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Old 2012.01.07, 12:08 PM   #46
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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.....
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Old 2012.01.07, 03:00 PM   #47
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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
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Old 2012.01.19, 01:51 PM   #48
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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.

Last edited by mleemor60; 2015.07.25 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 2012.01.19, 02:48 PM   #49
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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.
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Old 2012.01.19, 03:36 PM   #50
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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.
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Old 2012.01.19, 04:24 PM   #51
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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.
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Old 2012.01.19, 10:57 PM   #52
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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.
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Old 2012.01.20, 12:16 AM   #53
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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.
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Old 2012.01.20, 11:22 AM   #54
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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.

Last edited by SaiTam; 2012.01.20 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 2012.01.20, 11:56 AM   #55
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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.

Last edited by twinkie; 2012.01.20 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 2012.01.20, 11:59 AM   #56
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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.
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Old 2012.01.20, 12:07 PM   #57
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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.

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Old 2012.01.20, 12:07 PM   #58
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when the warrior comes out... it may turn the tables on the mini-z economy
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Old 2012.01.20, 12:12 PM   #59
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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?
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Old 2012.01.20, 12:33 PM   #60
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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.
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