On-Road VS Off-Road RC Bodies: Choosing the Right Fit for Your Adventure

The RC hobby is a lot more complicated than you might think. From hobby car building and casually driving around in an alleyway, to signing up for intense races with cars worth hundreds of dollars to win a grand prize, it’s a lot more than just buying a car and playing with it.

However, there are two categories that are consistent throughout the entire hobby. On-road RC car bodies and off-road rc car bodies.

Rarely is a car built to do both of those things well, and practically every subset of activities is divided between those two categories.

Since whether a car is good for on-road or off-road driving has a lot to do with its body, we’re going to go over all the differences today. By the end, you should be able to compare everything to what you want to do with your car and make some appropriate buying decisions.

Let’s get started.

On-Road VS Off-Road RC Bodies: Bottoming Out

Bottoming out is the area where on-road and off-road RC bodies differ the most in noticeable ways. Depending on where you’re driving and which body you have, bottoming out can be a huge concern.

On-road bodies are a lot like real car bodies. They’re built low and sleek to maximize their aerodynamics and keep a lower center of gravity. This provides a couple of advantages we’ll talk about later, but for now, we’re going to talk about “bottoming out”.

If you take an on-road RC car and drive it through a bumpy yard or off-road course, it’ll be so low to the ground that every little bump scrapes the bottom of the car. This can potentially damage its important mechanical components, but it also ensures that the body takes far more damage than it’s supposed to. Of course, each of those bumps from bottoming out also lowers the car’s speed and keeps it from ever reaching its full potential.

In contrast, off-road RC bodies are built to ride higher above the wheels and provide far more clearance. This comes at a dramatic cost, but it ensures that the RC car can ride over rough terrain found on off-road tracks without bottoming out. This not only protects the vehicle's more sensitive parts but also allows the RC car to continue moving at maximum performance.

On-Road RC Car Bodies VS Off-Road RC Car Bodies: Center of Gravity

The center of gravity on a car is important. The lower an RC car’s body is to the ground, the easier it’ll be for that car to maneuver sharp corners at high speeds without flipping. Obviously, any time your car is sent flying and rolling, you risk causing excessive amounts of damage to the body and its other components. So, this is a tremendous trait to have. Especially on hard roads and surfaces. Thus, this is why on-road racers go for the lowest cars possible.

In contrast, an off-road body's higher center of gravity means it will flip over a lot easier and destabilize at higher speeds. These tend to be bulkier bodies lifted higher, and beyond the elevated center of gravity, they also have poor aerodynamics that catch the wind and jostle the car the faster it goes.

That’s not an issue if you’re casually driving an off-road vehicle around your driveway, but if you were to race it around on a paved road at high speeds, you could easily end up rolling it, busting up the body, and generally damaging your car for no reason.

On-Road RC Bodies VS Off-Road RC Bodies: Emphasis on Durability

Finally, manufacturers design their RC car bodies around the intended use they have for them. This doesn’t just include design choices that prevent bottoming out or flipping at high speeds. It also means constructing each car body to withstand different types of damage.

An off-road RC car is going to flip. It’ll probably flip quite often. Thus, the body needs to be built a lot more tank-like to ensure every time you drive your car you don’t shatter it or have to perform extensive repairs. The material might be thicker in what would otherwise be weak spots, or it might be made from an entirely different polymer that can withstand cracks and breaks at the cost of weight or stability.

On-road bodies are all about speed. Lighter materials are used, not as much emphasis is put on preventing damage, and the manufacturer’s core design theme will be reducing weight while maintaining stability at high speeds. Obviously, this means that a really bad wreck will likely result in serious damage, but on-road driving is usually the “safer” of the two options. So, as long as the car is easily controllable, and the driver has a good enough level of skill, damage shouldn’t be a serious problem.

When Should Use On-Road or Off-Road RC Car Bodies?

Optimally, you’ll want to use a car equipped with a body designed for the type of driving you’re doing. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room here. If you enter a race for on-road cars, and you use an elevated, off-road, RC car, you’re asking for problems. Not only will you not match the speed you need to outpace other racers, but you’ll probably put your car at more risk of damage due to it flipping more easily. The opposite is true for using on-road cars for off-road fun.

To an extent, this isn’t as much of a concern for casual drivers. If you’re just out having fun with your kids, not pushing your car to its limits, and taking care of it, you can usually make things work.

In general, it’s best to have two builds if you intend to do both types of driving. One for on-road driving, and one for off-road driving.

Where to Get RC Car Bodies?

If you're in search of top-quality RC car bodies for your on-road or off-road vehicle, look no further than Delta Plastik USA. With a reputation for excellence, Delta Plastik USA manufactures RC car bodies right here in the USA, ensuring the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship. Explore our wide range of models and collections, including sleek on-road designs and rugged off-road options, to find the perfect body for your RC car project. 

Our extensive selection includes accessories, 1/7 scale bodies, Traxxas Slash bodies, 1/8 on-road bodies, 1/8 vintage bodies, 1/8 off-road bodies, Thunder Truck bodies, monster truck bodies, mini RC bodies, 1/5th scale bodies, 1/12th scale bodies, 1/5 moto bodies, and Arrma Vendetta RC. Trust Delta Plastik USA for durable and meticulously crafted products that meet your needs. View all collections and discover the perfect RC car body for your next project today!