A rock crawler is a highly modified four-wheel vehicle that is driven over harsh terrain or obstacles like rocks.
Rock crawlers aren’t built for speed. They have huge tires and rugged suspension and can crawl over rocks, deep puddles and race over hills or anything that looks impassable. An average rock crawler moves at 40mph but some models can go faster.
Rock crawling works on slow speed and careful driving and a road crawler’s weight has to be put into consideration before taking on rocky challenges.
Some RC Rock Crawlers weigh more than others, although the standard weight is about 7 to 8 pounds.
How Much Does a Rock Crawler Weigh?
The Primal Raminator Monster Truck, which is considered to be one of the biggest and heaviest available, weighs about 80 pounds. The Redcat Wendigo Rock Racer is on the other end of the spectrum, weighing just over 7 pounds.
A typical rock crawler weighs more than 7 pounds, although the average is about 30-35 pounds.
The weight of one of the best RC Crawlers in the world, the Losi Rock Rey Electric Rock Racer is 34 pounds, which is just about average.
Why is Weight Important to Rock Crawlers?
The heavier your rock crawler is, the stronger it will be pulled by gravity towards the ground.
This increases the traction the crawler has with the ground and also reduces the chances of it slipping or tipping over.
Without weight, a rock crawler won’t be a rock crawler. Carefulness and preciseness is important as well because either too much or too little weight can cause issues. Excess weight high up in the chassis can negate all the good results you should get.
Some drivers put water in the wheels of their crawler to give it more weight. Water will destroy open cell foams after some time and affect the tyres which can in turn reduce performance drastically.
Light Crawler VS. Heavy Crawler (pros & cons)
The recommended Weight Distribution for an RC rock crawler is 60/40 with the front wheels being heavier than the rear.
Remote Control crawlers have seen more modifications over the years as speed optimization is what everyone is looking into.
Pro: Being light in weight helps a rock crawler jump gaps better.
Con: A light crawler won’t have enough traction while climbing and can easily tip over.
Good distribution of weight in your crawler will make it perform better. Simply adding weights to your wheels does a lot of good. More weight should be added to the front wheels when compared to the rear.
Pro: For a heavy crawler, a 60/40 bias is best. The RC battery can be moved forward and will help to balance the ratio greatly.
Con: Too much weight can make your vehicle slow and affect its durability. Also, with or without adding weights to your wheels, if you have a weak steering servo, performance will not improve.
What is the Centre of Gravity? Why is it Important to a Rock Crawler?
The centre of gravity (CG) of a rock crawler is the point where the total weight in the body is thought to be concentrated.
For crawlers, the centre of gravity is near the rear axle or wheel because of the battery and motor placement. This can make the RC drag backwards. For a forward bite while climbing, the centre of gravity should be made low as possible. This means that the front wheel should be heavier than the rear.
How to Make Your Rock Crawler Heavier
The easiest way to add weight to your RC crawler is by adding weight to the wheels, especially on the front ones.
You can do this by adding rings of brass weights or strips of self-adhesive leads.
You should also consider relocating electronics within your vehicle. Try to make the batteries as far forward and as low as you can. If the centre of gravity is low, the chances of your crawler slipping off are slim.
Adding weight to your RC rock crawler is of benefit to you as it makes it better for handling. It also gives you better traction on rocks and reduces the centre of gravity.
How to Make Your Rock Crawler Lighter
Road crawlers are built to be heavy and rugged.
To make your crawler lighter, you will probably have to remove a major component. Instead of removing things, you can first try shifting the electronics or heavy components to a better position.
Identify the heavy components in your crawler and shift them forward or make them go lower. Some components can not go lower, an example is a battery. If you are using a NiMH battery, consider changing to a LiPo. If you are already using a LiPo, you can change it to a smaller pack.
What Does Wheel Weight Have to do With Rock Crawlers?
The heavier the wheel weight or your rock crawler, the lower its center of gravity.
This means that a heavy crawler will find it much easier to crawl over roots, rocks, and other such obstacles, and it will also not roll over as easily as a crawler with a light wheel weight.
Wheel weight determines if the truck holds well on rocks. A heavy wheel weight will make the crawler’s hold even firmer while climbing uphill. Wheel weight enhances performance by lowering the center of gravity. A light crawler jumps gaps better and a heavy one is more steady and unlikely to slip off uphill.
What is The Heaviest Rock Crawler You Can Buy?
The heaviest rock crawler available used to be the Losi Rock Rey Electric Rock Racer which weighed 34 pounds.
Now, the heaviest RC rock crawler you can buy is the Raminator Monster Truck. It weighs 80 pounds and is 32 inches wide, 40 inches long and 24 inches tall.
The Lightest Rock Crawler You Can Buy?
The lightest Rock Crawler you can buy is the Axial SCX 10.2 Trail Honcho 4WD weighing 4.5lb.
It has an AX10 three gear layout, a metal motor plate and an adjustable ratio for high speed. Its wheels are 1.9” method holes, 26mm wide and 53.9mm tall. Its tyres are 119.4mm tall and 38.1mm wide. It has a proper CMS geometry with a 3-link setup and a 45 degrees steering angle.
Rock crawling is fun and exciting, but definitely not for the weak.
Remote Control Rock Crawlers have become hobby toys for many adults. But bear in mind that weight is very important for the safety of your crawler. A good RC rock crawler shouldn’t be lighter than 7 pounds and a heavy one shouldn’t be too heavy as it can affect the vehicle’s power and durability.