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kyoshosan
2011.12.29, 11:38 AM
Hi Guys!

Not wanting to add to the off-topic discussion, maybe we should open a thread to discuss this, but I love this topic. I wonder if sales for the Mini-Z Buggy are disappointing in the US or all over ? I often buy my Mini-Z stuff out of HK and Japan because it is cheaper, even w/ shipping costs included, than buying from my favorite stores in the US. Could that be a major factor that is hurting sales in the US? Let me know what you guys think.

Mini-Z Buggy from an online store in HK:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-YGlNSq0EXeI/Tvymgs_foPI/AAAAAAAAFEc/lIDijGAWHEY/s800/Mini-Z%252520Buggy.png

arch2b
2011.12.29, 12:01 PM
does purchasing from HK hurt domestic shops, absolutely. some of the old timers here like myself will recall the ancient debates that raged about buying online vs. brick and mortar. the general argument is still the same, the details have just changed. the old time stores refused online sales and as a result, most simply aren't here anymore. you either adapt or get eaten. now, with a global economy (more so now than 10 years ago) your debate is domestic shop with markup to remain profitable or more direct asian shops with less markup and pay for shipping. it's pretty clear that hurts domestic shops which are forced to pay higher prices for the same goods (they pay for the shipping too).
we all know the economic reality in which we live though, being you either buy at the price you can afford or not at all, which means some sales are going to go foreign. to think otherwise is ignoring the truth and you cannot fault those needing to do so. all the rhetoric in the world isn't going to change the financial facts for them (you used to get a lot of beating of breat, patriotic name calling, etc.). for many, they simply wouldn't be able to shop unless they bought at the cheapest price they can. just the way it is. we know the domestic market is tough and truth is, not every shop will survive. simple economics. everyone wants to hold on for the rebound and hope they can make it. the shop here is good, i'm sure kenon has enough local support alone to keep it doing well. yes, they notice when sales continue to go foreign vs. domestic but in reality, all you can do is continue to serve your market at the right balance of making a profit to continue and providing a fair market price. it's a tight rope to walk these days and i think all the domestic shops do a good job at keeping a steady market price, even delaying manuf. mark ups as much as possible when they can.

there are VERY good discussions on this already and when the time is available, a moderator will move these replies to the appropriate thread. lets please not go back to the rhetoric of the past though. some were not always respectful in their replies. you can disagree without insulting someone else.

SaiTam
2011.12.29, 12:57 PM
When I was in HK I paid a "premium" for a Losi vehicle and I had shipped LOSI kits out from USA to HK because prices were lower. I think both sides are even.

The rents in HK or Japan(warehouse or storefront) are comparable or even higher than NYC which is not cheap at all. Wages are not low in these countries either. Canadians often pay 15% or more in sales tax so it makes sense to do online ordering; not sure if customs add tariffs to the packages though.

The bonus with buying from your local stores is that it comes with warranty; which may or may not be important to some people.

arch2b
2011.12.29, 01:01 PM
yeah, the canucks get hammered. it's not cheap to ship anything their and they pay taxes on everything they get shipped as well. kinda taking it from both ends:(

weird how sometimes it becomes cheaper to import FROM the u.s.:p

SaiTam
2011.12.29, 01:10 PM
Don't be surprised! European cars are much cheaper in USA than Europe; a Chinese made Iphone costs a lot more in China than in the US. People export back the above goods back to where they were made and still make profits.

Does anyone know how much the Moto Racer would cost?

arch2b
2011.12.29, 01:12 PM
i have an east german co-worker who's told me many of the stories where it's often cheaper to import from the u.s., cheaper to buy a mercedes in the u.s. than germany... stuff like that. the issue works both ways at times.

SaiTam
2011.12.29, 01:20 PM
Your German co-worker was hurting his own domestic shops:D

Does the Moto-Racer have reverse?

The previous Kyosho Hanging-on racer didn't.

arch2b
2011.12.29, 01:35 PM
i didn't say he was doing it... german economics were not kind to the average east german after the wall fell. i can't speak on authority but only on recounts of stories from east germans whom have very strong opinions on the mater. it's complicated over there as expected when reintegrating a large population. i've heard lots of amazing stories about life behind the wall.

kyoshosan
2011.12.29, 07:51 PM
Does anyone know how much the Moto Racer would cost?

I say somewhere that it would cost $199.00

Eman
2011.12.29, 11:31 PM
With coupon you can get it a little cheaper from A-Main hobbies. If you live in U.S. the shipping is free. Which puts it right around $217 delivered. I don't think a hobby store can can compete with online stores without a track or tracks and a solid race program. I think in the U.S. the "bigger is better" mentality may by why the MB-010 sales aren't what was expected.

kyoshosan
2011.12.30, 01:27 AM
Another key point in my opinion is the Lack of an organized factory racing series like the Mini-Z CUP in Japan. Kyosho should promote Mini-Z stock races all across America/Canada, encouraging beginners, and sponsoring "Modified" Competitions like PN Racing Series for the hobby enthusiasts.

I miss the time when Kyosho was distributed, in North America, by Tower Hobbies, it was so much easier to get parts than it is today. Although I love the brand, every time I go into a Hobby Shop and ask for Kyosho products, I get the same story from the owner on how difficult it is to deal w/ Kyosho America...

Availability is also important, new Autoscale bodies become available on online shops in the far east long before the do in North America.

I also think that Mini-Zs should not cost over 150 bucks, the MR-02EX would be a killer if it cost $99! ASCs should also be on the $30 range... Mini-Zs are getting more and more expensive and this is not helping our cause...

byebye
2011.12.30, 05:12 AM
If Americans only wanted toast for dinner and relied on bicycles for transportation then everything would be cheaper. The price is driven by supply and demand. Technology doesn't move forward without it and and price will always be directly proportional to it's advances.

I think PN is the only manufacturer racing in the US and abroad. I know Atomic holds a large share of the market but from what I remember reading it's mostly abroad.

We need to do another focus group. I have some ideas going around in my head. Mabye a "think tank".

Kris

bermbuster
2011.12.30, 08:56 AM
You know when it comes to ordering online vs store bought an online forum will always be biased. Most of us onliners who frequent forums etc are online savvy and most likely buy a lot online. I know I do. I think Sai mentioned a reason to buy from a shop is warranty. Today that doesnt fly. I bought from shops and when I had issues I had to do it all myself.
For me the best reason to buy from a real shop and not online would be customer service. Now Im gonna ask you guys what do you feel is customer service for 2012....Here is my list.....:cool:
1. Hours of operation.....
2. amount of items in stock....(clearly labeled and priced)
3.knowledge of items
4. added services (free)...soldering motor leads, programing tx, etc...
5. added services (fee)...FETs, rewiring, complex assembly
6. custom orders (as needed, weekly, or do they forget)
7. rentals (cars, battery chargers, tire truers, wtc....)

The only way a real brick and mortar shop can compete with cheaper prices is customer service.....:D If you do not need customer service then you dont need the shop. Now if the shop is also your racetrack......

mikedw
2011.12.30, 09:51 AM
Locally the shops near me have very little or no Mini Z and most won't even deal with Kyosho due to minimum order requirements. I order from the U.S. and pay taxes on anything above $60 but, I order from HK and pay no taxes regardless of the cost. I've ordered parts from the U.S. and HK on the same day, free shipping from HK gets to me in Canada faster than paid shipping from the U.S. and this has happened on a regular basis for me.
In the end it's a hobby and expensive like most hobbies and my money goes where I get the best bang for my buck and that seems to be HK.

In Canada Mini Z is a small market and I don't think a series here will do well, there just isn't enough people interested. We have 1/10th the population of the U.S. and it is spread out over a bigger area. I know of only one permanent Mini Z track (yes, in all of Canada) and it is only open once a week. That doesn't make for much of a series.
I know of a half dozen basement/garage tracks within 20 miles of me and I think that is where Mini Z will stay in Canada.
Cheers

arch2b
2011.12.30, 10:29 AM
in my experience, i've been to maybe 1 store that had customer service that i felt was worth coming back to. every other shop simply didn't care or was too busy to deal with what they consider a toy. nothing more annoying than getting the stink eye from a shop worked because your looking for 1/28 mini-z stuff. retail stores don't take mini-z seriously thus wont take you seriously. you need to go to one of a handful of shops that cater to mini-z scene and those are far and few between.
my idea of customer service;
1. in general, some level of competent staffing, with knowledge that extends beyond 1/18 and above. (this ofcourse does not apply to stores that focus on mini-z)
the lhs we race at only carried mini-z after we setup our track and run hfay out of the store. the store manager has since joined in the racing which puts some focus in the store on mini-z. i have to mention that none of the other stores in the chain carry mini-z, it was a one shot type deal. it's not always been easy and i've sunk a lot of my own money into it to keep it going and working.

i don't know anyone that would want to go back to the great planes days. shops hated them as much as they are frustrated with kusa. they sold everything online, undercutting their distributor cost to shops as well. most shops i know didn't carry mini-z just because it mean dealing with great planes. kusa has a real brand problem in retail stores due to experience with the brand and distribution. i wish i could say it's gotten better but they still have issues such as order fulfillment. my lhs hardly gets what he orders. i believe kusa is trying to rebuild their brand, thus the creation of kusa. they still have a lot of work to do to overcome the stigma of dealing with kyosho in many instances.

we've been asking for a return of the kyosho mini-z cup. maybe the money isn't there? since 2004, it's been left to us (mini-z fans and aftermarket manuf.) we have yet to get a national stock class series going so i dont' think we are doing well either. it's all gt type classes and modified, both of which are not friendly to the first timer or a tight budget. as a collective, i think we need to do better as well.

eman hit on something that has often come up in these discussions, that the american market is more focused on size than quality. it's a common theme expressed, 'bigger is better'.

from 2000 on, price has always been an issue. it will always be an issue. kjp has made clear what they think of the american market and necessity for cost increases which get passed onto the consumer. were at the bottom of the ladder people. always have been and likely always will be. the pricing will only rise. kyosho DID listen and offered a cheaper kit, the i-series, as a lower cost kit. unfortunately the product contained electronics that were roundly disliked so it naturally died. kusa may still be trying to unload those and the cost may be lower than autoscale prices at this point. i respect them for trying. it didn't work out but they at least tried, which always leaves the door open for the future.
autoscale prices are bananas plain and simple. it's only going to drive down production numbers as costs rise due to fewer sales. lets hope that doesn't progress into fewer new autsocales as well... at that point, they will be dead.

twinkie
2011.12.30, 10:36 AM
its not that bad dealing with Kyosho... working for another manufacturer, I can tell you one problem that I see, is that in this economy nobody wants to keep items in stock unless they move. And as more hobby shops go online as well to do business, they want the manufacturers to do all the leg work and drop ship the items for them. I opened up an online store, but I try to keep a lot of stuff on hand, it makes it easier on the manufacturer. It doesn't matter on if it is a "brick and mortar" hobby shop, or an online hobby store.... nobody wants to keep inventory, its lower overhead.

Another thing is HK can sell stuff for less because the shipping from Japan to HK is going to be less than, sending a container from Japan to L.A... so those shipping cost get factored into "dealer" pricing. Its roughly about $3000.00 to send a container. And if its sent by air mail... that get expensive, and that's a much much smaller shipment.

arch2b
2011.12.30, 10:41 AM
i think you might find many shops carry over the impression of kyosho from the early days of mini-z when it was not pleasant. i do know that order fulfillment is an issue, i hear this often.

agreed' on inventory. the name of the game today is how far can you go with as little overhead as possible. plain and simple really, stores need to reduce overhead and not sit on product as long as maybe they could have 6 years ago.

i dislike drop shipping in general. who here has ordered track and not gotten part of it, missing parts, etc? nothing the shop you bought it from can do really as post sale, they have no control over it.

ChiMiniRc
2011.12.30, 11:22 AM
I miss the time when Kyosho was distributed, in North America, by Tower Hobbies, it was so much easier to get parts than it is today. Although I love the brand, every time I go into a Hobby Shop and ask for Kyosho products, I get the same story from the owner on how difficult it is to deal w/ Kyosho America...



Having two hobbyshops nearby that actively sell Kyosho, Kyosho America (KA) has greatly improved the ease in working with them. I help the shops with their Mini-z orders and KA will take a phone order, web order, or an e-mail. There are no minimums anymore and their is no processing fees on small orders. I can't imagine being easier to work with.

I will say I've spoken to other shops in an effort to get Mini-z racing expanded in the midwest and there were things in the past that did upset the owners to the point of refusing to carry Kyosho. These issues no longer exist and haven't for a while. Some shops don't want to re-open the conversation :(

arch2b
2011.12.30, 11:40 AM
yep, this is what i run into as well. due to the awful great planes relationship, many simply won't even take the risk or even want to try again. great planes monopoly was a HORRIBLE mistake on kjp's part. the creation of kusa was to rectify this and i think they are on the road to doing so. they still have issues to resolve for sure but no one wants to go back to the old days. kusa is still very much young. cliff and the gang there, they are great guys and i'm sure doing the best they can with the staff they have. kusa is not a huge company which i think some people have the misconception that they are.

while i still complain:p i am very greatful for the kusa guys and their efforts. its not an easy job and just imagine all the shop owners they have to deal with on top of north american warranty issues.... i'm sure whatever they are paid, it isn't enough.

twinkie
2011.12.30, 12:01 PM
the other thing about HK is look at the exchange rate... $5 US profit is $38 HK dollars.

I trully don't have any real complaints about Kyosho. And I can't agree more as a reseller as to hell with drop shipping. And that's mostly because I have to deal with the repercussions if anything goes wrong. i.e missing parts miss shipped items.

bermbuster
2011.12.30, 01:48 PM
I can tell you one problem that I see, is that in this economy nobody wants to keep items in stock unless they move. And as more hobby shops go online as well to do business, they want the manufacturers to do all the leg work and drop ship the items for them.

As a hobbyshop or an online business you need to move the product you sell ....businesses need to become creative and discount and bundle things to make them more attractive to the consumer. That is all a part of a good sales strategy. Some examples....
Buy 2 get something as a discount....
Bundle a whole car package and offer a discount....if your a shop/ track offer free track/race passes...be creative...:cool:
Now in the hobbyworld we see MAP pricing and then we have street pricing....
Not to mention depending where you live sales tax in excess of 10%.....
Its a dog eat dog world and today the lowest price with the best value will always win.....:)

twinkie
2011.12.30, 05:17 PM
As a hobbyshop or an online business you need to move the product you sell ....businesses need to become creative and discount and bundle things to make them more attractive to the consumer. That is all a part of a good sales strategy. Some examples....
Buy 2 get something as a discount....
Bundle a whole car package and offer a discount....if your a shop/ track offer free track/race passes...be creative...:cool:
Now in the hobbyworld we see MAP pricing and then we have street pricing....
Not to mention depending where you live sales tax in excess of 10%.....
Its a dog eat dog world and today the lowest price with the best value will always win.....:)

I'm in business, but at the same time I have a conscience... example... I am near to Inside Line Racing, in fact sometimes that place is my second home.
So to keep from "peeing in my water well" I won't sell mini-z stuff to anyone who is local. In fact my site tells you to go to ILR if you are in the area.


Now most people who do online... they don't care who they step on, they just see dollar signs.

My online store is for those who have a local hobby shop that won't carry or order the stuff they want.

Its a dog eats dog world... but sometimes running with a pack is a better way of doing things.

I'm not a fan of buying from over seas to save 20 bucks.... 20 dollars could be a couple hours pay for a hobby shop employee.

Actually maybe a bit more back on subject..


Maybe more people would get into Mini-Z if there was more Media involved.

bermbuster
2011.12.30, 06:45 PM
I'm in business, but at the same time I have a conscience... example... I am near to Inside Line Racing, in fact sometimes that place is my second home.
So to keep from "peeing in my water well" I won't sell mini-z stuff to anyone who is local. In fact my site tells you to go to ILR if you are in the area.


Now most people who do online... they don't care who they step on, they just see dollar signs.

My online store is for those who have a local hobby shop that won't carry or order the stuff they want.

Its a dog eats dog world... but sometimes running with a pack is a better way of doing things.

I'm not a fan of buying from over seas to save 20 bucks.... 20 dollars could be a couple hours pay for a hobby shop employee.

Actually maybe a bit more back on subject..


Maybe more people would get into Mini-Z if there was more Media involved.

you have great mini z logic.....ILR is the best mini z facility in North America....
Realistically your business must be a way to keep you in z's with no cost out of your pocket. Feeding a family usually has no conscience...:cool:

Lets talk about your online sales business.....
someone buys a part from you and it arrives and it is broken. How do you treat it? (i am not picking on you)

I love ILR and I am going to use them as an example....:)
I saw a young man buy a new readyset (ex) i saw him getting better and he had the need for more speed. He went to Binh and wanted a larger pinion to go faster....Binh asked him if he could make it around the track clean without hitting any rails....The boy said yes but took his car out to test his words....well he came back and said in order for me to run clean I have to slow down.....Binh told him your not ready for the pinion....now fast forward....its 6 months later the boy is still racing and he now has a new TX and I believe Santa brought him another car....customer service goes a long way establishing long term customers....
I have seen way to many racers come and go....treating customers right goes a long way.......:D
Hop ups are great and they will make you faster but first you need to be able to drive the car.....practice is the best hop up....
That is why we are seeing a surge of truly box stock racing.....we need to get the word out that you dont need a $500 mini z to have fun.....

arch2b
2011.12.30, 09:11 PM
won't happen really until sponsored racing series push stock class. none are doing this at the moment. heck, i can't even get my lhs to back it despite them suggesting it. it's my own opinion that the early days of national stock class racing is what helped build the fan base that sustained it through the lean years between great planes and kusa. i don't see the same number of new drivers entering anymore because few cater to them. it's like putting a expenditure requirement saying you need to spend X to get in:( some have tried starting a national series in the past and it always fell flat. kyosho is in the baby steps of getting their own racing going. some clubs or stores are getting back into stock class but it's limited and not connected in any way. i almost wish hfay would enter the stock class again, like it started from.
the economics of stock class are about building customers that will spend later vs. the immediate customers of the gt and modified classes. it's going to take someone or some group with some balls and courage to look at long term growth and really drive stock class series.

here is my issue that i'm dealing with, my lhs supports mini-z and racing with the provision that they supply the kyosho product and floor space, nothing else. i've asked and have always been told that they will not spend any additional monies for anything like new track, etc. it's a precarious relationship that works only because they have the space available that would otherwise go unused on the weekends we reserved it however they do not want to invest anything beyond supply product. at times it's a contentious point of frustration. at others, were thankful to at least have a space to race that is indoors, conditioned space, tables, chairs, power, etc. anywhere else would cost real money to provide.
how many others out there are symbiotic with an lhs? i'm never going to get them to invest money, how do i go about getting them to take charge in keeping a stock class going, which is in their own best interest? how do other groups finance club necessities such as track, timing system, transponders, etc.?

for shop owners, tracks are almost always a money pit. we've known many shop owners here on the forum that have had to close over the years. how do you keep it going and actually break even, if make a profit?

i have only seen pictures of nanotrax and ILR, lets go racing, Kenon, all of which are facilities that support mini-z fully. i know there are others but you don't see many pictures. if you have not seen nanotrax, that looks like a seriously top notch racing store. food counter, bar, lounge, store, pits, it's got just about everything one would need. it's just on the other side of the world:rolleyes: i have serious doubts a store of that caliber could even exist much less survive here.

the forums here have always supported shops, especially such as these (excluding direct sales for obvious reasons). as a site admin however, i hardly see many take advantage of online exposure, advertising, etc. i know it takes time and time is more often that not a rare commodity. what more can we do, how can we make it easier?

twinkie
2011.12.30, 10:10 PM
you have great mini z logic.....ILR is the best mini z facility in North America....
Realistically your business must be a way to keep you in z's with no cost out of your pocket. Feeding a family usually has no conscience...:cool:

Lets talk about your online sales business.....
someone buys a part from you and it arrives and it is broken. How do you treat it? (i am not picking on you)



Ok so first off Binh is awesome... if it wasn't for him I would be in the same crappy driving rut. But because of his driving advise, I'm with the front runners in our sportsman class.

So realistically, my business is a side business, as I work for another R/C manufacturer, that does not deal with R/C cars(so between you guys and me, I can still keep an eye on my site while at work...but shhhhh.... don't tell anyone) lol.

I started it not really to help with my hobby fund, but to actually grow and produce enough so that I can go back to school full-time, and well.... maybe run 1/10th scale. The ultimate goal is to get to a brick and mortar establishment.

I don't just sell mini-z. I sell all Kyosho, if I can get it, I'll sell it. And I am trying to expand the product line, when the funds allow it. I prefer not to drop ship.

you have great mini z logic.....ILR is the best mini z facility in North America....
Realistically your business must be a way to keep you in z's with no cost out of your pocket. Feeding a family usually has no conscience...:cool:

If anyone thinks that having an online web store selling only mini-z, and that's the only source of income is going to feed a family, and supply a roof over head...please tell me what I am doing wrong. :o



Lets talk about your online sales business.....
someone buys a part from you and it arrives and it is broken. How do you treat it? (i am not picking on you)



This is a vague question ... so I will give two types of scenario's / answers

1a. The part is a small part, lets say t-plates. Lets say box got smashed and the plates broke.... send me a picture of the shipping box and the broken parts (preferably unopened package). I'll send out the new replacement parts before waiting for a shipping claim to be finished.

1b. Lets say its a mr02-ex ready set... that has just gotten beaten up in the mail...now this is a situation nobody likes to deal with, its not the customers fault, its not my(company) fault. Delivery guy just kicks it like a soccer ball.
Situations like this suck... And it would be handled in 1 or 2 ways... We have to file a claim to shipping (which takes a few weeks to be finished). 1. You can purchase a replacement, and when the claim goes through, we will refund you the original amount. 2. We wait for the claim to go through, then you have your option of having another kit sent out, or we refund you your money.

Not everyone is an angel... there has been mutiple times where the shipping company has caught the customer not telling the truth. One time I had a customer send us pictures that made no sense, where the damage was on the item, compared to the damage on the box didnt add up. There was only one way this item could be packaged, and the way the pics were made, we would not have been able to close the box, let alone the part would have been sticking out about 4inches.

2. Lets say you buy a mr-03 chassis set.... you get it, no shipping damage. You open it up pull the chassis out and notice its cracked. Send me a picture so I can see what you see... now I can suggest 2 ways to do this... 1. send it back and i can send you another one. 2. if you feel adventurous I can send you out a chassis replacement that you can change out yourself.

or you can call Kyosho directly because I'm a bad person, for sending you a chassis I didnt know what broken, and you don't like me :D

So there is a gamble when purchasing from a reputable online store....IS THE PACKAGE GOING TO MAKE IT IN ONE PEICE.
Where as in a hobby store... you can inspect it before you buy it. So you know DHL isn't playing NFL with your package.

70hemicharger
2011.12.30, 10:38 PM
well im pretty tight on money but i have a small group i race with and a few mom and pop shops that deal with ous and have gone so far as to ask local schools for their gym space so that they can host races without having a huge store space for track and they try to keep up with what kyosho and other 1:28th scale rc's for ous its just a thoughtful way to help ous help them by providing a place for ous to gather and race and shot the breeze and bring their goods and make some sales yeah i could get it cheaper online but if i do that then what the local shops go under and im stuck playing with myself in my little basement. My group have quite a few towns we travel to but nothing to far out of range an lets just say their all small towns so the few rc shops that are their we like to promote and get kids intrestead by doing free race day where we bring are spare beater cars and let the kids get into it give them something to do because thats what it really comes down to we are only getting older and we need are youth to get into this to keep it going and im sure more parents rather go to walmart and buy some crappy rc truck then spend $150 or more on a mini-z but it might incourage that child to hey save some money go to that mom and pop shop and buy a decent rc car and get involed in something thats fun and challanging but if everything was bought online then these shops would close down and these small shops would be gone and these kids would have nothing to do but sit at home and play xbox or playstation. Not to mention its a give and take relationship. Yeah i can always try and find the best deal at the lostest price but i try to stay local and help local business and give are youth something to do to get them outside and also to promote small scale rc's. also by doing local business a local owner remebers your face they remeber you business you dont have to always buy in bluk to get a good deal. lets say a part breaks or your messing a piece they are more then happy to lend a hand or part. so besides my ranting im just trying to say its nice to help the little guys by doing your part as a buyer and thinking outside the boxs

twinkie
2011.12.30, 11:35 PM
won't happen really until sponsored racing series push stock class. none are doing this at the moment. heck, i can't even get my lhs to back it despite them suggesting it. it's my own opinion that the early days of national stock class racing is what helped build the fan base that sustained it through the lean years between great planes and kusa. i don't see the same number of new drivers entering anymore because few cater to them. it's like putting a expenditure requirement saying you need to spend X to get in:( some have tried starting a national series in the past and it always fell flat. kyosho is in the baby steps of getting their own racing going. some clubs or stores are getting back into stock class but it's limited and not connected in any way. i almost wish hfay would enter the stock class again, like it started from.
the economics of stock class are about building customers that will spend later vs. the immediate customers of the gt and modified classes. it's going to take someone or some group with some balls and courage to look at long term growth and really drive stock class series.

here is my issue that i'm dealing with, my lhs supports mini-z and racing with the provision that they supply the kyosho product and floor space, nothing else. i've asked and have always been told that they will not spend any additional monies for anything like new track, etc. it's a precarious relationship that works only because they have the space available that would otherwise go unused on the weekends we reserved it however they do not want to invest anything beyond supply product. at times it's a contentious point of frustration. at others, were thankful to at least have a space to race that is indoors, conditioned space, tables, chairs, power, etc. anywhere else would cost real money to provide.
how many others out there are symbiotic with an lhs? i'm never going to get them to invest money, how do i go about getting them to take charge in keeping a stock class going, which is in their own best interest? how do other groups finance club necessities such as track, timing system, transponders, etc.?

for shop owners, tracks are almost always a money pit. we've known many shop owners here on the forum that have had to close over the years. how do you keep it going and actually break even, if make a profit?

i have only seen pictures of nanotrax and ILR, lets go racing, Kenon, all of which are facilities that support mini-z fully. i know there are others but you don't see many pictures. if you have not seen nanotrax, that looks like a seriously top notch racing store. food counter, bar, lounge, store, pits, it's got just about everything one would need. it's just on the other side of the world:rolleyes: i have serious doubts a store of that caliber could even exist much less survive here.

the forums here have always supported shops, especially such as these (excluding direct sales for obvious reasons). as a site admin however, i hardly see many take advantage of online exposure, advertising, etc. i know it takes time and time is more often that not a rare commodity. what more can we do, how can we make it easier?


if there is a solid group... why not everyone pitch in and get a track to be used at the LHS. Having a track may also help to get new people into the hobby. Personally I don't have much fun just running an r/c up and down the street. So the only incentive for me to buy an r/c is to race. And racing should be an incentive for the LHS if they have spare room like that. It creates/peaks peoples interest, and not to mention the LHS could end up selling more replacement/hop-up parts.

twinkie
2011.12.31, 12:00 AM
well im pretty tight on money but i have a small group i race with and a few mom and pop shops that deal with ous and have gone so far as to ask local schools for their gym space so that they can host races without having a huge store space for track and they try to keep up with what kyosho and other 1:28th scale rc's for ous its just a thoughtful way to help ous help them by providing a place for ous to gather and race and shot the breeze and bring their goods and make some sales yeah i could get it cheaper online but if i do that then what the local shops go under and im stuck playing with myself in my little basement. My group have quite a few towns we travel to but nothing to far out of range an lets just say their all small towns so the few rc shops that are their we like to promote and get kids intrestead by doing free race day where we bring are spare beater cars and let the kids get into it give them something to do because thats what it really comes down to we are only getting older and we need are youth to get into this to keep it going and im sure more parents rather go to walmart and buy some crappy rc truck then spend $150 or more on a mini-z but it might incourage that child to hey save some money go to that mom and pop shop and buy a decent rc car and get involed in something thats fun and challanging but if everything was bought online then these shops would close down and these small shops would be gone and these kids would have nothing to do but sit at home and play xbox or playstation. Not to mention its a give and take relationship. Yeah i can always try and find the best deal at the lostest price but i try to stay local and help local business and give are youth something to do to get them outside and also to promote small scale rc's. also by doing local business a local owner remebers your face they remeber you business you dont have to always buy in bluk to get a good deal. lets say a part breaks or your messing a piece they are more then happy to lend a hand or part. so besides my ranting im just trying to say its nice to help the little guys by doing your part as a buyer and thinking outside the boxs

see your lucky as well... you have owners/managers of a hobby shop that care about the hobby and its people. They support you, so you should support them...There are a lot of shop owners (:cough: franchises) who think they are going to get rich off this business, and could care less about what the hobby really is about. And mini-z isn't the hot ticket, so they don't care to carry items for it. Where I live, we have a lot of options for hobby stores(atleast 10 within 15miles radius)... but due to customer service or knowledge or have what I want... there are only 3 stores that I will go to when I'm in need to r/c stuff, and one of them I have to drive about 40min to get to.

Its hard to support your LHS if they don't support you.

Hey BermBuster... I still buy my pn racing and atomic parts at ILR. ;) So that takes out the option/possibility of mini-z at no cost. LOL

70hemicharger
2011.12.31, 02:19 AM
that is very true twinkie i hate to put it this way but some battles are easyier then others a few HS werent as easy to deal with as others but as a group we sat down with the owners and showed are numbers as a group not so much that we would bring a ton of profit to the business but that they would gain long term customers and also new customers by encouraging local people of that area to come out and race also by doing races at say a school gym its a friendly safe well know area and yeah its hard to lug your gear around but from my expriance you get a far better turn out rate and yeah the owner might just be their to make a profit but hey at least they are their making sales helping with parts batterys ect so what if their not the most helpful i know a ton of info and thats why im their to encourage people to pick up a remote and have fun and those that do want to compete well i do my best to give them pointers and help them become a better racer as its no fun racing alone like you said twinkie after awhile its no fun racing down the street so i say it can only exceed as far as you want it to. You only get back what you put it in and ive put in my fair share to this little hobby and ive made good friends and lots of racing buddys and by bringing racing to these towns weve helped give new coutomers to these shops and in return giving me more local places to shop :D

imxlr8ed
2011.12.31, 03:24 AM
Kyosho USA needs tp promote the scale more... Seems like they gave an effort towards the DNano though, but then that seemed to be going away a bit.

Dunno why it is like it is for the Zs... just got back from running 10th scales and for what seems to be the first time ever, a few drivers actually knew what it was when I got one out mess with between heats. The kids racimg there were just amazed by them, the older drivers seemed to consider them a novelty.

I think it boils down to selling the idea of having your own track more than just having a little car. For almost all of us diehards on here, the track at home idea clicked right away... I think many just don't see the connection. I was inspired instantly when I first started racing these cars to build our own track, I had our old carpet track built before I even had my own car. I think if we never built the track, I never would have seen the cars as anything more than just a cool little toy either.

imxlr8ed
2011.12.31, 03:49 AM
I still question how say, something like an alloy mount that went for 15 bucks when they first came out can now run as much as $40. I understand there is way more engineering involved but man... Is it worth 4 times the dollar?

For all of us who race these, yes... it's obviously worth it. But to a newbie who may be just looking for a car to screw around with... not so much. Raced with gasman and enzok tonight, they are into the 18th scales now and they were doing there usual cost comparisions with me. The lipos they run, $15... the matched cells we run, $17-$20... the cars themselves, $150-$200 (used with hops), the readysets nowadays, $140-$200. Its tough to get them back into it when they are running cars that are nearly indestructable, the tires last them months too!

I'm very impressed with the durability of my Blitz, that thing got bashed like crazy tonight and didn't miss a beat, and this truck has been raved regularly for nearly a year and a half?! Bought it used from enzok in RTR form for $140 and qualified 4th in the A-main tonight. I think the closest you could get to that with the Zs now would be to buy one to run in a boxstock class or in HFAY.

I guess what i'm blathering on about here is that the value is what sold me on these cars years ago... I can't really say that nowadays. But the idea of what I have in my basement is always going to be too awesome to just walk away from. The Zs are still durable as hell, they perform with incredible precision... I just wish the prices would come down a bit, as I'm sure we all do.

imxlr8ed
2011.12.31, 03:53 AM
I think I just wanted to post a longwinded post too... Is there going to be a trophy for the longest post on this thread? ;)

I hope Kyosho reads this thread... would be nice to know if they really want to know how there loyal fans are feeling.

arch2b
2011.12.31, 10:24 AM
if there is a solid group... why not everyone pitch in and get a track to be used at the LHS. Having a track may also help to get new people into the hobby. Personally I don't have much fun just running an r/c up and down the street. So the only incentive for me to buy an r/c is to race. And racing should be an incentive for the LHS if they have spare room like that. It creates/peaks peoples interest, and not to mention the LHS could end up selling more replacement/hop-up parts.

there is a core group, a group the was built after 4 years or so of running on my track in my basement. the basement got renovated so the track had to go. we moved to this particular hobby shop in which i provided the track, timing system, computer/monitor, transponders, etc. after 4+ years of this, the lhs still refuses to invest any monies in new stuff. i wanted to replace the track and was told i had to purchase it and try to sell off the old one to recoup the money. the relationship still works but there are always bumps like this. all i can do it shrug and keep everyone going. we can't go backward so we plod ahead. it's expensive though to keep a hobby shop track going.

i need the shop to take ownership of a store class/series and run that so that they are able to see it more as a source of income vs. just another weekend reservation for thier floor space. i have to schedule compete with magic, pokemon and slot cars...:rolleyes: as is a common experience, most hobby shops simply don't take mini-z seriously. you get the ignorant roll of the eyes from the nitro guys bringing in their trucks/cars to be serviced, etc.

bermbuster
2011.12.31, 10:48 AM
I know of at least 8 tracks that are running a box stock class.
They are in California and in NJ......
There is also a race series in SoCal that has a box stock class.
We want the hobby to grow we have to find ways to make it happen.
Years ago mini z was a better bang for your buck and it still has potential.
The double edge sword of mini z is the companies/tracks that promote it the most also need to sell hop ups....
We need to get the word out that racing doesnt need to be expensive to be competitive and to have fun. I know mini z racing has a core group of die hards and that group hasnt been growing....
Hopefully we can get more new blood into Mini Z Mania......:cool:

twinkie
2011.12.31, 11:16 AM
there is a core group, a group the was built after 4 years or so of running on my track in my basement. the basement got renovated so the track had to go. we moved to this particular hobby shop in which i provided the track, timing system, computer/monitor, transponders, etc. after 4+ years of this, the lhs still refuses to invest any monies in new stuff. i wanted to replace the track and was told i had to purchase it and try to sell off the old one to recoup the money. the relationship still works but there are always bumps like this. all i can do it shrug and keep everyone going. we can't go backward so we plod ahead. it's expensive though to keep a hobby shop track going.

i need the shop to take ownership of a store class/series and run that so that they are able to see it more as a source of income vs. just another weekend reservation for thier floor space. i have to schedule compete with magic, pokemon and slot cars...:rolleyes: as is a common experience, most hobby shops simply don't take mini-z seriously. you get the ignorant roll of the eyes from the nitro guys bringing in their trucks/cars to be serviced, etc.


man that's tough...i have no response to your situation... hopefully something will work for mini-z in your area.

twinkie
2011.12.31, 11:23 AM
I know of at least 8 tracks that are running a box stock class.
They are in California and in NJ......
There is also a race series in SoCal that has a box stock class.
We want the hobby to grow we have to find ways to make it happen.
Years ago mini z was a better bang for your buck and it still has potential.
The double edge sword of mini z is the companies/tracks that promote it the most also need to sell hop ups....
We need to get the word out that racing doesnt need to be expensive to be competitive and to have fun. I know mini z racing has a core group of die hards and that group hasnt been growing....
Hopefully we can get more new blood into Mini Z Mania......:cool:


mini-z needs more media.... when you pick up an issue of any r/c car magazine, do they ever have an article on the PN Nationals, or the Worlds...etc....

I bet we are looked down upon as a cult more than a club lol.

70hemicharger
2011.12.31, 12:08 PM
thats really two of the big issues is price and their lack to push mini-z to the public as far as a racing aspect and not as (oooo yay MR-03 is coming out can i have it for christmas) thats just how i felt when i saw it in rc magzine i cant speak for the rest of ous. i do small time racing wish to go a bit more competative but im straped for cash and driving hours away to race is simply out of the question. i would also love a 2.4ghz system but i still use tx crystals becuase its less expansive thus more affoadable for every one i race with younger and straped for money like me. Now i know that it only cost yada yada to make but R&D also cost alot of time and money and with that you get improvements like with the servo in the mr-01 you hit the front tire on a barrier and chances are your steering went bye bye but thats now alot better. i just wish they where alittle cheap nobody i race with makes a ton of money a year yet we still manage to have a nice turn out at are races we are fourtunate to have owners that are fairly easy to work with we try and get the word out the best way we can via local tv channle news paper and flyers and sometimes we might get lucky and get some air time on the radio to help promoto activies for are youth and the local small business this is all free advertisments other a few dollars here and their for supplys but i feel if their not going to try harder to get the word out then its up to ous how love racing these little buggers around to bring in more people. some would consider that a hassel and not even bother and thats one way for mini-z to die out in an area.


and to arch2b im sorry man thats like butting heads with a bull after that many years they should open the doors to you a little more then that. its like a big fat kid eating all the poorage but letting you come in and watch eventho you brought it. if you dont get that im saying that for friends and fellow racers i take buy parts from this business now i understand that track isnt cheap but after that much time you think he would give back a little but like you said its hard to push the issue when atleast you have a dry conditioned place to race


Also every one needs a big post every now and then its good to vent LOL :D

arch2b
2011.12.31, 12:46 PM
i have lots of strong opinions on the matter after 10 years:p i find this topic very interesting and look forward to the various views as we represent the entire spectrum here; the lhs, the mini-z store, the basement club and casual lurker. each has something to offer and maybe something for others to learn from.

in all these years, i have yet to see mini-z advertised like larger scales. maybe once every couple years we get a full page ad in rc magazine and that is trumpeted about like, see, we are advertising. it's just another ad in a magazine that is almost all adds... i don't have the answers for kusa. i can suggest getting the kyosho cup back in the us market to begin with. that in itself is a large investment. relying on the lhs chains to push mini-z will never work, it hasn't in 10 years.

unifying organization has also been a dream for many that has yet to take hold. i simply don't think it can given the base is built on grassroots clubs and mini-z stores doing their own things. not sure how this plays into the economics but it's yet another effort that has been ongoing for 10 years.

twinkie
2011.12.31, 03:36 PM
i think that if a popular magazine did a full article on decent sized mini-z race, it would be a big help.

Just like real racing... if you don't have media or marketing, your series is going to die.

bermbuster
2011.12.31, 03:44 PM
i have lots of strong opinions on the matter after 10 years:p i find this topic very interesting and look forward to the various views as we represent the entire spectrum here; the lhs, the mini-z store, the basement club and casual lurker. each has something to offer and maybe something for others to learn from.

in all these years, i have yet to see mini-z advertised like larger scales. maybe once every couple years we get a full page ad in rc magazine and that is trumpeted about like, see, we are advertising. it's just another ad in a magazine that is almost all adds... i don't have the answers for kusa. i can suggest getting the kyosho cup back in the us market to begin with. that in itself is a large investment. relying on the lhs chains to push mini-z will never work, it hasn't in 10 years.

unifying organization has also been a dream for many that has yet to take hold. i simply don't think it can given the base is built on grassroots clubs and mini-z stores doing their own things. not sure how this plays into the economics but it's yet another effort that has been ongoing for 10 years.

Back in the day advertising was just magazines. Now we have social media.
YouTube, F******k, Twitter,etc....We need to get the Z word out there....
I have been involved with mini z s for about 7 years and I saw it grow then kinda fizzle. I believe it was more popular back in the am days. They were cheaper and it seemed like more racers were doing it. When I lived in NJ mini z was a winter hobby but today there are more indoor larger scale tracks so you dont have racers making the change. Not to mention to get into mini z your looking at investing in some equipment that is only mini z specific. TX (unless you go am) battery charger, discharger, trays and batteries.
I absolutely love the idea of HFAY but where I lived and raced it was not doable. Nobody wanted to set up a HFAY cars and the tracks did not want to change the track and have to record info....
Now Im in California Im hoping to find some HFAY.....

imxlr8ed
2012.01.01, 10:21 PM
IMO... oh boy, here we go... :rolleyes:

If the buggies and the upcoming bikes don't attract more racers to the Z family, I'll be amazed. Big question is... how many will it pull in? I would say that most racers out there are not willing to build a carpet track or buy an RCP if they don't have other people to run with (even though around 6 or 7 of my club's members have over the years :D). The buggies and bikes won't need the tracks... they are much more outdoor friendly. I'm hoping that it's another chance to generate interest in someone to say maybe, "Hey guys! there's actually a cool racer and F1 version of these buggies and or bikes", and they start to get into the racers... all the better!

Either way it goes, it's going to be very interesting this year, I have no doubts there!

Sell them cheaper?... cost to manufacture, supply and demand, prices get too high... you'll lose sales volume. I would rather sell a million widgets with a little profit margin than ten thousand widgets with an inflated profit margin. Get the product popular first, then build onto that base. Basic business... we all know that.

twinkie
2012.01.02, 12:08 PM
i will say mini-z is a niche market... by the time (average cost) you have transmitter and mr-03 you are around 220-250 bucks... and for around 230 bucks you get a 1/10 traxxas slasher off road truck... so if your hobby store does not support mini-z racing, which one are you going to buy.

I'd have more fun with a the off road 1/10 scale by myself jumping things, than I will running a mini-z in kitchen by myself.

If it wasn't for the racing support, I myself would not have one.

bermbuster
2012.01.02, 02:38 PM
i will say mini-z is a niche market... by the time (average cost) you have transmitter and mr-03 you are around 220-250 bucks... and for around 230 bucks you get a 1/10 traxxas slasher off road truck... so if your hobby store does not support mini-z racing, which one are you going to buy.

I'd have more fun with a the off road 1/10 scale by myself jumping things, than I will running a mini-z in kitchen by myself.

If it wasn't for the racing support, I myself would not have one.

Your exactly right....and for $250 your in the bargain basement with the mr-03....

ChiMiniRc
2012.01.03, 10:33 AM
Locally the shops near me have very little or no Mini Z and most won't even deal with Kyosho due to minimum order requirements.


This may have been true in the past but is no longer true. There is no minimum order requirements. Unless they are talking about the order sizes to qualify for free shipping. To get free or reduced shipping you do have to hit certain points.

mikedw
2012.01.03, 10:35 AM
Knowing my local shop, they probably want free shipping, lol.

bermbuster
2012.01.07, 12:08 PM
i think that if a popular magazine did a full article on decent sized mini-z race, it would be a big help.

Just like real racing... if you don't have media or marketing, your series is going to die.

Our best bet right now is to get some magazine coverage for 2 upcoming races....The Tekin 1/28 Nats....and the Race at RCX.....
Anybody with connections.....:cool:

twinkie
2012.01.07, 03:00 PM
hey berm are you volunteering yourself to making the phone calls lol... I'm sure we can get some media exposure at RCX... Tekin might be possible, but I have never done this sort of thing in the RC world, but working for a manufacturer I know that its a "who you know" type deal

benmlee
2012.01.19, 01:51 PM
Back in the day advertising was just magazines. Now we have social media.
YouTube, F******k, Twitter,etc....We need to get the Z word out there....
I have been involved with mini z s for about 7 years and I saw it grow then kinda fizzle. I believe it was more popular back in the am days. They were cheaper and it seemed like more racers were doing it. When I lived in NJ mini z was a winter hobby but today there are more indoor larger scale tracks so you dont have racers making the change. Not to mention to get into mini z your looking at investing in some equipment that is only mini z specific. TX (unless you go am) battery charger, discharger, trays and batteries.
I absolutely love the idea of HFAY but where I lived and raced it was not doable. Nobody wanted to set up a HFAY cars and the tracks did not want to change the track and have to record info....
Now Im in California Im hoping to find some HFAY.....

I agree that in the AM days, mini-z had a larger crowd. There were more casual user. Then came ASF, and only the dedicated users stuck around. Back then, cars were $110-$130, and bodies were only $25. Even then, it was considered expensive. Now at $260 to start, is way harder to get casual users onboard.

Question is why Kyosho is doing this. My theory is they are trying to go upscale. Remember back in the 80's Audi was an average car. Overnight, they went upscale. Now they are a luxury car. Volvo too went upscale. Saab tried to go upscale and failed. Now they are out of business. They had to go upscale probably because they can't compete with Japanese.

The Japanese also went to luxury for more profit, but had to change the name to Acura and Lexus. Otherwise, people still see them as the same thing. Problem with Kyosho with the mini-z is smilar. Mini-z are perceived as a poor man's car. They can't come out and say they are now a luxury item. People simply will not buy that. They are like the Toyotas of rc toys. They can only increase price to indicate these are specialty items, and use hand polished bodies to indicate they are upscale bodies. Instead of AM, they have ASF, which is upgraded.

Kyosho must thinks they can't compete with China unless they go upscale. Or they think they will have a better future with luxury items they can sell at higher profit. I think they are in the middle of this transition. They need to shed the mini-z image as a cheap rc fix.

RC toys are not like cars, watches and clothing. The concept of luxury and upscale does not really apply. Hobbyist simply look for the best performance for the dollar. If you got the best performance, you can justify high dollars. Nobody is going to say ohh, you got a xyz radio, you must be rich. The closest example I know of is the Hirobo Quark micro helicopter. It was $400 when others are $150. They even came out with collective pitch for $700. But now with flybarless technology, they are left in the dust. Nobody cares you got money to blow. In RC, technology is the king. Luxury means nothing. That is just the way hobbiest thinks IMHO.

twinkie
2012.01.19, 02:48 PM
im sorry I can't agree with all those points...

In this r/c hobby (cars in general) you have racers... and you have bashers...

Any type of r/c in this hobby (and I mean hobby grade... not radio shack) is a luxury...

And if your racing...you are going to spend the money if you have it. So to me if you have an r/c and your racing, thats even more of a luxury.

If your a basher... you don't really care what r/c you get. You have plenty of options and price is king.

Look at most of the kyosho line... you don't buy kyosho for bashing, unless you got the money.

So there's a couple things that is special for the mini-z...

1. They can charge as much as they want... do you see any competitors...in a 1/28 race, you have kyosho and.... exactly

2. If your not racing...and your hobby store doesn't support mini-z...well then its a no brainer, your gonna at least get 1/10th to slam around.

Pricing really is not that bad...you can get the RTR MR02 for around $160-$170

Kyosho is upscale, and there quality is really good. When I was researching on if I wanted to run kyosho in an off-road class I found nothing but responses about there quality and parts fitment and simple to build.

As far as the Car manufactures... that's just whole different ball game. A lot of those changes that we saw in manufacturers was also due to the fact that everyone's hands were in everything...What honda and toyota did was just following what used to be "the big three" did here in america, but just did it better.

SaiTam
2012.01.19, 03:36 PM
Besides Kyosho raising the prices of RTR and bodies; some hi-priced R246 and aftermarket hop-up parts costing 3 digits gave dealers and consumers huge sticker shock. These might have worked fine in 2005 but not in the current economic environment.

twinkie
2012.01.19, 04:24 PM
Besides Kyosho raising the prices of RTR and bodies; some hi-priced R246 and aftermarket hop-up parts costing 3 digits gave dealers and consumers huge sticker shock. These might have worked fine in 2005 but not in the current economic environment.

unfortunately the economic environment does not truly dictate pricing.

The rich only get richer. While everyone else struggles.

benmlee
2012.01.19, 10:57 PM
There is a difference between quality and upscale. Buy a 500k house in mid west, and that is quality. 500k house in Beverly Hills, and that is over priced junk, but you are buying an upscale neighborhood. Get a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and you are not really getting quality, but are paying for the "experience".

The autoscale bodies are the same as before, but in a couple of years, it went from $25 to $50. That is 100% inflation. Can't explain that with quality because quality has not changed. Paint is not as shiny, and easier to chip.

Chassis are around $180 for MR03. I can understand paying $180 if it includes the controller. Micro SCT is only $100 with the controller. Kyosho definitely has better quality, and the 2.4Ghz. However, 2.4Ghz is not that expensive. Even my son's $50 4ch helicopter has 2.4Ghz. Kyosho's 2.4Ghz is not even frequency hopping like Spectrum or jam proof like Futaba Fasst. The chassis is better than Micro SCT, but you still need to get a motor mount and a diff to make it race worthy. Otherwise, the pinion gear wear out quickly and is noisy. Then you still need to change out the plastic bearings. Otherwise, they melt with hard corner. With motor mount, you need a damper. Plastic T-plate is no good. Sometimes they are warped. Need carbon fiber T-plates. Now if Kyosho included all that in the MR03, then is a quality car at a quality price.

As is, the mini-z are getting into luxury category. With the luxury market, you are selling an experience like Starbucks. There are no limits on how much you can charge. People pay millions of dollars to have lunch with Warren Buffet. Is an once in a lifetime experience.

My point is not to trash Kyosho or mini-z. They are great, but if you talk about way forward at the current price, then you need to think about it in terms of a luxury item. It need to be marketed as such. There are plenty of casual users willing to pay top dollars for mini-z. I think to make it work, either provide good service like Dinn at Inside Line Racing, or decorate the race track like an exclusive country club setting. Just brain storming ideas.

color01
2012.01.20, 12:16 AM
I think to make it work, either provide good service like Binh at Inside Line Racing, or decorate the race track like an exclusive country club setting. Just brain storming ideas.
This. I strongly feel that part of the reason Mini-Z has faltered here in the US is that the prices have gone up, but the experience has stayed relatively static -- you buy the cars, you buy the parts, you string 'em together and go race. That may keep those of us who are already invested in the hobby, but a newcomer is not going to be impressed with the "value" part of this equation. Binh has made Inside Line Racing so popular because he's both improved the experience for newcomers (full walkthrough on the cars, rentals, birthday parties, etc.) and reduced the entry price by bringing in $80 iWavers to the party and drawing people in before presenting the $180 "big sell" MR03. The ILR mall location itself is also significantly more upscale than many other tracks in the US, which often have a bit of a warehouse flavor. I don't mean to denounce this, of course, but I'm simply opining that the gritty warehouse kind of feel doesn't match with the "luxury" prices that Kyosho is increasingly charging for Mini-Z products.

I've noticed that Asian Mini-Z tracks/shops tend to be much more upscale in feel and presentation, even compared to Binh's place. Take Nanotrax in Thailand or Kyosho Omotesando in Japan -- these are geared up to be high-class shops, and while I can't speak for their operating profit margins or overall traffic, I can say that as a consumer, if I didn't know about Mini-Z already I would be willing to pay a bit more for a new toy if it meant playtime at a high-class club once or twice a week. It would certainly feel like there's a reason why the cars are so expensive. Pretty much the same as Ben's Starbucks example, they've cultivated an image and if you buy in, then you're paying both for the coffee and the image. But here, you're really only getting the coffee... that 100% inflation doesn't seem to be paying for anything. :rolleyes:

SaiTam
2012.01.20, 11:22 AM
Mini-z and Luxury don't mix. I can picture XRay/Hudy as examples of luxury in RC vehicles.
Japanese Yen didn't go up 100% against the dollar compared to a few years ago.

twinkie
2012.01.20, 11:56 AM
The dollar has been loosing its strength to the Yen... right now the rate is 77.83.. where as 2007 it was around 120... So the exchange rate isn't helping.

Also the other thing that has probably gotten more expensive is the loyalties that Kyosho has to pay for the bodies.

And IMO the pricing system is screwed up because of people....Kyosho is still made in Japan. Therefore their prices are going to be higher and fluctuate with their economy. People here that complain about pricing, so our companies here have production facilities off shore..i.e china, taiwan, etc.. Keep profits up and retail costs down.

I don't think there is one company that has production done stateside (except miniature aircraft). And look at their price for a Gasser compared to other manufacturers.

I look at racing being a luxury...From R/C to full size. Our hobby is a luxury, but the battle is making it on the same luxury level as mainstream like 1/10 on and off road.

Ok so you spend $500 on a decent race setup with radio...if you want to run 1/10 scale on-road or 1/12 scale your spending more... Also, you get hit hard in mini-z, 90 percent of the time nothing breaks, and if something does is typically $10 bucks (unless you have my luck and bend a motor pod).
You get slammed hard during a 1/10 race, something get shifted, your set-up is off, you bust control arms, shock towers (my luck break a shock shaft in two) and your spending more than $10 dollars to keep running.

Mini-z is the least expensive on-road r/c racing there is.

Full size cars... you wanna run SCCA Showroom Stock, you buy a stock car, pay for a roll cage, change brake pads and rotors, flush out the brake fluid and install motul or castrol crf.... and then you still spend more on "cheating" hiding a brake bias, and doing things like that.

No matter what... the faster you want to go, the more your gonna spend...Now there is one exception, you have crazy talent. Which we have one kid in our club, bare minimum is on his car, and he will give pn drivers a really good run.

ChiMiniRc
2012.01.20, 11:59 AM
Having run a club to promote mini-z for 1.5 years, here is what I can share.

First, I started off by supplying the cars. New drivers and veterans all get to try it out without the commitment. I KNEW that at the price tag, folks aren't just going to try it. I'd say 80-90% of everyone that has come back more than 2 times has purchased their own car. The purchases vary from the most inexpensive used AM cars (including i-series) to brand new JSCC and US Spec MR-03's.

Reactions have differed across the board but one consistent thing is, you have to RACE the car for at least 30 minutes to appreciate the difference. Then once you get into racing you can tell the difference between a new mr-02 AM (or steering pot cleaned), used AM car, a MR-02 2.4ghz, and mr-03. This has been noticed by people that have NEVER raced and the veterans. So to me, the quality difference is justifiable (From non-miniz to mini-z and even within the different Mini-z price points). The price/value is really up to buyer. What is the value of the racing to them? Clearly with only 2 races a month, many can drop $200 + easy and DO NOT MIND. Without a racing venue, I would almost tell a hobbyshop not to bother carrying the product (or be sure to carry I-Lap timers and RCP track and push home use and the unique opportunity to participate in online series).

Many tried the HPI RS32 as it felt like the right price point at $99. 2.4ghz, scale car, included battery and charger (mini-z still requires an investment in rechargable batteries and charger if you don't already have them). Then you drive them and Iím not saying they are horrible, but they simply were NOT popular. Many have also tried the Losi 1/24 and itís a great little platform at a great price. But it seems like they sold because they were inexpensive. If it came with brushless and 2.4ghz at a mini-z price point, I think it would have also sat on shelves.

I feel like the answer is the upcoming release of the Warrior chassis. It hits so many of the comments weíve seen.
1. Itíll be in the $100-$130 price range
2. Itíll be a 4wd platform that appears very touring car like and ďrace breadĒ instead of injected molded plastic
3. Itíll include a lipo battery and charger
4. It will include 2.4ghz controls
5. It will allow for your own steering servo, receiver, and speed control. (Specktrum users complaints)
6. Includes bearings
Seems to nearly address every complaint and comment Iíve ever seen with the exception of brushless. But since you can use your own electronics it would be an easy upgrade path.
What variables could be left? Will Kyosho having some competition lower its price? Will this new entry finally answer the economics of it all? Or is it more than that? My feeling is that unless the Mini-z is pushed as an at home/indoor RACER, it doesnít have a good chance at the hobby shop. It really isnít the economics. Or will the Warrior prove that wrong?

Oh, and one last thing. You can get an AM i-series now for $65. Even with a new autoscale you are at $120 with 2 bodies. Even if that was shelved as an impulse buy at a hobby shop ($119.99 Ė for this car and any body from the case), I donít think it would move fast.

Just sharing thoughts here. In the end I love the Mini-z, the bodies, the durability, the long run times, the fun in racing them. All that and I can tolerate the price point.

SaiTam
2012.01.20, 12:07 PM
In 1/10th scale people use LiPo, which unfortunately no one in Mini-z racing wants to adpot. Matching AAA NiMh cells is not something I enjoy doing; not to mention the costs and short life. I also end up with lots of AAAs.

Mini-z: no brushless motor and most likely need a FET job for stock racing

Tires: Competitive 1/10TC glued tires are about $25 a set and have a decent life running indoors.

Radio: No choice but to either bend over for a KT-18 or a $90 module. Mini-z AM just doesn't perform well. In 1/10 2.4ghz is not as important than Mini-z IMO.

For a newcomer Mini-z isn't very attractive compared to 1/10TC.

twinkie
2012.01.20, 12:07 PM
when the warrior comes out... it may turn the tables on the mini-z economy

ChiMiniRc
2012.01.20, 12:12 PM
Also the other thing that has probably gotten more expensive is the loyalties that Kyosho has to pay for the bodies.


I wish I knew what those rates are. If hot wheels can sell a 1:18 die cast Ferrari FXX with movable parts and interior for $39.99, how much is really tied up in licensing? Or a 1:43 diecast Nissan GTR for $5.

Is a sliding scale based on factors like realism and detail? Do you pay more licensing for a car with an interior? Do you pay less if the realism is low (Nissan GTR Hot wheels cars for $1.00-$1.49). Or is it more of a flat rate so you make it up in volume which in turns lowers the licensing cost per body?

ChiMiniRc
2012.01.20, 12:33 PM
In 1/10th scale people use LiPo, which unfortunately no one in Mini-z racing wants to adpot. Matching AAA NiMh cells is not something I enjoy doing; not to mention the costs and short life. I also end up with lots of AAAs.

Mini-z: no brushless motor and most likely need a FET job for stock racing

Tires: Competitive 1/10TC glued tires are about $25 a set and have a decent life running indoors.

Radio: No choice but to either bend over for a KT-18 or a $90 module. Mini-z AM just doesn't perform well. In 1/10 2.4ghz is not as important than Mini-z IMO.

For a newcomer Mini-z isn't very attractive compared to 1/10TC.

When I'm at the hobby shops answering questions about Mini-z. My response on brushless and lipo is typically as follows.

1. AAA NIMH batteries give you plenty of run time and AMPS. To me Lipos has always been about run time and current which is ample in AAA Nimh's.

2. By the time you are not at ample battery power (super hot wind motors), the car is un-drivable. This leads into brushless motors. Those have been about efficiency and speed. With high capacity AAA, again, run times are still very good. With AAA you can still put in motors that are un-drivable so needing "more" from a brushless system just doesnít add up.

3. Brushless also has the benefit of no maintenance. Running club cars for 1.5 years, I can say brushed motors this small are nearly zero maintenance. Just a drop of bushing oil now and then.

So yes, the economics and marketing say LIPO capable and brushless are what the customer wants. But I try to explain why the customer wants those (or the hurdles LIPO and Brushless allowed 1/10 electric to overcome) is non-existent in Mini-z from the beginning.

color01
2012.01.20, 02:50 PM
When I'm at the hobby shops answering questions about Mini-z. My response on brushless and lipo is typically as follows.

1. AAA NIMH batteries give you plenty of run time and AMPS. To me Lipos has always been about run time and current which is ample in AAA Nimh's.

2. By the time you are not at ample battery power (super hot wind motors), the car is un-drivable. This leads into brushless motors. Those have been about efficiency and speed. With high capacity AAA, again, run times are still very good. With AAA you can still put in motors that are un-drivable so needing "more" from a brushless system just doesnít add up.

3. Brushless also has the benefit of no maintenance. Running club cars for 1.5 years, I can say brushed motors this small are nearly zero maintenance. Just a drop of bushing oil now and then.

So yes, the economics and marketing say LIPO capable and brushless are what the customer wants. But I try to explain why the customer wants those (or the hurdles LIPO and Brushless allowed 1/10 electric to overcome) is non-existent in Mini-z from the beginning.
Although I think we're getting a tad off-topic now, I do agree with all of these points. Because of the small size and loads on Mini-Z cars, wear and tear is simply not a significant argument. I've kept an 80t motor for almost two years and a 33t motor for over a year now with only one brush swap each and an occasional dab of oil to keep them running. AAA's are also easier for the "casual" hobbyist to come by, so they're going to stay in Mini-Z's until the consumer standard shifts away from that cell size.

The other thing about brushless is that only the Hall-effect sensored motors tend to be reliable for racing -- and nobody I know makes sensored motors small enough for this scale. Sensorless systems have trouble on startup due to the way they indirectly sense the timing required to turn the motor. This leads to some stuttery starts for the Micro Mamba- and Excelorin-powered RC's I've seen running, and so not a very practical solution unless we want to start marketing Mini-Z's as bashers. Which, I wouldn't mind, but I don't think that's Kyosho's idea of going about it right now.

benmlee
2012.01.20, 04:43 PM
What is this warrior chassis? Is this the next secret thing Kyosho said is going to come out. Got any more information?

ChiMiniRc
2012.01.20, 06:05 PM
What is this warrior chassis? Is this the next secret thing Kyosho said is going to come out. Got any more information?

Pics from iHobby 2011 (http://www.bigsquidrc.com/warrior-minis/)

Pics from iHobby 2010 (http://www.chiminirc.com/ihobby-2010/)

First thread
http://mini-zracer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35264
Any further questions on the warrior should probably go in the thread.

GIHOSU
2012.01.21, 09:35 AM
When I race other scales of RC there are a number if manufacturers vehicles on the track. The Mini-Z world is hard to compare to other scales because we all use the same cars. There are some classes, like Tamiya and the their mini coopers, that are similar but Kyosho enjoys a unique position.

The cars may not have competition but we do have aftermarket companies working for market share.

On the economics side, shipping costs from Japan have risen. Any guess how many 03 chassis one has to put in a shipping container to fill it? This is just another factor...

kyoshosan
2012.01.21, 08:03 PM
I think Kyosho has already a "warrior" car. It's called MR-02EX. In Japan it is being sold for around U$160. It is a good car w/ a 2.4GHz Radio. Kyosho America retails it for $242! I know and I've said it before, it would be a killer if it was around $100 bucks. The secret IMHO is Factory Support!

Kyosho needs to step up and help LHS to promote races (Mini-Z CUP), on Stock Classes. Now with so many choices, Mini-Z racer, AWD (drift), F1, NASCAR, Buggy, MotoRacer... it should not be difficult getting people into the Mini-Z World.

Keep it simple and cheap!

twinkie
2012.01.23, 12:56 PM
I think Kyosho has already a "warrior" car. It's called MR-02EX. In Japan it is being sold for around U$160. It is a good car w/ a 2.4GHz Radio. Kyosho America retails it for $242! I know and I've said it before, it would be a killer if it was around $100 bucks. The secret IMHO is Factory Support!

Kyosho needs to step up and help LHS to promote races (Mini-Z CUP), on Stock Classes. Now with so many choices, Mini-Z racer, AWD (drift), F1, NASCAR, Buggy, MotoRacer... it should not be difficult getting people into the Mini-Z World.

Keep it simple and cheap!

A lot of places sell the MR02EX ready set for around $160.00. From what I have heard the Kyosho Cup rules for parts restrictions is ridiculous for mini-z.