleemor60
2009.12.07, 10:57 AM
Great thought. I have my City and State in mine but the zip code is a great idea.

arch2b
2009.12.07, 12:12 PM
you have to remember that there are some that wear tin foil hats thinking big brother is watching and simply would not register if personal identifiers were required.
even if the location were required, people would continue to insert ficticious locations for whatever reasons.
i do not feel compelling someone to provide personal information is the best route to take. the best i'm willing to do is a region as an example. i will never post a zip code, or exact address. you have to respect the need to protect personal information on the internet given the issues with identity protection. i would not recommend anyone post publicly their address, email address (without modification), phone number, etc. there are spam bots that troll the internet looking for this type of information.

mleemor60
2009.12.07, 12:28 PM
Even regions would be great. How do you propose to divide the country up regionally? Maybe if we could just get people to say what state or country they are located in. Once the states are posted those that are interested can seek each other out. There are only a couple of states with few enough people that the "tinfoil hats" should worry about being found.

arch2b
2009.12.07, 12:44 PM
but then again, when your talking cimpulsory info, someone would have to select something from a menu and which is easy enough for us but then we have a significant global presence as well and then your talking dividing up the globe which is not so easy.

for the foreseable future, it will remain as is and people will continue to ignore is despite requests that it not be. i've asked that people please fill in the location part of their profile in posts for years.

imxlr8ed
2009.12.07, 06:20 PM
you have to remember that there are some that wear tin foil hats thinking big brother is watching.

I am watching... but I'm too busy at my full-time job right now to invade houses and load families onto black helicopters to take them to the "re-education" camps. So they really have nothing to worry about (unless I get laid off or fired or something) :rolleyes:

Just an idea... I kinda figured that's why people don't.

But then again, maybe if there was a map link on the utilities above (you know, in there with "USER CP, FAQ, COMMUNITY, CALENDAR, NEWPOSTS... etc...), maybe we'd get more connections rolling?

I know there are a few threads, but it might work better if it was visible at all times.

Also might sort through the jokesters by making it a 50 post minimum until you can put your location on it?

color01
2009.12.07, 06:27 PM
You could even add a mini-map to the sidebar of these forums, as David has done with the shop.tinyrc.com Products bar. Just have the map zoom in on the user's individual location, and if there are any members within the same map frame, list their locations out Google-maps style. The module could be called "Members Near You" or something like that, and that would most certainly encourage people to post their locations. ;)

BovineD
2010.10.05, 07:35 PM
I think the best way to do it is to start your own personal club or group, try to get a group of at least 4 people to buy some miniz and build your own track or get an RCP track. While it is true that it is harder to find a true hobby shop that supports 1/24 scale racing and below now that you can just walk into and race against strangers and get new people interested in Z racing I don't think it is dying...just riding a low right now.

As a matter of fact anytime I get a chance to introduce Z's to new people I would say 90% of the people immediately want to buy one and start racing so the excitement level is always high. It is tougher now to tell them they always have to order online and that there is no central place to race on a track but you help them along with good info and places to buy (like at Mini-zracer.com!) you can build a good group to race and have fun with. If we keep the interest level up at a local level then it can only help grow the hobby and keep it moving until things swing back up again.

I have to say I am guilty of jumping in and out of the hobby as well with life things that get in the way of racing but right now I am jumping back in headlong dusting off my 2 Wide Ls and calling the group members back together to start the 1/28th scale madness again. We even setup a day for all of us just to review the current state of all our cars, wrench around and setup for a day with no racing. Who knows maybe I can pull some more newbies in again this time!

And of course when the itch to race begins again the wallet empties...

MR03 JSCC Cup Edition (arrived!)
2nd MA010 AM readyset with SAS Pro susepension kit used (arrived!)
GTR Dnano plus starter kit (arrived!)
Epoch 1/43 Integra Chassis (arrived!)
Micro RS4 drift tires (arrived!)
Huge used lot of 3 MR01's and 1 MR02, parts, autoscales (arrived!)
350$ worth of parts from shop

Gotta say I am having the most fun restoring the cars in the last one!

http://i54.tinypic.com/2vd467d.jpg

BovineD
2010.10.12, 04:28 PM
Gotta love the mailman on some days...

http://i52.tinypic.com/ka4lj7.jpg

mdowney
2010.11.29, 02:43 AM
you have to remember that there are some that wear tin foil hats thinking big brother is watching and simply would not register if personal identifiers were required.
even if the location were required, people would continue to insert ficticious locations for whatever reasons.
i do not feel compelling someone to provide personal information is the best route to take. the best i'm willing to do is a region as an example. i will never post a zip code, or exact address. you have to respect the need to protect personal information on the internet given the issues with identity protection. i would not recommend anyone post publicly their address, email address (without modification), phone number, etc. there are spam bots that troll the internet looking for this type of information.

I think the reason more people don't put their locations in is because it's not a prominent option (or an option at all?) during the initial sign up. I know I used the forum for a few days before I remembered to go into the UCP and edit my details. If you made location a prominent, optional form field in the initial registration form your percentage would jump up.

arch2b
2010.11.29, 02:04 PM
absolutely agree and will see about implementing the location into the registration webpage.

cruizinrc
2011.01.30, 10:49 PM
I don't think mini z is dying we get on average 20 or more racers and 40 to 60 cars run on our sat night but I do see it is harder to sell one if person wants to race one....we will tell someone who wants to race on a budget that he will spend 500.00 to get in if he has nothing....we are trying to get people into racing budget of 200 and there's alot to choose from don't get me wrong you can get a mr02 on 27 MHz but when you see a mr03 go who wants a 27mhz version
We are doing well with associateds sc18, and are trying to get the ofna jl12e,losi 1/18 sprint,18r,and asc dirt oval car classes working too as there all under 200.00 and they have ball bearings and 2.4 already in them... Yes there's 4 good tracks in my area all taking a piece of the mini z racer group that's around here but I think there all doing ok with it but I don't think if someone has a spot that has a track setup paying probably 2000.00 a month rent on a race track area is going to only want to race miniz's I'm taking a gamble and changing my race surface to be able to run more car versions as I'll never survive on just miniz's as I'm competing with 3 other stores who i think are only racing miniz's in my area
Ron

lornecherry
2011.03.15, 02:48 PM
...seeing that this post originated with a Canadian, I thought it might be the place to impart some of my slightly askew perspective as to why 1/28th scale should remain strong and what we'd like to see from a "grass roots" perspective.

First, for both our in-school racing programs and special events, 1/28th scale is about right; small enough to use indoors in a moderate space (in our case, high-speed banked ovals because we can't do larger layouts), and with the low mass/speed parameters, so that the general public race slightly de-tuned cars without the insurance company getting too antsy.

Many of us realize that bringing Mini-Z (or similar scale) racing to the masses and growing the hobby from a broad base of excited beginners is fundamental to its success; much like the house leagues of hockey, baseball or football. And, everyone on this forum was a beginner at some time; and it was those few days of initial exposure that either got you "hooked" on this size...even for those with previous racing experience.

There's been some "biggies" in the past few years product breakthroughs that make the sport so much more viable for those that have never tried R/C racing, or have previously found small-scale cars unruly, requiring the patience of saint and more high maintenance than a trophy wife ...

The MR-03, 2.4 GHz, EX-5 radio, RCP tracks now make indoor "fun" racing possible without digging deep into manuals, forums or pockets ...in short, almost anyone of moderate means can get into the hobby and race with friends and family.

@ $150 or so, the EX-5UR is the best thing that's happened to the sport in last while ... finally a decent radio that doesn't crap-out or glitch, and is quickly adjustable to any car, track or performance level.

We are able to switch from 5-year olds (Dad holds the transmitter, kids steer) ...to those with R/C racing experience in a matter of 20 seconds (change the rates and travel of steering and throttle, dial in some negative/positive expo).

Also see this seemingly innocuous thread regarding making the R/C transmitter a little closer to full scale auto controls ...again, not something that any of you may want, but to us, it would bring R/C controls a little closer to the all-to-familiar video game controls or that of a full-scale car. : http://mini-zracer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36145&goto=newposthttp://mini-zracer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36145&goto=newpost

Moreover, the steering experience (with the EX-5), when combined with a properly set-up MR-03 is now closer to that of real racing car or video game car (if you want it to be) ...and although that may be the farthest thing from most of racer's opinion here; it's important that a beginner feel comfortable with the input controls from a casual perspective ...just like trying a new PS3 or XBOX game.

Yes, any computer radio can do all this, but EX-5 is the first that doesn't cost, look or feel intimidating ...very close to what Parkzone Bind-n' Fly did for R/C 4-channel airplanes.

Cars still need to drop in price and tracks are still too expensive IMHO to bring the sport "en Masse". If we could by 2 cars of Kyosho quality, radios and a track for $299 - $349 ...then you could kiss slot cars good-bye (maybe) and 1/28th would be finally become entrenched as both a casual and serious hobby.

For us, we will continue to "feed" the hobby from the top down: our new event track is simply designed beginners say "wow" from both an aesthetic and driving experience.

http://img846.imageshack.us/img846/4493/soyouthinkyoucandrivefr.jpg

Traveler
2011.03.15, 03:10 PM
Nice write-up. I don't understand why everyone isn't instantly infected when they encounter it. Coolest thing under the sun in my book! :cool:

RCPMini-z
2011.03.15, 03:12 PM
Track looks great Lorne. I will take one.

Regarding pricing, I agree the cars and track pricing needs to come down to reach the masses. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening as the price of oil is very unstable and you will see rubber and plastic raw materials only continue to increase.

lornecherry
2011.03.15, 05:19 PM
Weak US dollar, oil prices on the rise, small over-all market ...yes there is certainly upward price pressure. That said, $259 retail for a JCCP MR-03 is way too much. (and you still need a body). Even the hobby market is awfully thin at that price point ...yet Kyosho remains in the "driver's seat" because they own the 1/28th market.

(I question HPI's decision to try and create yet another class with their new 1/32 ...they could have come out with a competitive and low-cost 1/28th to reinforce that segment and perhaps go head-to-head with Kyosho.

Losi (now owned by Hobby Lobby) should also do something both those companies have the expertise to make a great 1/28th scale.

Kyosho needs to look hard at companies like Parkzone/Horizon (and their understanding/servicing of the NA market). Kyosho could have been in that market position with many of its leading products.
---
And one can only wonder how the recent disasters in Japan will affect the major manufacturers? A erratic Yen will certainly be part of the equation, countered by less discretionary income in their domestic market. I can't think that any of that will be good for Kyosho; the end result being a hunkering-down with respect to new projects/market segments and the scrapping/re-vamping of current business plans.

RCPMini-z
2011.03.15, 05:43 PM
Weak US dollar, oil prices on the rise, small over-all market ...yes there is certainly upward price pressure. That said, $259 retail for a JCCP MR-03 is way too much. (and you still need a body). Even the hobby market is awfully thin at that price point ...yet Kyosho remains in the "driver's seat" because they own the 1/28th market.

(I question HPI's decision to try and create yet another class with their new 1/32 ...they could have come out with a competitive and low-cost 1/28th to reinforce that segment and perhaps go head-to-head with Kyosho.

Losi (now owned by Hobby Lobby) should also do something both those companies have the expertise to make a great 1/28th scale.

Kyosho needs to look hard at companies like Parkzone/Horizon (and their understanding/servicing of the NA market). Kyosho could have been in that market position with many of its leading products.
---
And one can only wonder how the recent disasters in Japan will affect the major manufacturers? A erratic Yen will certainly be part of the equation, countered by less discretionary income in their domestic market. I can't think that any of that will be good for Kyosho; the end result being a hunkering-down with respect to new projects/market segments and the scrapping/re-vamping of current business plans.

I agree. The above = increased pricing on all rubber and plastic based toy and hobby products.